Do the Dogs have to win for you to stay a fan?

Any time you start out 0-2 in conference play, you can expect unrest in the fan base.

Mark Richt seems to be looking the other way when it comes to Mike Bobo's handling of quarterback Aaron Murray. (Brand Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt seems to be looking the other way when it comes to Mike Bobo's handling of quarterback Aaron Murray. (Brand Sanderlin / AJC)

It’s been a rough couple of seasons in Athens, with a few highs and way too many lows. And the unhappiness with the mediocrity that the Dogs have exhibited of late has been exacerbated by the fact that Mark Richt had gotten off to such a great start in the first half of his tenure in Athens, with two SEC titles.

So it’s not surprising that most of the barking of late in the Bulldog Nation hasn’t been the kind the cheerleaders elicit.

But there are two sorts of college football fans: those who enjoy the ride on the bandwagon when everything’s going great, but are ready to jump off when it gets bumpy, and those die-hards who support their team even when they’re not happy with the way things are going.

A caller to Richt’s Monday night weekly radio show who apparently falls into the former category asked the coach to “sell” him on continuing to support Georgia’s football program.

Richt rightly demurred.

“The bottom line,” he told the caller, “is if you’re a true fan, in my opinion, you’re going to support your team no matter what. I don’t think you’re going to just love the boys when they win and hate on them when they lose, you know.”

I’m certainly not happy with the current state of the Georgia program. There’s lots of room for improvement.

But as a lifelong fan, whether it’s the mostly good times with Vince Dooley and Richt or the mostly painful times with Johnny Griffith, Ray Goff or Jim Donnan, I support the Dogs. I love it when they’re riding high, but I’m still invested in the program (literally, thanks to my season tickets) even when things aren’t going well.

I still think Richt is the right man to lead this program. Of course, that view might change at some point.

And as a fan I certainly reserve the right to criticize the problems I see, whether it’s the work of an assistant coach, players besmirching the university’s name with dumb decisions or the head coach who at times doesn’t seem to demand quite enough from his players or coaching staff.

But whether the Dogs are challenging the conference elite or struggling to keep from slipping into the perennial also-ran category, I’ll be there at Sanford Stadium, cheering them on and proudly wearing the red and black.

I grew up as a Dogs fan. I graduated from UGA.

They’re my team, no matter what. And nobody has to “sell” me on supporting them.

SPEAKING OF PROBLEMS …

I’m puzzled why Richt refuses to acknowledge (at least publicly) that Mike Bobo’s playcall on that third-and-4 sack Saturday was a bad one.

Talking about the play, Richt said, “I did watch the TV copy myself, and I know the commentators were saying … there was no outlet, there was no short route, that there ought to be. I don’t know what he saw, but there were actually two routes that were about a five- or six-yard depth and a couple of them that would be deeper routes.”

Maybe so, though you certainly can’t tell it from the replays. And obviously Aaron Murray didn’t see them, either.

As we’ve already discussed here, Bobo blamed Murray for holding on to the ball too long and blamed him for most of the six sacks the Razorbacks got. Richt did at least spread the blame around a bit more, saying, “It’s a combination of an offensive line issue, a running backs issue as pass protectors and quarterback issues. It was spread out across the board.”

He didn’t mention a “playcalling issue,” though. Whatever the problems with execution by the players, I’d feel a whole lot more encouraged about the direction of things if Richt was willing to concede that Bobo’s call in that situation at the very least did not maximize Murray’s chances of success.

Murray will learn and get better. But if his boss continues to give him a free ride, I’m not so sure about Bobo.

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404 comments Add your comment

Saint Simons

September 21st, 2010
11:20 am

((((((((31- 24 )))))) hahahahahahahahaha

lifelong DAWG

September 21st, 2010
11:24 am

I graduated from Georgia and will always be a Dawg. Not happy about what’s transpired this year or the slide into mediocrity. But I love the red and black. Interesting however in your article – mostly painful under Donnan? 40-19 was mostly painful? Wow – I thought my expectations were high…

TyroneDawg

September 21st, 2010
11:26 am

We could lose every game and I would still be a fan. That being said, South Carolina and Arkansas are probably the best teams we play all year. Things are definitely about to turn around. People are acting like we lost to KANSAS.

gomdawg

September 21st, 2010
11:26 am

I Love my Dawgs but its time do somthing every Sat. I havea party at my house to pull the Dawgs out 15 to 20 people we eat, drink and then it happen where is our coaches , players what the hell is going on , I dont like losing but I know you don’t win them all but when we lose the way we lose thanks what kills us my friends and I. The women know what going on on offense know that src.

Sam

September 21st, 2010
11:26 am

I wonder how many fans actually attended UGA. I did and will be a lifelong fan. Yes I want to see a conference championship on a regular basis, but the record will not keep me from watching and cheering. The only thing that would stop me is if the football program sinks to the lows of the Harrick football program. If Adams fired Richt and brought in someone of the Kiffin/Nutt ilk then I might turn off.

