None of the players are going anywhere; it’s some of the plays that won’t survive. Actually, with two freshmen quarterbacks, it could be quite a few plays that don’t make it all the way from Sunday’s game planning to the game day play book.
The No. 10 Bulldogs (4-0) practice the plays Coach Mark Richt would like to run each week on Monday and Tuesday and then decide by Wednesday which ones the quarterback can handle.
“We’ll say, ‘You know what? It’s too much, let’s take that out and take that out,’” Richt said. “I’ll tell them, ‘We’re taking it off the plan, don’t worry about it anymore, don’t study it.’”
This year, he’s having to do more of that than he would like. Instead of opening up his entire playbook, he’s trying to keep Matthew Stafford and Joe Cox from becoming too overwhelmed to function on the field.
“We’re definitely not doing everything we could be doing or what we’ve been doing the last few years,” he said.
It’s showing up in the offensive production. Georgia, 83rd in the country in total offense, is averaging 5.5 yards per play. In the SEC, only Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are averaging less.
Not only does Richt have fewer plays in his playbook, but he’s giving Stafford and Cox less freedom to audible than senior Joe Tereshinski had. The result has been some ugly at times.
“We do get into a guessing game, and I do get a little discouraged sometimes,” he said. “You get into a hit or miss type of a ball game which that last game was. And there was a good bit of guessing wrong going on early on in that game.”
Richt is slowly adding more and more to his quarterbacks’ plate, and Stafford is not about to suggest the pace should be quickened.
“I’m just going to do whatever he tells me to do,” Stafford said. “If he doesn’t feel like we’re ready then we’re obviously not ready. (The coaches) are the masterminds behind it. Whatever they feel we need to do that week, we’re just going to try to go out there and execute it on Saturday.”
However, there have been times Stafford has gone to line of scrimmage knowing a play had a poor chance of succeeding based on the defense he saw, and knowing how to change it but without the power to do so, he said.
Stafford and Cox are doing more than David Greene did during his redshirt freshman season, Richt said.
“We didn’t do a lot that first year with David because everybody else was learning,” Richt said. “Now, we’ve got the team ready to go on more advanced things and rookie quarterbacks that aren’t quite ready.”