A hard but fair look at stumbling Dogs

Paul Johnson is riding high right now. Mark Richt, not so much. Will Richt address the "decay" in his program? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Paul Johnson is riding high right now. Mark Richt, not so much. Will Richt address the "decay" in his program? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

My friend John is kind of blunt but prides himself on being “hard but fair.” That’s how I’d characterize this assessment of the current state of the Dogs by ESPN.com’s Chris Low:

“There was already a black cloud hovering over Georgia’s football program. This season hadn’t been what anybody wanted, but then the Bulldogs went out and lost to Kentucky … at home. Not only did they lose, but they dominated the statistics and still managed to lose. But that’s what happens when you turn the ball over four times in the second half and have 75 penalty yards for the game. The Bulldogs (6-5, 4-4) are staring squarely into the face of their first non-winning regular season since Jim Donnan’s first season in Athens in 1996. The Bulldogs might not be one of the top two most talented teams in the SEC, but they’re certainly one of the top three or four. Talent is not Georgia’s problem. It’s focus. It’s execution. It’s player development and it’s discipline. When you commit as many penalties as the Bulldogs have the past two seasons and turn the ball over as many times as they have this season (26), it’s obvious that there’s a decay in the program somewhere that has to be addressed. Mark Richt has been as classy as they come and as consistent as they come. But if he doesn’t address this decay with more than just cosmetic changes, then it’s going to be addressed for him.”

Ouch.

What do you think? Too pessimistic? Right on the mark?

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

356 comments Add your comment

Balls Deep.......

November 23rd, 2009
4:01 pm

how2fish

November 23rd, 2009
4:02 pm

The turnovers kill worst than speed and hard liquor on a rainy night..

Balls Deep.......

November 23rd, 2009
4:03 pm

Richt better do something fast, or he will be gone and he will not have to worry about firing slick willie and bobo. The next coach that UGA hires will do it for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xl dawg

November 23rd, 2009
4:05 pm

Chris is right on the mark. However I also think that the decision to play Joe Cox all year was based on the Aaron Murray shoulder problems from summer camp. Logan Gray will not be in the mix and should be a receiver by spring practice. 10 starters return on offense and lots of underclassmen played this year. Kirby Smart will look really good in Red and Black.

BeachGaBulldog

November 23rd, 2009
4:08 pm

I have said it for 2 years, and I will say it again. GET RID OF WILLIE M.! This team does such a poor job of tackling. I have always liked Stacy Searels as our OL coach. We need a DC who WILL MAKE ADJUSTMENTS! Also, the LACK OF DISCIPLINE is absolutely INEXCUSABLE. A lot of people say that Mark Richt needs to go. Every single person who says that is an idiot. He just needs to retool his coaching staff…BADLY!

Saint Simons

November 23rd, 2009
4:10 pm

34-27 !!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

xl dawg

November 23rd, 2009
4:12 pm

Any thoughts of firing Richt are so premature that it makes me laugh at the morons who say it. 88 wins and two SEC’s in 9 years and a number 2 finish in another plus a huge buyout equal let’s be real. Bear Bryant and Steve Spurrier knew that if UGA could keep the best talent in state they would be as good as any progeram in the nation. This is a rebuilding year. Joe Cox cost at least three ball games because Bobo will not stay the course. He will learn or go with CWM!

Dawg Days

November 23rd, 2009
4:12 pm

Low’s comments are right on the Mark (no pun intended…)But Richt doesnt have a choice but to make the necessary changes. Evans as already insisted that he make the changes with the coordinators. Thats not the question for me, its how will he go about the replacement process. Clearly UGA should be able to attract proven OC/DC coordinators, but will he pursue that route or hire his ‘friends’ to keep the family feeling on the staff. The AJC article a few weeks ago about how Meyers and Sabam’s programs keep a edge on everybody is what the UGA prgram needs right know, and change will help bring that about.
it will be interesting to watch the search/replacement process unfold in the coming weeks.
Many successes in the future to the Dawg Nation!

Valdosta Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
4:15 pm

BIll it is right on the mark, in my humble opinion these people saying CMR is on a hot seat are nuts, his record is too good for that talk. He however must address the amount of points given up by CWM defenses, I think he also has to look at the players we are recruiting, why are they ranked so high and not producing? What genius chose Caleb King over the Tech kid Dwyer(sp?) There has to be some kind of answer and it is up to CMR to find it and fix it! And please let us get a cornerback that’s over 5′7” tall, please!
Anyway you cut it I love the Dawgs and I will be at the Joke by Coke for the stunning upset, remember 2006 Nerds?

