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

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
11:39 pm

Cuz – Holder would probably get Paul tried in Gitmo, to make up for the serious goof.

Taco

November 23rd, 2009
11:43 pm

CMR came from FREE SHOES U! What did you dumba$$ UGA fans think he was gonna bring with him? A bunch of thugs without one damm dricer’s license among them. You lead the world in penalties and the US in arrests (Tenn catching up fast)You can take all that “Super Christian” crap and jam it UGA IVXIVXXI’s tail. How about a little discipline? You got a bunch of overated thugs and the fan base acts like low class, Jerry Springer, trailer trash. Booing the home team? Gimme break…..what a joke. UGA has been mediocre for years now they have even fallen off that horse.

Taco

November 23rd, 2009
11:45 pm

Your hopes for a dominant DE was pinned on Toby Jackson from Griffin. He is a great player but could not spell cat if you spotted him the c and the t. Who would come there now? Getting booed?

Paul's Johnson

November 23rd, 2009
11:45 pm

No Cuz, I wish I could admit to joking but I am holding out faith that over time, my selective hearing will eventually evolve to be able to tune out her baritone growl and I will not have to run throughout the house, remote in hand, just to find suitable programming on the TV. I bruised my forehead after an ackward over the couch landing during the Kentucky game. I couple of PBR’s and a dose of reality later, I was back in the game, unfortunately, my Dawgs checked out.

I have started to write a book, I’ve gotta get more Post It notes, you can only get so much writing on them.
CNN, kinda like “Dancing With The Stars”, my life’s aspiritions. I just don’t know about the makeup and eyeliner.

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
11:52 pm

“Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
10:12 pm”

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell the psychopaths from the sociopaths. These blogs will be part of my PhD Dissertation, “Social Networking Websites and Overt Expression of Pathologies”. ”

I got slammed by some guy on Jeff Schultz’s blog for “copying his post”. Well, I’m copying my own post over to Bill’s blog. I’ll add an appendix to the dissertation: “Pathological Liars”.

So there, nyah-nyah.

Paul's Johnson

November 23rd, 2009
11:54 pm

Delbert, I hear you on the wife thing, unfortunately, if she was in earshot, after 30 minutes, all players would pack their bags and request a transfer to ECU or UTC.

Delbert D.

November 23rd, 2009
11:55 pm

Paul – I saw a thing on NatGeo or some channel, the Army is trying to develop high-intensity sound weapons. Put a hold on the book, and get yourself a gov’t contract.

Paul's Johnson

November 24th, 2009
12:09 am

Delbert,
I think I saw that too. We might be able to sign up as a package deal. I would even be willing to donate her right now, for the advancement of education in audiotory sciences. Always trying to do my part for education in America.

Delbert D.

November 24th, 2009
12:14 am

Paul – It will advance the technology by 20 years over what they’ve got so far. It will be a breakthrough! Also make a pitch to the Navy for their development on sound-tunneled laser anti-submarine warefare stuff.

Delbert D.

November 24th, 2009
12:21 am

Paul – I’ll check back with you tomorrow. Time to do my tai chi.

Shenandoah

November 24th, 2009
12:36 am

Love how Richt and Cox hem hawed around all year evading the real problems, but both specifically point their fingers at Ealey, a freshman. Obviously Cox will be an assistant to Bobo next year. We desparately need a football coach, not a CEO. If I were Ealey, I would transfer to Florida or Alabama even though I would have to sit out a year.

SatillaDawg

November 24th, 2009
12:55 am

Go Dawgs! Beat Tech!

Then fire Richt, Bobo and Willie.

It’s time for a change.

Paul's Johnson

November 24th, 2009
12:59 am

Yeah Delbert, I’ve logged time with Denise Austin this week myself, not Tai Chi but gotta get the ole’ heart rate up and makes me want to eat some Idaho potatoes I just got on a new work out schedule and I want to be sure and pace myself, I don’t want to be mistaken for a “roid user”. Going to crash now, I gotta come up with a gameplan for Saturday.

Go Dawgs!!

Jim

November 24th, 2009
4:05 am

Brian Stewart for UGA defensive coordinator position. (Former Dallas Cowboys DC, current Philadelphia Eagles defensive assistant coach)

PASS IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ed

November 24th, 2009
4:55 am

When was the last time Coach Richt truly motivated his team other than changing uniform colors or breaking the rules? The Bob Stoops, Nick Sabans, Pete Carols of the world are able to get their players ready to go, every game. They are LEADERS. Coach Richt is a manager, and a darn good one – a leader? no…..

