Defense falters again, but thank goodness for Aaron Murray

Aaron Murray had a career night against Kentucky. (Garry Jones / AP)

Aaron Murray had a career night against Kentucky. (Garry Jones / AP)

On a night when Georgia seemed unable to stop the conference’s worst running attack for most of the game and had little success running the ball itself, quarterback Aaron Murray carried the team on his back and notched another Bulldogs victory.

Murray  gave a stellar passing display, completing 30 of 38 throws for 427 yards and four touchdowns.

Murray was masterful — he completed 15 of 19 for 243 yards in the first half — and yet the game that saw him take the Bulldogs’ career touchdown record could have been even bigger for him, with at least three passes dropped plus the QB missing a wide-open receiver on another play.

Two Georgia receivers broke the century mark, with Tavarres King catching nine passes for 188 yards and Malcolm Mitchell getting back in the offensive swing of things with nine receptions for 103 yards.

But, boy, was the rest of the game ugly for UGA.

Yes, as Mark Richt likes to point out, any SEC win is a good thing, but the Dogs’ performance Saturday against Kentucky left much that needs to be improved if Georgia is going to have any hope of keeping up with a red-hot Florida team in Jacksonville next week with the SEC East title on the line.

Helping out Murray’s success was Kentucky selling out against the run — Todd Gurley led Georgia rushers with 47 yards, while Keith Marshall and Boo Malcome had 23 yards apiece — and fielding some true freshmen in the Wildcat secondary. Murray won’t have that advantage next week facing the Gators.

The positive to take into next week, besides the showing of Murray and the eight Bulldogs who caught his passes at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night, is the fact that the past two weeks of SEC play have worked out exactly as Georgia would have scripted it: South Carolina lost twice and the Bulldogs control their own destiny. If they beat Florida and win out, they take the SEC East again.

But that looks like a mighty tall order considering these disturbing trends: Todd Grantham’s defense had another first-half meltdown and allowed the lowly Wildcats to run for a hundred more yards than they usually get; Georgia’s own much-vaunted running game was mostly missing in action for the second consecutive game; the Dogs were flagged for eight penalties, including a couple of really stupid ones (an unnecessary late hit by Bacarri Rambo being the worst); and the Dogs’ kicking troubles continued, with one PAT missed and the field goal that gave Georgia a last-second first-half lead careening off a goal post before going through the uprights.

That’s a lot to fix in just one week.

Now, it’s your turn. What did you think of Georgia’s squeaker against the SEC’s worst team?

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

174 comments Add your comment

sogadog

October 21st, 2012
8:06 am

There was no improvement in coaching or play over the South Carolina game
The Dawgs just faced a much weaker opponent.

Browndog

October 21st, 2012
8:26 am

Would rather be at this stage with the program than where Auburn currently resides. Look at where the Auburn program is after two years removed from Cam! If Auburn goes another direction with coaches they owe over $9 million combined to the head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators .

Big EC

October 21st, 2012
8:26 am

The version of the 3-4 defense that we are running simply does not work in the SEC. If we would start using 4down lineman and two inside LB we would be able to stop teams from running between the tackles. Relying on stunts to stop the run in the SEC does not work. Also it was great to see us use the TE more last night. Last year’s win vs. Kentucky was ugly to but it was still a win.

ApopkaFLDog

October 21st, 2012
8:28 am

Much of the Bulldog Nation has lost confidence in our coaching staff. It’s time for a change. I heard Saban make a comment yesterday they play hard the entire game like there is no scoreboard. We look up at the scoreboard and see that we are ahead and go conservative and play not to lose. Muschamp has the Gators fired up and motivated. Gators have creative play calling and play to win. Dawgs – three runs up the middle and punt mentality in spite of Murray’s passing yards. I love the Dawgs, but the reality is next week will a massacre.

The rev al

October 21st, 2012
8:32 am

The dawg defense simply has no answer for mobile, running quarterbacks. It’s been that way since game one against Missouri. On the first series, Kenticky made Ga look like a high school
team playing a college team. Florida will beat GA by 30. The defense will look like it did against KY and SC. It isn’t a matter of talent. It’s a coaching problem.

bubba4dawgs

October 21st, 2012
8:49 am

Actually, I thought the DAWGS were going to find a way to lose the game in spite of Murray’s brilliant play! This was a game that Murray literally carried the game on his back (arm, if you will). At least, the OL gave him enough time to throw the ball even though they couldn’t do much with Kenturkey to open running lanes.

