September 4, 2011

Offense out of sync

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ATLANTA - All week long, Georgia coaches and players talked about the need to get off to a quick offensive start for Saturday night's opener against Boise State.

Instead, what happened actually resembled more of a dirge.

Although the Bulldogs tried to catch the Broncos napping with a series of several haphazard attempts at no-huddle and mis-direction plays, Georgia's offense sputtered and popped for most of the evening.

The only time it didn't was after Boise State jumped out to a 28-7 lead before touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter by the Bulldogs, made the final 35-21 outcome appear closer than it actually was.

"You've still got to execute, make first downs and make plays," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "You've got to do that whether you're in the no-huddle or not. We just didn't make plays."

In fact, if you take away the 80 yard touchdown run by cornerback Brandon Boykin on the Bulldogs' third offensive series, Georgia would not have even cracked the 300-mark for total yards in the entire game.

It wasn't the kind of crisp, flowing effort that the Bulldogs were hoping they would have against the offensive-minded Broncos.

"It's disappointing," said quarterback Aaron Murray, who completed 16 of 29 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. "It was just too many mental mistakes."

For example, after taking the opening kickoff, Georgia started on its 20 but wound up having to punt from its 10 after a pair of false start penalties on right guard Justin Anderson.

It didn't get much better after that for Georgia, which dropped to 0-1.

For much of the first three quarters, the Bulldog offense was never able to find its rhythm, as Boise State's veteran front seven proved to be more than a match for the bigger Georgia offensive line.

But it wasn't just the line that was having issues on this evening.

"I'm not a veteran of college football, but I know you can't afford to start out of sync," said Mitchell, who accounted for 82 total yards (18 rushing, 64 passing) and scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 51-yard pass from Murray.

Spotty play by the offensive line didn't help matters.

Georgia surrendered six sacks to the Broncos, including four on third down and one on a fourth-down call late in the game.

"We weren't really clean," Richt said. "There were a couple of things they did different with a little bit more stemming and late movement. But we just did not block it clean to give the backs enough space. A couple of times we did, but the backs had to earn everything they got."

Freshman Isaiah Crowell enjoyed a modest debut, rushing 15 times for 60 yards, but junior Richard Samuel was a non-factor, rushing seven times for just 12 yards.

Earlier, the Bulldogs went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Bronco 26 but failed when Samuel was stopped for no gain.

"Yeah, we decided to go for it. I felt we could get one more yard," Richt said. "I felt we needed touchdowns to win this game. I knew we had a great field kicker (Blair Walsh), and had I known we weren't going to make it I would have kicked."

In hindsight, Richt was actually correct in going for the first down as Boise State used a late second-quarter touchdown and on the first possession of the third to keep Georgia at an arm's distance the rest of the way.

"They had a two-possession lead, but it was still early in the second half so we were not in panic mode yet," Richt said. "But yeah, it makes it tough when you get two scores behind."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.