October 31, 2009

Is there a change coming at quarterback?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Could Joe Cox's days as Georgia's starting quarterback be nearing an end?

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo wouldn't go that far, but after Saturday's 41-17 loss to Florida didn't rule out any change, either.

"We'll talk about it tomorrow," Bobo said. "I can't answer that right now."

It certainly wasn't one of Cox's better efforts.

The fifth-year senior was just 11 of 20 or 165 yards. He did throw touchdown passes of 26 yards to Aron White and 4-yards to Mike Moore, but three interceptions that led to 17 of Florida's 41 points ruined whatever dreams Georgia might have had of pulling the upset.

Cox was replaced by backup Logan Gray midway through the fourth quarter but didn't fare any better as he was intercepted by linebacker Brandon Spikes for a 5-yard score.

"We've got to address the problem what we're doing offensively. That's not just Joe Cox, that's everybody, coaches included and every individual as a player and see what the next step is and what the best move is," Bobo said. "We can't turn the ball over like we're doing. There's no chance of winning football games when our turnover margin is what it is. When you do that a against a great football team, you lose 41-17."

Head coach Mark Richt was asked about Cox in his post-game press conference.

"I'll say this about Joe. He is one of the finest young men I've been around. He has been taking on the leadership of this program since January. I think men, in general, want respect. I think women are made where they want love," Richt said. "Joe is a very respected man in our lockerroom and our program. Even afterwards you could tell how badly he hurt about this game. I can't tell you how many guys, offense, defense, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors came up to let him know what they think of him."

Unfortunately, Richt concedes the interceptions are a definite concern. Cox has now been picked off in all eight of Georgia's games and now has 12 for the year.

An interception by A.J. Jones on the first play of the third quarter led to Florida extending its lead to 31-10.

Cox's other interceptions came on a third-and-2 while he was trying to throw the ball away and another when trying to get the ball over the middle to A.J. Green.

"When you have three picks it's easy to say the quarterback was really bad, made some bad decisions," Richt said. "Some of those are avoidable probably, some of them were not. The first play of the second half, he was throwing quick screen, the guy bats it and catches it so I can't stick that all on Joe. That was a great play. The second on third-and-2, it was an ill-advised throw. We've got to find a way to burn that ball safety or eat it. As for the one to A.J., it certainly wasn't an easy one, but I can't blame him for trying to get it to one of the finest players in America."

Neither Richt nor Bobo would say if freshman Aaron Murray was still a candidate for playing time.

"I can't answer that right now," Bobo said.

" I think we're just going to look at the big picture at all positions and just see what we think we need to do," Richt said. "If we think Joe gives us the best chance to finish out the season with the most success then that's what we're going to do."

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