Looking forwards and looking backwards

Citing a Mark Bradley post that in turn quotes from an ESPN pay site is no doubt one the greatest sins I’ve ever committed at this blog, but the info that he quotes is too interesting to ignore (unlike Bradley’s own commentary in the post).

• “Last year, Stafford had plenty of weapons to utilize, but he was always on the run. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Stafford was drilled 93 times last season, up from 77 as a sophomore. Because of that, a Georgia offense that still managed 31.5 points per game [third in the SEC] was too star-driven. [Offensive coordinator Mike] Bobo admits that Stafford had a tendency to [focus on] his most reliable players while on the run.”

• “While the previews will say the Dawgs get back seven starters on offense, Bobo contends they get back eight … and that’s just on the offensive line. ‘We actually have eight guys back [on the O-line] that have started games for us, and we can move them around if we have to,’ Bobo says. Because of that, he thinks [Joe} Cox will be able to get more options involved. And he’ll need to. ‘Right now, we really have just one proven playmaker, but it’s not how we’ll play where we’re just tossing it to [A.J. Green]; you’ll see us spread it around.’ ”

That’s one reason I think the criticism thrown Stafford’s way is a bit unfair.  ’06 was just a chaotic year on offense (of course, the QB situation was part of that) and ’08 saw an offensive line that was discombobulated frequently, as the quarterback hit numbers indicate.  There were a number of games where we saw what happened when Stafford didn’t trust his pass protection – not only the reliance that Bobo mentioned, but also Matt’s tendency to let his mechanics slide.

But I also think that affected Bobo’s game calling.  Listen to the way he sounds now.  Give that man a line that can block and protect and I believe he’s confident enough to make the offense work.  And I have to think some of that stems from what Bobo sees in Joe Cox.

On a somewhat related front, I think Coach Richt may be overstating his case about the questions Cox faces at the helm this year.

… But while Cox may be a bit unfairly judged by what Shockley accomplished, Mark Richt thinks that his current quarterback has actually had it a bit easier than his old one did.

“If you remember, Shockley’s last game he played a lot in was Georgia Tech on a cold, wet day, and he didn’t play very well,” Richt said. “So there was a lot of people, a large contingent of fans who were like, ‘This kid can’t do it.’ I think Shockley came into the season with more doubters than what Joe’s coming into the season with, in my opinion…”

Apples and oranges, if you ask me.

As a backup to Greene, Shockley was inserted into games far more frequently than Cox has been during his career.  So I’m not sure which engenders less confidence among the faithful, playing relatively frequently with plenty of ups and downs, or simply not seeing the playing field in a meaningful way other than for a couple of quarters during a period when it was clear the staff wanted to go with the true freshman.  Not to mention that Richt is looking for very different things from Joe than he was from DJ in order for the offense to function successfully.


Filed under Georgia Football

15 responses to “Looking forwards and looking backwards

  1. kckd

    The difference in DJ and Shock isn’t the “doubters”, but the “knowers”.

    DJ had far more people who “knew” he was gonna fail.


    • Good point, but a lot of that is a function of Richt playing Shockley. I wonder what the attitude would have been for DJ if he’d have been as much of a blank slate going into his starting season as Joe is now.


    • Macallanlover

      I was always surprised about the level of doubt concerning DJ from the media, but especially the fans. In my opinion, neither Greene nor Stafford could have led that UGA team to the SEC title in 2005. Shockley’s mobility behind a leaky offensive line not only opened passing lanes, but turned certain sacks into positive yardage plays that kept drives alive. I wish we could have seen DJS for more than that one season. He will always be one of, if not the best UGA QBs.

      As for Cox, he doesn’t have to be as good as DJ was simply because of the offensive line’s ability. I am comfortable with Joe at the helm this season, but feel we will face at least two teams with better QBs this year versus none last year. I see Joe as “above average” with DJ and MS as very good. A fall off of some degree for sure, but the better OL gives me reason for optimism, and I see no reason for the concern level of 2006. I just hate the “one and done” situations, ideally college QBs should get 2-3 years.


      • That’s a good point from the mobility perspective. We also have to remember that DJ had Leonard Pope to dump it off to when things broke down. Pretty nice to have a brick wall of a receiver for a safety valve.

        I made a similar comment over at DawgSports regarding how we might have fared with DJ at the helm for a few years. The talent was always there, I just wonder what that offense might have been with DJ running things for awhile. As much love as I have for David Greene and everything he accomplished, I think DJ could have been that guy to take Georgia beyond the national perception of a regional player and into the national spotlight. He had that “it” factor like Vince Young and Tebow have now.


  2. kckd

    Sorry. Meant Joe and Shock.


  3. Finally, the Senator makes the comment that I’ve been saying forever. Stafford got ripped by his own fans way too much without objectively looking at the tattered smathering of bodies that was his O-line. I sincerely believe you could have put Tebow/McCoy/Bradford behind that Georgia line last year and their numbers wouldn’t have been quite as eye-popping to say the least.


    • Bulldog Bry

      And oddly enough, Tebow has a few problems of his own as far as his offensive line this year. I believe while every else is returning, to O linemen are not.


      • NCT

        Indeed. I’ll be shocked if these stories we’ve read about “tweaking” Tebow into more of an NFL-friendly QB are reflected in on-the-field reality for more than a series or two against Southeast Hillsborough Middle School (or whoever it is they’re playing outside of SEC/FSU) . I expect more of the same. In fact, I won’t be surprised if UF’s offense looks more like 2006 (when Tebow was in) and 2007 than 2008. Ah, memories. Tebow looked so good in the 2007 Cocktail Party.


  4. Batdawg

    I’m not sure I can put my finger on the reason why, but I’m not as sold on our OL this year as everyone else seems to be.

    It could be merely from the fact that it’s been piecemeal for so many seasons that I can’t fathom anything else.


  5. Hobnail_Boot

    If Cox is as good as DJ, then we’re going to Pasadena.


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