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

Maddog

November 23rd, 2009
5:34 pm

Prior to Saturday, Brooks was a combined 1-37 against SEC East teams, excluding Vanderbilt. No disrespect to UK, but this had to be the low point of the season.

george Holman

November 23rd, 2009
5:35 pm

Boy, how quickly things change. Richt has been the best thing that has happened to GA football since the Vince Dooley heyday, and now he’s on the ropes after his two best offensive performers were drafted into the NFL. Is this what college football has come to? Have one marginal year and you are gone? Go ahead and dump this guy and his 85-23 record. I’ll bet he will not be unemployed for very long.

[...] Print via blogs.ajc.com [...]

Whopper Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
5:41 pm

The problems go to the very core of the problem. 1/4 Willie is a national joke, Bobo is average at best, Fabris is a clown. I don’t think you can fix the program with this many extremely deep flaws. You really are talking about starting over with a new staff, and I don’t think Richt believes that is necessary and absolutely will not do it.

The first penalty of the game sums up this program when a 5th year senior and team captain took a meaningless personal foul on an out of bounds late hit. Talk about coaching them up. What a joke.

Acdawg

November 23rd, 2009
5:42 pm

Before we go off the deep end with coaching changes at Georgia…. Remember Dooley was was 5-5 in both 1969 and 1970 and was 6-5 in 1979 the year before the national championship… That being said, Dooley never had the poor fundamentals that these guys display every week.

How Bout

November 23rd, 2009
5:42 pm

dem dawgs, program is failing miserably, they should decline an invite to a bowl game.

He Hate Gator

November 23rd, 2009
5:47 pm

Swimdawg68 has it right. Richt has to show some improvement next year. It is my understanding, also, from an ex-player that Richt will blow up the current staff after the Tech game with several reassignments and try a different approach if they make it to a bowl game…and he does indeed know that he has to show a rebound next year..

Maddog

November 23rd, 2009
5:47 pm

I don’t want Richt fired, but he certainly must be willing to give at least entertain the thought of making some coaching changes. So far he appears to be satisfied with the status quo.

Hard & Fair Look

November 23rd, 2009
5:54 pm

agree, team hasn’t performed up to expectations and CMR should be held accountable regardless of what happens this weekend.
Papa John’s Bowl? Should decline to save face.

Mike A.

November 23rd, 2009
5:57 pm

If there are changes to the coaching staff, I will make them myself as I always do. Just look at how I handled our basketball program.

superDawg

November 23rd, 2009
5:57 pm

3 and 9 run the draw nuff said!

mutley

November 23rd, 2009
6:02 pm

Willie has been the cancer of this entire team. Don’t you know the other coaches noticed when Richt not only put up with Willie’s incompetince but actually rewarded him for it. Sloppy play=sloppy play, if one can do it all can do it, and now the players know that poor play is tolerated. Richt must fire Martinez, he must be completely removed from the program and the other coaches dealt with accordingly. Richt could have prevented all of this but his lack of action has brought the house crashing down all around him.

Steve McGarrett as Chin Ho's Leader

November 23rd, 2009
6:04 pm

Brooks @ Kentucky is 2-37 (excluding Vandy) against the SEC east and both of those wins are against UGA (loss @ Ky in 2006). Kentucky sure likes Vandy and UGA.

frank james

November 23rd, 2009
6:05 pm

I totally agree that our kickoff coverage may be the worst in the nation. We have tried to get by with some lesser skill people on the kickoff coverage teams and it has really cost us. I don’t think the pooch kick has been a problem this year because we haven’t done it that much. We just flat out don’t get down the field. I know Coach Fabris was wanted by Coach Stoops a few years back. I think he coaches the defensive ends really well. I think he has to get some credit for Pollock and his play. I just don’t think he is given the right players to use on special teams.

