We are four games into the 2009 season and many questions still remain for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Will the defense find the right combinations in the secondary? Will we ever get pressure on a quarterback again? Is it really Willie Martinez’s scheme or do we just have a bunch of undisciplined defensive players?
I read a statistic recently that seemed to scream out at me from the page. While at UGA, former defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder’s defense gave up 33 or more points on one occasion.
In the past nine games (prior to the Arizona State game), the Georgia defense under Martinez gave up an average of 33 points per game. Sorry Willie, but that is not Georgia football.
But problems are not exclusive to the defense. The offense, despite scoring 113 points in the last three games, has a few problems of their own.
Fortunately for the Dawg nation, Joe Cox ignored your whines and growls after a mediocre game one. Joe is doing his part, and is not on the list of problems we are looking at today.
However, I am disappointed in three things from the offensive side of the ball. Here are my grades for those three areas. See if you agree, and let’s fix these problems.
1) The Offensive line: C-
Several weeks back I posted an article about this group of offensive lineman. I was really excited that they were experienced, and healthy. That has not been the case at the University of Georgia lately. Lack of depth and injury, have hurt this unit for many seasons.
If you would like to review that article you can find it by following this link.
So far this season, this group has been inconsistent. They have had their moments, but we expected better, much better.
Against Arkansas, Richard Samuel went 80 yards for a TD. The hole opened up by the line, was big enough to drive a Ford pickup through. Last week, Georgia couldn’t convert on third and short, and on fourth and short.
Joe Cox is not the tallest quarterback. So a nice solid pocket is essential for his continued success. Given time, Joe will find the open man, and most likely get the ball to him. The line must protect our quarterback. The pass protection at times has been stellar. It needs to be that way every week.
The loss of Trinton Sturdivant for the second consecutive year hurts. But this group is talented enough to make up for the loss.
If the line does its job and rises to the opportunity, Georgia could suddenly find itself in a very good place.
2) The running backs: C+
I expected Richard Samuel to step up and be the man at the running back position. Richard has certainly showed glimpses of what he can do. When he gets to the open field he can be explosive.
He runs hard at times, refusing to go down. But at times he seems to get tripped up with minimal contact. Are the holes there? Is not seeing the hole? Is it just timing? Who is to blame for the inconsistent play? The jury is still out. But personally, I think he will improve as the season rolls on.
Caleb King has begun to emerge as a threat as well. While Samuel (average 4.5 ypc) is more of a down hill runner, King (average 5.1 ypc) has shown the ability to get to the corner and make the first tackler miss. His emergence can do nothing but help the Georgia running game.
It seems obvious that these two will split the majority of the carries as the season goes on. The pace of the game and their effectiveness will dictate who is on the field.
It will also come down to who can hold on to the ball. Samuel has fumbled on several occasions, and King fumbled Saturday night against Arizona State at a crucial point in the game.
They can get better, and I think they will.
3) Mike Bobo and the play calling: Incomplete
Ok, so maybe incomplete is not really a grade. At times I have thought, brilliant, great call. Other times, I have scratched my head and thought what is he thinking?
But here is the problem in one word: predictable
Branden Smith comes on to the field, what will the Dawgs do on offense?
On third, or fourth and short with two fullbacks lined up in the backfield, who will get the ball?
If you have watched many Georgia games this year, you know the answer to these questions.
On fourth and short against Arizona, everyone in the stadium and everyone watching on TV, knew the fullback would get the ball. The results were predictable as well. Stuffed at the line... I guess Arizona State knew as well.
Mike Bobo seems to get stuck on one or two plays that succeed when he first uses them. If they work once, then they will work over and over again… right?
If I can sit in my seat and call the play 75% of the time, I am relatively sure the opposing defensive coordinator can do the same. When Mike Bobo took over the play calling at Georgia, I thought it was the right move. Now, I am not so sure.
Fortunately for Georgia, this is a problem that can be fixed. I hope we figure out the answers before LSU comes to town this week. If we don’t, it could very well be a long night in Athens.
So what do you think of these grades? What would you change?
I’m sure we would agree that these grades can all be improved.
I hope, for the sake of the Dawg nation, that is what happens.