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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gray to Play, But How Much?

Joe Cox will start this week, but...

"We do think that we need to give Logan (Gray) an opportunity to play and see if he can become very productive," head coach Mark Richt said.

OK, where have we heard this before?

Yes, Georgia's coaching staff has been promising a larger dose of Logan Gray since August, but we haven't seen it. The No. 2 QB has been in for mop-up work against Vanderbilt (all handoffs) and put-an-end-to-the-misery duty against Tennessee and Florida (a total of 1-of-7 passing with a pick-six).

But this week will be different, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo promises.

"It'll probably be in the first half, but we haven't nailed down precisely what series it'll be," Bobo said. "But we'll get him in there and change up some things and get him some work."

Earlier in the season, this might have been accompanied by huge applause from fans. Now, some will call it too little, too late. Other will point to Gray's work thus far and say, "Eh, how about Aaron Murray instead?"

But Bobo and Richt both are quick to accept some blame for failing to give Gray a real shot at success and even quicker to write off his shortcomings thus far.

"I talked to him after the game (against Florida) and said, 'Look, we're not going to hold that against you,'" Bobo said. "'You were put in a bad situation backed up against a very good defense. It's something we can learn from and take advantage of your future opportunities because you might have some in the near future.'"

And while Gray's interception that Brandon Spikes returned for a score was ugly, to say the least, Richt said it was excusable, and it isn't likely to have any lasting effect on Gray's confidence.

"We don't look at it like,' Oh my gosh, he was awful,'" Richt said. "We ran a play-action pass at a time where they probably didn't care a whole lot about play-action, so a linebacker that would probably get close to the line of scrimmage wasn't too concerned about the run. Logan's got a vision the receiver that he's throwing to and he kind of buzzed in it. Does he need to expand his vision on that? Probably, yes. That play certainly was one that is much more effective on first-and-10 when the game is close rather than late in the game and we're trying to get something going in the passing game."

The better question might have been why Richt put Gray in at that time in the first place. For all the opportunities the staff has had to give Gray a taste of action this season, that seemed like one of the worst. Georgia wasn't likely to win the game, but it wasn't over by any means. Georgia was backed up deep, and the O line was struggling -- and without Clint Boling. Gray never stood a chance. Besides, for all the times they left Joe Cox in to win a close ballgame, it only seemed fair he stayed in to clean up a mess caused, at least in part, by his three interceptions in the second half.

But again, things will be different this week, Bobo said, and not just in terms of the personnel. Bobo promises we'll not only see Gray in action, but we'll get to see him work his magic with some play calling that doesn't fall in line with the same stuff Georgia has been running all season.

"We'll do things that we think he can be successful with, whatever we feel that may be," Bobo said. "It'll be stuff he can operate, and some of it's within our system and some of it we haven't done. Some of it will be a little bit of a change up and some of it will be the basis of our offense."

Even if you disagree with Bobo's handling of his quarterbacks so far, you have to at least admit, it's nice to see a coach willing to adjust what he does to fit his players and to change things up when the status quo hasn't been working.

Even if it does come a few weeks too late.


Blue Gill said...

We ran a play-action pass at a time where they probably didn't care a whole lot about play-action

So why run a play action pass in that situation?

And it doesn't matter who does what this weekend. It is Tennessee Tech for crying out loud. Gray and Cox and Murray could all come out and look like All American Heisman candidates and it won't tell anybody shit.

Hell. Play all four QB's. Put 1-4 in a hat and let them draw the quarter they are going to get to play.

It's Tennessee Tech. We could wear black helmets and silver shirts and red britches.

But for the love of God I hope the fans don't tear the goalposts down when we win.

Anonymous said...

I wondered the same thing--why in the world did they put Gray in when they did?! Talk about throwing a player under the bus! That one decision speaks volumes about this coaching staff. They are flailing around trying to figure out (usually after it is too late) what is going to work. In my opinion this clearly demonstrates that they don't have a good plan in place from the get-go.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody care? It's Tennessee Tech for goodness sakes. The coaches don't expect it to be close in the 2nd quarter. At what point in reality did we not expect to see the backup qb in the TT game.

Wake me up if he sees the field in the first half of the Kentucky game.

Anonymous said...

Do you think we could get Rich Rodriguez if Michigan fires him this year?

ben said...

This really does seem like the coaches are at, if not a complete loss, a loss for what to do in game-planning and personnel. Does anyone know how much input Richt has in the offensive and defensive game plan and who starts? Is Martinez the one keeping Baccari Rambo from starting? Is Bobo the one starting/rotating the backs each week? Also, at some point, doesn't someone's play making ability in gametime situations have to be tested even if the coaches believe 'Joe Cox gives us the best chance to win?' What kind of a rhythm could any player, much less a qb, get into when they are tossed in for one play or series per game? I've never questioned our coaching decisions too much before this season, but we won't be recruiting top 5 classes much longer if we continue to stink this much.

Ausdawg85 said...

Dave: Interesting article from Austin on the attention given to special teams on the Longhorns. Even Colt McCoy wants in on the action!