David M

November 23rd, 2009
6:08 pm

bowl projection from nbc sports.com
yikes
St. Petersburg Bowl
Dec. 19, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Big East No. 6 (or Sun Belt if none eligible) vs. C-USA No. 5
Projection: Connecticut vs. Central Florida

hop

November 23rd, 2009
6:09 pm

Georgia will only make changes when adams decides to bring the pressure on evans and only then will it happen.
coach richt has been a huge success,but like any other enterprise,some changes have to be made from time to time and uga needs make several with the offense and special teams which is a joke with the lame coverage on kick-off’s.

butler has make the punt team look very good with his punting.

SickandTired

November 23rd, 2009
6:12 pm

He did it with Donnans players and he did it with Brian Van Gorder…….Mark Richt has been exposed for the fraud that he is, the egotistical hack that he is and the offense that he runs is so 90’s with no imagination and he’s heading down the road to getting fired like a bullet. After the loss to Georgia Tech on saturday he is on notice, lose to Georgia Tech next year and you’re out…..that’s as in OUT of a job. He stands on the sidelines looking like a scared kid in the rain while the world is burning down around him. He let’s players like #3 get stupid personal foul after stupid personal foul for late hits and he does nothing. Two weeks ago he stated that players that got those kind of fouls would be taken out of the game and he actually did it to an offensive lineman early in the game, but #3 hits the Kentucky QB not just late, but 60 days past due out of bounds and guess what he stays in the game to pick up another foul later in the game that cost them another touchdown. Mark Richt is treading on dangerous ground with the Georgia fans and for the first time I’m seeing people call for his head……that’s a good start but he needs to be fired sooner rather than later. Get ready for the beat down Saturday, it is coming, he knows it, the fans know it and what’s funny is that the players know it and are helpless to stop it because they have no leadership at the top.

Carlton Powell

November 23rd, 2009
6:17 pm

No disagreement with the above assessment. If I were in Damon Evans shoes, regardless of how the Tech game turns out, I’d tell CMR to be in my office at 7:30am Monday morning. Then, I’d ask him a very important question. That question would be, “Mark what do you want to do with your life. Do you really want to be HC of a BIG time SEC program, or some other endeavor? I’ll give you 48 hours to get back to me. But, be mindful that if you want to remain as HC at UGA changes WILL be made. We cannot have another season like these last two. It’s up to you to decide what changes need to be made, and then implement them.”

Renegade

November 23rd, 2009
6:26 pm

I PREDICT THAT COACH RICHT WILL RESIGN AFTER THIS SEASON. HE HAS LOST THE PASSION FOR COACHING AT THIS LEVEL AND WOULD RATHER RESIGN THAN FIRE HIS FRIENDS.

Ron

November 23rd, 2009
6:28 pm

By the way, we have blown a year of eligibility for Marlon Brown for about 10 offensive plays and some special teams work. Nice coaching job!!

Ron

November 23rd, 2009
6:29 pm

Talent Evaluation= Richard Samuel=#1 Tailback=Being moved to linebacker

Ron

November 23rd, 2009
6:33 pm

The blatant facemask on Butler and Montez Robinson choke slamming a guy on kickoff shows me that there is absolutely no real punishment for this type of play. I

Buckhead Bulldog

November 23rd, 2009
6:34 pm

Carlton Powell: You sound like MY boss. That just put a shiver up my spine. Yikes : )

SEC1

November 23rd, 2009
6:40 pm

The fact that UGA VII keeled over with a heart attack pretty much says it all.

I hope we can put this all in the rear view mirror after some changes in the off-season.

To the players: keep fighting and play hard!!!!!!!!!!!

Bob Horner stayed hurt

November 23rd, 2009
6:44 pm

Thank God… a Carlton Powell post…you are on your game……as always…

Bob Horner stayed hurt

November 23rd, 2009
6:47 pm

Carlton…what if traffic sux and I can’t be there at 7:30am….??? please tell me you don’t care…..!! new motto..NO EXCUSES

Fools Gold

November 23rd, 2009
6:48 pm

UGA’s fixing to fall?
But speaking just for me
and some people from AJC,
we got a thing or two to tell you all.
This Dawg may have stumbled
but he ain’t never fell.
And if the Techies don’t believe that
they can all go straight to hell.
We’re gonna put UGA’s feet
on the path of a Winning streak
and then God bless UGA nation again.

