With just over two weeks remaining before the season-opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo admits the Dog Days of August have taken a bite out the offense's routine.
"We're hitting a little bit of the grind in camp and that's where we've got to be mentally strong and push through and concentrate on the little things," Bobo said Wednesday. "We don't need the little things to slack off because of fatigue. We've got to push through and fight and I saw a little bit of that today, but we've got to do a better job of being tougher while focusing and practicing harder."
Bobo admits he wasn't pleased following the recent Saturday scrimmage at Sanford Stadium where the Bulldog defense by all accounts dominated play, although the offense was able to convert during goal-line drills.
Still, some of the fundaments Bobo expects from his offense did not materialize.
"We didn't show up ready to play early in the scrimmage. We had three drives, and the way the scrimmage works with the drives and you happen to go three and out then you really can't keep going even if you get a drive started on the fourth play," Bobo said. "We didn't do very well at the start of each drive. There were really some self-inflicted wounds on center-quarterback exchanges on two of the three drives and then a fumble by a running back on the third one. After that, we moved the ball but the ball had to stop due to the rules."
Bobo said he's not concerned about quarterback Aaron Murray, who completed just 8-of-20 passes for 133 yards.
Although Murray certainly made some mistakes, they're not the type of errors that Bobo believes will haunt the redshirt freshman once the season begins.
"Aaron has just got to continue to get reps. He's done a great job of improving his fundamentals in the parts of practice leading up to the 11-on-11s, whether it's individual drills, throwing routes on air, throwing in one-on-ones or pass skelly and he's making it a habit of doing it right every time," Bobo said. "He's a conscientious kid who wants to do it right and I believe will do it right. His work ethic is going to make him the player that we all want him to be."
Backup Hutson Mason continues to impress as well.
"He is doing a great job of coming out and competing every day at practice. He's not settling for 'I'm the backup and I'm going to be the emergency third-string guy, I'm going to get redshirted.' He's coming out with the idea that he's going to play, he's competing every day and that's good to see," Bobo said. "A lot of times that doesn't happen every day with a young guy, especially in a system where he doesn't know everything but he's taken everything in during the meetings then gone out, competed and played hard and he's getting better every single day, which is good to see. He's got a long way to go but I like the fact that he's competing every day."
Bobo does want to see more consistency from the offensive line, although injuries have been a big reason for that.
With starting center Ben Jones out for another week after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and left guard Cordy Glenn still recovering from mono, it's given players like Tanner Strickland (left guard) and Chris Burnette (center) the opportunity for extra reps.
"There've been flashes of some good play, just not consistent play but that happens when you don't have a consistent rotation up front. We've got some guys who have to play some different positions but I think it's good experience for those guys to put them in the battle early where they might have thought 'I'm going to be a third-team guy and can sit back and learn' or you're a second-team guy but all of a sudden you're thrown in with the first team and guys are depending on you," Bobo said. "They're showing us if they are somebody we can depend on, that they're dependable to play. This is their opportunity and so far we've got guys who are doing a good job of making us believe we can trust them."
The wide receivers are also catching Bobo's eye.
Although depth was and will remain a concern, Bobo said there's no doubt that each of Georgia's wideouts put in the extra effort over the summer and so far it's shown on the practice field.
"I feel good about receiver. The whole time I've been concerned about the quality of numbers but as far as the quality of guys, those guys really did a nice job this summer of working hard and are in shape," he said. "You go back and look at the tape every day and those guys are busting their tails running hard. There's hardly any loafs and because they're in shape I really see them getting better every day I see a lot of improvement in their play. I really feel good about them."
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