Georgia-Florida was basically even … except for the coaching

When A.J. Green did get the chance in the fourth quarter, he was simply amazing — as usual. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

When A.J. Green did get the chance in the fourth quarter, he was simply amazing — as usual. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Some more thoughts on Georgia’s latest loss to Florida. …

The verdict is still out on defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Until we see at least another season of his work, we won’t be able to gauge whether the lack of progress shown by the Dogs’ defense this season is a result of the level of talent Grantham inherited from Willie Martinez or is an indictment of Grantham’s coaching. But I think it’s safe to say at this point of the season it’s unlikely the light bulb is suddenly going to come on and this defense is going to get markedly better. The problems that have plagued the Dogs all season are still there. Too many times Florida receivers were wide open Saturday, even on plays where the Dogs not only didn’t blitz but didn’t really pressure the QB. How does that happen? And stopping a running quarterback? They don’t appear to have a clue. Still giving up the big play, too. If Cam Newton doesn’t set a bunch of records against Georgia, it’ll be a failing of his own making. …

And was anyone other than Grantham surprised by Urban Meyer going to a hurry-up offense? …

Still, it’s worth noting that the league’s worst defense on third down didn’t play that way Saturday. Florida converted on only four of 14 third-down tries and whiffed on its one attempt to convert on fourth down. …

On the other side of the ball, Mike Bobo didn’t do a bad job with his offensive calls for most of the game, though I still wonder why Georgia didn’t run it more. But Bobo’s decision-making in overtime definitely was questionable. I’ll give him trying the throw to Kris Durham in the corner of the end zone on first down because if the ball had been properly placed, it would have been a touchdown. Still, it was a fairly low-percentage play for Aaron Murray, who hasn’t really looked good throwing into that corner most of the season.

From there, though, Bobo got predictable: a run up the middle that got stuffed and then look for A.J. Green over the middle. And another tipped ball turned into an interception. You don’t have to be a offensive guru to wonder if maybe rolling Murray out on that play might have been a safer choice. And also to wonder whether the best choice of all might have been to just run it three times and kick the field goal. As Florida’s session of OT turned out, the worst that would have resulted in was a 34-34 score and a second period of OT. …

Kids don’t come much tougher than Durham. Not only did he hold on to the ball despite taking a vicious hit that had him coughing up blood on the sideline, he later returned to the game. …

Man, on that one Florida drive even the Gators’ false starts worked in their favor, including one that negated a Bulldogs stop on third down. And another time a sack of the Florida QB was wiped out by another Gator false start. What are the odds? …

As we noted Saturday, turnovers by Georgia — compounded by the Dogs’ failure to take it away when the Gators gave them the chance — really were the difference in this game. First downs, overall offensive yardage and time of possession were basically even between the two teams. …

As my brother Tim noted, thanks to CBS’ claustrophobic camera-work, you couldn’t really tell most of the time whether Florida’s coverage really had A.J. wrapped up or whether Murray was just looking elsewhere for most of the first three quarters after throwing a pick on the first play of the game trying to hit Green. CBS’ Gary Danielson seemed to think Green was open quite a few times when Murray went elsewhere.

But when Murray did go to Green in the fourth quarter, the receiver was amazing as usual. The 3rd-and-10 catch he managed to hold on to despite being hit immediately after he’d laid out for the ball was a thing of beauty (and made ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Day Saturday). And the touchdown catch a few plays later in the midst of triple coverage was nearly as impressive. …

Give the devil his due, Meyer knows how to make use of an off week and outcoached Mark Richt. Again. …

I have to agree with Jeff Dantzler of “Bulldog Brunch” that the location of the game in Jacksonville isn’t the reason for Florida’s dominance of the series the past two decades. It’s the same place they played when Georgia dominated the series the two previous decades. But Greg McGarity should make scheduling a bye week before Florida whenever possible a priority. During his years in Gainesville he’s seen firsthand how important that is.