And you never did think that it ever would happen again.
In Georgia, did you?
You never did think that we’d ever get together again.
Well we damn sure fooled you.
We’re walking real proud and we’re talking real loud again
In UGA Nation.
You never did think that it ever would happen again.
NOW WE MAY HAVE DONE A LITTLE BIT OF FIGHTING AMONGST OURSELVES,
BUT YOU OUTSIDE PEOPLE BEST LEAVE US ALONE.
Cause we’ll all stick together
and you can take that to the bank.
That’s the Gators and the Jackets and the rebels and the yanks.
You just go and lay your hand on a Georgia BULLDAWG fan
and I think you’re gonna finally understand.

And you never did think that it ever would happen again.
In Georgia, did you?
You never did think that we’d ever get together again.
Well we damn sure fooled you.
We’re walking real proud and we’re talking real loud again
In UGA Nation.
You never did think that it ever would happen again.

Thank you Charlie

45ACP

November 23rd, 2009
6:50 pm

Florida State was one of the best teams in the country back in the 90’s.
Coach Richt helped them win 2 MNC’s and coached Charlie Ward to win the Heisman Trophy.
It is no coincidence that Florida State has been in decline since Coach Richt left them for Georgia.
Coach Richt is a fine man and a great coach. He will get the Dawgs back on track.
We should be thankful to have such a good coach.
He brought us our 1st SEC Championship in over 20 years and another one to boot.
You hire the best coach available and let him run the program. A bad year here and there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water.
I, for one, trust Coach Richt to do the right things and bring the Dawgs back to National prominence.

goldwreck

November 23rd, 2009
6:51 pm

In business, you don’t get a lot of credit for your “body of work”. You screw up and you might be given a second chance but you are not given a third and fourth,etc. Carlton Powell’s comments are dead on. I’m a Tech fan first but I really feel for what the Georgia fans are going through.I think it’s good for the State of Georgia for Tech and Georgia both to be competetive on the national level.

fishdawg

November 23rd, 2009
6:53 pm

For everyone that is calling for CMR’s head. Consider the facts. There are (3) coaches in UGA football histoty that stand out.
(THESE STATS ARE THRU NINE SEASONS)
1) Coach Wally Butts (1939-1960) 70 Wins, 25 Loses, and 3 Ties
2)Coach Vince Dooley (1964-1988) 66 Wins, 28 Loses, and 4 Ties
3)Coach Mark Richt (2001- ) 88 Wins, 27 Loses

Look at the stats. They speak for themselves. Wally Butts coached the 1942 NC team. It took Vince Dooley (16) years to lead our beloved Dawgs to a NC Victory. Coach Right has a better nine year record than Butts and Dooley. The only difference is that he has not won a NC.
Came close to competing for one twice, 2002 and 2007.

I agree that changes need to be made, but to fire CMR would be foolish. Opinions are like arm pits, everybody has them and they usually stink. I have read yours, HERE IS MINE. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!

SugarHillDawg

November 23rd, 2009
6:55 pm

Hey UA, I thought you said Kirby Smart coaches a NC contender team? No he doesn’t, he coaches for Alabama.You been hitting the hard stuff early dude.

