ATHENS, Ga. -- To say Georgia's offense struggled from the opening play in last Saturday's 35-21 loss to Boise State is technically incorrect.
The Bulldogs erred before the game's first snap, when right tackle Justin Anderson was flagged for a false start. Anderson jumped early again on third-and-10, and then Georgia drew a delay-of-game penalty on fourth-and-15 from its 15-yard-line.
"I couldn't hear a thing because that stadium was so loud," Anderson said. "We had those new uniforms on, and I hadn't played ball in a whole year. I had a lot going through my mind."
Three early penalties set the tone for a disappointing night for the Bulldogs, who had reasons for optimism offensively despite the departures of receivers A.J. Green and Kris Durham to the NFL and left tackle Trinton Sturdivant's season-ending knee injury this spring. Quarterback Aaron Murray, tight end Orson Charles and linemen Ben Jones and Cordy Glenn were fixtures on preseason All-SEC teams this summer, and there was excitement accompanying the debut of touted freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell.
The Bulldogs unveiled a no-huddle attack in which players would get set and then look to the sideline for the call, but there was a lot more stumbling than sizzling.
"In order to have a successful drive, you're going to have to get first downs and complete passes," Charles said. "If you don't do that, then the no-huddle is not successful. I think we started shaky at first, and we never really got in a rhythm.
"We kind of let our defense down by going three-and-out."
When Boise State took a 28-7 lead at the 3:10 mark of the third quarter, Georgia's offense had run three or fewer plays on eight of 10 possessions. One of those eight was capped by Brandon Boykin's 80-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter, but the other seven consisted of 20 plays that netted zero yards.
Georgia's most impressive drive of the game -- an 11-play, 51-yarder early in the second quarter -- ended when Richard Samuel was stuffed on fourth-and-1 at Boise State's 26-yard line. There were no mistakes in the red zone, because the Bulldogs never got there.
"We're just trying to get going a little faster," Murray said. "We just want more plays, pretty much. We averaged 63 plays a game last year and are trying to get 80 or 90. We believe if you get more plays, you get more chances for guys to touch the ball and more chances to score points. That's why we're speeding things up, and from my standpoint I'm fine with it."
The Bulldogs wound up with 60 plays, 11 fewer than the Broncos, who also had a 7:32 edge in possession time.
Tavarres King dropped two passes and Murray was intercepted once, but there was no greater cause for Georgia's quick stints offensively than the play up front. The Bulldogs could not provide holes inside for the tailbacks and yielded six sacks -- five on third or fourth down.
In all five of those situations, the Bulldogs needed 5 or more yards to extend the drives.
"It was definitely disappointing," left guard Dallas Lee said. "No offensive line wants to go into a game and give up six sacks. We were going hard, and every time something went wrong it seemed like a little thing, like somebody didn't fit quite right and ended up getting beat on the edge."
Said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo: "When you're in third-and-long, everybody can pin their ears back and hunt. We did a poor job of staying out of third-and-long against a veteran defense."
Head coach Mark Richt said the problems began with the tackles not being able to hear the cadence, so it was switched to a nonverbal cadence. Then he said the Bulldogs became late off the ball, which was part of the issue with protection.
"This week at home, I'd appreciate all the fans to keep it down when we go the ball and go crazy when they go the ball," Richt said. "That will help us operate."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...