Why Georgia's Joe Cox Should Hold a Clipboard This SeasonApril 20, 2009
Prior to last season, opposing fans heard a lot about how Matt Stafford’s low completion percentage was a hoax, that receivers didn’t step up for him, that his accuracy would improve, and that he and the Bulldogs would live up to the hype.
You know the rest: Stafford disappeared in big games, and his team underachieved.
Now I’m supposed to believe that Joe Cox is the answer—even though so many signs indicate otherwise. Suddenly Stafford was too erratic, and Cox, the “heady, game manager” is a better fit for this Georgia offense, although some of that support is wavering after just a decent Spring for Cox.
In some corners, Cox is drawing comparisons to DJ Shockley and Matt Flynn—two other well known SEC quarterbacks who had to bide their time to take over a team.
Preposterous, I say.
There is a reason Joe Cox has not played in his career to this point, and it’s a pretty crazy concept, so hold on to your pants: He isn’t very good.
The difference between both Shockley and Flynn versus Cox is based simply on athleticism and experience. A sports fan’s memory is a short one, and we forget that:
1.) DJ Shockley played in 10 games as a junior, getting significant snaps in seven. Shockley’s role was similar to Tebow’s freshman campaign—except Shockley actually threw the ball.
2.) Matt Flynn won MVP of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl as a sophomore when the Tigers pounded number nine Miami 40-3. He spelled JaMarcus Russell frequently throughout his entire career.
3.) Joe Cox can’t run the ball to save his life.
Furthermore, the resume for Cox is so thin that you have to revert back to his high school playing days—five years ago, mind you.
At Independence High School, in North Carolina, Cox never lost a high school game. That’s great and all—it really is—except that Independence is North Carolina’s marquee football program, one that ran up a winning streak of 109 straight games.
So a few players from that program can brag that they have never lost a game either. And by “a few,” I mean hundreds upon hundreds.
But the icing on the cake for me is when I hear of Cox’s miracle comeback against Colorado back in 2006.
Let me set the stage for you, fellow droogs.
An 0-3 Colorado team, fresh off a home-opening loss to Montana State, came into Athens and took a measly 13-0 lead into the third quarter. That’s when Richt yanked Stafford and inserted Joe Cox.
Cox rallied the Dawgs to two touchdowns and the win. Sure, the drives were only 43 and 58 yards—and Cox did turn it over on downs at the 11-yard line the drive before the winning touchdown—but the Joe Cox candle had been lit, and he was on his way to stardom.
Not so much.
Despite starting the next week against a terrible Ole Miss team, Cox didn’t play in the second half due to his inefficiency—a paltry 4/10 for 24 yards with no touchdowns
He would not play the rest of the season, sort of like the Colorado Buffaloes, who went on to post a 2-10 record that year.
Add it all up, and Cox—in four seasons—has played one half of good football against a terrible team.
So why wait? Why wait for Cox to struggle, which seems inevitable?
With the talent around him, I have no doubt that Cox could put up some decent numbers this year. But he’s not leading them to the SEC Championship.
Sometimes a kid has all the credentials but just never pans out. Such is the case, in my humble opinion, with Joe Cox. Despite his gaudy numbers and awards coming out of high school, Cox could never pass Joe Tereshinski—a quarterback no Georgia fan wants to be reminded of—on the depth chart.
Georgia has a solid offensive line and exciting playmakers at both receiver and running back. Add another dimension—say Logan Gray or Aaron Murray —and let the highlight reel ensue.
Sure, rookie mistakes would happen, but they would happen with Cox as well. And opposing coaches would certainly have a more difficult time preparing for quarterbacks not named Joe Cox.
So do us all a favor, Coach Richt: Give Joe Cox a visor and a clipboard and pass the keys to one of your young and talented quarterbacks.