I really couldn’t believe the lackluster performance of the defense. Gee, is the the same defense that was # 5 in the nation last year? Grantham, what in the hale are you all doing at practice? These guys look like they’re smokin something! If they play like this against the gators, you may as well leave them in Athens. They seem to be going downhill fast!! Not only can the all-american take himself out of play for four games smokin the funny cigarettes, but he delivers a blatant late hit out of bounds to further hurt the team…..and he thinks he’s an all-american??? Penalties like this should not be plaguing the team. Well, maybe you can do some Houdini maneuvers this week and get them back on track. The gators are salivating!

DAWG with two bags over head

October 21st, 2012
8:51 am

I’ve completely lost confidence in this coaching staff to prepare, motivate, and adapt to in-game situations. Absolutely nothing they’ve done makes me think they have a prayer next week. I assume that McGarity will again do absolutely nothing to fix this endless do loop of mediocrity. Very, very grim outlook for the next 5 or more seasons of this barely beat up on the poor sisters and wet our pants in the big games. Disgusting, frustrating, maddening.

RMikel58

October 21st, 2012
8:52 am

Todd Grantham is bringing a intricate NFL type Defense to Georgia that takes a long time to understand and alot of these guys takes til there Juniors to get the concept. These coaches wont listen to you or me for advice, they’d rather die by the sword.
Keeping things simple or simplifying your Defense is no disgrace, only means youre not a narcascists that feels you know it’ll work if they keep their assignments.
These are kids, spending time in class rooms studying and working out, playing video games to relax somewhat.
Not NFL players who have the time to study plays.
Im telling you right now that if Grantham doesnt simplify his Defense, we’re toast.
Go back to the book Grantham and start with the basics. You coaches dont wanna utilize your talent on the field and work on your strengths.
Please get a College Defensive Coordinator that has experience in the college level to coach kids and not Professional Football players.

Texas Dawg

October 21st, 2012
8:58 am

Glad the Dawgs get a win but……………………..

Murry again padding his stats against weaker teams…………yea…yea I hear all of you….not a true fan ect…but this is the thing…. I am a die hard dawg and I for one am sick of not getting it done when it matters……..he may have the records but in my book he will never be one of UGA greatest until he get it done when it matters………THIS SAT against FLA matters….lets see if he can beat a team when it counts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dawggonepanic

October 21st, 2012
9:03 am

What in the H E Double Hockey Sticks is going on in Athens? This is hard to believe but you see the Defense w/ your own eyes. They are really, really BAD! I have no idea what is going on and players play the game. UK has been so bad that I cant believe this is the coaches fault. Line up and beat the guy in front of you and we are not getting that done. Period! We always have some major issues but this is just unacceptable. 6-1 or not, we are not a good football team.

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
9:04 am

That game would have definitely been in the “loss” column if the Murray bashers had gotten their way. That is a fact you eternal pessimist…..an absolute fact!

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
9:07 am

Guess what……..the QBs at FL, Bama, TN, SC, etc. Are also “padding their stats” against KY ……what is your point meathead?!?!

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
9:09 am

Texas Dawg,
He is the best we have and he gives more than 100% so please shut up!

DunwoodyDawg

October 21st, 2012
9:13 am

I want to be wrong about this, but it looks like we are going to get spanked in Jacksonville again. So, CMR defenders is this is what you are ready accept? A UGA that beats inferior teams, but no longer steps up on the big stage? That’s what it appears that we are stuck with as long as we have this coaching staff.
Well, the schedule gets a lot tougher next year, so we can expect things to go south in a hurry.

