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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Post-Game Notes: Dawgs' Ground Game Goes Nowhere

(*NOTE: You can read my game story from Saturday's loss HERE.)

After an impressive debut last week against LSU, Georgia hoped freshman Washaun Ealey might be the solution to its woes in the running game. Ealey’s follow-up performance wasn’t exactly what the Bulldogs were waiting for.

Ealey tallied just 18 yards on 10 carries as Georgia’s running game struggled to move the football once again and Tennessee stifled the Bulldogs’ offensive attack en route to a 45-19 win.

“It’s difficult to mount any kind of sustainable drive if you can’t run the ball,” head coach Mark Richt said. “For our offensive system to be successful, we have to have good balance, we have to be able to run the ball well, and it’s just not there right now. We’re not coordinated enough, we’re not physical enough, and we’ve got some young backs trying to find their way. We’ve got a ways to go.”

Georgia had 89 yards rushing in the game, the third straight outing in which the Bulldogs have failed to crack the 100-yard barrier on the ground. For the season, Georgia is mustering just 97 yards per game rushing – just 3.4 yards per carry. Just four of the team’s 15 touchdowns this season have come on the ground.

“It starts from the running game, and that’s really hurting us right now,” receiver A.J. Green said. “If you can’t run the ball, nobody’s going to respect you. … It would really help us if we get our running game going, just knowing that the passing game and the receivers we’ve got can make plays.”

Caleb King missed Saturday's game with a concussion. Richard Samuel started and picked up 25 yards on five carries, but 22 came late in the fourth quarter after Tennessee had a huge lead. He also failed to convert a third-and-inches on Georgia's first drive. Carlton Thomas was the Bulldogs' leading rusher for the day, picking up 30 yards on three carries.


Georgia’s offense failed to score a touchdown Saturday and mustered just 241 total yards. It’s the third time this season the Bulldogs have failed to pick up at least 300 yards of offense and Georgia has scored a touchdown in just one of its past 11 quarters of action.

That led a reporter to ask Richt after the game if he was happy with the play calling by offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Richt was overtly curt in his reply.

“I like Mike Bobo’s play calling,” he said. “That’s why he’s my coordinator and calling plays. I guess you don’t.”

Still, it’s hard to argue with Georgia’s offensive ineptitude. The Bulldogs went three and out on six of their 12 drives in the game and are punting after just three plays on 26 percent of their drives for the season.

The worst performances have come during the past three games, however. Cox won national offensive player of the week honors after beating Arkansas on Sept. 19, but the offense has mustered just 36 points in three games since.

“I don’t think it’s been something creeping in,” Cox said. “It’s not like there’s an attitude that’s getting worse and worse. It’s not that type of problem. It’s just something that we can’t shake off. I don’t know what we’re going to have to do, but we better find out quick.”


While Richt was quick to defend his offensive coordinator, he’s reserving judgment on the play of his quarterback.

Asked if he thought Cox has regressed as a passer as the season has gone along, Richt’s lack of a denial was noticeable.

“I’ll just have to say that I’ve got to look at the film before I start making comments like that,” Richt said.

After winning national offensive player of the week honors in Week 3, Cox has seen his completion percentage drop each of the past three weeks. During that stretch, he’s completing just 55 percent of his throws and has five interceptions to go with just three touchdowns.

Still, his top target isn’t giving up on Cox.

“Joe doesn’t need to be pushed,” Green said. “Joe’s a great guy and a leader. He’s going to fight, and I wouldn’t have anybody in the huddle with me except Joe.”


For the fifth time in six games, Georgia coughed up the football three times, and Tennessee made the Bulldogs pay on Saturday.

Joe Cox threw two interceptions, and the Volunteers scored following each. Michael Moore also fumbled following a reception, and Eric Berry returned the turnover all the way to Georgia’s 14-yard line. Bryce Brown cashed in for a touchdown three plays later.

“We can’t focus on it any more than we have,” Richt said of all the turnovers. “We just have to hang on to the ball.”

