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

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
8:59 pm

PT –the young are in college to get an education. Football should be secondary

GA wants to believe

October 3rd, 2010
9:00 pm

Who lets a defensive player stay in the game after 3 personal fouls? What kind of message does that send? I can make all the mistakes I want because I will stay in the game? There has to be a price to pay for screw ups. The discipline is just not there.

PT

October 3rd, 2010
9:04 pm

Schools other than UGA have fine academic programs and they also can enjoy their football careers. I agree, let them play

Tombo

October 3rd, 2010
9:05 pm

Saw this on a soccer coach’s t-shirt and think it fits the Dawgs this year:

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”

Scotty Dawg

October 3rd, 2010
9:05 pm

Hey Guys,
I wonder how much the loss of VanGorder has meant to this team. Clearly, the man knows what he is doing as evidenced by the improvement in the Falcon defense. Everyone mentions how the loss of Richt had affected Florida State and I think the same could be said for our situation. What do you guys think?

tndawg

October 3rd, 2010
9:08 pm

A Dooley will once again win a game “Between The Hedges”!

I really don`t see a team that UGA can beat left on the schedule. Maybe Vandy but that is a stretch. It would be best for the Bulldog Nation if they do loose the rest of the games. A 1-11 season would surely get something done. Richt would surely be gone with BoBo along with him. Think about it.

THUGAfan

October 3rd, 2010
9:08 pm

Here’s Richt secret plan to win the rest of the season : Cancel all scheduled SEC games and play Ga. State, Valdosta State, West Georgia, Clark Atlanta, Savannah State, Grady High School, Athens High School and play in the Toylet Bowl. Check the local police roster for new recruits and also get any new walk ons that can hold a ball in their hands for more than thirty seconds without accidentally dropping it.

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
9:09 pm

Is the UGA team just a reflection of its fan base ??????

Ed

October 3rd, 2010
9:12 pm

Unless I missed it, we have not come to grips or closure with that fumble play; flea flicker or not? If it was, CMR is involved in a cover-up unlike his persona. I wouldn’t want to admit it either since it would set new standards for stupidity. It certainly looked like it was to me. Is CMR hanging Caleb out to dry? That’s worse than losing the game. Who on here knows? AJC King?

PT

October 3rd, 2010
9:14 pm

VanGorder to a recruit “Son you can go visit Clemson if you want and take that scholarship with you.” Richt didn’t like that type of personlity. VanGorder was too intense (abrasive) for Mark Richt.

GTPhenom

October 3rd, 2010
9:15 pm

Look, I’m not going to say much about GT, seeings as we suck maybe just as badly as UGA. And, I’m not trying to start anything on your blog, or try and make trouble on this blog, but come on guys, let’s have some common sense. Your not going to hear many GT fans claiming that we even will come close to an ACC championship, so specifically for “Anonymous Blogger,” you must honestly be off your rocker. I will be the first to say the ACC is not up to the SEC, and if GT, who at least has a winning conference record, is highly doubted to win the ACC, what are the odds that a 0-3 team in the SEC wins? If you remember a week ago, during the Arkansas game, their was a comment that I think said a 0-2 team had NEVER won the SEC East. What would that mean for an 0-3 team that just lost to a Colorado team that lost 52-7 to Cal. Once again, let me reiterate that I feel GT is in the same boat. We lost to a KU team that fell 55-7 to Baylor. But, I’m just saying, be realistic. Now, with that off my chest, I just wanted to say, good luck for the rest of the season, and don’t kill Richt just yet. He seems like a good guy, and if you look back to when he called the Offensive plays, ya’ll were great. Give him a chance to fire Bobo, get a few real defensive players for the scheme, and go for it. At least ya’lls defesne is better than GT’s right now, so don’t feel horrible . . . Like I said, good luck with the rest of the season.

wildbill

October 3rd, 2010
9:16 pm

What can a fan do about the status quo in Athens? Not a blanketedy blank blank thing. I am readusting my attention toward some fall bass fishing where the nervous tension is a lot less. Sooner or later, probably later, the higher ups at UGA will notice the lack of fan support and, yes, do nothing.

Synchronize Your Dogmas

October 3rd, 2010
9:16 pm

The funny thing about the whole living in 1980 line is that none of the UGA fans ever talk like that. Its always someone on the attack that claims it to be so. Calvin, what the heck airport were you at? crack kills

Techbuzzer

October 3rd, 2010
9:17 pm

Ga State wins two straight, Ga Tech whups Wake Forest with a spectacular Paul Johnson orchestrated performance late in the game; Falcons beat 49rs after stunning the Saints and THUGA gets to play in the Toylet Bowl after committing nearly every error in the book for the last four games. But they sure know how to party. Keep your booz and women locked up when they are in town! Way to go Richt and Bobo – never had such good entertainment in one weekend.

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
9:17 pm

Can anyone name some head coaches with low morals and misguided values that would be a better fit for UGA and its fan base ????? Has Nathan Deal ever played any ball ???

