Is Georgia’s problem coaching or inferior talent?

Did  Brian Van Gorder benefit from better defensive talent? (Georgia Sports Blog)

Did Brian Van Gorder benefit from better defensive talent? (Georgia Sports Blog)

Is the relative decline of Mark Richt’s program in the past couple of seasons a matter of bad coaching or is it more a case of the talent not being up to the level it was during his first few years in Athens?

Quarterback-turned-broadcaster Buck Belue has been making the case for the latter scenario this week. Summing up the loss to Tennessee earlier this week, he said: “They recruited the wrong guys 4 years ago and they are paying for it right now.”

And talking about embattled defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, Belue says: “Again, to me it’s more about personnel than about his coaching. …I keep going back to this: In 2007, the Dogs’ defense was at the top of the SEC. Georgia was #3 in scoring defense: 20.2 per game. Dogs were #3 in rush defense. They forced 26 turnovers and sacked the QB 42 times … tops in the SEC. Did he forget how to coach? Think not. It’s the personnel.”

Another former UGA player, Rex Robinson, is having similar thoughts, inspired in part by hearing Paul Johnson say that the difficulty in stopping Georgia “depends on what Indians are flinging the arrows.”

Robinson goes back and looks at the roster of the 2002 team, which went 13-1 and finished No. 3 in the nation, and highlights some of the more notable players, especially on defense. Then-coordinator Brian Van Gorder “had more bullets in his gun” than Martinez does now, he concludes.

What do you think, is Georgia’s talent level down, or are the current coaches just not getting as much out of those highly touted recruiting classes?

368 comments Add your comment

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

October 15th, 2009
4:14 pm

asst. coaching

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

October 15th, 2009
4:15 pm

how about that never thought it was a big deal to be first but now i feel like we just beat vandy regardless of the coaching

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

harleydawg

October 15th, 2009
4:21 pm

i am one who thinks the talent level is better on this years team and i have been out there, they are bigger faster and stronger

joe

October 15th, 2009
4:22 pm

If you overlook Vandy and go in there and throw your helmet on the field and expect to win, you will get beat. I, for one, would love to see that.

L-Dawg

October 15th, 2009
4:23 pm

GLORY GLORY TO OLE’ GEORGIA!!!!

WHAT DO GEORGIA TECH FANS AND UGA FANS HAVE IN COMMON?? THEY ARE BOTH OBSESSED WITH THE DAWGS!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!

LOOKING FORWARD TO CHEERING IN PERSON ON SATURDAY IN NASHVILLE!!!

Dawgs73

October 15th, 2009
4:24 pm

Are you FREAKIN kidding me! It’s the players and not the coach? Ok genius (Buck Belue), who was the FREAKIN rocket scientist that recruited these “sub par” players…uh, the coach! Unbelievable, it’s almost like saying I can’t afford to pay for my mortgage after I signed all my disclosures, read them thoroughly, and now it’s “I didn’t know I was supposed to pay that”….REALLYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great coaches can turn average players into exceptional ones. Bad coaches just make excuses (or have someone else excuse for them).

Buddman

October 15th, 2009
4:26 pm

Its a known fact.. You can not make chicken salad out of chicken Sh^*..Thats what the CMR is trying to do.

Hushull

October 15th, 2009
4:29 pm

Shucks, now I’m confused. It was season before last that Buck proclaimed (after the dags rise to #2 in the nation) that it would be the following 2 or 3 seasons when UGA would contend for the NC. Of course he was prophetic in that the Dawgs were in position with the pre season #1 rank. They dropped like a rock pretty quick, but then this year has been ever worse.I’m confused!!!! Is their talent or not?

Alabamadawg

October 15th, 2009
4:31 pm

I think its a little of column A and a little of column B…

superDawg

October 15th, 2009
4:31 pm

I believe there is talent on this team but there is no fire in their heart.This may be due to the fact that GA.laid some hard wood on OK.state recievers and had the flags thrown on them for it.Well it is time to start swinging the big stick and let the world know that the secondary means to make you earn every yard.

PUP FAN

October 15th, 2009
4:32 pm

Maybe, just maybe, the talent was better BECAUSE of VanGorder! But who knows? I’m tired of all the rhetoric and coach/player bashing. I’m ready to see the Dawgs stand up and fight! As long as they fight then I don’t care about the record. (That probably isn’t true…but it sounded good!) GO DAWGS!!!!