Kevin G

November 24th, 2009
5:58 am

The coaches did not lose that game. The defense has improved, but COX has not. COX lost that game.

jerry

November 24th, 2009
7:31 am

Richt is 2-7 vs Florida. Cloud, you may crow when Richt looks like below. Until then, stfu.

Switzer resigned from his coaching position at Oklahoma early in 1989, with a career record of 157-29-4. His winning percentage of .837 is fourth-best all-time, and he posted remarkable records against several famous contemporaries, going 3-0-1 against Darrell Royal, 12-5 against Tom Osborne, 5-3 against Jimmy Johnson, 2-0 against Bobby Bowden and 1-0 against Joe Paterno and Woody Hayes.

Lorraine in Conyers

November 24th, 2009
7:35 am

Really serious beatdown is coming.

Yellow Jackets 49, UGA 17.

It’s azzwhuppin’ time.

Dawg gone.

HH

November 24th, 2009
7:52 am

Richt had better realize one thing. The UGA contributors and fan base are not going to tolerate this deplorable and disgraceful state of affairs much longer. If Notre Dame can shell out $18 million to get rid of Weis, then UGA can certainly shell out $10 million to get rid of Richt and his mediocraties. They won’t tolerate a Charlie Weis at N.D., and the UGA nation won’t tolerate one at UGA. If Evans and Adams stand in the way, then they will be gotten rid of as well. The love affair between Richt and UGA is about to be history, and Richt had better quickly realize that fact.

clemkudtlhopr

November 24th, 2009
8:08 am

“Suffering is the prelude to Glory!” not sure where I got that quote, just have patience my fellow Bulldog fans.

lagadawg

November 24th, 2009
8:09 am

Hey Acdawg,Dooley’s dawgs were 11 and 10 in 69 and 70, but did they have top 10 recruiting classes in 65-70,I don’t think so.

GaGator

November 24th, 2009
8:34 am

Bobby Bowden was right when Richt left FSU, he said, “I don’t think Mark is tough enough to be ahead coach”. And there’s you answer———-he’ not.

SuperB

November 24th, 2009
8:36 am

Nice to read something from a writer who actually knows CFB– unlike the drivel from Schultz and Bradley. It’s so past time for CMR to do something about the penalties, turnovers, and tuurnover margin. I ask you: Is he capable of accomplishing this? (I know all Dawg fans are tired of CMR just sloughing off these stats.)

toga

November 24th, 2009
8:37 am

Richt will let Martinez go and demote Bobo. Georgia’s new coaches will be the excuse next year for a 6 or 7 win season. Richt will “survive” for 3 more seasons and Georgia will suffer for the next 5 to 6 years.

I have seen this movie before, Alabama did it for 10 years before waking up and realizing that you need a real coach to compete in the SEC.

Take the blinders off, you are only hurting yourself.

santa cruz dawg

November 24th, 2009
8:53 am

Joe Cox is a nice young man, but he is to inconsitent to be a SEC level QB. His poor play has cost us several games.
The team also needs to learn to get back to the basics of sound football blocking, tackeling, and playing smart.
All the talk about getting rid of CMR is lame, but he does need to look at the past couple of years and make the tough choices and changes, to ensure a return to National Championship contention.
I am encouraged with all the young talent, for the future.
One last comment: Get the players on the field who can cover kickoffs. It doesn’t matter if the players is a star on O or D just get the best players to prevent all of the long returns that hurt us every game.

georgiadawgg

November 24th, 2009
8:55 am

MARK RICHT, GETS PAID IF HE WINS OR LOSES.THEY TELL ME THAT YOU ARE AS GOOD AS YOUR COACHES.MARK RICHT COULD CARE LESS. ITS TIME FOR THE BIG MONEY GIVERS TO START WITHHOLDING MONEY.

bubba4?dawgs

November 24th, 2009
8:56 am

It appears that Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas and Florida get players from the State of Georgia and develop them a lot more than the University of Georgia. This means either they have a huge flaw in coaching, a huge flaw in recruiting or both. I believe it is both. Evidently, football is taken too lightly at UGA or they have the “dumbest” players in the league. 26 fumbles and recovering only 1 is laughable. Scoring 28 points and still losing reflects on a poor or no defense. Mark Richt will fix it! I know he will! The Dawg Lovers will not accept mediocrity! IF, I say IF the Dawgs are to compete with Florida, Alabama, LSU and Tennessee, a tremendous change will have to take place. Rich knows this! Damon knows this! All of the Dawgs knows this and the Dawg Nation knows this! The lines are drawn….Let the changes begin!! Top to bottom…It all needs fixing (CMR should stay), the rest should go…Willie, Bobo, Recruiters and the keeper of balls! We need some hard nosed coaches who emphasize “kick butt”. Stay away from the panty waist flash in the pan grandstand players who think more of their shiny little ear rings than playing football. Let the games begin…..NOW!!

