Lack of improvement a hallmark of 2009 Dogs

Some thoughts and questions arising from the Dogs’ meltdown against Kentucky. …

The same problems plagued Georgia all season long, and while the players must take the blame for the turnovers and penalties, the fact that the Dogs never really could get a handle on either problem has to be seen as an indictment of Mark Richt’s coaching staff. Most of Georgia’s problems were a matter of sloppy or careless play, not lack of talent.

Looks like Joe Cox's eyes are closed when throwing this fourth-quarter incompletion. Maybe that explains those two interceptions. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Looks like Joe Cox's eyes are closed when throwing this fourth-quarter incompletion. Maybe that explains those two interceptions. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Early in the season when Joe Cox would make stupid mistakes, many of us gave him the benefit of the doubt by pointing out his relative inexperience despite being a fifth-year senior.

But the most damning statement that can be made about Cox (and his coach, Mike Bobo) is that the quarterback never got better as the season progressed. Saturday night, with nearly a full season under his belt, he was still panicking when pressured and making really dumb throws. His second-half interceptions were two of the most ill-advised passes I’ve ever seen a QB attempt.

Cox completed 12 of 30 passes for 291 yards, three touchdown passes and those two dismal interceptions. He threw some really pretty balls deep. On that two-pass scoring drive in the second half, I wrote down in my notebook: “Joe Cox at his best.” But he was hopeless at the 10- to 15-yard possession pass. And, like I said, his decision-making was just awful.

Was he coached at all this season?

On the fumble at the Kentucky 1-yard line in the fourth quarter: Everyone seems pretty sure now that freshman Washaun Ealey was too close to Cox on the pitch. You have to wonder, if Cox noticed that, why he went ahead and made the pitch anyway. More to the point, why were the Dogs trying a toss sweep in that key moment? Earlier in the game a toss sweep already had resulted in a fumble, and it’s a play that Georgia has had trouble with all season long. Was that really the wisest play call in that situation?

The Dogs fumbled four times, losing two of them. Is it lack of concentration? Poor fundamentals?

What’s left to say about Bryan Evans? I can’t recall a senior starter for the Dogs who I was more anxious to see move on to alumnus status. His tackling was typically poor. And what was he thinking with that blatant late hit out of bounds that helped set up Kentucky’s first score? I don’t blame him for that pass interference call in the end zone, though. He was clearly beaten by the receiver and really had no choice if he didn’t want to give up a touchdown on the play. It didn’t much matter, though, as the Cats did score on the drive with a receiver left wide open.

Georgia had 427 yards of offense, with 196 on the ground, but only 53 of those rushing yards came in the second half. Kentucky had just 63 yards of offense in the first half but ended up with 260. Which team does it appear made successful adjustments at halftime?

One of the officials should be credited with an assist on that first touchdown by the Cats for managing to insert himself into the play and screen the Georgia defender, basketball-style.

Third and short. Normally that’s good news for an offense, but more than once Saturday the Dogs were unable to convert. Kentucky dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage in the second half.

Can we finally agree that kickoff returns are not Branden Smith’s strong suit?

And on the flip side, kickoff coverage is such a train wreck at Georgia that the Dogs probably would be better off just deliberately kicking out of bounds every time and giving the opponent the ball at the 40. That wouldn’t be much different from what Kentucky got time after time Saturday night. That squib kick returned 20 yards by an up back just summed up how hopeless the Dogs are in this area of the game. And, again, that’s another problem that hasn’t improved as the season has progressed.

This is one year Richt and his staff definitely should back up to the pay window.

547 comments Add your comment

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
11:59 am

need a new disciplinarian. We need someone like van gordor. When we had him we were a totaly different team. We have been slowly falling apart until we have hit bottom. now next year is in trouble cause we are starting over a qb again.