CLTDawg

November 23rd, 2009
4:16 pm

Richt is not going anywhere, this one year cannot fully detract from everything else he has done since coming to UGA. However, we really missed out on the right DC by not going after Chavous last year when he was let go from Tennessee.

Changes have to be made, I just hope he understands and is willing to make the difficult moves.

Poor UGA

November 23rd, 2009
4:18 pm

I remember 2006 Valdosta Dog, but you lose BIG this year. Enjoy the Arse whippin.

Bubba Sparxxx

November 23rd, 2009
4:22 pm

right on the mark! 10 stacks son!

Ringleader

November 23rd, 2009
4:22 pm

All of the talk about the defense this and the defense that, the offense this and the offense that, does not address the poor coaching of the head coach. We win the toss, and immediately defer to the second half, something you only do when you have a dominate defense. The pooch kickoffs, giving them the ball on the forty. Never rushing the punter, calling for a fair catch while the ball is still rising, clearly playing not to lose, and not to win. And we like LSU, spiked the ball with one second on the clock at Arkansas. All of this is clearly on the head coach.

LawDAWG

November 23rd, 2009
4:22 pm

Last year it was injuries, but this year there’s no excuse except fundamentals. I have yet to see anyone address the fumble recoveries. This reveals just how badly turnovers are being addressed. They don’t jump on the ball, they try to pick it up. One one fumble Cox went to scoop up his fumble and King backed off. Cox didn’t manage to pick it up and finally King jumped on it. Horrible lack of fundamentals.
I’ve heard they do something called thud which is like Oklahomas, but they don’t do any reps prior to slamming into one another without pads. Are they insane?
The coaches say they’re trying to fix the issues, but they aren’t adressing the fundamentals.
You can’t build a house on a shaky foundation and by cutting too many corners. Apparently the house is collapsing now because of this.

JB

November 23rd, 2009
4:23 pm

If all we get is Willie demoted and Bobo stays as OC, it will be like spaying lysol in a cancer patients room and hope they get better.

Country Boy

November 23rd, 2009
4:25 pm

I don’t want to lose Coach Richt yet but I also think that he assumed he had the program on some sort of “auto-pilot” and relaxed his hand on the players and coaches. Also, I don’t think he sets the goal of winning a national championship. His approach is to win as often as you can and maybe things will work out. Saban and Meyer and Miles have the goal of Winning a national championship.

Fred

November 23rd, 2009
4:27 pm

Playing Joe Cox all year was insane. It was said repeatedly that he gave us our best chance to win. I say he gave us our best chance to lose not only this year but next year also as we have not given our two freshman QBs one snap. If Murray was not able to go why not the other one? Cox spent five years in the program and learned absolutely nothing about decision making and reading defenses.

EW

November 23rd, 2009
4:28 pm

CMR’s loyalty to staff will be his ultimate downfall.

jaxdawg

November 23rd, 2009
4:29 pm

Mark Richt doesn’t need to go anywhere…period. He’s brought the UGA program back to Nat’l prominence now he just needs to do a little tweaking to ensure we stay there. I just think we need a new direction with the defense. I’m sure Willie Martinez is a great guy and the kids enjoy playing for him, but he has to go. Muschamp would be the perfect fit but I don’t think we can lure him away from Texas. Kirby Smart sounds like a good option…he played at UGA, coached at UGA and now he’s learning from one of the best in the business. I say give Bobo one more year. The offense hasn’t been that bad…we’re just young and inexperienced at some key positions.

PHIL

November 23rd, 2009
4:30 pm

I know! Did you see Les Miles spike that ball? What an idiot! First coach I’ve ever seen actually get under center and do that.

Is Bob Stoops on the hot seat? Nope, he is being begged not to go to ND. Why is it that GA people are so stupid? You embarrass me.

A Proud UGA Grad

November 23rd, 2009
4:32 pm

Right on the mark!

mark louis

November 23rd, 2009
4:34 pm

Richt needs to make 2 changes: a new defensive coordinator and a full time special teams coach.

UA

November 23rd, 2009
4:36 pm

Not sure who Georgia can attract as DC but it’s a reach to expect someone like Kirby Smart to come over in a lateral move. Realizing he went to Georgia it would be a definite step down to go from a stable, NC contending program to a program in turmoil with it’s head coach on a very short leash.

