Georgia’s football program is close to becoming mediocre like it was during the Ray Goff and Jim Donnan days – back in the 1990s. With Georgia’s 31-24 loss to Arkansas on Saturday, their backs are against the wall for any chance to play in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia is now 0-2 in the SEC and has only won two SEC games in their last eight. Georgia did rally from a two touchdown deficit against Arkansas to tie it, and then had the ball to take the lead in the final minutes. But Georgia turned the ball over on downs and Arkansas quickly drove down the field for the win. Give Arkansas QB Ryan Mallet credit for the winning drive by hitting WR Greg Childs with a 40 yard scoring pass with only 15 seconds left to break the tie.
The problem is Georgia’s offense did not come to life until the fourth quarter when trailing 24-10. Georgia QB Aaron Murray and the offense line struggled the first three quarters. Georgia did scored on their opening drive, but only scored a field goal after that until the 4th quarter. Murray was sacked 6 times during the game. The offense line was partially to blame, but Murray also at times held onto the ball too long. Murray is a redshirt freshman and lacks the experience to lead Georgia against top rank teams such as South Carolina and Arkansas especially without A. J. Green, who is still serving his 4 game suspension.
This season is clearly looking like the 2009 season: a new quarterback, defense not able to stop the elite teams, and lack of playmakers besides Green. That season ended with a 8-5 record and a trip to Shreveport, LA. In the off-season, Richt changed the defensive coordinator – out went Willie Martinez, in came Todd Grantham. Grantham has implemented a 3-4 defensive scheme that has caused Georgia to give up big plays as they are adjusting to their new assignments. So far, the jury is still out with Grantham as the season is still early.
When Mark Richt became head football coach in 2001, he called all the offensive plays on the sidelines until the fall of 2006. During that time, Georgia won 2 SEC titles and upgraded the program to elite status. Before Richt came to Georgia, he was the offense coordinator for Florida State as he coached two Heisman Trophy winners – Charlie Ward and Chris Wenke. In addition, Florida St. won a national championship. At Georgia, he called the offense plays when David Greene was the quarterback as Greene became college football’s all-time win leader until Colt McCoy broke that record last year. There has been no real success at Georgia with Mike Bobo as the offense coordinator. His play calling is conservative and non-innovated. None of the quarterbacks under him have greatly improved or had much success at Georgia. Bobo never fully used Matthew Stafford or Knowshon Moreno’s potential when both were in Georgia’s backfield for two seasons.
Bobo has another young quarterback with potential in Aaron Murray. Murray has started 3 games and unfortunately, two of them were against Top 12 teams. Instead of saying anything positive about Murray and building his confidence in the presser after an emotional Arkansas game, Bobo called out Murray and criticized him for hanging onto the ball too long. Some of that is on Bobo for calling plays to send all receivers out for 20 or more yards against an aggressive Arkansas defense line and by not calling quick slant plays since Georgia’s was losing the battle at the line of scrimmage.
Richt mentioned in tonight’s presser that he will make more suggestions to Bobo during future games. He needs to start thinking about calling all the plays once again to help bring Georgia back to national prominence.
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Written by Bob Ballard