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

jesse james

November 23rd, 2009
9:03 pm

jesse – I just read your blog and I agree with you. I believe this freshmen class is going to be a good one. I agree about discipline. We got away from it. I remember when Coach Richt made Tony Gilbert cut his hair and said he better not see it out from his helmet. That is just an example.

Bama Boy

November 23rd, 2009
9:04 pm

You Dog Fans need to chill, listen to Frank James. You’ll be better in a few years when you get some top recruits, just be paitent. Your Coaching staff is the best in the SEC, just wait.

45ACP

November 23rd, 2009
9:04 pm

If you guys want to give up your love for the Dawgs go ahead and do it.
Just more elbow room on the bandwagon for the rest of us.
Every year is not going to bring us an SEC Championship.
Just like your life and mine. You have good years and bad years but you keep on keeping on, make adjustments and keep a positive attitude.
Coach Richt will get it sorted out.
Be patient and believe good things come to those that wait.

thunderbull56

November 23rd, 2009
9:15 pm

First, who GAS? I only post to give repose! And to P@#3 the AJC Homers off. Jeez,it’s Jawja,Jawja,Jawja or it’s nothing. For sale white dog, my neighbor says he full blooded.Heard tell he leads in contributions to the bobsled team.Pictures available.

jesse james

November 23rd, 2009
9:19 pm

Go Dawgs !!!!!!!!!!! We will be back!!!!!

frank james

November 23rd, 2009
9:21 pm

Bama Boy – What do you know about UGA coaching staff. You too busy kissing ass to that LSU Tiger. I can see why they call you Boy!

S.E. Dawg

November 23rd, 2009
9:26 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. IF CMR makes changes it will not be until after the first week in February. It’s call signing day. If he makes changes before we’ll probably loose some recruits and that certainly won’t be healthy for the program when trying to fill needs a certain positions.

Abe Lincoln

November 23rd, 2009
9:29 pm

Anybody here literate? Nope….

frank james

November 23rd, 2009
9:32 pm

How bout it Abe? Jesse and I were in the theater the night you were shot. I told Jesse that I heard you really survived the shot. Great to have you back. How about tell them to quit putting them northern teams in the BCS Championship Game.

BillyBob

November 23rd, 2009
9:41 pm

I think UGA is right where they should be, considering the talent on the team.
Go JACKETS!!!!!

Raleigh

November 23rd, 2009
9:42 pm

It’s hard for me to believe that some of you people are as dumb as the things you write. I’m hoping – for your sake – that you’re just being sarcastic.

Kirby Smart for HC? Talk about a homer! We’re going to trade a guy that has perennially coached UGA to top 10 finishes for a guy with absolutely no head coaching experience? If anything, you could fault Richt for promoting guys without experience (Martinez from DB coach to DC, Searles from OL coach to running game coordinator, Bobo from QB coach to OC). Why would UGA get rid of Richt to hire someone like Smart as HEAD COACH???

You’re basically like the lunatic in “Network” screaming out his window “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore”!!! Change is good as long as change happens. Fortunately, I expect the folks in charge will use a bit more logic in terms of figuring out whether what’s next is really any better than what we have now.

If you really want to think big in terms of where this program can go next – and where Richt can go in developing as a HC – try picturing someone with a PROVEN record as OC or DC. I don’t fault those that mention TCU’s DC as a potential replacement for Willie. That would seem to be a guy who may be interested and he has the pedigree to make it worthwhile. Let’s make improvements – not just changes. Let’s have some aspirations. Go after guys that have proven they can do the job. I’d rather pay big (UGA has the money) to go after a guy like a Charlie Weis as an OC (please spare me the Weis sucks – just look at ND’s offensive stats) or, as someone mentioned, Chavis as DC before he went to LSU. Stop drumming up these wannabes who are no better than what we’ve already got.

