ATHENS- It happened again. Once again I fell for the hype, the talk, and the thought of Georgia competing for an SEC championship again. Frustration, aggravation, disappointment, I feel all of those things. Much like many fans in the Bulldog Nation, I watched the game Saturday and fought urges to shout obscenities, break my coffee table and throw the remote through the TV.
The Bulldogs went to Columbia, SC and were man handled by Steve Spurriers best Gamecocks team in his time at South Carolina. Marcus Lattimore is a beast of a running back and deserves all the hype. Alshon Jeffery and the Gamecock receivers are massive and extremely physical. South Carolinas defense is always stout and aggressive. This is quite possibly the most talented team that Steve Spurrier has led out on the field in South Carolina.
On the other hand, Georgia appears to be continuing down a slide that became apparent in 2008 but began before that. The Bulldog offensive line is so overrated it makes me sick. The coaches and media talked all off-season about the experience of the offensive line and they are prepared to block for Washaun Ealey and Aaron Murray. Is this the best Georgia has? The part of the team that is supposed to be the most experienced has gotten no production against a poor defensive line against ULL and an average line of USC. Aside from the first drive on Saturday, Ealey had nowhere to run. He gained 32 yards on the first drive, which resulted in a field goal and only 43 yards the rest of the game. What did the coaches see in the offensive line in the off-season that suddenly has disappeared?
Offensively, if Georgia cannot run the ball they will not have success especially with a rookie quarterback under center. Fans, we knew this and so did the coaches. We knew that without a successful ground game, Aaron Murray was not going to be able to win an SEC football game single-handed. Eventually, he may have the ability to do that, but right now he has only started two games in his college career. He needs support from his running backs and offensive line. Period.
The Bulldog offense could not produce any consistency on offense. Georgia worked their way in to the Red Zone three times on Saturday. They kicked two field goals and fumbled the ball on the eight-yard line. These umbers do not impress anyone.
Defensively, Georgia turned around a miserable first half performance by holding South Carolina to only three points in the second half. In the second half the defense did not look as atrocious is it did in the previous 30 minutes. In fact, they looked pretty good compared to the way they performed last season. The scheme is not the problem. Georgia defenders were constantly in position to make plays on the defensive side of the ball.
Bulldogs hit Marcus Lattimore in the backfield on a routine basis and constantly hit the Gamecock receivers mere seconds after the catch. But, they could not bring them down. Why? Why can’t Georgia tackle? Why? I know the coaches watch the same game as the fans do. They know just as well as I do that the Bulldogs cannot tackle. I do not think for one second that I know more then coach Richt. Why is this an issue for an SEC football program?
The Georgia Bulldogs lack of fundamental tackling is not a new issue. Fans, coaches, and media have watched the Dawgs miss tackles for the past two, going on three, seasons. Why is this still an issue? Why can Georgia not wrap a ball carrier up and bring him down?
If Georgia is unable to get the nasty taste of defeat out of their mouths this weekend against Arkansas, the 2010 season could be the down fall of Mark Richt’s career as the leader of Bulldog Nation.