Keys to success for 2009 Dogs

I was a bit under the weather yesterday and away from the Blawg, but I was still thinking about Georgia football (I know, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it?).

I started pondering keys to success for the Dogs this season, prompted in part by reading on Georgiadogs.com that Mark Richt noted the preseason emphasis on reducing penalties didn’t really pay off in the practice half-a-game on Wednesday.

“There were too many penalties,” Richt said, adding: “One of the penalties forced us to kick a field goal instead of going for a touchdown.”

While he did note that “we substituted pretty freely because it was so warm,” which might have been a factor in the number of flags, the hope here is that the coach made the point forcefully with the team that this is a great way to lose games. And that he continues to make that point.

So along those lines, I offer here five pretty obvious but essential keys to the season. (I didn’t include injuries, which was a major negative factor last year, because that’s something that really can’t be controlled.)

1. Like I was saying, fewer penalties, especially those that occur when Georgia is in scoring position or that extend an opponent’s drive. This really killed us last year.

2. Pressure from the defensive ends. This is the most obvious area where Georgia needs improvement, and so far the reports from preseason drills are encouraging. Rod Battle especially has been snagging sacks. Now he and his cohorts just need to do it for real against something other than the second team or scout team lines. Lack of pressure on the quarterback and the resulting problems this causes for the secondary was probably the single biggest reason for the failure of Willie Martinez’s defense in key situations last year, even moreso than poor tackling.

3. Establish the running game. It sets up the passing game, gives your quarterback more options and eats up clock. The offensive line should be one of the best of the Richt era this season. It’s up to the backs to hit those holes, hold on to the ball and produce. No one expects any one of them to be another Knowshon Moreno. But overall as a group they need to at least come close to matching his stats.

4. Turnover ratio. The Athens Banner-Herald had a good look at this yesterday. Georgia recovered just five opponent fumbles last season, which tied the Dogs for 111th out of 119 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. They intercepted just 11 passes, which put them in a tie for 67th. Overall, Georgia’s 16 takeaways ranked 104th nationally last year. That just won’t get it done.

5. Showing up for big games. This is the intangible that has haunted Richt’s teams for the past few seasons: the maddening tendency to only play one half of good football against a top opponent. Last year this was especially evident, what with the first half against Alabama and the second half against Tech. I don’t know if this comes down to team leadership on the field or preparation by the coaches. Probably both. But improvement here is mandatory if the Dogs are to have a successful season.

Any other elements of the game that you think will be a key to the 2009 season?

136 comments Add your comment

RAMBLE ON!!!

August 28th, 2009
10:37 am

Learn how to tackle?

toccoadawg

August 28th, 2009
10:42 am

Receivers not dropping the ball?

L-Dawg

August 28th, 2009
10:45 am

GLORY GLORY TO OLE GEORGIA!!!!!

BEING A FAN SURE DOES BEAT BEING A HATER!!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!!

8 SHORT DAYS MY FRIENDS!!!!!!

toccoadawg

August 28th, 2009
10:46 am

A tight end that measures up to UGa standards?

how2fish

August 28th, 2009
10:46 am

well we do know how to count to 4…so we got that going for us..

toccoadawg

August 28th, 2009
10:46 am

A head hunter for a safety?

orange crush

August 28th, 2009
10:49 am

get used to the sound of this u-g-a fans:

“Pistols Firing…Touchdown…Oklahome State!!”

tech-nickle

August 28th, 2009
10:51 am

how2fish:

count to 4? yes.

count to 45? media guide says, “no.”

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

how2fish

August 28th, 2009
10:53 am

And as far as the Bugs go T-N they never will again…Nov 28th be there and bring your 14,999 other fans with you……Hahahahaha

toccoadawg

August 28th, 2009
11:03 am

I love how techies have to come to a Georgia blog because theirs suck so much.

toccoadawg

August 28th, 2009
11:05 am

tech will go 5-7 this year. The honeymoon is over

Try selling out a 55,000 seat stadium.......

August 28th, 2009
11:08 am

Tech LIVES to beat UGA

UGA lives to put together a dominate, winning program

I feel sorry for the Nerd-Herd……. 1-888-TECH-TIX!!!!! I wouldn’t expect a crowd at all Tech’s first game being that Dragon-Con is in town…….

toccoadawg

August 28th, 2009
11:08 am

Rainy days like today would be a great day to work on ye ole pass and catch.

RAMBLE ON!!!

