Mission critical for UGA and Grantham: Corral Randall Cobb

This is where Todd Grantham earns his three-quarters of a million. No knock on the new defensive coordinator, but the Bulldogs could have won the three games they’ve won — Louisiana-Lafayette, Tennessee and Vanderbilt — with Willie Martinez or Marion Campbell or Kevin Ramsey as DC. But Georgia plays Kentucky on Saturday in Lexington, and the Wildcats can score some points.

And this is where we learn if all the talk about the schematic advantages of the 3-4 vis-a-vis the 4-3 was simply talk. This is where we see if having an extra linebacker will help Georgia slow the most dynamic player in the SEC East. He’s Randall Cobb, whom Kentucky deploys as a receiver and a runner and a kick returner and occasionally a thrower.

He’s officially listed as wide receiver/quarterback and essentially acts as the joker in Joker Phillips’ deck, Joker Phillips being the first-year Kentucky coach. Cobb nearly beat Auburn and did beat South Carolina. Against the Tigers he threw for a touchdown, caught a pass for a touchdown and rushed for two touchdowns. Against Carolina he caught the winning touchdown from Mike Hartline with 1:15 to play, then rushed for the two-point conversion.

Randall Cobb of Kentucky isn’t to be confused with Randall “Tex” Cobb, the boxer-turned-actor who played the dreadnought biker in “Raising Arizona.” (Holly Hunter, who played Ed in the film, referred to Cobb’s expertly realized character as a “warthog from hell.”) But Randall Cobb of Kentucky has the capacity to unleash all manner of havoc if the opposing DC doesn’t mind his X’s and O’s.

The Kentucky game, not to put too fine a point on it, is immense. Win and Georgia goes to Jacksonville with a chance to finish first in the SEC East, which seemed unthinkable a couple of weeks ago. Lose and Georgia is 3-5 and we’re treated to another round of Mark-Richt-has-lost-it screeds.

Richt took a risk hiring Grantham, who’d never coordinated a collegiate defense. This is the week we see if the risk carried a reward. This is where the new man earns his money. Or doesn’t.

Here Kentucky's Randall Cobb scores against a familiar-looking team. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Here UK's Randall Cobb scores against a familiar-looking team. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

225 comments Add your comment

GTHorsie

October 21st, 2010
9:35 am

EDawg71

October 21st, 2010
9:40 am

Click click bloody click Bulldogs. Things are starting to come together now with the defense becoming more comfortable and swarming to the ball. Cobb, an All-World player scares me, but I think the Dawgs take this one to stay alive in the East.

gt110215

October 21st, 2010
9:42 am

Third! Kudos Mark?

EDawg71

October 21st, 2010
9:42 am

GTHorsie = IDIOT!!!

TampaDawg

October 21st, 2010
9:43 am

Kentucky looks much scarier to me than Florida…GATA! (and THWGT!)

Sopwith Camel

October 21st, 2010
9:43 am

You’re right about the Randall Cobb riding the motorcycle in the picture. He’s not on the UK football team. The Randall Cobb who IS on the UK football team doesn’t need a motorcycle to run over you!!

Just think...

October 21st, 2010
9:44 am

…even if UGA wins vs. UK, if Vandy beats SC then VANDY will be in first place in the SEC East…

Josie Wales

October 21st, 2010
9:44 am

So, based on being Tennessee state champions, things are coming together?

Sopwith Camel

October 21st, 2010
9:45 am

Yeah, but no way Vandy is going to beat SC.

Mark Bradley

October 21st, 2010
9:46 am

Kudos to everybody!

sogadog

October 21st, 2010
9:47 am

I dont know about Kevin Ramsey, I remember the one Auburn game he coached.

You have to admit, the defense has improved under Grantham and it is getting better. It takes time for the new coaches to teach the new scheme and time for the players to learn it. I predict Grantham and his defense will be fine, maybe not Saturday, but soon.

My main concern remains the offense, particularly the running game and the lack of red zone touchdowns.

Dawglasville

October 21st, 2010
9:47 am

I hope that we are going into this thing with a payback mentality. It was nice to give Tennessee theirs, hopefully we can use that edge against UK. You’re right, Cobb is the key, our speed should, and I emphasize “should,” be enough. The Tex Cobb reference was great. Thanks.

Dawglasville

October 21st, 2010
9:49 am

I do hope that the defense has that “wart hog from hell” mentality like Tex Cobb had in Raising Arizona.

EDawg71

October 21st, 2010
9:49 am

Damn skippy Josie. Even during the 4 game skid, we had a chance to win all 4. Don’t underestimate momentum…and get a better userid.

sogadog

October 21st, 2010
9:50 am

Mr. Bradley, I just remembered, you are Kentucky grad. Congrats to your alma mater for hiring good coaches, ie Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips. KY could be really good soon.

