Published October 12, 2010 - 4:05am
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At the midpoint in the season the current edition of the Bulldogs are not where anyone expected them to be, near the bottom of the SEC East race and struggling for wins. Some predicted Georgia would be a dark horse and battle Florida for the East title, but fumbles at crucial moments have gotten the Bulldogs (2-4, 1-3 SEC) off to a horrible start and a very uneasy fan base. Head Coach Mark Richt has begun to get asked “hot seat” questions and the hope of the 2010 season seems like a total loss in Athens, GA. Turnovers and poor Secondary play have sent the USS Dawg onto rocky shores.
Here’s a statistical look at the Bulldogs thus far this season within the SEC and nationally:
Kick Off Returns – Georgia ranks 5th in the SEC and 22nd nationally. The effort put into improving special teams play is very evident this year compared to last. Brandon Boykin is always a threat to take it the distance.
Punt returns – ranked 5th in the SEC at 10.38 yards per return, Georgia is the only team in the top half of the SEC with a losing record.
Net Punting – 2nd in the SEC with last year’s ray Guy Award winner Drew Butler again having a solid season.
Total Offense – ranks 8th out of 12 teams in the SEC and 67th in the nation with an average of 370 yards per game.
Passing Offense – the Bulldogs rank a surprising 4th in the SEC and 23rd nationally even after AJ Green missed the first four games of the season. Senior Flanker Kris Durham has stepped up production in AJ’s absence and is having his best season thus far. QB Aaron Murray has been smart with the football with only 3 interceptions to go along with 11 TD’s.
Rushing Offense – ranked only above Tennessee and Arkansas, the Bulldog running game lacks the bite it had last year. Fumbles and missed blocking assignments have really hampered the offense. Caleb King has had an ankle sprain slow him this year and Washaun Ealey’s fumble troubles continue.
Scoring Offense – ranked 9th within the SEC and 64th nationally. Now that AJ Green is back from suspension, QB Aaron Murray will have the full complement of his scoring weapons. Points on the board should improve steadily the reminder of the season. 41 points on the scoreboard in AJ Green’s first full game back on the field bodes well for the UGA Offense.
Total Defense – Georgia ranks 5th and 28th in the nation. They are giving up an average of 315 yards per game. They are the only team with a losing record ranked in the top half of SEC defenses.
Passing Defense – ranked in the bottom half of the SEC at 7th and 57th nationally. The dogs give up 15.31 average yards per completion, worst in the SEC.
Rushing Defense – ranks 5th in the SEC and 29th nationally. The newly implemented 3-4 defense of new Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham has stopped the run fairly well this year highlighted by allowing a total of only 9 yards rushing in this past week’s game against Tennessee.
Scoring Defense – ranked 7th in the SEC and 29th nationally. The defense is giving up 20.33 points per game thus far this year. Seen as a potential weak point coming into the season, the defense has played well considering the new scheme. Poor tackling remains a huge issue.
Pass Efficiency Defense – Dead last in the SEC. Poor secondary play has really hurt the Bulldogs with broken coverage’s and poor tackling being the main culprit. Bacarri Rambo stands out as a weak link within the backfield. Junior college transfer Jakar “The Hitman” Hamilton has yet to live up to preseason hype. Georgia has an uncanny ability to make opposing QB’s look really good.
The Bulldogs are coming off their only second win of the season. The 41-14 thumping of Tennessee did wonders for the overall confidence of the team but didn’t do much to reveal the true potential of this year’s team. Coach Mark Richt is doing things differently at this point in the season in hopes to motivate this team that it still has something to play for. The most recent Monday practice, the first time in full pads on a Monday, has players responding positively. He even led his team out of the tunnel during team introductions for the first time in his ten-year tenure in Athens.
This year it seems the Bulldogs are one play away or one turnover away from winning ballgames. The penalty sins of the past have mostly been eliminated. Sound QB play has been a strong point thus far. With a tough slate of teams coming up in the second half of the season, it remains to be seen how the 2010 Bulldogs will respond. Next week brings Vanderbilt to Athens for Homecoming which should continue to help right the ship. However road games @ Kentucky and Auburn, plus the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville will be tough tests. The Bulldogs have Idaho State and Georgia Tech @ home. A 2-4 record to match the first half of the season is a very real possibility. Georgia fans will be howling for major staff changes on the heels of a 4-8 season. Running the table the rest of the way seems unlikely, so a .500 season is probably the best case scenario and 6-6 just doesn’t cut it in Athens.