Will

November 24th, 2009
8:58 am

if anything this article is too nice….which has been Richt’s problem

Richt has Spoiled UGA Fans!

November 24th, 2009
8:59 am

Richt is so good, 4th winningest active coach, he coaches in the SEC, the toughest conference, and wins so many games, you fans have one bad year and all the sudden Richt can’t coach? Ask FSU how their program did after Richt left–no more Heisman’s, no more Natl’ Championships, no more lots of consecutive winning games years?

The last time Richt had a 4 loss year, what happened the next year? #2 Natl’ ranking (should have been #1–Georgia WAS the Natl Champion that year). Next year, with:

Green/Brown at WR (#1/#2 ranked WR’s in U.S.)
Ealey at RB (the guy who broke Herschel Walker’s rushing records), Murray at QB (we’ll see how long those 1 yard TD rushes Tim Tebow records last–I say we break his record during the Ga/Fla game)
Charles at TE (top TE in U.S.)

It’s going to be fun beating up on Florida and Ga Tech and Tenn and LSU and Kentucky. Aaron Murray kind of gives you that Jamelle Holliday feeling, right? Don’t remember Holliday? Oh, he’s the QB who led his teasm to an 11-1 record and Natl’ Championship, as a Freshman. Kosar at Miami had a good freshman QB year too: 61% pass completion, 2300 yards, 15 TD’s, 11-1. Murray will be in the Heisman talk EVERY year at Georgia. Ealey/Green/Brown/Charles might too. We’re going to on a Heisman/Natl’ Championship run like USC did.

gbal

November 24th, 2009
9:12 am

I am not sure that I am ready to see CMR’s head yet…. Not sure …
but I do think that those who are suggesting it do have a point. Many say they are idiots for suggesting this “based on one bad season”. I remind those that it has not been ONE BAD SEASON.

My concern is not necessarily that we loose a game, 2, or 3 in the SEC, but more how we loose and who we loose to. In this light Id say we are in our 4th dissapointing season.

2009 – A bust all around.
2008 Losses to Bama, Fla, GT all in complete beatdowns.
2007 Loss to S.C., Tennessee, and a late vandy fumble away from a Vandy Loss. Then we pull a couple of gimicks (Storm the enzone and Black-out Auburn) and everybody suddenly thinks we are great? Then Beat Hawaii!! and we are even greater!!! Wrong. Picked preseason # 1 the next year. Wrong!!
2006 – Loss to Tennessee (hung 51 on us), Vandy Loss Fla, Fla Loss and Kentucky Loss. (Yes we are 2 and 2 against KU over the last 4 years – Should be 2-2 Vs Vandy too)

Folks, it has been 4 underachieving dissapointing seasons. Those who think it has only been 1 … not very in touch with UGA’s expectations.

Shreveport Chamber of Commerce

November 24th, 2009
9:26 am

It’s pretty this time or year. We will make sure we have plenty of extra police officers on duty when the drunks show up from UGA.

atlvos55

November 24th, 2009
9:27 am

Richt has spoiled UGA fans!

It must be nice leaving in your world….can I have some of that Kool-Aid you are drinking….better yet maybe some of that you are smoking?

Fair and Balanced

November 24th, 2009
9:28 am

Two changes needed: 1) New DC 2) New OC 3) New everybody else! Clean house man! There is a disease in this bunch.

Fair and Balanced

November 24th, 2009
9:29 am

Three changes need to be made: 1) New DC 2) New OC 3) New everybody else on staff. Clean house baby!

robodawg

November 24th, 2009
9:33 am

“Talent is not Georgia’s problem. It’s focus. It’s execution. It’s player development and it’s discipline.”

That is right on the money. Our gameday coaching is fine. The real issue, and one that’s much harder to pinpoint because we don’t get to watch it, is what happens in practice every week. Why aren’t our players coached up and showing improvement? Why do we play so dumb?!