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 23rd, 2009
7:06 pm

There are some issues with this season for sure but some of you are out of your friggin minds talking about Mark Richt..Maybe some of you actually thought a 5th yr senior who never played was somehow going to turn out a good QB.If you didn’t realize that we were in big trouble at QB going into the season then you don’t know much about football.It’s kind of funny how so many of you were on here talking about Joe Cox being better for the team than Stafford!!Yep the very same ones now are calling for Richt’s head.Now you are mad that Cox turned out to be the player most that know football expected….it goes without saying that Gray must be stinking it up in practice as rumored.. to not have played.Sure it’s the coaches fault blah.blah.blah.me I see it as simply the talent behind Stafford was not that good.I expected as such…Matthew started as a true freshman and I didn’t expect any serious QB’s to sign at UGA and sit the bench…sure so-so average talents but not a premier guy..I expected him to be signed last year and we actually got two.Most of the blame in every single loss we had can be directly attributed to TO’s.Not Willie’s D,or the new rage…penalties(On the penalties there is a funny stat that says UGA is 25-2 when flagged over 10 times!!!figure that one out)No turning the ball over trumps EVERY SINGLE ONE of whatever factors you can come up with.I don’t blame Richt for RS Murray..why the hell burn a RS on a kid whose odds of going pro early is like 500-1 against it?We have found a running game,we have WR’s and some experience coming back on the OL.I feel good about QB next year… young Murray could start with the most weapons at his disposal than any Freshman QB ever at UGA.On the Defense…I will say this Willie has been shaky at times but I can’t think of one game where the D contributed more to a defeat than TO’s.Not one.Also if you are going to criticize a specific player at least be honest about it!Evans did not cause us to lose that game…as a matter of fact I can’t think of any game we lost directly because of Evans.Rennie Curran has been murdered in pass coverage for two years straight!Along with the entire LB crew…You want to know why teams kill us underneath and with play action or bootlegs?Our LB’S are playing the worst ball of any unit on the team except QB.Watch the tape…Evans and Miller have played a hell of a lot better than Curran,Dent or Gamble in pass coverage.Look at the Kent game…Renne made a lot of cleanup tackles but they were ALL toasted the entire second half…it’s becoming a broken record…anytime you throw at our LB’s a pass is completed or dropped.I’m all for criticism of coaches or players when it’s due but I think some of you are just spouting off without actually opening your eyes to whats going on on the field.How can you NOT see people running wide open every game against our LB’s in pass coverage?Yet EVERYBODY can call out Evans or Miller like they are the main culprits…go back watch the games and you will be surprised at how bad that group has played.Having said all that put a player at QB and this is an 11win team right now…with all the other so called “factors,coaching,scheme etc.

mayor bob

November 23rd, 2009
7:10 pm

Let’s wrap this vent up….

>Richt is going no where..he’s got a big new house on Lake Hartwell that is going to take big money to fund….

>He has a OC and DC that would not be in their current positions with any other Division 1 team…much less..in the SEC or ACC…

>UGA Football Coaches are under a new world order of fraternal brotherhood…it’s the Phi Krappa Dawgs…no one ever gets black balled…

>Paul Johnson does not care that GT is playing their arch rival this Saturday..he prepares his team the same way..no matter who they play…the jersey they wear is not important..it’s how we line up and beat em…in every phase of the game…I hate to say it but I’ve watched this guy over the years and if you need a fox hole buddy…this guy will make the enemy run…Richt just doesn’t have the “man” inside…

>SADLY, IT MEANS NOTHING ANYMORE TO PLAY A BIG GAME IN SANFORD STADIUM …THE OL FEAR FACTOR IS GONE…NOT IN OUR BACK YARD ATTITUDE IS DEAD….

>GO REBELS! I got to pull for somebody!

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 23rd, 2009
7:31 pm

Cuz looks like you and Bill could be cousins there..lol

U-no

November 23rd, 2009
7:37 pm

45ACP, You have hit the nail on the head. However, CMR needs to make some hard choices to make the right changes happen. It is obvious that there are some serious things wrong, like programs running in the background that rob a computer of its speed. The assistant coaches need a shakeup. But the loyalty factor mentioned so often in the same breath as CMR’s character qualities may make the changes hard to come by.