Whopper Dawg

October 21st, 2010
9:55 am

Opponents are scoring an average of 11 points less per game year on year through the first 7 games. I don’t know yet if he was the right hire, but that is a pretty significant improvement.

dawgfan

October 21st, 2010
9:59 am

“You want to find an outlaw? Call an outlaw. You want to find a dunkin donuts? Call a cop.”

Awesome movie.

We are again misreading what we just saw

October 21st, 2010
10:02 am

The 2009 GT game told us that “UGA come 2010 could run the ball” effectively. Right??? WRONG. GT was then and is now one lousy, lousy,lousy D team. UGA ran on GT in 2009 because GT was lousy ……….not because King and ealey and the UGA line were great. No way. A mirage that game was.

The UGA wins over hapless Tennessee and Vandy are ALSO mirages. No way that we can hold KY to under 350 total yards. We must establish the run vs KY with long, long drivies that eat up the clock. If we end up in some 3rd and long situation all night, with Murray having to scramble for a first down, then their ability to use Cobb will be our undoing. No, we must hold KY to 24 points and I fear that we simply cannot do that.

It will be one ugly, slopyy track meet like 48-44 jobs. If UGA loses it will also prove to the world ( AD-McGarity) that Richt has placed UGA on par with lowly KY and that will not be tolerated anymore by the alumni. No way.

Go Dogs.

SoCal Dawg

October 21st, 2010
10:05 am

Are you kidding me? The D is MUCH improved. Next year is when Todd Grantham earns his money.

dawgfan

October 21st, 2010
10:05 am

Kentucky is the most underrated place to play in the SEC. They’ve given a lot of really good teams all they can handle up there. I love it when the haters, namely Techies, pop off at the mouth about Kentucky like they are Duke or something. Like their candy azz chump football program could do any better against them.

JB

October 21st, 2010
10:06 am

Bradley is a Kentucky man/fan and should excuse himself from writing on this subject, but Dawgs win big this weekend, maybe 2 TD’s and give Florida something to think about. We ARE Georgia…We HAVE some GREAT players, and I for one am getting tired of people being SURPRISED when we win a game……Go look at the most Winning coach’s the last 6 years of all college football ( it’s on Phillip Steel’s site) and Mark Richt is NUMBER 3….and that’s playing in the SEC……..We win BIG Saturday…….They better be worried about US !!!!!!!!

toooootles

October 21st, 2010
10:07 am

snooki want his smush smush

nola dawg fan

October 21st, 2010
10:09 am

good read bradley…agree on the 2 key points… how this is CTG key moment thus far… how this is the biggest game for CMR in quite some time.

you going/blogging?… i am firguring yes… seeing how you could do a bradley roots tour while covering the game

JB

October 21st, 2010
10:13 am

By the way, on the same Phil Steele site, they listed the coach’s with ( active) the most wins in the last 13 years ( why 13 years I don’t know), and Paul Johnson was number ONE !!!!!!!!
For you Techies out there !!!!!!!!!

gomdawg

October 21st, 2010
10:16 am

Playing Kentucky on a Sat. Nite up there is tuff. Georgia will have to bring there A game. GOOD LUCK DAWGS

"Off the Mark" Bradley

October 21st, 2010
10:18 am

Cobb for Heisman (love this kid). Murray out shines hartline. AJ goes wild. Questionable officiating changes or affects outcome of the game….. in the end and dogs lose. Bradley and Schultz tie the knot at half time.

From 11-3 to 12-2

October 21st, 2010
10:19 am

`
———————————–
GO YELLOW JACKETS
———————————-

SadDawg

October 21st, 2010
10:20 am

That’s funny, Mark. I remember getting my SI with Randall “Tex” Cobb on the cover before his fight with Larry Holmes back in the day. I think the title of the article was something like, “I’ll Sling Leather, Darlin.” He said he would be throwing, like 200 punches per round.

Then all he did was run like hell from Holmes. It was hilarious!

Thanks for giving me a good laugh this morning . . .

tt

October 21st, 2010
10:21 am

Dawgs need to play the way they did the past couple of weeks. This is time for redemption…against Kentucky, I know. That said even if the Dawgs won out I would still have serious concerns about the direction this program has taken. Without Stafford and Knowshaun, the past 3 years may have looked even more bleak. And they underperformed with that talent. I dont think Richt is going anywhere anytime soon…would love it if he could turn things around.

82Dawg

October 21st, 2010
10:22 am

@From 11-3 to 12-2 to 8-5…..and no bowl victory

uga1989

October 21st, 2010
10:22 am

I’m just writing to say I approve of the word dreadnought.

jwritz

October 21st, 2010
10:23 am

Damn right he better earn his money.

Bart

October 21st, 2010
10:23 am

South Carolina had a great gameplan for Cobb. He was really limited in that game, got about 90 yards total.

