Take away A.J. Green and you have a team that’s good only at finding a way to lose

Blair Walsh is getting the call way too many times inside the red zone. (Associated Press)

Blair Walsh is getting the call way too many times inside the red zone. (Associated Press)

The past few weeks amid all the plugs for the Hilltop Grille in Athens on the Georgia football radio network’s “Bulldog Brunch” Kevin Butler has been lamenting that this year’s Dogs, specifically the offense, have yet to find their identity.

Unfortunately, I think he’s wrong. They have found their identity; it’s just not one that the Bulldog Nation wants to acknowledge:

This is a team that in the face of impending victory will find a way to lose.

It used to be if a Mark Richt team was within a score of the lead and got the ball back with 3-plus minutes on the clock, everyone (including opponents) had a fairly certain feeling the Dogs would prevail.

This year, they get the opportunity to win a game and you find yourself sitting there thinking, “How are they going to screw this up?”

I hate that.

Where once there was hope, now there’s mostly resignation. And the way they’ve been playing, you’ve got to wonder if that doesn’t apply to the players as well as the fans.

Sorry, the residual supply of optimism that has always fueled my Bulldog fandom is running a bit low right now. Chances are by midweek I’ll have talked myself into thinking Georgia stands a good chance of beating Tennessee Saturday and getting back on track.

But the reality is that even if they do get back on track, at this point about the best we can expect is a mediocre season.

At a birthday brunch Sunday (coincidentally at that same Hilltop Grille) I asked the assembled family members for revised season record predictions. The consensus was Georgia probably is looking at a losing record or, under the most optimistic scenario even remotely based in reality, a 6-6 record and qualifying for a bottom-feeder bowl. And we’re all die-hard fans. It’s gotten that bad.

Watching the game against Colorado again on video Sunday morning, I could see some slivers of justification for thinking the Dogs still can turn things around (all of which involve A.J. Green and Aaron Murray), but much more evidence that this is a team that just plain doesn’t know how to win, from the coaches on down.

A few random observations in that regard …

What sort of muddle-headed pregame planning possibly could have resulted in the way Mike Bobo opened up the game offensively? Starting Carlton Thomas, our smallest back, and insisting on trying mostly in vain to run him up the middle? Not immediately getting the ball into the hands of Green, your best player? The result: An appalling 15 yards of offense in the first 15 minutes.

Even Richt seemed to be wondering what was up with that when he said at halftime, “I don’t know what took us so long to get him the ball.”

For the evening, on the first-quarter possessions when Green didn’t touch the ball and the third-quarter series when he wasn’t in, the Dogs accumulated minus-5 yards and one first down. Never in my memory has a Georgia offense seemed so dependent on one player. …

And what is it with Bobo and the red zone? First-and-goal at the 4 and having to settle for a field goal would be bad enough if this were the first time we’d seen that sort of offensive impotence. But it’s become Bobo’s trademark. I don’t know if Richt taking over the playcalling would make any difference, but something’s got to be done. …

Every week, one defensive player seems to be positioned as the sacrificial goat for brainless play. Saturday, it was Vance Cuff, who got burned badly on a 48-yard Colorado pass and then, when they had seemingly settled for 3 points, got called for roughing the kicker on his third personal foul penalty of the night and gave the Buffaloes another shot at the end zone, resulting in a touchdown and the eventual winning margin.

But, really, it’s time blame for the Dogs’ defensive woes was assigned higher up. Stupid mistakes like Cuff made happen in a game, but too many of the flaws in Georgia’s defense appear to be the result of insufficient coaching and preparation. Todd Grantham is getting paid big bucks to fix what Willie Martinez wrought, and yet we’ve seen practically no improvement over the past four weeks. Each week, the opposing offenses offer up some basic play that the Dogs act like they’ve never seen before. And stopping third- and fourth-down conversions appears to be a foreign concept to the folks in the defensive meeting room. …

It’s been a long time since the outlook for a Georgia team was this dismal.

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561 comments Add your comment

Dick

October 3rd, 2010
6:11 pm

You can vent all you want to but CMR will not make any coaching changes. He feels he should be nice enough to allow the coaching staff have the opportunity to turn this program around. I personally think we need to have a total house cleaning. If Bobo calls the run up the middle he should have to run two laps for everytime he calls that play.

Greg

October 3rd, 2010
6:12 pm

OK, UGA Haters, blog away!!! Try to say bad stuff about Bobo—who scored almost 30, put up 400 yards. Have fun, nobody’s listening.

Lou

October 3rd, 2010
6:13 pm

Could be worse, we could have lost like Florida, 31-6.

Dawg Fan #1

October 3rd, 2010
6:13 pm

How bout them DAWGS!!!!!!! Woof Woof Woof Woof Woof Woof Woof!!!! 1-4!!!!!!!!