BullDawgMike

November 22nd, 2009
12:00 pm

Pleeeeze …can anybody tell me why CMR went out to sunny California, and spent a scholarship on a JUCO kicker who was supposed to be able to kick balls thru the endzone every time? Then bring him back to Athens, and place him promptly on the bench never to be seen again. And all the while the rest of us are sitting there in our seats watching the most pathetic excuse for a kick-off team in the history of college football. UNBELIEVEABLE!!

HardTruth

November 22nd, 2009
12:00 pm

Nothing like the truth, and UGA got there behinds served on a platter in the second half. This from a Dawg lover. UK should never beat us. NEVER!

Irked ERK

November 22nd, 2009
12:01 pm

What a disgrace this was to UGA VII and to bulldog nation. No pride in this football team only undisciplined quit!

Jay

November 22nd, 2009
12:01 pm

At least you didn’t screw up like les miles did. talk about a huge blemish on your resume.

Sisters of the Weak

November 22nd, 2009
12:03 pm

Great bulldog classic yeaterday! keep it up ! GO DAWGS!!!!!

BullDawgMike

November 22nd, 2009
12:04 pm

Coach Brooks was heard to say just before the game…”.fellas, Georgia will never beat us again as long as I’m the coach!”

D.Ellis

November 22nd, 2009
12:05 pm

I’ll say this and laugh if you want to laugh:

But Arron Murray is going to hvae a field and put up huge numbers throwing to Charles/Green/King/Wooten.

Bill King-You are one pathetic grown man for pointing out 1 young man on your blog to throw under the bus. Judging by your picture you never played football ( at any substantial level) and you haven’t been laid since Goff was hired.

Please donate your glasses to NASA so those bullet proof things can save the US from a North Korean nuke attack.

You reserve the right to raise questions about players and coaching calls. But have respect for someone’s kid you hillbilly.

tender hearted fan

November 22nd, 2009
12:05 pm

Bwahhhhhhhhhh Bwahhhhhhhhh the fans booooooooed Bwaaaaaah they left early toooooooo Bwahhhhhhhhhh

Buster Meeks

November 22nd, 2009
12:05 pm

I hope and pray that I will never ever be guilty of booing the Dogs.

Chris

November 22nd, 2009
12:07 pm

This season is a bye product of Richt’s failure to make the right decisions in the past. His ability at evaluating talent is the worst I have ever seen as well. There are so many things wrong with Richt, and his way of coaching, I don’t see how Georgia will crawl out of this whole with him.

How can you explain bringing Willie back and giving him a raise considering how bad the defense played last year?

How can you believe anything that comes out of Richt’s mouth when he said in the spring that we would improve on defense, penalties, special teams, and on the offensive line. yet ALL have been 10 times worse this year?

How can anyone trust his ability to evaluate talent? His inability to do this has been evident for years. How else can you explain the reasoning behind red shirting Knowshon in 2006, and using Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin as our featured backs? Hell, even in 2007 a far less talented Thomas Brown was our featured back, and got the most touches when 92,000 fans in the stadium and at home knew that Knowshon was our best back. Only when Thomas Brown went down with an injury, did Knowshon get his chance, and we won our last 7 games with a #2 finish nationally.

Now this year. How on earth can Mark Richt say after the Florida game that Joe Cox gives us our best chance of winning out???? Are you kidding me? I’ve been watching Georgia football since 1980, and Cox is by far the worst QB I have EVER seen at Georgia! There is no way he gives us our best chance of winning.

All of this brings me to a point. If Richt doesn’t FINALLY make changes after this season, next year will be his last. If he doesn’t realiZe that Washan Ealey is our best back, and starts him over Caleb King next year, we will struggle again, and Richt will be fired. HUGE changes need to be made, and I have been waiting for Richt to make the changes necessary to make this team better for years.

Unfortunately, knowing how Richt operates, I don’t believe he will make the necessary changes to the coaching staff, or play his best players next year.

Enjoy it while it last Mark Richt. Next year will be your last at Georgia.

