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

td

November 24th, 2009
10:51 am

Calhoundawg, Your analysis was good all the way to the part where you made such a harsh statement about Bryan Evans. We can not stoop to those types of statements, I think they are class less. Evans may not have been the best safety we have ever had at Georgia but he gave us 100% effort and his blood, sweat and tears. I think Evans and every other player that has put on the uniform for us are damn good DAWGS and I am proud of what they contributed to the program.

rincon dawg

November 24th, 2009
10:56 am

hail to butler walsh and aj green. without them we wouldnt have won any games. there the only ones who show up every game.

td

November 24th, 2009
10:58 am

From The Desk Of Damon Evans, The money slowed down when Adams ran down and ran out Vince Dooley. Has there been any repercussions from that move? No, Adams is still President, making more money, and has total control of the athletics foundation now (money).

rincon dawg

November 24th, 2009
11:02 am

does anyone know if orson charles is hurt. the man is awesome and we quit feeding him the ball

ugaaccountant

November 24th, 2009
11:04 am

TD – that is not accurate. Damon Evans was in charge during our record breaking monetary years.

cantondawg

November 24th, 2009
11:07 am

I have to laugh when i read some of the comments on this board..Especially the ones that are threatening Richt if he doesn’t do this or that then the people on this board will fire him..Let’s set the record straight, Richt can do anything he wants because he’s got the leverage over UGA. If UGA fires him, they will have to pay him $11.2 million dollars. I believe he will make changes. Not because you idiots are screaming to make changes, but because he truly care about UGA football and wants to see us as SEC champions.

I disagreed with his decision last year to retain CWM. I thought he should’ve gotten Chavis from TN. But i do understand his decision making on retaining CWM and it has nothing to do with friendship. CWM is a good recruiter and i’m sure Richt wanted to retain him as a recruiter and hope that he could turn the defense around. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and he is forced to make a change. Which i’m sure he will.

ds

November 24th, 2009
11:09 am

Mark Richt is the best thing to ever happen to UGA. How many more years would you guys like to wait on an SEC Championship if he leaves? Coach Martinez was good enough when we won the Championship wasn’t he? Anyway it should be Coach Richt’s decsion alone who his coaches are(Certainly not Damon Evans or Michael Adams) There are many schools that would love to have Coach Richt. It is hilarious to me how people said he was cool on the sideline and that helped his players stay cool in pressure situations. Lose a few and those same people want him to get some fire. Go figure. No school is going to win Championships every year—not Florida, USC, Alabama or Oklahoma. We need to stay the course with Coach Richt and hope he will stay the course with us. He will win his share in the end and we will all be proud.

Randy Marsh

November 24th, 2009
11:10 am

Chris Low said it perfect. We’ve building up to a season like this for several years and now we have the perfect storm because Stafford and Moreno aren’t there to bail us out. There’s a lot of young talent on this team and I’m scared it will just go to waste over the next few years. I’d like to see Butch Davis on the sidelines. I’m sure he’d leave NC to come to the SEC.

Navigator

November 24th, 2009
11:20 am

Most everyone knows I am a Tech graduate, but I have a love for UGA as well (both my sons graduated from there). I think two things have happened to cause this problem at Georgia. First, Richt has lost some excellent coaches, and second they took the play calling away from Richt, and that was a mistake. He never was caught looking at the play book, because he knew it and was thinking 1-2 plays ahead. I’ve watched PJohnson calling his own plays and he doesn’t look at a play sheet either (same as Richt). I think the administration needs to rethink and allow Richt to be the offensive coordinator, after all they were quite good when they did.

td

November 24th, 2009
11:33 am

ugaaccountant, My point exactly and I could have wrote my point a little better. Money went down a little, after the announcement of Dooley’s forced retirement, then it went right back up to record levels. Adamas basically ran off Dooley and Walker and the alumni did what? nothing. They let an outsider come in and take control. I did not hear one person call for Adams to be fired.