WildBill

October 15th, 2009
4:33 pm

I believe the UGA status quo is very simple. The coaches got complacent over the years and this condition kept getting worse. The coaches indulged the players excesses and things got even worse. The players aren’t in top shape and several some are seemingly oblivious to their position responsibilities. The qb has gotten out of his comfort zone. Combine all that with lackadaisical coaching and the horse has gotten out of the barn. The theme now, is “where do we go from here?” No one seems ready to take drastic action. Personally, I don’t look forward to the rest of the season.

gadawgs

October 15th, 2009
4:34 pm

Coaching…… Does TN have superior talent than GA? No, they have a better DC. Does SC have better talent than GA? No, they have a better DC. Does AL have better talent (according the scouting services that rank the talent)? No, they have a better DC. FL and LSU in my opinion have better talent and thus a more bullets but they still have better DC’s than GA. Not to mention we are softer than all of those teams as well. Look at all the teams ranked ahead of GA in every defensive catagory in D1A and tell me that GA’s talent is inferior. No way.

Vol Man

October 15th, 2009
4:35 pm

Buck Belue has been hanging around Kincade too long!! Why would you recruit the “wrong” players?? Should you not be a great judge of talent as the head coach of a major program. Maybe Buck is to blame, he recruits shamelessly for the Bulldogs 3 hours a day on local radio.

Jim

October 15th, 2009
4:35 pm

I think it’s both…successful coaches are good evaluators of talent. They are able to adjust the defense based upon the strengths of their players. Also, good coaches are able to “coach up” players by helping them learn the system and understand their role. We have, particularly in the secondary, players who are consistently unable to perform their roles, plus a coach who seems unable to coach up players and unable to teach the system as well. More than anything though, a coach controls the quality of the defense by benching underperforming players, which does not seem to be important to our coaches. Surely we have someone who can play safety better than Evans…they would only have to be out of position or miss tackles 50% of the time to constitute an improvement.

SuperSize those Fries Mutt

October 15th, 2009
4:39 pm

How about BOTH: When Dumb meets Dumber. Five stars just means nothing these days, its just PR, for both the coaches and the players. If hype alone could win National Championships, the mutts would not have but one to their worthless name. Tech has FOUR National Championships in football, yet UGAY has been hyped by the worthless Urinal as National Championship material every year for the last decade. We all know now that that hype was false, UGAY has not won a National Championship in the last decade, and they are highly unlikely to ever win a second title. Tech on the other hand is well on the way toward their FIFTH National title, maybe not this year, but soon.

Top Dawg

October 15th, 2009
4:40 pm

Either way, it’s the coaching. If these players are not that good, which is essentially what these guys are saying, then why did the COACHES sign them to scholarships?

I think it’s the coaching, or lack thereof.

PhilDawg

October 15th, 2009
4:41 pm

The decline in the Dogs is a tough combination of recruiting, coaching, scheduling and winning.

This year’s situation reminds me of the decline at UT several years ago when they recruited top athletes, but the athletes were more concerned about themselves than the team. We have too many undiciplined players who are athletes but maybe not “football players” and maybe not TEAM players. You can recruit athletes, but you can’t quantify their heart until it’s too late. The coaches seemed to address this a little from the mid 3rd quarter on in the UT game – Woods and Tyson had more reps than any other game. They youngsters were in the secondary. Playing time is the one weapon these coached have. Maybe they sent a message there.

In the coaching staff we have a mix of older coaches, younger coaches and recruiting expert coaches. The continuity should work in our favor. However, I believe that the combination has grown a little stale. The titles on these guys could choke a horse. We a few young, hungry “Indians” and fewer “Chiefs”. You think in times of stress Garner defers to Martinez? There may be a lack of commitment and dedication and respect amoung these guys who have grown a bit too comfortable and complacent in their positions.

The schedule this year has worn these guys out. If you combine the two points above with the grueling schedule, the bubble was bound to burst at some point. We must rebound at Vandy, hit the off weak and recover mentally and physically and commit to winning these last 6. Tough, but it is where the Dawgs are now.

