The Joe Cox Conundrum

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The Joe Cox Conundrum
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Today, Joe Cox is the best quarterback on the Georgia Bulldogs roster. I don't think there is any debate there. He has the most time in the program, the most experience and he has some ability. I like Joe Cox. The problem is, I love the Georgia Bulldogs.
Last night, I needed to clear up some space on TIVO and it occurred to me I had yet to watch the LSU game.  I didn't really watch the whole game, but I did watch the complete fourth quarter. Gary Danielson was narrating a Joe Cox and AJ Green fairy tale ending. The story of AJ Green never wavering in his recruitment was good. The story of Joe Cox only wanting to be the quarterback at Georgia was great.

This was going on as the Dawgs were rolling down the field for the go ahead score. Then came the pass to Green in the end zone. Wow! They had this thing set up and it was great television sports drama. If only it had ended there.

Because it didn't end there, and because of the flop on Rocky Top, the questions has to be asked; just what are our priorities?

Cox took all but one of the snaps in a less than stellar performance against Okie State. Immediately following the Game, coach Mark Richt began eluding to the flu and how it may have effected his quarterback's performance.

This past Saturday, Cox started fairly well before he took a pretty nasty hit that resulted in a 300 pound defensive lineman landing on him. His performance was not so great after that. Again, coach Richt brought up the hit and the effect it may have had on Joe right after the game.

Let me restate, I am a Joe Cox fan. I like him, but this is not the University of Joe Cox, nor is it the Georgia Coxes. If something is wrong with Joe, the coaches need to use that as reason to get him out of there, not as an excuse after the game is over.

There is still much to play for in 2009. we are still, technically, in the running for the Eastern Division title. Perhaps more importantly, there are three huge rivalry games that would go along way toward taking the sting out of the season. Inversely, they could go pretty far in the other direction, too.

I guess I am trying to say we are at a fork in the road. On the one hand we still have conference championships hopes, however dim, and mega-rivalries that can make it all better.

On the other hand, we have a season to play next year with no real quarterback experience on the roster. At too next season the so called "hot seat" affect to go along with a tender foot at the most important position on the field and you have a recipe for disaster.

Further complicating things, we still need to win three of our final six in order to get bowl eligible. At this point, I don't really care about the bowl, it is getting that additional bowl practice that matters most to me.

Joe Cox has been a fine Bulldog. All the kid ever wanted to do was be the quarterback at the University of Georgia. Mission accomplished. As devout as he has been to his school, I am sure he will understand the need to get some seasoning for his replacement. Joe may even end up on the coaching staff as a graduate assistant, thus benefiting from the experience Logan Gray or Aaron Murray gets.

Prior to his mop up work in the fourth quarter Saturday, Logan Gray had fielded more fair-catch punts than he had taken snaps at quarterback. His progress has been severely stunted by his time spent on special teams. This does not bode well for our future.

Obviously, Gray may not be the starting quarterback next fall. Even if Murray is the next coming of Matthew Stafford we shouldn't forget about the growing pains we endured as Stafford adjusted to the game.

In the end, I do not want a problem at quarterback this year become a problem at quarterback next year. Unfortunately, I don't have the solution, but then again, I'm not in the million dollar SEC coaches club.

It is time to commit ourselves to playing Gray the first series of the second quarter, regardless of the situation. It is not exactly like Cox has not led us to several three and outs, healthy or otherwise.
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