And if you think that there’s no way UGA could ever land a big name coordinator, then you’re admitting that the program isn’t on the level that’s consistent with the record you seem to expect every year. I have my doubts as to whether UGA can draw that kind of talent – but I’m not calling for Richt’s head on a stake either. Give the guy a chance – he has EARNED IT! Spend a little time with the media guide’s historical W-L records if you think otherwise.

Class of 68

November 23rd, 2009
9:42 pm

If you listen to Buck Belue, he’ll tell you nothing is wrong. It’s all in our heads.

J Dpg

November 23rd, 2009
9:43 pm

I agree SE Dawg, it would be prudent to wait until after signing day to make changes. But as most teams making changes won’t wait that long, I just hope all the good available coaches aren’t gone by then and we wind up with another Willie.

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
9:47 pm

How long does it take to get amateur eligibility restored? Herschel played only 3 years in college, and I don’t think the MMA thing will count against it. Come to think of it, Larry Rakestraw played only 3. Give ‘em a shot as walk-ons next year.

Sometimes things get too serious. There is a big game for Georgia and Tech coming up. Settle it on the field. Let the bandwagons collide and the true fans stay aboard.

Duane Ferrell

November 23rd, 2009
9:47 pm

buck belue = clown

FLA DAWG

November 23rd, 2009
9:58 pm

I have believed a change at OC and DC would be sufficient – maybe with Richt as HC & OC calling plays. But as this season has gone by with The Team becoming worse I’m afraid Richt is just not a good administrator. He does not have the killer instinct necessary to win in the SEC.

Richt’s errors are numerous and include dismal choices in OC & DC, inability to train top notch high school players to SEC caliber, gameday execution, turnover and penalty problems. Lastly but most importantly for Richt was his refusal to correct these problems at last season yearend.

wreckmaniac

November 23rd, 2009
10:01 pm

If Dennis Erickson ( AZ State) or Rich Brooks had half the talent UGA has they would both have teams in the top 10. First of all they would not stock 2nd and 3rd teams with 4 and 5 star players who rarely play. Kids who go to UGA to ride the bench are fools but there’s always a pack of them every year. 5 star players who dream of the NFL and sit on the bench at UGA the whole time they’re in college don’t really deserve much.

FLA DAWG

November 23rd, 2009
10:03 pm

wreckmaniac,

Name three 5 Star Players at UGA that have spent years sitting on the bench.

FLA DAWG

November 23rd, 2009
10:05 pm

Yeah,

I didn’t think you could.

4 jacks

November 23rd, 2009
10:10 pm

The most disturbing thing about this team and last years as well is the lack of dicipline. When your punter (who is not even a real player) is yanking face masks getting penalities and then laughing about it on the side lines, when there is 7 minutes left and you are trailing by 7 and players are dancing and smiling on the side lines the problem is much deeper than just CWM or CMB, not that they get a complete pass either. If your team is that undiciplined it comes from the head man. If he doesn’t instill dicipline in the team nor do you have the senior leadership to keep people focused I do not think that getting rid of 1 or 2 coordinators is going to make a big difference in the long run. CMR better start laying down the law in this area or it will keep sliding away. Fine to celebrate and have fun, once you have put the game away. Stupid penalties are just that “stupid”…and they get you beat. I just can’t get over our all american punter of all people laughing about that penalty. Oh well, my two cents worth. I do hope Richt will clean up this mess. He has been a good coach (not great) but good. Sure beats the hell of what went on after Dooley retired, but he better get some control over his players and program or it will not be pretty.

Paul's Johnson

November 23rd, 2009
10:15 pm

BillyBob:

“think UGA is right where they should be, considering the talent on the team.
Go JACKETS!!!!!”

I think UGA is right where they should be too with the talent that will be in place next year and beyond. Talent in key positions. Ealey will take on the role of the 5 to 6 yard, every down back and we will break camp with a solid leader at QB for the next 3 to 4 years. Deep in position players.
The secondary will be weak for a couple of classes, definately need to recruit for the future there, the backfield and also look at landing a big time recruit at QB.

