Posted: 12:49 pm Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Junkyard Mail: How much should 2014 Dawgs rely on the run? 

By Bill King

Hutson Mason opens fall practice under the watchful eye of Mike Bobo. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Hutson Mason opens fall practice under the watchful eye of Mike Bobo. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

It’s officially football season, now that Mark Richt’s Bulldogs have started preseason camp, so let’s see what’s on the minds of fans in some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. …

Jimmy Howard writes: Bill, I know all about the benefits of a balanced offense, and Mike Bobo has shown in recent seasons that he understands well how a strong running game sets up a strong passing game. But with Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Brendan Douglas and elite newcomers Nick Chubb and Sony Michel at tailback, plus a changeover at quarterback, do you think maybe Georgia will (or should) rely on the running game a bit more this season?

If Malcolm Mitchell weren’t sidelined (again) and Justin Scott-Wesley weren’t coming back from injury a bit slower than expected (plus facing a one-game suspension), I’d argue the Dogs’ receiver corps was just about the equal of its tailback corps, which would make the case for a balanced offense a no-brainer. Heck, with a still deep group of more than a dozen receivers that includes such sure-handed, dependable players as Chris Conley and Michael Bennett, chunking the seed is still a major part of Georgia’s arsenal. And with Reggie Davis and, hopefully, Brendan Langley coming along, the stretch-the-field speed of Mitchell and Scott-Wesley may not be missed.

But, yes, you’re right, Jimmy, it’s likely that, at least initially, Bobo will rely strongly on his running game to take some pressure off QB Hutson Mason and set up the play-action passing game — assuming, that is, the rejiggered offensive line opens the holes.

Of course, you also can expect that early opponents are fully aware of the Dogs’ running talent and also the fact that the fifth-year senior quarterback doesn’t have as strong an arm or as much mobility as predecessor Aaron Murray, so they may load the box and sell out against the run, daring Mason to show what he can do with his arm. I do think Bobo will feature Gurley heavily in his game plans against Clemson and South Carolina, but will want to keep the defenses honest by reminding them of how quickly Georgia’s passing game can strike, too. I think, particularly as the season progresses, we’re likely to see more uptempo spread plays in the offense, too.

In recent seasons, Bobo has become much more adept at taking what the opposing defense gives him and adjusting his offensive approach. As he put it this week at a press conference, “We’re going to have to see how we unfold as a team offensively and what our best personnel groups are and what our identity becomes for us to move the ball. That changes year to year. Everybody sees Georgia as a two-back team, which we do. But last year we were a one-back team 74 percent of the time with three receivers and one tight end and one back. … We’re still going to have that element of two-back runs and two-back power game to establish some physicality when we go in the stadium and to help with our play-action passes.”

So, bottom line: Maybe a bit more run-oriented to start the season, setting up the passing opportunities, but when you’ve got the weapons at your disposal that Bobo has, you’d be crazy not to use them all.

Nick Chubb practices Friday in Athens. (Steven Colquitt / UGA)

Nick Chubb practices Friday in Athens. (Steven Colquitt / UGA)

DinoDawg writes: Bill, the more I hear about those five-star freshman backs we’ve added to the roster, the more excited I get. But then I look at the talent that’s ahead of them on the depth chart, especially the best running back in the country in one Mr. Todd Gurley, and I wonder how likely is it that Sony Michel and Nick Chubb will see the field much this season. What do you think?

I think it’s the sort of problem football coaches love to have. Plus, if you remember last season you know how quickly that running back depth can be depleted. I also think it’s necessary these days in the SEC to have four or five top-notch tailbacks you can shuffle in and out of a game. LSU and Alabama have had a lot of success with that. And Mark Richt promised this week about his freshman backs: “These guys will be getting a lot of reps.” How much the true freshmen play and how quickly they get into games no doubt will depend in part on how quickly they pick up the playbook, particularly blocking. That’s a key aspect of the game for Georgia tailbacks and generally the most difficult thing for a running back coming out of high school to master. So give them a little time. Still, while I expect the largest chunk of the carries to go to Gurley — I mean, if you’ve got a threat like him, there’s no reason not to keep using it — I figure we’ll see Brendan Douglas and Chubb both spelling Gurley on the straight-ahead running plays, and the shiftier, faster Keith Marshall and Michel as the change-of-pace backs. Basically, Bobo should be able to have a fresh set of legs capable of taking it to the house in the game at all times.

