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

AltamahaDawg

May 11th, 2010
9:06 pm

Yes Scott, nobody disputes that Georgia is a better team on the days that they play better. But I can assure you the success of the running game is not solely resting on how much the coaches aren’t “in love” with passing the ball randomly during the season. Richt offense has alway been run first and then pass. Thats what it is. By definition. The title of the playbook is Run First Then Pass, aka Playaction. There is a picture on the cover of a guy doing that . There is a poem by unknown author on the back cover called “First we run, then venture to pass…..”

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
9:23 pm

Patrick

Just tell Richt to beat FL and I will shut up. Its that simple

I don’t care about 10 win seasons against mediocre opponents or circumstances landing us in the Outback Bowl!

patrick

May 11th, 2010
9:37 pm

Simply put

12 and 1 and a SEC title and needing a team to lose on last week of season is no better than 12 and. 1 and a SEC title needing a team to lose on the last week of the season….richt and meyer needed it. No difference

Small Johnson

May 11th, 2010
9:40 pm

Patrick

You still miss the point (WHO WAS THAT ONE LOSS TOO) FLORIDA, FLORIDA, FLORIDA,

BEAT FL

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
9:42 pm

You can’t argue against someone who is delusional about their team. Hey Patrick, what is the color of the sky in your world??? In mine, you know this thing we call REALITY, it’s blue.

In reality, Florida has a better program than UGA because they are 17 – 3 against them over the past twenty years and have three national championships to ZERO for UGA.

Good God boy, only losers make excuses as to why their programs simply don’t get the job done, year after year after year.

Beat Florida, then talk. Until then, shutup!

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
9:43 pm

And believe it or not, i’m not even a Florida homer. I’m just someone who respects greatness. Even if Myer is a total jack a$$.

patrick

May 11th, 2010
9:48 pm

In reality both were 12 and 1 and bothneded a team (fla needed two) to lose. That’s the only difference

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
9:56 pm

…and if a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump it’s arse. Who cares. Bottom line is both Myer and Saban have two NC’s each, and Richt hasn’t even played in a NC game.

I’m sitting here watching a rerun of the “A-Team.” This show was popular the last time the UGA football program won a championship. Hilarious.

yeah whatever!

May 11th, 2010
10:07 pm

Again………UGA was 12-1 and needed OSU to lose
.
Fla was 12-1 and needed USC and Mich to lose.

that is the only difference between Richt and Meyer as far as BCSNCs go.

Meyer didnt make Mich lose…Meyer didnt make USC lose

PERIOD

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
10:08 pm

In all seriousness, if UGA can get past SC in the second game, it sets up for a great season. If they are to win the SEC East this is the year to do it.

Florida will be great again, but they’ll come into the game in Jville w/ one loss(to Bammer). If the Dogs can pull it out and get to the SECCG against Bammer undefeated or maybe one loss(Aubarn or Tech?) they will finally have a legit shot at a NC. Then i’ll put Richt in the same stratosphere w/ Myer and Saban.

It will be a great year though. I’m just a big SEC guy in particular, even though I don’t have a favorite team. Hell i’m from Texas.

yeah whatever!

May 11th, 2010
10:11 pm

2002…UGA SEC title at 12-1 and needing OSU to lose to get in.

2006 …FLA SEC title at 12-1 and needing USC AND Mich to lose to get in

Neither controlled what happened next. Meyer is no better because USC and Mich lost than Richt merely because OSU didnt lose.

PERIOD

yeah whatever!

May 11th, 2010
10:14 pm

Small Jonhnson

In 2002 even if UGA beat Fla OSU still needed to lose as OSU WAS AHEAD OF UGA in the polls and after the Fla game OSU played top ten Penn State and another top 25 team while UGA didnt play a single top 25 team the remainder of the game….THE UGA/FLA game had no bearing on UGA getting in or staying out in 2002. OSU still needed to lose based on poll position and SOS the remainder of the season.

LEARN some football history and get back to me.

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
10:22 pm

Patrick,

All of your facts are correct. You are forgetting one important factor, my dimwitted friend- once Florida got into the NC game, they won! So a Richt coached team can’t beat a Myer or Saban coached team(for the mostpart-I know they are one and one against Saban’s Bammer team) and you still say he’s a better coach??

