Miscues, conservative play-calling bites Dogs

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COLUMBIA --- After Georgia mustered little offense in its 17-6 defeat, coach Mark Richt said it's time to unleash quarterback Aaron Murray.

Washaun Ealey's second-half fumble on the 1-yard line was one of many mistakes that Georgia's offense made in Saturday's defeat. The sluggish Bulldogs rushed for only 61 yards in Columbia.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Washaun Ealey's second-half fumble on the 1-yard line was one of many mistakes that Georgia's offense made in Saturday's defeat. The sluggish Bulldogs rushed for only 61 yards in Columbia.

"I think that we just have to allow him to play ball and treat him more like a veteran," Richt said. "He's handled things pretty well, and I think he's prepared to run the system as we have it.

"I think we are ready to just let him play."

Opening up the offense has become a major focus after the Bulldogs failed to score an offensive touchdown for the fourth time against South Carolina in Richt's 10-year tenure. Georgia rushed for 61 yards (2.3 average) and also passed for 191.

Murray, a redshirt freshman, completed 14 of 21 attempts with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He lacked a big target in 6-foot-4 flanker A.J. Green, who sat out the second game of a four-game suspension because of an NCAA violation for selling a jersey in the off-season.

Without Green in the lineup, seven different players caught passes from Murray. Kris Durham led the way with three catches for 76 yards.

"All the receivers did a good job of stepping up," Murray said. "We've got tons of talent on both sides of the ball. We just have to execute."

Georgia also played without junior tailback Caleb King, who started the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. He sat out with an ankle injury, allowing Washaun Ealey to carry the load in his first action of the season.

Ealey gained 32 yards in the first quarter, but he managed just 43 yards the rest of the game. His fumble at the South Carolina 1-yard line late in the third quarter cost the Bulldogs an opportunity to tie the game.

Georgia drove into the red zone three times, each trip advancing to the 10 or closer. Still, the Bulldogs managed just two Blair Walsh field goals.

"We got it into the red zone," Murray said, "but we just couldn't get it done."

Georgia's offense put the team in a precarious situation when it spent all three second-half timeouts by the midway point of the third quarter. One of the timeouts was needed when Durham was not lined up correctly. The other two timeouts were used because of substitution issues.

With no timeouts, Georgia couldn't stop the clock when South Carolina kept the ball on the ground in the fourth quarter.

"Kind of interesting that Georgia lost all three of their timeouts (early) in the second half," Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said. "So we knew they didn't have any. That was a big part of us running it at the end. It was good to see that clock go down at the end of the game."

Now, Georgia shifts its focus to Arkansas. Richt said the Bulldogs will have to generate more offense to defeat the Razorbacks. To do that, it may take offensive coordinator Mike Bobo allowing Murray to run more plays.

"Coach Bobo is a tremendous coach," Murray said. "He's going to put me in the right situation."

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lcbobo 09/12/10 - 07:43 am
NAAustin, props to USC on the

NAAustin, props to USC on the win. Lattimore is a BEAST. Richt wasn't kidding-that is a fine team. Probably the best USC team I've ever seen. My Dawgs have a lot of work to do.

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