Notebook: Bulldogs look to resurrect rushing attack against run-stuffing Gators

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the three games leading up to the South Carolina game, Georgia averaged 301 yards and 5 touchdowns running the football. In the two games since, the Bulldogs have averaged 96 yards and one-half a TD.

The Bulldogs believe the truth that is their 2012 rushing attack lay somewhere in between those two samples. They’re probably not as mighty as they seemed when they were gashing Florida Atlantic for 328 yards on Sept. 15 or as meek as they were eking out 77 yards against Kentucky last week.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be that good every week,” said freshman tailback Keith Marshall, who had 164 yards against Tennessee and leads the backs with a 7 yards per carry average. “This is SEC football, you know. I think teams were just having to respect the run a little more than they were at the beginning of the season. That’s no excuse. I still think we’re capable of doing big things and I think we’ll get back to doing it.”

Fellow freshman tailback Todd Gurley, who once led the SEC in rushing and had five 100-yard games, has managed only 86 the last two games. He’s now sixth in the league at 88.9 yards per game.

The No. 2-ranked Florida Gators’ defense is hardly one against which to expect improvement. They come into Saturday’s game ranked among the nation’s top 10 in rushing defense (10th, 97.29 ypg), total defense (7th, 282 ypg) and scoring defense (12.14 ppg).

Regardless, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said it’s important the Bulldogs stay committed to the run. So he and his staff have worked overtime examining the issues of the last two games with the hope of making the necessary adjustments.

“I think it was a little bit of execution at South Carolina and a little bit of us getting whipped and then getting down and getting away from the running game,” Bobo said. “This past week, I think it was a little bit about what their defense was doing. They made a commitment to stop the run. We knew it would be tough but we thought we could pop a (long) run in there. But we never did and had more success in the air. So, overall, I wasn’t disappointed with the run game because it didn’t do anything to hurt us. It enabled us to open up the passing game and throw for over 400 yards.”

Georgia managed 505 yards offense against Kentucky thanks to quarterback Aaron Murray’s 427-yard passing night. But the Gators are good at stopping that, too. They rank 3rd nationally in pass efficiency defense.

The key for the Bulldogs is to stay patient keep them guessing.

“Against one of the best rush defenses in America, you may run for less yards than you’re averaging and still have a heck of a day running the ball,” coach Mark Richt said. “We definitely don’t want to abort the run by any means. We have to make sure that we run it well enough to the point they have some respect for it.”

Said Bobo: “I think we’re a confident (offense). We believe in ourselves and believe we can execute any time we step on the field. The thing you’ve got to keep preaching is, sometimes the defense is going to stop you. But you can’t get rattled; you can’t worry about it. You’ve got to keep playing and I think we do a great job of that.”

Close to home

Georgia has a dozen players from the state of Florida, but none grew up closer to Georgia-Florida game than John Theus.

The Bulldogs’ freshman right tackle and his older brother, snapper Nathan Theus, graduated from the Bolles School, just around the corner from EverBank Field.

“I’ve always thought it would be cool to be able to play in that stadium that I’ve watched so many games in,” John Theus said this week. “I know the place so well. It’s cool to go back.”

Etc… .

Malcolm Mitchell has played 336 snaps this season: 178 on defense, 103 on special teams and 55 on offense. . . . Georgia is among the top six teams in the nation when it comes to playing freshmen. The Bulldogs had played 13 true freshmen this season, which ranks sixth among FBS teams. Another nine redshirt freshmen have played. . . . Bulldogs and Gators fans were arriving by the thousands on Thursday and were greeted cloudy skies but very warm temperatures. Hurricane Sandy, a category 1 storm in the Caribbean Sea, appears to be turning away Florida. But high winds and unpredictable weather is expect the next two days as it heads to the Atlantic Ocean.

207 comments Add your comment

just a fan

October 25th, 2012
7:44 pm

just a fan

October 25th, 2012
7:44 pm

Go Dawgs!!!!!!!

CC

October 25th, 2012
7:46 pm

GATA GURLEY AND MARSHALL!

Bobo's first play call...

October 25th, 2012
7:47 pm

…Gurley up the middle for loss of one; 2nd call – Gurley off tackle for loss of 2; 3rd call – QB back to pass and is sacked for an 8 yard loss – and it goes downhill from there – final score, UF – 27, UGA 3

beachside BULLDAWG

October 25th, 2012
7:49 pm

Unpredictable weather but the boys will pull out all the plays for this match up against a great Florida team and coaching staff. Here’s hoping for a great game and a great Bulldog victory. DAWGS 27 Gators19.

Dawgdad (The Original)

October 25th, 2012
7:50 pm

Maybe a wet field will aid our suddenly anemic running game.

Dumpster fire

October 25th, 2012
7:53 pm

Will we show up and not abandon the game or the state of Georgia is the real question.
If we show up we win, if we don’t it will be ugly fast!

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Dawg Pile

October 25th, 2012
8:16 pm

I’d go against conventional wisdom and say that we should air it out. We have to throw them off by getting ahead and making them play catch-up. If we trade punches with them in the trenches, we’re toast.

Voyager Dawg

October 25th, 2012
8:36 pm

Theus brothers come back to Jacksonville and help the Dawgs come out with a win! GATA early and often Saturday!

RUSH PROPSTS WET HANKY

October 25th, 2012
8:36 pm

i agree w/ dog pile. gotta be explosive. cmr & co need to realize they have nothing to lose in this game. play w/ reckless abandon and hold nothing back. it we try to play our traditional style predictable, conservative, slow pace offense, we are in trouble. if we lose this game, so what, we were expected to lose and honestly, i dont think people expect cmr to pull this one out and it will just fuel the “fire mark richt” fire. win this game and maybe some of the doubters will come back around. i really am not sure where i am on this issue, it changes almost daily. i really want to believe in and support cmr but he is not giving me much to work with since 2007. the only way we win this game is to dominate from the begining and never let up. cmr needs to show his team that his is willing to step on the opponents neck once he has them down.

…just wishful thinkin i guess
–i am afraid fl wins 45-20 with a td from their d and a td in the kickin game. we muster out 2 tds in the 1st half and couple of fg’s after that

STUDENT ATHLETE

October 25th, 2012
8:49 pm

GURSHEL: 17 Carries 42 Yards. Fla. 38 UGA 6.

UGA24-7

October 25th, 2012
8:50 pm

run the damn ball

October 25th, 2012
8:58 pm

Richt should go. I’m sorry, but he’s not going to win big games, and this one will be no exception. I’ve stuck with him long enough. I do not expect us to win this game, as a matter of fact I blatently expect us to lose this game. We have enough talent, but we lack mental and physical toughness. We have poor fundamentals, and we have a stubborn head coach who refuses to address glaring weaknesses. We’ll beat Kentucky most years. We might win the bowl game if we play Hawaii. Richt is not going to win this game. We are not going to play for the SEC this year. We are NEVER going to win a national title with this head coach. Is everybody O.K. with that?

JRW7

October 25th, 2012
9:01 pm

After that bad embarrassing loss to SC, and the way we played Ky, I don’t think CMR has it in him anymore to win the big game. No motivation by the head coach to get the DAWGS going. I want the DAWGS to beat the Gators, but my heart’s just not in it anymore! If CMR loses this game, the wolves will be after him like never before!

78DAWG

October 25th, 2012
9:04 pm

No, this is not it, d must keep average fl offense out of end zone & hit big plays in passing game. Our wr can compete with fl D if and only if Murray has time, other wise 19-4. For our elite program

JRW7

October 25th, 2012
9:05 pm

With all the talent UGA has, they could win this game, but CMR provides no motivation, no coaching, DAWGS lose to the Gators!