For the season, Georgia turned the ball over 16 times while creating just four takeaways. The Bulldogs myriad of turnovers have led to 71 points for the opposition, while Georgia has tallied just 13.


In the third quarter, with the Georgia offense excruciatingly stalled, and defense repeatedly susceptible to the pass, safety Bacarri Rambo made the last big Georgia play of the game.
The redshirt freshman broke on a Jonathon Crompton pass, and was in position when the ball skipped off a Volunteer receiver’s hands.

Rambo caught the ball in stride, racing 28 yards to the end zone.

“Crompton threw it quick and the receiver wasn’t expecting it and I was right there waiting on it,” Rambo said. “I stayed at home and watched the routes, and I did my job and came out of it with a great play.”

The interception, Rambo’s second of the season, made the score 24-19, and gave Georgia an edge in momentum, which wasn’t sustained.

Rambo saw increasing time on the field, replacing senior Bryan Evans for most of the second half.

Still, the Seminole County product said he didn’t find personal achievement in the loss.

“I’ll just do anything to help the team, man,” he said. “If I need to get on the offensive line and block, I’ll have to do it because I want to win and I know my teammates want to win. I know if they were asked to get on the offensive line and block or do something like that for me, they’d do it. So I go out there and do it for them.”

Rambo’s interception return was the first defensive touchdown by a Georgia player since Darryl Gamble returned two interceptions for scores last year against LSU.


Georgia’s Zach Renner is known for getting to the punter.

He blocked the third punt of his career Saturday, fighting through the Volunteer middle to get in position to stop Chad Cunningham’s kick in the second quarter. The ball went out of the end zone for a safety.

“I mean I honestly didn’t think I’d get there. It was a real small hole and I just kept on my feet, trying to fight and I just dove at the last minute. I ended up getting my hand on it.”

The play occurred at an opportune moment, inching the Bulldogs closer, 21-12, heading into halftime. The Bulldogs felt a shift in momentum after the play, Renner said.

“I did when it happened, even though we only got two points out of it,” he said. “It would have been great to get a score out of it as well, but it doesn’t feel as good coming out with a loss.”

Renner blocked two punts last season, one each against Arizona State and Alabama.


After he committed to Georgia on National Signing Day, Marlon Brown earned the ire of many Tennessee fans who had hoped the receiver would stay close to his Memphis home and play for the Volunteers.

Instead, it was against his home-state team that Brown made his first reception – a nine-yard grab in the second quarter. The crowd booed Brown after each of his two catches, but Cox said the freshman handled himself well.

“I thought he handled it pretty well,” Cox said. “He knew what to do and he played hard.”


Brandon Boykin showed his 100-yard touchdown on a kickoff against South Carolina was no fluke. The sophomore brought another kickoff out of the end zone Saturday against Tennessee and returned it for Georgia’s first score of the game, becoming just the second Bulldogs player with two kick returns for a touchdown in the same season.

Boykin’s return also tied Georgia’s school record for the longest play in a road game. Jimmy Campagna and Charlie Britt each had 100-yard returns for scores in the 1950s.


-- Freshman tight end Arthur Lynch got his first career start as the Bulldogs opened in a two-tight-end set, backed up at their own 1-yard line.

-- A.J. Green’s eight catches tied a career high.

-- Blair Walsh booted a 52-yard field goal in the second quarter. It was his third make of 50 or more yards in three tries this season, and he is 5-of-8 in his career from beyond 50.

-- Drew Butler punted six times Saturday, averaging 49.8 yards per punt, including four that were 50 yards or longer. Butler is the NCAA’s leader in punting average.

-- After racking up seven sacks and 18 tackles for a loss in the past two games, Georgia failed to sack quarterback Johnathan Crompton and had just three tackles for negative yardage in Saturday's game.

-- Receiver Michael Moore, who had six catches for 49 yards Saturday, had two messages for Georgia fans following the game. Via Twitter, Moore simply said, “Speechless,” in the moments after the game. He followed that with: “All I can say 2 the dawgnation is don't turn your backs on us. That's it. We need u to support us and times like this is when we need u most.”

