Monday, October 5, 2009

Three Keys to Saving the Season

The Georgia Bulldog's loss to LSU was painful, but it did not eliminate the Bulldogs from achieving their ultimate goal of a SEC Championship. In order to get back into the SEC East race, the Dawgs must eliminate three major problems.

1. Special Teams
Blair Walsh and Drew Butler have both done a fine job of kicking the football. Coverage of those kicks has been less than stellar, especially kick-off coverage which has been absolutely pathetic. While other top-level teams use premier starters on their coverage units, Coach Mark Richt and Jon Fabris continue to utilize second tier talent. Furthermore, they play with little to no discipline.

Blair Walsh is flanked by ten players when he kicks the ball. We all hope he boots it through the end-zone, but it cannot be expected everytime, especially following a penalty. We have to have players capable of getting downfield, maintaining their lanes and tackling the ball carrier.

Against South Carolina we had three great returns. Those returns may have been the difference in the game. Since that time, we have lost the special teams battle. We are losing untold yards in special teams due to our lack of returns in both the kicking and punting games due to our inability to muster returns and tackle the opponent.

The problem is not new and must be addressed. Special teams is not a time for rest.

2. Run the Football
A running game is a must. You cannot win in this league if you can't run the football. Joe Cox cannot be expected to carry us through the schedule throwing the ball. Slumps, like the first half last Saturday are going to happen. Joe rebounded well in the second half, but he must get help from a running game.

Blocking has been inadequate, but the scheme has been flawed as well. The running backs must have patience to find the hole, but the coaching staff must have patience to let the running game gel. The spread formation is not the answer. Joe Cox is not a running threat. Let's get back in the I formation and pound the football, use the play-action pass and pound the football some more.

We may not start the game on fire running it, but it will come. With more running attempts the line will block better and the backs will find a rythym. The defense will surely benefit from a ground attack that chews up clock and doesn't produce so many three and outs deep in our territory.

3. Defense Must Stop Giving Up Big Plays
The defense has played a bend but don't break style and has generally come up big at the end of games. Last Saturday the defense dominated the second and third quarters. They gave up yards in the first, but only 6 points. The big play at the end was a killer.

The big play has often been a killer this year. Okie State, Arkansas and Arizona State prior to LSU. The position is called SAFETY for a reason. We must stop allowing opponents to get behind us. IF a player refuses to play his responisiblity, get someone else in there. You cannot simply say someone is going to play more, you have to play them. Who knows, a few series on the sidelines may help to teach the player what he needs to do.

Get Back to Basics
These are all basics of sound football. Frankly, we need to get back to the basics. Let us spend less time on trick plays and new gimmicky offensive formations and get back to the basics. Hopefully, that will lead to a little more practice time for our special team's coverage units.


No comments: