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

Buckhead Bulldog

November 22nd, 2009
10:01 pm

td..nevermind my last post to you. These boards are sooo slow. You just answered my question to you.

td

November 22nd, 2009
10:02 pm

Buckhead Bulldog, I do think it was about the money. Not sure about the politics but there were some powerful people on that foundation that not only ran the athletics at UGA but ran a lot of the politics in Georgia for many years and the state was converting from one party on power to another during the same time. What do you think?

DaveDawg 96

November 22nd, 2009
10:03 pm

That sums it up nicely. Where to begin on not, really never, learning from past mistakes. Smith is still returning kickoffs? And a flippin’ toss sweep at the one foot line? Are you serious? And of course, Willie and the softest zone in all of college football.

It’s time to clean house, including Richt, who obviously can’t manage his coaches, much less his players. I’m not donating another dime to this program until Damon Evans does something to convince me that he gives a hoot about the football program.

icedawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:04 pm

Spot on Bill. And that’s the way it is and was in 2009. No telling what 2010 has in store but we have now had two consecutive years of underachievement. If there is no turnaround in 2010 then you can be assured that there will be an even greater outcry.

Peachtype

November 22nd, 2009
10:07 pm

Thank Goodness, this is the last year for Joe Cox!! How inept can you be? No wonder he sat around for five years, he is not a good quarterback. I feel for him, but we need another Matthew Stafford!. As for the coaching staff, let Bobo stay, get rid of Martinez!

Opinion

November 22nd, 2009
10:08 pm

Tech: 100:
UGA: 2

cantondawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:09 pm

Mcdaviddawg and Dawgs73,

Since you guys are so smart and Hall of fame coaches. I assume that you guys are going to write the 11.2 million termination check to CMR. Oh yeah, i guess du#$a$$es forget that he has 4 years remaining on his contract at 2.8 million.

icedawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:09 pm

Opinion that is real generous of you giving us 2.

brokebackvol

November 22nd, 2009
10:10 pm

Whew! Uga hardly gone into the ground/wall and the Dawgs laid a big ole stinker between the hedges. Gonna get ugly vs Tech, dawgs. You better demand new coaching assistants, or ship CMR back down to Klown Kollege and get somebody else to do the job.

Opinion

November 22nd, 2009
10:11 pm

Actually I cant take credit for the generosity, it was Georgia tech at the end of the game feeling bad about 100-0 so they decided to run back to its end zone and take a knee as the clock runs out

icedawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:12 pm

splendid, fitting end, I hope that completes the season, not bowl included.

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:12 pm

all of richt success has come from donnons recruits. just to let you know we are top 5 in recruiting every year. i love cmr but you got to let go of your loyalty.

td

November 22nd, 2009
10:13 pm

cantondawg, I wonder how they would feel if CMR came into their businesses and told them how they needed to do their jobs?

WTH was that?

November 22nd, 2009
10:13 pm

And another thing. Sorry folks, I’m pretty tired of this. Maybe penalties aren’t a big deal when you’re FSU at the pinnacle of your power in a weak ACC, but in the SEC they are a BIG DEAL! and they’re getting us beat.
And where are the headhunters on defense? Don’t tell me we don’t have any Thomas Davis or Greg Blues or David Pollacks. If you have to have a bunch of NFLers and All-Americans to field a defense then you’re not much of a coach.
I’ll probably be back folks. I’m just madder than I probably should be about a football team, but such is one of the perks of living in the good ol’ USA.

Opinion

November 22nd, 2009
10:14 pm

icedawg after UGA loses to GT, you will feel just one season of pain that I felt for 7 straight seasons, you guys wont have seven seasons im sure of

icedawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:17 pm

OP, Yeah, it sure puts thing in perspective. If we lose another game it won’t be quite as shocking because we have lost so many this season. The bigger the licking the more likely some changes will be made, so do us a favor and lay it on us real good.

Cuz

November 22nd, 2009
10:18 pm

Some of you guys slamming Bill on here are way off. I sat next to the guy at the game and it was not the torture I was told would be inflicted.

Bill saying the two passes were the most ill advised he had ever seen was kinder than what I said to him on the last interception by Joe Cox. Bill made an exasperated noise on the pic. I looked at Bill and said, “It was a great throw, the Kentucky defensive lineman was WIDE OPEN.”

For the record, I did not boo the interceptions or the fumbles. Unless you consider strangling noises, aaaarrrgggghhhhh, a boo.

Buckhead Bulldog

November 22nd, 2009
10:19 pm

td- I think the GOP was nervous about Dooley’s power and ability to sway politics in Georgia, so the GOP money boys wanted him out. What was the name of the foundation that Adams was able to push out that controlled the football funds? That was about same time of the power shift. I wonder who that Foundation was backing? I guess it wasn’t the right one, huh?

Joe Frank was a Dem and of course Sonny is GOP. I wonder since the party power was changing from Dems to Reps here in the South if Joe Frank wasn’t selling out to the monied right?

This would interesting to trace…I wonder how deep this goes? Do you think all the way back to Newt and then on to W’s grass roots stuff?

Got to hit the hay…..we can pick this up tomorrow.

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:19 pm

WTH thats because we had brian van gordor as def coord. he only allowed thirty points once.

Opinion

November 22nd, 2009
10:20 pm

Just surprising how the mood of UGA fans going from “Were gonna kill you bugs” before the Kentucky game, to now “Stupid Tech is gonna kill us” kind of ironic

Cuz

November 22nd, 2009
10:21 pm

Willie Martinez threw two awful interceptions, fumbled twice, once on the one yard line. Why is he still the DC?

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:23 pm

we didnt compete for the national championship last year because of him. he has to go along with bone head bobo. there is not discipline here anymore. if you take up for willie you are a idiot. he will probaly play zone all week against gt. watch. he did last year.

Cuz

November 22nd, 2009
10:23 pm

Tech aint stoopid. I don’t know if it is ironic or not. We can find out. Got any magnets?

DawgDad

November 22nd, 2009
10:24 pm

That was certainly an ugly and painful series of meltdowns. There really was some very good work on the field, but it was all undone by the turnovers. This one is on Cox, who is what he is, a talented but unsteady QB. He played like a sophomore this year, but of course, he isn’t.

This team had Kentucky beat and they had LSU beat. But the way they lost those games and folded up versus Tennessee and got outclassed by Florida is clearly troubling. Injuries and bad character have really nailed this team the past two-three years, on the o-line, d-line, linebacker, and in the secondary, and this year at running back. A lot of what should have been quality senior leadership left school early, and I don’t just mean Moreno and Stafford. Sturdivant getting hurt again robbed the o-line of a leader. Cox was willing but just not experienced enough to lead the team through the tough moments. Too many underclassmen racking up penalty after penalty, game after game. Too many undisciplined and inexperienced players in positions of leadership.

This can turn around. Richt is still Richt, with a resume of SEC East titles. He knows what to do, now he needs to get to work repairing the roster and re-establishing the formula that has served him well in the past. Start by focusing on toughness in the trenches, linebacker, and safety, areas that have been far too soft the past two seasons. Another year of experience on all these young players this year will help, but Richt has to teach them how to win.

laughingvol

November 22nd, 2009
10:24 pm

Lack of improvement….. what a kind way of saying the dawgs get worse each week. Tech in a ROUT. Maybe you can get a Bowden or a Fulmer not much else, gonna be bad awhile ‘tween the hedges. Thats the best at QB that you can do??????????

icedawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:24 pm

Yeah, most fans have incurable hope, that’s the nature of ‘em. It takes them awhile to adjust to reality. As Bill has pointed out the Dawgs have played consistently poorly during the course of the year. I guess you always hope that there will be a turn around but in this case there hasn’t.

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:28 pm

if i am not mistaken sturdivant was hurt all of last year and this is still the same o line as last year. knowshawn had 1400 yrds with the same line. we still made those same stupid mistakes last year even with all that leadership. its coaching. period

td

November 22nd, 2009
10:29 pm

rincon dawg, The first touchdown scored last night was a result of playing man to man not zone. Did we watch the same game?

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:31 pm

exactly. but anyone who has ever played ball knows that you play man vs option. different situation. same result. coaching

Cuz

November 22nd, 2009
10:31 pm

rincon, last years line changed every game. That makes me think that musical chairs on the sideline might be a good thing.

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:32 pm

weve been doing that this year to. same players brother.

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:35 pm

i love cmr we just got to have that guy below him who gets on these guys. look at sabans teams. u dont see them dancing and crap on the sidelines when were struggling to win the game. there over there coaching them up

Cuz

November 22nd, 2009
10:35 pm

what has coaching got to do with this year? The coaches are not fumbling or throwing interceptions.