Danielle

November 24th, 2009
11:45 am

As a Tech alum, I hope Richt stays at UGA forever. His successes have peaked, and he’s on the downslope of his career. Other coaches in the SEC and ACC outclass him now by a mile, and he will never take the Dawgs to an SEC championship or a BCS bowl again. So keep him… please!

Beatdown Alert: Georgia Tech 52, UGA 24.

Kirby Smart

November 24th, 2009
11:46 am

I wanna be a DAWG!

Charlie Dawg

November 24th, 2009
11:49 am

It would be worth the $11 million buyout to get rid of Richt.

DirtyDawg

November 24th, 2009
11:49 am

Clearly this game could be an embarrassment…but only if the kids and the fans allow it to be. Play hard, fast and smart…and don’t quit on anything. Fans, no matter what’s happening on the field, don’t you dare leave early. Don’t give the pencil-necked geeks anything to jeer about, and if one of the twerps gets in you face, mash his head like a pimple.

So the AJCers are ‘all aboard’ the Tech bandwagon…Johnson does a better job of developing a QB (forget that the ‘QB’ we should have had is making a ga-zillion dollars some place else, his QB has had two years of starting to ‘get it right’)…a three-point victory has changed football in the State of Georgia (wonder what they’ll be saying if Georgia beats the vaunted Jackets this Saturday – I know I’ll be saying ‘The Year of Living Arrogantly’ is over.

Pride dammit…that’s the thing that makes a rivalry. No way we can ever lose to Tech if we refuse to be ‘out prouded’ – yeah, I know it’s not a word but it works for me.

gadawg

November 24th, 2009
11:52 am

rincon dawg-i totally agree. Does it strike u that those 3 positions are based on individual talent and not something that can be coached or ruined by bad coaches.Hmmmmmmm-just wondering

GT Blogger

November 24th, 2009
11:53 am

“…mash his head like a pimple.”

That’s the kind of smashmouth talk I would expect from a Dawg fan. It’s that kind of crap that explains why UGA’s thugs and morons lose so many games. Unprincipled, undisciplined quitters never win, they just embarrass themselves.

Frogger

November 24th, 2009
11:54 am

I’m sure there’s alot of coaches out there wishing they were paid 500,000 dollars per win. Must be nice to be Mark Richt.

Mark Richt

November 24th, 2009
12:08 pm

Kirby,
The only way you’ll ever be a dog again is as head coach. If u came in and got the defense going again they may want to give u the head coaching job. I had to get rid of one defensive coordinator that got all the pub. sincerely- CMR

cantodawg

November 24th, 2009
12:13 pm

Charliedawg,

You need to take a reality check. Every great coach has gone thru bumps in the road during their career. Look at Joe Paterno at Penn State. A few years ago, Penn State was terrible and people were calling for his head. Vince Dooley had alot of subpar years at UGA. The 3 years with Herschel and 1 after were really the only years that he had that were excellent. Bear Bryant had back to back 5 loss season and then went on to win 3 more National Championships. Heck, even Urban Meyer had a 5 loss season at UF. Nick Saban had a 4 loss season at LSU the year after the won the NC and was blown out when they played UGA.

I understand the disappointment but there is hope for the future. We now have our back of the future (Ealey) which we did not have until the middle of the season. The entire OL is returning and our WR corps is probrably the best in the nation.

If we get a new defensive coordinator i see our defense making big improvement. The talent is there.

The two other big correctable issues are turnoves and penalties.

We are at a mind boggling -18 in turnovers and have gotten only 1 fumble this year. I cannot believe that. I’ve watched UGA games where we’ve recovered 3 or 4 fumbles in one game so i’m sure next year will be much better.

Schedule is much easier and we start off the season with a patsy at home that will give us a little confidence. LSU is replaced with Mississippi State- easier. OK STATE is replaced with Colorado- lot easier. UF will be without Tebow, Spikes and about 7 underclassmen- Lot Easier than this year. GT will probrably lose Dwyer to NFL this year. UT will lose entire offensive line, Crompton, Berry and Hardesty- i don’t think they will be as good next year.