Marietta Slim writes: Bill, I know a lot of fans are worried about a possible fall-off from Aaron Murray to Hutson Mason at the quarterback position this year, especially at the start of the season, but what worries me more is the situation behind Mason, who’s not as elusive as Murray. What happens if Mason can’t play? Who do you see getting the call if he has to come out of the game?

Slim, based on what I’ve heard and what I saw at the spring G-Day game, I’d expect Faton Bauta to be first off the bench if anything happened to Mason. As I’ve said before, there is quite a gap between Mason and his backups, but I thought at G-Day Batau showed a pretty good command of the offense, a surprisingly nice touch on his passes and a mobility that would help make up for a lack of real-game experience. While he’s been considered primarily a “running quarterback,” Bauta was pretty good through the air at G-Day, showing a stronger arm than expected, especially on a fourth-quarter drive in which he completed 47-yard and 41-yard passes on consecutive plays for a score. Brice Ramsey definitely has the strongest arm of the quarterbacks on this team I’ve seen in action, but he didn’t look as sure of himself at G-day as Batau did.

Faton Bauta starts out preseason camp as the likely backup at quarterback. (Steven Colquitt / UGA)

Faton Bauta starts out preseason camp as the likely backup at quarterback. (Steven Colquitt / UGA)

Summing up a number of issues surrounding this year’s football team, SimpleDawg writes: Hey Bill, I remember when Aaron Murray was lamented as “the worst QB to ever play at UGA” by some of the “faithful”; yet now, he’s the reason for despair over his departure. Seems like we had a similar situation years ago. DJ Shockley worked out pretty well. Although Hut isn’t the same type or style of player as DJ, he has many more superlative weapons at his disposal to move the chains and score points. If the offensive line plays well, this offense will burn out scoreboards all over the South. While the defense is a realistic cause for concern, I believe the talent is available, and has been for years. The problem has been in the teaching and in the scheming. Never doubt old axioms … Keep it Simple, Stupid. Playing fast means playing on what you see and feel, not what you think. Instincts enhance speed … thinking, kills it. As for the arrests, a lot of people are having a great deal of fun at UGA’s expense, joking about striped uniforms, etc. The facts are those same guys who have been in trouble turned down several high-profile suitors to sign with Georgia. The reason that they are in the news, and usually off of the team, is because in Athens they’re not protected by local law enforcement nor coddled by the UGA Athletic Dept. They are treated as students, citizens, and the general population — they are expected to obey the law and act like responsible adults. Georgia should not be condemned for that … they should be commended. This could be a very good year for the Dawgs, especially if we begin the season by beating both Clempsin and South Kakalaki. I am ready for some FOOTBALL! Woof, Woof!

Simple, I’m just waiting for a faction to emerge that will be complaining about why Bobo and Richt insist on playing Mason and not giving [fill in the blank] a chance at quarterback. It’s the nature of college football fandom. I think your analysis of Georgia’s defensive woes is on the mark. The Dogs’ biggest problem last year wasn’t lack of talent but lack of coordination and leadership. All through the season you could see confusion on the field, particularly in the secondary, and a lot of players looking to the sideline, where Todd Grantham too frequently waited until the very last moment to get in a call that all the players didn’t understand. It wasn’t a lack of speed that caused Georgia defenders to get burned usually, it was being out of place. Hopefully, Jeremy Pruitt’s streamlined schemes and greater attention to the secondary will go a long way toward fixing that. As for the off-the-field situation, Georgia has unfortunately developed a reputation among national media types for “discipline problems,” even though other teams have just as many problems and don’t deal with them nearly as forthrightly as UGA does. I liked what Richt said this week: The players who get arrested have the discipline problem; the vast majority of Georgia’s players don’t. And I agree that, barring another spate of key injuries, this could indeed be a very good year for the Dawgs.