Nope, I believe the talent will always remain consistent in the nation because UGA will always be prominent in the upper echelon of college football. This season (like last) has been a hard to watch but we’re not talking about talent here, we’re talking about coaching, most importantly, from the top but trickling all the way down to the lowest tier. I believe that there wil be accountability after the season and I do believe that changes will be made before the opening kickoff next season, will they be enough? We will see, but I guarantee this, if they are not sufficient enough, then the next shake up within the program will be dramatic.

UGA85′

Go Dawgs!!

Meyers Cloud 24x Darker Than Richt's

November 23rd, 2009
10:16 pm

Urban Meyers got blown out 41-0 in a bowl game at Florida. Meyers also got beat by Ole Miss when he was a 22 point favorite. I guess Meyer can’t coach.

If we are to evaluate a coach based on a 1 game, Richt’s 24x better than Meyers, becuase he scored a bunch of points compared to Meyers’ 41-0 shlackin’.

Johnson's Cloud 7x Darker Than Richt's

November 23rd, 2009
10:18 pm

Paul Johnson got blown out 38-3 last year by LSU. I guess he can’t coach either.

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
10:18 pm

“We will see, but I guarantee this, if they are not sufficient enough, then the next shake up within the program will be dramatic.”

Thank you, President Adams.

Carroll's Cloud 27x Darker Than Richt's

November 23rd, 2009
10:20 pm

Pete Carroll got beat by 27 points against Oregon. I guess he can’t coach either.

LaDawg100

November 23rd, 2009
10:22 pm

Fire him now.

We pay him too much for this performance.

Nick Saban 7x Darker Than Richt's

November 23rd, 2009
10:23 pm

Saban got beat by Lousisian Tech at Alabama. I guess he can’t coach either.

That’s a “fair” assessment, right?

td

November 23rd, 2009
10:28 pm

SOUTHGADAWG88, It is nice to read a true and accurate analysis of what is going on. Better than I have seen form any of the reporters covering the team.

Paul's Johnson

November 23rd, 2009
10:31 pm

Delbert D.:
Delbert, I was trying to come up with a better word than “dramatic” but my wife’s annoying bellow was rifling through the stairwell and I had a massive adrenaline rush and i lost all train of thought, you know the “fight or flee” instinct. Anyway, I guess a better choice of words or word than “dramatic’ would be “big time”. What da ya think?

Bob Stoop's Could 7x Darker Than Richt's

November 23rd, 2009
10:32 pm

Bob Stoops Oklahoma got beat 35-7 by Kansas St. I guess he can’t coach either.

That’s a ‘fair” assessment, right Bill?

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
10:34 pm

Paul’s – It sounds a lot less like Prez Adams that way. But it’ll sell better…

Bear Bryant's Clould 4x Darker Than Richt's

November 23rd, 2009
10:36 pm

Bear Bryant got beat 31-7 by Texas Tech. Ouch.

I guess he can’t coach either. That’s a “fair” assessment too, right Bill?

Paul from RDU

November 23rd, 2009
10:43 pm

Bear could be on to something

Joe Pa got beat 41-10 by Sparty – he can’t coach

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
10:44 pm

Bill – They seem to want “Easy and unfair”. That one will get some good blog numbers…

B-dog

November 23rd, 2009
10:49 pm

I am a die hard Georgia fan but Willie has got to go. He is pitiful and moved up the coaching ladder way too fast. And Bobo, he has hardly any experience either except for being the QB when he went 6-6 in ‘96. Richt needs to call the plays bobo and willie need to go.
Richt is as good as they come as a head coach but we don’t need all the gimmicks. playing in the SEC against top teams every year should be enough motivation. you’d think playing in front of 92,000 of the best fans in the country would be enough motivation as well. We must stop the gimmicks too. And lets get the assisants right and we’ll be right where we need to be.

Go Dawgs

Idea: Bring in Jon Gruden and have him and Richt as associate head coaches with Richt defensive coordinator and Gruden as defensive coordinator? that would be beast.lol

Paul's Johnson

November 23rd, 2009
10:52 pm

Thanks Delbert, I always look forward to your razor sharp, I mean, ice skate blade sharp, wit and intuition. I will make the necessary adjustments, just like coach will do.