PT

October 3rd, 2010
9:19 pm

Now we know a bleeding heart libral.

Minnesota Dawg

October 3rd, 2010
9:20 pm

Bill, the coaches feel just as frustrated as you do! I believe they are trying to get us out of this mess. We’ve come very close in every game. Look on the positive side, we have not been blown out yet. Just a couple of plays going our way each game would mean a 5-0 start. We are not far from turning it around. Have faith Bulldawg nation!

SAMUEL

October 3rd, 2010
9:25 pm

Everyone needs to digress…..it’s the CURSE OF THE RED PANTIES!!!!!!!!!

Nathan Deal

October 3rd, 2010
9:25 pm

Here’s my advice for Mark Richt- Just restate your track record so that you include all your wins from last year as part of this year’s season; do not count your losses because they are probably someone else’s fault like your former athletic director or if that does not work your brother in law; focus on non important attributes of playing footbal like cheerleder mistakes or if that does not work try gay marriage; blame Obama for your losses; and if nothing else works blame Roy and liberals for the fact that you have a bunch of bumbling thugs on the team.

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
9:26 pm

PT – I am liberal with everything but my wallet. Help me out….. Was UGA named one of the most successful programs in the nation financially ???

GTPhenom

October 3rd, 2010
9:26 pm

You see Minnesota Dawg, that is the issue I have. When you say, “we were only a few plays away.” First of all, how the hell do you know? If one play goes different, that sure as hell means that probably every play from that point forward is going to change, and you don’t know what the hell would’ve happened. So, I will come back by saying: You are a few plays away from being blown out in every game you played in. Things are that bad at BOTH Georgia schools this season.

K-Baby

October 3rd, 2010
9:27 pm

I remember, during the Vince Dooley years, “Bloody Tuesdays”. Every Tuesday practice during the season was an all out hitting, tackling and full bore practice. There were injuries, but that was just part of the deal. The result: I never remember a Dooley coached team being accused of playing soft.

I also remember the punishment for fumbling on game day: The offender was required to hold a football properly carrying it with him everywhere for an entire week – to class, bed, the shower, every time he went to the bathroom, at meals; wherever he went, he had to carry that ball. I think that was after 1979 season when the team had a total of 59 fumbles that year (not fumbles lost, just fumbles).

CMR has to step up and make the team practice full bore and stop worrying about who might get hurt and insist on this team toughening up. It starts with him manning up and toughening up himself.

Herschel Pug

October 3rd, 2010
9:29 pm

I’m a Dawg fan that lives in Denver and was very impressed with the number of Georgia fans that traveled to Boulder. I was waiting five years for this game and was very disappointed in the loss. Thanks Georgia fans for showing up and cheering loudly. We just lost to a CU team that has averaged four wins a year the last four years and they are going to fire their Coach at the end of the year!!!!

CSI in Athens

October 3rd, 2010
9:31 pm

One thing is for sure, none of Georgia’s running backs were arrested for “theif by taking!” They can’t hold on to anything long enough to run with it1

Artie

October 3rd, 2010
9:31 pm

If only A.J. could throw the ball to himself AND play defense!!!

B.Obama

October 3rd, 2010
9:33 pm

Nothing a little bit of government money or contributuions from the wealthy cannot fix

techengineer

October 3rd, 2010
9:37 pm

About the only thing more awful than being a GA fan this year is being a GT fan!!! GT offense this year is woeful without Thomas and Dwyer.

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
9:37 pm

Look on the bright side, there is a good chance a team from the SEC may play for the National Championship again this year.

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
9:37 pm

Look on the bright side, there is a good chance a team from the SEC may play for the National Championship again this year.

K-Baby

October 3rd, 2010
9:38 pm

For the record, I also believed with all my heart at the time that that Caleb King fumble play was a botched flea flicker. One day later, I am even more convinced.

Look, I can’t stand Urban Crier as much as the next person. But, he did man up on that failed jump pass play near the end zone yesterday, even saying that it was an “aggressive play call” and that he would “do it again”. If that was a flea flicker, then Bobo must man up and say it was his call, explain his reasoning and take responsibility for teaching the boys how to better execute that play to avoid it being blown up.

There is too much excuse making from this coaching staff. That is the most troubling thing of all.

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

October 3rd, 2010
9:45 pm

PEOPLE KEEP SAYING MARK RICHT WON 90 GAMES IN THE S.E.C,STUPIDS REMEMBER HE HAS NOT WON A NATIONAL TITLE!

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
9:48 pm

K-Baby — Urban Meyer does not have to deal with a fan base addicted to low morals and misguided values. Bobo is just doing what he has to in order to survive .

K-Baby

October 3rd, 2010
9:52 pm

LTYMP – I think even the fan base would get off Bobo’s back some if he would just man up and take responsibility for what he calls and quit throwing players under the bus.

Question: How is it misguided values of the fan base to show concern for the lack of discipline on and off the field and the fact that this football team plays soft?

