September 3, 2013

What to do about Clowney?


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Mike Bobo on South Carolina from UGASports.com on Vimeo.

Offensive line coach Will Friend knows one fact for certain regarding Saturday afternoon's game against 6th-ranked South Carolina (1-0).

His players are going to have to give a much better account of themselves than they did in last week's 38-35 loss to Clemson.

With All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney eager to rebound from his showing last Thursday against North Carolina, they'd better be.

"The biggest thing it was nowhere a complete game. There might have been a quarter and a half where we played pretty good up front," Friend said after practice Tuesday. "I thought we played poorly in the middle part. Late in the game we played pretty good, but too many penalties put us in a bind. We had four of them, and against a good team and on the road you can't have the penalties and things that we had to put yourself behind the chains and have a chance to be successful."

Contending with Clowney will be a challenge of its own.

Like last year, the bulk of that responsibility will fall to left tackle Kenarious Gates, who will be facing off against Clowney for the second straight time.

"I don't know, he didn't block him last year, so I don't know," Friend said. "But seriously, you got techniques that you're going to do, plays you've got to run and those type things. He'll study tape, and what the guy has done. It will be like any other week."

But offensive coordinator Mike Bobo hinted the job won't be Gates' to bear alone.

"We're going to have to do some different things against him, but he beats double-teams and he beats chips. When you've got somebody chipping him or cutting him he jumps over it," Bobo said. "He's a great player and no doubt we've got to know where he is but at the same time we've got to go play ball. We've got to man up and play ball and whatever we decide to do on that play, the guy or the guy have to do their job. If he beats us we've got to hold onto the ball because he can do something to impact the game."

Although Clowney caught some grief from the national media for appearing to tire against the Tar Heels, Friend was impressed with what he saw.

"The other night ... the speed he was playing with ... he was running down bubbles from the other side, he's got the quarterback flustered ... the guy's an outstanding player," Friend said. "Pretty much what Coach (Mark) Richt said this summer is what I see. That guy was all over the field. He was creating havoc like he was every week."

Friend says he's pleased with Theus

Friend deflected a question that somehow he was displeased with sophomore John Theus, who backed up Kolton Houston at right tackle for the start of last week's game against Clemson.

"He's a better player than he was this time a year ago," Friend said of Theus, who started all 14 games as a true freshman. "We've got to play who we think are the best guys and he played as many snaps as Kolton did last week. We played the best five that we thought going into the game Saturday."

According to the depth chart in Georgia's pre-game notes, Theus is listed as the No. 2 right tackle against for Saturday's game against the Gamecocks.

But Friend insists he'll play.

"We'll be like we were against Clemson, We'll play 6 or 7 guys," he said. "We just go to get after it. and play like you're supposed to at Georgia and that's for four quarters, not a quarter and half."

Murray takes loss hard

Fans aren't the only ones giving quarterback Aaron Murray a hard time for his fumble and interception in Saturday's loss to Clemson.

So is Murray, who said Tuesday he's watched replays of the game six times to try and pinpoint exactly what went wrong.

"I've watched the game six times in three days already. It was a tough game, a great game, but you're always looking for ways to make improvements," he said. "I'm definitely going to continue working to be the best quarterback I can be."

Murray said he watched the offensive highlights twice on the bus ride home from Clemson, twice more on Sunday, once Monday and once Tuesday.

"Penalties killed us all night long, six drives with penalties killed us right there. The drives without penalties, we did fine," he said. "We really hurt ourselves all night. It wasn't the play-calling that changed at all, it was us not doing our responsibilities."

Injury update

Backup tight end Jay Rome highlighted Tuesday's post-practice injury report due to a sprained left ankle.

It's the same ankle that set Rome back for over a week during preseason camp. Rome was able to get in some limited work, however, and is still expected to play against the Gamecocks.

Also, cornerback Kennar Johnson was out with an unspecified illness, while wide receiver Rantavious Wooten (left ankle sprain), linebacker Chase Vasser (two ankle sprains) and running back A.J. Turman (right knee sprain/right ankle sprain) were limited.

This and that

Saturday's loss to Clemson dropped the Bulldogs to 11th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. ... Tuesday, the Bulldogs practiced in full pads for approximately two and a half hours on what's traditionally their most physical practice of a game week. Richt said his team doesn't need reminding how big Saturday's game (ESPN, 4:30 p.m. is)"It's a big game for both teams," Richt said. "Obviously it's the first conference game for both teams to set the tone for the future. We don't have a game next week. We have an open date, and there's not a whole lot we should be holding back. We need to get better at a lot of things fundamentally. We need to be able to block better and tackle better, especially in space. That's what today and tomorrow will be about in practice. Of course we'll be installing our game plan as well. That's where we are."

Aaron Murray from UGASports.com on Vimeo.



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