Dogs remain a mystery team

Some observations and questions arising from Saturday’s win over Arizona State. …

A.J. Green proves he's the country's best receiver. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A.J. Green proves he's the country's best receiver. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia comes out of a tough September run of two road games and two home games, all against BCS schools, with a 3-1 record, which is about what the most optimistic of us had predicted before the season. And yet we still don’t really have a feel for what kind of team this is, except for the fact that A.J. Green is the best receiver in the country, even if the ESPN folks still can’t see past Julio Jones.

The defense has looked good in the two games where the offense didn’t look so good. The offense played great in the two games where the defense was terrible. Will they ever get on the same page? Is the offense as good as it looked against South Carolina and Arkansas? What happened to the defense in those two games?

The one consistent characteristic of this team so far has been turning the ball over. Each of the four games has featured three turnovers, and 14 of ASO’s 17 points were the result of a fumble by Caleb King and one of Joe Cox’s two interceptions. An exasperated Mark Richt told the Athens Banner-Herald: “I keep saying we need to stop these self-inflicted wounds, but I guess I’m not getting my point across. We may have to get a bit more drastic about that.”

Again, the master of the understatement.

One area in which the Dogs did make progress Saturday night was in penalties, cutting last week’s tally of 14 in half. Still, too many of them were procedural calls that shouldn’t be happening this far into the season. Particularly on back-to-back plays.

Georgia’s running game took a couple of steps backward. Caleb King and Richard Samuel had the occasional nice run but ASU was crowding the line of scrimmage and too often stuffed the Dogs’ running attack. Samuel didn’t seem to be running as hard and King dropped a couple of passes in addition to fumbling. The number of times when Georgia was unable to gain just one yard when it was needed is alarming.

Cox wasn’t particularly sharp in his passing, even after the rain stopped, but still managed to complete some big throws, mostly to Green, though Rantavious Wooten had a fantastic 27-yard catch. Too often, though, Cox seemed determined to throw into double and even triple coverage, overlooking open receivers.

Logan Gray got into the game at QB for one play in the red zone and pretty much everyone in the stadium, including the Sun Devils defenders, knew what was coming. His option run was stuffed. Talk about telegraphing your play.

The Dogs defense was generally pretty good. They had trouble with the run at times but got the best pressure on a quarterback so far this season and didn’t give up any big pass plays. ASU’s offense only scored one touchdown against the Dogs, and that of course was another case where the opponent was given a short field by an offensive turnover. Willie Martinez’s decision to give Bacarri Rambo more playing time paid off, as the redshirt freshman safety had four tackles, a pass breakup and an interception.

On special teams, another mixed night. Blair Walsh was golden placekicking and had a decent night on kickoffs (several of them pooch kicks). Drew Butler had a so-so night punting, averaging about 40 yards a kick but getting very little hang time on several of them. And on the other side of the punting game, Georgia continued to get basically nothing in returns. The Dogs did block a field goal, which again shows the benefits of using A-teamers like A.J. Green on special teams. But a couple of near collisions on kickoff receptions between up back Shaun Chapas and the kick returner made you wonder whether Georgia actually practices that aspect of the game.

The officiating by the PAC 10 crew was pretty bad. Aside from refusing to overturn an apparent bad call on a Green touchdown, they missed so many blatant infractions, including several holds and a face mask, that you had to wonder where they were looking. And then there was that bizarre sequence where they waved off a flag against an ASU defender who’d shoved an official out of his way. I wonder how that would have gone had it been Reshad Jones doing that.

A few off-the-field notes: The main Georgia student section on the North side lower level was packed two hours before the game and they stayed in place even when the pregame rains reached monsoon level. In fact, as the rain would get heavier, the students would cheer. … The Georgia players and student sections were in a dancing mood Saturday night as the PA went hip-hop heavy. I’m glad the players were enjoying themselves; now if they could just focus a bit more during the game, maybe they’d have even more reason to celebrate.

219 comments Add your comment

The Ghost Of George "Kid" Woodruff

September 27th, 2009
11:15 am

In my post-game locker room, this would not qualify as a “win”. This was an escape….by the skin of our fangs….to an unranked team…from another time zone….on our own home field.

A temporary reprive…until we face a team that doesn’t stink as bad as this one did.