With pretty much the same coaching staff, we were the most improved team over the course of the 2007 season, so I have plenty of faith in Richt to do it again. But he’s got the unenviable task of deciding which changes to make to root out the decay that will help the team and not do more harm.

A lot of fans want someone to blame and think we can hang this season squarely on the shoulders of Martinez or Cox or even CMR. But none of us really knows what’s going on inside the program that leads the players as a team to underperform. (And looking back at all the things that have gone wrong in games, this season’s poor showing has truly been a team effort.) I wouldn’t mind seeing a new special teams coach or having Kirby Smart stalking the sideline, but I for one trust Richt with that decision more than Evans or Adams or any fan. Because he’s earned that trust. Talk of changing the head coach is way premature.

Andy in Blairsville

November 24th, 2009
9:37 am

With FL and AL at the top, TN looking very promising after only one season of rebuilding and for God’s sake KY beating UGA at GA….I’d say recruiting is going to be a disappointment this year so don’t get your hopes up on ‘10.

gbal

November 24th, 2009
9:49 am

I am not sure that I am ready to see CMR’s head yet…. Not sure …
but I do think that those who are suggesting it do have a point. Many say they are idiots for suggesting this “based on one bad season”. I remind those that it has not been ONE BAD SEASON.

My concern is not necessarily that we loose a game, 2, or 3 in the SEC, but more how we loose and who we loose to. In this light Id say we are in our 4th dissapointing season.

2009 – A bust all around.
2008 Losses to Bama, Fla, GT all in complete beatdowns.
2007 Loss to S.C., Tennessee, and a late vandy fumble away from a Vandy Loss. Then we pull a couple of gimicks (Storm the enzone and Black-out Auburn) and everybody suddenly thinks we are great? Then Beat Hawaii!! and we are even greater!!! Wrong. Picked preseason # 1 the next year. Wrong!!
2006 – Loss to Tennessee (hung 51 on us), Vandy Loss Fla, Fla Loss and Kentucky Loss. (Yes we are 2 and 2 against UK over the last 4 years – Should be 2-2 Vs Vandy too)

Folks, it has been 4 underachieving dissapointing seasons. Those who think it has only been 1 … not very in touch with UGA’s expectations.

Mobile Dawg

November 24th, 2009
9:54 am

One thing that bothers me and actually lights the fire of my discontent is that Richt has really failed to accept responsibility for the collapse and has continued to make excuses when it’s crystal clear to so many. I’m not questioning Richts character or integrety but isn’t taking responsibilty for your problems the first step toward the recovery and a major indicator of those two traits I mentioned. I know someone will say I’m questioning it but I’m not, I just don’t understand why he won’t man up.

Look at what excuses have done for Les Miles lately.

Golden Tornado

November 24th, 2009
10:06 am

Bulldog fans, you’ll be leaving the game in droves, about the middle of the third quarter, on this Saturday night. I know you’ll be heartbroken, but please don’t litter our campus. There is a place for your garbage – Athens.

U-no

November 24th, 2009
10:07 am

Looking at schedules there is something glaringly wrong with the two of the three teams. Bama has played three lower tier teams as has Florida. Bama: Fla Int’l, N. Texas, Tenn-Chatt; Florida: Charleston Southern, Troy, Fla Int’l.

When you look at UGA and Tech’s schedule there is only one lower tier school: UGA: Tenn Tech; GT: Jax State.

How can Bama and Fla be ranked so high when they pad their schedules like they do. I would like to see them play a schedule like UGA or Tech and see how well they do, especially toward the end of the season. It is crap like that that makes the BCS such a joke.

Giving the benefit of the doubt the Pups have played a very tough schedule with no creme puff schools but one all year. Tech has played either ACC or SEC teams except for one all year. When are the “elite” teams going to prove their metal and play a real schedule to see if they really are as good as everybody says they are?

Free Willie

November 24th, 2009
10:13 am

What will be the best fit for Coach Mark Richt next year?
1)Abilene Christian
2)Holy Cross
3)Cal Berkeley

True Truth

November 24th, 2009
10:16 am

Don’t fire Richt; don’t fire any of his staff. Don’t.
Think about it – It would cost UGA $25-30 million at least, to get rid of Mark Richt, and hire the calibre of coach that UGA fans dream of. It’s not possible.

Kirby Smart

November 24th, 2009
10:22 am

I will make UGA a top ten defense! Call me.

