Is Herschel right about the key to winning in the SEC?

Herschel Walker is still on top. (MMA)

Herschel Walker is still on top. (MMA)

UGA legend and current MMA fighter Herschel Walker talked with the press while in Chattanooga for the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. While his comments dissing Lane Kiffin and praising Derek Dooley have drawn most of the attention, the quote from No. 34 that caught my eye was this one in the Times-Free Press in which he explained why he thinks the SEC is the ultimate college football conference:

“You can’t do the Run and Shoot or California offense in the SEC,” Walker said. “The SEC is about blocking and tackling and running the football. Line it up and go get it.”

And, you know, despite all the variations on the spread and some pretty gaudy passing numbers that have been showing up in recent seasons, I think Herschel is right on the money. As Bama showed last season with Mark Ingram, there’s nothing like a terrific tailback to elevate what otherwise would be just a good offense.

The Dogs certainly will be counting big-time on their running game this coming season, especially until Aaron Murray gets some games under his belt.

What do you think, is the running game still the key to winning in the SEC?

BRUTAL BUT HONEST … THE BEST APPROACH?

Here’s another quote that jumped out at me. After his Diamond Dogs flat-lined in a 25-5 loss to the Vols at Foley Field, UGA baseball coach David Perno pegged his team’s problem this season as a lack of pride.

“It obviously doesn’t affect our pride enough. Because we keep putting ourselves in these situations and that’s what’s frustrating. At some point, they’ve got to have a look at [the College World Series plaques] on this wall out here and realize what the standard is and what the expectations are. We’re not doing our part. Even if you can’t get some wins down the stretch here, at least you’ve got to learn how to play competitively and try to get some momentum for next year. We took a huge, huge step back today and it’s the first time I’ve been this disappointed and down on them.”

What do you think of a head coach talking about his team that way? Perno, who has a history of being a bit blunt, probably sees that approach as the only way to get his team fired up enough to at least compete. Even with all the talent the Dogs lost to MLB last year, the Dogs were expected to make a better showing than they have this year.

Still, if your own head coach has given up on you, are you likely to play harder? Tough situation.

CHALLENGING THE GATORS IN THE EAST

One last quote I liked. Asked in an ESPN.com chat who he believes will give Florida a run for the East this season, SEC blogger Chris Low picked Mark Richt’s Dogs.

“As we get closer to the season, I’m leaning more toward Georgia,” Low said. “I would have told you South Carolina a couple of months ago, but I’m not sure how the whole Spurrier/Garcia deal will play out. And with 10 offensive starters back, Georgia has a chance to be one of the most improved offensive teams in the league if redshirt freshman QB Aaron Murray can just be steady. I also think the defense will take on more of an attacking approach under Todd Grantham.

I don’t see anything to argue with there, do you?

150 comments Add your comment

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
1:40 pm

LOL, valid point.

But it’s been since Saban and Myer entered the SEC that it’s REALLY taken off. Since those two have started coaching SEC teams the conference has won five of the past seven. Before then the conf was still very darn good, i’ll give you. So i’m not trying to take too much away from Richt. I just disagree with delusional homers like Patrick.

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
1:41 pm

Five of the past seven national titles I mean, w/ Saban, Myer and Les Miles. While Richt hasn’t really come close to even appearing in one, despite what homers like Patrick will tell you.

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
2:03 pm

Darn, i’ve got to take my boys to tball practice. I was really hoping to have some fun egging on Patrick(sad that I enjoy it I know). Alas, I must go. I guess the guards at the “asylum” found him and took him back to his room. Maybe he’ll get computer time later tonight.

Remember kids, when he’s spouting off his stats of CMR’s tenure at UGA, always remember, statistics can lie and liars use statistics!

HanDAWG

May 11th, 2010
2:14 pm

http://www.bighairyblawg.com is the real truth…and Herschel is the greatest

DCJohn

May 11th, 2010
2:29 pm

What I’ve heard since I was born, and Herschel played at Georgia. To win in the SEC, you have to run the ball and stop the run.