Fast Dawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:07 pm

That was the worst performance that I’ve seen since Bush left the White House.

tender hearted fan

November 22nd, 2009
12:08 pm

buster Meeks Bwahhhhhhhhh Bwahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I feel your pain!

Sam

November 22nd, 2009
12:09 pm

People are stretching when they start blaming the strength and conditioning coach. Unless he has changed his approach, he is the same coach that was there during the best years. Maybe the players are just not doing the voluntary workouts? Maybe it is the strategic side?

tender hearted fan

November 22nd, 2009
12:09 pm

Obama will give us quick change!!!!!! Bwahhhhhhhhh Bwahhhhhhhh

Sam

November 22nd, 2009
12:11 pm

I am not “anxious” to see Evans leave. Anxious means worried. I am very hopeful that he gets his degree and has a productive life.

mutley

November 22nd, 2009
12:11 pm

John Gruden ASAP. Suzanne Youclan for AD ASAP. What is the definition of insanity?

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:12 pm

top 5 recruiting every year. 0 national championships. any questions?

Triple Dawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:13 pm

Yeah…has anyone else noticed that Logan Gray is on the kickoff coverage team? Like he’s gonna tackle someone. Also, with all the problems Joe has, Logan is even worse. Bring on Aaron Murray!!!

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2009
12:13 pm

Who looked more involved during the game, Mark Richt or Rich Brooks? Can someone who knows please clue us in as to what Mark Richt does during the week? Is he the kind of boss that just reads status reports? How long does it take him to make any decision?

RxDawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:13 pm

How are we so sloppy?

How are we so unintelligent?

I still put more of the blame on our current crop of players then I do the coaches, but the coaches are part of this *cough team cough* too.

The fans leaving early is a way of delivering a message to this *cough team cough*. And I think it was warrented and strong.

BOOGIE MAN FROM HARTWELL GA

November 22nd, 2009
12:14 pm

I THINK SOS IS YELLOW FIZZ INCOGNITO…………..CESPOOL RUNS THROUGH YOUR TOWN, WHEN IT HAS WATER…EAT ME

BOOGIE MAN FROM HARTWELL GA

November 22nd, 2009
12:14 pm

Enter your comments here

chazzo

November 22nd, 2009
12:15 pm

It is a sad day when you play your last home game and senior day, and the other team wants it more. Did they pass the bong at halftime?

banditdawgg

November 22nd, 2009
12:15 pm

Its time for some coaches to go. This is one the worst coached georgia teams I have ever witnessed.What a waste of talent no need for excuses this is definitly on the coaches.

DawgFan24

November 22nd, 2009
12:17 pm

Dawg Fans, no need to humiliate our team on these message boards. They did it all themselves last night. I think Bill summed up the season in this article nicely. Obviously some changes MUST be made in the offseason. Lets hope this train wreck can roll into Atlanta and actually WIN a meaningful game. GO DAWGS

4 jacks

November 22nd, 2009
12:19 pm

It is bad enough to get beat by an inferior team talent wise. What really pops my cork is with 7 minutes left in a game that you are behind, is the fact we have guys dancing and laughing on the sidelines. Our great punter was all smiles about his dumb*** penalty. What the hell was that? CMR has NO disipline what so ever in this group. But thats ok, he is a nice christian man…thats all well and good, but somone needs to make it clear that he is getting paid to produce wins and run a program that we can all be proud of. How about dancing and laughing after we have won a game, instead of acting like the unruly and undisiplined “children” that we apparently are. CMR needs to clean up this mess that he has created. This is more than just coordinators, which CMR is responsible for. This jive, undisiplined, and not so smart football team is a direct reflection of the head coach, and it is high time CMR take the responsiblity to clean up this mess.