Free Willie

November 24th, 2009
10:26 am

gbal – Thats a fact! We get blown out against great teams but never blow out a great team or even win many. We squeak by or loose to the average teams and usually beat soundly the Tenn Techs of the world. Anyone that doesn’t think CMR shouldn’t be evaluated by Evans doesn’t have a clue. All large companies evaluate the employees performance each year and this has been going on at UGA with Richt. I think the world of CMR and think he will be and is successful in life but I don’t believe he has the drive and ability to assembly a top tier staff and lead UGA to a national title like Meyer or Saben… CMR as a person exceeds expectations but as a top SEC coach falls well below my expectations. Its time for and amicable divorce

Free Willie

November 24th, 2009
10:28 am

True Truth – Do you know which school raised mor $$$$$$ than any other in the country??? Take a guess… Hint UGA

Shenandoah

November 24th, 2009
10:38 am

Notice how there are fewer and fewer responses posted – even the bloggers are ” leaving the game early”. Time to cheer on the Lady Dawgs and the gymnists – Thank Goodness.

Heard that Cox will be the offensive coordinator next year and he and Richt will share the play calling.

Calhoundawg

November 24th, 2009
10:40 am

Lot of good stuff on here — some not so good. Andy, I’m not so sure what looks so promising about Tennessee, but whatever. They lose a butt-load of seniors, and CLK is just beginning to experience life in not only college football, but life in the SEC as well. Case in point, just look at what’s being discussed on these blogs about CMR — one of the most successful coaches in the game– and over a period of time. However, just like Georgia now, I don’t think Tennessee was nearly as “bad” as their records indicated for a couple of those years. They just needed new life, new blood, a new direction. But I digress …

My question for the forum concerns the penalties over the last two years. What has happened (or not) for this situation to arise and continue? I’m not talking about procedure penalties (which are game killers themselves), I’m talking about blatant personal fouls, over and over and over. Even the punter gets flagged for a face mask in the Kentucky game! Seriously, someone with a hands-on knowledge of the game of football please comment to this. These penalties are ENTIRELY controllable every single time. What is going on? They happen at any point in the game — when we’re up by twenty points or down by ten. I would think that even some of the players would be disgusted with this by now. What gives?

Lastly, concerning Bobo and Martinez (I never want to lose Coach Richt); when the play works you’re a genius. The problem is not [necessarily] with Bobo’s play calling. He has been severely limited by Cox’s arm strength and game management (reading defenses, etc.). And, quite simply, the “drop-off” at RB’s and QB was much more than I was previously willing to admit. Bobo’s a hell of a coach and probably calls games almost exactly like Richt would given this year’s circumstances. As far as Martinez, I do think that the defensive stats over the last several years say everything that needs to be said. The lack of defensive ends has exposed a secondary which is practically inept (Bryan Evans sucks!) If there is a lack of talent on this team, this is where it is. Hopefully, recent recruiting (Rambo, Boykin, etc.) will address some of these issues. I will also say that our “Big Three” of Owens, Atkins, and Weston were inexplicably a little underwhelming this year. Oh well, they say change is not always good, but in this case, I’d say it couldn’t hurt. Go Dawgs !!!

td

November 24th, 2009
10:40 am

Hey Kirby, Are you willing to take a pay cut to come to UGA? You know Adams is not going to pay you more than $600,000 per year because a DC can not make more than him.

From The Desk Of Damon Evans

November 24th, 2009
10:42 am

Here is the ONLY thing Mr. Evans is really concerned about….

…are we STILL MAKING MONEY HAND OVER FIST?

Nobody at UGA Taj Ma Hal (a.k.a. Butts Mehre) cares about the athletes, the coaches, their families, certainly not the fans or their wallets, or the AJC or any sports or media outlets. The only issue is money.

Let’s not be fooled, to use an analogy, if Mike Vick had never been the subject of criminal charges, he would still be with the Falcons, despite everything, as long as he was making money for the enterprise.

So, as long as UGA alumni and fans open their wallets and buy tickets and gear, as long as the money is flowing across Mr. Evans’ desk, he really doesn’t care what you, or I, or anyone else thinks about UGA football.

ugaaccountant

November 24th, 2009
10:47 am

The money is not flowing as freely to Athens as it did before. Donors are not happy. The ticket demand is still 100% of capacity, but the amount paid per new tickets this year was less than half of last years figure. Something will be done, I just pray that we don’t throw Richt out the door to apease the lunatic fringe.