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

lolwut?

October 3rd, 2010
7:08 pm

@Rozesee
“Just look at the difference between the Shula and Saban eras at Bama. BLOW IT UP AND OVER!”

Great idea! Who’s the next Nick Saban? Oh….right….there isn’t one.

Give CMR time to recruit a legitimate nose gaurd for heaven’s sake before you cut ties with the greatest coach in UGA’s history. This type of transition takes time.

Barry

October 3rd, 2010
7:10 pm

If Georgia only cares about winning, at all costs, go get the Kiffins.

Barry

October 3rd, 2010
7:11 pm

Yep, Murray needs to go, losing 4 games in a row, we need new blood there. Hutson Mason deserves his shot.

Sug

October 3rd, 2010
7:14 pm

Richt’s finished:

2002- #3
2003- #6
2004- #6
2005- #10
2006- #23
2007- #3
2008- #10

THAT’S PATHETIC!!!

SHOULD HAVE BEEN #1 EVERY SEASON!!

We run this state (hit and run too)

October 3rd, 2010
7:15 pm

I think we should change the offensive scheme all togehter. The SEC has figured it out.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 3rd, 2010
7:16 pm

Barry

Seriously

If we had Tom Brady we wouldnt win, I mean come on, we had Stafford, Moreno, Green, Maseqoui on the same side of the ball and still lost 3 games

Mason isnt going to give us a win though he looks to be just as good its the play calling, no motivation, and lack of team discipline throughout the off season until now is the problem with the team

BullDawgMike

October 3rd, 2010
7:23 pm

Just watched the Falcons win another game thet easily could have lost. Why why,why can’t or won’t the Dawgs play with the same emotion and never say quit attitude that Falcons play with ???

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 3rd, 2010
7:25 pm

Because thet have Van Gorder and we ran him off

Dawghater

October 3rd, 2010
7:25 pm

Guess what? The sky really is falling. Enjoy the rest of your season! Go ahead, fire CMR, I dare you. Like Forest Gump said, “Life’s like a box of chocolates. You never know what your going to get!”

Dawghater

October 3rd, 2010
7:26 pm

Look at the bright side. If you had Dish Network, they spared you from the misery!

Uga 68

October 3rd, 2010
7:27 pm

Wake me up when this nightmare is over.

Smell My Dawg

October 3rd, 2010
7:28 pm

Kevin Sumlin from University of Houston would be a genious hire. Gus Malzhan I’d take as well. Surely, we’re not keeping Richt. An honest grade for our team for the last 3 yr period would be a C-. Last I checked a C- doesn’t deserve 2 to 3 million a year. Let’s get this shipped turn quickly. One last thought, any chance Murray can call the plays?

Donnie Darko

October 3rd, 2010
7:38 pm

How many teams in the SEC have won a National Championship since uga won one? Oh, and didn’t the hated Bugz win one also. Sad.

DP

October 3rd, 2010
7:38 pm

‘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.”’

That is some real chicken$%&* and ducking accountability from Richt for the second week in a row. He’s the head coach and the offensive coordinator reports to him. He used to call the plays himself. If he thought Georgia needed to get the ball to A.J. Green early and often, why wasn’t it in the game plan, presuming Georgia actually has a game plan? Does Richt not know the plan and have some input to it? Couldn’t he have walked over to Bobo after the first series and said we have to focus on getting A.J. the ball?

Is Richt too gutless to deal with Bobo directly instead of publicly throwing him under the bus two weeks in a row? Take some accountability Richt, you’re the head coach.

Dawghater

October 3rd, 2010
7:45 pm

Read the comment sent by “Sug” above. There lies UGA’s problem. Your expectations exceed your capabilities regardless of your head coach. So answer this one. How many years has CMR coached at UGA and how many years has it been since UGA won a Nat’l Title. I know your bad at math so the answer is 30 years!

MATHDAWG

October 3rd, 2010
7:46 pm

This is the worst UGA team I have seen and I graduated from UGA in 1964. We were terrible then and we are worse now.

Something is very wrong in Athens!

DP

October 3rd, 2010
7:50 pm

JB, I think you have to be willfully blind not to see how Georgia got to where it is today. Roughly 10 off the field arrests per year for the last 5 years, near the top in penalties in the last couple of years, gradual loss of physical toughness and intensity on both sides of the ball over the last 3 years, 2-3 blowout losses per year for the last 3 years. The erosion has been gradual but obvious just like it was at Tennessee during the last few years of Fulmer’s tenure.

Why it's a Ruger, thank you

October 3rd, 2010
7:59 pm

You big belly wanker. This is NOT a strong team. Face it, fans have pumped up this team without even knowing how they would respond. These are, for the most part, 3 star recruits….period. The coaching staff cannot change athletic ability, no matter what. True there has been some poor play calling on both sides of the ball, but PLEASE, put it in perspective…this IS a mediocre team and 6 wins and a bowl is a gift!! Now, get the 5 star recruits to STAY in Georgia and things will change, and ONLY then.

Anonymous Blogger

October 3rd, 2010
7:59 pm

Like I’ve said despite what happens on the field this is a BCS bowl team!

