ATHENS- Is this real life? Is it going to be like this forever? No, I do not have the statistics for alcohol sales over the last month, but if I was a drinker I would be in debt. The 29-27 loss to Colorado extends Georgia’s losing streak to four games, which has not happened since 1990. What has happened?
AJ Green’s return appeared as if it was going to ignite the Bulldog offense with a chance for a big play any time the Dawgs snapped the ball. Green caught seven passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a down right amazing one handed grab in the corner of the end zone. Green also had 40 yards rushing which came on a great end around play to help move Georgia down the field eventually to earn their first touchdown of the game.
But, it took until a minute forty five seconds had ticked off the clock in the second quarter to get the ball to AJ Green. Green was thrown to only once in the first 15 minutes of play. Why did it take so long to get the best Bulldog on the field the football? It was no secret. AJ Green is Georgia’s best player and the coaches said all week that it was going to be great to have him eligible this week. In the first two possessions in the second quarter, AJ Green touched the ball three times and two touchdowns, 42 yards receiving and 40 yards rushing. Why did AJ Green not get the ball right away?
Secondly, sticking with the theme of play calling, why does Georgia love to run the ball up the middle? Carlton Thomas, the Bulldogs smallest tailback, got the start and was destroyed when he tried to rumble his was through the middle of the line. In the first drive, Thomas lost eight yards. The second drive Thomas gained six yards. Whether our offensive line was not making holes or our smallest running back did not have the strength to run up the middle, the strategy was not working.
The third drive Caleb King entered the game and ran for Georgia’s most productive rushing performances of the season. The point being, Mike Bobo has not changed Georgia’s game plan one bit this season. Carlton Thomas is a hard working running back, but physically does not have the body to run up the middle behind an underachieving offensive line. This means, if there is not a gaping hole in the middle of the line, Thomas will gain about two to three yards a carry. My thought would be to run him around the corner on a sweep or an off tackle stretch play. But, from what I have seen, Bobo does not stray from his game plan. Generally, play calling normally changes depending on what personnel is available but that has not happened at Georgia this year. Instead, the Bulldogs continue to send their 5’7”, 170-pound running back up the middle.
Giving the offense a break, it is about time to start looking at the defense. I understand implementing a completely new system will take time and is going to have some growing pains but it should not completely get a free pass.
A big, physical nose tackle is a critical piece in any 3-4 system. Georgia does not have that and it certainly shows. DeAngelo Tyson and Justin Anderson are getting man handled at nose tackle. Kwame Geathers is believed to be Georgia’s only player on the roster capable of filling the role, but he has not been deemed ready by the Bulldog staff as of yet. It might be time for the Dawgs staff to let him loose and see how he performs on the field. If he fails, they are right back where they started but he could help slow down the oppositions running attack.
The secondary continues to haunt the Georgia defense because game after game they seem to blow coverage two to three times most of the time resulting in a score for the opposing team. The line has not been able to apply pressure but the corners and safeties often look as if they are completely clueless as to what their assignment is. Frankly, it appears to me that Georgia’s defense is more confused about what they are doing then the opposing team offense is.
The confusion on defense could be due to the lack of personnel and lack of experience on how to execute it. But, maybe, just maybe Sir Granthem’s NFL scheme is too confusing for student athletes to understand. A student athlete can only practice 20 hours a week and I think Granthem and company are struggling to get the defense on the same page.
I believe that Georgia’s defense is going to be fine in a few years, but right now the Bulldogs need to find a way to play together. All the blame is not on the defense because the offense has been at fault as well.
As to Caleb King’s game ending fumble, it is almost comical. As some friends and I watched the debacle unfold we sat in shock when the Buffalos fell on the loose ball that fell from Kings grasp. Shock? Well, disappointment… None of us had confidence that Georgia would win the game in the final drive. A friend of mine even said just before King’s fumble that we were in field goal range but we better not fumble. Seconds later, the game was over and Colorado fans were storming the field.
A curse? I do not think so, but it very well could be. Things like this do not just happen. But, it seems if things are bad they just keep getting worse.
Ultimately, Georgia is on its way to a horrible season. I stated in an earlier post after the Arkansas loss that the Bulldogs would finish 7-5 on the season. Even 6-6 at this point looks darn near impossible, much less 7-5. No matter what they say, no one would have predicted a 3-9 or 4-8 season. No one! Now, it is almost certain. Heck, the way the ball keeps slipping out of the Dawgs hands it almost seems like destiny for Georgia to finish with three or four wins. How many wins will Georgia finish with? Will Mark Richt be fired? Who knows, but season tickets are cheaper and cheaper.