So, i think UGA is setup nicely with a weaker schedule, 16 returning starters, a new quarterback, experience at TB, every OL returning, and improved DC.

Rome Dawg

November 24th, 2009
12:36 pm

What’s all this talk about Kirby Smart as a head coach? I’m sure he’ll be a fine head coach someday, but I don’t see a lengthy enough track record at this point, epsecially not for a move to a SEC position. Heck, I’m not even sure if I buy that he’s a great DC given that he’s been under Saban’s thumb for a while.

collegeballfan

November 24th, 2009
12:40 pm

What is all this Kirby Smart talk?

He is NOT going to leave where he is now unless it is for a head coaching job. He is coaching under a good defensive mind & it is a better career to move to stay there.

Snoop Dawg

November 24th, 2009
1:03 pm

Snoop Dawg say’s you’re too nice. We need a coach, not a classy guy. Get rid of the Preacha Man and his Medicine Show of Willie and Bozo. Water Girrrul gotta go. The Demon Evans also!

ugaaccountant

November 24th, 2009
2:10 pm

TD – Evans is far from an outsider. One of the reasons fans didn’t storm Adams house with pitchforks about Dooley being forced out was that Damon Evans is a Dawg. He played football for us not too many years ago. Classy guy and very shrewd at his job. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him and at the time he was hired, that was exactly what everyone expected of him. The issue was never him, it was simply that nobody wants to fire a successful legend like Dooley. Dooley was great as an AD, Evans may even be better.

And seriously, most UGA alums and about 99% of UGA football fans want Adams gone. That’s been the case for years. I wonder how many other college presidents get booed every time their name is mentioned in the stadium? He’s brutally unpopular amongst the UGA fanbase.

NCDAWG

November 24th, 2009
2:10 pm

There is no way UGA gets any new Assistant Coaches with CMR at the Helm…………..I wish CMR would be loyal to the program instead of his Friend(s) that are in way over their heads…………..

ForeverDawgFan

November 24th, 2009
2:11 pm

I wish I had the answer ~ I’m female, love the game and love the Dawgs! I have one observation. When you have players dancing on a bench while their fellow teammates are imploding on the field … something is wrong! Where is the leadership?

Macon Dog in the Middle East

November 24th, 2009
2:14 pm

As mediocre as Goff and Donnan were, neither lost to Kentucky in Athens. I realize that I was not at the game (thank goodness), but answer me this, please: When you’re up 20-6 at the half, and your QB has a tendency to throw INT’s, why pass at all? Could we not run? On Kentucky?
I’m a long, long way from beautiful Georgia, and few people over here will care that our vaunted, proud program has sunk to such a low level. I’m sick over it! Richt should remember that Phil Fulmer refused to fire his assistants. Lots of UT-Fulmer loyalists say now that he should have been dismissed several seasons ago. Remember that horrible whipping that Kiffin’s first team gave us a few weeks ago? Remember how Kiffin vowed NEVER to lose to Georgia? He may be counting on Richt’s mulish determination to keep Martinez.
If Richt does not fire Martinez immediately after the season and replace him with Rodney Garner, we will lose Garner, probably (back) to UT. I can’t bear the thought! I remember how Fulmer beat us like a drum, year after year, with so many of our own state’s better players!! Richt has won the recruiting wars because he has had Garner. Richt should promise Garner the Defensive Coordinator’s job NOW or resign.
Even way over here, I’ve heard the troubling rumor that contractual obligations will prevent Richt from firing any of his assistants! I don’t know any Bulldog fans who want Martinez to keep his job. I wonder if a majority still wants Richt to keep his own. I realize how successful and humble he has been, and he has made us proud. Still, this debacle makes me angry. The UT game and this one are simply inexcusable. We cannot tolerate this. The pronoun “we” includes Damon Evans. He has increased the contribution demands on season-ticket holders. With that money, he is being paid quite well to make tough decisions. So is Richt.
Has anyone called Prince Charles? He has had to live too long with blame for our last home game loss to Kentucky. Richt must wear this goat’s horns. Place the call, Coach.
I’m beginning to believe the insufferableTech blogger who laid Uga VII’s death at his coaches’ feet. Poor Uga, he couldn’t stand to see his team sink so low. It just killed him. I’m glad he was spared this latest humiliation.