UA Alum

November 22nd, 2009
12:20 pm

Realizing I am biased as an Alabama grad living in Atlanta, I still think this observation is valid. CMR is just not the right man for the job. He seems like a nice guy, bright enough, and, I’m sure, good to his Mama, but none of that necessarily translates into a good HC. Comparing him to Saban and Meyer, he just looks terrible. As an example, during yesterday’s UA-UTC game, up by 38 points and with the backups playing in the third quarter, Coach Saban verbally dressed down his backup QB for taking a needless 10 yard loss instead of throwing the ball out of bounds. It was a small mistake and didn’t influence the game’s outcome, but his comments to his QB made it evident that nothing less than perfection will be accepted. In contrast, Cox has been consistently awful this year with last night’s performance perhaps his worst, and CMR seems oblivious. Who is setting the standard? Who sets the expectations? Who is holding players accountable? All of this seems to be the responsiblity of the HC, but a responsibility CMR has abdicated. UGA’s performance this season is making the whole SEC look bad. Lose to Tech, and CMR and staff’s fate should be sealed.

Mark

November 22nd, 2009
12:21 pm

15 months ago, UGA was raanked #1 in the nation and Tech was picked to go 3-9 by Sportsd Illustrated as it adjusted to new coaching staff & scheme. Regardless of your allegiances, GT led by CPJ and his staff have excelled and are clearly a team with a reenergized and expanding fan base. UGA has fallen farther & faster than any team with the possible exception of Michigan. The coaching staff, paid in hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars owe the entire UGA alumni and fanbase better. Mark Richt is the same man as he was when UGA won 13 games, but has failed to motivate, adjust, and coach this group of highly-touted recruits into a team that can play with the best in the SEC, much less the ACC. My hat is off to CPJ and the Tech team for staying together and knowing how to win games rather than self-destruct and lose games. Dark days in Athens, my friends…..

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2009
12:23 pm

The computer kept LSU at #8 and Texas at #3 in the BCS poll.

BOOGIE MAN FROM HARTWELL GA

November 22nd, 2009
12:26 pm

LSU LOOKED AS BAD AS US………….THEY SHOULD HAVE LOST TO US

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2009
12:29 pm

LSU dropped to #17 in the Coaches poll. UGA got 9 votes in the AP poll.

Mad Dawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:31 pm

Enter your comments here

East Atlanta

November 22nd, 2009
12:31 pm

Every week shouldn’t be a new embarrassment. Last night was the worst loss of a season that has provided plenty of humbling and humiliating defeats. Joe Cox is a terrible QB. His only saving grace may be the fact that he allowed Aaron Murray to redshirt. Willie Martinez ABSOLUTELY has to go. Of that, there can be no question. I love Mike Bobo, but I am beginning to see a lack of fundamentals on his offense. This will be an interesting winter in north Georgia.

King Donko of Punchstania

November 22nd, 2009
12:34 pm

What a pathetic effort this season. No heart, no discipline, no intensity, no desire, no coaching, no drive. This group of Dawgs doesn’t deserve to wear the “G” on their helmets. Richt has failed the university, its fans, contributors, and most of all, the young men who believed in him enough to sign a letter of intent to continue their football careers at the University of Georgia.

Perhaps changes will finally be made once Adams leaves for the NCAA job and takes his stool pigeon Damon Evans with him.

renegade#1

November 22nd, 2009
12:36 pm

Everything has been said. Everyone has been critized. There are answers. But will anything be done? Everybody can’t run the show. Mark it’s time to step up, you might have to hurt some feelings now or get yours hurt later. Right now your the top dog, alpha male: head honcho, would you rather hurt the feelings of underperforming coaches? Or the feelings of loyal money contributing alumni and fans that have to cheer for uninspired play with pitiful results. I know you’ll never read this so you might as well go blow a blue toad.

Tom

November 22nd, 2009
12:38 pm

Well, Gruden just re-upped with ESPN, so he’s out…not that he was ever in to begin with, that just makes it official. Plus Gruden is a pro coach anyway – once you’ve won a Super Bowl, I imagine college ball doesn’t really do it for you.

