Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post The end of the three-headed monster

Sunday September 17, 2006

Can we finally stop pretending that Georgia has three more or less interchangable tailbacks?

It’s not that Thomas Brown is a bad football player. We’ve all seen enough to know better. But is he and the other backs being used in the right situations that best use their abilities?

In the first quarter of yesterday’s UAB game, Georgia faced a short fourth down conversion. They were already up 7-0, the offense had looked pretty efficient on two drives, and another score might have opened the floodgates. Kregg Lumpkin had a very impressive burst to the outside for the first score, and then Danny Ware had ripped off runs of 6, 8, and 14 yards on the second drive. Stafford was mixing in some passes, and the UAB defense was on its heels.

So on this key fourth down, Richt chooses to hand the ball to…not Lumpkin or Ware but to Thomas Brown. Brown to that point had been the only Georgia back to have a carry for a loss. The conversion failed, and Georgia’s offense took nearly two quarters to recover.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the Dawgs faced another short yardage situation in the second half. Again they called on Brown. Same result. At least it was only third down, and Brannan Southerland was able to salvage the drive on fourth down.

It’s hard to find something really problematic about a 34-0 win, but this is it. With a young quarterback still developing, smarter decisions in the running game are necessary. We’ve come a good ways. We’re seeing multiple back sets mixed in with good results. I’m really happy with the way Danny Ware is used in the passing game; he’s the best receiving back. But that short-yardage power “gotta have a yard” back seems to be the hang-up. Southerland and Williams did a nice job, but sometimes you have to go to the tailback. Who should be in the game when you have to have that one or two yards?

Each of the three tailbacks brings something positive but unique to the offense. We can’t treat them as clones of each other or to expect the same results from each in a given situation. I really hope this is something that gets sorted out before the same thing happens (again) in a game in which the difference between the two teams isn’t so great.

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