RMikel58

October 21st, 2012
9:16 am

Aaron Murray but ofcourse is talented. Bobo needs to start out with Ken Malcolm more because he’s a hard runner and doesnt like being backup.
The offensive line now there mediocre at best. No discipline and who forgot to coach fundamentals to these kids?
If a defense puts pressure on Murray then that psychologically messes up his mind. Timings off, overthrown passes and sacks.
Florida will come with pressure and if Bobo doesnt prepare for it then look for Murray to throw an interception, fumble the ball or get sacked.
If our O line doesnt open up holes or protect then expect the same results like S. Carolina got from Florida.
Florida has had a new coach for only 2 years and we’ve had a coach 12 years. Please do not allow their QB, Reciever or RB to have a career game.
Im so sick week in week out that our opponents player in either one of those positions end up having a career game.
CMR announced a cpl years back that he was burnt out coaching but said he got his legs back now and is ready to start coaching again because he has give more coaches greater responsibility.
These players feed off the emotions of the coaching staff.
You have ONE SHOT to do something next week, beat a TOP 10 TEAM.
You have a chance to gain control of the SEC WEST in hopes of winning it. If you win then alot of people will be elated but if you get embarrased again then you will see a campaign to oust CMR.
Heres your chance of redemption, heres your chance to prove all the skeptics wrong.
Lose this game and you’ll fall toward the bottom of the top 25.
You couldnt have had an easier schedule this year and your backs are against the wall because we grow tired of all the flaws and breakdowns of this team.
Put back our original Punt Returner that electrified our team, put back Ken Malcolm, motivate these players and quit doing the samethings that seems to never work that teams are waiting for.
Lose this game and the entire coaching staff should be fired!
Nobody remembers 2nd place, nobody remembers good efforts, nobody likes excuses. Either dominate or be dominated.
This game will dictate Georgias recruiting for years to come and its beyond winning or losing becuase these young highschoolers will only go where theres a winning program.
Stay home or Show up!

ZinoDawg

October 21st, 2012
9:26 am

D is SOFT as a feather pillow!

Gators 48
Dawgs. 7

Vampire Bill

October 21st, 2012
9:27 am

Gators 44 Dawgs 7 No doubt a worse beating than what SC gave us. Just pathetic football. AM did have a good game, I’ll give him that.

dawg4life

October 21st, 2012
9:28 am

S SI Gator- Sure is a lot of chest thumping from a team that only had 183 yds of offense… Florida was extremely lucky that USCe wet themselves. Glad you beat them, but I wouldn’t be too impressed with the Gators performance either. Everything will be settled next week.

mt

October 21st, 2012
9:30 am

Group hugs,going swimming on rainey days,bowling nights,singing Happy Birthday to recruits
ain’t cutting it. Fire Mark Richt !And yes a football coach can be a Christian and be hard nosed and tough. Remember Tom Osborne?

mt

October 21st, 2012
9:36 am

Will Turncoat spent the off season toughen up the Gators,He said after last season they were soft
and went to work on the problem,we look as soft as feather bed after a hard days work.I figured
after the beatdown we took in Carolina and a week off we would handle Kentucky like we did Vandy.

PowerDawg

October 21st, 2012
9:39 am

I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with our defense this year and have been unable to put my finger on the reason everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY is gashing us right up the middle…when most teams were UNABLE to do so last year…

I figured it out last night, ya’ll.

John Jenkins’ uniform stayed pristeenly white ALL NIGHT…at least until LATE in the 4th quarter when I finally saw a small grass/mud stain on his upper left shoulder pad…

There’s a reason for that people. I don’t know why this is, but his ineffectiveness in the middle is killing our chances of being successful at stopping the run of our opponents. He’s not the only one not playing well, believe me. But he was put in there to stop up the middle and, seemingly from the first game, he hasn’t been getting it done. Thank goodness we have KG and MT.

Big John has turned into a big liability for this team, and I am surprised and very disappointed to say the least.

Dawg_Mike

October 21st, 2012
9:40 am

The team takes on the personality of the head coach. Example- Alabama: workman like, keep pounding and play to win, not to lose. Example: Florida: emotional and flying to the ball.
Example: Georgia: sleepwalking with zero emotion and playing not to lose by waving the white towel on punt returners.

Sorry but it is what it is.

serenityseeker

October 21st, 2012
9:40 am

I always read but never comment. Dawg fan for 30 yrs. I am no expert but when year after year we have superior talent, multiple NFL prospects and all the tools to work with yet we stayed mired in at best mediocrity I HAVE to think it is a coaching issue. Love CMR but I sadly have to believe its time for change. We are undisciplined (multiple untimely penalties, multiple arrests and suspensions), seem to be unmotivated(purely subjective observation on my part admittedly), and are getting embarrassed by lesser teams. I just want us to live up to our potential. Open to any feedback.