Dorsey Hill

May 11th, 2010
3:15 pm

Guy,

The point Herschel makes is that finesse doesn’t work in the SEC anymore. It did work for a short period in the early 1990’s under SOS at Florida. The reason for that was a combination of Spurrier’s playcalling and the other SEC teams and staffs trying to play catch up with schemes and personnel. I remember vividly watching Georgia stay in a base defense vs. 3 WR sets and lining a OLB over a slot. I think we all remember how that worked out. After the 1995 thrashing by Nebraska SOS emphasized defense and running the ball the more and were a lot less of a finesse football team.

I have been as surprised as any that Meyer’s offense has worked in the SEC, but it really hasn’t been tested in the SEC with a “normal” qb. With Leak and Brantley, Meyer doesn’t run a pure spread. I think the verdict is still out on whether the spread is a viable offense in the SEC. Auburn and MSU are going to try to see if they can obtain success with pansy offenses. So we will see soon whether they will work or not.

BTW: I never understood why SEC teams in the 1990’s sought to emulate UF rather than Nebraska. After seeing Nebraska demolish Florida in every way, why teams decided to try to be like SOS rather than the team that beat UF half to death will always be a mystery to me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IMHO, had Erk been hired in 1989, bringing in Paul Johnson as OC, we’d all have long forgotten about Steve Spurrier.

Gillislee

May 11th, 2010
3:18 pm

“Gillislee
May 11th, 2010
1:16 pm”

Ha Ha, an imposter using my name…….no doubt a scared Dawg fan who has gone a little crazy over the past 20 years.

Katie

May 11th, 2010
3:20 pm

Come on Dawgs, I am a UGA freshman this year and I notice we haven’t beaten the Gators two times in a row since before I was born. Get with it, Go Dawgs!

Delbert D.

May 11th, 2010
3:21 pm

Jim Donnan was the skipper of that juggernaught. Did he retire, or what? He’s still alive, I hear him on the radio sometimes.

Delbert D.

May 11th, 2010
3:26 pm

A real skipper would have been in charge of a juggernaut. The other spelling would mean like, “zero jugger.”

Delbert D.

May 11th, 2010
3:30 pm

Gillislee – I looked for a pattern that would expose the perp that lifted your handle, but all I could find was the use of 2 periods at the end.

Top Dawg

May 11th, 2010
3:34 pm

I think Perno should be fired today, not after we go through another year like this next year, especially after he made those comments about the team. How hard will they play for him next year?

Will

May 11th, 2010
4:03 pm

SSHHHHHH! I wish Chris Lowe would keep in down a bit. I don’t want the secret out that we are absolutely loaded on offense and defense this year! I also want to keep our awesome new coaching staff who teaches fundamentals and proper technique on the down low as well. Fans will not get to see many wrinkles in game 1 but in Columbia SC, fans will be shocked by the actual team speed & aggressiveness this defense has. We will be coming from everywhere and I think we will blow out USC and be on our way to a 11-1 season.

guy

May 11th, 2010
4:09 pm

next year is totally the year…

DawgByte

May 11th, 2010
4:31 pm

Offensively, we’re more of a finesse team, because our OL is not comprised of 5 road graders and as good as our backs are, neither one is a Mark Ingram. Ealey may grow into an Ingram, but he’s not there yet.

Overall, I agree with Hershel. The power game with a splash of speed is hard to beat.

Scott

May 11th, 2010
4:34 pm

Richt is 40-3 when he gets a 100 yard rusher. UGA had 2 games in 2009 where that happened, and won both.

Fla and Bama run about 66% of the time, pass 34%. Georgia has been almost the reverse of that.

When you have Washaun Ealey back there, who’s getting 5.7 ypc, and when you consider how many interceptions Georgia keeps throwing year after year, it’s stunning why Georgia passes so much.

I agree, you cannot win the SEC passing the ball.

Scott

May 11th, 2010
4:38 pm

If you look back at the 12-1 and 13-0 teams, they both averaged @225 yards rushing a game, Georgia’s was way lower.

