As the Georgia Bulldogs enter a bye week, they have time to reflect on a good win Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores. They also have an opportunity to finally begin to focus on what will truly be their most exciting game of the season against the No. 1 Florida Gators.
There is no love lost between these two teams in the Urban Meyer era as each has embarrassed the other at least once in the last three-seasons.
That said, the match-up this year is sure to be much anticipated by the Bulldawg Nation as the Dawgs would love to crush the BCS hopes of the mighty ones down south while regaining a little national respect in the process.
However, that is still another eleven days away and we have much to do in the meantime.
A couple of performances stood out on Saturday and brought to mind a bit of mental wrangling as to why we don't see these particular guys more often.
I would never profess to be a genius as far as player substitutions and readiness are concerned but there have clearly been some standout performances by both Fred Munzenmaier and Bacarri Rambo this season so it begs the question: Why aren't they getting more reps than their lesser-producing counterparts.
No answers can necessarily be given here but that doesn't stop the question from existing.
Bryan Evans vs Bacarri Rambo
Bacarri Rambo has played better than Bryan Evans at every juncture this year yet he is still relegated to spot duty.
Evans, for his part, played well against Vanderbilt on Saturday but was still at the embarrassing end of yet another huge gain by the opposition—he has been the whipping post of many an SEC quarterback this year and is rarely at the good end of a play for Georgia.
Evans has been burned countless times and it's frightening to think about the number of times he has either missed a key tackle or been caught grotesquely out of position on plays that either ended in six or resulted in a key first down for the other team.
Bacarri, for his part, has been exceptional. He's been a sure tackler, around the ball on every play, and has already recorded two interceptions on the season despite only having one true start under his belt.
No doubt the coaches know more than we do about why Evans still gets the nod but, given Mark Richt's tendency to be loyal to his senior players, you have to wonder if he is really putting the best man on the field at all times.
Player stats on the season:
Bryan Evans (six starts in seven appearances): 27 tkls, 0 interceptions, 2 passes defensed
Bacarri Rambo (one start in seven appearances): 15 tkls, 2 interceptions, 2 passes defensed
Shaun Chapas vs. Fred Munzenmaier
Fred Munzenmaier made his first start of the year against Vanderbilt and it likely made some in the stands as well as at home scratch their heads a bit as to why we haven't seen him more often—Munzenmaier finished the day with a touchdown and three very nice receptions that totaled 21-yards.
Chapas, for his part, has been largely ineffective following a 2008 campaign which saw him play a key role as a blocker for the now-departed Knowshon Moreno—he simply has not been as relevant as many thought he might.
By contrast, Munzenmaier has made two starts and has tallied as many touchdowns in those two starts as Chapas has for his career.
Add to that the fact that Georgia's best rushing game came with Munzenmaier starting and you begin to think that it might be time for a change at fullback.
Player stats on the season:
Shaun Chapas (six starts): 2 carries/2 yards, 8 receptions/46 yards, 1 TD
Fred Munzenmaier (one start in seven appearances): 6 carries/16 yards, 3 receptions/21 yards, 2 TD's
Joe Cox vs Logan Gray/Aaron Murray
Joe Cox has definitely fallen off a lot since the game against Arkansas. In that outing he went 18/25 for 375 yards and five touchdowns.
Since that game, he has hovered between mediocre and average. His completion percentage at Arkansas was 72.0. His completion percentage since is 53.8
He threw five touchdowns against one interception in that game. He has thrown five touchdowns and six interceptions in the four that have followed.
His QB rating against Arkansas was 137.1. His average QB rating since is 67.8.
Clearly, Joe has fallen off the wagon.
That said, it would be ridiculous to expect him to keep up with the standard he set at Arkansas. After all, the Razorbacks still sport the worst pass defense in the SEC—they are currently dead last in the conference.
Plus, it would be short-sighted to forget the fact that Georgia has no running game to speak of and wide receivers who, outside of A.J. Green, have not shown the surest of hands on the field—drops have been a bit of an issue this season.
However, the interceptions are all Joe. He seems clueless when it comes to read progression. His first option, as well it should be, is A.J. Green. If A.J. isn't open, he finds himself lost as to where he should go with the ball.
Much of the time he will throw it out into the flat or, if there is a decent pass rush from the opposing team, he may throw an errant pass that lands either in the stands or in the hands of an opportunistic defensive back.
He can be frustrating to watch but here's the thing....we don't have any other options at this point.
Logan Gray has seen more time in recent weeks but he is rarely, if ever, afforded the chance to throw the ball—no idea why.
He made an appearance in the final minutes against Tennessee and looked dead in the water as the Vols were all over him as soon as the ball was snapped. His ability to scramble was immediately taken away and, as with most of his plays this season, he lost yards.
In the Vanderbilt game he was mostly sticking the ball into the running backs hands, a la Buck Belue, during his Herschel Walker days.
Gray has a better than average arm so why hasn't he been allowed to use it yet?
Are the coaches not confident that he is game ready? Are they still searching for how to incorporate his skills into the offensive scheme? Are they still holding out hope that Joe Cox will come out of his funk? Questions....just lead to more questions.
Whatever the case may be, here is the bottom line: Joe Cox is not likely to lead Georgia to the promised land this season. Why not start giving a few more reps to Gray just to see what he can do? If he's not the future, better to know that now rather than wait until next season to find out.
Even more, is Georgia going to move towards a spread offense? One thing is very clear about Gray, he is an option-type quarterback and has a tendency to run before he passes. Last I checked, the Georgia Bulldogs are not trying to move towards becoming a full spread offense so Gray either needs to be more versed in the passing game or he is destined to be our "wildcat" option.
That said, Aaron Murray, despite his running prowess is still a passer first and is likely the future for the Dawgs.
He fits the system and should probably start to get some game experience in the near future—particularly if the Dawgs end up losing to the Gators. At that point, there would seem to be little reason to stifle him or Gray from any playing time whatsoever.
At the same time, if you do go with Murray, you waste a bit of his eligibility. Why do that for the equivalent of five or six games of action?
Georgia is definitely going to be in a peculiar spot depending on what happens in Jacksonville but one thing is certain: it's time to start looking towards the future at Georgia.