Some things to think about at Georgia

 

 

One of the things I learned a long time ago is that in football, you should never overreact to a good win or a bad loss.

 

Don’t think you are better than you are because you played well on a particularly Saturday (see Florida State’s win over BYU).

 

Conversely, don’t beat yourself up or panic after a bad loss. And make no mistake about it. Georgia’s thumping at Tennessee on Saturday was a bad, bad loss.

 

Fans look at these things emotionally. That’s what they do and that’s why the South has the best college football fans in the world. They are emotionally invested in their team.

 

But Mark Richt and Damon Evans don’t have that luxury. They have to be pretty calm and rational because if you make a football decision based on emotion, chances are it is going to be a bad one. Here are some things they have to consider:

 

**–Georgia is very fortunate to be 3-3: When Georgia was 3-1, the Bulldogs were like a stock that was overvalued because the fundamentals didn’t back up the record. Georgia was ranked near the bottom of Division I-A in turnover margin (minus-9) and penalties (over 10 per game). Georgia had knocked down a pass in the final seconds to beat South Carolina. They had won a shootout on the road at Arkansas. They needed a field goal at the buzzer to beat a bad Arizona State team at home. Sooner or later the basic shortcomings of this team were going to catch up with them. And now they have.

 

 

**–Georgia’s schedule is just ridiculous. While Florida was playing Charleston Southern and Troy, the Bulldogs were playing Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona State, LSU and Tennessee.  While it is fun to play those kind of non-conference games, there is the fatigue factor. This team never got a chance to breathe in the first six weeks of the season and it finally caught up with them at Tennessee. Still, having said all that:

**–Georgia got smacked in the mouth at Tennessee and didn’t respond. The same thing happened up in Knoxville two years ago. And if you’re a Georgia fan you can’t like it.

 If you play in the SEC you’re going to get your manhood challenged on a weekly basis. For all of the high flying offenses, this league is still about blocking and tackling. And if you can’t run the ball, and Georgia obviously can’t (97.17 ypg, 104 in the NCAA), you are going to get beat up in this conference.

Here is the reality. While the offensive line lost tackle Trinton Sturdivant for the second straight year, Stacy Searels’ group has underachieved based on the talent at hand. The running backs may have been high in the recruiting services coming out of high school, but they look pretty average to me.

Georgia should never average less than 100 yards rushing per game. Never. That is simply unacceptable.

 

**–The defense can’t rush the passer. It can’t cover receivers. Other than linebacker Rennie Curran and tackle Jeff Owens, I don’t see a whole lot of passion out there. It’s easy to blame the coaching and there is no question that Willie Martinez has some work to do. Steve Spurrier basically exposed this defense when he threw the ball 53 times against the Bulldogs on Sept. 12. Spurrier is among the best at detecting weaknesses on a defense. And there are a bunch of them on this defense.

 

So this is where Georgia is, in my opinion. The Bulldogs are a very average team that played very poorly last Saturday in Knoxville. They have a chance to have a decent season. They also have a chance to have a bad season.

 

While so many in the Bulldog Nation want to make wholesale changes to the staff, Richt can’t even think about that now. A college football season is about surviving and advancing. You can tweak within a season. You save the big stuff until after the season.

 

While the fundamentals on this particular team are pretty awful, the fundamentals on Richt’s program remain strong for the most part. What Richt has to decide after the season is whether or not those fundamentals are headed down instead of up.

Is Georgia recruiting the right players and not just the guys who are highly-rated?

 Is Georgia maximizing the talent they have on hand? In other words, are they coaching them up?  Are players improving?

Do there need to be significant staff changes to re-energize the program? Sometimes there needs to be change for the sake of change in order to bring fresh ideas and approaches. This is something that Mark Richt will have to strongly consider.

 

Does the head coach need to look in the mirror? Mark Richt is a damned good football coach but every coach should self-assess from time to time. He should not try to be something he’s not. But does he need to adjust his methods and habits?

 

When you’re 3-3 and the fundamentals on the team are this bad, everything is on the table. And after this season is over, everything should be on the table for Georgia. And it looks like some tough decisions are going to have to be made.

 

 

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502 comments Add your comment

Mikey

October 14th, 2009
9:21 am

Thank you Tony. Well said.

Worm

October 14th, 2009
9:22 am

Spot on as usual Tony..

RAMBLE ON!!!