Valdosta Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
4:36 pm

“Poor UGA” I wil say this much, as bad as our defense is, Techs just aint much better. See the FSU game! Tech is going to run it on us, but if Joe Cox can keep from throwing it to Tech we will score on that defense! You have no one that can cover AJ Green. Hell even Coach Johnson realizes that, he commented on our nearly 500 yards of offense against Kentucky. Turnovers and penalties got us. Tech may win but they will not whip our Ass, look for a very similar score to last year! I will be in the Varsity parking lot if you want to wager!
GO DAWGS!

Poor UGA

November 23rd, 2009
4:39 pm

Valdosta Dawg…what time’s your shift over?

OldDawg72

November 23rd, 2009
4:42 pm

UGA VII is dead! So is the UGA football program. The blame falls squarely on the sholders of CMR. If the Marine Corp can train 18 year olds to operate billion dollar equipment, why can’t UGA coaches, cordinators, trainers etc. train 18 year olds to play with a $25.00 football. Its time to stop the bleeding. Clean house!! New mascot, new locker room janitor, new scouts and recruiters, entire coaching staff, new head coach. I greatly admire CMR, but enough is enough.

reck style

November 23rd, 2009
4:43 pm

Bob Horner stayed hurt

November 23rd, 2009
4:46 pm

Valdosta Dawg ….I wish I shared your enthusiasm…did you you watch the Tennessee game..?? the 2nd half of the Kentucky game..?? I don’t bet against UGA or I’d ask the same question as Poor UGA….

Cuz

November 23rd, 2009
4:47 pm

Yeah OldDawg and new uniforms too.

Oh wait, scratch that idea. How about a new dance number though.

Bob Horner stayed hurt

November 23rd, 2009
4:47 pm

reck style please stop posting that stupid video…it is really lame…

birddawg92

November 23rd, 2009
4:48 pm

The only way Kirby Smart comes to UGA is for the top job. Richt won’t hire him (past issues when Smart was an assistant for us, plus why bring in your potential replacement?), and Smart will be a hot commodity in the off-season no matter what happens with ‘Bama—why would he lateral move when he can get a top job.

If you want Smart, you’ve gotta give him HC. I’m for it—him or Gary Patterson at TCU.

http://www.saturdayinathens.com

71 Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
4:53 pm

Richt has always deferred if he wins the toss – most teams do. It worked out perfectly right up until the UK player stuck his helmet on the football and it popped right into his teammates arms. We had the ball first in the second half with a lead – great coaching strategy that only failed because of the turnover! Period!

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 23rd, 2009
4:53 pm

Why so Dazed and Confused? I told you fleabags it was going to be a 6-6 year for you 3 months ago.

Dawginlex can tell ya if he hasn’t jumped off an overpass up there in Lexington.

Never, ever doubt me again.

Vskee48

November 23rd, 2009
4:56 pm

No need to talk about the issues with GA anymore. They are bad…we know it. Richt will either make changes or be gone after next year if another one like this happens. We are not getting worthy recruits (Where is the next QB, DL, or DB’s?)…. Its a simple draw….not many programs have the ability to attrached the players we can. We are terribly mismanaged at this point.

Get it together CMR and ADDE. Get it together!

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

November 23rd, 2009
5:01 pm

I hope everybody who writes off CMR will stay off the bandwagon when the Dawgs rebound. And make no mistake, they will be back. All of the playmakers on both sides of the ball not named Rennie Curran are freshmen and sophomores. This year is nothing more than a blip on the radar. I’ve been wrong before, but I’m not wrong now. This is a very young team learning their way, it’ll be fun to watch the next couple of years, hope the fair weather fans stick around to see it. No I don’t

Dawgs2009

November 23rd, 2009
5:02 pm

Coach Richt is a Jacka$$. I have lost all faith in him. He is strong enough to make difficult decisions. It will take years to fix the program. We have regressed back to the Goff era. It will be a long time before we are back to 2002 – 2005 standards.

barneyb

November 23rd, 2009
5:04 pm

This is the beginning of the end for Coach Richt, sad to say.

Valdosta Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
5:08 pm

Thats funny Poor UGA, Be tailgating in that lot just north, but that was funny! Bob Horner I did see them, was at all of them and I agree Tech will score on us but they can not stop our offense, we can stop our offense with turnovers and penalties as we have all year. Birddawg Kirby would make lateral move for more money and to get named coach in waiting like another dawg, Muschamp, has at Texas. Damn poor uga you got me good!

jimmy

November 23rd, 2009
5:09 pm

coach richt grow up this a business a ceo is judged who he surrounds himself with and the results attained

George P

November 23rd, 2009
5:09 pm

If Richt wants to be serious about stopping stupid penalties and get control of his players, he should have them sit on the bench for as many minutes of game time as the yards that player cost. Personal fouls mean 1 whole quarter, no questions asked, no exceptions.