Chuck Uga

October 3rd, 2010
9:56 pm

Thank you Bill King for calling out the hayseed Mike Bobo and his inability to call plays. Maybe he’s more concerned with which side of his mouth his tobacco is in, but he CLEARLY had lost his mind. Also, Todd Grantham is obviously unqualified to be a D-Coordinator, and that falls squarely in Mark Richt’s lap. All this reminds me of the Goff days when Ray couldn’t find anyone who wanted to come to Athens and be the DC. But at least Ray’s teams didn’t quit nor did they look so incompetent and unprepared. The problem is that these problems CONTINUE week-in and week-out. Richt also refuses to change anything and must be depending on prayer or something to fix the problems. I do not see any way he can fix this mess other than firing Bobo and Grantham while hiring an innovative OC and a new DC that returns us to the 4-3. We do not have the personnel to run a 2-4 this year, and we sure as hell won’t have them next year unless you deluded fools think Richt can win 9 games with a bunch of recruits.

Message to

October 3rd, 2010
9:57 pm

A previous blogger said to put Logan Gray in the wildcat. He asked would he run or would he pass? Are you serious? He would ” fair catch ” the snap.

Chuck Uga

October 3rd, 2010
9:57 pm

Meant to say 3-4, not 2-4.

Red Panties Rick

October 3rd, 2010
10:00 pm

Let’s see, this past weekend:

Georgia Tech – Won in the last 15 seconds.
The Braves – Won the wild card spot in the National League.
Atlanta Falcons – Won in the last seven seconds with a field goal.
UGA – Tried a flea flicker when they were in field goal range and could have won the game with one.

All is normal in Georgia…..

dawgfan

October 3rd, 2010
10:00 pm

4-8 with wins over La La, Kentucky, Vandy, and Idaho State.

We won’t even beat the Nerds this year. I need a drink.

confusadog

October 3rd, 2010
10:00 pm

hey AJC sensor…………….grow some balls.

Let the young men play

October 3rd, 2010
10:02 pm

K-bay — If the team was winning and the fan base could brag about . The lack of discipline and arrests would be a non issue just like the GRADUATION rate is .

FLA DAWG

October 3rd, 2010
10:09 pm

Derek Dooley and his young Vol Team will unleash their understandable anger from the LSU loss against The Dawgs and win by 21. (I honestly think The Vols could win by much more)

This will make us 1-5 with 5 consecutive losses. The worst performance of any Dawg Team in 50 years or so.

The Dawgs have consistently gotten worse over the past 5 years.

Richt has pampered and demoralized this and previous Dawg Teams.

Do the right thing Coach and resign asap.

Who do we get to replace you? Well for now any Graduate Asst will do.

I mean, anyone can LOSE.

JRW7

October 3rd, 2010
10:11 pm

CMR has to go! Lost control of team! Coaches with no heart, no drive, no passion, no burning desire to win, and his players feed off him, season over!

Barry

October 3rd, 2010
10:11 pm

Get rid of Murray, sit his behind on the bench, and I guarantee you Georgia will win the rest of their games. Nobody likes the guy. put in Logan Gray or Hutson Mason, Georgia needs a guy with the “it” factor, all of the leadership intangibles.

JRW7

October 3rd, 2010
10:12 pm

Do the right thing CMR, RESIGN!!!!!

Sean

October 3rd, 2010
10:12 pm

Detroit Lions Georgia Bulldogs

Loss: 19 – 14 Loss: 17 – 6

Loss: 35 – 32 Loss: 31 – 24

Loss: 24 – 10 Loss: 24 – 12

Loss: 28 – 26 Loss: 29 – 27

See the similarities? Things have got to change in Athens!

Sug

October 3rd, 2010
10:13 pm

When I lookat this record, I can’t believe how horrible it is under Richt, it’s flat out embrarrasing, not a single #1 finish!!

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

bigdawg8

October 3rd, 2010
10:14 pm

I really like Richt but maybe he is getting burnt out? He probably spends most of his time having to deal with the police and lawyers instead of coaching. Maybe if he would quit recruiting punk thugs he could get back to coaching? I guess finding good athletes that aren’t punk thugs isn’t easy though unless you instill fear in them like Saban does.

Dennis

October 3rd, 2010
10:14 pm

What with all the complaining? Nobody has scored 30 or more. Wasn’t that the key to winning? Grantham is getting people under 30 but the offense can’t score. Another perception that I don’t get. Murray is the second coming with no points and all the starters back. Cox won games with his arm, delivered the drive that should have beat LSU and you stupid idiots still beat him like a dog. Oh yea, the last time you played Colorado in your own stadium, Cox came in and pulled your but out of that fire also.

Sean

October 3rd, 2010
10:15 pm

Shane you made a great point in comparing the Lions and the Dawgs. See my post above that certainly proves your point about that. Very comparable in the closeness of scores, yet no wins.

JRW7

October 3rd, 2010
10:16 pm

CMR says it was their #1 running play, I have played that play over and over, looks like a fleaflicker to me. CMR, please RESIGN!!