No need looking ahead of Nashville unless Dawgs’ defense grows up quickly

Shaq Wiggins got burned on a couple of plays, but he showed a lot of potential. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Shaq Wiggins got burned on a couple of plays, but he showed a lot of potential. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Some more thoughts and observations in the wake of Georgia’s loss to Missouri …

The silver lining folks were quick to note that while Georgia no longer controls its own destiny in the SEC East race, Mark Richt’s Bulldogs aren’t out of it by any means.

Current division leader Missouri still has to play Florida and South Carolina out of the East and Texas A&M from the West, apparently without star quarterback James Franklin. A couple of losses there doesn’t seem out of the question. Georgia owns the tie-breaker over South Carolina and if the Dogs can take care of business in Jacksonville after a week off to heal up, the battle for the Okefenokee Oar could wind up as a de facto SEC East playoff game (assuming UGA can handle Auburn and Kentucky).

Sounds good, but the realists among us must note that unless Georgia’s defense turns things around rather quickly — starting this coming Saturday against Vanderbilt in Nashville — the Dogs are going to be hard-pressed to take advantage of such a situation, should it present itself. …

Speaking of the defense, while the biggest problem is in the secondary, where the Dogs generally look confused and tentative, poor tackling was an issue across the board Saturday. I couldn’t count fast enough to keep track of all the missed tackles on that second quarter 36-yard touchdown run by Missouri’s Marcus Murphy, and the same was true on the fourth-quarter Henry Josey score that put the game away.

But there were bright spots on defense for Georgia. Ray Drew sacked Franklin twice and the defensive front generally had a decent day. And even though he got burned on two big plays — most obviously on the halfback pass touchdown — cornerback Shaq Wiggins was impressive with his tackling and the speed with which he moved up to control screen passes. He also had one really nice pass breakup and was the best player in the secondary. Although he’s quite a bit shorter than I’d wish for a Georgia cornerback, I think Wiggins eventually is going to be a good one. …

Mike Bobo called a relatively conservative game — not surprising considering the personnel losses the offense has suffered and the inexperienced running backs and receivers getting playing time. And generally he did a good job. But I couldn’t figure out what he hoped to accomplish on that third-and-5 play where he had Aaron Murray throw a screen pass to Rantavious Wooten without any blockers to stave off the two Mizzou defenders just waiting for him to catch the ball. Not surprisingly, the play gained only 2 of the yards needed. …

It was a mixed day for one of my favorite Bulldogs, Artie Lynch. The big tight ed was quite impressive hurdling a defender on one catch, but he whiffed on his block on the play where Murray got blindsided and fumbled, resulting in a Tiger score. …

J.J. Green had a good day filling in at tailback. (Jason Getz / AJC)

J.J. Green had a good day filling in at tailback. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Neither J.J. Green nor Brendan Douglas has the sort of game-breaking speed and power of a Todd Gurley, but the two freshmen did an admirable job Saturday under very difficult circumstances. Green’s 57-yard run to the Mizzou 10-yard line in the third quarter was a real highlight. Unfortunately, because of the Dogs’ troubles in the red zone, it only resulted in a field goal. …

Just wondering: Is there anyone on the Georgia team who can consistently deliver a decent long snap to the punter? …

It should be noted that for most of Saturday’s game, the UGA crowd was much louder than you would expect at a noon game. Yes, the fans got taken out of the game for a while by the Missouri scoring blitz followed by Douglas’ fumble near the end of the first half, but when Georgia started making a game of it in the third quarter, the crowd bounced back and got even louder. During a couple of third-down plays, one of the Missouri fans sitting in front of us had to put her fingers in her ears! …

Kudos also are due to the UGA athletic department for the very affecting “Letter for Larry” video shown on the big screen. The film by UGA student Frank Martin, featuring Loran Smith’s voiceover of his letter to the late Larry Munson after the LSU game, was first-class. Martin’s excellent “Awaken the Nation” video also was shown again and brought the crowd to its feet. More, please!

Got something you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

534 comments Add your comment

Dawg_Mike

October 13th, 2013
7:50 pm

” Awaken ” the defense please.