C’mon man, youre grasping now. Just concede and call it a night. Get your ritalin from the nurse, let them tie you up to your bed, get a good nights rest, and we’ll have some more fun tomorrow.

Deal my little delusional buddy??

patrick

May 11th, 2010
10:47 pm

and UGA would not have beaten MIAMI? Puhleesee

You base ur idea that Meyer is better because UCLA beat USC? COME ON MAN. Get real.

patrick

May 11th, 2010
10:49 pm

Richt can’t beat a saban coached team?….he is 3 and 3 against him

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
10:53 pm

My last comment didn’t make it through so this is a test.

Jimmy

May 11th, 2010
10:55 pm

Freaking AJC didn’t post my previous post!

So Patrick,

My believe that Saban and Myer are better coaches than Richt is something we call the “look test.” Can you HONESTLY say that over the past few years that UGA is a better coached team than Florida and Bammer?? I mean how many thirty point games can UGA allow before you start to get PO’d at Richt and his staff??

In the meantime Florida and Bammer both continue to look like disciplined well oiled machines who DOMINATE their opponents.

So you use your stats. I’ll use common sense.

Bill King is a..............

May 11th, 2010
11:09 pm

Bill,

Is this the best you could come up with to blog about?? Geez…..what kind of assinine question is that? you are a complete tard. and i was starting to let up on you a little bit.

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

May 11th, 2010
11:12 pm

Factrick! Keep sending those “facts”. They look sweet in the trpohy case over there in Athens!! Rigth next to the (ladies) Gym Dawgs trophies.

Hutson Mason

May 11th, 2010
11:36 pm

Enter your comments here

Hutson Mason

May 11th, 2010
11:39 pm

What Herschel meant to say to win in the SEC you find a great athlete buy him a TRANS AM among other things and ride his coat tails. Where is my TRANS AM?? BABY!!!!

Snoopy

May 11th, 2010
11:39 pm

Believe you me, Herschel knows SEC football and how to win in the SEC. He said you win in the SEC by blocking, tackling, and running the ball.

BLOCKING:
The run blocking was absolutely horrendous. When you have a great set of running backS and they arn’t productive, UGA’s getting beat in the trenches. When your qb is getting people in his face so much that he throws 15 int’s, a lot of that’s on the protection of the o-line. these guys need to step it up.

Tackling:
The long plays UGA’s defense have yielded were dumbfounding. Yards after contact was atrocious. The amount of yards and points yielded by the defense is absurd. I think a lot of it comes from poor reads—the better you read the D, the better position you’ll be in to make the tackle. We also need to see more tackles for loss.

Rushing ATTACK:
First, you gotta call more running plays, UGA’s one of the lowest in the NCAA there. You’ve got to live and die with your running game–if the backs can’t do it alone, pull a Percy Harvin and get an assist from somebody else. If the blocking is fundamentally sound, and the qb’s make the right audibles, and the rb’s make the right reads, the yards will be there. My guess is the QB has been failing in the checkdown to make the right call. Too many times we saw a checkdown, and then a stonewall 2 yard loss running play. The qb’s don’t look prepared. O-Line needs more cross-training, so if injuries hit, UGA’s ready. The rb’s need to improve in yards after contact, like Alabama emphasizes. Ingram got over 50% of his yards, AFTER contact. The qb needs to pass well enough to keep 8 out of the box.

North Avenue Pimp

May 11th, 2010
11:43 pm

If GaTech was in the SEC we would be competing for the Championship every year! You can’t get much more powerful than the triple option! The SEC is no where near as strong as the ACC and it is a myth that the SEC is the best conference! THWG!

AltamahaDawg

May 11th, 2010
11:53 pm

Jimmy, I think the issue patrick took with you is that you claim Richt “hasnt even come close” to getting to a NC game, which is completeely false as he points out. He came exactly as close (twice)as most coaches come, including Meyer to getting into one. The rest was out of thier hands. As far as winning them, as you point out, Richt didnt coach in the NC game so that comparison is worthless. Head to head, sure (but that was not the point you were making then).