October 14th, 2009
9:27 am

So predictable…

HEY HOMER…THE BIGGEST GAME IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA IS THIS YEAR IS SATURDAY NIGHT.

WAKE UP AND QUIT CRYING ABOUT THE SORRY STATE OF UGAG FOOTBALL OR CHANGE YOUR FREAKING NAME TO MR. SEC FOOTBALL!!!

Who cares

October 14th, 2009
9:27 am

Ga is irrelevant

Tech is playing a team with Nat champ implications and all you clowns talk about is some crap ga team. Real nice.

Mark

October 14th, 2009
9:31 am

Good insight Tony. You didn’t come out and directly say it, but your comments point out that this is a very poorly coached football team right now and that is a reflection of the head coach. Everybody seems to put the blame on poor coordinators, but ultimately that’s the responsibility of the head coach who functions as the programs CEO. Mark Richt has done a very good job at UGA overall, however the recent trend evidenced by the last two seasons is very disturbing. I have no problem with his calm demeanor, but when you are in a difficult situation as the team is now his poor communications skills tend to exacerbate the problem. I hope the players are not affected in the same way the fans have been by his lack of perceived fire.

Dooley's Cardiologist

October 14th, 2009
9:32 am

Tony,

That sounded a lot like a pep talk from Dr. Lou Holtz. Minus the Daffy Duck voice and the spitting.

SC Dawg

October 14th, 2009
9:33 am

I couldn’t say it better myself.

martin

October 14th, 2009
9:33 am

If there isn’t any significant changes before the next season starts, it will not look good for our Dawgs! What is so frustrating about losing to Tennessee like we did is that I’ve never seen UGA get beat that bad since I’ve been able to see them play live or on TV. Something has to give or the fan base will disappear, just like all the fair weather Tech fans when they lose to Georgia a couple times in a row. By the way, this isn’t a dissing of loyal Tech fans, only the fair weather ones that pop out when tech wins 8 or 9 wins and beats UGA once in every eight years.

GMan

October 14th, 2009
9:33 am

C’mon Tony, don’t bring the strength of schedule thing into play here. Oklahoma State, Arizona State?! Oklahoma State has played 5 games with wins over Rice, Grambling State, Texas A&M, and GEORGIA – they loss to HOUSTON a team that had a short-lived high and was exposed! I certainly wouldn’t call them a top 50 team. Arizona State is 3-2 with wins over Idaho State, Louisiana-Monroe, and Washington State – they loss to GEORGIA and Oregon State – certainly not a top tier team. Therefore, when you start comparing bodies of work for other teams, be sure to call it what it is rather than making excuses. Lets face it, UGA hasn’t been able to coach up the talent that they’ve brought in and although the recruitniks put alot of effort into placing stars next to recruits, you have to tune that out and spot REAL talent on the field and coach it up. Face it, UGA is now mediocre. I don’t see that changing unless MAJOR changes occur. That probably won’t happen under Richt’s leadership. That means UGA will be an average team for some time.

Gator Mike

October 14th, 2009
9:34 am

As a Gator, I always consider UGA a huge threat. they have the talent, and when they put it together thye will be very dangerous. Mark Richt is a very good coach, and Tony makes a lot of sense. UGA will put it all together, and I hope it is not in Jax. I, for one, will never underestimate UGA. If the Gators underestimate the Dawgs on 31 Oct, we will get embarrassed.

Saint Crompton

October 14th, 2009
9:34 am

((((( 45 19 ))))) ((((( Crompton for Heisman )))))

hahahahahahahaha

The Other St. Simons

October 14th, 2009
9:34 am

tech is having a “good” year. I will give them that, but where is the NC they all promised on beating the Dawgs last year (by 3 points – see ‘ring’)

Who Cares: UGA is irrelevant?…then why are you even wasting 3 calories typing about it.

TECH is NOT a NC team. Sorry.

martin

October 14th, 2009
9:35 am

Tech will not win the national title this year. They aren’t that good either despite the 5-1 record.

Jeepers

October 14th, 2009
9:35 am

Well stated Tony. UGA fans are used to top 10 finishes, so this year is shocking. Being UGA though, they will probably rebound and be much stronger next season.

Brad

October 14th, 2009
9:35 am

Glad to see that someone who writes for the AJC isn’t suggesting that the sky is falling ( a la Mark Bradley). I think some reshuffling of the coaching staff is in order, but like you said, Tony, that will need to wait until after the season. Most UGA fans I know expected this year to be more of a rebuilding effort anyway. The Dawgs will be back, folks. And this year isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination. As a Gator fan, I remember 2007 vividly and by the end of the season, the Georgia Bulldogs were, in my estimation at that time, the best team in America.

