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

dawgphan101

November 22nd, 2009
12:49 pm

To Evans dad . If you really are his dad i would be ashamed of your sons ability to play safety. A little girl could evade your son in that alley and he wouldnt stand a chance in catching her. Your son is going down as one of the worst defensive players to play at UGA, I know you want to protect your sons image and all but it is what it is your son sucks as a safety and resorting to kicking people butts in a alley is exactly what i expect to hear from the ghetto.

Kinkade

November 22nd, 2009
12:49 pm

Hey Buck, Kentucky just scored again, woo hoo

chazzo

November 22nd, 2009
12:49 pm

What in the heck happened to the special teams? Why the short kick crap again? Why isn’t Blair putting it out of the end zone? Richt thought it wise to give them the ball on the 35 rather than the 20.

Mike Dawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:50 pm

At least we did not lose to Vandy!!! We still can beat GA Tech and land a very good bowl game!

jimmy

November 22nd, 2009
12:50 pm

bryan mcclendon and mike boo boo bye bye

Sad State

November 22nd, 2009
12:51 pm

of affairs in Athens right now, looking at 6 and 6 a year after being rated pre season1 ..and we all know what happened last year …change is needed, maybe not CMR, but something, there needs to be an attitude adjustment, message sent, that this is not acceptable. GA BB sucks, football shouldn’t

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2009
12:51 pm

There is a structured way to address this problem. It’s called “root cause analysis”. But who should do it? Someone outside the program, I would think, at this point.

AltamahaDawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:55 pm

I hope whoever we hire as DC, knows a decent O-line coach looking for a job.

Denver Dog

November 22nd, 2009
12:55 pm

I’m done, my dawgs suck, sic that

Jaxdawg

November 22nd, 2009
12:56 pm

Bill, you could have saved yourself a lot of time by just having one point describe this mess:
COACHING.
All of our problems begin and end with coaching, period.
I’ve been saying it for a while now along with my so called “fair-weathered” bretheren there are problems with this program that go far deeper than just a “rebuilding” season.
This staff needs wholesale changes across the board. I love CMR, but if he doesn’t make a LOT of changes to this staff, coaching philosophy, and overall approach to the game we can expect more of the same.
I’m sick and tired of us getting the slightest lead and then relaxing. When is the last time the dawgs put their collective foot on a GOOD opponent’s neck and KEPT applying pressure? Even the Vandy game looked good on the scoreboard, but I didn’t feel like we just completely dominated them. Tenn.Tech doesn’t count. The dawgs have NO KILLER INSTINCT. Too much chest pounding over making a first down or a tackle.
Soft Coaching = Soft Players
Lack of preperation = sloppy play
Poor playcalling = poor execution
BTW- I’m spelling “dawg” with a lower case “d” , they’re going to have to earn my respect and the capital “D” back.
If all this makes me a fair-weathered fan, so be it. I just care too much about the dawgs and the program not to call bulls**t when I see it.
No I didn’t play college football, no I haven’t coached on any level other than pop-warner, but as a poster said a few months back, “You don’t have to be a chef to know your meal tastes like sh*t!”
Go dawgs!! Get this crap fixed!!!

How Bout

November 22nd, 2009
12:56 pm

dem daaaaaaawwwwwwgs

Steve Saunders

November 22nd, 2009
12:57 pm

It’s a game. The Dogs will be better next year. Meanwhile, so-called “journalists” ( besides learning how to suck up to the publisher, what other qualifications are require?) demean a bunch of 18 to 22 year old guys that for whatever reason, didn’t have things go there way. It happens. There are ups and because there are, there are downs.

Meanwhile, bald headed guys continue to grow beards and wear baseball caps in the hope that the rest of us don’t notice their extreme shame at being hairless.

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2009
12:58 pm

Enter your comments here

Tom

November 22nd, 2009
12:58 pm

Poor play selection, no halftime adjustments, and JOE COX SUCKS!!!!!!! Any why is Logan Gray still fair catching punts???????? So long Cox, good riddance!