*Fletcher Page contributed to these notes.


rbubp said...

Baccari Rambo says he stayed at home and was in position and made a great play.

I don't know, maybe I just don't get it, because I saw a wide open receiver unable to catch a ball that was thrown behind him, and a player who--it would seem to me--should have been closer to the receiver was able to catch a very bad pass and run it in.

I am all for lucky breaks for TDs, but am I the only one who thought that somebody should have been closing much more quickly toward that receiver and a little closer to him? Is the goal of this god-forsaken zone defense to LET THE RECEIVER CATCH THE PASS? Is that what Rambo means by being in position????

Please, someone set me straight on this! What the f*** is the deal with our coaches? When did they become complete idiots?

Trey said...

Hey David...

IS there a way you can point us in the direction of the transcript or sources where us outsiders can read/listen to full post game comments from players and coaches? I know you can watch Richt on but is there stuff from Bobo or Willie and players up anywhere? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would never turn on UGA. Go Dawgs!

Husky Jeans said...

I agree rbupp...the receiver was open, the ball was behind him. Not trying to take anything away from the kid, but there's a difference between forced turnovers and gift turnovers...that was pretty much a gift. I'm still glad it happened.

Looks like Floppy Cox showed up at Rocky Top. ZING!!!

I'm at a loss for words...I don't know what to say. I have never said we need to fire Richt...but I think it's pretty clear that our coordinators aren't even close to getting it done. This is a low point...we made Crompton look like a worldbeater. In our D's defense, though...Crompton was really good in high school.

Okay, it's on the head coach to make the tough decisions and put people in the right spots. It will be interesting to see if Richt can do this.

Go Dawgs.

WHM said...

David --

Have any coaches at major programs had a .500 season in the middle of their tenure and gone on to win a MNC? (I'm not talking about a first year or 2 struggle...)

Thanks dude.

MaconDawg said...

rbubp, Rambo was the safety on that play and in fact probably was where he was supposed to be. I believe it was the linebacker who gave up position and allowed the receiver to get open, though I'd have to go back and look at it to be sure.

But I do know that a safety will never have primary responsibility for a receiver on a slant route like that.

rbubp said...


Thanks for your insight. I am aware that Rambo was and is a safety and that he would not be expected to be playing tight coverage on a short pass; my point is where the hell was everybody, and does playing a zone mean, as Rambo seemed to imply in his comment, staying back in your lane even as the ball is being delivered to an open man right in front of you? Rambo was not exactly charging hard to make the tackle, and no one else was around on a freakin' five-yard slant.

It sounds like taking lane discipline to the logical extreme, IMO. As Husky said...a turnover given, not a turnover forced. As per usual. This team's flaws are so many it boggles the mind. There is no one in their right mind that thinks they are well-coached.

NO ONE, CMR. ZERO. I have always liked CMR, but I really don't care for the curtness and defensiveness and blaming the players when obviously the coaches are the ones ultimately responsible.

Players have to make plays, yes, but coaches are the ones who get the right players, teach the players, and put them in right spots. Somewhere CMR and the crew are laying down on this, and it is getting more obvious by the minute. I refuse to believe Auburn and Mississippi have better players than we do, youth or no.

Anonymous said...

These unsigned comittments for 2010
are about to decomitt to Georgia
The current players will tell them Richt is a waste of time
Why do you think Mareno and Stafford were so eager to leave the program while Tebow was so eager to stay with Urban

This year is lost and so is next year and probably the year after

Unless Georgia can find a real name coach in the next week so Mark can be a gentleman and leave the program now before the end of the season

If the university cannot find a name coach then start all over with a young guy and wait 3 years to turn around the program

I do not mind the bulldogs losing but the blowouts are embarassing to watch and the real truth is Mark is like a used 1960 chevy vs Urban or Saban or this new guy at Tech

Stop blaming Matinez and Bobo instead the guy who hired them
There are high school coaches who could do a better job than Mark Richt

This 35 year old coach now at the Denver Broncos is an example and certainly in a much tougher league than the SEC

Buck said...