In my era, the practices would be mean in nature and long in duration, as we look toward the likes of LSU, UT, FLA, Tech.

The kids would pull those earplugs out of their ears, stuff their little music devices in their bags, along with their egos, and it would be time to get serious.

Love GEORGIA

September 27th, 2009
11:20 am

Hard fought game. Cox definitely regressed and had his worst game. cox decides who he will throw his passes to while still in the huddle. That last interception was terrible.They continue to fight and maybe they will get better.

Sensei John Kreese

September 27th, 2009
11:27 am

How did we get a PAC-10 Crew? Wasn’t it a PAC-10 crew in Tempe last year? If not, my bad. If so, we should have had an SEC crew.

DirtyDawg

September 27th, 2009
11:31 am

My guess is that Arizona State is a better team than people had given them credit for being…and certainly their defense. You’re right that Joe C. had difficulty reading the coverage and adjusting…and the officiating was for crap…but the one thing that was clear, we weren’t, and maybe never will be this season, capable of dominating the lines of scrimmage that I had hoped we would. AS stuffed us because they were stronger and faster. What I would have loved to have seen is for Joe C. try to draw ‘em off-sides on that forth down, then call a TO if they didn’t and kick the thing…but that’s just me.

GI Dawg

September 27th, 2009
11:33 am

Loved your observation about the students cheering as the rain got heavier. I miss those days in the student section. I joined the Army nine months ago, and these Dawgs have aged me more in four games than the Army has in nine months. It’s likely going to be that way the whole season, but I’ll take a W any day. Go Dawgs!

Reality

September 27th, 2009
11:33 am

How’s that trailer park lookin’ this morning?

BravesAreDone

September 27th, 2009
11:35 am

Cox looked pretty bad. If it weren’t for Green making fantastic catches Cox would have looked horrible. The defense played better, but Willie still must go. Wait until they have to play some sort of an offense again!

uga_b

September 27th, 2009
11:35 am

Almost met you last night Bill. Walked out behind you and said that guy looks like “Bill King” and met your brother. I was the very unhappy guy. Another sloppy performance with questionable play calling. Thank god Rudy Carpenter is gone. Was not a fan of seeing seniors celebrating that “win” on the cheerleading stands. I hope we aren’t a team that celebrates squeakers over good opponents. They should have been mad ASU was in it.

BE#3

September 27th, 2009
11:37 am

That was an SEC crew. But that’s still not a good thing b/c Rogers Redding, a Tech man, is the head of SEC officiating.

Up 14-3, I think the guys started looking ahead thinking the game was wrapped up and they got lazy & sloppy. Fortunately the defense, Walsh & A.J. Green never stopped playing! With the rain, I wasn’t shocked at how sloppy the offense was but the play calling was again very predictable at times. And we all know that Georgia never covers the spread at home!

Gator fan

September 27th, 2009
11:42 am

Bulldogs a strange team. It is interesting to see who will show up each week. The previous 2 games Georgia fielded their arena football team. I really don’t know what team they fielded in Oklahoma, though they should have won. Then last night we may have seen the real Georgia team. Time will tell.

NC DAWG

September 27th, 2009
11:45 am

This probably wouldn’t change a thing, but I would love to see MR establish a policy of no dancing the game unless we’re up by three touchdowns. In addition, I wonder if the band feels displaced by the playing of that crappy music through the loudspeaker during the game.

P

September 27th, 2009
11:46 am

Dawga complaining about officiating….now that’s a surprise (NOT).

Jadar

September 27th, 2009
11:48 am

Trailer Park…. HUH, elaborate if you can put that comment in relation to football first and UGA second (intelligently if possible)or go to a forum where that means something

dawgintex

September 27th, 2009
11:48 am

Basically we win 20 to 3… Dawgs are fine. relax. Look at how many ranked teams have lost to unranked teams .. There is Parody in college football…… The scholarship reductions and the overall growth of the game is slowly but surely evening the playing field.

