Archive for October, 2009

Why a senior QB plays like a freshman

It isn't Joe Cox's fault he's a senior who plays like a freshman. (Associated Press)

It isn't Joe Cox's fault he's a senior who plays like a freshman. (Associated Press)

Joe Cox isn’t the main problem with the Georgia offense.

That would be the running game. Between injuries to Caleb King, the inexperience of the other backs and the generally poor run-blocking of the offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks, the Dogs have become a one-dimensional team. Tennessee was able to sit back in a zone defense designed to guard against any long passes without having to worry about the run.

Mike Bobo’s predictable play-calling doesn’t help matters, either.

But Cox also has hurt the team’s chances with the kind of poor decision-making you generally don’t associate with a fifth-year senior.

Just in last Saturday’s game against Tennessee, he threw another interception after a botched snap — the latest of a number of passes that shouldn’t ever have been thrown. He didn’t check out of screen plays where Tennessee was sending a safety blitz. He threw the ball to heavily …

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Dogs don’t need to move any games to Atlanta

(Redelephants.com)

(Redelephants.com)

As expected, Georgia turned down the Atlanta Sports Council’s proposal to move the Georgia-Georgia Tech football game to the Georgia Dome at the beginning of the 2011 season. Like I’d said in my last post on the subject, there simply wasn’t anything in it for Georgia since the deal would have required shifting Tech’s next home game in the series to 2012, meaning playing the game in Atlanta two years in a row.

I think Georgia eventually will do one of those Kickoff Classic games in the Dome, but not against the Jackets. Since the game matches an SEC team against an ACC foe, I think Miami (Mark Richt’s alma mater) or Clemson (a longtime UGA rival) would be excellent choices for the Dogs to play. But it’s got to be a year when Tech is the only other BCS nonconference opponent. No more seasons with three of those, please!

Meanwhile, my esteemed colleague Mark Bradley (sounds like I’m making a speech on the floor of the Senate) floated the idea of Tech and …

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Can Dogs still have a winning season?

I’ll be off as usual on Tuesday and the Blawg will return on Wednesday.

In the meantime, I wanted to leave you with a topic I thought might spark some interesting discussion. Like our revised expectations for Mark Richt’s 2009 team.

What do you think Georgia’s regular season record will be?

  • Eight or nine wins (I’m an optimist!)
  • 7-5
  • 6-6
  • 5-7

View Results

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Back in early September, I wrote that I thought the Dogs would finish the regular season with a 9-3 record.  A lot of you agreed with me. A week or so earlier, in a poll, you said that you’d be disappointed if the Dogs didn’t win at least nine games, plus a bowl.

While still mathematically possible, that’s not very likely.

Over their past dozen games, the Dogs are 7-5, and after Saturday’s loss to Tennessee, that matches the most optimistic predictions I heard of what Georgia’s record is likely to be this season.

But, frankly, a lot of folks I’ve heard from don’t see Georgia winning four …

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Calls to fire Richt definitely premature

Mark Richt isn't yet on the hot seat. (UGA Sports Communications)

Mark Richt isn't yet on the hot seat. (UGA Sports Communications)

Back in June, John Pennington of MrSEC.com wrote that the two SEC coaches who would be on the hot seat if they had bad seasons this year were Mark Richt and Les Miles.

Pennington was inundated with attacks from Georgia fans. And, he notes, “Even Bill King of The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Junkyard Blawg took up the issue. …He provided a G-rated commentary on my commentary (unlike a lot of the emails I received) and concluded it as such: ‘We’re disappointed, but we’re not deluded. Georgia fans know we have a good thing going with Mark Richt and that it’s only a matter of time before he brings the Bulldog Nation another national championship. … Richt on the hot seat? Only in some strange alternative universe SEC.’”

Not surprisingly, after Saturday’s meltdown against the Vols, and with Georgia looking at a struggle to try and get a winning season, Pennington thinks we’ve moved into that …

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UGA fans need to see iceman Richt working up a sweat

Mark Richt's postgame performance was found lacking by many fans. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt's postgame performance was found lacking by many fans. (Associated Press)

Judging by fans I’ve talked to and those commenting online, Mark Richt’s postgame performance in the wake of the Tennessee game is taking almost as severe a drubbing as his staff and players’ performance in the game itself.

Despite the fact that Georgia fans had long ago grown used to Richt’s seemingly unemotional demeanor, many found his flat tone in the locker-room radio interview after the game disappointing. As a caller to one of the postgame radio call-in shows put it, he wanted to hear some passion in the coach’s voice.

The only public emotion Richt showed after the game was when he unwisely got kind of curt with a reporter wondering if he still liked Mike Bobo’s playcalling.

The less than specific comments on what he intends to do about his team’s problems on offense and defense also haven’t inspired a lot of folks in red and black.

“We’ve got to get better at defense, got to get better …

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How ’bout them halftime adjustments?