August 28th, 2009
11:10 am

tech-nickle, AWESOME!!!

Try selling out a 55,000 seat stadium.......

August 28th, 2009
11:13 am

*****Free Tech football ticket with valid police report proving you were mugged within 4 blocks of Tech campus!!!!! *****

http://www.ajc.com/news/another-robbery-at-125950.html

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

Kendawg

August 28th, 2009
11:14 am

The real key to UGA’s season may be which referees we get to call the big games. There are some we obviously don’t want.

Pago Flyer

August 28th, 2009
11:15 am

Just beat FL!

Okefenokee Dawg

August 28th, 2009
11:19 am

As an aside, we folks who blog on here have the football flu and need to have some football soon! Do you realize that we trashed talked about a typo yesterday? We are sick and need help.

gratefuldawghead

August 28th, 2009
11:21 am

HUNKER DOWN DAWGS!!!!!

smashmouth

August 28th, 2009
11:26 am

Sept 5 can’t come soon enough !!!

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

August 28th, 2009
11:30 am

Bill, I think CMR’s teams have shown up quite well in big games overall. Can’t win ‘em all you know (as much as we would all love to). Ga needs to get consistent O-line play which has been lacking for the last few yrs due in part to youth. The DE play will be better in part because of the monster DT’s that we have and in part to increased emphasis on the coaching staffs part. The turn over ratio should improve with increased pressure from the D-line. We have to have fewer penalties (there is no way to have more is there?). Ga could very well improve in all of these areas and still finish with the same or worse record as last year, sometimes the other guys are pretty good as well. Anyway, hope you feel better soon, I for one appreciate the work you put into this forum and look forward to your thoughts as the season progresses. Lastly for all the GT trolls on here……. Hells a-coming, and he’s wearing red and black

reality check

August 28th, 2009
11:31 am

I keep saying this and maybe someday some one will listen:

When Georgia runs the ball more than 60% of the time we have won every game in the Mark Richt era.

In the Mark Richt era when Georgia has passed the ball more than 50% of the time we have lost.

The key to championships has always been and always will be defense. And the key to Georgia’s defense has always been defensive end play, dating back to the Dooley/Russell era. Or at least that is what Vince Dooley has said.

But that offensive statistic during Mark Richt’s tenure is key. When we run the ball we turn it over less and we pass the ball better because the opposing defense has to respect the run.

Gman

August 28th, 2009
11:33 am

Poke fans:

Has OSU ever won their conference? What is the biggest game you’ve ever been in? Serious questions. I can’t recall the Cowboys winning much even with Barry Sanders. I can see why you’d talk trash. That is quite a tradition we are going up against.

toccoadawg

August 28th, 2009
11:40 am

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho I second that. Thanks Bill for all your work even when you’re under the weather. Go Dawgs GATA

BruffDawg

August 28th, 2009
11:44 am

Special teams play. It will win us or lose us 1 or 2 games this year. Directional kicks and who is on kickoff/punt coverage teams will be very important.

senoiadawgs

August 28th, 2009
11:45 am

Keys to success for me besides what you mentioned before but have long been UGA concerns:

1. The receivers must not have so many drops. We all know how many seasons could have been different if our receivers actually hung on.

2. Thank goodness we are getting a new tight end. See #1 above. Not only are we tailback U but also TE U. We need the reemergence of a TE.

3. We did all of our smash mouth knock you out safeties go. Can a Greg Blue and Thomas Davis please stand up.

4. Richard Samuel and Thomas must fill the void left by Moreno. I personally have liked Samuel just as much as Moreno from the first time I saw him run. The potential with him is there, just needed a little maturing I think and he must hold on to the ball.

uuugh...

August 28th, 2009
11:48 am

I like it KenDawg. Somebody shoot Penn Wagers and our chances are better!

Saint Simons

August 28th, 2009
11:54 am

(((((( 45 – 42 )))))) hahahahahahahahahahahahaha to Hell with uga

AltamahaDawg

August 28th, 2009
11:54 am

#2 takes care of #1, and #4.

#3 takes care of #5.

Oh yeah ?

August 28th, 2009
11:58 am

But what takes care of #2 and #3 ?

RAMBLE ON!!!

August 28th, 2009
12:00 pm

Kapt. Kangaroo said GT was a big game.

I thought we were “irrelevant”?

…now I’m confused.

TUCK FECK!!