Hunker down

September 21st, 2010
11:28 am

I’m a die hard bulldawg fan and will be loyal no matter what. I have to be. I’ve got that dang G on almost everything I own.

DCJohn

September 21st, 2010
11:29 am

Winning has nothing to do with whether or not I rep my Georgia red. I went to many home games as a young man still in grade school, but once I went to my first game as a student, it was Georgia for life. Nothing can replace the feeling of walking past Sanford Stadium every day on the way to class waiting on the next home game. Not even an 0 and 12 season could make me think differently about my days at the University.

CSA

September 21st, 2010
11:29 am

If you’re unhappy about Georgia’s performance, than it’s completely warranted. As a dedicated fan, we should all be unhappy about the way this team has played and lost. The offensive line needs to perform better, and the receivers not named Green really need to step it up. And sure, Murray has made a few mistakes, but it’s up to the coaches to try and mitigate those, so the coaches really need to find it in them as well. But you’ve gotta look at the facts too… we’re transitioning to a new defense, and we’ve got burned a few times. That’s bound to happen, but when you look at it, we’ve done an incredible job of holding our opponents to less points scored per game than last year. We’re without our best player (although there’s much to be said about a team not revolved around one player, but don’t remind Florida about that.) This team has also played two of it’s most difficult opponents early on in the season. Fact of the matter is, Carolina and Arkansas have lived up to the pre-season hype. If you’re a fan, then support your team through thick and thin. If not, then please jump off the bandwagon.

senoiadawgs

September 21st, 2010
11:29 am

Love the dogs win or lose.

I am baffled as well as to why our coaches aren’t calling out each other but sure haven’t had a problem calling out players or group of players.

It’s very odd for coaches to lay the blame on the players and not take responsibility first.

gomdawg

September 21st, 2010
11:29 am

All I can say is why are we not reloading like other programs not rebuliding same coach 10 years.

Felix Millan

September 21st, 2010
11:30 am

I’ve had season tickets for 18 years, and have been a Dawg fan since ‘64,so I’ve seen alot. I’m tiring of “the boys are getting better”‘ blah blah blah. I’m tired of running backs who can’t block, tired of our offensive play calling. I cannot find a checkoff receiver in that clip, or in any of the clips they show Saturday.I will always love the Dawgs, but CMR and his staff are on my last nerve.

BlackshearDawg

September 21st, 2010
11:31 am

I love my Dawgs in the good and bad.

JT

September 21st, 2010
11:31 am

Donnan may have won 40 games, but he lost way too much to key rivals which I’m sure is what Bill is referencing and which is what ultimately got him canned. Outside of ‘97 there really wasn’t any kind of banner year under Donnan.

student

September 21st, 2010
11:32 am

I’ll be in the student section every game, but I can still see problems and I can only hope for change. Richt either needs to call plays himself or hire someone else who can. If not, Richt’s job is going to be on the line very soon. I just want a decent year before I have to graduate…these least 2 years have sucked.

guy

September 21st, 2010
11:34 am

nice blocking there by #2 in the video.

Pac10 Rules

September 21st, 2010
11:35 am

Pure entertainment seeing UGA “fans” soiling themselves over this loss.

dwayne

September 21st, 2010
11:35 am

Time for Richt to call plays and bring in Matt Foley to roam the sidelines.

Pac10 Rules

September 21st, 2010
11:35 am

guy:

it wasnt #2.

it was #3 which is washaun ealy.

Dale

September 21st, 2010
11:39 am

What I went to UGA in the 90s and feel the same level of excitement about this team as I did back then. Meh.

I just wish they could have played Murray last year. We would have gotten something out of 8-5.

uga_b

September 21st, 2010
11:41 am

My level of fanhood doesn’t change but my level of participation wanes a little bit when we have bad seasons. Probably don’t make the extra road trip or two.

guy

September 21st, 2010
11:42 am

gotcha. couldnt really see from the video. that was pretty terrible blocking though. no wonder everyone was calling him out.

i’d also like to point out that apparently tech fans are stupid for following a program that hasnt been in the upper echelon of college football for awhile, but it’s ok to be a dawg fan to be a fan even if they are 0-12 because they went to school there and that’s their team…

welcome to earth uga fans.

Otto

September 21st, 2010
11:42 am

I missed a handful of games under Goff and remained a fan, I am a fan now too. However you can be fan while hoping for change in the program. Continued procedure penalties must stop, and IMO talent especially on offense must be used better, the verdict on the new defense will take atleast a season to come in.

Amber

September 21st, 2010
11:42 am

Born in GA, and I have always been a DAWG fan and will always be a DAWG fan. Winning or stuggling, I am behind them!

