Last week Georgia was soundly beaten by South Carolina. This week the Dawgs purely beat themselves. After a furious comeback – utilizing a “skinny post” route as the primary offensive play and the defense playing with its ears pinned back – Georgia found themselves in position to win. They took possession at about their own 40 with a little over two minutes left in the game. With one of the NCAA’s best kickers in Blair Walsh, the Dawgs only needed about 25 yards to get in position to win. Then the wheels fell off.
Facing a 3rd and 4, Mike Bobo dialed up a pass play that had all of Georgia’s receivers running routes 20-25 yards down field. There was no check down receiver floating out into first down territory. Washaun Ealy missed a block on the Arkansas defensive end who then sacked Aaron Murray for a big loss. A short Drew Butler punt gave the Hogs field position and Ryan Mallet then worked his magic – culiminating with a 40 yard catch and run touchdown pass to Greg Childs that sealed UGA’s fate.
Why the Bulldog’s didn’t call for shorter routes or even a roll-out to get the athletic Aaron Murray on the edge, I cannot answer. I only know we are left, once again, questioning offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s play calling. Here’s my grade for the game.
The offense showed a few new wrinkles with the “Wild Dog” formation – but only ran one play and were too predictable with it. The offensive line provided pretty good protection, but has failed to dominate in the run game two weeks in a row. Washaun Ealey ran well, but missed two key blocks in pass protection. The receivers, especially Kris Durham and Tavarres King, made some excellent catches and the route running was solid. The highlight, again, was the play of Aaron Murray. Mark Richt emphasised (I believe he over-emphasised) that he did not want Aaron Murray to think he had to win the game on his own. I still think they need to let him take the team and go. He continued to exhibit poise and athleticism. I don’t know why his skills are not better utilized in more of a spread attack. Grade – B
Georgia shut down Arkansas’ run game – but so what? Tennessee Tech pretty much did the same. Ryan Mallet didn’t get the consistent pressure the Dawgs needed to keep him from making big plays….and he made them. During the Georgia comeback, the defense seemed to amp up their pressure and Ryan was somewhat erratic. The worst mistake may have been the “bite” on play action that led to the Razorback’s first score. Grade – B
Blair Walsh was consistent – as usual, but Drew Butler had an off day. Georgia got a couple of nice returns, and dodged the bullet on an Arkansas punt return that was called back. Overall, the special teams play was not bad. Grade – B
The “vanilla” game planning of Mike Bobo still puzzles me. Mark Richt showed a great deal of imaginative play calling as FSU offensive coordinator, but has turned into “Ward Cleaver” as a head coach. Todd Grantham looks like he is a little disappointed at the level of talent that he has inherited, but he continues to game plan well. The difference in the two units is that Grantham puts his players in position to succeed, and Bobo seems afraid his players will fail. The SEC is no place to play scared. Grade – C
To his credit, Mark Richt has played down the impact of A.J. Green’s suspension. Next week, the Dogs make one of the SEC’s worst road trips into Starksville for a night game against Mississippi State. With Arkansas getting a big test against Alabama, and South Carolina traveling to Auburn, we may get a truer picture of the quality of this year’s Georgia squad. Grade – B.