Finally, reacting to a letter last week proposing that longtime coach Vince Dooley’s name be attached to Sanford Stadium, Steve Upshaw writes: Here we go again. Let’s NOT change the stadium name. To add Dooley to the stadium name would solidify what many already say we are at UGA — average. Look at his career W/L record. In 25 seasons, he averaged 7.1 wins per season. In 20 bowl appearances, he had eight wins — EIGHT!! Legendary, hardly. UGA won the title in 1980, but I could’ve coached that team. Number 34 won that championship. We had a chance for two more titles while Herschel was on campus, but Dooley’s defense could not stop Penn State nor Pittsburgh (and Clemson) when it mattered. Dooley was the most conservative, mealy-mouthed coach ever. … I guess we should change the name of the university to UGR for Richt. His numbers are much better than Dooley’s.

Steve, you sort of overlook the six SEC championships won by Dooley teams, the fact that teams played fewer games per season in those days, and the consistency UGA’s program enjoyed during his tenure while many other comparable programs went up and down. And if you think the 1980 Dogs were a one-man team, you really need to go back and read up on that season. Overall, I’ll just say this: I was always proud to have Vince Dooley as UGA’s coach, no matter how his teams did. And I’d be proud to have his name represented where Georgia plays, whether it’s as part of the stadium name or with the field named in his honor.

Let’s close out by noting that the very talented Frank Martin, who wowed everyone last year with his UGA hype videos, particularly the classic “Awaken the Nation” film the week before the LSU game, has come up with a fall preview video set to the tune “Break the Fall” that’s sure to get the old Red and Black blood pumping. Check it out.

Go Dogs!

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Email junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

107 comments
Dawg350
Dawg350

A few more weeks till we get sweet revenge on this pathetic tigers! It's great to be a georgia bulldawg baby!

shep2121
shep2121

Mike Bobo will find a way to score points in any event.  Great coach, recruiter , and person.  Just like his Boss!

HotDawg
HotDawg

That should pretty much cover most everybody else.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Direct TV has the SEC Network.

Gandolph
Gandolph

I think that Dooley was a prototypical 8-3 coach.  Good, but not great.  He did lead the program respectably  and provided stability but wasn't the Jan Kemp debacle during his time in office?  Or, had he already become the AD by then.  He was a really good AD but then again, he couldn't get along with his boss, the president of the university.  I don't know about naming the stadium after him, especially with wife Barbara wearing orange and white for a few years. 

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

As you pointed out, the wins per season stat by Dooley is apples and oranges to today's numbers. Teams played 11 games (10 if you go way back) and 1 bowl game. Now, the national champ and runner up will play 12 reg season games, a conference title game and TWO playoff games... 15 games.

Dooley had great stats and great teams. 6 SEC titles!

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

How many times should we run the ball depends on how good our Offensive line is. If we have to throw the ball a lot just to keep the other team spread out then Georgia will have their normal balanced Offense but if our Offensive Line is dominate then we can run the ball 65 times a game. Eat up the clock and make all our Running Backs happy would be great since I think Pruitt is going to have our Defense , night and day better than last year.

All this speculation will be answered after the first two games. If we are that good we will beat Clemson at least two touchdowns. Yes they have a very good Defense but if they can stay in our game after losing the play makers they lost ,  then Georgia isn't as good as we hope they are. 

I look at our short comings from last year and we are a lot better in all areas . I even think Mason will be better than Murray. In four years Murray completed the screen pass about 10% of the time because he was so short. Taking the screen pass out of our playbook was huge because it can turn entire game momentum around. Mason won't have that trouble. And how many times did Murray have a turnover that killed our momentum. As great as Murray was he made a lot of mistakes.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Let's go Dawgs! 15-0 baby! Starting out with the trouncing of the tigas..,31-14!

maconexpress
maconexpress

The problem with the OL as far as I can see is that it doesn't have anyone to push them to play physical smash mouth football. I see fear in those guys and lack of effort.