Pcola-dawg

October 21st, 2012
9:47 am

Mark Richt laughing at half time when the kick hit the upright speaks volumes!

where we could be now if...

October 21st, 2012
9:47 am

had we fired Richt two years ago and got us someone else. Bama fied Shula,Saban turned then around in two years, Florida fired Zook ,Cryer turned them around and won a NC in two years,
Turncoat now in his second year in undefeated.It’s time for a change for the dawgs.Took Spurrier
a little longer, but we can’t Carolina anymore.

SimpleDawg

October 21st, 2012
9:58 am

The Dawgs’ master plan each game is the antithesis of the tried and true formula the Old Masters of the SEC employed for long term success……

Run the ball, don’t let the other guy run the ball, strong special teams – good punter & kicker, and a strong defense that controls field position and the clock.

The Bear, Johnny Vaught, Charlie McClendon, Shug Jordan, Robert Neyland, et al must be spinning in their graves.

te

October 21st, 2012
10:13 am

The Gators are going to give us a colonoscopy on national TV next week.

SC Dawg

October 21st, 2012
10:20 am

A win is a win, so I will take it. Now lets hope the Dawgs go down to Jaskonsonville and end that team from down south’s dreams. Go DAWGS!!!

McDawg

October 21st, 2012
10:20 am

our defensive line is not getting the job done period

Duwwoody DAWG

October 21st, 2012
10:23 am

Same old crap. Aaron is a rock star against pitiful teams and he folds like a lawn chair against good ones. I truly don’t understand our Defense, we have at least 5 future NFL players on that side of the ball and we can’t dominate Kentucky – really?

Maybe we play with some fire next week in Jax but we are not a sound football team and will probably get our azzes handed to us… again.

joe jenkins

October 21st, 2012
10:28 am

After watching that game last night…i am physically sick….first buffalo then fla owls…and now kent moved the ball up and down the field…..big john jenkins has put on to much weight…he s 358…needs to get down to 345., so he can be quicker against the run….we are so soft on defense…my gawd what the heck has hapened?? NFL coaches dont play against the spread…so thats why CTG is having a hard time of stopping that offense….you know their is a reason cleveland browns fired CTG…and i’m seeing now why they did!!! mcgarity please do something now….gators 52 uga 10

McDawg

October 21st, 2012
10:29 am

nothing up front on the defensive side-didn’t se very many double teams on Jenkins-perhaps we have some quicker guys who get into the backfield–and geathers is winded by the time he runs out onto the field at the last second everytime he substitutes in

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
10:31 am

Georgia leads the South in airline traffic, soft drink bottling and paper mill pollution. Your coach wins nine games a year. Can’t you just be satisfied with all that?

Chickamaugadawg

October 21st, 2012
10:36 am

We are over rated and will get pounded at Jax. Defense is just horrible and getting worse not better and that is just plain and simple on the coaching staff

Fletcher Helms

October 21st, 2012
10:37 am

UGA has huge coaching problems, headed by Richt. The OL and DL look sloppy and lazy. Stupid penalties, and Bobo’s play calling is still quite amazing. Grantham obviously cannot get the defense to play.

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
10:42 am

1. Georgia is not overrated… They are probably the fifth or sixth best team in the SEC (I think A&M might beat them).
2. Your problem is coaching, not talent. But of course, you all know that. An emerging problem will be second half depth and conditioning.
3. Muschamp is not a Georgia traitor. He grew up in Gainesville and wanted to play for Florida first, but Spurrier was out playing golf when Muschamp and his Dad went to visit him.
4. Florida’s athletic director is a genius. Yours is, well, not.

Chickamaugadawg

October 21st, 2012
10:42 am

Let see if it comes down to extra point! We lose. If it comes down to field goal! We lose. If it comes down to defense! We lose. If it comes down to coaching! We lose. If we get off the bus we lose 65 to 7

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
10:45 am

5. Oh, and two other things. Talent has to be developed. And talent does not equal toughness.

Chickamaugadawg

October 21st, 2012
10:49 am

Bad as I hate to say it! Gators are best chance to knock the west off the SEC championship trophy. Spurrier is right what do we do with all that talent

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
10:51 am

Saban and Muschamp use a profiling system for recruits that includes character. They would never have even offered Isaiah Crowell a scholarship. Richt, on the other hand, slobbered all over the kid and basically promised him a starting job as a freshman.

