September 18, 2010

More questions for offense

Inconsistency - through three games of the 2010 campaign it's become a word that both coaches and fans of the Georgia Bulldogs have grown quite accustomed to hearing.

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham spoke about it Saturday in the Bulldog lockeroom. But he wasn't the only one.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo used the word while lamenting some of the issues that plagued his offense during Saturday's 31-24 loss to 12th-ranked Arkansas.

Take away Georgia's three touchdown drives of 73, 62 and 52 yards and the Bulldogs only picked up 129 yards on 39 plays, an average of just 3.3 every time they touched the ball.

A lack of big plays has also been an issue.

Of course, that part can largely be attributed to the absence of A.J. Green, whose four-game suspension was upheld Friday by the NCAA's appeals committee.

But still, Georgia's problems remain apparent.

Saturday, the Bulldogs had 15 plays go for 10 yards or more, but only four occurred during the first half. Not surprisingly, Georgia's fourth-quarter touchdowns featured big plays, both coming on passes of 46 and 35 yards from Aaron Murray to Kris Durham.

"It has a little bit (of a problem)," Bobo said. "It's almost like everything has to be perfect. There's only going to be a few chances so where we have a chance to make some big plays and we've got to do a better job of getting those big plays, whether it's in the running game or the passing game. It's hard to drive on teams eight, nine plays every drive."

Once again there were issues with the offensive line.

After struggling with run blocking against Louisiana-Lafayette and South Carolina, the Bulldogs added questionable pass protection to the docket after allowing the Razorbacks to sack Murray six times.

Even senior tackle Clint Boling was at a loss for the reason why.

"I don't know," Boling said. "I don't know what's going on."

With Caleb King out for the second straight week nursing a twisted ankle, the bulk of Georgia's running game was once again left to sophomore Washaun Ealey who responded with 18 carries for 87 yards and one touchdown on a 3-yard run.

Carlton Thomas ran effectively, picking up 30 yards on just six attempts.

Murray, meanwhile, completed 15 of 27 passes for an impressive 253 yards with a touchdown and scored another on a 1-yard run.

His only mistake, an interception on the first play of the second half, did not lead to any Razorback points.

"Our goal coming in was we were going to try and not treat him with kid's gloves, although that didn't mean we were going to have him throw 50 times a game or anything like that," Richt said. "We just wanted him to run our system and to do what we feel is best, regardless if he's a redshirt freshman or a junior, whatever the case may be. I think he did well."

Richt said the interception - the first of Murray's career - was just a throw that got away.

"The ball just got loose and it sailed on him," Richt said. "It wasn't a bad decision, just an unfortunate thing that happened. I thought he showed a lot of heart, he made some plays. There were a couple of times he got jacked up there and knocked around but he kept getting up and did not lose his poise."

Richt felt Murray gave Bulldog fans a taste of what to expect once he gains more experience when he led Georgia to its two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

"They weren't willing to give in and that's a sign of a team that's got something," Richt said. "That's the most encouraging part of the day."



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