Finally, we have to commit to winning. Winning it all, not just the SEC. The bar has to be set at the highest level. 1980 was a long d— time ago!

sharecropper

October 15th, 2009
4:42 pm

I would not know Rex Robinson from Jackie, but to interpret Paul Johnson’s “flinging the arrows” comment as being directed at Georgia’s defense is stupid. He says specifically to “stop Georgia” — meaning the defense — depends on who is flinging arrows. Or, Mr. Robinson, playing quarterback and passing the football. Geez. The proverbial playing football too long without a helmet.

bugsquacher

October 15th, 2009
4:42 pm

Put this one in the bank…no doubt, its the coaching! Its is their responsibility to bring out the best in the players. You can either coach a person “up” or “down”. You cant tell me that this bunch of players cannot learn basic fundamentals like tackling…. the coaches hold 90% of the bag on this one!

barneyb

October 15th, 2009
4:42 pm

Just like the syncophants to throw the players under the bus and absolve the coaching staff of their failures. Eveyrone is to blame here.

David

October 15th, 2009
4:44 pm

I’m NO fan of Tech, but look what Johnson did with Chan Gailey’s men. Took the same bunch that went 7-6 in 2007 and last year went 9-4. He had 400 yards rushing in 2007, last year nearly 1,400. I know the triple option accounts for a lot, but the same back rushes for nearly 3x as many yards under a different coach and scheme. So maybe coaching is Georgia’s problem? Buck Belue says recruiting in 2005 was our problem? Weren’t we a top 10 class?

Sav'h Dawg

October 15th, 2009
4:47 pm

Problem is a soft team playing in a smash mouth conference. Dawgs are not physical enough to hang with the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida.

David G.

October 15th, 2009
4:48 pm

coaching,coaching, and more coaching

shards1967

October 15th, 2009
4:48 pm

If UGA signs or any school signs tons and tons and tons of top 4 or 5 all world h.s. players and they are strictly offensive players, we would be that year ranked in the top 5 or top 10 in recruiting. That is what has happened on OFFENSE but not on DEFENSE> see our stats.

Here is the point:

UGA has always gotten top 5 picks on O but NOT ON D and the SEC IS A D LEAGUE> look at Bama. I rest my case. We do get decent skill talent BUT NOT the quality linebackers and the d ends and the corners and safeties. THIS AREA is where UGA is deficient.

Great state of Georgia O linemen should always be recruited. U of Tenn. Has Chris Scott at tackle and he is from Lovejoy. TX Tech has HIGHLY REGARDED Brandon Seasay and he is from West Atlanta ( could not get into UGA ) and Oklahoma last year for 3 or 4 years had Duke Robinson of Atlanta and an All American and SC has that linebacker Norwood that is an All American, fron cobb county.

The really good kids got away. See? We take left overs apparently. Richt and CO must go. 9 years is too long w.o. a NC.

Chris

October 15th, 2009
4:50 pm

No offense, but this team has no Pollack, Blue, Davis, Battle, Taylor, Moses, etc. That being said, there is still plenty of talent that is NOT being “coached up”. This years D has enough ability to stop naked boot-legs and play-action passes; therefore, I will side with the coaching being the bigger issue. Is there anyway to transfer some of that emotion seen above on BVG to the current coaching staff (CMR)?

GO DAWGS!!!

Indydawg

October 15th, 2009
4:50 pm

Coaching, coaching, coaching. This is what they get paid to do.

It’s the talent that’s been bailing the coaching out….

Herschel Talker

October 15th, 2009
4:51 pm

IT IS ALL COACHING. PERIOD.

ANYONE WHO SAYS THAT THE TALENT LEVEL AT UGA IS WORTHY OF A 45-19 BEATDOWN BY UT HAS HIS HEAD UP HIS A$$.

GET REAL PEOPLE!

WildBill

October 15th, 2009
4:51 pm

Lots of good, well thought our comments here, and they are much apprciated. I hope the minions at UGA take notice.

Raleigh Dog

October 15th, 2009
4:52 pm

Top Dawg got it just right. The coaches recruited them. Richt has admitted many times to underestimating talent. Maybe they weren’t paying as close attention to the recruiting as they should have. They’ve got only one great player and a few who could be great but aren’t now. 8 losses here we come. Richt has lost his edge.

Benny

October 15th, 2009
4:52 pm

I see that there are a lot of posters that think they know how to coach. Hah! I have personally coached 5 players that currently play for UGA. I would never have recommended them due to attitude. They were not team players – only for their own stats. They did not care in high school about winning or losing – only about getting laid. At one time or another all were benched during their high school football days for a variety of offenses yet UGA still wanted them. I remember after one game where we lost a heartbreaker – one of these clowns was bragging to the opposing team cheerleaders about how great he was. Did not join his team in the locker room and an assistant coach had to corral him. He did not play the last 3 games but is now at UGA. You can have all the talent in the world but with this attitude you won’t go far. UGA did not want to listen. Now they are paying for it. FSU players on the 2nd grade reading level? One of these players can’t do 2nd grade math or spelling and is playing for UGA. Makes me wonder.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

October 15th, 2009
4:52 pm

Remember how much fun is was in 2007 to see the defense swarm and hit? How did the players and coaches forget all that? Were those players that much better? Don’t know. Maybe.