There just seems to be an attitude or mentality that has developed with the Pups ever since last year. The pre-season hype, and then the reality of having to play up to it and failing in some of the big games took something out of the whole organization. And, this year has just made it worse.

UGA will get the spark back, and CMR may very well be the one to right the ship. I for one, as a life-long GT fan and supporter, hope the turn-around doesn’t happen this weekend! This will be a great game coming up, and both teams have a chance to win. History would seem to support a Pup victory on Saturday night, but in reality I think CPJ will have something to say about changing that history. We will see! Best of luck to you and Cuz, both of you are classy Dawgs.

Gator grad, now a Dog Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
7:51 pm

The most important thing to remember is: THIS SEASON IS NOT OVER. Forget anything about a bowl, forget about who’s coaching, forget about past losses, forget about, what you want see done in the off-season because the Dogs have a game this Saturday night in Atlanta and that is JOB 1. Nobody writing in can change a thing about what’s happened or what might happen but we CAN all get behind this team and give them our support for the last game of the season against our biggest rival in the state. I don’t have a ticket but I can tell you that I’ll be on the 50 in front of my TV down here in Florida and I’ll be hoarse and I’ll be giving the Dogs my best until the game ends, however it ends. As Coach Dooley says in one of the Bulldog films, “My hope is that whenever a team plays Georgia, they had better strap it on tight because they know that the Georgia Bulldogs are going to get after it and fight for it. They better know that they’re in for a fight.” So, put it aside Dog fans, we have game this Saturday and the Dogs are going to GATA!!

Zorro

November 23rd, 2009
7:59 pm

SOUTHGADAWG88

“I will say this Willie has been shaky at times but I can’t think of one game where the D contributed more to a defeat than TO’s.Not one.”

“How can you NOT see people running wide open every game against our LB’s in pass coverage?Yet EVERYBODY can call out Evans or Miller like they are the main culprits…go back watch the games and you will be surprised at how bad that group has played.”

I’m not an ex-player, but isn’t the DC somewhat accountable for this?

reebok

November 23rd, 2009
8:12 pm

Tech fan here. I hope AJ Green can play, because for Tech to be the best, we need to beat the best. Georgia certainly can win on Saturday, but they will have to play BY FAR their best game of the season. See you there, Doggies.

Blamegame

November 23rd, 2009
8:19 pm

You all know this is a fine line to walk, isn’t it? Joe Cox was the best option for winning any games this year. Face it, he really was and is for two more games. Martinez won’t be fired and shouldn’t be fired. Bobo won’t be fired and shouldn’t be fired.

There is something in place that really is golden here if we will just see it for what it is. This is what we need to learn to live with; parents will invariably send their kids to Georgia because of the character thing that Coach Richt imparts on their children. Ed Orgeran(?), Tennesee’s fine recruiting dude stood in Marlon Browns grandmothers home and had the audacity to call the young man a “grandmothers boy” when he committed to Georgia. Simply because she wanted something in life out of her grandson, something that that orange idiot could not give and will not be able to give, something that Coach Richt is able to impart on players.

I would love one of those glass footballs. Coach Richt would like one even more. But he is rare in that he will protect them from the all out winner take all attitude that leaves young men strewn behind that runaway train.

We all read what meyer said about Spikes after the eye gouge and then left it up to the young man to delve out his own correct punishment. Geez! For the growth and personal development of lives, people, do we want to be associated with that kind of crap? College football is an ebb and a flow and like Lou Holtz says, making a living off of 19 year olds is insane or something like that.

I hope next year is better. But I will gladly take one or two of these every once in a while and hold onto integrity. To make collegiate athletics a place where a winners take all attitude is to make college something our whole society would suffer from. There are afterall two words associated with the phrase College Athlete.

