A.J. Green: Apparently he is that important to the offense¸ at least this year. We’ll find out for sure in a little more than a week.
Caleb King: He’s set to return this week, and not a moment too soon. The team missed his pass protection, and he figures to get a chance to see if he can get a few more yards than Washaun Ealey. Georgia ranks next-to-last in the SEC in rush offense, so it needs any sort of spark.
Kris Durham: Maybe he’s getting a lot of the routes and targets that Green would have. But Durham is showing that he belongs in the gameplan even when Green returns.
Must-win games: Keep in mind, no matter what happens Saturday, the subsequent few games will also be regarded as critical to the program. Colorado, Tennessee and Vanderbilt because Georgia will be favored. Kentucky because it will dictate the tone for the rest of the season. Florida for obvious reasons.
Akeem Dent: Very quietly, the senior linebacker is off to a good start. He’s second on the team with 20 tackles, and has a couple sacks. Pretty good, considering he had toe surgery two months ago.
Cornelius Washington: Remember when he lost his job to Darryl Gamble? In fact Washington has started all three games, though still sharing time with Gamble at the outside spot. Washington is second on the team with 11 solo tackles, and is getting a lot of pressure on the pocket.
Kwame Geathers: The freshman nose tackle played against Arkansas, after not doing so at South Carolina, and with Justin Anderson potentially out awhile with turf toe, Geathers’ time figures to only increase.
Offensive line stability: After three down games, the tinkering is under way. Tanner Strickland and Chris Davis are in a competition at right guard. They could also get a push from Clint Boling, who shifts over when Trinton Sturdivant plays.
Pass protection in general: The absence of King and fullback Shaun Chapas hurt against Arkansas. But when Mark Richt spread the blame everywhere, it didn’t sound like he was trying to cover up for anybody.
The secondary: Georgia ranks 10th in the SEC in pass defense, and last in third-down conversion defense. That tends to happen when you keep having coverage breakdowns. The youth is showing: Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams are sophomores, Jakar Hamilton is a junior college transfer, and while the cornerbacks are a bit more experienced, the nickel backs are sophomores and freshmen.
National analysis of Georgia: Never mind the Richt-on-the-hot-seat columns. I’ll get to that later. But now I’m seeing talk that Richt is “standing by his quarterback” despite some “growing pains.” (This was on USA Today site, but there have been similar mentions elsewhere.) Wait, what am I missing here? Murray, while not setting the world on fire, has not been one of the disappointments, given the expectations. He’s fourth in the SEC in passing, and sixth in total offense. And even if he was struggling, what are they supposed to do, turn to true freshman Hutson Mason? Murray’s been fine. So far, he ain’t the problem.
Bulldogs in primo time slots: The past two ESPN noon starts might be Georgia’s last nationwide exposure for awhile. The next two are on FOX cable stations. The following games, against Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, are yet to be decided, but ESPN and CBS can’t be salivating about any of those matchups. Tennessee-Georgia could get picked up by ESPN just because of the history. But the bottom line is the Florida game is likely to be the first time this season Georgia has either of the top two slots (CBS or ESPN’s night game).
Blair Walsh: The one thing the Bulldogs thought they could take for granted this season, and so far still can.
Murray: See above rant.
The tight ends: Yes, they’re not making any catches. So why aren’t they stock down? Because the consensus remains that Orson Charles, Aron White and even Bruce Figgins still have the skill, they’re just not getting passes thrown their way. At some point that has to change, right?
Justin Houston: He went from a three-sack game to zero against Arkansas, but he did have some pressures. He remains a developing force – but the Bulldogs could use him to just be a force.
Mark Richt: The coach is either blissfully unaware of all those columns being written, or he’s blissfully ignoring them. As I wrote in today’s papers, it’s full-speed ahead, stay the course for Richt and his coaches. If they’re panicking or worrying, they’re doing so in private.
Mike Bobo’s playcalling duties: Richt said there would be no change the day after the Arkansas game. So despite the clamor of many fans, Bobo is still the guy.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Posted by Seth Emerson at 10:06 AM