ATHENS — They got bruised in Stillwater, blindsided in Knoxville and humbled in Jacksonville. Also, their dog died.
Put it all together and Georgia’s season is a like country-western song.
So here’s my question for you: If you’re still watching, what is it you’re hoping this team can still accomplish?
The Dogs play their final home game of the season tonight against
Kentucky. The backdrop isn’t what this team’s seniors were hoping for, especially after what seemingly was projected two years ago when Georgia finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation. But there are still some tangible goals left.
I’m guessing if Bulldog fans could lay out a perfect finish to an imperfect season, it would go something like this (in order of priority):
1) Beat Georgia Tech next week.
2) Win the season’s final three games (Cats, Jackets, bowl opponent) to finish a respectable 9-4.
3) Blow up the coaching staff.
I’m adding the last one because I’m guessing that even closing the season strong would not eliminate the bitter taste left by the 4-4 start and all that came with it.
Most of you still believe in coach Mark Richt — as you should — but want changes in his staff and/or some of his methods.
Pure my speculation here, based on no inside information, other than what I see and hear and how Richt is now reacting to questions about his off-season plans: 1) Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez is gone; 2) There will be other changes on the staff, mostly on the defensive side of the ball and possibly with the strength and conditioning coach; 3) Some or all of these changes may be announced fairly quickly, possibly soon after the Georgia Tech game and before the bowl game.
I would be stunned if Richt made no changes. I would be surprised if he makes only one.
Let me add one more thing: While Martinez’s shortcomings as a defensive coordinator have been debated for a while, I still believe the team’s problems run deeper than one assistant coach. The problems start at the top with accountability. That’s Richt’s department. I thought his decision last week to pull out any players who committed a bad penalty was a terrific first step.
Now, about tonight’s game. Kentucky is in that, “We should beat them,” category. But this game won’t be easy. The Wildcats have won four of their last five and beat Auburn (21-14) by the same margin as Georgia (31-24). They’re averaging over 200 rushing yards per game and the defense, while not great, is among conference leaders with 13 interceptions. They’ve also committed about half as many penalties (46) in 10 games as the Dogs (89).
So here we go. Let me know what you’re looking for tonight and I’ll be back shortly.