Dogs lighting up scoreboard with own Fun 'n' Gun
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Aaron Murray was going over plays in the meeting room when Georgia's offensive coordinator wrote five numbers on the board.
All of them belonged to receivers.
"Is that the depth chart?" Murray asked.
"No," coordinator Mike Bobo replied. "It's a new formation."
Murray's face lit up.
The No. 5 Bulldogs have been running their own version of the "Fun 'n' Gun" offense through the first five weeks of the season, lighting up opponents with a dizzying array of weapons.
Georgia (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) has scored more than 40 points in every game, and is averaging a league-leading 536 yards each time out. It's easy to see why. Murray is an experienced, talented quarterback with a host of capable receivers. In last week's wild 51-44 victory over Tennessee, the Bulldogs ran about a half-dozen plays with five receivers on the field — and no running backs.
But the ground game is strong, too, led by a pair of breakout freshmen. Todd Gurley leads the SEC in rushing, while good friend Keith Marshall ranks seventh.
"You have to pick your poison," receiver Tavarres King said Tuesday. "The running game makes it easier for Aaron and the passing game. The passing game makes it easier for those (running backs) to do what they do."
Now, it's time to find out how good they really are.
The Bulldogs have built up their gaudy numbers against the likes of Vanderbilt, Florida Atlantic and Buffalo. They'll be facing their stiffest challenge yet on Saturday when they hit the road to take on sixth-ranked South Carolina (5-0, 3-0), a showdown that many expect will determine who goes on to win the SEC East.
The Gamecocks have one of the nation's top-ranked defenses, allowing a puny 11.2 points a game. They've surrendered just five touchdowns all season — only two of them on the ground. Georgia hasn't scored fewer than five offensive touchdowns in any game and is tops in the conference with a staggering 19 rushing scores.
"They've got talent all over the board," Murray said, giving his scouting report on South Carolina's defense. "We definitely have our work cut out for us this week."
Murray is too young to remember Steve Spurrier's "Fun 'n' Gun" offense, which dominated the SEC when the Gamecocks coach was at Florida in the 1990s. Even so, the junior quarterback certainly believes the term fits when the Bulldogs have the ball, even though he got things a bit mixed up when he called it the "gun 'n' fun."
The Bulldogs have gone for more balance than Spurrier's pass-happy teams at Florida, averaging an SEC-leading 248.8 yards on the ground. Gurley and Marshall have quickly become thunder and lightning out of the backfield, complementing each other perfectly with their differing styles. Gurley has shown the power to run through would-be tacklers or swat them away with a devastating stiff arm. Marshall is more likely to run right by a defender.