But over the last 3 games, Richt SEEMED to adjust, and got 247 a game, good for 5th in NCAA.

Bobo and Richt love to throw the ball, both are ex-QB’s, but passing leads to poor possession time, and higher risk of turnovers.

Scott

May 11th, 2010
4:41 pm

UGA ran for 377 against Tech and almost lost at the end of the game, so it’s not that simple, you have to be able to pass enough, like Alabama does, maybe 20 passes a game. You have to be good on defense.

MSU runs the ball better than anyone in the SEC lately, but went 5-7, so it isn’t that simple.

Bottom line, a run-heavy offense AND a good defense, gives you the best chance to win in the SEC.

AltamahaDawg

May 11th, 2010
4:50 pm

Scott, or a more simple answer would be that with an excellent O-line and trophy winners in the backfield, (we had neither) they were a lot BETTER at running the ball. I have a feeling that this sudden adjustment in the later part of the season had something to do with the fact that they could. Hell Washaun wasnt even physically ready to play till halfway through the year.

And you are absolutely wrong about the stats.Bama and FL ran just over 60% of the time, and UGA did so right around 56% last year. I’d say those attempts are even skewed a bit considering that FL had a runing QB, and thier long pitch out were considered rushing attempts while our short screen passes were not.

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
4:51 pm

You have to have a coaching staff that believes that they can win.

That believes they can win with the right players on the field.

That believes they have the playbook to do it.

Not one that believes they have the right uniform to win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

savannadawg

May 11th, 2010
5:00 pm

Damn, we used too run the damn ball down UF’s throwt every year, just like Bama did’m in the seccg. 2 bad we can’t runthe ball like that anymore. I like ealey and king but I feel they still need to turn it up a notch.

savannadawg

May 11th, 2010
5:08 pm

Does anyone know if CMR goes back in time looking at what has worked for team success and what has not? I ask this because either he has short term memory loss or he doesn’t care about the past. I don’t know but I think it would be my # 1 priority. Us dawg fans have to admit we have had fantastic talent at the school. We cannot put it together and it is frustrating as hell. I do believe that coach Grantham can see what coaches Meyer and Saban are trying to accomplish offensively better than CWM could ever dream of..

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
5:18 pm

Savannadawg

I would like to know did Richt coach the FSU offense when they played FL in the 90’s

Seems like he didn’t judging by what I have seen the last 9 years

Dawgonnit

May 11th, 2010
5:19 pm

Herschel had it right and so did Bama. Get physical, line up, and punch em in the mouth the way Bama punched Florida in the mouth in the seccg. We don’t have the 2 big physical backs that Bama has with Ingram and Richardson but now we know what the formula is to beat the gators and now we gotta go out and get the big power backs to get it done. Isiah Crowell are you listening?

yeah whatever!

May 11th, 2010
5:32 pm

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy

You are about as sharp as a bowling ball.

NCs you say? Let examine Fla’s record and circumstances that led to a NC and UGA record and circumstances that didnt.

BCS championships? Well thats interesting.

How legit can that be?

Not very

in 2002 UGA was 12-1 and had a SEC title.
in 2006 FLA was 12-1 and had a SEC title
UGA merely needed OSU to lose to get in
FLA needed USC and Mich to lose to get in…that 2 teams on the last week of the season that Fla NEEDED to lose and Fla had no control over either.
One happened the other didnt.

Name another single difference in the two teams.

AGAIN………..Fla needing TWO teams to lose their last game MERELY to BACK into a NC is not better than UGA NEEDING a SINGLE team to lose ANY GAME to get in. Face it chief
.
THAT IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE.