Turns my Stomach- BBA '79

November 24th, 2009
2:21 pm

I have seen almost every UGA game since 1973 and the last half of this week’s game was the worst-coached, least-prepared, most-undisciplined Dawg team I have ever seen, and that is not hyperbole. I know we play a lot of young players but this was our 11th game- they shouldn’t act like rookies anymore.

I read where Ealey said he had never been asked to block in high school- he either ran or was a decoy. That makes me realize that these 4-star and 5-star athletes haven’t been taught fundamentals in HS because they excelled without them. Rashad Jones didn’t HAVE to tackle the hips and lockup because in HS he just knocked everybody down. Prince Miller didn’t learn coverage skills because his speed and athleticism didn’t require him to do so in HS. Our O-line didn’t learn the proper techniques and footwork in HS because they just bowled people over with their strength. And Joe Cox didn’t have to be accurate because MoMass just ran everything down when he threw it.

Perhaps most importantly, when these guys committed a bone-headed personal foul in HS, their team needed them too much for the coach to discipline them.

The result? NO FUNDAMENTALS, NO DISCIPLINE.

Since this is true of all SEC teams, there can be only one excuse- COACHING. As talented as these guys are, they must still be taught the fundamentals when they get here. And as they mature, we can tolerate a mental error- an offside, a hold, etc.- but NEVER a flagrant personal file. If it is flagrant, the coaches should sit them for at LEAST a quarter. There is no single player on this team except Butler and Walsh (and maybe Curran) where the drop-off to their backup is that significant. But Richt won’t discipline them.

I admire Coach Richt’s character, but as another poster said earlier, he has to decide whether he wants to be a big-time college coach or do something else. If not, fine, but if so, we need his focus back on what he is paid $2.75 million a year to do. This is a big business.

Cuz

November 24th, 2009
2:54 pm

If Coach Martinez throws one interception or fumbles the ball one time against Tech he should be fired on the spot.

U-no

November 24th, 2009
3:23 pm

Cuz,
That would be interesting to see… the coach dressed up in pads and uniform playing QB or running back! I would agree though, if he did that he should be fired! LOL!

djawjuh

November 24th, 2009
3:27 pm

I’m wondering if all the pro Ritcht posts are real or manufactured on his behalf. Whatever it is that they’re smoking, I sure as hell want some of it. FIRE THEM ALL. FIRE THEM ALL, THE LONG AND THE SHORT AND THE TALL!

CMR is a FRAUD. “KY is the best kick return in the SEC.” Nope. KY is #7. Joe Cox gives us the best chance to win. He does? What does that tell you about coach Richt as an evaluator of talent and chief recruiter?

THIS IS AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL. BOOO COACH RICHT, BOOO HIS DC AND OC; BOO THEM ALL RIGHT OUT THE DOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

45ACP

November 24th, 2009
3:40 pm

I just watched Coach Richt’s press conference.
He made the Jackets sound like the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Good job Coach. Build them up then take them down.

U-no

November 24th, 2009
3:41 pm

Turns My Stomach,

Yours is one of the most intelligent posts, and accurate as well, as any I have ever read. That is is problem facing almost every college coach: untrained and inexperienced teenage young men who need to be coached, trained, educated, and disciplined in the fine art of college football.

With the size these young men are developed into while still at high school and then continue to be encouraged to develop in college, it is dangerous to not have them develop the proper techniques and skill sets that will help protect them from injury, and keep them from making stupid penalties. A senior from high school is entering into a world where in college many of the atheletes they are playing against are now bigger, faster, physically more developed to the game, and some ready to step onto the stage of professional football. To not properly coach, teach, train, and discipline the youngster is not only unwise, but a very stupid waste of talent (not to speak of the risk that is already inherant to the game being magnified and made even more risky by failing to invest in the kids future by establishing him in good fundamentals.)