Vampire Bill

October 25th, 2012
9:07 pm

I agree about the wolves JR, If dawgs get blown out the bulldawg nation will bleed ugly. I hope Richt has a ace up his sleeve?

t2go

October 25th, 2012
9:15 pm

This game is gonna be interesting. Floridas offense just is not that good!!! It really could be a 13-10 ball game….just sayin

flo-ri-duh

October 25th, 2012
9:21 pm

Dawgs by ONE in the upset special of the week….. Muschump bursts an artery in his neck cursing and screaming and the Lizards take their most heart breaking loss ever against the Dawgs,

dawgEd

October 25th, 2012
9:23 pm

Henderworley ‘85? All we need are couple of creases early.

Grantham tried to choke Chaz Henry

October 25th, 2012
9:40 pm

Fl 27 UGA 17

Playa

October 25th, 2012
9:42 pm

Gators got to be worried about their rushing attack big time, as their leading rusher has only gained 67 and then 34 yards in his last 2 games on 32 carries.

Thing is, Gators can’t pass. UGA is balanced, take away the run like Kentucky did, and we throw for 400 yards. What does Florida do if we stack 8 in the box? They can’t pass. Game over.

Playa

October 25th, 2012
9:45 pm

South Carolina limited Florida to 89 yards rushing on 42 carries. Florida couldn’t pass either.

Florida then turned to the only thing left in their box, turnovers, and SOMEHOW, pulled out a win, with an offense that only got 29 yards in the first 2 quarters.

So, take away the run, and Florida turns to turnovers as their last resort. If that doesn’t work, game over.

Here we Go

October 25th, 2012
9:48 pm

Ran and pass,pass and run.Heads or tails,tails or heads.Let’s pull out the dart board and see where it takes us.50/50 either way.Good job Bobo,glad we have a game plan for the Gators.

Playa

October 25th, 2012
9:48 pm

I’ll take 400 yards of offense however we get it, passing or rushing, whatever Florida wants to give up, doesn’t matter, UGA is the most balanced offense in the nation, so it didn’t work in 2011, and it won’t work in 2012.

Playa

October 25th, 2012
9:58 pm

I really hope Coach Bobo is right. That this team BELIEVES. if they REALLY BELIEVE, Gators don’t stand no chance. We otta believe, we beat these exact players last year, just broke their will in the 4th quarter as Malcomr pounded the ball time after time after time after time, it was humiliating for the Gators, they won’t forget that. They got dominated in the 4th quarter, we finished with almost 200 yards rushing, they finished with -20 yards. These guys ain’t got the fight in them to beat Georgia. Georgia proved last year, we bigga, badda, and stronga. BOOM!

Tampa Gator

October 25th, 2012
10:01 pm

I think the Gators strong, fast, and deep front 4……along with a bunch of fast, strong, and talented linebackers….will just be too much for Georgia’s offensive line….which I said would make or break Georgia this year at the begining of the year. I think Georgia will make the game close for most of the game….but I do think Florida’s offensive and defensive lines will wear down Georgia…as they did every team they have played….and the Gators will edge the dogs in a hard fought game. Gators 20, Georgia 17. Packed and ready to go in the morning. Go Gators.

TexasDawg

October 25th, 2012
10:02 pm

Either Georgia scores quick or not at all. Either the defense stops em in 3 or not at all. Maybe this week we can score some long time consuming drives and maybe one long bomb and maybe the defense will buck up after a first down or two. Maybe

crawford gator

October 25th, 2012
10:10 pm

Hidden yards in the return game and turnovers will determine the winner. This does however have the feel of the freshmen game of 1985. Florida has the same team the Dawgs beat last year. Coaching could get exposed on this one! Which team has improved and which team is status quo? We will see. Should be fun!!