As far as the defense goes, I don't think anyone really knows how the defense will perform this season but I do like the way coach Pruitt talk football. The man takes his job very seriously and that will inspire the defense to play with more effort and determination.

I will say this about coach Dooley is that the man went through the mighty SEC unscathed 5 times, won the secc 6 times, 3 nc appearances 3 times and won 1 nc. 

RebellDawg
RebellDawg

I am against changing the name of the stadium. If you want to honor Dooley, how about a statue. Say one with Dooley holding up the National Championship trophy, with Herschel carrying him on his back.

walkermydog
walkermydog

ardawg wrote "Stanford-Dooley Stadium" ar, you might want to learn the existing name before you so cavalierly rename it. It's Sanford Stadium!

atlfalconno1fan
atlfalconno1fan

who cares ?????????????can we talk Atlanta falcons instead of the overated university with its overated coach to the east

ScoreCheck
ScoreCheck

Dooley was the Head Coach and AD during the Jan Kemp mess. 

For that reason I'm NOT in favor of renaming the Stadium to honor him.


walkermydog
walkermydog

alb, it's Butts-Mehre! 


hotdawg, couldn't disagree with you more wholeheartedly!!!!!!

ALB-Dawg
ALB-Dawg

I have said many of the same things about Dooley regarding his Bowl W-L record and overall record.  I also list some specific beefs I had with him (although don't get hung up on "race" and miss the whole point.


BUT, The man is an icon.  He is an HC with 200 plus victories, 6 sec championships, and 1 national championship.  He built the program (after a post-Butts quagmire), and he put the G on the helmet.  He deserves to be honored in a big way.  I'd like to see it happen while he is alive.  It doesn't necessarily have to be the stadium, but as far as hyphenated names go it's a lot better than Butts-Meare.  I don't like naming the field, but that's just my opinion. 

patriotdog
patriotdog

Bill,I have to agree with Steve. We need to put to bed the idea of naming the stadium or the field after

Coach Dooley. 7 wins a season during a 10 game season translates to roughly 8 games a season, 8.4 to be precise. Hardly legendary. Six SEC wins is excellent, scattered over 25 years it loses luster.

A 7-3 season, Dooleys average, translates to 8.4-3.6 with today's 12 game schedule. Rounding up, it becomes 9-3. Is that worthy of a stadium naming? Throw in an 8-12 bowl record and the record for the 22 non Herschel years and I'm sorry, his career is nice but not legendary.

DawginCO
DawginCO

The offense will run the ball as much as is necessary to remain balanced.  If the running game is producing then you will see more runs.  If the opponent is stacking the line then you will see the passing game to soften them up.  You will see much more uptempo this year and I think that you will see an offense that scores alot of points.  The offense's job is to score points.  It doesn't matter how that is accomplished.


I still see idiots on these blogs that continue to call a team that ran the ball more than it passed it, pass happy.  Good lord.  The Dawgs will nearly always hover in the 55-60% run area, which is better than just about every NFL team.  We run a PRO-style offense and that means we do not just line up and run the ball for the sake of running the ball.  Balance is why this offense is nearly unstoppable when healthy.


Do not be surprised to see some different pass routes this year to take advantage of what Mason does best.  And he can get the ball 15-25 yards down field without issues people.  That is what is required to make a team pay for cheating safeties up in the box.  We may also see many more yards after catch this season because he is good at getting it to guys in stride.


Worry about the defense, the offense is going to be fine.

Whiznot
Whiznot

Forget Dooley. Name the stadium after Erk Russell.

HotDawg
HotDawg

There is a lot more to the man's accomplishments and value than wins and losses.

Have you only done one valuable thing in life?

I would hope not.

Don't be narrow minded and hateful. I'll bet ole Steve Upshaw has never been a UGA fan.