Macclenny_man

October 15th, 2009
4:54 pm

Georgia has talent but it is not used properly!!! The rankings on high school players is always in the top 10!!!! Georgia has just become to predicable on offense and defense!!!! We seem to be scared to try anything different!!! Coach Richt said in the summer he would run an offense that fit our qb!!! Well I can’t tell!!! Though I think Cox can read a defense better than any other qb we have, does he have more talent than the guys behind him!!!! I think not!!! He as a average arm!!! Apparently we can’t run a quick slant!!! I think we would be better served to have Gray play because defenses would have 2 account for him running!!! So that would open up more holes to pass or run!!! Although I think this year on defense their is No hope!!! As long as we have Martinez there will be none!!! It is 2 late to change our defense this year so unfortunately we have 2 live with it!!! But offense there should be some different plays for Gray since he is alot more mobile!!! If there isn’t then it has 2 be coaching period!!!!!!! All good defenses try move around the dl or lb’s to try to confuse the offense line!!! That is not Willie’s defense!!! The only time the are moving is when they are trying to get set in the defense that is called!!! There is know way Smith or Boykin can’t line up and play man sometimes!!! This would allow us 2 do more with the lb’s instead of just reacting 2 the play!!!! That is what our lb’s do and that is why Curran and the lb’s are the leading tacklers on this team!!!! THERE IS NO DOUBT IT IS COACHING!!!!!!!!!

zino

October 15th, 2009
4:55 pm

Well, the coaches make the offers to the recruits, so if the talent is inferior then it still goes back to the coaches.

cajdawg

October 15th, 2009
4:56 pm

Buck Belue “has the coaching staff’s back”. While I like him, his opinions don’t necessarily match reality. Their is overwhelming statistical evidence that the defense has been in a steady decline. To argue otherwise makes Belue look like a fool. Just recently, he has begrudingly acknowledged the incompetence of the defense, but now “it is the players”.

Hopefully, Damon Evans can see through the “bull___t” the apologists and “insider-got-your-back-crowd” keep throwing out there, if not, we are about to re-live the late 80s and 90s.

DaveDawg

October 15th, 2009
4:56 pm

We’re getting the talent out of high school, but it’s not being coached-up upon arriving on campus. Who know how many “bullets” Willie would have in his gun if he were coaching them correctly.

Discipline is lacking

October 15th, 2009
4:57 pm

Turnovers
Penalties

rinse. lather. repeat. the coaching staff has not instilled discipline in this team. it showed last year. and repeating itself this year.

yuck

October 15th, 2009
4:57 pm

negative sportswriters and unrealistic fan base

Mikey

October 15th, 2009
4:59 pm

I do not have the answer but I betcha if Saban and his staff had our team and we had theirs, Alabama would still be undefeated and we would still be 3-3…maybe worse.
If Meyer and his staff had our team and we had theirs, they would be undefeated and we would have Tebow throwing every down and running for his life. We would be lucky to be 1 -5.

Dawgs73

October 15th, 2009
5:01 pm

shards1967 – Are you out of your freakin mind. Dude, to say that UGA has not recruited 4 to 5 star talent is just ignorant. Here’s a link to an article written just yesterday about UGA and defesive recruites.

http://blogs.ajc.com/recruiting/2009/10/14/talent-should-be-least-of-problems-on-georgia-defense/

Please do me a favor a think before you blog.

Dawgs73

October 15th, 2009
5:01 pm

shards1967 – Are you out of your freakin mind. Dude, to say that UGA has not recruited 4 to 5 star talent is just ignorant. Here’s a link to an article written just yesterday about UGA and defesive recruites.

http://blogs.ajc.com/recruiting/2009/10/14/talent-should-be-least-of-problems-on-georgia-defense/

Please do me a favor and think before you blog.

Larry

October 15th, 2009
5:01 pm

Coaches actually coach games for about 3 months of the year. The rest of the time their job is to recruit talent. If Ga has inferior talent, its because the coaches suck at recruiting. Either way its the coaches’ fault. Your headline basically says “Is Georgia’s problem coaching or coaching?”