Now let us discuss beating Miami had OSU lost to any team they barely beat in 2002

OSU beat Miami and OSU barely squeaked by the likes of 6 losses Wisconsin by 5 points,
.
4 points over a lowly 6 losses Purdue,
.
needed overtime to beat freakin SEVEN losses Illinois
.
and beat a 3 losses Michigan (who barely beat a mid major UTAH by 3 points) 14-9 with a miracle touchdown with less than five minutes remaining.
.
Yeah Miami was real convincing on what they would have done to a 12-1 UGA when they could not beat OSU LOL
.
Once again, had Mich won its last game Fla wold not have played. Had USC won its last game Fla would not have played
.
Only OSU needed to lose for UGA to play and playing a team that lost to a pathetic OSU (see above) would NOT have beaten UGA. You know it…I know it…the world knows it.
.
So in recap:
.
a 12-1 SEC champ needng 2 teams to lose their last game is not better than a 12-1 champ needing only one to lose
.

That my misinformed friend is the only difference in Meyer and Richt as far as NCs go

now lets discuss Saban shall we?

Richt is 3-3 against Saban

Nick Saban went 6-5, 6-6, 6-6, 7-5 at Mich St.

He went 8-5 at LSU 2x

He went 7-6 at Alabama.

Saban has gone 5-3 or worse in conference 8 times.

Richt has only gone 5-3 or worse in conference 3 times in his first 9 years.

Compare that to Saban’s record and consistency in his 1st 9 years.

Richt has NEVER had a 7-6 or 6-6 season, Saban’s done it 5 times, including once at Alabama

Yep clearly Meyer and Saban is better than Richt…..LOL!!

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
5:37 pm

yeah whatever

Let me say this

Get a Saban or a Meyer type of coach at UGA with the talent we have and had the results would be phenomenal.

Again I hope Richt has a new found plan after learning that UGA has had enough of the Willie Martinez mentality

yeah whatever!

May 11th, 2010
5:42 pm

Richt has not come close Jimmy? Really Jimmy?

12-1 in 2002 and needing only one team (OSU) to lose is closer than 12-1 and needing 2 of 3 teams to lose (Miaim or USC or Mich) all of which were ahead of Fla in 2006.

Not only was Fla NOT IN CONTROL of their own destiny (same as UGA) but NEEDED 2 teams to lose where as UGA merely needed one to lose.

Actually at the end of 2002 UGA was in a better situtation to get in than Fla as UGA merely needed 1 team to lose its last game….Fla needed two teams to lose and both did (number 2 USC lost to unranked UCLA and unbeaten Mich lost to OSU)

Clearly UGA had a better statistical chance at getting a bid in 2002 than Fla in 2006 but Mich collapsed and USC completely came unglued against a team that could not beat them 9 out of ten times.

When you learn some football Jimmy…get back in touch.

yeah whatever!

May 11th, 2010
5:45 pm

Meyer needed circumstances out of his control on both NCs….2006 he needed Mich and USC to lose. In 2008 he needed USC to lose. Thats not to his credit no matter how you spin it. I will give you Saban has stood up to the plate after his first few years as HC in a FBS school. But his over all record does not match Richts. Richt needed only one break (Meyer got 3) to have a NC. It just didnt happen. PERIOD

yeah whatever!

May 11th, 2010
5:48 pm

Small Johnson…You simply cant see past the hyperbole of this mythical opinion based NC garbage. Richt has 90 wins in nine years and 2 SEC titles. Meyer has 97 but a majority of his came against mid majors as Utahs head coach

here is a fair comparison to Meyer and Richt (a bit dated as it does not count UGAs worse year 2009)

http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/756/meyer-vs-richt-a-closer-look

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
5:57 pm

yeah whatever

I don’t need to see anything

Bottom line Richt needs to learn to beat FL

He has not and what you fail to realize Meyer may have been given some luck with his NC’s but so has Richt with his SEC championships

Richt can thank luck or whoever too because had not FL lost out Richt would not have gotten to the SEC championship games (NONE OF THEM)!!!

Richt has had some luck too or as you say circumstances out of his control.

So again success begins with beating FL, until then I guess will continue to throw our pennies in the wishing well for the hope of true success or,

like you be satisfied with 10 win seasons that no one outside of UGA cares about anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!

GT Dog

May 11th, 2010
6:04 pm

As my ol’ coach used to tell us…there is one BIG secret to winning football games. Score more points than the other team.