Anon 11:36 -- you're a clown. Why did Stafford and Moreno leave while Tebow stayed?? Are you kidding? Stafford was the #1 overall pick. Tebow was not projected anywhere NEAR that. As for Knowshon, he was picked 12... again, ahead of Tebow's projection AND he's a RB, which is a position w/ a much shorter shelf life than most others.

A name coach? Oh wow... I'm not even going to take the time to address the rest of your post.
What a chauncey...

frustrated said...

A quote from David's article:
'“We were trying to bring pressure at times, but it seems like they were doing a great job of mixing it up,” defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said.'

Can someone please explain this?
Mixing it up?
To me, it looked like they kept running that &^%#ing play-action bootleg over and over.

Were Willie and I watching different games?

Trey said...

Its a shame people like Anon 11:36 find this blog. I can only hope he's 15 and has a reason to have no clue what he's talking about. Those kind of comments belong over at georgia.blogpot, not here. Its been nice having this blog spared of mostly terrible comments recently, but I guess every now and then an idiot is going to spring forth.

Also, here's something no one is talking about... What about the failed clock management at the end of the half? We try to spike the ball with one second left? Yet a few weeks ago we rush the field goal team on with time to spare, but not this time? We could have rushed them on if they had planned they out. But no, we spiked the ball hoping that for the first time in history the clock rules won't apply and a second won't go off the clock.

Anonymous said...

as to buck and his percieved genius

if stafford and moreno really thought they had a chance to be the national champions WHICH THEY KNEW WAS IMPOSSIBLE WITH RICHT they may have considered staying another year

as to your reason running backs have to leave early tebow endured a lot more punishment than moreno but he stayed BECAUSE HE BELIEVED IN HIS COACH

and my experience in following georgia football goes back before tarkenton and my father was there before trippi and sinkwhich

the internet so often allows those who do not know to start calling other people names

if buck or bobo or billy joe or joe bob from waycross or where ever believe that richt is a good coach and we cannot do better i do understand but get ready for a bad ten years

Anonymous said...

On CMR...
I find it unbelieveable how quickly a halo becomes a noose.

Lacey said...

Well, this has been an interesting season. First I would like to point out the fact that Georgia could easily be 0-6 right now, but our players have had such heart and determination that they pulled out 3 wins for us. I am not putting blame on the players for any of the three losses. They have been playing their hearts out. As far as our coaches are concerned, I am holding them totally responsible for every one of our losses.

Coach Martinez again and again has proven that he does not know how to prep our team for games. We made Crompton look like an all-SEC QB this week with him having a career day against our defense. Pretty much every team, except LSU, has put up outstanding numbers against our pass defense. Today was the third time this year that our defense has given up over 37 points in a game. Martinez has always stated that he plays a "bend don't break defense". Well, Willie guess what, our defense has been broken and humiliated three times this year. Martinez must go, no questions asked. If Richt will not do this then AD Evans needs to step in and take control of the situation.

Coach Bobo needs to do something about the offense, it has been completely stagnant the past two weeks. Joe Cox is not the answer, yes he did look very good against Arkansas but everyone can have a good game, also Arkansas's defense is worse than ours. Cox stares down his receivers every play. He is gone after this season, so why not give some PT to the others QBS? Supposedly the word in Athens is that our two freshman QBs are not ready to play. Since Bobo is the QB coach I hold him totally responsible for them not being ready to play. He needs to also change up the play calling, I can usually guess what play we are going to run before it is run. If I can do this so can every other DC in the SEC.

I am starting to get concerned with Coach Richt, he has no fire right now and looks almost like he does not care on the sideline. If Rich does not fire Martinez after this season there is a big problem. He has not changed the coaching staff since he took over. Changes need to happen and this is the responsibility of the Head Coach.

Carter said...

Could somebody describe how Gray looked? I would really appreciate any insight, and I would rather gouge out my eyes than watch a replay.

By the time he took over I was no longer watching because I had become physically sick. Literally, I'm not even joking here. The last time that happened to me was the '96 World Series.