globeflyer

October 25th, 2012
10:13 pm

MaconKnight

October 25th, 2012
10:15 pm

This makeshift o-line has to play with some tuffness a nasty streak even. if andrews keeps getting pushed into murray he has to get pulled, he got flated manhandle by Sc big DT Quarles. and Buford’s own Omar Hunter is a load along with Floyd. With this O-line does not man up it wont matter cause the da Dawgs will lose again, not badly as some people are saying Fl is just not as explosive as they have been in the past. O-LINEMAN I HOPE THAT YOU ARE READING THIS BECAUSE SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE CALLED YOU! IF YOU WANT TO WIN THIS GAME! YOU MUST MAN UP AND HOLD YOUR OWN AGANIST FL’S FRONT FOUR JUST GO OUT THERE AND MAN UP!!!! GO DAWGS!!!!!

Classic

October 25th, 2012
10:42 pm

I think it will be pretty difficult to depend on the pass with the high winds that are suspected. This game will be won in the trenches.

funny...

October 25th, 2012
10:43 pm

It’s easy to blame the O-line, but as Trevor Mattich (sp?) pointed out, the RB’s have been trying to make too much happen, missing holes and such. And God Bless Aaron Murray because he tries but the plays that are being called are so bleeping complex that they take forever to unfold. Then again he doesn’t exactly make the best decisions on hot passes either.

Pray for rain, I think. At least it will take the game out of Murray’s hands. Last time it was dreary and rainy Stafford and Massaquoi hooked up for a long TD.

Still, I don’t see this team having anything like that team…and I hate to say it close early 17- 13 (missed extra point), but ending 37-16 with Georgia blowing many, many chances in the third and fourth quarter.

funny...

October 25th, 2012
10:44 pm

Also, my guess, if the Dawgs ever have the lead in the game it will be because they score first, then never have it again.

Florida is going to run misdirection plays and reverse style plays that will beat our over aggressive (called out) defense.

Fair n Balanced

October 25th, 2012
11:04 pm

GATA. leave it all on the field Sat Dogs! This is your chance to be all you can be….make your parents proud. Make the Dog Nation proud. Get the credibility everyone wishes you to have.

dawgfan2003

October 25th, 2012
11:31 pm

Let’s embrace the pass. Spread five wide and let Air Murray do his thing! Offensively, don’t really care about the run until they stop the pass. If they blitz, then throw the quick WR screen or bubble. Get the ball out quick and run some no huddle. We need to spread them out to slow them down. I would say run and throw screens to the RB but this is the one limitation Air Murray has: He cannot throw a screen pass to a running back. He is not Air Jordan and therefore does not have the height to throw over the lineman as they are running directly at him. Defensively…I agree with Sportscenter for once tonight: The defense is soft and Alec Ogletree is soft in the middle. He needs to attack the line violently and hit like I know he can or go sit on the bench. The middle linebackers are playing too reactive trying to find gaps and need to just go hit somebody. If they miss its ok cause Mr. Williams and Co. can come clean it up. I just do not want to see us get pushed around this weekend. Play hard, fast, and agressive. Turn em loose this weekend!

Red Stick

October 25th, 2012
11:39 pm

So what if the Gators don’t have a great offense? You can win championships in the SEC with strong defenses, solid special teams and an average offense.

The Gators are just that and will be tough to beat for the Dawgs.

Geaux Tigers

I-DOG

October 25th, 2012
11:45 pm

Mike Bob says: I think it was a little bit of us getting away from the running game? Gee, you think? When the game was still in doubt against USC, Bobo completely abandoned the running game and called 9 straight pass plays from the shotgun formation.

Talk is cheap,so when he says that he is going to commit to the running game, you will have to excuse me if my reaction is that I will believe it when I see it. When the head coach says that we have to run it enough for them to respect it and the offensive coordinator saying we ran it well enough against KY that it didn’t hurt us… you know that the team in question will not be a physical running team because the leadership gives lip service to the run, but doesn’t really BELIEVE in it.

The only thing that could commit Georgia to a running game would be weather conditions on Saturday that make throwing the ball an untenable option.