Keep your chins up! Like my father said, ‘this thing ain’t over!’

George O'Leary

October 14th, 2009
9:36 am

CMR needs to kick players in the head,punish them brutaly and lie on his resume’

Heywood Jablome

October 14th, 2009
9:36 am

Hey Nerds! Enjoy your little 1-2 year advantage over the Dawgs. I can assure you it won’t last long. Richt will make the necessary changes and order will be restored to the universe. I can’t wait for you maggots to crawl back under the rocks you are now coming out from under. Oh and…..Tuck Fech!

GMan

October 14th, 2009
9:37 am

Enjoy the Music City Bowl

Reggie Ball

October 14th, 2009
9:37 am

Saint “you sure got a pretty mouth”

Otto

October 14th, 2009
9:38 am

I hate to say it but GMan has a point with the schedule further fundamentals cost UGA the Okie St game.

Matt

October 14th, 2009
9:38 am

Tech fans need to realize that just because you are having a good year, and beat UGA last year does not mean you get coverage every day. Tony is known for his SEC coverage, GET OVER IT! UGA is a bigger school in a better conference. So when there are problems there they are going to get the headlines. Negatives sell more papers that positive’s, just facts. UGA has more supports in Ga than Tech does, bigger school=more supports=more coverage, again just facts.

Mitch Cumstein

October 14th, 2009
9:38 am

The whole problem is, we all saw it coming in previous years. The trend has changed alright, its gotten worse. This defense couldn’t cover their granmothers, not because they don’t have talent, but because of the half-witted coaches that refuse to adjust.

Speaking of grandmothers, mine and I were watching the game Sat and she said, “why don’t they just put a man on each eligible receiver?” If my grandma can figure it out why can’t Willie?

Sun Devil

October 14th, 2009
9:39 am

Some good points but… You can’t say Arizona State is a bad team in one bullet and then turn around and use them in the next bullet as part of an example of how “tough” Georgia’s schedule has been.

SecIsFootball

October 14th, 2009
9:39 am

RAMBLE ON….the biggest game in the state of GA happened opening weekend and that was BAMA vs VT. Sorry.

Rush Limbaugh is a Junkie

October 14th, 2009
9:40 am

Is Richt headed to FSU?

Phoque Tech

October 14th, 2009
9:40 am

Ramble…….GT is gonna get their a$$ handed to them this week, just like they did against “Da U”. Thay have no PASS DEFENSE! A bad FSU team got almost 400 yards thru the air last week. If it weren’t for your weak conference, you would have been exposed more than one time…..Just like UGA. Now, shut up. I am betting we won’t hear from you again for a few weeks after Saturday’s beat down is over.

goalinestalker

October 14th, 2009
9:40 am

Wow a blog on UGA football and here comes all the Tool’s from GT. Go figure…stop humping our leg at Georgia! Your defense just gave up a million yds to a really bad FSU team and your acting like your program is elite? Saw on Ebay your players are trying to sell there “We beat UGA ring’s” WTH? Good stuff Tony!

erictin

October 14th, 2009
9:40 am

The incompetence of our defensive coaches was revealed to me following the Tennessee game when I heard some of our players say “They did some things we weren’t expecting”!Duh!Isn’t that the idea?Good coaching goes into a game prepared for anything!Good coaching adjusts to what the other team is doing and doesn’t hope that the opposing team is going to hopefully come back to our game plan.The third time they run the naked bootleg off of play action pass,call a freakin time out and make an adjustment.At the very least do it at halftime!

Joe Daddy

October 14th, 2009
9:40 am

Tony is talking about UGA because Tech is still irrelevant. I’m a fan of both UGA and Tech, but Tech has to win something before they get any hype… Georgia is still the team of the state so get over it!

N SABAN

October 14th, 2009
9:41 am

TECH at 10-2 will get few headlines. People outside of their circle ( and in India) just don’t care, note a pretty good team and a lot of empty seats in a city of 5 million. Nuff said.