August 28th, 2009
12:10 pm

38-3 BEATDOWN in ATLANTA by the SEC

hahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

JayRoot

August 28th, 2009
12:14 pm

.

Let’s see … “keys for sucksess”

Hhhmmm …. take GaTech off the schedule?

.

pass 60% fan

August 28th, 2009
12:20 pm

Duck fogs, so you saying lsu did what you could not?

how2fish

August 28th, 2009
12:23 pm

Jayroot take Tech of the schedule??? WTF 7 out of 8 years that’s a UGA WIN…choke on it Bugs!

hello newman

August 28th, 2009
12:25 pm

No more TRIP CHANDLER!

tech-nickle

August 28th, 2009
12:26 pm

Kam Fong said:

“Lastly for all the GT trolls on here……. Hells a-coming, and he’s wearing red and black.”

Yeh, yeh…heard all the same fleabag B*** S*** last year.

Trust me when I say the 2008 FINAL SCORE was: GT:45 ga:42.

You wont find it in your Media Guide.

ROTFLMAO !!!!

coachdawg 2000

August 28th, 2009
12:28 pm

I think if we can score one more point than our opponents, we will WIN!!!!

Jeff

August 28th, 2009
12:31 pm

hmmmm…lets see……hmmmmm…LEARN HOW TO TACKLE AND DONT DROP PASSES? YA THINK?????

William

August 28th, 2009
12:31 pm

I want you tech fans to know that I pull for tech everygame they play except when they play UGA. Hey that is a lot of “Go Tech”!

athensdawg

August 28th, 2009
12:40 pm

reality….keep repeating yourself….you are correct.

like all the people who voted for a certain president, certain brain dead zombie georgia fans that are still wearing #7 jerseys have forgotten the traditional football formula…..and are looking for every excuse they can come up with to explain why the magic just didn’t (or aint) happening….why if CWM would just do his job, if CMR was a better coach, blah blah blah. They had their boy and look what we got – zero SEC titles. Same people will be calling for Cox’s head if he has a bad start….
we sacrificed a successful formula so we could have some hotshot kid play quarterback.

Now it is time to get back to the basics.
Here is how you win football.

1. Run the ball.
2. Control the clock with long offensive drives.
3. Play defense.
4. Make every play on special teams.
5. Win the turnover battle.

My guess is that if we get back to #1 and 2 on my list, #3 will take care of itself, because we won’t be running out there after three botched pass attempts – or two pass attempts and one of those lame-o belly handoff plays from the shotgun – or better yet, a stupid interception thrown by a quarterback who thinks he can throw the ball wherever and to whomever he wants…..

welcome back, traditional georgia football! You have been gone for too long.

falcon fan

August 28th, 2009
12:40 pm

and when we play a team that is inferior Coach Richt needs to not go soft and keep scoring points and not put the scrubs in

Rashad Jones

August 28th, 2009
12:44 pm

All things...

August 28th, 2009
12:45 pm

…that we’ve been over and talked about 100 times. Obviously running out of material right now, but 8 more days and then its on.

Hot Dawg

August 28th, 2009
12:46 pm

Actually Tech-Nickel/Tickle you heard the same stuff for the last 8 years-only once was that prediction wrong – pretty doubtful we will be wrong this year (you girls can dream though).

It was so adorable last year when you ladies gave each other make-believe jewelry for the big win before the season was over. Can’t think of another program bush enough to do that. It was actually fun to see you Jackasses find a new way to embarrass yourselves even after beating us.

Nate

August 28th, 2009
12:46 pm

As a Tech fan, I really think CMR is a great coach and a honest man. The problem with your team last year was simply a lack of discipline. I wish you guys the best of luck though, except for our date in November.

mmgtfan

August 28th, 2009
12:50 pm

Tuck Fech: We didnt get beat by the SEC, we got beat by a LSU team who showed up to play and we didn’t. But it seems to me that we beat AN SEC TEAM 45-42. And we also beat Miss St. but i’ll be realistic and say Mississippi State is not exactly the cream of the crop

84 dawg

August 28th, 2009
12:50 pm

I wouldn’t root for GT if they were playing the Taliban. They are beneath contempt.

NCT

August 28th, 2009
12:58 pm

When did “moreso” become a word?

Ferndolin

August 28th, 2009
1:04 pm

No more kickoffs out of bounds. Last year that equated to a 15 yd play for each a many of these infractions with no loss of time from the clock, something we badly needed in many games last year, especially the tech game.