Not really shocked Kentucky beat us, they were looking ahead to Tech and the ever important bowl game. We should go to Memphis or Shreveport for a bowl, maybe our players will work harder and concentrate!

Nub

November 22nd, 2009
1:02 pm

Odds are high that nothing will change …… 80 percent of the entire coaching staff must change …. If not what happened with Tuberville will happen with CMR!

Delbert D.

November 22nd, 2009
1:02 pm

Time to see if another team in red and black can win…

Larry Munson is done, son

November 22nd, 2009
1:02 pm

This is the first time I’ve come to this blog. What have I learned? That Mark Richt is a good man, a smart man, a nice man. And there is no place at the University of Georgia for anyone like that.

mcdaviddawg

November 22nd, 2009
1:03 pm

There is no reason to believe that things will be better next year. Richt has become the twelth best coach in the SEC. I can’t think of anyone who is not better. We need total new coaching before next year. Richt will totaly destroy what he’s built. There is no coaching going on in Athens. The Tech score is going to be awful. The program is in complete decline. I look for the recruiting class to evaporate. I wouldn’t advise anyone to commit to us as long as we have the current coaching situation. It amazed me all the wasted talent as they anounced the departing seniors and how many we had never heard from. The staff does not evaluate talent and does not coach up the boys. A ugly thing for the boys who have put there trust in Richt. Please Georgia make the needed change now and don’t wait for awful year. And yes I am a fan going back the GA/Aburn games in Columbus and represent 8 season tickets (though that may not be true next year). It’s no fun to watch a team that does not seem capable of winning. When the game was tied 27-27 I knew immediately that we had lost. It’s the trade mark of the team and coaches. Fire Richt now and let him do what ever he’d wants do besides coaching. We’re paying for better that last place in the coaching ranks. The school and players deserve better.

Mikey

November 22nd, 2009
1:07 pm

Did I miss the man-hug last night?
maybe they did and the TV crew missed it….

Nate

November 22nd, 2009
1:11 pm

Dear Coach Richt,

UGA VII died of a broken heart watching these guys play. However, UGA VII said a prayer from DAWG heaven: Coach Richt, help the DAWGS and Free Willie. Anxiety about our defensive play caused much shame about being associated with the touted Junkyard defense. Don’t give UGA VIII a big bone but a new defensive coordinator. Otherwise, UGAs of past generations will haunt you down from DAWG heaven and will take a unrelenting bite out of your backside. Please move the graveyard out of Stanford Stadium, we just can’t stand watching this defensive. This play makes us look like girly Biscon Frisches not ferious stubborn bulldawgs.

Hunk Down,

UGA I – UGA VII

PS- If Willie stays, please get UGA VIII a season long prescription of lipitor and out patient psychotherapy visits.

War Jacket

November 22nd, 2009
1:11 pm

Larry Munson…. I agree with you. I hope the dog lovers succeed in running Richt off. He is better than them anyway. Once they are successful, their new coach will more than likely be of the Goff/Donnan ilk and Georgia will return to its natural irrelevant mid tier SEC team status it has enjoyed over the years.

idiots in ohio

November 22nd, 2009
1:14 pm

man up dog – did you get past the 3rd grade before age 16? It is quite obvious you never learned to spell or the english language

Tom

November 22nd, 2009
1:14 pm

This offseason and the 2010 season are now set up to be the pivotal years of Mark Richt’s tenure in Athens–where we learn once and for if he has the goods to be a successful SEC football coach, or if it’s time to move on.

I don’t think he’s in any danger of getting fired, no matter what happens at Tech and in any potential bowl game. It’s possible that he quits in protest if staff changes are mandated and he doesn’t want to make them, but I think that scenario unlikely as well.

That said, if the coming offseason and next year don’t bring noticeable improvement in multiple facets of the program, the coaching seat will become Weis-hot.