Georgia’s problems are a lot bigger than last Saturday. We have a problem at the top…I know , I know, look at the record…………But, the bar has been raised and we have made no Scheme or philosophy or hands on coaching changes sine Meyer and Saban arrived. No innovation what so ever. Crompton, the Tennessee QB was quoted in the paper as saying” We knew exactly where they would be on every play”. So does everyone. We are becoming FSU. Same coach’s calling the shots, same schemes from 10…..15 years ago and a ho hum here is another season. Does anyone remember all of Richt’s quotes from last season. A bigger, better , smarter more focused Georgia football team. ANYONE SEEN IT. LIP SERVICE AND EXCUSES and a vote of confidence in the morning paper for Martinez. Mark’s toast.

Secondguesser

October 14th, 2009
9:41 am

Man, TB, I’m kind of disappointed in you to bring up the tired old argument of the the UF schedule as a gauge to UGAg’s misfortune. I know you love your pups, and I’m glad to see you go out of your way to report on what a special player Tebow is, but UF has proved that they can beat the big boys too! I’m saying that in two weeks the UFoffense could be rolling which might make them dawgs painfully aware of just how far the gap is between the two teams. Of course I could be wrong. That’s why they play the games!

David P

October 14th, 2009
9:42 am

We should be 6 and 0….bad calls by the refs cost us games against LSU….OK State…and UT…..relax once we beat UF all will be forgotten……

Big Dawg

October 14th, 2009
9:42 am

Great article. Richt has been and will continue to be a premiere coach in the toughest conference. He does have some tough decisions to make, and he will make them. A few changes and tweaks offensively, and a major overhaul defensively are needed. We desperately need a running game. This will take place and we will emerge once again as yearly contenders in the east. Richt is the man for the job, but needs a lot of help around him. Help that he is not getting right now.

Richie

October 14th, 2009
9:42 am

I hope he lets the younger players play more and see where we are at the end.Some coaches will have to go.But make sure it is the right ones………..About Tech. they run a wishbone out of the shotgun…….The football Gods will catch up to it.

RAMBLE ON!!!

October 14th, 2009
9:43 am

Sun Devil, you can if you went to UGAg.

Guys get real

October 14th, 2009
9:43 am

As a Tech fan, I’m disguested at my fellow Tech brothers talking trash. Yes I know when we sucked UGA fans always bashed us, shoot even when were good. But were not them! So please show some class. It’s easy to kick them while there down. Let it go and root for our team instead of trashing the Dogs. Dogs, you guys will rebound, trust me I know Richt. Too good of a coach. Look forward to Clean ole Fashion Hate. And I’m gone.

Power Football

October 14th, 2009
9:44 am

Great article, Tony.

To compete in the SEC, you need to have a team built for power, not finesse. UGA is a finesse team and I don’t think that Richt, based on his Miami and FLA ST lineage, has the capacity to build or coach a team built for power. Ultimately, UGA won’t be able to consistently compete as a top football program in the SEC and Richt will have to go.

Although it take a few more seasons to play out, this is the endgame for Richt at UGA.

Andy Coleman

October 14th, 2009
9:44 am

The running game is bad because there is absolutely no fear of a below averaged QB. AJ is all that defenses worry about. They are on their toes, and good offenses have the D on their heels. Let another QB have REAL shot. The D is just bad.

jason

October 14th, 2009
9:45 am

Tony, great article as usaual. I agree with everything said, but I am one of the emotional DAWG fans who is very upset with the state of the program.

Is Georgia recruiting the right players and not just the guys who are highly-rated? That is a very good question. I don’t know the answer. I think they are recruiting the highest rated, or they are not properly evaluating. Seems to me that they are recruiting what they think are 5STAR recruits, but actually they are 4STAR or less. As someone said, there is a huge difference in a 5STAR (MLB Spikes UF) and 4STAR (Gamble UGA).

Is Georgia maximizing the talent they have on hand? In other words, are they coaching them up? Are players improving? This is obivious that they are not. The players being recruited are showing no signs of improvement during their stay at UGA. You can tell by the fact they are making the same stupid mistakes yaer after year. Is it coaching? Sure, UGA has one of the cheapest and inexperienced staffs not only in the SEC, but the entire nation. It shows in the quality of play we see on SATs.

Do there need to be significant staff changes to re-energize the program? Yes, not neccessarrily wholesale, but they do need an experienced coach somewhere on this staff (preferrably at DC) to help CMR. Everybody talks about how good of a coach that CMR. I tend to agree. I also think he has nade some horrific decisions that have really hurt the program. CMR can’t go it alone, and that is pretty much what he has done the past 5 years.