Go Dawgs!

HotDawg
HotDawg

The boss had an ego problem and did not appreciate Dooley's popularity. Dooley did not undermine in any way. And his "boss" pulled a power move for the sake of pulling a power move.

Sometimes this happens in the beginning or middle of someone's career. To show who is boss.

But totally unnecessary at the end of someone's career.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@C-Kirk 


If Mason is  ALMOST as good as Murray it will be a GREAT YEAR for UGA!!!


If you want to know just how good Murray was go back and watch ALL the games. Murray is the ONLY REASON that UGA was able to come from behind in several games. I hope I am wrong but in my opinion Mason ain't no Murray!!!!!!

DawginCO
DawginCO

@C-Kirk   I don't think we cut down the screens because of Murray's size.  That is just silly.  I think we cut down on the screens because we had some O-linemen that weren't as mobile as needed.  I can think of a few screens that weren't well executed and that wasn't Murray's fault.  The screen to Lynch last year in the UF game was going to be a monster gain and he dropped it and then had a brain fart,  Complete that pass and the game is a total blow out.  That is how things went last year.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@C-Kirk and a lot of those mistakes by Murray can be attributed to the lousy O-line we have had 

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@Dawg350 


Welcome back Bro!!!!!!!!!!


Did you get early parole or did you just walk away from the work detail??????????

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@atlfalconno1fan 


Dawgs will win twice as many games as your silly birds and this blog is for adults not Middle Schoolers like you!!!!!!!!!!!!


Go away knucklehead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DawgNation
DawgNation

@ScoreCheck Ding! Ding! Ding!  It only took about 24 hours for the first old and tired Kemp reference showed up.  Isn't that Princes Lea's shtick? 

ALB-Dawg
ALB-Dawg

@ScoreCheck Yep.  I would add the Kemp affair to my list of strikes against him (not so much because of what was going on but how it was handled after she called them out).  It still does not change the fact that he essentially made Georgia football as we know and love it, including our beloved G and the silver britches.  At least commission a statue to display prominently near the stadium.  

ARdawg
ARdawg

@ScoreCheck 

The "Jan Kemp mess" was Dooley's fault? Not even close. His complacency of it in the time period can easily be excused as it was the norm in all of collage athletics everywhere. Dooley's positive contributions to UGA Athletics will be difficult to match and may never be. Stanford-Dooley Stadium would be a nice way for a fitting honor for a deserving individual

ALB-Dawg
ALB-Dawg

@walkermydog Its pronounced the same way which is the joke.  thanks for the correction, though.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Agree with you 100%. And must add he has a major list of accomplishments with college football and UGA, beyond being Coach and AD. I've said before it is not based solely on wins/losses. 40+ years of contributions. And his "office" for 25 of them was Sanford Stadium.

I am 100% in favor of renaming it Sanford - Dooley Stadium.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Please don't just look at record. It's so much more than that.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@DawginCO the offense will be the top offense in the nation; the defense will be way better; 15-0 this year

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg just a few more days til the national championship season begins

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

@DawginCO @C-Kirk

I guess we will have to just disagree on this one point. For every example like the one you stated I can come up with 3 because Murray couldn't get the ball over the Defensive Lineman's hands. The last play of the Alabama game ended up being tipped because Murray didn't throw it high enough. Now I'm not saying we would have completed the pass but it was an example of so many passes that got tipped because Murray wasn't tall enough. Murray did do a good job finding open lanes to throw the ball or he couldn't have thrown for so many yards.

walkermydog
walkermydog

@ALB-Dawg

wrong, the butt of the joke is butt smear! Why are you making fun of our beloved institution, or are you just mimicking the trolls?

HotDawg
HotDawg

Why not? Play to be the best.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Do I detect a bit of sarcasm from flat?

No way. Not from flat.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@C-Kirk @DawginCO 


I;m not sure which games you have been watching but Murray didn't set all those records by being too short. He was the ONLY reason UGA won several games in spite of not having a great O Line. Go back and look at the game films.