Coach Richt, one of the biggest problems is that it’s very possible to be loyal to a fault.

It’s tough to criticize loyalty as a character trait. But you absolutely have to realize that, in a cutthroat business, there’s a time to be loyal and a time to make changes.

Any leader in any business owes it to those he leads to be brutally honest and make changes when there are necessary and when it’s obvious that they need to be made.

Mikey

November 22nd, 2009
1:15 pm

UK wanted it more.
Here is the scary thing about that game- UK basically has two people that are their bread and butter. Concentrate on stopping those two and you win the damn game.
wait a minute—flag on me….personal foul…unnesessary logic…15 yards and loss of comment.

SadDawg

November 22nd, 2009
1:15 pm

That came later, Mikey, after Richt promised another raise.

barneyb

November 22nd, 2009
1:17 pm

this truly is the beginning of the end for Mark Richt. He reached his pinnacle a couple of years ago, and is now on the downhill slide. he is NOT a major league had coach, never will be. Trmendous human being, but way out of his league. Please Damon Evans- do the right thing and send each and evey one of them packing1 Or next year will be more of the same. Come on donors- vote with your checkbooks! And the more night games….you have got to be kidding me. It’s time for the big money, especially from South Ga. to start drying up if you really want change.

Mikey

November 22nd, 2009
1:17 pm

By the way- I am in favor of NO bowl game.

Dewsdad

November 22nd, 2009
1:17 pm

TO DAWGPHAN101, WHERE IN THE HELL DO YOU STAY, BEVERLY HILLS?! That is the most crudest this I ‘ve ever seen posted.If HE says that is his son, it must be his son,you moron. You must be still stuck back in a time warp with that comment. I’ll put my foot up your behind ih the middle of Bankhead and not the “ghetto” for that.

The Ghost Of UGA VII

November 22nd, 2009
1:18 pm

Well, the next team mascot should match the personality of the team, so…..introducing “THUGA I” a Pit Bull straight from Mike Vick kennels, with long hair braided into corn-rows, stud diamonds in his nose and toungue, a big chain around his neck, and of course a BLACK jersey instead of a red one.

Once a game, he will attack an opposing player and draw a personal foul, just to reflect the team.

Give it up for “THUGA I”.

john '90

November 22nd, 2009
1:18 pm

Every day is a great day to be a DAWG! Even after a miserable loss. For the record, why would a fan (supporter) of a team boo its own team? Illogical. We can all name countless problems, but we need solutions. Here’s a novel suggestion: Kevin Butler as the new special teams coach. Aside from his experience on CHAMPIONSHIP teams, knowledge of the intricacies of the game and straight forward approach, Butler brings something this team seems to be lacking.Attitude that breathes fire, discipline and results. In a word: DAWGS. If you don’t run on kickoff coverage and aren’t even in the picture before the 30 yard line…other Dawgs surely will. So many great players have worn that “G” and worn it well. Special Teams Kevin Butler has a nice sound to it, doesn’t it? I have to find the mailing address for Damon Evans’ office to continue this line of thinking. Change always happens, progress doesn’t.

That said, beat tech!!!!! DawgNation let’s scream hard for our beloved team!

Ga Tech Old Timer

November 22nd, 2009
1:18 pm

Seems to me that it hasn’t been that many years (2) since we were trying to get rid of Chan and complaining about Reggie Ball. You guys were loving every minute of our misfortune on both counts – begging us to keep Chan and Ball in the mix and why not – easy pickings, while singing the praises of your coach and quarterback. Now, in the short span of these two years, our two programs have completely reversed themselves in both of these areas where we now sing the praises of our coach and quarterback and begging you to keep yours. It may take some time for our program to catch back up to yours in totality but we will – eventually. That old saying “What goes around – comes around” has never held more truth than it does today in this regard.

