So, tell me that story again about Mark Richt not being on the hot seat.
In its most lackluster performance in recent memory, Georgia falls to Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia 17-6.
Georgia fans, I sense a rush to blame Mike Bobo or possibly Coach Richt for the lack of offensive production, and I fully agree that Aaron Murray should have been turned loose in the first half.
However, Bobo has played Quarterback in the SEC and Coach Richt has developed one or two in his tenure as Georgia’s Head Coach and previously as QB coach and Offensive Coordinator for Bobby Bowden at Florida State. I understand that precautions have to be taken with a freshman QB playing his first road game.
Also, let’s not forget that South Carolina has been ranked in the top ten nationally for the past five years in pass defense and that Ellis Johnson, defensive coordinator at Carolina, has had several stops around the league as a successful coordinator, including one at Alabama. We are talking about the development of a freshman QB in the SEC, with no viable backup and at least 10 games remaining on the schedule.
It is imperative that Richt and Bobo not attempt to microwave the kids’ experience.
However, the exact point I differ with the UGA coaching staff was in their use of TE Orson Charles who is a great pass catcher and an absolute nightmare to tackle with the ball in his hands. Couple that with the fact that Murray and Charles were high school teammates at Plant High School in Tampa, Fla. and you’re left with an existing comfort level between a proven SEC tight end and a Quarterback who has shown no signs of being overwhelmed.
That fact, along with the bizarre loss of AJ Greene for four games, should have led to a greater inclusion of the tight end in Saturdays game. Even freshman Quarterbacks can be trusted to hit intermediate routes, especially when throwing to a guy they’ve played with since ninth grade.
Now the hard part.
Guys I don’t know how to break this to you, but your defense plays scared. Marcus Lattimore is a good back and may prove to be a great one, but he is no Herschel Walker.
Latiimore had 37 carries for 182 yards and I have to believe that most of those yards came on shoddy (that’s the nice word) tackling. Baccari Rambo was the main offender. Rambo tackles high, he takes plays off and he does not play with a sense of urgency about getting to the ball carrier.
I understand that UGA has a new defensive coordinator in Todd Grantham but that doesn’t mean that simple tackling fundamentals go out the window until he teaches them his schemes. Tackling is literally taught on the first day of practice at six years old.
In years past, I have personally stood on the sidelines near the UGA defense and the only word I can use to describe that experience is terrifying. They’re bandaged and cut and bleeding and Dawg tired but ALWAYS willing to leave everything between the white lines.
I didn’t see anything close to that Saturday. I saw a defense that was barely interested, and if wholesale changes aren’t made in a hurry, is destined to finish no better than 118 out of 120 in turnover margin as they did in 2009.
Ryan Mallett and an Arkansas Razorback team, who I believe have as many offensive weapons as Alabama, come to Athens this Saturday.
Georgia finished with five sacks against a good South Carolina offensive line and if they can duplicate that effort against Arkansas and, most importantly, find a sense of urgency and a desire to tackle they may be able to keep Georgia in this game.
Arkansas has very little defense and with Georgia playing Between the Hedges, it is an absolute necessity that Murray be allowed to air it out.
And if Washaun Ealey will hold on to the ball inside the five, that would be a big help as well.