Could Change Happen at QB?

JACKSONVILLE – After it was over, Georgia quarterback Joe Cox took the blame.

After throwing three costly interceptions, there was little doubt he deserved to shoulder a fair portion of the burden. But in the wake of a demoralizing 41-17 loss to Florida, head coach Mark Richt isn't ready to make any decisions about the future of Georgia's quarterback position.

"It's not good to make decisions within minutes after an emotional ballgame," Richt said. "It's always good to settle your spirit, settle your mind and look at the entire picture before you make any kind of decision. But we'll do that."

That doesn't exactly mean Cox's job is safe. The fifth-year senior completed just 11-of-20 passes for 165 yards and tossed three interceptions, one of which set up a crucial Florida touchdown to start the second half.

The numbers were bad overall for Cox, but they were dreadful in the second half. Cox had completed six of his first eight throws, but finished a woeful 5-of-12 down the stretch before being lifted for backup Logan Gray in the fourth quarter.

Still, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was quick to dish out blame to more than just his starting quarterback, but didn't rule out a potential change at the position.

"We've got to address the problem of what we're doing offensively," Bobo said. "That's not just Joe Cox, that's everybody, coaches included, and see what our next step is and what's the best move. You can't turn the ball over like we're doing. There's no possible way of winning football games with our turnover margin like it is, and when you do it against a great football team, the result is usually something like tonight."

The turnover margin now stands at 21 giveaways and six takeaways for the season, with Cox responsible for 13 of those turnovers, 12 via interceptions. He has completed at least one pass to the other team in all eight games so far this season.

Despite the problems, Richt said Cox has retained the confidence of his teammates throughout.

"Joe is a very respected man in our locker room and our program, and you could tell how badly he hurt about this one," Richt said. "I can't tell you how many guys – offense, defense, freshmen, juniors, sophomores – came up to him and wanted to let them know how they felt about him."

Regardless of the respect Cox may have in the locker room, however, Richt said the decisions on personnel – including at quarterback – will eventually come down to performance.

On that front, Cox has struggled, but he may still be the best answer. Gray has thrown just seven passes this season, completing only one, and he had his pass against Florida intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

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

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