September 9, 2012

Missouri wrapup

Anyone who watched Saturday night's game against Missouri noticed that Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray got off to a slow start.

The third-year starter didn't get a great deal of help from his offensive line or wide receivers early, but Murray also made his fair share of mistakes.

With just a couple of minutes left in the first half, however, Murray led the Bulldogs on their first touchdown drive, and was almost flawless from that point on.

According to his position coach and offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo, it was Murray's experience that made it all possible.

"I thought he showed his veteran leadership last night. He wasn't on in the first half, and you know, some guys could have made some catches for him that could have help some things and got us going," said Bobo. "He was confident the whole time. His body language never changed out there when I talked to him on the headset. He felt good and was real confident that we were going to get things going. We just got to settle in a little bit earlier in games sometimes but sometimes that's just the way it goes."

Once the Bulldog signal caller got it going, the Georgia offensive staff was ready to win or lose with their star quarterback.

"We felt like in that game we were going to put it on his shoulders to get us some points and throw the ball and he responded," said Bobo. "So did the wide receivers and so did the (offensive) line giving him time to make those throws."

Theus' struggles

Freshman right tackle John Theus had a first half that he would undoubtedly like to forget.

The former five-star lineman had multiple false start penalties, and was beaten for a couple of sacks in the first two periods, but Bobo believes those struggles may have had less to do with his ability to compete in the SEC and more to do with his practice time this week.

"I thought he played well last week, the first week. He had the injury and it obviously set him back this week," he said. "He didn't practice until Thursday, and I think that hurt him a little bit in this game."

Based on what Bobo has seen thus far, he is very optimistic that Theus will be exactly what the Georgia coaching staff thought he could be when they made him one of their top targets in the 2012 recruiting class.

"My two game evaluation of him is that he is a tough kid that is mentally and physically tough. He can handle a little bit of adversity. He didn't get shook. He went through some adversity in the game the other night. A couple missed blocks and missed assignments but continued to play hard," said Bobo. "We just have to get him back in practice this week so he can get better this week. He is still a baby. He's had camp and four weeks of practice and was hurt all last week so we don't expect him to go out there and be the dominant guy on the edge like we think he can be in the future, right now. But as long as he can continue to get better, I think he can be an elite player in this league."

Based on production

In two games for Georgia, freshman running back Todd Gurley has 18 carries for 165 yards and three rushing touchdowns.

While Bobo has yet to ride Gurley in the first two games, the Georgia offensive coordinator does notice that the Tarboro, N.C. native has been the most productive.

It is also the driving force behind the number of snaps Gurley played on Saturday.

"It is based off production and Todd (Gurley) obviously had the best production last night with the amount of yards and then yards per carry," said Bobo. "He got the most, I don't have the snaps off the top of my head, but I think he played almost 40 snaps. Keith (Marshall) played 22, and I think Ken Malcome had 13. I'm probably not exactly right, but I know he played the most snaps by 12 or 13. Then some of the situation dictated where we were spreading them out where when he was in there he didn't get as many touches. I think all of them did a nice job."

Bobo wants Mitchell

After sitting out the season opener against Buffalo, sophomore Malcolm Mitchell made his 2012 debut on Saturday against Mizzou.

The receiver turned cornerback played all of his snaps on defense against the Tigers, but if Bobo has anything to do with it, Mitchell will get some looks on offense in the near future.

"I can promise you I'm going to be politicking hard for him offensively," he said. "I already walked in there to Coach (Todd) Grantham's meeting earlier this afternoon and asked what kind of offense FAU (Florida Atlantic) runs. What kind of personnel groups and how many receivers they are going to have on the field."

Mitchell will undoubtedly be a huge addition to the Georgia offense, but, according to Bobo, don't expect Grantham to let him go easily.

"He was trying to say they play five wide. I don't think they play five wide," he said. "He was joking like they had to have him."

What impact will Vasser and Commings have

After playing the first two games without four starters on defense, that number will be cut in half this weekend when the Bulldogs face off against Florida Atlantic at Sanford Stadium.

Linebacker Chase Vasser and Sanders Commings will return from two-game suspensions, and their ability and experience will certainly be welcomed back with open arms.

Grantham, however, believes that the time they missed has created a situation where the Bulldogs' defense is better off now that they will return.

"I've always had the phrase that injury creates depth, and since those guys were out, other guys were forced to play," said Grantham. "They came in and did a good job for us, and now when you add these guys (Commings and Vasser) back in, you have actually added a little bit of depth to your team."

As for the return of Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree, mum is still the word.

"Right now, they are on the depth chart, and we will just have to see what happens as we move forward," he said.

Jones "special" performance

Almost everyone in the country took notice outside linebacker Jarvis Jones' performance against Mizzou.

The All-American linebacker had constant pressure on Mizzou quarterback James Franklin and broke through in the fourth quarter with a huge interception and a sack that forced a fumble that Jordan Jenkins recovered.

Both turnovers set up scores for the Bulldogs, and while Grantham believes the performance was extraordinary, it comes as no surprise.

"I think it was a special game that with the way the game was going it was a tight game. It was very competitive. He made some huge plays in the fourth quarter that really allowed us to separate ourselves from them and open up the game," said Grantham. "He is a special guy who works extremely hard in his preparation. He's really instinctive. He does a lot of things for us, like I've said, when you have the ability of him; you have to have some flexibility in moving him around. You want to give the element where you aren't sure where he will be."

Bowman making strides

Coming into the 2012 season, Georgia's secondary depth was one major concern.

After redshirting in 2011, cornerback Devin Bowman saw his first against Buffalo in game one, and got his first taste of conference play against Missouri on Saturday.

If what Grantham has seen thus far is any indication, Bowman has proven that he has the ability to contribute consistently.

"I think any time a kid plays and has some snaps it is much easier to maybe find a role for him moving forward because you have a better feel of what he can exactly do. The play that he got beat on, there are 10 other guys out there and we are a team. It's not always on one person. That is what I would have to say about that play," said Grantham. "I think that he did a good job. I thought that he was really physical yesterday. They went after him a little bit on the backside of trips, and he did a really good job of playing physical and rerouting guys and staying on guys. He forced a couple of other bad throws that were just incomplete passes but it was because of the way he played that allowed it to be that way. I thought he improved from game one to game two. I was proud of his performance and how he came in and helped us win."

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