September 8, 2013

The Report Card


There isn't much to say about Aaron Murray other than he was perfect on Saturday. The fifth year senior had three drops but still completed 74 percent of his passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns. He was also at his best in crunch time as extended the play twice in the second half to throw an eight-yard touchdown to Todd Gurley and an 85 yarder to Justin Scott-Wesley. Murray played mistake free football, managed the clock well, and was flawless versus South Carolina. Grade: A+

Running Back

This crew had an impressive performance against Clemson and they only built on that this week. Todd Gurley was a workhorse carrying the ball 30 times for 132 yards and a score. He also had that big touchdown catch in the second half. Gurley also did a great job in pass protection. Keith Marshall showed his skill set with a couple of big runs to tally 58 yards on the ground, but he also had a couple of catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. Quayvon Hicks continued his impressive play with 28 yards rushing on four carries, a huge 23-yard reception, and numerous key blocks from his fullback position. True Freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas got their feet wet in meaningful minutes as well. Green had a first half carry for four years and Douglas racked up 31 yards on five carries including a 17-yard run that helped put the game away. Grade: A+


The Georgia receivers had another strong night on Saturday led by the play of Justin Scott-Wesley. The redshirt sophomore had three grabs for 116 yards and a touchdown, and was a big target for Murray all night. Michael Bennett had two big catches in the game that went for first downs, and Rhett McGowan and Chris Conley added a couple of catches a piece. Arthur Lynch was a big part of Georgia's first half game plan with three receptions, and the entire group was effective all night as down field blockers for the running game. There were, however, three drops in the game for this group. McGowan and Lynch had drops in the first half and true freshman Reggie Davis dropped the first target of his career. But overall, you can't complain about the play of this group. Grade: A

Offensive Line

The UGA offensive line imposed its will on South Carolina Saturday and it did so with a number of different set ups. There were some mistakes like a breakdowns in protection from Kenarious Gates and John Theus that resulted in a couple of sacks, but almost everything else was positive for this group. The Georgia front five neutralized All American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney most of the game, and when the Bulldogs wanted to run the football, there really was no stopping them. David Andrews, Chris Burnette, Dallas Lee, and Kolton Houston were all instrumental in Georgia's success with interior runs and the tackles, Theus and Gates, were rock solid in pass protection save those two errors. Mark Beard entered the game in the second half for an injured Gates and more than held his own as well. On the final drive, Georgia started from inside its own one-yard line, and the offensive line put on a show. Georgia held the ball for the final eight minutes and 28 seconds of the game. Georgia ran 13 plays with 12 of them coming on the ground to milk the clock and put the game on ice. Grade: A+

Defensive Line

Georgia gave up some points but this group played well on Saturday. Sterling Bailey walked away from Saturday's contest with his first career sack, and Garrison Smith shared a sack with a linebacker. The Bulldogs spent most of the day in the 4-2-5 alignments, and the defensive lineman did a nice job of not allowing Shaw to escape on the interior. There weren't a ton of plays made from this group and there was some missed tackles but the Georgia defensive line wasn't allowing space on the interior for the South Carolina running game. The Gamecocks had plenty of success on the ground but most of that was due to perimeter runs and quarterback scrambles. Grade: B+

Outside linebackers

Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd appeared to be getting the vast majority of snaps at the outside linebacker position and both had some positive and negative plays. Both struggled at times to get pressure, and when they did get pressure, Shaw was able to escape often. Jenkins added a tackle for loss on the game and Floyd was all over the field at times. Jenkins finished the contest with four tackles and one for a loss, and Floyd added two tackles of his own. This group must tackle better and make plays when given the chance, but it appeared that the outside linebackers, like most of the Georgia defense, really stiffened in the red zone and played some of their best defense in crunch time. Grade: B-

Inside Linebackers

There is no way to slice it. This group appeared to struggle in the first half and especially Ramik Wilson. There were numerous times when the ball was snapped while Wilson was trying to either make or get the call to the defense, and those plays resulted in nice gains for the South Carolina offense. The second half, however, was a slightly different story. Amarlo Herrera stepped up and had one of the biggest games of his career along side of Wilson. Herrera finished the game with 12 tackles, a half a sack, a tackle for a loss, and a huge forced fumble. Herrera also made an incredible play on the 4th and goal play from the Georgia one-yard line to keep Gamecocks out of the end zone in the fourth quarter. Wilson also had a hand in that play as he came in late to clean up. This group must improve as the year goes on, but Herrera's play combined with that of Wilson late in the game makes a tough first half easier to forget. Grade: B-

Defensive Backs

This is the youngest unit on the team and it showed on Saturday. Cornerback Brendan Langley is another player that had a tough first half for the Bulldogs. He was burned for two touchdowns by Nick Jones and some had to be worried about his confidence at that point. Langley came back to have a better second half with a near pick that resulted in the pass being broken up. He had tighter coverage in the second half and bounced back nicely. The safeties, Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons also had a negative play in the second half when both took poor pursuit angles allowing South Carolina running back Mike Davis to reel off a 75-yard run. The most solid member of Georgia's secondary on Saturday was clearly Damian Swann. After missing a big tackle versus Clemson last week, Swann returned to Sanford Stadium and had a rock solid game that saw him compile 3 solo tackles. Swann had one incredible individual effort when he ran down Davis on his long run. Like the rest of Georgia's defensive units, this group will have to improve as the season goes along. But make no mistake, this group improved in the second half as well. Grade: B-

Special Teams

You can't say enough about the job walk on place kicker Patrick Beless did on Saturday. Beless was perfect on extra points and field goals, and he didn't appear to flinch when his number was called. Georgia also recovered an early onside kick to gain a possession, and the kick coverage units were incredible once again. The lone mistake of the day came from Colin Barber when he fumbled a snap in the second quarter. Georgia overcame that mistake and the special teams appear to be playing quite well. Grade: A-

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