Bulldogs sticking with the program
Published: Friday, November 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 1, 2002 at 1:21 a.m.
Mark Richt knew all along Georgia could win with a two-quarterback system. But early this season, few people outside the Bulldogs locker room believed him.
The doubts reached a crescendo after the Bulldogs failed to score an offensive touchdown in a 13-7 win at South Carolina on Sept. 13. D.J.
Shockley may be good, but David Greene should be the man, many argued.
But through it all, Richt remained defiant.
"My reaction to that was, I have two very talented quarterbacks who are game-ready," Richt said this week. "Their styles are different enough that I think it can create problems for the people we play."
It wasn't until last Saturday, though, when Richt's one-two punch landed a knockout blow. In Georgia's 52-24 win at Kentucky, Greene, a sophomore, and Shockley, a redshirt freshman, combined to throw for 353 yards and a school-record six touchdowns.
And with that, Georgia is now on an offensive surge of historic proportions. The Bulldogs have scored 100 points in their last two games, something they haven't done since 1946.
"I think the biggest thing is overall we're executing better," Greene said. "Early on we were missing our assignments. Really, just the last few games we've been making big plays and everyone has been executing their assignments."
Executing with Greene. Executing with Shockley.
But Richt has a different opinion. The second-year Georgia coach claims to have a new approach to using his two quarterbacks. In Georgia's first two games, Richt admits to scripting out which series each quarterback would play. He stuck to his plan regardless.
But since Shockley returned from a four-game absence with a broken foot two weeks ago against Vanderbilt, Richt has a new strategy. He plays whichever quarterback has the best feel for the game. No more plans. No more scripts.
"I realized that maybe scripting too far ahead is not the best thing to do," Richt said. "I let them know when they are going to play. I may just tell David after any given series, `Shockley has the next one. Just relax and whenever you go in, play good.' "
It's worked. Against Kentucky, Greene led Georgia to a touchdown on one of its first two possessions. He then yielded to Shockley, who led Georgia on an 80-yard drive capped by a 15-yard TD pass to tight end Ben Watson. It's that kind of production that Richt envisioned from the onset.
"We do a great job of feeding off each other and you could tell last week," Greene said. "I drive down the field and score and D. J. comes in and does the same thing. It's working out good."
Said Richt: "I think it would be a shame for Shockley not to play or for Greene not to play. These guys are mature enough and respect each other enough where I think they can exist together in the offense."
The Bulldogs say they are mature enough to handle the rotation. Early in the season, Richt and his staff met with the team and told them there would be no choosing sides.
"They said in order for us to reach our team goals, we can't divide into camps," tackle Jon Stinchcomb said. "That being said, we treat it like any other position where we rotate players."
And because they treat it in that manner, there are no egos or misplaced animosity between the two QBs. In fact, Greene says the two get along great. Shockley even drops by on occasion and the two cook out.
"We're just two kids who play football on the field," Greene said. "We're just two competitors."
Defensive end David Pollack says the two quarterbacks possess similar personalities - quiet and composed.
"David is not just one of those guys who has a high opinion of himself, he's real humble," Pollack said. "D.J. is the same way - real quiet, real soft-spoken. He doesn't need anybody to tell him how good he is. Both of their goals is to win, they don't care who gets the glory, who starts, who finishes. Winning is the bottom line and they'll both tell you that."
"Their styles are different enough that I think it can create problems for the people we play."
Quarterbacks in focus
NAME: David Greene.
YARDS PER GAME: 226.9.
THE LOWDOWN: Greene is a drop-back, left-handed passer who is second in the SEC in passing efficiency.
NAME: D.J. Shockley.
CLASS: Redshirt Freshman.
YARDS PER GAME: 61.5.
THE LOWDOWN: Shockley is a more mobile quarterback who can both run and pass the ball. Shockley rushed for 38 yards on six carries last week at Kentucky.
Georgia quarterback David Greene says he gets along great with D.J. Shockley.
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