Joey

September 27th, 2009
11:53 am

Hopefully the wet ball had much to do with Cox’s regression and the turnovers, though ASU didn’t have as many. Do think these close games and comebacks give the team some grit. They will need it starting next Saturday…

BullyMack

September 27th, 2009
12:00 pm

Now for my UGA version of ‘Ricky’s Rant’………

Brad

September 27th, 2009
12:01 pm

Man I hate being 1-3…….O wait we are 3-1!! To listen to you people you would think the dawgs are 1-3. Bobo must go also!!!! We are only avg. 37 points the last 3 games!!!

dd

September 27th, 2009
12:04 pm

Sautee Dawg

September 27th, 2009
12:05 pm

Pac-10 refs should have had to pay admission for watching the game. That’s about all they did. Bobo should have had to buy a ticket also.

Brad in Jasper

September 27th, 2009
12:09 pm

LSU has been somewhat of an enigma this year as well. Should be interesting.

CentralFLDawg

September 27th, 2009
12:14 pm

Observations

Our D-line looked better, but was against an immobile QB and a relatively poor O-line that had a couple of injuries.

ASU defense is tough by any standard, especially that monster freshman middle linebacker, but no excuse for our O-line to be simply manhandled at times.

Cox not as effective against man coverage. The rain may have had more impact; Cox’s passes didn’t have the zip of those he threw in the ARK game.

I saw more hussle on defense; we were swarming most of the game, better than the last 2 weeks. Tackling seems to be improving.

Seems Bobo excels at playcalling in a shootout against weaker defenses. I never figured out how ASU could load the box yet we couldn’t do anything underneath throwing to the backs and tight end.

LSU was lethagic and lucky against Miss State. They will be up for us but they can be run on between the tackles.

Wonder if it will go into overtime next week…don’t think I could stand it.

Class of '98

September 27th, 2009
12:15 pm

Yep. I wouldn’t trade AJ for two Julio Jones.

bling and blang

September 27th, 2009
12:16 pm

This hip hop mentality is getting old. CMR doesnt have control of this team. It all starts with recruiting these thugs with the hat and jersey tricks on signing day. Last season it reared its ugly head with all the arrests and now its rearing itself with undisciplined play on the field. This team better focus or we we see LSU hang a half a hundred on the dawgs in Sanford. Florida will certainly annihilate the dawgs on Halloween. the worst is yet to come Im afraid and Richt doesnt have a clue but to coddle his players.

Class of '98

September 27th, 2009
12:17 pm

Parity. Parody is what they do on Saturday Night Live.

UgaJerseys.com

September 27th, 2009
12:18 pm

There are no certainties in life, except the awesomeness of this EXACT Replica of Uga VII’s jersey. Get your dawg dog one here, http://www.UgaJersey.com.

BugKiller

September 27th, 2009
12:20 pm

We just need to stop trying to figure this team out.

Let’s just keep plenty of liquor available anytime they play.

jay

September 27th, 2009
12:21 pm

Here’s a novel idea. How about giving just a smidgen of credit to the opponents….nah, that’s right, in a perfect world, the dawgs should roll over everybody. Were superhuman. BTW, those were SEC refs.

bling and blang

September 27th, 2009
12:24 pm

Dawgs need to get serious and stop this dancing crap. The stomping on Vandys mid field logo 2 years ago brought concerns about our program. we need someone who can do some real A$$ chewing on these guys or we are in for a huge slide.

bling and blang

September 27th, 2009
12:26 pm

Yes jay we need to go ahead and give credit to the Vandys,Tenn Techs and the South Carolinas of the football world.

Ed

September 27th, 2009
12:28 pm

Bama can keep Jones, I wouldn’t trade Green for any receiver in the country.

bling and blang

September 27th, 2009
12:29 pm

Dawgs need to schedule Appalachian State and give them credit for what they did at the BIG HOUSE!

Army Vet

September 27th, 2009
12:31 pm

Let’s see how much dancing the thugs do starting next week. I think UGA’s luck is about to run out.

41 38 49 38 45 24 37 41 17

September 27th, 2009
12:32 pm

Damn it Willie you messed up my numbers. Now get back on track with LSU!

Dawg Tired

September 27th, 2009
12:34 pm

I’m living out of state so did not get to see the game – maybe I was being spared the anguish – but the replay of Green catching that pass in the end-zone in the fourth quarter clearly showed him dragging his toe in bounds. Was that play reviewed? How could anyone not call that correctly?

We need to get it together asap or else we will get embarrassed by good teams.

Staff Promised to Buy ME a New Pair TOO!

September 27th, 2009
12:36 pm

ASU is a great team! I fully expect them to win the Pac10.

