Before getting to the point of this blog, let me quickly weigh in on Georgia coach Mark Richt’s decision to kick Demetre Baker off the team for a DUI and underage drinking: kudos.
This isn’t to celebrate a foolish youth’s mistakes. Baker isn’t the first college kid to be involved in underage drinking and driving. But Richt’s only hope of getting through to players in his program — which has seen 10 arrests since the spring — may be a zero tolerance stance because clearly nothing else has been working.
Baker will be fine. Public humiliation is a shock to the system but it can be good for one’s personal growth.
Now, about the Georgia offense: No kudos.
The Bulldogs were held to two field goals at South Carolina, smothered for a good part of the Arkansas game and were limited to two field goals Saturday at Mississippi State until a meaningless touchdown with 1:27 left in the game.
Pass protection has been erratic and run blocking has been poor, surprising given that the offensive line was supposed to be the strength of the team. Quarterback Aaron Murray has made typical freshman mistakes but for the most part he has been impressive. The running game has been disappointing and Kris Durham has been the lone receiver to make big plays in the absence of the suspended A.J. Green (who returns this week).
So who should take the most blame for this? Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has been the most criticized. He deserves some credit for falling on the sword in Starkville, saying: “You can’t turn the ball over, and you can’t have penalties. That’s coaching. It’s our fault.”
But by now, you should know where I stand on this: Issues always start at the top. To me, the problem is less play-calling (albeit, that’s some of it) than it is attitude and intelligence. That’s on the head coach.
Whom do you blame for the struggles? Here are some options:
♦ Richt: The Dogs did not look prepared to play Saturday in Starkville, nor have they looked well prepared in the past several SEC games (2-7 going back to last year). They often don’t play with a sense of urgency. They’re not committing as many personal foul penalties in the past but we still see too many mental breakdowns and times when they get beat physically. The head coach sets the tone.
♦ Bobo: He has been criticized for not using more high-percentage short passes in the game plan, and for a lack of creativity in the game plan. But as we’ve previously discussed in this corner, Xs and Os don’t work if a team isn’t knocking over the opponent.
♦ Stacy Searels: Either Georgia’s linemen have been way overrated or the offensive line coach isn’t coaching them up. Searels is in his fourth season in Athens. He was highly regarded when he arrived from LSU in 2007 and was believed to have been given a raise to not go to Auburn with new head coach Gene Chizik last year.
I’ll throw two other choices into the poll: All of the above and none of the above (which is a vote to blame the players).
So who takes the hit for this?
SACK SCHULTZ: Dude, this contest is like totally ruining my street cred. Went 10-5 last week. At 31-14 overall. Two guys named Ills (Georgia) and Axmann (Wisconsin) lead at 39-6. I’m pretty sure they’re cheating. If you haven’t played, it’s not too late too humiliate me! Click here for details and then here to enter.