Mtn Dawg

September 21st, 2010
11:43 am

I’m an Athenian and I will always support the Dawgs no matter what. My parents had season tickets back in the 60s thru 80s. Been to my share of games. Actually played on the field as a YMCA youth football player back during the days of Koburn Kelly (Remember Bill?) when the ‘Y’ was at the corner of Lumpkin and Broad where the hotel and parking lot now stand. The Y youth football used to always play before the games at Sanford Stadium. Yep. If you’re a real fan, once a Dawg always a Dawg. WOOF WOOF!!!!!

Rcky Mountain Bulldog

September 21st, 2010
11:43 am

Born a Bulldog: Will die a Bulldog.
I went to games even in the dark Ray Goff years.

Sweat Socks

September 21st, 2010
11:45 am

The coaches have to win in order to keep their jobs, or at least keep the program moving in the right direction. Over the past few seasons, Richt & Co. have not moved the program at UGA in the right direction.

My loyalty is to the University of Georgia, not Coach Richt and his staff. Coaches come and coaches go, but there will always be the University of Georgia. If your loyalty is to Coach Richt, follow him when he goes.

Dale

September 21st, 2010
11:45 am

Felix – my thoughts exactly. “They’re getting better.” Get them better in practices and scrimmages before the season!

When Ark got the ball back on Saturday, did anyone think they wouldn’t score? Did anyone really think Georgia would hold them? It wasn’t even a crushing ending, it was “yep, that’s my Bulldogs.” The Bad News Bears.

KornDawg

September 21st, 2010
11:46 am

Despite the fact that I did not attend UGA, and whether or not I am entitled to be a fan because of that, I will always support the Dawgs. Win or lose, I’ll still be cheering them on. The Athletic Department doesn’t seem to mind that I didn’t go to school there when they cash my donation check, so why should anyone else?

DSGB

September 21st, 2010
11:47 am

Will I be unhappy? Yes

Will I voice my opinion on changes that need to be made? Yes

Will I still be a fan? ***YES***

KM

September 21st, 2010
11:47 am

Graduate and Season Ticket Holder…….And I will always be a fan in good times and bad, but you get tired of watching a team commit the same mistakes (play calling) year after year. It’s frustrating.

wildbill

September 21st, 2010
11:47 am

I met my wife at UGA, our whole family are UGA grads. She was in the Dixie Redcoat Band. We love UGA. However, and here is where I get on my bandwagon:
1. Whatever happened to the code of conduct at UGA?
2. The athletic budget today dwarfs the budgets of old. Shouldn’t we get the best coaches available? I feel like we are paying out too much and getting too little.
3. The players look unprepared in a lot of situations they face, “what’s up with that?”
4. I expect the AD to step up to the plate, and we haven’t heard a peep. Is he just a figurehead with nothing to do or say? Get in the GAME MAN!

Chris

September 21st, 2010
11:49 am

We could lose every game we play, and I will still be a fan. However, I don’t have to be a fan of the coaches. Especially Bobo, and possibly Richt if things continue this way.

His total disregard for the obvious problems with his assistant coaches is nothing new. I believe it will be the downfall of his head coaching career.

I will always support the team, and what is best for the team, but Bobo is obviously not it. I’m not affraid to throw terrible coaches under the table.

SouthPawDawg

September 21st, 2010
11:50 am

Always been a loyal Dawg fan – good, bad or otherwise. That will never change. Time to Hunker Down and play some solid ball the rest of the way!

Dbalcer

September 21st, 2010
11:50 am

I am a fan and stay til the end of the games. The last couple of years the stands have been filled with spectators who only cheer when we win. I long for the days that the fans stood behind their team and gave them their energy. It was great to see the heart of this team in not giving up when obviously most of the fans were walking out in the 3rd quarter. We have a QB that doesn’t quit and a schedule that is getting easier. I see things looking up. I believe in Richt and know the rest of the season will get better. It hurts our program when recruits see the comments of fans about coaches. I do believe most of the really negative posts are by Tech fans posing as DAWGS.

Felix Millan

September 21st, 2010
11:50 am

I’m with you Korn Dawg, didn’t go to college there, but my money spends.When you have a receiver running free with no defender in site one time, it’s blown coverage. When it happens FOUR times, it’s coaching, or lack of.

LEM4

September 21st, 2010
11:50 am

I’m a native Athenian and graduate also so as far as I’m concerned there is no other team I could or want to pull for. That’s what being a fan is all about for better or for worse. I work with a lot of fairweather fans who gave me a hard time after the dogs recent losses and it still boggles my mind that they call themselves Georgia fans. I guess you find out who is a true fan during the low points.

HOUDAWG

September 21st, 2010
11:51 am

A real FAN …… STAYS a FAN ….. period.

Mtn Dawg

September 21st, 2010
11:54 am

AMEN HOUDAWG!