Chickamaugadawg

October 21st, 2012
10:51 am

Can we please hire #34 for str and cond coach!

Dog4Life

October 21st, 2012
10:56 am

Unfortunately, though Murray had an awesome night, once again we were essentially one dimensional. Fla will kill Murray as did SC if we are one dimensional. Gurley and Marshall spent an entire high school career running off tackle and around the end and getting into open space and allow their athletic ability to make plays–once they get to UGA they are relegated 90% of the time running off guard with a weak O-Line. That my friends is called ineptness at OC–no ability to play to the strength of your players. Bobo knows the play book and he refuses to veer away even when his all week long scheme or game plan is falling apart–Murray having a good day against Ky doesn’t instill confidence in me knowing that Fla and that fast, quick defense looms on the horizon. Bobo knows a few trick plays here and there but he does not have the vision, the imagination, or the capacity to be creative and make the offense better. I have heard Murray audibles so it is not on Bobo, but in that audible system at UGA, they call two plays in the huddle then change to one or the other at the LOS, or turn to have BooBoo signal in a call when he sees the d alignment. Ky never changed their alignment–just lined up and hit UGA hard at the points of attack. This guy is not a D-1 OC. I hope lady luck smiles on us at the WLOCP, but I remain unoptimistic.

Dog4Life

October 21st, 2012
11:01 am

Saban did offer Crowell. It came down to UGA and Bama–he chose UGA. I am unsure how to respond to the comment suggesting a character profile at Fla or Bama–obviously you’re joking or do you guys still have the deceased girls credit card using up your frequent flier points????

Vince

October 21st, 2012
11:01 am

Everything goes back to coaching. CMR is doing just enought to keep his job. He is not the future of UGA football. The longer we put off firing him the longer it will that to get back to a national power. Look around at other SEC teams. UF ranked 2 with a 2 year coach. Alabama going to win their 3rd national champ. In how long has CNS been there. Not 12 years. I am sick of games we should win just doing enought to win and big games lnot getting up for them. We get kill in those games. Something has to be done. We have been saying this for years but nothing is getting done.

dogdawg

October 21st, 2012
11:01 am

As far back as I can remember Kentucky has played us tough at home,and at night.Go back to the Dooly years and look at the scores.But this game was awful!!.Think CMR will have these boys ready for Fla?

Dog4Life

October 21st, 2012
11:02 am

You will notice I did not even mention the defense above–there is a reason for that. I am at a loss to explain our Defense:(

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
11:02 am

The Catch-22 with Mark Richt is that he gets at least nine wins year in and year out and a bowl game. So you basically have to fire a guy who consistently wins but can’t win it all.

When you look at his SEC championships, you have to ask yourself whether he won them when Tennessee and Florida were strong, or whether he backed in when those two schools were in down years. I think it’s fair to say it’s the latter.

Unfortunately, the reality is probably that Alabama and Florida are going to become highly physical clones of each other for the next few years, since Muschamp admittedly shares Saban’s philosophies. And as for recruiting, forget it. Florida has Driskel for two more seasons and Fred Taylor’s son (think Marcus Lattimore before the knee injury) coming in next year. It would not be unreasonable to expect Florida to win a couple more NCs in the next five years.

squat

October 21st, 2012
11:05 am

Once again we are not ready to play…Out coached and out played by a very bad team..We need help…Our coaches have no fire and it reflects by our players. Is rambo still high or just that bad…

joe jenkins

October 21st, 2012
11:07 am

Geathers is fat to and needs to lose about 20 lbs….it seems like he and jenkins…thats all they are doing in their spare time is eating junk food…remember you are what you eat…..well anyways garner is well over due on being let go….damn i thought we finally had a running game a going….but o heck no…our ol has taken two steps backwards

OrlandoDawg

October 21st, 2012
11:08 am

Great to be 6-1…Now did you see UF had offensive plays to negate USC’s defense…2nd half was especially noticeable…UF offensive cordinator had a great game plan…I just don’t see Bobo changing things up….that is his job…hit some screens, draws, trickeration…..anything next weekend…just don’t turn around slowly and hand the ball to the TB…
Love the Dawgs that is why this will hurt so much!