UK THOROUGHBRED

May 11th, 2010
11:57 pm

UGA might want to first just worry about beating UK this year.

North Avenue Pimp

May 12th, 2010
12:02 am

UK THOROUGHBRED: UGA losing to Kentucky was a fluke! UK is one of the most irrelevant college football programs in the country and the second best team in your state. UGA should however, worry about betting GT!

North Avenue Pimp

May 12th, 2010
12:06 am

I love everything about GT! We have so many hot, smart, middle eastern and asian boy toys to chose from. It is a gay mans paradise and unlike UGA we don’t have all of those blonde bimbos to distract us from our studies!

UGA Alumn

May 12th, 2010
12:08 am

You know what you call a hot girl at Georgia Tech?……….A myth!

AltamahaDawg

May 12th, 2010
12:16 am

Snoopy, I was with till you declared that UGA was one of the lowest rushing attempt team in the NCAA. You do realize that not ever remotely true, right?

UGA ran the ball 56% of the time last year which might the lowest % in the Mark Richt era. In case anybody forgets, we started the year with yet again a patched up o-line and a Linebacker as the starting tailback. Florida ran the ball 4% of the time more.

I’d say it was execution, not attempts, that was the problem.

You just said the run-blocking was horrible (which I agree) but followed up with the yards should have been there somehow if the blocking was sound.

I don’t think its really as simple as put a Percy Harvin back there either. Percy Harvin still had 2 years of an outstanding and mature O-line.

AltamahaDawg

May 12th, 2010
12:27 am

To correct myself, 56% is a bit higher than 2008, (when I have always thought our inability to run the ball in short yardage was overlooked in favor of more trendy complaints). But 56% rushing attempt is in line with the rest of the year, and right up there with the other SEC teams on average.

AltamahaDawg

May 12th, 2010
12:29 am

…in line with the rest of the year(s), the other years under CMR

BuLLdawg

May 12th, 2010
3:05 am

If you are not any good, why in the hell would you want to defend that and say that you in fact are ?

yeah whatever!

May 12th, 2010
5:35 am

Jimmy…….Richt is 3-1 against BAMMER (as you call them) so yes his team is obviously better coached

yeah whatever!

May 12th, 2010
5:40 am

BuLLdawg…………..12-1 and a SEC title is bad?

2 SEC titles in 9 years (same as Fla) is bad?

90 wins (second only to LSU at 91) in 9 years is bad?

7-2 in bowl games (no one in the SEC has been better) is bad?

finishing top ten 6 times in last 9 years (twice as many as Fla and 3 times as many as ALA) is bad?

Well what the hell do you consider good?

yeah whatever!

May 12th, 2010
5:41 am

AltamahaDawg

May 12th, 2010
7:15 am

That’s an easy answer. Mettenberger.

FBR

May 12th, 2010
8:13 am

Bill— Time and time again over the years it has been shown that these three things win in the SEC—1-Good special teams play–2–A good running game–3–A dominating defense–you can talk all you want to about all the other facets, but these are what wins ballgames in the SEC.

JB

May 12th, 2010
8:28 am

You control the clock with a good running game, thus you control the entire tempo of the game. Ask Tech last year as that great offense of theirs sat on the bench and watched us and they ” stoved up” I really like just to sit and watch that game again. The expression on Johnson’s face is priceless.

fishtales

May 12th, 2010
8:43 am

yeah whatever – You’re right, Richt is a far batter coach than Saban. You guys need to do whatever you can to hang onto him for the next ten years. Lock him down…pay him whatever he wants…get him all the Toucan Tan memberships you can. Meanwhile, while you’re crunching every stat you can to convince yourself Richt is better, we’ll be in Tuscaloosa quietly adding crystal footballs to the trophy case.

Fillin' up @ Juniors

May 12th, 2010
9:59 am

There is nothing “new” in football strategy, everything we are doing today is in essence something that has been done and retooled. There are counter strategies to every offense strategy accept one. Blocking and running. Block superior and run superior and simply put, there is nothing, absolutly nothing that can be done to stop you. Its simple math, 11 on 11, if your running back only needs to worry about breaking 1-2 tackles to spring a big run, you both control the clock, the tempo, you keep the other offense off the field, you limit turnovers, and you have the ability to spring a big play every play. Styles will come and go and come again, but blocking and running will ALWAYS be king over the long haul. H-Walker is right on.