But, inside the 40, you have to double Cobb, South Carolina let Cobb get free untouched at the end of the game, completely blown coverage, Cobb’ been dangerous as a receiver this season. Even if he appears to be having an off-game, like the South Carolina game, if the game is close at the end, you have to put 2 guys on Cobb and make someone else win the game.

Josie Wales

October 21st, 2010
10:26 am

Both GT and UGA have been playing better the past few weeks only because the competition has been weak. A true test for GT this week, but a better barometer for UGA will be the Florida game. It’s nice to see the state schools win a few, but if your honest with yourself, you know the opponents have been weak.

TommyJack

October 21st, 2010
10:27 am

Cobbl should run wild over the ever-underachieving dawgs.

SadDawg

October 21st, 2010
10:28 am

I agree that UGA woulda still beat those teams with Willie M, Mark. But those teams all woulda put up more points.

You’ve got to admit the D, is vastly improved. SC scored 35 on Bama on the same field it could manage 17 on UGA.

Grantham’s D is 20th in the NCAA in scoring defense. i believe the past two years we were in the 80th range.

Larry Sellers

October 21st, 2010
10:29 am

Tech fields a football team??

Ted Striker

October 21st, 2010
10:30 am

I wonder what KY fans think about Cobb’s recent tweets calling them out.

South Georgia

October 21st, 2010
10:30 am

Kentucky is nervous and Florida is scared. Grantham is getting the defense close to being good. If defense continues to improve, Auburn will have a big challenge in a few weeks.

SadDawg

October 21st, 2010
10:31 am

dawgfan, you remember, “son, have you got a panty on your head?”

Nick

October 21st, 2010
10:32 am

Here enlies the problem. UGA does not control its own destiny and needs some miracles to happen that are completely out of their control. No way USC loses to Vandy for one, and frankly I’m not certain they’ll lose to UF either. I’d love to see my Dawgs play for and maybe win the SEC championship, but frankly I’m not sure they even deserve the chance to play in it. They have a tough row to hoe!

Larry Sellers

October 21st, 2010
10:33 am

“Mind you don’t cut yourself, Morticai.”

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 21st, 2010
10:37 am

I have to decided to hold my comments about the current state of this team until after the FL game

juvenal

October 21st, 2010
10:40 am

nice, JB, thanks…Mark, what is the tv coverage?(though mostly will be listening to radio coming back from CU)

CJ_NC_DAWG

October 21st, 2010
10:45 am

I saw some 4-3 last week and a lot of 5 – 2 fronts. Anyone who thinks Grantham is not adjusting his philosophy as he learns about the SEC hasn’t been watching. The Dawgs will be fine. Coach Richt is taking control… Murray drops were quicker out of the I Formation. He looked very sharp. Running game is coming. Ealey wants to prove something…. AJ… Durham…T. King….Orson Charles…..These guys play to their potential, nobody can stop em…. Just ask Big Bad Bruce! Could be a fun rest of the season! GO DAWGS!

Bart

October 21st, 2010
10:45 am

Sailors for Georgia is the anti-Cobb plan for punt & kick returns–speed. Sailors is one of the fastest guys on the team, and has been all over special teams. Sailors will be on Cobb faster than Cobb’s seen before, Sailors can fly.

you also have Butler on punts–who can get incredible hang time and placement, so Butler will take Cobb out of being a factor on punt returns. Butler could just punt the ball out of bounds, taking Cobb out as a return factor.

On kick returns, Belin’s been doing a terrific job, Georgia is #1 in kick off coverage, excellent spacing, and superb tackling, you gang up on a guy like Cobb and gang tackle him. I also don’t think Georgia will kick to Cobb if the game is close.

As far as handling Cobb as a receiver, I’d stick a physical guy like Cuff on him, and let Cuff outphysical him, re-direct his routes at the line, then have Houston coming after the QB and forcing bad throws.

As a rusher, you just have to read it early, then gang tackle Cobb, grab on, and wait for a teammate.

Meatlake

October 21st, 2010
10:47 am

Love the first pic, HATE the second pic. Nice dig, Mark. I’ve picked up on your strategy, focus on Cobb so we’ll forget about Hartline. It won’t work, you’ve been exposed! It’s gonna be a tough one to win on the road at night, especially after how well ya’ll looked last week.

Meatlake

October 21st, 2010
10:49 am

“Do these balloons blow up into funny shapes???. Not unless circular’s funny,”

ED

October 21st, 2010
10:52 am

Does Cobb Have his diptet Hi.

Dawgs73

October 21st, 2010
10:57 am

I agree to certain point with you Mark, but if you look at the overall picture Grantham has already vastly improved this defense. The D has kept the Dawgs in every game and if you look at the point total of each common opponent from last year, it’s been significantly less (in every game). He has done a lot in a short period of time, with players that he has had to mold into the 3-4 defense. You can’t even put Grantham in the same sentence with Willie Martinez…that’s a complete joke and you know it.