The coaches are paid big money to win, but winning is the culmination of taking kids that are ranging from 17 to 25 and turning them into a well functioning unit (whether offensive or defensive) that understands the game, the plays, and the fundamentals, and the rules so that they come together in chemistry and motivation to reach a common goal each week: play to the best of their ablilities (and even beyond on occasion) and play as a team to win the game.

Coaches who can do that successfully day in and day out will be sought out and honored both on and off the field. Coaches who don’t, well, you know…

CMR has proven he can do it, but maybe his assisstants have lost focus along the way. Or maybe even CMR has lost focus. Who knows? I know that those teenagers aren’t going to coalesce into a winning team on their own, no matter how talented they are coming out of high school.

CPJ has proven that he can do it as well as his assisstants. The measure of the quality of the play on the field on Saturday night will be the result of both talent and training. Georgia may have the edge in talent, but Tech may have the edge in the training. And, training will win out almost every time in that battle, just ask any Marine.

ugaaccountant

November 24th, 2009
3:42 pm

I wonder if all the anti-Richt posts are real UGA fans or from fans of other teams.

cmac

November 24th, 2009
3:57 pm

DECAY?? There is serious ROT! It starts at the top and progresses quickly down hill! The coaches are tremendously overpaid for the product they are producing. The players (except AJ Green) were terribly over-rated out of high school. Combine lack of talent w/ no coaching ability & this is what you get! The fans had better speak w/ their wallets or change might not happen. i am sure that richt would hate to see a coaches feeling hurt by getting canned.

on a happy note, I cheered loudly for bryan evans last sat night during senior introductions. I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GLAD to see that guy go!!!

Dawgustus

November 24th, 2009
4:08 pm

Wow, ‘amazed at how many fans have such losers’ attitudes. ‘We can’t fire Richt, he’s nice’, ‘We can’t fire Richt, he’s won before’, ‘we can’t fire Richt, we can’t get a good replacement’. What a bunch of whiny little girls. Richt gets paid a ton to put a good team on the field. He’s failed and has been failing for 3 years. If he were employed in the real world, he’d have been canned months ago. Some folks need to shed the inferiority complex, grow up and recognize that we need a new (good) coach and realize that we can get one. UGA is the most profitable athletic program in the country. We can hire just about anybody if we want to.

GT For You And Me

November 24th, 2009
4:33 pm

Boy,you Dawg’s tickle me……

GT For You And Me

November 24th, 2009
4:35 pm

GT will crush you… Bank on it!!!!!

Mobile Dawg

November 24th, 2009
4:54 pm

Been a fan and supporter for over thirty years, class of 78. I’m tired of the product on the field, coach Richt hasn’t taken responsibility for the problems, and hasn’t indicated he would handle them. Cantondawg, you will see what we can do if things don’t change. No one on here is threatening anyone to my knowledge, just stating what we can do. Have we made the seat hot for CMR, I believe he’s feeling the heat. Our money and our voice will require change of some kind. My hope is CMR turns things around. If he wants to keep this job he will have to turn things around, either with this staff, or with changes to the staff, doesn’t matter to me either way. If it were up to people like you, things could be the status quo for years. And if I’m correct for you that would compare our down years to those of Paterno, etc, if they had not turned things around they would be gone now, there were wolves at the door howling for Paterno’s head, only people were using his age as an excuse for the poor results.

catfish31015

November 24th, 2009
5:05 pm

Richt is one of the better coaches in the SEC. If we lose him, you can be sure one of our competitors will grab him. I disagree with you about the quality of talent we have. He could have a lot better talent on the field and on the sideline to work with. But one thing is certain, losing Richt would be A BIG MISTAKE.

catfish31015

November 24th, 2009
5:06 pm

Richt is one of the better coaches in the SEC. If we lose him, you can be sure one of our competitors will grab him. I disagree with you about the quality of talent we have. He could have a lot better talent on the field and on the sideline to work with. But one thing is certain, losing Richt would be A BIG MISTAKE. Go Dawgs.