Some random thoughts and questions in the wake of Saturday’s humiliation of the Dogs by Tennessee …

Mark Richt again proved the master of understatement Saturday in noting that, “When you’re geared to stop the run, you’re vulnerable [to play-action passes], and we didn’t adjust very well to it.”

It's time to sit Bryan Evans on the bench. (Associated Press)

It's time to sit Bryan Evans on the bench. (Associated Press)

Of course, this is nothing new. Much has been made of Willie Martinez’s trouble making midgame adjustments. And rightly so. Georgia’s inability to figure out Jonathan Crompton’s bootleg passing Saturday was just plain embarrassing. One thought: Might Martinez have a better grasp of the big picture if he was calling Georgia’s defensive signals from the booth?

I’ve got a better idea: Let’s move him out of the stadium altogether!

On the other side of the ball Saturday, Mike Bobo also appeared unable to adjust when his game plan, whatever it was, failed to click. How does Georgia’s offense do coming out of halftime? Three …

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Looks like it’s going to be a looooong season

Brandon Boykin's return for a touchdown was one of the few bright spots for Georgia. (Associated Press)

Brandon Boykin's return for a touchdown was one of the few bright spots for Georgia. (Associated Press)

Play-action.

Bootleg.

I just thought I’d throw out a couple of basic offensive football terms that Willie Martinez apparently isn’t familiar with.

As a result, Georgia made Jonathan Crompton look like an all-conference quarterback Saturday as Tennessee repeatedly ran the same basic plays over and over again to great success in a 45-19 butt-kicking.

Not that the loss can be pinned entirely on Georgia’s defense. Because the Dogs’ offense put on one of the most toothless, inept performances since … last week’s first half. No running game to speak of. And this week precious little passing game. You remember all the talk about how Georgia’s offensive line was terrible at run-blocking but good at pass protection? Today they weren’t even good at that, as Joe Cox repeatedly had to throw the ball away or had it batted down. Volunteer defenders spent more time in …

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Blind loyalty doesn’t make you more of a UGA fan

Rex Robinson in his playing days. (Roughingthekicker.com)

Rex Robinson in his playing days. (Roughingthekicker.com)

Some folks in the Bulldog Nation have an awfully narrow view of what a “fan” is.

The way they see it, if you want to be a fan of the Dogs, you woof, holler “Go Dogs!” and say bad things about the opponent. If you dare criticize or question Mark Richt and his staff, they say, you’re stabbing the Bulldogs in the back, or some such nonsense.

I get accused all the time of not being a true fan because I point out areas where the program needs improvement or question some of the staff’s decisions or statements. My lifelong devotion to the Bulldogs, my season ticket holder status, the fact that I care enough about the Georgia program to want it to be the best it can be … none of that counts, as far as the say-nothing-critical bunch goes.

Which is kind of ridiculous since my experience is that 90 percent of the devoted, longtime Dog fans I encounter — the kind who talk Georgia football all year round — have complaints about …

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Bulldog Bites: Big test for UGA’s defensive front

Georgia's defense will face a stiff test. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia's defense will face a stiff test. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia’s improving defensive line got six sacks against LSU but still gave up 95 yards to back Charles Scott. Against Tennessee and league-leading back Montario Hardesty, they’ll face their biggest test of the season, despite recent injury problems for the Vol’s offensive line. Coach Rodney Garner tells the Athens Banner-Herald that UT has “the best offensive line” that the Dogs have played, “hands down.” Garner adds, “I don’t care if they’re 2-3. You look at the film and the film don’t lie.”

Mark Richt says Georgia’s defensive line will “get tested this game more than any game we’ve played. Especially against the run. That’s what those big boys are here for to stop the run. It will be a great matchup.”

DOGS NEED TO NIP IT IN THE BUD

In addition to all the official statistical categories in which the Bulldogs rank last or near it in the SEC, MrSEC.com has come up with what it calls the Fife Factor, named after …

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Is Dogs’ offense up to the challenge?

Joe Cox needs to play keep-away from Eric Berry. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Joe Cox needs to play keep-away from Eric Berry. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

So how is it that a 2-3 Tennessee team that is winless in the SEC is a 1 to 2 point favorite over a 3-2 Georgia team that is 2-1 in conference play and came within just over a minute of beating the No. 4 team in the country?

Uh, did you see Georgia’s offense in the first half last week?

Yes, a running attack that ranks dead last in the SEC and 105th nationally tends to get you little to no respect from the oddsmakers. Plus Tennessee’s defense played Florida tougher than anyone else so far this season. And, as much as Mark Richt needs a win this weekend, Lane Kiffin needs it more. Going 0-3 in conference play is not the way to win hearts and minds in Knoxville.

The answer to this question should have a lot to do with Georgia’s chances in the game: Can the Dogs keep the celebrated Eric Berry and the rest of the Vols defense honest by establishing a running game?

Richard Samuel is still slated to start for …

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