Dick

October 3rd, 2010
6:14 pm

Hey Truth Hurts . Now, now. You are not telling the truth about Thomasville. I also do busines there and live in Thomas county. Citizens of thomasville all have a champagne taste but a “BoomsFarm Wine” pocket book. They are the most arrogant, egotistical, self centered, better than you, plantation owner wan-ta-bes.

Dogg Fan

October 3rd, 2010
6:15 pm

UT cannot count-see the end of the UT-LSU game. We could probably play 13 on defense next week and they would not even know it. Maybe we will win then!

Dogg Fan

October 3rd, 2010
6:23 pm

You only have to be able to count to 10 to gain admission to UT.

Donnie Darko

October 3rd, 2010
6:25 pm

No, I’m a different person, Anonymous, and dont post as anyone else. Now ya’ll are downright paranoid.

Hoss

October 3rd, 2010
6:26 pm

Richt’s finished in the top 3, 2x, and had 6, top 10 finishes. That’s all that counts, consistently, nobody in the SEC has done better this decade.

Richt also has 4 top 10 finishes, in a row, Saban or Meyer have both never accomplished this feat.

[...] Fact of the matter is, however, that we ARE where they said we would be. I’m not saying they predicted AJ’s suspension or any of the weak spots we now see, but the fact is that the sky really is falling. Now, the comments over there that seem the most random and over-the-top are the ones that are predicting we go 9-3 and win the SEC East. It’s strange to believe that there are people out there that really believe that. (i.e. here.) [...]

dagnabit

October 3rd, 2010
6:27 pm

HAY! Didn’t you used to be Mark Richt?

dagnabit

October 3rd, 2010
6:28 pm

Do the puppies miss Martinez now?

Dooley the Vol

October 3rd, 2010
6:29 pm

the Vols will finish the drill and get Pastor Richt fired, enjoy the cellar with the Dores, by the way Vandy has a quality win. Dawgs suck, the fan base is dilusional and the future looks bad..

R2chs

October 3rd, 2010
6:30 pm

I think Anonymous blogger is a plant, the writing style and tone don’t read like a fan, they read like spin. The coaching is a problem that the vast majority of fans on all UGA football columns and blogs are writing about. Why? Because it is obvious. Spinning statistics doesn’t change the outcome or the trends of the last few years or this years record. The core problem is failing to accept that their strategy isn’t working and having the courage to change it.

dagnabit

October 3rd, 2010
6:30 pm

Could the Georgia defensive line please find the ball carrier.

UGAG is gitting the ncaa death penalty, he he ha ha

October 3rd, 2010
6:31 pm

To Hell, To Hell, To Hell with Georgia!!!

dagnabit

October 3rd, 2010
6:32 pm

R2chs reads like a loser. Probably a bulldawg whiner.

THIS IS A.D.MCGARITY & RICHT IM WATCHIN U!

October 3rd, 2010
6:34 pm

PLEASE REDNECKS STOP BEING EVIL,AND THE KARMA WILL STOP!

Dogg Fan

October 3rd, 2010
6:36 pm

We can always look forward to basketball season.

Rosezeee

October 3rd, 2010
6:37 pm

This is Georgia Football – - start it at the 55 second mark!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yDMEX57Lyc&feature=related

lolwut?

October 3rd, 2010
6:37 pm

@ Hoss
“Richt’s finished in the top 3, 2x, and had 6, top 10 finishes. That’s all that counts, consistently, nobody in the SEC has done better this decade. Richt also has 4 top 10 finishes, in a row, Saban or Meyer have both never accomplished this feat.”

Saban and Meyer have accomplished something that Richt has never done as well. They both won national championships. Twice! Seems better to me than a top 10 finish. Just sayin’.

Have fun with your top 10 finishes! Do they make trophy’s for that sort of thing in Athens?

City Slicker

October 3rd, 2010
6:38 pm

Look – Georgia probably will not beat Tennessee next Saturday. We’ll then proceed from 1-5. But this is not Coach Richt’s fault. Talent level was mis-appraised by the press. It is what it is, and every school has to have a bad season now and then. The only question is,
will the fans be grown-ups about it, or be crybabies?

bbcsickdawg

October 3rd, 2010
6:38 pm

too young worse next year

Lou

October 3rd, 2010
6:38 pm

I thought Georgia’s OC was bad until I saw Florida Addazio’s team this year. This guy really has no clue how to coach offense. Got shalacked 31 to 6. Brantley’s a disaster. it could be a lot worse, Georgia could be stuck with Addazio.

SSIGator

October 3rd, 2010
6:39 pm

DAMN! That Tide ROLLED!!!!

Alabama Jack

October 3rd, 2010
6:39 pm

To all you dawgs comparing your defense to that of Alabama, here is a stat -

5-0 and number 1 versus 1-4 and not even sniffing any votes.