Does the head coach need to look in the mirror? This is a big YES. As I mentioned earlier, CMR has made some big mistakes the past few seasons such as promoting within without looking outside the program for experience for our OC and DC. Also not having a STC, but allowing multiple people be responsible for the third phase of a team. Also, the penalties and lack of fundementals and discpline running throughout the team.

In the end, it’s not about a 3-3 record. I know it is tough to take and we are not used to it. No, It’s about more. It’s about the way we play, not only in losses, but also in wins. The losses just stand out more, especially a losss like TENN when UGA showed up unprepeared 9players and coaches). Also when it looked like the team quit in that game. The players often look confused and not confident on the field. It shows on defense as many times they are not ready at the snap of the ball. They are always looking to the sideline for direction. I do not know because I am not on the field, but my perception is there is a total lack of confidence in CWM’s system.

There as been a slow downward spiral to this program over the past 5 years. Maybe earlier, just not as noticable until the talent level has shifted. I think CMR is an excellent coach, but with the decisions he has made, I din’t know if he will be able to right the ship. If he admits and makes a change to both the oC and the DC,what does that say about him. Also what does that say to Bobo and CWM? If all UGA’s problems were in one area (CWM) it would be one thing, but when the problems run from the offense, defense, and STs, that says something entirely different.

Buzzzz

October 14th, 2009
9:45 am

DP are you on Crack, Cocaine…or both…

reebok

October 14th, 2009
9:45 am

UGA is fortunate to be 3-3. And there is a real chance the Dogs could lose to Vandy in Nashville. If that happens, the wheels are going to come off completely.

Coach Beamer

October 14th, 2009
9:46 am

Can’t wait to see Paul Johnson on the sidelines this week all slobbering mad, dropping f-bombs for the camera to see when we break it off in his a$$ and expose GT as the fraud they are. I also hope there’s a microphone around to catch him calling his players stupid again. You just know it’s gonna happen!

Free Willie

October 14th, 2009
9:46 am

If CMR intends to replace his coordinators at the end of the year, and IF those replacements will be hired from within, why not give them a shot now. If you can bench starters (especially seniors), who are struggling to produce, in an attempt to give younger players some experience for next year, then why not do it with coordinators?

Coach Kiffen

October 14th, 2009
9:46 am

EXCUSES EXCUSES EXCUSES. Good grief it gets old, face the facts, your a mediocre team. How many more years can you use the Sturdivant excuse? He didnt even play last year, who took his place!! Arizona State? Give me a break, for the first time in your fraking mediocre history you play some teams outside of georgia Southern and you cant handle it!

Im gonna puke over the EXCUSES!!!!!!

tom

October 14th, 2009
9:46 am

Two Words Bulldog Nation: Brian Kelly

gdawginkalamazoo

October 14th, 2009
9:46 am

I would like to thank the Bulldogs and the coaching staff for relieving me of my seasonal anxiety disorder so early this year. Heck it is only mid-October and as a Dawg fan I don’t have to worry about anything again this season. If Florida puts up 50+ on us, hey no sweat it won’t matter. If Tech puts 500+ yards rushing on us and beats us by 3 again, I’ll just be relaxing. Bowl game selection? I probably won’t get that network up here unless we are playing somebody on the Big Ten network.
I prefer to have the high anxiety all the way to Jacksonville but I guess I can take it easy this year. Thanks Coach Richt and go dawgs!

MVP

October 14th, 2009
9:46 am

One bright spot in 2010. uga will give 1 million to new mexico state for a win or will uga choke?

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

October 14th, 2009
9:48 am

I don’t see Martinez surviving as DC, he may stick around to be secondary coach (something he is very capable at). Fabris might survive, I hope not. Bobo will more than likely get another year based on the last few years of offensive production. I would personally put Martinez in the booth the rest of the year and let Garner try calling the defensive sets on the sidelines. Maybe he has a knack for it and I don’t see how it could be much worse that what we are currently doing. Not that I know much but that’s what I would do.

JB

October 14th, 2009
9:48 am

Well said Coach Saban ( or whoever)………The last 6 games and our performance will tell a lot.
Can/will Mark take over the minute to minute handling of this team and make a showing and win 3 or 4 of these last six games…………………………or will he fold with them. That will speak volumes !

Coach Kiffen

October 14th, 2009
9:48 am

SHREVEPORT, here come the ugag dawgs! lolololololololol