Rick James

October 26th, 2012
12:07 am

Its time for one of those backs to break a long one..

Pope UGA XXIII

October 26th, 2012
12:08 am

Most of the prognosticators predict a Florida win on Saturday.
Just for grins this evening, I reviewed the 2012 media guide, and I
see probably 7 games during the 1964-88 era when Florida had the
better team but lost the game. In the past 11 years, I can see only
1 game UGA won when Florida probably had better players. That’s
the historical difference between the two programs: Vince was able
to rise up and beat the better team on many occasions and Richt
simply hasn’t.
Hope we win this Saturday, but I simply don’t see any historical
evidence that our current coaching staff takes the team to the levels
needed to beat the top tier teams.
I’m sure we’ll beat Tech again and the fans from Honey Boo Boo
Land will start up with the “we own this state” again. Bleahhh

BjohnDawg

October 26th, 2012
12:13 am

I would load the box, press their receivers and dare them to pass. make Florida throw the ball to win. Dont let them pound it out on us. And have a fast guy spy their QB all game. Force him to throw and not run for first downs.

That is the only way the Dawgs have a shot of winning. They are just to strong on the line. We need to dare them to throw long.Otherwise we are toast.

7576DAWG

October 26th, 2012
12:26 am

If Georgia just try’s to run it down their throat we will be stopped like South Carolina and Kentucky did but if we throw the ball Florida will have to spread out the defensive back’s to cover everybody. Then we may get a few good runs but if we concentrate on just getting the run game established we better hold Florida to no more than 10 points. Florida’s only weakness on defense is pass coverage.

burt

October 26th, 2012
12:51 am

Murray will have to put 51 on the boards, as defense won’t even show up

Lonnie

October 26th, 2012
1:30 am

As I told one of our beloved dawgs, I need some alligator shoes so skin me some Saturday!!!! Come on Dawg fans let’s get behind the dawgs and expect this win!!!!!

Cmdawg99

October 26th, 2012
1:48 am

Go with what is working! If it’s passing then lets pass for 600 yards and hang at least 50 on these gators. If we rush 20 times for 30 yards. Air it out. I’m concerned that we are going to need a lot of points to win this one! We haven’t worn down anyone’s D. all year. I don’t see it happening now. Hope I’m wrong. Go dawgs!!!!

No. 1 Braves Fan

October 26th, 2012
3:41 am

Some UGA fans are hard to understand. They constantly rant for CMR to be fired.
They whine before games saying their team will get beat. What is your problem folks?
It sounds like you love to find anything you can to complain about.

takeowndawg

October 26th, 2012
3:58 am

We will win or lose on the offensive line play Saturday. Line coach, Will Friend, is marginal in the SEC at best. Teaches a blocking style, what I refer to as the, “two step polka” which depends on your offensive lineman to take two steps and supposedly lift your opponent up on their toes on running plays. What ever happen to the hit your d-linemen hard and keep your feet chopping pushing your opponent away from the hole which is supposed to be created? Watch what the better teams do…..I don’t think you will see the “polka” Coach Friend. My high school junior son went to a Will Friend-Mark Richt camp last summer and Friend insisted on the “polka” be utilized. Geehzzzzz. You have probably the largest offensive linemen in the country and they can’t seem to consistently create a hole for our capable backs???? Start looking at Friend, Bulldawg nation…………

LakeDawg

October 26th, 2012
4:24 am

Richt doesn’t like to run the ball, anyway. And with that lukewarm commitment, “We have to make sure that we run it well enough to the point they have some respect for it,”look for about 55 total rushing yards minus sack yardage in this game. Dawgs lose.

GatorsforRicht

October 26th, 2012
5:18 am

We score a oouple early TD’s then hang on for a 20-10 win. Then it’s on to Atlanta for us Gators and I guess Orlando for you dogs. Keep Richt dogs, we like him down here.