SEC watcher

October 3rd, 2010
8:00 pm

bradly k, I thought you smell like that all the time?

Mike Oxbig

October 3rd, 2010
8:02 pm

Bill, couldn’t have said it better myself. This team just plumb sucks. But at least we are not Tech fans.

Boris Badnov

October 3rd, 2010
8:05 pm

It is my considered opinion that those Great Big Hairy Georgia Bull Dawgs are by far and away the best 1-4-0 team in the entire country. Coach Mark Richt isn’t going to be fired and should not consider resignation. But he might want to return some of that $ 4.5 million he’s being paid by The Athletic Association and start doing commercials for Ford Pintos instead of those F150s. Who would have thought Bill Curry would have a better record?

hangman

October 3rd, 2010
8:06 pm

GEEESE! All I want is for one team in the state of Georgia to step up and be a WINNER! Will that team end up being the Falcons? It sure won’t be Tech or UGA or the Braves! Look for UGA to lose 5 more games….

Plaid-out

October 3rd, 2010
8:08 pm

I, for one, will NOT be wearing red and black to the Tennessee game. I’m thinking about plaid. Would anyone like to join me in making it a plaid-out?

Boca Baby

October 3rd, 2010
8:15 pm

The problem here is that this is not Virginia Military Institute. This is Georgia. If Vince Dooley had replecated the 1979 season the next year he would have been on a rail out of town. Richt is going to have to do miracles to replicate 2009. It may not happen. I like him. He is a great role model and the type of man you want exposed to your children. But this is Georgia football not a class in sociology. I am afraid for Mark Richt.

Summit Dawg

October 3rd, 2010
8:16 pm

Would somebody nudge CMR and let him know…..BOBO has to GOGO!!!! And me, being a Christian, knows that Jesus alllows you to get mad and yell sometimes…..!!

E Bay Green

October 3rd, 2010
8:16 pm

My Colorado game jersey ain’t bringing enough bids, people. You people are rich enough to buy tickets for the privilege of seeing me, now come off that wallet and bid on my junk. And CASH only, I said CASH, I don’t want no stinking bank records this time.

I still have an assortment of red panties for bid, too.

Vince D.

October 3rd, 2010
8:17 pm

Hey, I’m ready to come back to take over the football program at Kansas State—I mean, Georgia Tech—aw, shucks, I mean Georgia. All I ask is that you not allow any Jan Kemps to be around there and that you beef up the remedial studies program. You can’t expect me to bring ‘em in to play hard and be smart too.

Boca Baby

October 3rd, 2010
8:18 pm

Boris Badnov: Bill Curry has not played South Carolina, Arkansas, Miss State or Colorado. Take your garbage smack elsewhere. UGA will tee it up any day with Georgia State, Bubba.

Boca Baby

October 3rd, 2010
8:20 pm

Am I alone or is this Todd Grantham 3-4 idea a total disaster or what?

Shane

October 3rd, 2010
8:21 pm

The Dawgs look very much like the Detroit Lions of college football. They have come so close to a win in the last several games and lose out every time. AJ & Murray are playing to win, but the rest of team is not. Murray is making mistakes, but the will to win is there and he is showing improvements in each game. Once he gets this season under his belt, then he will be a force in the SEC next season. With that said, Bobo must relinquish the play calling to Richt. If this doesn’t happen, we could likely go 2-10. Changes have to be made, period. GO DAWGS & GO BRAVES!

Steve

October 3rd, 2010
8:22 pm

Boca:

No you’re not alone, other loonies agree with you. Probably just you, using a fake handle here on Bill’s blog.

As others have pointed out, Georgia’s defense is better than last year’s average in: scoring, yards, pass, run. What are you even tsalking about?

Bobby Houseman

October 3rd, 2010
8:25 pm

Boca, the whole team is a disaster – on offense and defense.

Mojo Filter

October 3rd, 2010
8:26 pm

UGA’s problem is clearly a Mojo one. You can point to just a handful of plays this year, that, had they gone the Dawgs’ way, would change the season entirely. They could (with the mojo) be 5-0 or, at least, 4-1). This is not really far from how they’ve been the last several seasons. Think about David Greene’s late TD pass to beat Auburn. Mojo. Last season’s win over GT? Mojo. There’ve been many others. And this year ? Fumbles in a couple of key spots that could’ve changed the game outcome? Mojo. Fact is, this year’s team is NOT FAR AT ALL from previous UGA teams. There’s just a MOJO problem. To get it back, have the UGA Redcoats put The Beatles’ COME TOGETHER in their game playlist. If you don’t do what it takes to get the MOJO back, the Redcoats can play The Beatles’ I’m A Loser, instead.

SAMMY DAVIS, JR

October 3rd, 2010
8:27 pm

Sad, sad days… Can you say Ray Goff???

He Hate Beatle

October 3rd, 2010
8:30 pm

Hey Mojo Filter, here’s what I want to do when I read a post like that. Your phrase (and I quote) NOT FAR AT ALL, remove the second A from FAR AT. Loran, whaddayagot ?