Ed

September 27th, 2009
12:40 pm

Glad I’m watching on TV from home, a thousand miles away. I couldn’t stand to hear that garbage played over the loudspeakers at venerable old Sanford Stadium, and the sight of football players dancing on the sidelines makes me want to puke. Man, I miss old-school college football.

whatfor

September 27th, 2009
1:11 pm

I thought CMR was supposed to be an man of honor and character – well he needs to teach his players a few things about honor, humility, discipline, and character; why do the players feel that they are good enough to dance and parade around after a sub-par win against a sub-par team in a sub-par conference? He needs to put a stop to their celebrating like they just won the National Championship. Like that dancing crap on Vandy’s V last year and the end-zone stunt that CMR orchestrated against Florida two years ago (yes, don’t think for a minute that CMR was not behind that). What character and humility the so-called christian coach has his team show.

Chris

September 27th, 2009
1:24 pm

You’re right Bill,
If you had told me in August that we’d be 3-1 at the end of September I’d have accepted it (begrudgingly) but at the time, that would have had the sound of great promise.

But for the first time in the Richt era, I have NO idea what this team is. Someone had mentioned it looked like they relaxed after getting up 14-3 which is plausible. Cox eyeballs his primary guy pretty bad at times but has been magnificent and is still learning under live ammunition.

I can see us putting together a complete game and waxing LSU next week and then getting hammered by UT the week after. One blogger earlier in the week posited that they’re a team that plays to the level of their competition (throw out the OSU game). I have no clue..just never been so perplexed by a Richt coached team.

Did you see the push Ole Miss front four got on SC? Aren’t three of our front four sure to go in the draft next April? Why can’t we get the same kind of push with that talent?

azdawg

September 27th, 2009
1:28 pm

BK and Dirty Dawg are both reading off the same sheet of music. The dawgs are not a dominating team on either side of the ball. You never know from one week to the next which Jeckyl or Hyde is going to show up for GA. ASU stuffed the line w/as many as 7-8 players and Bobo cannot get more imaginative than run right into the thick of it. He’s another one that has flashes of brilliance than return to mediocrity. And then there’s poor ole Logan Gray inserted to fool the opponents def and coaches!?!?!? If you want to fool them why not let him pass the ball once in a while!!!!! That is just plain crappy play calling!!!!

We need a RB like AL has. They have several as a matter of fact. They might have the best RB’s in the country. We are weak at that position w/what the backs GA has thrown into games thus far this season. How they’re ranked that high coming out of HS leaves a lot of doubt who to believe when it comes to ranking them nationally.

There’s so many questions about this GA team that it boggles the mind. One thing though is a given. You’ll never know what team is going to show up to play week after week. BK is right. No one knows or has a feel for what kind of team GA has this season. The coaches don’t have the answer, the players neither but ironically our opposition coaches know more about GA’s team than do our own coaches. The season will get longer beginning next Sat unless GA players and coaches shows up on both sides of the ball otherwise its Jeckyl and Hyde all over again

mdbatl

September 27th, 2009
1:30 pm

I agree that the dancing at certain times during the game was showy and unclasssy, but I think y’all need to put yourselves in the players’ shoes.

Trivia: What’s a fail-safe way to jack up a bunch of college students?
Answer: Play dance music.

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but with every hip-hop song, the stadium got louder. Maybe that was the old folks in the alumni section collectively sighing for the days of 5 cent Hershey’s bars and Gene Pitney records. But for my money, it was the student section dancing and cheering on our team.

As for the end of the game, I don’t see what anyone’s upset about. The players came over and celebrated with their classmates, who stood for, as Bill said, two hours in monsoon-like rains. They didn’t tell the band to play. Get off their backs. They just won.