Prediction

October 3rd, 2010
6:40 pm

I told y’all what would happen on Thursday. Man, i should get paid to do this.

Lou

October 3rd, 2010
6:41 pm

Bobo outta get some kind of award, I mean, Brantley’s passing attack is getting about 125 yards a game, this is a 3 year player, where Georgia’s passing attack is getting 225 a game, with a freshman QB. Unreal. Bobo’s the man!

dawgster

October 3rd, 2010
6:41 pm

You know Anonymous Blogger…he may not be that far off base in his assessment…do i think we will have the record that he says is possible when the season ends, i guess anything is possible, and whats wrong with believing…Everyone on here seems to have all the answers and most of them involve dumping the coaching staff…last few years the scapegoat has beem WM…well Coach Richt replaced him and other assistants…Just how long does the bulldawg nation give Coach Grantham to get the right personnel for the 3-4..one season…is that really fair…Ok say we get a new coach..who is that savior…is it Smart, Muschamp, Peterson…Why are we so sure they would take the job..Peterson i know has had other opportunities that he has passed on…Muschamp has the title of coach in waiting at Texas..lets see that leaves Smart…maybe he is the savior…If we should get any of these guys or someone else are they going to be able to best Saban or Meyer?…I think Coach Richt deserves at least one more season to get things turned around..why, because new defensive scheme will have one more year under the belt…our QB will be a seasoned Sophmore and some hopefully we will have some freshman and RSfreshman step up…We do have a great recruiting class lined up although our record may affect some of their decisions, but they should see that there are plenty of opportunities for playing time early…I know we lose a few off the O-line, but at this point that doesn’t seem to be critical losses…Yes, this sounds like alot of wishful thinking and perhaps it is, but Coach Richt brought this program back to some respectability, or did everyone forget…i hear people on here say well he had Coach Donnan’s players, who by the way, i thought was let go too soon, but he had a hard time beating our arch rival tech…so what does Coach Richt do…he is 8-1 at this point against tech..he has beaten Auburn on a consistant basis…No he hasn’t done well against the gators, but then who has other than Bama…This team lacks what any good football team needs and that is Senior Leadership…i don’t see that and haven’t seen that the last couple of seasons…When that happens, you will see the team gel..folks its not all on the coaches, the players have to make plays…If you are truly honest about the assessment of this team, then look at the opportunities that have been there for players to make a play and then we are 4-1 or 5-0..The bottom line is the other teams made plays and we didn’t and thats why we are 1-4…I will add one more item to this..I see VanGorder’s name listed on here as a possible head coach..and while i think he is a very good DC…he didn’t fare to well at GA Southern…was it because he forgot how to coach, no i don’t think so…Coach Richt has not forgotten how to coach, and no i don’t have all the answers as so many on here do, but Coach Richt deserves at least one more season to get the program back up…i think with the way he has handled hisself as a person and representative of UGA, and for where he brought us back to…he deserves another shot…go dawgs

Rosezeee

October 3rd, 2010
6:42 pm

Unfortunately, this is Georgia football – – total lack of discipline, arrests, penalties, turnovers, sloppy play, bad decisions like going for it on fourth and one on your own 25 yard line in the second quarter when your down by 7 points (remember arkansas). Until someone at the top brings in a top coach, this is what it is. Any wonder why the first three DCs offered the job last year turned it down?

Just look at the difference between the Shula and Saban eras at Bama.

BLOW IT UP AND OVER!

Alabama Jack

October 3rd, 2010
6:42 pm

Hey, truth hurts, the truth is people in Thomasville have a well developed bs meter which goes off every time you enter Thomas County.

Mark Richt

October 3rd, 2010
6:43 pm

Greetings from the pool. Everyone needs to just calm down and take a deep breath. All is well as long s you think all is well. The practice schedule for this week is as follows: Pool on Monday, bowling on Tuesday, movie with Munson on Wednesday, and we’ll go Thud on Thursday. Friday, the boys will be locked in and ready to go on Saturday. God bless.

Boise State Homerun

October 3rd, 2010
6:45 pm

Hey

Bama Jack Trailer park trash

Whats going to be funny is watching a 1 loss Alabama team playing a Utah or TCU cupcake in the Sugar bowl while

Undefeated Oregon, Ohio state, and Boise are going to get a shot to play for all the marbles

Go Boise

Palmetto State Dawg

October 3rd, 2010
6:47 pm

This defense is worse than last year’s…if that is even possible. Whatever it is we’re running…3-4, 4-3 is not working. I have never seen a team give up a TD on the opening drive this many games in a row. GEEZ! All summer I read how the D was ready to “ooooh and ahh” people. How GA’s D “is back”. More turnovers, more aggression. It’s the same old crap. How much are we paying Grantham, like $750K? For half that much I would be willing to totally f*ck up my job as well!