Calvin Ruff Ruff

October 3rd, 2010
8:38 pm

Just now back from Boulder, Colorado. (Denver needs a larger airport)Good to see so many Bulldog faithful out in Colorado last night for the embarassing outcome. Too much money and too far to go for an “L” in the column. Guess this will be as close as we come to a bowl game this season. Did anyone hear/notice what Bill McCartney (Former CU Coach) stated during the halftime recognition of their 1990 National Championship Team.

“It’s an honor to be part of this team. This is truly a group of leaders. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Leadership determines how high you climb. This team climbed to the top of the national rankings. Twenty years later, these guys are leaders off the field. You can be proud of them.”

In my honest opinion, this speaks volumes as far as the Dawgs are concerned. We have some leadership issues on this team. Coaches, players,etc.. Question is…when will ALL our leaders lead, make positive changes & decisions, and be held accountable for this train wreck of a so-called football season!!!

PappyHappy

October 3rd, 2010
8:41 pm

Is it below Mark Richt’s dignity to ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE GAME? Is he afraid to get in his coaches face when they appear to make one mistake after another?

kgtech

October 3rd, 2010
8:43 pm

Thank you UGA for screwing up yet another winning weekend for ATL.
Congrats Jackets,Birds and Bravos!! UGA you suck please go back to the
hole you crawled out of!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just Axin

October 3rd, 2010
8:44 pm

PappyHappy, are you any kin to Mr. Happy ?

Harry the Hat

October 3rd, 2010
8:45 pm

UGA folks can brag all you want to about beating Tech in football most years, and that’s perfectly fair. What’s also fair is to point out that with a history of Jan Kemp (Vince Dooley days), Jim Harrick, Damon Evans, and 44 arrests, UGA is truly “The Cesspool of the South,” and is richly deserving of that title. No one outside of Georgia has any respect for UGA or its athletic department, and that is a fact. It has been said many times: “Tech people are proud of their school, Georgia people are proud of their team.” What a legacy to be proud of!

UGA fans can now return to your mobile home parks and resume waiting for your unemployment checks.

And watching those red panties falling from the sky, always a good time-killer for thUGA dawgtards.  :-)  :-)  :-)

Tennessee 37, Georgia 17.

Raleigh Dawg

October 3rd, 2010
8:47 pm

Bill Cowher is available and would be a great fit in Athens. Butch Davis will be fired at UNC. Chapel Hill would be thrilled to get CMR.

Honking Bobo

October 3rd, 2010
8:47 pm

No comment; just thought that was a cool handle.

GA

October 3rd, 2010
8:47 pm

Can CMR and all his FCA staff PLEASE go on a long mission trip and not return?

Milrose

October 3rd, 2010
8:48 pm

Get rid of Green, Ealey, and King today. These jerkoffs are like a cancer eating away at the rest of the team.

And we need to see “for sale” signs in Mark Richt’s front yard.

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
8:48 pm

WOW — Bulldawg fans really are fair weather friends frontrunners !!!!!!

Charlie C

October 3rd, 2010
8:49 pm

Shut up about A J Green, you had him Saturday, and you didn’t win—it’s a TEAM sport. He’s one player.

Vance Duuley

October 3rd, 2010
8:53 pm

I wonder if any of the books about UGA football include the perspective of someone speaking for the late Jan Kemp? The perspective that “student” athletes like Lindsay Scott were playing years without taking college level courses? That the proudest moment of the football program was earned by players who never earned a single college credit?

Dawgtards love to return to 1980, but their memories are really short when it comes to remembering an earthshaking event that happened a few years later that showed the world what a joke UGA athletes were and what a scam artist their beloved Vince Dooley was (and is). So for all those dawgtards with short memories or who think their athletes are actually taking real courses and trying to graduate, here’s the quote that broke the trial wide open and showed what a slimeball Dooley is:

O. Hale Almand Jr., a lawyer for the defense, offered a justification for the favorable treatment accorded the athletes, citing a hypothetical player. “We may not make a university student out of him,” he told the jury, “but if we can teach him to read and write, maybe he can work at the post office rather than as a garbageman when he gets through with his athletic career.”

Nothing has changed at UGA, they just do a slightly better job of keeping things quiet, but that’s hard to do when 45 of your player-thugs have been arrested, isn’t it?

UGA: WINNER OF THE FULMER/RICHT CUP AND THE CESSPOOL OF THE SOUTH.

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
8:55 pm

Calvin Ruff Ruff —– Do any of the football players at UGA actually graduate !!!!!!!! The program is like a plantation that is VERY profitable..

PT

October 3rd, 2010
8:55 pm

He can fire Mike Bobo at seasons end just to give it one more year. Nothing will change. Mark Richt is not looking deep enough into his program. It starts with nutrition, strenght and conditioning, the foundation, and you build from there. It show on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, especially in the trenches. Thats where games are won!

Georgia certainly has good players, but they do not recruit based on purpose. They must get players to meet a specific system ex: power Alabama, speed Florida.

If players are not developing, you should tell them and find them another place to continue their career. Its not fair for a player to sit for 4 yrs and never see the field. Be honest with them.