That said, I’ve never gone this deep into a season without having any clue about the team. We’ve had two great defensive performances and two great offensive performances. If we can do both in one game, and cut turnovers, I think we can contend for the division, especially if Tebow misses a few games (I hope he gets better though; love him or hate him, he’s an incredible player and person). Maybe I’m in a minority here, but I haven’t given up on this team yet.

shane#1

September 27th, 2009
2:13 pm

No celebrating after a win huh? I guess you guys want the players to be as miserable as you are. I am going to enjoy this win and all the other wins the Dawgs have this year, be it one game or eight games. Do you think those guys carry a loss with them all week? Nope, they might feel bad for a day or so then they get back in class and hang out with their friends and girl friends and get on with their lives. They know that a chance for redemption comes every Saturday. If the players don’t let a loss get them down they sure won’t hang their heads over a win! It’s the has beens and never weres that let a bad game ruin their whole week, not the kids.

george

September 27th, 2009
2:18 pm

Why is it that every single freaking game UGA fans complain about the refs???? What about the NUMEROUS gifts the dawgs got last night?????? Do you people really think there is one big conspiracy theory out there against UGA as far as the refs bc that is why you cry babies seem to think. I would really like to know.

PTC DAWG

September 27th, 2009
2:34 pm

3-1, no cupcakes, two LONG road trips…..new QB…..sounds good to me.

the only optimistic dawg fan left

September 27th, 2009
2:38 pm

I think that Joe Cox was just trying to hit the routes he hit against USC and ARK but against the #1 D in the nation-not happening. What really excited me about the game was the Defense. Everything that Georgia’s D had been critisized for for the last 2 weeks it showed in this game. And how bout Blair Walsh showing cool under pressure. And don’t forget AJ’s huge game, over 170 recieving, a blocked kick an TD and another that should have been a TD. What else can a reciever do in one game??? At this point, I just want UGA to win and I don’t care how bad or how close. I look at this
We are 3-1 and most importantly 2-0 in SEC play. I (unlike most) expect the Dawgs to beat LSU handily at home because of how good UGA plays the Tigers and plays at Sanford Stadium. if that happens as it should the Dawgs would be 4-1 and a HUGE 3-0 in conference play. two easy wins at UT and Vandy (2 of the worst in the SEC) would leave us at 6-1, and 5-0 in SEC play heading into a BYE week the week before the UF game. (flashback to 07??????????)

DawgBite

September 27th, 2009
2:42 pm

george, george……george!!!! I think it might be time to log off of your mommy’s computer and go back to watching Barney epiosodes. Go ahead…..sing along with Barney and try not to soak your Huggies, george. Pansy.

Sanford Drive

September 27th, 2009
2:50 pm

I still think Cox is terrible.

Minnesota Dawg

September 27th, 2009
3:01 pm

Just think if Georgia had not scored more points that Arizona State, they wouldn’t have won! Bottom line, we made less mistakes and won it! Let’s get after LSU now! Hopefully I won’t have a heart attack!

UGAStudent

September 27th, 2009
3:05 pm

bling and blang:
You’re comments are garbage…The students, like Bill said, are out there sitting in the stands long before anyone else gets there. The music “nowadays” has changed and it keeps the blood flowing in that monsoon weather when everyone is physically cold and miserable. At any level in football, the players are out there all week getting ready for the game. Out there in the heat of the game, they ought to have the right to have fun and as long as they’re getting the job done inbetween the whistles, what do you care what playmakers like Rennie Curran and T. King are doing. They’ve gotta stay pumped and if it’s the music that gets that extra M.O. to knock heads, then let em have a good time. The day that a player is too busy dancing between whistles rather than making a read on the ball or ball hawking the opposite team is the day that you’re argument may have some credit. Otherwise, shut up and cheer on your team like a passionate fan should.

DBalcer

September 27th, 2009
3:05 pm

I was very happy to see the team come over to the student section and celebrate with them. Those students stayed and yelled when it made a difference. The 2 hour downpour before the game sent most everyone else to the covered areas of the stadium but they stayed and cheered soaking wet. The team should be celebrating wins no matter how close and the end of the season that W-L column is what will matter. I can’t believe how many people think that being a fan means tearing down your team. GO DAWGS. I am looking forward to playing LSU next year.

Yellow Fuzz

September 27th, 2009
3:07 pm

News flash, Sanford. Cox is a joke and your offense is incredibly predictable. Cox always telegraphs his passes. Bobo could not coach a double-A high school team in Alaska. Martinez could not defend a pit bull against a chihuahua attack. Richt could not show any emotion or fire even during a home invasion. Your running backs cannot hang onto the ball. Your special teams coach (Fabris?) doesn’t know the concept of kicking the ball in bounds. There. I’ve pointed out your problems. Now go solve them before GT hands your team their fannies in November.