JRW7

October 13th, 2013
7:50 pm

This team goes nowhere with this defense!

Dawg_Mike

October 13th, 2013
7:55 pm

Bill, I generally agree with your take, but cant let Bobo off the hook all the way- the long developing pass plays were not effective and led to the sack/fumble. He needed to take what they were giving us, which would have been short quick underneath throws which are just as effective as a run….

As I said on my prior post, the D will not allow us any breathing room- I am afraid that we are in for at least 2 more losses. We cant score on FL even with TG back, and AU isn’t rolling over.

CFA Bowl if we are very lucky but Music City could be the destination.

ALBDAWG

October 13th, 2013
7:56 pm

WAIT A MINUTE!!! Do I have this straight? Are you saying that UGA’s defense has problems? Who knew?

HistoryofMatt

October 13th, 2013
8:04 pm

Mike is right, Bill… why’re you letting Bobo off the hook?

The middle of the field was open THE WHOLE GAME. Every team knows Bobo’s tendencies. He refuses to use his TE’s, and almost 90% of the Dawg’s passing game is outside the hashes.

The Dawgs SHOULD be using the Patriot’s 2-TE offense, and using Lynch and Rome to destroy teams up the middle while Conley and Davis stretch the field.

But Bobo refuses to do this. It’s complete insanity that he REFUSES to use his TEs.

There are certain people at the paper who have a vendetta against Grantham because they dislike him personally, and while that’s understandable, and they’re not exactly wrong about his job performance the last two years, they are completely ignoring the fact that Bobo is predictable and he refuses to make adjustments and refuses to use some of the very talented players at his disposal.

This loss is on Bobo as much as anyone else.

The Dawgs succeed on offense DESPITE him.

Just like the Falcons under Mularkey.

rj

October 13th, 2013
8:05 pm

I agree that the Defense needs work but I am tired of hearing how bad they are. I do think that 4 Turnovers put them in bad positions!!! Come on guys!! They only gave up 35 yards in the third quarter to Missouri. We are young and will be better. ONE Senior on defense. Give them a break . All the nay sayers will be happy down the road. I think we missing 5 on the offense . Go Dawgs!!!

George

October 13th, 2013
8:06 pm

The 33 time defending pre season national champs are a joke. I said 9-3 at start of the year but now I’m going with 8-4. The annual chants of we are a year or two away will begin after the music city bowl

JerryG

October 13th, 2013
8:15 pm

Bill, what will it take to get a worthy Def Coordinaotor at UGA? All that defensive talent last year….and nothing! No UGA defense should be last in any defensive category, not with the talent they recruit year in and out. TG is in over his skis. And how many special teams gaffs before we use some of our impressive resources to actually hire a special teams coach? Two time-outs for special teams is a real shame.

benny hodges

October 13th, 2013
8:19 pm

Alabama reloads each year, Uga seems to mis-fire.. We have a 3 million coach and a 800,000 D C and a 2 dollar defense.

Why cant they have the team ready to play?

UA Grad

October 13th, 2013
8:19 pm

I enjoyed the “Letter for Larry” video. I am an Alabama man, but Larry Munson was the greatest college announcer of all time. Late in the evening years ago I would get 750am in Birmingham. I loved listening to Munson call a Georgia win especially over Auburn or Tennessee. He was a class act all the way. We all miss you Larry!

krazydawg

October 13th, 2013
8:26 pm

We need to change are defensive scheme back. Make it easier for the young players to understand. But I am looking for the future. Which looks very good.

tn dawg

October 13th, 2013
8:31 pm

Worst UGA defense in years. Flashback to Martinez. Grantham was brought in with a big paycheck to make a difference with the defense. He could not get it done with pros on defense last year and he definitely is not getting it one with the young Dawgs. I have never seen a team this bad on third down. I would love to have a job that pays that much and continue to fail!!! After championship team has a game that the defense dominates and basically wins the game. I do not see this happening with Grantham.