Sorry, I just felt like saying that. I think we have some young guys making mistakes, some upperclassmen playing like they have never stepped on a college football field and some coaches who for some reason, forgot how to be a coach. I think that spreads blame everywhere. Don’t you?

Cuz

November 22nd, 2009
10:37 pm

Go to Tuscaloosa on a Thursday night. At the Dancin’ Bear nightclub, watch that Bama O line dance. It is something else.

td

November 22nd, 2009
10:38 pm

This difference is we had the first player picked in the draft and the first RB taken to cover up the mistakes. We now have average college QB and a Freshman/Sophomore combo that is still learning to play the game.

The D did not lose last nights game. Turnovers and poor KO coverage.
Every week it has been a different break down and a lot of that is due to inexperience at different positions. Bottom line is we are having a rebuilding year and have to suffer through it. The ship is not sinking and we do not have to throw all the crew overboard.

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:38 pm

absolutely. but we are top five in recruiting every year. we should have players to just plug in. the only way you get better is through coaching and we have been making the same mistakes all year. enough is enough. you can only make excuses for so long. how many national titles has urban won again?

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:41 pm

florida lost two of their top offensive weapons where are they at right now?

Dawgs R us

November 22nd, 2009
10:41 pm

I couldnt agree more about the toss sweep comment. You just don’t do that ??????? Bobo’s pulled that same stunt when we’re on on own 1 yard line.

Really Coach bobo.. The idea is to move the ball forward. Maybe Richt never told him ??

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:43 pm

YellowRose

November 22nd, 2009
10:43 pm

YellowRose
How cute when all the UGA rednecks opine with such enthusiastic certainty the infinite reasons for their great big ole sorry wonderless season!! And what’s even more preciously cute is their adorable credulity in believing they know with ultimate precision exactly what the little ole matter is. Why I’ve been filled with just utter delight so many times this season enjoying their overdone seriousness over a petty little thing like a football season. It makes me just want to hug those poor little critters for trying so utterly hard to figure out a simple little matter. Why it would just go and spoil everything if it got out that their pitiful little team was just plain old sorry. And I do not know what I would do to lose such enjoyment. Now don’t nobody in this blog go an spoil this thing. They’re entirely too cute and this is way too fun! Adieu !!

WTH was that?

November 22nd, 2009
10:43 pm

I gotta get my two cents worth in on the kick-off situation to. Why? Why, folks? Why? Somebody tell me. Just let that boy kick the dang ball as far as he can. If someone takes one back every once in a while then they earned it. To continuously give the opposition 50 or 60 yard fields is madness I tell you, madness! If the dadgum coverage is so bad that we’re gonna give up a long one every game, then FIRE somebody now! I mean, COME ON MANN!

td

November 22nd, 2009
10:44 pm

I just do not remember top 5 classes every year? We have had some players that just did not pan out to their billings (remember Miller everyone thought he was a can’t miss).

Ever think the Florida just may have better HS players than GA. and the recruiting services do not know what they are talking about? I wonder if that is why we are recruiting Fl so hard this year?

FL tech fan

November 22nd, 2009
10:47 pm

its so good to finally see the underachivers finally suffer as have tech fans for so many years, with tech having a third of the talent pool..at least tech had an excuse. I would love the next 10 to 20 yrs go like this and all the Hammered UGA fans to continue thier songs at the end of the games they go down in defeat…WHATS THAT COMING DOWN THE TRACKS….

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:47 pm

half their team is from georgia dude come on football is year round you got to watch all year to get the facts.

YellowRose

November 22nd, 2009
10:49 pm

I wonder how many Dawg fans really believe they have the slightest chance of beating those mean, aggressive, dream-killing Yellow Jackets on Saturday. The number is probably in the single digits.(given their proclivity for credulity or delusion)

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:50 pm

i could understandd the recruiting services are wrong. but when were ahead of florida how wrong can they be?

rincon dawg

November 22nd, 2009
10:52 pm

quit drinking cmr coolaid and look at the facts

td

November 22nd, 2009
10:53 pm

Name the players in the NFL today from the past 4 years from the state of GA. versus the ones that played for Ga from other states?

Cuz

November 22nd, 2009
10:53 pm

Yellow, you forgot about how we will have to pay a huge bail just to get enough players to field a team. You are slipping. That used to be one of the first things you said.

td

November 22nd, 2009
10:54 pm

rincon dawg, Are you one of the ones that want CMR fired?