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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bobo and Grantham speak, I blog and react

A few odds and ends after Tuesday’s practice. Let’s return to a previous format, where I provide quotes, and then my take on it. For what little that take is worth. Onward and upward:

- How much can the Georgia offense truly be opened up for Aaron Murray? Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo isn’t so sure.

“Our whole goal going into this year was to reduce the penalties and not give the game away by turnovers,” Bobo said. “Despite how the game went last week, obviously it wasn’t how we wanted, but you’ve still got a chance there to tie the game at the end if we don’t turn the ball over. You just gotta keep playing. I don’t really have the answers on how you’re gonna open it up with him. Just allowing him to make more plays, I guess, would be the answer.”

MY TAKE: First, Bobo seemed to want to remind all the doomsayers that it wasn’t all bad on Saturday. And that’s true, the penalties were low and there was only one turnover. (But quite an important turnover.)

Still, while Mark Richt has said three separate times now that they’re going to open it up, his offensive coordinator is saying he doesn’t really know how you do that. Bobo could just be playing possum with Arkansas. Or, if you gave him truth serum, his real answer might be: “Until we get A.J. Green back, what are we supposed to do?”

- Branden Smith is someone Bobo clearly wants to use more.

“I wish he wasn’t playing 50-some snaps on defense. I wish we had him full-time,” Bobo said. “It’s hard, he’s still a young guy and it’s hard to say, hey you’ve got him 5-10 minutes a day. You can’t give him the whole offense. You look for guys when they touch the ball they make things happen. And I think he’s one of those guys, we’ve just gotta get him the football.”

MY TAKE: I thought it said something when Smith was the first person (other than Murray) to touch the ball on offense this season. But he was under-used at South Carolina, especially with Green out. It looks like Bobo regrets not using him more.

- Could there be offensive line changes? Tackle Trinton Sturdivant played three snaps on Saturday, and could play more against Arkansas, according to Bobo. He also said that backup center Chris Burnette, who missed much of the preseason with a concussion, is about ready to return.

MY TAKE: It sounds like they really want to play Sturdivant, but where? The tackles have produced, especially with pass-blocking, while it’s the guards who have struggled. I suspect that’s why Richt said the guards were in danger of losing their jobs, because he really needs to give them a kick in the rear.

- The defense has been accused of being timid, and no one – Richt, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, players – is disputing it. Grantham said he wasn’t “necessarily taken aback” by the struggles in Columbia. But for what it’s worth, he thought Tuesday’s practice was “spirited.”

“There’s no such thing as a perfect game,” Grantham said. “But you need to play physical and you need to play fast. If that’s happening, then we need to play guys that are playing fast. If you want to earn your playing time, then you need to show production.”

MY TAKE: Grantham was just as defensive (pun not intended) about his unit’s performance as Bobo. And to be fair, neither unit was truly horrible at South Carolina. But neither was outstanding either, and when you put it together, you have an 11-point loss that seemed more convincing than the final score.

Grantham didn’t want to come out after one poor showing and say that such-and-such starters were going to be replaced. He may do that if there’s another bad game against Arkansas. (Although how you define that against Ryan Mallett, D.J. Williams and company, is difficult.)

In the meantime, Grantham is just trying to get the unit as a whole to play with more passion and power than it did at South Carolina. Call me a cockeyed optimist in the mold of Billy Mumphrey (obscure Seinfeld reference), but I think the Georgia defense responds on Saturday.

- When it comes to using the nose tackles, Justin Anderson and Kwame Geathers – who are bigger and younger than DeAngelo Tyson – have been mentioned as candidates for more playing time. And mentioned by head coach Mark Richt.

But Grantham seemed noncommittal.

“Every week we’re gonna evaluate our team and our players,” Grantham said. “Because I really believe you play the guys who earn the right to play.”

MY TAKE: Not playing Anderson or Geathers – especially Anderson – remains a big mystery from Saturday. But you can’t go back and change that now, and the next opponent is a passing team. Playing Anderson or Geathers would have been a better move at South Carolina than it might be against Arkansas.

That said, I’m almost sure Anderson will play some on Saturday.

- Tailback Washaun Ealey spoke on his fumble for the first time.

“It was just I lost my focus,” Ealey said. “It was just running hard, trying to score, the ball got kind of low on me, and they just took it away from me.”

MY TAKE: A rough couple weeks for Ealey. But he’s going to get plenty more chances to redeem himself.

- Tailback Caleb King said he was a full-go at practice. He didn’t have a carry in Saturday’s game.

“It was pretty much a game-time decision,” King said. “It was depending on how I looked in the pregame. And I guess I didn’t look that good enough, for them to shut me down for the whole game.”

MY TAKE: The less Mallett is on the field Saturday, the better for Georgia. It’ll need King, Ealey and improved run-blocking, or it could be a long day. I’m not sure Aaron Murray is ready to win a shootout.


Anonymous said...

The offensive coordinator doesn't know how to open it up without AJ? That shows me where the problem is on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive coordinator! Good grief!

He may be playing Opossum. Let's hope so.

Anonymous said...

Translation on Bobo.... that our play book and its open. Im sorry but UGA's play book has been vanilla for a while. SC found a way to get their play makers in the game big time. Sorry folks but overall it was an embarrassing and there is no excuse whatsoever to be punched in the mouth for that important game . Dawgs got a lot to prove now. But lets face it, the trend is going the wrong way any way you slice it or dice it.

Anonymous said...

oops an "embarrassing performance"

Anonymous said...

With the wealth of talent at Tight End, you'd think Bobo would find a way to become innovative. And that's the buzzword regarding college offenses these days. I just don't see it with this staff. And to hell with coddling the quarterback. He's a redshift freshman, not some kid who was taking his date to the prom just a few months ago. Let him create, and more importantly, encourage him to do so.

Anonymous said...

*redshirt, although redshift works,too...