CHDawg

October 13th, 2013
8:32 pm

We were a couple of plays from victory, and just like the TN game, we would have been talking about the miracle comeback. The play Murray got blindsided was wide open–the defender slipped. If Lynch could have slowed the guy at all–even a half second–it likely would have been a score and a 14 point swing. To his credit, he took complete responsibility for the failure. Conley catching the two pointer would have put us ahead. The smallest changes can make for a different outcome in a game like that. This is still a great Georgia team. The defense is way too young in the backfield; we have a couple of guys injured there, too, which nobody is talking about. I hate the outcome for the team especially, but I believe they will finish strong. Silver lining guy! Go Dawgs!

tn dawg

October 13th, 2013
8:38 pm

Other teams with young players with less stars look better. Grantham is paid a lot of money to figure this out. The offense is not the issue. it has carried the team all year. Unfortunately it has to be perfect due to the defense.

gjt

October 13th, 2013
8:44 pm

Here are some more thoughts on the Dawgs D:
• Grantham is in his fifth year at UGA…no excuses if they are “young”, he has had time to teach his system and to recruit the right talent to make sure there is continuity and depth
• Coaching schemes are too complex and the calls are confusing, players still do not know where to go or what to do and are often out of position when the ball is snapped, very poor secondary assignments
• Poor fundamentals – tackling is as poor as I have ever seen, year to year, team to team, player to player, angles are poor, leverage is non-existent, poor coaching, poor teaching, period!
• The third down D coaching UGA time out we took when we had them 3rd and 10 yesterday in Q4 was sooooo bad, we had all the momentum, the stadium was literally rocking, and then UGA STOPS THE PLAY because the D is not lined up correctly and/or has too few/too many men on the field – on that play we gave Mizzou time to calm down, reset, call a play, calm the crowd and voila, they picked up a first down and eventually scored – we gave them the time to regroup at the most crucial moment in the game!
• Swain needs to be benched immediately, he is getting beat all the time and missing tackles in the open field, he got beat bad on an overthrow in Q2 or it would have been another long TD against him (why did Langley not play yesterday?)
• UGA D has always been known as the “junkyard dawgs” – we saw that in Q3 yesterday but no sustainability Q to Q, game-to-game, player to player, as a unit we rarely see them flying to the ball as a group, they just seemed confused and out of position and lacking technique and confidence (dead LAST in SEC in D)
• Sorry, but I am jumping on the “Grantham is overpaid and underperforming” bandwagon and we need someone to blame b/c the offense cannot just keep outscoring the other team – now was the perfect time for the D to step up at home and carry the load with all the injuries on the O side of the ball, you start to believe in Q3 and then same old, same old…accountability points DC and his position coaches

A disillusioned Dawg fan…

HotDawg

October 13th, 2013
8:44 pm

Please be fair and understand the coaches are telling the players what to do. Do you think they’re not coaching at all? Come on….
At some point the players have to know what they’re supposed to be doing and where they’re supposed to line up.
And they are the ones that have to execute the plays.
Cannot continue to simplify things because they cannot comprehend. The schedule doesn’t wait for them.
They have to comprehend what is being taught.
It’s bigger boy football than high school. And if they are lucky enough to play at next big boy level after college, the NFL expects players to learn at teams speed. Not players speed.
Time for players to grow up now and utilize their brain or they will never make it to next level.

JRW7

October 13th, 2013
8:47 pm

If I remember correctly, CTG was our 4th choice for DC when we hired him? CTG defense is too complicated for college players, but it takes years of bad defense before Richt fires anyone!

HotDawg

October 13th, 2013
8:54 pm

All that physical talent without the brains to execute correctly, makes a 2 star out of a 4 or 5 star player.
The mentality of some of these players is lacking.
They can be told the correct way of doing things every day, but it will go in one ear and out the other until the player decides to listen.
Have to learn what they have to do in every situation ahead of time. And test themselves every day. It is up to the player.

HotDawg

October 13th, 2013
8:58 pm

Maybe his “complicated” system is why the Dawgs that comprehend it do so well in the NFL.
Don’t lower your standards. Raise your standards.

EQ

October 13th, 2013
8:58 pm

Until Murray stops turning the ball over 3 times per game

No need to talk defense.