Will

November 23rd, 2009
5:10 pm

I have watched a tone of college football in my 30 years but I have never seen a more pathetic kick-off team than the 2008 and 2009 UGA Bulldogs. Coach Fab is pathetic and so is the infamous “pooch kick”. Plus the fact that we wasted a scholarship on a kickoff specialist who supposedly can kick it a mile. Ya, whatever. I want CMR to stay as long as he wants but Coach Fab and Sweet Willie have to go. Maybe GSU or Valdosta High will take their services.

swimdawg68

November 23rd, 2009
5:15 pm

I have a former player (star for UGA) and coach who is a good friend and after the Auburn game he told me he had never seen two teams whose tackling skills were as poor as UGA’s and Auburn’s. We have serious issues at UGA. Mark must take charge and remove Martinez, Bobo, Fabres, and Janczak. If Mark fails to make these changes then next year Mark will be gone.

Bulldog Nation will not tolerate UGA in the “lower tier” of the SEC. Look how Alabama fired Shula and hired Saben, in two years Saben had them back at the top with most of the Shula recruits. UGA has just as many good players as Alabama the difference is coaching. Kirby Smart will not come to UGA to be the DC (he already has that job at Ala.), he would come to become the head coach. After next year without some drastic turnaround in coaching and winning games he could be the guy to replace Richt. I hope Richt understands he has next year only to turn it around. I hope he dosen’t allow loyalty to cloud good judgement.

Poor UGA

November 23rd, 2009
5:17 pm

Just kidding Valdosta. It will be a good game. I grew up a UGA fan and ended up going to Tech. I would not bet on this one. As you know either team can win this game. It’s GT/UGA football.

Paddy

November 23rd, 2009
5:17 pm

Right on the mark! As CEO, CMR will either act like one or he will not. It won’t take us Dawg fans long to figure out which way the wind is blowing. It will be an interesting off-season, won’t it?

mark

November 23rd, 2009
5:22 pm

I think it’s honest. The worst thing about all of this is the changes that Richt needs to make are changes that should have been made a year ago. This season was just a waste of time and energy. We should have already had a new DC in place and we should already have a new Special Teams coach in place. I’m going to be really upset, as is I am not already, if we struggle next season due to new coaches and systems when all that could have been adressed this year. Of course, we are going to have to break in an inexperienced QB because Richt wouldn’t play Murray this year. So we have that to look forward too.

shortcuicuit

November 23rd, 2009
5:22 pm

Any OC is good if the players make the plays. You can call anything you want if the play works you are good and if it fails it is bad. How many times have you seen a draw play work and it was a great call. If it fails it is a terrible call. Any OC in the country would have looked bad if they had Cox as QB. He has cost us 3 games at least. Add in the fumbles and penalties and any OC and Dc would have looked bad. Something is wrong somewhere and I depend on CMR to get it right after the season is over. The defense has been BAD. I am 67 years old and I believe I could cover better than our defensive backs!!!!.

Valdosta Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
5:24 pm

You are right Poor Uga it is Clean Old Fashion Hate! I love going to Athens but I love this trip I grew up in Atalnta and like to get back everynow and then! Be at the Renaissance all weekend ,its a good time, and I will not be working, LOL!
GO DAWGS!

GT JJ

November 23rd, 2009
5:28 pm

Does anyone else think Richt is looking more and more like Chan Gailey with better players? Gailey was consistently winning 7 games a year at Tech. Richt has been consistently winning 10 games/yr (until this year obviously) with superior talent.

This year, I think Richt doesn’t have the talent he has normally recruited (no Knowshon, Stafford, Massoq, etc) and his inability to “coach up” this current crop is showing. I’m sure if you fans chill out there will be more studs on the way and UGA will soon be back to 9/10+ wins a year.

However, I think a better question is – will Richt ever make it to the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP level that is the expectation of so many UGA fans? He’s shown he can recruit the same talent level as FLA, BAMA, Texas and USCw – but to get to the very top, the coach has to perform at a chmpship level as well. I’m not sure that’s going to happen – Richt looks, acts, and coaches a little too much like that former Tech coach I’m way too familiar with.

H

November 23rd, 2009
5:32 pm

I don’t care how good our defensive coordinator is, IF WE DONT GET A BETTER PLAYCALLER FOR THE OFFENSE, WE WILL NEVER WIN AN SEC CHAMPIONSHIP. Think about how our offense has performed against some bad to terrible defenses we’ve played this year…

H

November 23rd, 2009
5:32 pm

And how our offense has put our defense in terrible terrible situations over and over again.