As for the mental challenge facing the Dogs in playing Florida, Richt is probably right in his assessment that the only way to get out of that mind-set is to win a game like this one. Georgia didn’t do it, unfortunately, and that’s going to make Richt’s job even harder next year. …

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382 comments Add your comment

gomdawg

October 31st, 2010
6:20 pm

Dawgs, played well just the breaks didn’t go our way, sure we should have won the game.But life goes on , next game. GO DAWGS

Big Bob

October 31st, 2010
6:25 pm

I TOTALLY AGREE THAT WE NEED TO SCHEDULE AN OFF WEEK THE WEEK BEFORE THE FLORIDA GAME. LOOK BACK OVER THE PAST 21 YEARS AND HOW MANY TIMES DID THEY HAVE AN OFF WEEK? THE FEW TIMES WE HAD THAT AS A OFF WEEK, WE WON. WE DON’T NEED AN OFF WEEK TO WHIP TECH, CHANGE IT TO THE FLORIDA GAME EACH YEAR AND WE WILL BEGIN TO OWN THEM AGAIN!

lets be honest

October 31st, 2010
6:25 pm

Free A.J.

October 31st, 2010
6:28 pm

“And also to wonder whether the best choice of all might have been to just run it three times and kick the field goal.”
Bill-no wondering about it-it would have been the best choice for sure.
Playcalling in OT was horrendous. Bobo did a good job in the second half.
Not sure why we abandoned the run. It was working. Sick of the panicking.
I was ready to get rid of Coach Richt right after the Colorado loss-now I think he deserves another chance.
HOWEVER BOBO NEEDS TO GET FIRED ASAP
Despite the turnovers, Aaron is the man. I am looking forward to having him in our camp the next few years. He is a player….he shook off the first half and was all world in the 2nd half-

Bryan G.

October 31st, 2010
6:28 pm

We consistently do stupid things in Jacksonville that we don’t do other places. It’s amazing.

Florida was a better team than us for all of the 90s, but this decade we had a better team in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2010. We only won two of those.

deandpg

October 31st, 2010
6:31 pm

Shouldn’t CMR just do the right thing and resign right after he fires BOOBOO?

lets be honest

October 31st, 2010
6:31 pm

Have the bye week before we play UF. That will solve the UF problem. Why have it an the end of the year before Tech (look who dominates that series)? Isn’t UF more of a worthy opponent? Plus it’s middle of the season. Makes sense right?

TommyP

October 31st, 2010
6:31 pm

How in the hell did Meyer outcoach Richt?

That one is just baffling. The players lost this one. But if it makes you feel better to say they were outcoached…ummm…OK.

Gatorbait

October 31st, 2010
6:32 pm

Just so ya’ll will feel better, Georgia already has a bye week before the Florida game in 2011. I hope that will help you keep your false hope up a little longer. If you go 19-3, I don’t know what the dawg fans will do, but it won’t be pretty.

lets be honest

October 31st, 2010
6:35 pm

@ Gatorbait

2 out of those 3 wins UGA had a bye week… Just sayin.

Gatorbait

October 31st, 2010
6:37 pm

Kicker-Treat

Georgia gets beat by a punter turned kicker, who is from Dallas, GEORGIA. Now that is poetic justice. And Bill you are right, 3 runs and kick the field goal. Georgia had a hugh advantage in kickers, yours never got to the field. That’s just part of how Richt was out coached.

Michael

October 31st, 2010
6:38 pm

Grantham improved on 3rd down defense, Florida only converted maybe 4 or 5 3rd downs the whole game. The 3rd and 19 one hurt.

Georgia shut down the Florida passing game in the red zone–held them to 0 passing td’s. Only have up 3 plays more than 20 yards, and no touchdowns, big improvement.

DB’s finally did a good job of playing deep first, didn’t let a single guy by them all day. Big improvement there too.

Gave up a lot of rushing yards, but only 1 big rushing play, the 50 yard run by Burton.

Nice defensive adjustments at half-time, really shut Florida down in the 2nd half, helpd them to just 10 points in the 2nd half, Florida’s gimmicks didn’t work anymore.

Defense missed 3 takeaways, didn’t fall on the 2 fumbles, tried to run, and missed the int that went right through the hands.

But holding Florida to 34 points in the game, was better than 49 or 41 last 2 seasons.

The 3 interceptions by Murray and the 30 yard fumble by Murray put the defense in some bad situations, and Murray lost the game.

Shack Dawg

October 31st, 2010
6:38 pm

Nick Saban did a study this offseason that showed that the bye week doesn’t give an advantage – basically a 50/50 split. Quit making excuses about bye weeks and location.

You Ain't-Know Gaily Whacker

October 31st, 2010
6:39 pm

The Reporter: Mr. McGarity, is it true that you have a new conditioning program for the team ?

Greg: Yes it is, we are taking them to ST. Simons and let them pick up the ten tonnes of trash that our fans leave on the beach. Then they can run twenty miles a day until they sober up. Much like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-7Vu7cqB20

Luke

October 31st, 2010
6:40 pm

Just now realizing this? 3 out of 21 is dreadful.