Spurrier

November 24th, 2009
5:07 pm

Richt’s seat will not near as hot as when he starts 1-2 with losses to Arky and USC. Book it.

tech (poser)redneck

November 24th, 2009
5:58 pm

Look out mutts, the bees, nats bugs, or whatever you wanna call them are waiting with sharp stingers. They’ve got those cheating refs. You know the ones that cost you the LSU game. Also the one that called the fumble on Jasper Sanks a few years back. We paid him an extra bonus to come out of retirement for this game. But he said he would work this game for nothing. We got you beat at every angle. We sent coach Richt a paid vacation to Miami Beach and a case of suntan lotion. STING UM JACKETS.

dont matter bout regular season

November 24th, 2009
6:11 pm

how many times has he had his team in position to play for all the marbles? i just dont ever see it happening. something to really look forward to. if it didnt happen in the last 6 years, chances are very slim because the puppies should have atleast 2 rings maybe 3 but notta.

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 24th, 2009
6:26 pm

Cuz check your email if you are on here.You guys see young Matthew Sun?The gap in talent between he and Joe couldn’t be coached up by Knute Rockne!Funny thing is Stafford could have come back and still been the 1st pick overall this year!Of course if that was the case we wouldn’t be blogging about how far the program has fallen but rather is this the year Richt hits pay dirt?

u-no nothing

November 24th, 2009
6:27 pm

hey u-no nothing….. did u know bama has beat 5 top 25 teams 3 were in the top 10 when they beat them. looks like yall need to play 10 tenn techs to have a winning season. please dont fire richt, yall might improve.

todd

November 24th, 2009
6:29 pm

Sorry Bill, going to sound off on the AJC article about firing Richt and making a comparison to Cutcliff.

what a bunch of horse crap that aritcle was.

First off, Ga doesn’t have patience? It’s Richt’s 9th yr. at GA.

Ole Miss lossed Eli, thus a 4-7 yr.

Richt mandated Joe Cox, a 5th yr SR. who has played like a freshman, who I blame Mike Bobo.

Richt appointed Bobo, he’s responsible, thus blame Bobo on the awful Ga offense and the turnovers.

And what so bizzare about it all, is a large majority of the Bulldog Nation sit around and talk Willie M. job. Makes the Bulldog Nation look silly.

Mark Richt is in charge and this is a bad football team and don’t make excuses. It’s a trend and our tool box AD needs to call Richt out and tell him he expects something different fast next yr. Then Richt will realize his decisions are on notice. MR will have to deal with A. Murray having 1 game under his belt, traveling to Columbia next yr. It’s on you dude, it’s your decision, no one else.

I’m all for another yr. of Richt, but he’s coached at Ga for 9yrs. don’t compare it to D. Cutcliff and Ole Miss.

Hell, they stepped up and got the Nutter, who I’ve always said ironically could get the job done at Ga. He could stand up and beat Fl. and Tenn. in the same yr. and not waiver like Richt

jackie

November 24th, 2009
6:33 pm

fire the whole staff and then invite them and anybody else to apply for the jobs. this team is really talented but poorly coached.

jerry

November 24th, 2009
6:43 pm

In 9 years Richt has not had a team that deserved to be ranked #1. That is amazing considering the fact that he is considered to be one of the best in the country. I guess he has just had some bad luck. Hell, it’s just luck anyway, who you hire, recruit, etc.

jerry

November 24th, 2009
6:45 pm

P.S. But maybe it is not luck. Maybe he’s not that good? Naw, hell , no way.

jerry for president

November 24th, 2009
6:56 pm

by golly jerry is right. please give some proof why he is so good? get him to show you his rings.in 9 years he hasnt even scared the nc game. what makes him so good? i cant think of any other sec school that would have him.