On the bright side, at least we don’t have to worry about a 9-4 finish to mask the problems here, which are myriad and all easily traceable back to coaching or lack thereof. Now it’ll take an upset of Tech AND a win over a bowl opponent just to pull an 8-5, both of which are far from foregone conclusions.

In some ways, it’s like the economy – almost better to let the thing crater and get to the bottom so we can really see the extent of the damage and start building again, even if the rebuilding is gonna be painful and a long haul.

Staff changes may or may not be the answer…but if Richt makes some significant ones it’ll at least signal that he knows there are serious problems. I don’t wish anyone out of a job but it’s a results-based business, and if you aren’t cutting it it’s time to move on, sorry.

Pah17

November 22nd, 2009
12:38 pm

I think Richt ought to take his mild manner ways and find something else to do on saturdays, clearly he doesn’t instill discipline nor fire in his players. He is like the parent of the kid who keeps getting in trouble but believes Johnny is a good boy, instead of kicking him in the ass to straighten him out.

True Dawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:40 pm

Last night was a pathetic display of Georgia football on all levels,both players and coaches,period.
Richt needs to step up and take responsibility and announce that he is going to make the much needed adjustments or walk away,period.We are the most undisiplined team in the country,and it keeps getting worse.You blame the Lt’s and they are horriffic but at some point the General must stand up or fall on the sword and that time is here.
Joe Cox is so scared in the pocket Im surprised he didnt tyhrow 13 int’s he just isnt up to the task.The play calling sucked,the whole program is a major embarrassment,get it together Richt or go coach Oral Roberts U ,YOU STAND ON THE SIDELINE LIFELESS AS A DAMN STATUE,NO FIRE NO GUIDENCE JUST BLAND AS A DAMN POTATOE.GET YOUR ASS TO WORK,PLEASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSE AND STOP THIS TRAIN WRECKKKKKKKKK.

Mad Dawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:40 pm

Great. Georgia football has now been reduced to fans calling each other out over who booed or didn’t boo last night. I booed once just for the record. Mike Bobo should never be allowed to call another play for UGA after dialing up that wretched draw on 3rd and 8 in the 4th quarter. Play calling is random and confusing and rarely makes any kind of sense. As for the defense……..there I said it all. If you think the defensive side of the ball is in good shape you haven’t watched GA football with any regularity for the last 3 seasons. We all know what needs to happen here. Overall if Richt doesn’t tighten up his belt and instill some discipline in the team to stop turnovers and penalties we are doomed for a future full of mediocrity. This isn’t even Richt’s biggest problem though, it is recruiting. We continue to recruit too many of the wrong kind of players at Georgia. Too much attention is paid to how many stars these guys have on rivals.com and not enough attention on where the kid’s head is and how he will work out in the long run. We definitely need more 3 star guys who will sweat and bleed to wear that red jersey and stop looking at GA as an audition for the NFL. These guys who give it there all are the backbone of a quality program. Green and Pollack were only 3 star recruits and I sure would love to have a couple of them back now. These are the guys we need to get back to where we all want to be.

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2009
12:40 pm

Quotes from Andy Staples at si.com:

“How safe if Georgia’s Richt?

The director of the TV crew at the Kentucky-Georgia game probably set a record for “concerned fan with his hand over his open mouth” shots, but the visual storytelling seemed entirely appropriate. Kentucky’s 34-27 win really makes me wonder.”

“For the past few weeks, I’ve said there is no way Georgia coach Mark Richt loses his job. He’s too good and his success from 2001-08 more than makes up for a lousy 2009. I guessed that if Richt sacrificed defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and possibly offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, he’d be fine. Now I’m not so sure.”

“Georgia will be an underdog at Georgia Tech next Saturday, and nothing the Bulldogs have done this year suggests they’re anywhere near disciplined enough to beat the Yellow Jackets. If Georgia doesn’t pull the upset, things could get dicey in Athens.”