Michael

October 31st, 2010
6:43 pm

I don’t see how Meyer out-coached Richt. Where specifically? It was a 34-31 game. Florida seemed surprised by Durham and Charles’ pass catching and wasn’t preapred, those 2 were mjis-matches all day. Tavarres caught them unpexctedly a few times too.

Murray just was too tight in this game, I think everyone knows this one was pretty much on him. The 4 TO’s were too much to overcome, especially the 4th one, which was just a bad choice.

lets be honest

October 31st, 2010
6:46 pm

@ Shack Dawg

Really? How many days you think Richt had to prepare for UF AFTER traveling to UK?? Give me a break… It does matter.

bardawg

October 31st, 2010
6:47 pm

I know what will solve some of UGA’s problems, let’s go to Raiford Prison in Fl .& recruit some of the outstanding residents there to play for us. Me’thinks that Coarch Urbane Meyers has filled the bill that way ( just got all his gaytors in cognito )

Michael

October 31st, 2010
6:48 pm

Bill,

I think you meant to write….

The game was basically even…except for Murray’s 4 turnovers.

J Clay

October 31st, 2010
6:50 pm

We have the week off next year before the game – though I doubt it will matter

Michael

October 31st, 2010
6:51 pm

The team seems to be WORSE sometimes with AJ Green in, because it FORCES the ball in there, instead of going with the match-up advatage.

J Clay

October 31st, 2010
6:53 pm

Also 8 home games next year – not sure that will make a difference either

Michael

October 31st, 2010
6:57 pm

Murray threw the ball 20 yards over the heads of the receivers the 1st qwuarter.

Had 0 yards passing the 1st quarter, an int on the 1st play, and then followed that up with a fumble and another int in the 2nd quarter. Fumble was the only 30 yard fumble by a QB I’ve ever seen.

Murray tighened up the TO problem in the 3rd and 4th quarter, then threw his 3rd int of the game, forcing 1 in to triple covered AJ.

Timeless

October 31st, 2010
6:57 pm

Give the devil his due, Meyer knows how to make use of an off week and outcoached Mark Richt. Again. …

And… some things will never change.

Billy Jack

October 31st, 2010
6:58 pm

Nice blog Bill…..one of your best….you nailed it

Macclenny_dawg

October 31st, 2010
6:59 pm

Bill,
I hate 2 say it but Coaching is the problem. I at first liked what Grantham was selling about the 3-4 defense. But I have to say if it ain’t working then its easier to change for the coaches not 11 players. The 3-4 is meant to confuse a offensive line and to do that the linebackers would have to move around prior to the snap. But we still are rushing 4 all he has done is take a lineman out and put a linebacker with his hands on the ground. I don’t want to hear about wait till he gets his guys to run his defense. Is our athletes on defense worse than Mississippi state? Manny Diaz is in his 1st year there and what is his defense doing? Yes once agin Richt has hired the wrong guy!!! He could have had Diaz!!!! Bobo 2 predictable always!!! 2nd and 10 is always a run!!! Always!!! Check the games!!! Second down is why we lost that game!!! We put Murray in 3rd in long in a due or die situation!!! There is still no way we would have won if we had just got a field goal!!! Brantley would have thrown a touchdown to somebody just like evrybody else has thrown it on us all year!!! SORRY BUT RICHT HAS GO!!! He said it himself he was hired because when at FL State he beat Fl. Well now he can’t do that!!! ENOUGH SAID!!!

Fire 'em, Danno

October 31st, 2010
6:59 pm

Fire Richt now.

Bremen Dawg

October 31st, 2010
7:03 pm

I thought by far we had the better team but we did get out coached. Aaron was really off bad in the first half and the run was working but as usual the play calling is going to stay the same (we never adjust to what is working). Lets don’t tweak the offense to Aaron strength, let keep him in the pocket and handing it off up the middle 50/50 balance although there was a couple of nice runs dialed up for the qb.

Snoop Dawg

October 31st, 2010
7:04 pm

Even an idiot could see that Meyer’s coaching was an order of magnitude or more better than Richt. And this year Meyer has new OC and DC! It’s disgusting if you are a UGA alumnus.

If Richt were an honorable man, he would quit tormenting the fan base and ripping off the university with his obscene unearned salary and resign at the end of the season.

Anybody wanta bet that that will happen?