Abby

September 21st, 2010
11:55 am

WOW – I cannot imagine being the kind of person who abandons her team just because it’s not the best of seasons. I was Bulldog born and Bulldog bred, and if I made it through being a fan in the 90s, can handle anything. I’d just as well the fair weather fans find a new team to root for anyway. GO DAWGS!!

ATLBUZZ

September 21st, 2010
11:56 am

SEASONS OVER – PACK IT UP AND GO HOME.

SouthPawDawg

September 21st, 2010
11:57 am

Bandwagon Whiners Be Gone. Plus you Tech Dweebs posting from your Mommy’s basement.

Big Dawg

September 21st, 2010
12:00 pm

Bill, just wondering if you’d like to amend the article you wrote earlier this year about Richt not being on the hot seat?

Clay

September 21st, 2010
12:01 pm

I am not a Georgia fan, I am a Georgia grad–there is a difference. Most of the noise is created by the fans–and they are the ones who jump ship when things go badly.

I support my team week in and week out, period.

That being said, I am sick of the O-line not creating running room and giving up the sacks. It gets old watching our runners go down with first contact. Our defense is getting torched ona regular basis. I have never been one to believe that Richt could be on the hot seat; but, unless something wonderful happens these next few weeks, it may be time to make even more changes.

I also with AJ Green would be dismissed from the team. I know that will sound crazy; but, his actions have been very detrimental to the Univeristy of Georgia’s football program. Why should he be rewarded with 8 or 9 games to play and be a top pick in the NFL draft this off season? Let him sit and fall a couple of dozen spots in the draft. That will cost him millions in guaranteed money. Just ask that guy from Ok State last year.

Cuz

September 21st, 2010
12:01 pm

No doubt I will remain a fan. The late seventies when I attended UGA were full of games that were just comple embarrasments. And we had Erk and Vince then. I was disgusted with the 31-0 loss to Virginia at Homecoming. But I was back at the next game cheering on the Dawgs. I will have friends and family over this weekend cheering on the Dawgs versus Dogs. The coach does not have to sell me on being a fan.

piedmontdawg

September 21st, 2010
12:02 pm

Bill King:

What about that weak effort by Ealy there on that last play…I mean, come on! I could have beat that. The game was on the line and he was playing like we had a 30 point lead. What is it with our RB’s and WR’s and the dang blocking? They can’t do it…ever. I’ve never seen the Dawgs skill positions block well.

That might have been a bad call, but regardless, everyone has to do their jobs.

ATLBUZZ

September 21st, 2010
12:05 pm

BLA BLA BLA – CRY CRY CRY – WHERE IS THE GOOD OLD UGA PRIDE AT, 0-2 IN SEC? ‘HUNKER DOWN’ IS RIGHT – ‘HUNKER DOWN’ AND GET YOU A COACHING STAFF. BOBO IS A NO NO.

joseph

September 21st, 2010
12:05 pm

bobos problem is he did not have enough experience to get oc job when he got it, and he has been trained by rick.
should rick be fried i don’t know. but i believe if he is fired it will be the off field problems that get him fired,
say what you want to but something is wrong with the whole football program at uga, just look at the problems on and off the field.
some of the problems may not be cmr fault but they are his responsibility

Corbin J

September 21st, 2010
12:06 pm

10/29/2005 #4 UGA vs. #18 Florida 14-10 Loss
11/12/2005 #9 UGA vs. #17 Auburn 31-30 Loss

We still went on to win SEC Championship in 2005 despite these two huge losses. The next game is all that counts – Go Dawgs!

Dogfan

September 21st, 2010
12:07 pm

How can you tell from that clip if there are any underneath routes? The camera is focused in the backfield the whole time. Ealey’s missed block definitely stands out.
The DAWGS were number 2 in the nation in 2007! There will always be up & down years in college football. Florida was 8-5 the year before they won the National Championship. Bear Bryant & Vince Dooley went through 6-5 years. The way people are acting, you’d thing UGA is 1-10. How about cheering for your team, rather than railing against the coaching staff after every loss? UGA has a new QB and a new defensive scheme. Have some patience and support your team!

Big Dawg

September 21st, 2010
12:10 pm

I think we should clearly define what it means to ‘abandon a team’. Yes, if someone badmouths the team overall and says, “the season is over,” I would question their loyalty. But to point out patterns in coaching and playcalling deficiencies or an increase number of player arrests and place the blame on the coaches, who are PAID to be there and who are IN CHARGE of running the program, that is fair.

I don’t criticize the team as a whole, and I never will. But criticizing coaches DOES NOT mean criticizing the entire team. If Richt wants to lump criticism of HIM into criticizing the team, then he is HIDING BEHIND THE TEAM AND NOT OWNING UP TO HIS OWN CRITICS.