UA Alum

November 23rd, 2009
10:54 pm

Wow. Paul lives at the airport in Raleigh. Free Wi-Fi?

Marlon Brown

November 23rd, 2009
10:58 pm

I would like to “beyotch-slap” my granny for making me go to UGA over Tennessee. My ass is sore from riding the pine in Athens. In Knoxville, I would be a starter and would have participated in the beatdown given to UGA back in October. Thanks a lot, Granny….you old wrinkled bat. Now I am part of the trainwreck called Georgia football.

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
11:00 pm

Paul’s – My pleasure. Always here to help. By the way, maybe we could enlist your bellowing wife to assist in the lack of discipline problem?

Paul from RDU

November 23rd, 2009
11:00 pm

UA Alum, that is not correct but I do get it at your sister’s house.

The things I have to do to be able to play Dungeons and Dragons. I have to drink two bottles of Listerine when I get home. Yuck.

harleydawg

November 23rd, 2009
11:05 pm

how many people think maybe cox smokes a little wacky backy, even so we can still kick yechs azz..

UA Alum

November 23rd, 2009
11:06 pm

Paul from RDU = Classy. The Saintly Mark Richt must be so proud.

UA Alum

November 23rd, 2009
11:14 pm

Paul from RDU, slow night keeping the world safe from 4 ouch bottles of shammpoo? Glad to see the TSA earning that paycheck!

Paul's Johnson

November 23rd, 2009
11:14 pm

Delbert, I hope that you never have to endure the wrath of ” El Beasto”.
Thirty minutes of listening to her continuous drone will make you want to cut off your ears just so that you can stick em’ in your ear sockets to dull the 140 decibels. She would make a preacher cuss. Thankfully, over the years, I have developed the ability to filter her warblings to sound like the teacher from the old Charlie Brown shows… you know “WHAWHAWHAWHA…WHAWHAWHAWHA.

After 30 mins. of listening to her, everyone would transfer.

Cuz

November 23rd, 2009
11:17 pm

Now is the winter of our discontent.

Quote from the other Willie.

Cuz

November 23rd, 2009
11:19 pm

Dang Paul, for your sake I hope you are joking.

Cuz

November 23rd, 2009
11:20 pm

Paul, I have a plan. We will let Attorney General Holder know about this torture. You will be a hero, get a book deal and a segment on CNN.

UA Alum

November 23rd, 2009
11:29 pm

With a loss to Tech, I definitely think the Dawgs should accept a bowl bid. How else can they guarantee a losing season?

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
11:37 pm

Paul’s – Well, scratch that idea. By the way, I was late responding because it took 20 minutes on Schultz’s blog trying to get an eloquent post through the censor bots, and even then i had to do it with word replacement and s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g. It ain’t hardly worth it to be intelligent anymore. I’m really gonna hafta dumb down.

loyaldawg

November 23rd, 2009
11:37 pm

I’m okay with Bobo having another year. He lost Stafford, Moreno and Mass…tough to overcome. He also has a QB that is clearly not SEC caliber. Murray had injury problems so no reason to give up that redshirt. Logan Gray was not the answer either obviously. Our problem is clearly WM. Our defense does not create turnovers, does not tackle well, gives up way too many big plays to even inferior foes, has way too many bad penalties, gives up huge points, etc. If I’m not mistaken, WM is also in charge of special teams…how many stupid personal foul penalties have we had on special teams? I’m not just talking about this year either. Have you seen how many times our defense is not even in the picture on pass plays? How about Tebow’s run up the middle on 3rd and short…once he got through the line, there was noone remotely close…are you kidding me. This is the worse defense I have ever seen UGA have. 3 senior DT’s that may play in the pros plus a junior LB and junior safety that are now leaving us for the NFL. We have always had a dominant DE but not under WM in the past couple of years. Our kids just don’t get better under his watch. They look confused and out of place.