Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mid Season Review - offense

There is one thing that is clear at mid-season, Georgia is a team on the rise. While still not playing great as a team they are starting to play great in some areas while improving in all the others. I actually like that over the last four weeks the team has not played the best game it is capable of but has won games, most of them comfortably, and not one time in any of the four wins has the other team had the ball in the 4th quarter with a chance to tie or win. In each area I will give a grade, what has been good about it and what needs the most improving.

quarterback B-/C+ Honestly this may be a harsh grade for Murray considering he is third in the conference in passer rating and 2nd in TD passes. The reason it is so low is because of the 6 interceptions when he only threw 8 in 13 games last year. He has also missed on several passes that could have been huge plays. The good news is he has the talent and ability to straigthen his issues out. In the game against UT he managed it great and did not turn the ball over once. The only throws he struggled with during the game were on the deep ball to receivers not names Malcolm Mitchell. If he can cut down on the turnovers and be a bit more accurate on the deep ball I feel like he will have a huge second half to the season.

running backs B This grade could be slightly lower except for the fact that unlike Murray there was not huge expectations on the running game this year. When you are expecting a true freshman who was not even around for spring to carry the majority of the load then expectations cannot be set too high, no matter how much hype that freshman may have. Crowell has been great when he is able to stay on the field but has faded a bit late in games as he gets used to physical nature of life in the SEC. Samuel has been a bit disappointing after starting the season in the starting role and being pushed down to the third string back. He just does not seem to have the vision and is brought down too easily for a guy his size. He has provided good leadership for Crowell. He also has done well in the passing game both in blocking and slipping out of the back field to catch passes. Thomas has been the surprise of the group offering a solid backup for Crowell. Thomas has the highest yards per carry on the team and as the season goes on will most likely end up with far more carries than Samuel. If Thomas keeps up what he is doing and Crowell can finish games as strong as he starts them then this group has a high ceiling.

fullbacks A Figgins and Ogletree have done what is asking of a fullback, provide solid blocking at the point of attack, help on in pass blocking and on occasion provide a receiving threat out of the backfield. I would love to see one of the guys doing the grunt work get an occasional carry in short yardage situations.

Tight ends B+ Coming into the season this group was the deepest, so deep that a 5 star recruit is redshirting and another was moved to the starting fullback spot. Charles is second on the team in yardage and first in TD receptions. White is a solid backup and has several catches as well as a TD. Lynch has been big on special teams and providing blocking in jumbo packages. They are not getting an A because of a few drops, one which led to an interception as well as the fact that they have too many holding calls on them as a group the last few weeks, most notably two in a row last week in helping lead to a 4th and 56. Overall the group has been very good but they are graded on a scale of greatness, which they can and should achieve.

Wide Recievers B- . Coming into the year this group had the most questions about it along with the offensive line. Having lost AJ Green and Khris Durham who accounted for 50% of the receiving yards a season ago despite missing 5 games between them. King was the number three receiver and came into this year expected to be the number 1 guy. He is having the best year of his career but has been replaced as the number one guy by a true freshman. Malcolm Mitchell has come on to lead the team with 25 catches. He has also been the teams biggest deep threat. The reason for the B- instead of an A is there have been too many dropped passes. At the division 1 level if you get your hands on the ball it should be a catch. As the group gains experience this should problem should go away. Even with last years losses to this group they are on pace for only slightly fewer yards and a few more touchdowns.

offensive line - C The offensive line is holding the offense back more than any other position. They have been good at times but also have given up way too many sacks. Even when run blocking, by far their biggest strength, they are not consistent. There have been too many holds and even worse false starts. In their defense the line is made up of 4 guards and a center instead of 2 tackles, 2 guards and a center. They are slowly getting better as they get used to the position changes but with the season already halfway over they still have further to go than any other group. With the talent on offense this group does not have to be great for the team to explode offensively, they just need to turn into a dependable line. The biggest thing they can do for themselves is to cut out the penalties. If they can stop putting the team behind the down and distance with false starts and holds they will be helping themselves the most by not putting the team in obvious passing situtions. One last area for improvement is depth. Six guys have taken almost every snap this year. If as a team we want to wear defenses down some of the younger guys need to show that they deserve the chance to be put in games. If the coaches could find a guy or two that can give the starters just 5-10 reps off a game I think it would make a huge difference in how the line performs late in games. The offense will be as good as the offensive line allows them.

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