Jerome

October 31st, 2010
7:04 pm

“Nice blog Bill…..one of your best….you nailed it.”

Yes, he did.

UGA Mark

October 31st, 2010
7:05 pm

Michael – I’ll tell you where Coaches Richt and Bobo got outcoached: In their mentality and lack of urgency towards the game. Is it just me or did anyone else notice, with 2 minutes left in the first half, that we had Florida facing 2nd- and 3rd-and-long but didn’t use ANY of our remaining 2 timeouts??? WHY THE F*** NOT?? I’m sure Bobo’s stupid thought process was, “We don’t want Florida to have a chance to regroup,” when it should have been, “If we stop them here and use our timeouts, we can still have 1:30 to score.”

Flash forward to later in the night… I’m watching the Oregon vs. USC game, and, with 22 SECONDS left in the first half on their OWN 2 YARD LINE. What does Oregon do? They use their quick-snap offense to throw deep, and actually drove the ball past midfield. What would Georgia have done? Played it safe, run it down the middle and run the clock out.

What does UGA lack, then? Coaches who are FEARLESS and CONFIDENT in our team’s ability. No more of this don’t-want-to-offend-anyone-by-trying-to-score crap. I still think CMR is overly-apologetic and overly-self-deprecating about the ‘07 endzone celebration. He needs to get over it and attack Florida with ferocity, unlike in Saturday’s game.

DawgTired

October 31st, 2010
7:06 pm

To Fellow Dawg Fans…..PLEASE stop talking about how turnovers are killing us. It makes us look like idiots and sore losers. It is ok to say that the better team won the game. This year, we have turned the ball over 12 times to our opponents 17!!!!!!!!! We are +5 in the turnover battle so stop it! Our biggest problem isn’t turnovers, it’s the fact that we cannot OVERCOME mistakes. We lost to Colorado for God’s sakes and everybody wants to blame a fumble. Step back and see the forest for the trees…we need to get better as a team!

jack bull

October 31st, 2010
7:06 pm

yep, it sure was Mark Richt’s fault that Murray overthrew people, under threw people, threw to the wrong team, fumbled, and missed open receivers constantly. the reason it could be his fault, because he kicked our best QB off the team in the spring…

as far as the defense, it’s becoming pretty obvious the choice should’ve been Manny Diaz. he did only give up 7 to Florida, didn’t he? i just have a hard time thinking that Miss St has better and deeper talent on defense than we do….

UGA Mark

October 31st, 2010
7:07 pm

Forgot to say this: If we had actually taken the time to at least regain possession with plenty of time to spare in the first half and, at worst, just tried for a field goal – with the best place kicker in the country – UGA would have won by 3.

DawgTired

October 31st, 2010
7:10 pm

UGA Mark…nobody has a crystal ball. We might have won, we might have lost by 10. It’s the old space-time continium issue.

jack bull

October 31st, 2010
7:11 pm

as far as firing Richt, I don’t claim to be smart enough to make that decision, nor are any of you,but i will say this, if he has to go, please don’t hire a cry baby like Meyer, Saban or Spurrier. sure, they can coach, but i can’t stand to watch those guys on the sidelines crying like they do. i do like our coach showing poise during the storm….

Stop the non-sense

October 31st, 2010
7:11 pm

I thought Ritch did fine. Murrays turnovers were difference in the game…but it happens and everyone just needs to get over it. Granthan’s defense at time hard a difficult time subing players in and out too much with the hurry up going on….I thought he would have adjusted quicker to this mentality…but face it, the defense was on the field too much the first half…all the turnovers put the defense immediately under too much pressure. UGA clearly dominated the 2nd half…the third down OT interception was the game…too much risk on that play. Was that a Bobo call, a Ritch call or did Murray make that decision on his own? Either way, Murray threw it and so that is not all on Ritch. It was a solid game…UGA should have won…I think things are looking up and Ritch deserves the fans support. He coaches with class unlike Myer and Kiffin…we don’t have to worry about him loosing his cool, acting inappropriately, showing sportsmanship and his teams will continue to do well going into the future. This is a very young team with great potential.

Jerome

October 31st, 2010
7:12 pm

“If Richt were an honorable man, he would quit tormenting the fan base and ripping off the university with his obscene unearned salary and resign at the end of the season.”

You are correct, of course, but Richt is not an honorable man. He cherishes the money more than anything else.