Give the man a break people! Go DAWGS!!!!

just wondering

November 23rd, 2009
8:31 pm

Just curious…why do so many think Kirby Smart would leave Alabama to come to Georgia? Because he’s an alum? He’s been tied to Saban for awhile now, don’t know that ‘coming home’ would be enough. I don’t know for sure, do you? The current staff makes the players run, as a unit, as a team and as individuals, for committing penalties. What else are they to do? You can’t beat ‘em and you can’t shoot ‘em. Maybe the players just don’t get it. Any answers from INTELLIGENT readers? Buehler?

Wilson Faumuina

November 23rd, 2009
8:43 pm

All these experts, I’ll bet not one of them could strap on shoulder pads if your gave them an hour and illustrated directions. Y’all chill out, relax, enjoy it for what it is, and let those who are involved fix it. If they don’t, it will take care of itself.
I HATE TECH
GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!

BADDOG

November 23rd, 2009
8:47 pm

Let’s go back three seasons and visit our game in Tenessee when we played the Volunteers. Smacked, slapped and stomped was put on us that day. Coach Richt said that was a new one on him, being it didn’t happen very often. Well fast forward and Smacked, slapped and stomped looks like it printed on helments. We’re gon’re and could’re have more teams trying to return to their glory days and you don’t want to be on that list. The influence of Coach Ricth time with FSU

J Dog

November 23rd, 2009
8:50 pm

I had not thought of the adjective “decay” to describe UGA football, but thats about as close as I’ve heard this year to describe whats going on in Athens. Maybe “Steady decline” is a little softer on the ears, but decay is more precise. I said I wanted UGA to loose the remainder of their games (Aub, Kty & GT) to force change at UGA as an 8 & 4 record will not put enough pressure on Richt. Loosing 2 of 3 should work too as we should be easly outclassed by Tech.
Rot is another good adjective to describe UGA, and in a few more years, without any change, dead may be the best adjective.

Rick

November 23rd, 2009
8:50 pm

What do you expect with Slick Willie at DC and Bonzo the clown at OC. Also, Fabricator for special teams, Still Searching for off line and Rodney Gap in line def line coach, are all a disgrace to their profession. It looks like Mark Wrong can’t assess talent very well, he misses on good ones and recruits the bad ones. Early on he won with Donnan’s talent.

Abilene

November 23rd, 2009
8:54 pm

It’s not talent. It’s a HC who recruits players with no no heart or character, then learns they’re uncoachable. UGA will never win the SEC under Richt.

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 23rd, 2009
8:55 pm

Zorro I’m from the school of thought that believes that it’s more on the players than coaching win or lose.

archaeopat

November 23rd, 2009
8:55 pm

There is no question that UGA’s problems this season result from a lack of discipline and team character. There is plenty of talent on this team. Discipline and lack of character are coaching issues, and the entire coaching staff is to blame for this miserable season. It will not get better next year unless changes are made.

frank james

November 23rd, 2009
8:55 pm

When you see what happened Saturday, what happened at Tenn. and not competing with Florida, it is easy to put all the blame on coaching. But I am afraid the junior and senior class is not as talented as we think and also they lack, heart. Whether you have been coached or not, when you show up and there is 90,000 and you lack effort physically and mentally you need to look in the mirror as a player. If we are that talented, talent should even take over. We have got to recruit better and we have got to have discipline. I don’t know if it has that much to do with x and o’s. I guess there is enough blame to go around. I also heard that students were made to leave their dorms on Friday for the holidays. How stupid is that? Where were they suppose to go until game time Saturday? Did we save that much on utilities?

calvin klein

November 23rd, 2009
8:57 pm

please just let us wear something cool for our bowl game!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe pink with ruffles

Cuz

November 23rd, 2009
9:01 pm

SOUTHGADAWG, you need to see the picture that Baylie took of me and Bill together, spooky. Granny told me my big brother was stolen by gypsies. Now I belive her. If you want to see the pic e-mail me at emrbg@aol.com I will send you a copy. And the pic of all of us getting ready to leave for Athens. You can see Baylie takes the Ulitmate Fan title seriously.