JB

October 3rd, 2010
6:47 pm

The biggest strength this year was supposed to be the OL. Where did that go? Every year is a rebuilding year in college football so that excuse is one everyone can use.

I’m not ready to pile on to the Richt lynching but we are almost at a point where it really doesn’t matter. People point to the issues at Tennessee since they fired Fulmer at Tennessee but at 1-4…what are you sacrificing?

I can’t remember the Dawgs playing so poorly for so many games in a row….I still wear my “G” hat and shirts around and have my “G” tags on the cars……and always will.

It’s just hard to see how we got to where we are today……

SentientDawg

October 3rd, 2010
6:49 pm

Jacket Fan, I agree — Jackets and Dawgs are both stinking it up. I have Tech relatives, and they aren’t happy either … It wasn’t fun sitting in the CU Folsom Field, thinking this was the game that Georgia would turn a corner, only to watch the team find a way to lose. I kept hoping the Dawgs would get a turnover to stop the CU momentum, only to watch Georgia commit the final turnover, and lose the game, with less than 2 minutes to go. The Buffaloes are a mediocre team, and we played like one, too … I watched Richt screaming at Boykin and Cuff, mainly for Cuff’s stupid personal fouls. Turnovers and penalties — it just never seems to resolve itself in favor of Georgia. The lack of leadership in the coaching staff and players will dog these Dawgs for the rest of this season. I didn’t think I’d say this, but major changes are needed. You’re right Richard Dawson.

dawgman

October 3rd, 2010
6:53 pm

Didn’t we give Richt a raise about two years ago so he would be at a competative salary in the SEC? Suppose we should go back and explain that means for a competative team on the field?

Biggest Bulldog Fan

October 3rd, 2010
6:53 pm

I bet Willie Martinez is somewhere in Oklahoma, drinkin’ a beer and laughing his a@# off! Can you say scapegoat? It wasn’t Big Willie’s fault! Tacklin’ is a basic skill of football and securing the ball is too! This team can’t tackle and they fumble at the drop of a hat!!!!! They need to get back to practicing and learning the basics and maybe they’ll have a chance!!!

Perry

October 3rd, 2010
6:53 pm

I hope Mark Richt doesn’t bolt on the AJC writers and the fickle Georgia fans—Georgia really isn’t shaping up as a coach-friendly university for writers or fans–folks just bash away and basically run off coaches.

Richt’s 1 of 7 coaches in the history of college football to win 90 games in 1st 9 seasons.

A lot of teams, even in the SEC, I’d say about 110 teams, would take Richt over their current coach.

Scott

October 3rd, 2010
6:54 pm

Maybe the Atlanta Journal is right, Georgia is terrible.

So recruits–stay away.

Hank

October 3rd, 2010
6:56 pm

Georgia will go 1-11. Oops sorry, I’ve been reading this blog too much, all my hope has evaporated, thanks to this blog.

MttPF

October 3rd, 2010
7:00 pm

Yo MuTTards …. you’re unbridled optimism is just more evidence of a delusional fan base. UGA is not going to the SECCG — the remaining SEC teams on your schedule are not the pathetic losers you are!

wildbill

October 3rd, 2010
7:01 pm

I watched the first quarter last nite, then, I changed channels. Smart me.

Are these our DAWGS?

October 3rd, 2010
7:02 pm

It is sad how well said this article is…. have we fallen that far… the facts speak for themselves.

I think we are looking at a major loosing year. I kept thinking each week we get it together and run the table. We are going to run the table all right….. Maybe a 1-3 win year?????? Could that be?????

WCdawgfan

October 3rd, 2010
7:03 pm

All the negativity talk needs to go….Lets get behind our team and you will see improvement. Seems there were some bright moments in the game last night. GO DAWGS!!!!!!

David

October 3rd, 2010
7:04 pm

One good proof that nobody REALLY believes the season is over for Georgia, is the amount of blogging going on.

The more blogging, the more optimism people feel for georgia.

Are these our DAWGS?

October 3rd, 2010
7:05 pm

Cuff is driving me crazy…. and any antics like his. We have proven nothing this year except we can loose and find news ways to do it each week. No more celebrating or taunting if a good tackle is made or run block etc…. not until we resemble the DAWGS.

Andy

October 3rd, 2010
7:06 pm

Bill-

Thanks so much for encouraging the fans to give up on Georgia and lose hope and optimism.

thanks for your brave leadership. Needed to be said.

There was not 1 single positive thing that happened against Colorado, it was all bad. everything.

WCdawgfan

October 3rd, 2010
7:07 pm

How about showing an inspirational movie….”Rudy”. May help the players and coaches. Just sayin

Bobby

October 3rd, 2010
7:08 pm

Geez, can we please get rid of Aaron Murray as the offensive leader. 1-4 is enough opportunities, he just can’t lead. Sorry. Give a new guy a shot. Maybe Logan Gray?