Since everyone else is chiming in on the state of the program at UGA here’s my two cents worth.When you look for a beginning of the program demise at UGA – two things come to mind. 1) Think back to the extremely poor sportsmanship displayed in Florida’s end zone after the UGA score. While lies and excuses about the actual words and “meanings” CMR used to gloss over what happened, many folks across the nation, “outside” the UGA family of friends and fans, saw something else – something different about CMR that day. While he might be a great guy on a personal level – he seems to have lost a lot of credibility with his fellow coaches, players and potential recruits and now with his fans. 2) The loss of Stafford, Moreno and Massaquoi – although great players all – leaving should have allowed the next generation of DAWGS to step up. However, there has been a constant “wringing of hands” and excuse making from Athens that the reason the program has taken a huge hit this year is because they left. In all the years past when great players have left, there has been no drop off in talent or productivity as it relates to wins and losses. While most other programs brace for that kind of “hit”, UGA has traditionally been the program that paraded out another star. So then the question is, with at least equal or better recruiting classes, why weren’t these next stars ready to step up? Again I have to go back to the credibility issue between coaches and current players. Every person standing on that sideline must look into their own heart to find the reason to perform at a championship level and for the players it can’t be all about trying out for the NFL every Saturday – although you do produce an inordinate amount of NFL players. That feeling – that reason to perform – to be the best, used to be there a couple years ago as it has for many years before that. Fix the credibility issue and you fix your program. Honesty and integrity on the field of practice and play are paramount and just as important as “X’s” and “O”s”.

Floundering Fox Hounds

November 22nd, 2009
1:19 pm

UGA better keep RICHT…. Look at the dope that Damon Evans hired for the BB program. Wofford and UAB what a laugher!

Damon Evian

November 22nd, 2009
1:20 pm

Bryan Evans is my love child ! back off you rednecks!

The Walking Boss

November 22nd, 2009
1:24 pm

Sometimes one play sums up an entire game and an entire season. Prince Miller was defending a pass late in the game. The pass, poorly thrown, sailed over the KY player’s head. Prince Miller, who was beaten on the play if the pass had been well thrown…..goes on a 10 yard dance down the field, shaking his head, beating his chest, gleefully jumping up and down just like he had won the BCS Championship or the Nobel Peace Prize or something.

……the problem is…in my humble opinion…he had done nothing to be proud of on that one play….and his TEAM WAS BEHIND BY A TOUCHDOWN WITH JUST OVER 2 MINUTES TO PLAY!

….jumping and prancing around and trying to draw attention to himself…the “ME ME ME” attitude that has been reflected all year under the nice-guy coach who does high dives for the chosen entitled spoiled brat children while he defends them when they sideline dance and get arrested by campus cops.

YEESH.

HumbleDawg

November 22nd, 2009
1:25 pm

Fox doesn’t have much to work with yet. He’s a really good coach. Gotta give him a little time…

Scooter dawgs

November 22nd, 2009
1:25 pm

Try to catch me riding dirty!

shane#1

November 22nd, 2009
1:26 pm

What a meltdown! UK loaded the box in the second half, turned up the heat on Cox, and Cox couldn’t deliver. Tech may not have the ACC’s best defense but they aren’t stupid. Well, not THAT stupid! I look for Tech to load the box and make Cox try to beat them. If CPJ can run the ball and stop UGA’s ground game it will be a long afternoon for the Dawgs.

HumbleDawg

November 22nd, 2009
1:27 pm

True, Walking Boss, you don’t see that behavior on Saban’s team.

HumbleDawg

November 22nd, 2009
1:27 pm

At least not during the game…

NorcrossDawg

November 22nd, 2009
1:27 pm

How can you allow that many personal foul penalties and then not make an example of the players involved? That is a total lack of discipline that points directly at the coaching staff.
How can you allow that poor a selection of playcalling without making a change? Bobo is so bad at play selection that we would do better by spinning a wheel. We proved several times during the game that we could consistently run the ball for 1st downs and he kept Cox throwing the ball downfield. Did anyone feel like we flushed our biggest advantage- depth – by not keeping Kentucky’s defense on the field longer and wearing them down?
The defensive situation speaks for itself. I have to believe that after Tech hangs 40+ on us that this will go down as the worst defensive performance for the season ever for UGA. Mr. 45 has to go.
I am an alumni and a lifelong fan, but this is the most frustrated I have ever been with the program- at least since the Goff years. I had realistic (I thought) expectations for the season- 8 or 9 wins and a decent bowl game. I was not expecting them to win the East or even be in the BCS bowl picture. My frustration is this- you recruit top talent- dont tell me we dont- and then you want your very well-paid coaching staff to coach them up. It looks like the exact opposite is happening.
If Richt doesnt make serious changes inn the off season- fire Matinez, demote Bobo and remove his play-calling responsibilities, mix up special teams- he will lose my support to continue as head coach..

Basketball 101

November 22nd, 2009
1:28 pm

Cox and Martinez are easy whipping boys for “winning is the only thing” fans. Cox is just not that bad. Had His Holiness played him more during the Stafford era, he wouldn’t be making as many mistakes. Richt is not the only coach to pad statistics by playing the first string against the LSU Monroes and Middle Tennessees of the world. Tebow should have been on the bench againsk UK when the game was already put away. Concussions do not heal. Cox is a good kid who should have transferred to Wake Forest or a smaller school instead of taking the beating and blame for Richt’s incompetence. The Richt era is over, and Auburn, Tech, and TN, in spite of criminal recruits, are on the way up.

Joe Coxs' shadow

November 22nd, 2009
1:28 pm

You GT fans come by and see me next week, if i hear a bwhaaa i will kick your ass….Joe and i are saving the season for the Dogs next week

Larry Munson is done, son

November 22nd, 2009
1:30 pm

Let’s see, if I want to be a typical Dawg fan then I have to hate our coaches and players, give up on the final game of the season, hope to heck we don’t get invited to a bowl game because I just couldn’t take the embarrassment, and–most puzzling of all–find a reason all our successes were aberrations because our failures really define who we are. Then I have to make fun of all other teams because they’re not a top program. No wonder you guys get parodied as double-digit-IQ-single-digit-toothcount-loud-obnoxious losers.

dawgphan101

November 22nd, 2009
1:31 pm

To Dewsdad It’s buckhead you moron not bankhead. If your going to bash someone at least use spell check or proofread your post. You only lose credibility when you cant even type or spell correctly. I stand by my statement. His son sukcs and if you cant take it dont read the comments. I know the truth hurts some times but it is the truth. His feelings got hurt and he resorts to talking about beating people up in alley. Sounds like ghetto talk to me. I guess you want to pop a cap in me now.

Scooter dawgs

November 22nd, 2009
1:45 pm

You hillbillies need to quit buying into these recruiting services and the regional pre season college football magazines. Those guys are just blowing smoke up your ignorant arses and the money keeps rollin in from you Wally World patrons. Get a damn clue, its called coaching and UGA aint got it with no discipline too.

Bowl Selection Commitee

November 22nd, 2009
1:45 pm

If you don’t beat Tech and you finish 6-6 I am sorry but our Committee will be leaving you out of the bowls this year.

go tech

November 22nd, 2009
1:45 pm

How ’bout them gym dawgs!!

Scooter dawgs

November 22nd, 2009
1:48 pm

How bout hem Jail dawgs!

Jefferson

November 22nd, 2009
1:48 pm

You would think someone in college would know you have to have a drivers liscense to drive legally. This tells more about the UGA program more then anything else. UGA needs college/athelete students. These problems must be addressed at the top, then there will be hope again. Beating a down dog ain’t that much fun.

Finger N Cider

November 22nd, 2009
1:51 pm

where is Carrie Prejean ?