Thomasville Dawg

October 31st, 2010
7:12 pm

Bill King – you are an idiot! How could this game be blamed on coaching? Did the coaches tell A White to let the pass (high I know, but catchable) go off his hands and into the defensive backs hands? Did the coaches tell Murray to fumble the football? Did the coaches tell AJ Green not to come back for the ball on the first play of the game? Did the coaches tell B Rambo to not intercept the ball right in his hands late in the game? The coaches have been telling Murray all year to not turn a bad play into a catastrophie! They have said it. He has said it. That is exactly what he did in overtime. Mark Richt is a darn fine coach and an even finer man. We fire him and we very well end up like UT. All of our recruits say the only way they will look elsewhere is if Richt leaves. Even Bobo has improved. Murray will be a Heisman continder before he leaves. We will get better and win a lot more ball games. Stop perpetuating this crap and pandering to the fringe!

Florida orange

October 31st, 2010
7:13 pm

Ga. should have and could have.

DawgTired

October 31st, 2010
7:15 pm

Thomasville…no Richt didn’t throw footballs, make catches, fumble, etc. However, he is responsible for making sure that those mistakes are fixed…by either coaching better or recruiting better.

UGA Mark

October 31st, 2010
7:15 pm

DawgTired: Considering regulation ended in a tie, the 3 points = win. At best, we would have won. At worst, we would have still had the same result. Either way, it’s completely moronic of our coaches to have thought it was okay to go into the half, down 21 TO 7, without at least trying to score with 1:30 left.

Beast from the East

October 31st, 2010
7:17 pm

Georgia had a bye week last year.

Coach

October 31st, 2010
7:18 pm

“…run it three times and kick the field goal?” Are you serious? If you lose the toss and have to go first, MAYBE run it three times if you think that is the best way to get a first down and eventurally a score, but no coach in his right mind would take the field planning to run it three times and kick it when the other guy hasn’t even had his turn yet. Do you really think Florida’s play calling would not have been determined by the points needed?

UGA Mark

October 31st, 2010
7:19 pm

Stop the non-sense: The OT int was Murray’s fault. If you watch the replay, both Green and either the tight-end or Tavarres (I forget who) ended up virtually next to each other in the middle of the field before Green went left. He threw it to the wrong guy, the guy who wasn’t open.

DawgTired

October 31st, 2010
7:20 pm

UGA Mark…yeah I can add and subtract…you miss my point.

You cannot simply take out your eraser and wipe out some play, replace it with what you would like to have seen, and therefore change the score. It’s not that simple. What if FL had blocked the field goal attemtp and ran it back? What if one of our players got hurt on the kick? etc. etc. We can all sit around and play the “what if” game from now until hell freezes over. However, if we “fix” our mistakes, then I’m sure FL would like to “fix” some of their own.

We have major issues in Athens right now…the main one being that we are not good enough to overcome a mistake. We have to play near-flawless football to win, or have the other team completely melt down. I am too proud of a UGA fan to sit back and blame a fumble, turnovers, etc., as the reason we lost. We are better than that…or need to be.

Billy Jack

October 31st, 2010
7:21 pm

@ Thomasville Dawg….you bleed red and black so do I….but Gary Danielson was right we should have tried to get the ball to AJ more…we have issues w/ our play calling…..(I’ve realized it..come aboard…) we played our butts off….I wore my UGA hat proudly today….but come on man….the status quo aint working….

azdawg

October 31st, 2010
7:23 pm

These coaches make tons of money. If they cannot get the job done find someone else that can until we can match up w/the elite in the SEC. The current ugastaff just ain’t cutting it. Could be the reaSON WE can’t get our jr’s to stay one more season.

Dan Mullen and the #21 ranked bulldogs

October 31st, 2010
7:25 pm

Well at least the real bulldogs won yesterday, 7-2 record and moving up in the polls every week

Corninmypooh

October 31st, 2010
7:28 pm

There are no simple reasons for why Georgia is where it is and why we keep getting snake-bit in Jacksonville. Discipline is certainly a word that comes to mind when analyzing failures. Mental toughness is another one. Grantham must stop rewarding players for loafing. Bacarri Rambo is the worst example of slothness I’ve ever seen in a Georgia uniform. He has talent, but takes FAR TOO many plays off during a game. There’s no room on a Championship team for players like Rambo, Cuff, Hamilton, Gamble and others. Yes, I’m calling them out!

Lets focus on beating Tech and hope Richt makes the right decisions going into 2011, starting with a new recruiting philosophy and ending with more player accountability.