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/andy_staples/11/21/snaps-week12/index.html

Ripped Again

November 22nd, 2009
12:40 pm

Joe Cox had his eyes closed huh ,that a good excuse !

LovetheDAWGS

November 22nd, 2009
12:42 pm

Ok, have to say….I love the University of Georgia. I love CMR. I love what he has done for our program and for these wonderful student athletes who deserve our loyal support. We all might be wise to step back and see that this is a game – these young men are giving it their all – and we have the privilege to root them on. So, no matter what, I will always be a proud Bulldog. A great lover of Athens, the greatest town in the world, and so deeply grateful for every glorious moment I was blessed to spend matriculating at such a wonderful university. Thank you, CMR, for training these men to be winners in life. Thank you Dawgs for your fine effort. Thank you, parents, ie. Bryan Evans dad, for your being a part of choosing UGA for your wonderful child’s collegiate career. There are many, many, many fans who support you and love you and ALWAYS WILL – NO MATTER WHAT…..and for those of you who disagree, I really do respect your choice…..I am sure you have very good reasons for what you feel. Go Dawgs – Beat Tech!!!

We're #53!!!!!!!!!!

November 22nd, 2009
12:45 pm

yeah baby, 53 in the CBS Top 120 poll of D 1 football, just ahead of Notre Dame, way to go puppies, quite the program, can U say heading the wrong way………….LOL

Dewsdad

November 22nd, 2009
12:46 pm

alot can be said about last night’s loss. the coaching staff failed (as usual) to make the necessary adjustments at the half to even play to win. GSU firing Chris Hatcher is a good hire for UGA to help with the qb’s if ADDE wants to make the trip to Macon,GA to see him. To Bryan Evans’ Dad , he did what he to do for the last 5 yrs he’s getting his degree and some butthole not the word I wanted to use like Bill King who uses the column for his viewpoints. Agreed we stunk up the place,but that not’s a excuse to bash your son. I’ve talked to Bryan alot over the years and he’s got a whole lot more CLASS than bill king in my book. By the way, did CWM talk to you all last night. All he did was avoid us all night wouldn’t even look us in the face. When we came on our official visit we couldn’t get rid of him in our faces. Even former Coach Johnson who’s at WV came over to speak to us. I hope this gets back to CWM because I’ve got some choice words for his behind

chazzo

November 22nd, 2009
12:46 pm

Cox snuck it for a first down twice in short yardage no problem. But, when its third and one yard to the goal line, it is either pitch or fade route to the corner. Why not sneak it? Why not put in the brute force with two fullbacks and ram it home? Why does Bobo panic every time the dawgs get inside the five?

I don’t even have to mention the run call on third and ten after Cox was incredibly accurate? What does that do to the guy’s confidence? Maybe he starts throwing picks because he is trying to do too much?

Why do the coaches abort plays and strategies that are working?

Why do the dawgs continually (and this is my biggest of my few gripes about Richt) think they have games won before the final whistle? They obviously didn’t think UK was going to show up for the second half.

I can’t complain about Maritnez in this one. Not at all. The D played tough until the O started giving UK the ball on the ten, five, one. They even manned up and got it back twice. No, no, no, friends. Willie may not be the greatest coach in the world, but he shouldn’t get one ounce of blame on this one.

PDawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:46 pm

4 Turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 4 SEC losses!

Man up DAWG

November 22nd, 2009
12:47 pm

You damn right I booed now watch you gonna do about iT?

Jason

November 22nd, 2009
12:48 pm

from andy staples, go daaaaaaaaaaaawgs …woof woof
Georgia will be an underdog at Georgia Tech next Saturday, and nothing the Bulldogs have done this year suggests they’re anywhere near disciplined enough to beat the Yellow Jackets. If Georgia doesn’t pull the upset, things could get dicey in Athens.

Taylor

November 22nd, 2009
12:48 pm

Delbert, thanks 4 the post.