Macclenny_man

October 15th, 2009
5:02 pm

U R SO RIGHT ZINO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DeeMack

October 15th, 2009
5:02 pm

Buddman, you are funny. Is that what UGA is trying to do? I thought they recruited some good players. Is is the caliber of the player that is now coming, or the caliber of the coach. Remember, most sh** runs down from the top. Now this one stumps me.

jacket3

October 15th, 2009
5:04 pm

Really funny what losing a few games do to the Dog Nation. I can remember way back when I was undergrad in Dogland – Price Dooley had a few bad years – quite a few actually. No one ever called for his head. So DogNation – get over it. Win a few, lose a few. This is not your year to beat the war drum. Coach Richt will get it right, Martinez will get it right and the sun will shine once again in Athens after the storm.

Better play Vandy like it is a National Championship game or you’ll get drilled. It happened to Dooley way back when too but I’ll save that for another day!

Seaon is not over

October 15th, 2009
5:05 pm

This might not be a huge aberration from previous years when all’s said and done. If we DO wind up losing 5 or 6 games, though, I’d tend to think it’s the players we’ve got right now. We don’t have the backfield talent we had last year, the OL isn’t what we thought it’d be, and the defensive talent just isn’t there. There’s no Champ Bailey and there’s no David Pollack. Pretty much the same coaches, though. Do the math.

Dawgs-n-SC

October 15th, 2009
5:07 pm

Coaching or Players? We have had top 10 recruiting classes in all but 2 of Richt’s years at UGA. Coaching or Players?

Well, let’s take a look at this situation. Tennessee game, for example…coaching or players?

Offensively, a little bit of both. As far as the players are concerned, we can’t blame Richt or Bobo because Joe Cox can’t hit a receiver in stride or under-throws the receiver or over-throws the receiver or, just plain, throws into triple coverage to the wrong team. It’s not Richt or Bobo’s fault that Cox can’t throw accurately over 10 yards (which takes away a constant deep threat known as the best receiver in the nation). But Richt and/or Bobo are to blame for not playing Logan Gray (better arm & mobility) or Aaron Murray. We will finish the year out with Cox playing sub-parly and then have to start the next year with yet another quarterback which causes inconsistency in team chemistry. That’s COACHING.

The running game suffers from not have a true consistent threat. We have one in Washan Ealey but he only gets about 4 or 5 carries/gm. There’s no chance to get in a groove. That’s COACHING.

Defensively: As far as J. Crompton looking like Montana vs our defense…if defensive ends dont stay at home on a roll out, then I guess that’s the players fault. But, then again, they have to be taught and molded to do so. Not making an adjustment in the defense coverage/scheme is all the coaches. I mean if a quarterback is rolling out of the pocket and his receivers along with him, a zone coverage is going to be out-numbered on the side that they roll to. It’s call overloading to one side…that has to be COACHING.

I’m still a DAWG fan to the end. GO DAWGS!

A CHANGE HAS TO BE MADE!

Ted Striker

October 15th, 2009
5:09 pm

I say get someone else to come up with topics for discussion because Bill King ain’t shown me anything worth reading this season. I keep giving him a chance but he keeps his kick-the-kids, kick the coaches mentality, day-in-day out.

Bill King, I hope to god you’re retired because I would hate to think someone pays you to produce a product based on what you show me here.

Chris

October 15th, 2009
5:09 pm

Let me first start by saying Amen (no pun intended) to CMR and the fine job he’s done over the 9 years at UGA. However, what’s eating away at me is the continuous lack of emotion week-to-week, year-to-year that is seen within our head coach. Do you all remember “finish the drill” and “knocking the lid off the can…”? For the first time in years, UGA players, coaches, alum and fans all had something in common. A call for a rally to restore what each thought was rightfully theirs, a position a top of the SEC and a premier program in the country.Where has that been the last two years? I for one can not find it anywhere. It’s not to be found in the color of jersey’s the team wears, I know this much. It’s a thought, an idea to be the best and settle for nothing less. Unfortunately, that train of thinking in Athens seems to have abruptly disappeared. I can’t believe I am going to say this, but who has more emotionally in common with Meyer, Saban, Miles or Kiffin? CMR or John Gruden? I am not jumping on any “Gruden for coach” bandwagon, but that emotion (which is GONE) sure would be nice, IMO.

GO DAWGS!!!

Uncle Jessie

October 15th, 2009
5:10 pm

What are we going to blame today? Let the blamestorming continue!!! I see you’ve still hung on to those darn Sally Jesse Raphael glasses, Bill King. Nice.