Gatorbait 17-3

May 12th, 2010
10:37 am

I guess Walker has missed the last 20 years, where the Gators have blasted the dawgs
with Spurrier’s “Fun and Gun” and Urban Meyer’s spread. I think durning that period the Gators have won three National Championships and its about 30 years since the dawgs
have won the crystal football.

Bride of Chucky Knapp

May 12th, 2010
11:23 am

Run the ball! It’s not heavy.

Mike

May 12th, 2010
11:29 am

I got a question – how many strength and conditioning coaches/assistants does Georgia have? Jimbo Fisher at FSU has 7 and he is planning to hire 2 more. Georgia was outclassed last year by more physical teams. I’ll say again, Georgia has 2 specific requirements this year – beat Florida AND play for the conference championship in December.

Crazy like a Fox

May 12th, 2010
12:28 pm

Just tired of amateurs such as Jimmy saying Mark Richt hasn’t been close to playing for the Championship. I would say in 2007n when it came down to LSU or GA that’s pretty close. GA ended up #2. Pretty close but maybe not for Jimmy. Ended up #3 in 2002 still seems close.

GaDawg

May 12th, 2010
2:23 pm

LIKE HERSCHEL SAID:

RRRRRRRUUUUUUNNNN The DAWG GAWN BALL,
AN’ PLAY “JUNKYARD DAWG” – “HUNKER DOWN” – DEFENSE!!!!

James T. Kirk

May 13th, 2010
8:36 am

Winning the SEC is like being the fastest turtle. Everyone knows the SEC is overrated and so yesterday. They have been exposed and will continue being exposed. Book it.

Key is a new attitude

May 13th, 2010
8:46 am

Whether running a business, a house framing crew, or a sales organization, manufacturing company, or a football team, POSITIVE attitude is the key. With now departed D coaches and the guys that left for the NFL, I do hope that that “missing” ingredient returns to UGA. No, I am not blaming the kids that just left ………… all were at fault over several years in this one, simple assessment.

Too often, after a big play for UGA, we would simply continue to high five and dance ( mentally and overtly) and then see it spin through our fingers ………..see LSU in 2009 and tech in 2008.

If the GATA attitude returns with some swagger ( not late hits or cheap shots) and we also display a smartness about our play, UGA will be fine.

Aaron Murray can well manage the running attack and accent it with short, roll out stuff, we should be fine. My worry is that Mike Bobo loves the homerun ball. That has historically put UGA behind the 8 ball on key drives. Hit or miss or drops. like the easy TD pass in middle of Tech 2009, when Cox hit Woooten fill stride n his hands. THAT DROP was more important than Thomas’ was with seconds left in the game.

D will be THE KEY to the 2010 team and how and where we end up.

Go Dogs.

guy

May 13th, 2010
3:48 pm

patrick, you forgot about florida in 2008, where they earned the right to play in the NC game by beating #1 bama, and then beating #1 ok in the title game. no backing in there. and that was the third of florida’s titles since uga’s won one. id point out how uga backed into the 1980 title game, but i wasn’t alive then and dont remember. as has been said, its tough to say youre as good as a team that has beaten you 85% of the time in the past two decades. beat florida, and then you can talk. its like tech fans claiming that tech is as good as uga over the past decade. at least most of the uga/tech games have been close…

James T. Kirk

May 14th, 2010
7:51 am

There you go. Listen to the most overrated player in foot ball history. That will get you somewhere.

oconeedawg

May 18th, 2010
5:39 pm

It’s not the offense that’s been a problem that last few years. Improvement should be forthcoming, after the players learn to play the new ‘D’ at game speed, probably two or three games in.
The way Perno jerks the partial scholly’s away from players after they make mistakes, and makes them earn them back, I’m surprised he has any recruits from the state of Ga.
Good coach, needs work on his people skills.