It won’t matter if we have the #1 defense in the country.

If your 5th year Senior Qb is STILL TURNING THE BALL OVER THREE TIMES IN ONE GAME

You will lose 90%+ in the SEC.

HotDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:03 pm

The people that complain too much are usually the same people that constantly make excuses for themselves in their own life.

gjt

October 13th, 2013
9:03 pm

There is such a thing as overcoaching and overcomplexifying – our student athletes are not slower learners than the other SEC schools.

When you see a D-back looking at the bench with his hands in the air, or covering an area of the field with no opposing player within 10 yards, or consistently using poor technique to rush (blitzes are very slow to develop with the exception of Floyd’s quick first step) and close (large cushions surrendering 5-7 yards) and tackle (angles, leverage…) – they are just not a confident powerful unit

The D time out – coaching! – was the worst possible thing that could have happened at that moment with a 2 point difference and Mizzou completely on the ropes…we let them gather and make the next play…I was there and felt/saw it happen

Turn ‘em loose and sic ‘em!

SatillaDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:07 pm

Good article Bill. You have a knack for criticizing without offending.

Disappointing game, but not exactly unexpected. Mizzou played well and showed some real talent, especially among their receiving corps. Dawgs often looked confused and lackadaisical.

I sense a lack of passion between the team that played the first half of the season and the one that’s now taking the field. Let’s hope the new guys find some of the passion of the guys they replaced.

Go Dawgs!

Macclenny_dawg

October 13th, 2013
9:07 pm

The defense and special teams have killed us all year!!! Every team we face we make their qb look like Peyton. This has been going on since Vangorder left. No excuses that the defense is young they are Grantham recruited players. Why can’t Richt coach the special teams himself??? What else is he doing last week he didn’t even know if the left hash was where our field goal kicker preferred!!! Really how does a head coach not know that??? I bet our special teams coach knew if we had one!!! From top to bottom no coaching. So much for Richt having more time for the cutting edge. GATA!!! Grantham ace time annoying!!!

HotDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:09 pm

Jeez, who will all the Murray haters jump on when he’s gone next year?
These people must be perfect in their life and job every day.
Gonna miss all the good Murray did while the Dawgs had him.
Same people will brag about all the SEC records he’ll still have years down the road, as Bulldog Pride.

Hairy Dawg

October 13th, 2013
9:13 pm

We will play angry and flush the Commodes like the bad players they got. We was flat againts Mizzou cause a OT in Knox. But now we mad and pointy head Commodes goning do the paying for it. They dont even have talents to be on same field with Dawgs if we expose are talents. This is goning be an epic beatdown as we display dominants.

Final score: Dawgs 52 – Pointy Head Commodes 6

Go Dawgs! Sick E’m!

ColdDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:17 pm

How could Aaron not see the guy coming on the sack play and scramble or dump the ball off?

How could Aaron throw two interceptions in the game?

You just don’t expect that out of guy that’s been in the program since 2009.

Simple:
Stop turning the ball over. We’re 3-0 when we don’t lose the turnover battle, 0-2 when we do.

Come on Murray, time to grow up and stop trying to win the Heisman trophy throwing it deep, dump the ball off fast before you get sacked like .850 win % Mettenberger does instead of .650 win % Aaron.

We are LAST IN THE SEC in turnover margin.

LAST!!!!

HotDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:17 pm

Love ya Dawgs, win or lose. And win with class and lose with class.
Congrats to a tougher than expected Missouri team. Give credit to the victor also.
My arm extends to Missouri for a handshake.

ColdDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:18 pm

bENCH turnover machine aaron murray.

he cares about no one but hiumself!!!!

ColdDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:20 pm

“Hello, this the UGA defense calling for Aaron Murray. Come on man, stop turning the ball over 3 times a game trying to be greedy, start listening to Coach Bobo he tells you that all the time in practice. Get coachable man”

#teamfirst

gjt

October 13th, 2013
9:22 pm

Murray and offense are doing fine, a little weak and inconsistent on O line but young backs and receivers are performing very well – D and Special Teams are seriously lacking and we have to believe they have the talent to be among the best

They are performing well in the NFL b/c they are supremely talented players…but as a unit, they are under performing and this is mostly due to poor teaching and coaching…sorry, but it is so obvious to anyone who is following the team year in and year out

Look at Alabama and LSU’s D – very young too, lost many starters to NFL like UGA, they are getting better week after week, we are not improving and even last year our D underperformed

CTG is one of the highest paid assistants in college football, he is accountable to the fans and his alumni and the overall team – you cannot let the other team average 40+ points/game and win a championship…impossible, no more excuses!

ColdDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:24 pm

“Hi there, the UGA defense is calling again. Convert some 3rd downs man. This offense is 12th in the SEC on 3rd down conversions. Give up some rest man”

#TEAMFIRST

HotDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:24 pm

Have a wonderful week….keep it “glass half-full” positive. As time goes on, more key players will be healthier. The needed bye week is approaching. Let’s focus on beating Vandy first.

ColdDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:25 pm

Defense is fine.

Offense keeps losing the games due to turnover issues.

ColdDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:28 pm

Love the way Missouri handled their injuries to their leaders, offensive and defensive leader went out(QB and shutdown corner), and they still found a way to win.

Must be nice.

#NOEXCUSES

Classic

October 13th, 2013
9:28 pm

TE’s? Do you mean the ones who had passes hit them dead square in the hands and miss it? Oh yeah those TE right.

gjt

October 13th, 2013
9:28 pm

Dawgs will still win the east if they win out, and if they get to ATL and win, all is forgiven…but for that to happen we MUST play consistent D like in Q3 yesterday – no secrets, passion, position and play like the junkyard dawgs! We still love all of you

HotDawg

October 13th, 2013
9:29 pm

Don’t forget to give a little credit with all your criticisms. It will bode well for you in life.

Dwalk

October 13th, 2013
9:30 pm

The first sign of fixing any problem, is acknowledging you have one. After 5 games we no longer have “young” players. Its time that we hold our coaches accountable. If I were earning the type of money that these coaches are, I would be ashamed of the product I were delivering.

RedFaced

October 13th, 2013
9:41 pm

The defense only gave up 24 points in the Mizzou game. Should have been enough to win. Held Mizzou below their average.

Stop blaming the defense for this loss when the offense turns the ball over FOUR TIMES!

RedFaced

October 13th, 2013
9:44 pm

Mizzou is the 8th best scoring machine in the country and UGA defense held them to 24 points.

RedFaced

October 13th, 2013
9:47 pm

Clemson, LSU and Mizzou are all in the top 15 NATIONALLY in scoring. Give the defense a break.

RedFaced

October 13th, 2013
9:51 pm

Clemson, LSU and Mizzou were ALL held BELOW their scoring average by your UGA defense.

RedFaced

October 13th, 2013
9:53 pm

Keep in mind, some of the points attributed to the defense, were given up on special teams and offense in instant scores that had nothing to do with the defense.

Take those out and you see how good the young defense is really doing.

RedFaced

October 13th, 2013
9:53 pm

Don’t think it’s fair to blame FRESHMAN defensive players instead of a SENIOR QB.

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

October 13th, 2013
9:57 pm

As a fan of a mid-tier SEC school that has done nothing to add the SECs current run of dominance, why would you expect anything more than Nashville.

33 years…

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

October 13th, 2013
9:59 pm

Idiots like RedFaced are part of the reason you can’t win a title. You give up 42 pts and blame the offense!?!

That and the fact that your state is classless.

33 years Honey boo boos

RedFaced

October 13th, 2013
9:59 pm

Your UGA defense is 5th in the SEC in pass break ups, and 3rd in sacks. How bout some credit instead of criticism?

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

October 13th, 2013
10:02 pm

I bet they’re second in tackles when the RB’s last name starts with a S. Look at the scoreboard son. Come across the state line if you want to learn how to play football.

RedFaced

October 13th, 2013
10:02 pm

UGA defense is ranked #2 in the SEC in long plays 50+ given up (only 2 all season). Same as Alabama.

Also 4th in the SEC in rush defense.