That gets easier the better your defense is…lol

patrick

May 11th, 2010
6:55 pm

Small johnson or small mind? I have laid out the facts…either dispute them indivually (and you can’t) or accept them.

patrick

May 11th, 2010
6:56 pm

“Individually”

Jerry

May 11th, 2010
6:58 pm

Miss St. led the SEC in rushing at 224 a game.

they went 5-7.

so much for Herschel’s theory.

patrick

May 11th, 2010
7:00 pm

12 and 1 and a SEC title is no better or worse than 12 and 1 and a SEC title when both needed a team to to lose to get an invite to the BCSNC….MEYER did not make USC or Mich lose in 2006 now did he. That’s the only difference…PERIOD

O Time

May 11th, 2010
7:04 pm

Here’s the SEC & Natl Champ formula if you study what Florida & Bama did last year and how the SEC turnoed out in wins & losses:

Defense holds to under 16 pts a game
+7 to +16 turnover margin
+20 point scoring margin
run for 220 a game

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
7:07 pm

Patrick or should I say yeah whatever

Ive disputed the facts

And the fact is, you beat FL and you have opportunities to play the big games

I rather have a SEC title outright won than having to wait for someone else to lose out instead of beating them head to head you small minded dork!!!!!!!!!

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
7:09 pm

Oh

Patrick what happened to AL this past season and the previous season when it came to FL?

Jim

May 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

The only stat that matters, specifically for richt, is richt is 40-3 when richt gets a 100 yards rusher.

so Herschel is right.

I don’t know why georgia wins so many games when this happens, buy they do.

Dr. Phil

May 11th, 2010
7:32 pm

Patrick it’s ok to give “facts” as you call them, but really they are stats and stats are for ……….
Pat you need to go back on your lithium or your chihuaha will appear bigger than he actually is.

Patrick

May 11th, 2010
7:34 pm

Leave willie the chihuaha out of this, he is an only child and my only link to the Marine Corps I have left.

Delbert D.

May 11th, 2010
7:41 pm

patrick – Mind-numbing, but it makes for better reading than most stuff on these blogs.

Let’s see…last year Saban needed Alabama not to lose to Florida to get to the BCS game with Texas. Lucky for him, Florida did not upset Alabama, so Saban was able to get to the game with Texas. Then, he needed Texas not to beat Alabama, and they did not either. Lucky 2 times in a row, what are the odds on that.

Sorry, got to run. My wife called just 911 because she said I was looking crosseyed and slapping at my ears with my hands.

Katie

May 11th, 2010
8:04 pm

Good God…..Yeah Whatever is a total loser. Go Dawgs!

Scott

May 11th, 2010
8:40 pm

In 2009, there were 2 games where a Georgia running ran for over 100 yards. The winning % was 100% in those 2 games. In games where Georgia did not have a 100 yards rusher, the winning % dropped to 50%.

patrick

May 11th, 2010
8:46 pm

Saying u dispted something without actually doing it does not count

patrick

May 11th, 2010
8:49 pm

Delbert…saban had a hand in beating fla and texas……so u r saying meyer had something to do with USC and Mich losing? Talk abou totally skewing what was said.

patrick

May 11th, 2010
8:55 pm

Oh I see Delbert….Fla flew out to UCLA and changed uniforms with them and meyer coached them to victory over USC like saban ACTUALLY coaching ALA to victory over FLA and TEX…..I GET IT NOW….HOW STUPID OF ME. Here this whole time I was thinking saban had something to do with ALAs wins and Meyer had nothing to do with USC losing…thanks for setting me straight.

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
9:01 pm

Patrick

Its simple Saban has two Meyer has two

Richt has none and everyone knows that

Again people remember champions not 10 win seasons

patrick

May 11th, 2010
9:01 pm

Saban controlled his destiny to a NC since he was at the helm of the teams beating fla and tezx…….Meyer didn’t control his as he counted on USC or MICH losing since he had no control over them losing.

patrick

May 11th, 2010
9:04 pm

Small johnson….and as explained in detail….meyer did no more or less than richt….needing someone elses help to get in