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September 12, 2011
Breaking down the Bulldogs
With two games in the books, UGASports.com's "coach in residence" Jake Rowe breaks down the Georgia Bulldogs.
Georgia's offensive coaches were justifiably ridiculed after the week one loss to Boise State. The offensive line struggled. The running backs ran with timidity. The receivers dropped balls. Even Aaron Murray had an off game.
Week two saw this group of coaches have a game and a game plan from which they can build. The UGA offense did a great job of self scouting and countering their own tendencies. The Dawgs did not rely on the play action passing game as they have in the past. They also did a great job of working their running backs in a single back rushing attack instead of using the "I" formation exclusively. They also did an excellent job of using the screen game.
The main reason for offense's success rests in the play of the offensive line. Dallas Lee and Ben Jones were dominant at times on the inside. Justin Anderson and Cordy Glenn also had great games when run blocking. Their play allowed freshman phenom Isaiah Crowell to have a breakout game with his first 100 yard rushing game as a Bulldog.
One of the main concerns for the UGA staff has to be the play of Glenn as the left tackle. While he has looked great at times, he will need to get comfortable at the position if the Dawgs are going to make a run in 2011.
Another troubling area for Georgia is the play of their sophomore quarterback when he is pressured. He does not melt under the pressure or play with fear. He does, however, try to make impossible plays. This causes Murray to make careless and needless mistakes with the football.
Again, the Georgia defensive staff must be commended for their game plan on Saturday night. The UGA defense took control of the line of scrimmage from the opening snap and only relinquished that control a few times throughout the game. The tackling was much improved from their showing against Marcus Lattimore a year ago, and much of that had to do with the way UGA was able to get multiple helmets to the football on almost every play.
Jonathan Jenkins and Abry Jones had huge nights for the UGA defensive line. Despite drawing double and triple teams all night, the duo was able to play on USC's side of the line of scrimmage and make plays against the run game.
Unfortunately for the Dawgs' Defense, Lattimore is one of the best in the country and even when a hole is not present, he can create. Over 100 of Lattimore's 179 yards came when he redirected behind the line of scrimmage and made a play when nothing was originally there.
Coach Todd Grantham's defense was outright dominant against the pass. USC quarterback Stephen Garcia only completed 44% of his passes and struggled all night to find open receivers against the UGA defense. While the box score will read that the Georgia Defense allowed 395 total yards, 68 of those yards came on the fake punt run by Melvin Ingram.
If you take a closer look at the numbers, South Carolina ran 66 plays for 327 yards if you exclude that fake punt. That is just under 5 yards per play. By comparison, the Georgia offense averaged 6.5 yards per play. The Dawgs' defense also held the Gamecocks to a respectable 28% on third down.
Brandon Boykin and Branden Smith both had huge plays for the Dawgs in the return game. Smith had a 32 yard punt return that set up a Georgia score, while Boykin had a 58 yard kickoff return that set up another score.
Despite the great play by Smith and Boykin in the return game, UGA was far from flawless as a special teams unit. The 68 yard fake punt run by m was a huge momentum swing for the Gamecocks and was a key play in the game's outcome. UGA's talented and reliable kicker, Blair Walsh, missed a 33 yard field goal in the second quarter that also loomed large late in the contest.