That TOO SHORT crap has been shot down too many times to count!!!

Eddie LeBaron, Doug Flutie, Drew Breese and 50 more top notch QBs are/were shorter than Murray. Height can be an advantage but it damn sure isn't an absolute necessity!!!!!!!

maconexpress
maconexpress

@C-Kirk @DawginCO If I may add.....I agree with all of you but Aaron was only doing what the coaches trained him to do(trust the pocket). If Murray was giving the freedom to use his legs early in his career, I believe he would have a better record against quality opponents.  Until the OL can be trusted to protect those guys consistently, CMB should give his qbs the freedom to use their legs.

ALB-Dawg
ALB-Dawg

@walkermydog @ALB-Dawg Nah.   I was just born with a sense of humor.  It acts up on occasion.  Probably shouldn't let it cloud the rest of what I posted.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Sorry flat, i realize it wasn't a bit of sarcasm.

It was pretty thick sarcasm.

HotDawg
HotDawg

I don't talk like that. But i don't go into any game expecting to lose, either. I expect to be competitive. Is that unreasonable? Sometimes things don't work out every Saturday.

I don't love the team or school any less because of it.

You are entirely wrong to assume every fan that stays positive most of the time and supports UGA, goes around saying Georgia is going to win the national championship EVERY year.

I certainly don't.

And I personally don't know anyone that does. Although jerks that feel the need to make sarcastic remarks towards those that support the team, want to perceive that every one of those fans predicts a national championship every year.

The insults and sarcasm towards these fans reaps of little man syndrome.

Otherwise , why do you care if people are excited, passionate, and supportive of their team?

You're first instinct is to insult them. That is psychotic. Makes you feel big, little man?

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@HotDawg 


Excellent observations Hotdawg but I believe you went too easy on this negative POS!!! He and his ilk are harming the UGA program so there is no way he is really a UGA fan!!!!

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg  jerk; little man? And you want to say Im insulting.


Lol at that

HotDawg
HotDawg

If the shoe fits.

But i was speaking in general of posters that do such things.

Must've felt like one of the guilty party, huh?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg felt like one?  Your last couple of points was toward me.  So dont act like I fell into something 

HotDawg
HotDawg

Flat, you don't think people that constantly insult and are sarcastic towards others are jerks? And I'm being kind.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Now you feel tricked? A smart guy like you?

HotDawg
HotDawg

I Don't run from bullies.

And you try to bully people. You want insults and sarcasm. That's fine. I'm a big boy. You're a smartass.

I don't come on here with the sole intention to be a smartass to Georgia fans on a Georgia blog.

You do.

Hide behind your computer and be a smartass.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg golf clap yes Im tricked; congrats golf clap again.  And you of all posters want to call someone out about insults


Lol again

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@FlatTire @HotDawg 


Don't start that BS!!  Just like you have posted  OBVIOUS LIES  and you want to know "Where did I lie?"  You are the worst of the trolls because you feign being a Dawg Fan!!!!!!!!

HotDawg
HotDawg

Deny in your history of posts you have not tried to insult?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg and you want talk about insulting people.  Take a look at Snagglepus


Almost everyday he insults anyone that doesnt agree with him


Let me know when you call him out

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg where and when do I bully?  Cant wait for this one.


Im sorry that my opinion doesnt agree with yours as to where this program has been.  You want to talk about insults and bullies just look in the mirror especially your own posts tonight

HotDawg
HotDawg

Like I said, above post is for all the sarcastic jerks.They know who they are. And so do the fans here.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Sorry, am I just part of the "redpants" society that you love to insult?

I think that is one of your smartass names you call people.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg like I said dont call one side out when the other side does the same


As far as UGA is concerned Im hoping for the best and I feel with the hiring of Pruitt things are looking up


By the way I have agreed with several of your past posts on many occasions;  

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg ilk; non fan; and the several names you called me tonight


keep looking in the mirror

HotDawg
HotDawg

Allright. Good night.