Can 2011 Dogs pull a ‘Junkyard Dogs’ rebound?

Can the 2011 team emulate Erk Russell's Junkyard Dogs? (University of Georgia)

Can the 2011 team emulate Erk Russell's Junkyard Dogs? (University of Georgia)

We all know Georgia looked pretty bad against Central Florida in last week’s Liberty Bowl, giving the Dogs their first losing season in 14 years. But was it a loss of historic proportions?

My friend Mike thinks so. He e-mailed me the day after the game. Said Mike:

“My worst 4 losses:

Wake Forest ’79

33-0 to Kentucky in ’77

’78 Bluebonnet

This one.”

Admittedly, all those games were stinkers. But I told Mike I thought the 1974 Bulldogs’ 21-10 loss to Miami of Ohio in the Tangerine Bowl was worse than this year’s Liberty Bowl. The Dogs were coming off an absolutely humiliating 34-14 loss to Tech on a miserable cold, rainy day in Sanford Stadium when Georgia seemed helpless against Pepper Rodgers’ wishbone attack. At 6-5 most observers felt UGA really didn’t belong in a bowl game. (This was back in the days when you didn’t have more than half the teams in the country participating in bowls.)

And the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando — long before it morphed into the Citrus Bowl and then the Capitol One Bowl — was about as low as you could get and still be a bowl team. Originally reserved for small colleges like East Texas State and Kent State, it had only the year before started matching the second-tier Mid-American Conference Champion against an SEC also-ran.

But Georgia accepted the bid and before a crowd of about 20,000 proceeded to give the Redskins two easy scoring opportunities with fumbles (including one on the first play from scrimmage). Miami led 21-3 at the half and I couldn’t take any more, so my future wife and I spent the second half drowning our sorrows at T.K. Harty’s Saloon in Athens. The Dogs actually played better in that half, shutting out Miami and scoring a Ray Goff touchdown for a 21-10 final. But losing to Miami of Ohio in the low-rent Tangerine Bowl was a pretty sorry way to cap off a mediocre 6-6 season.

Of course, things got better after that, as Vince Dooley re-emphasized fundamentals, put the Dogs through a punishing spring practice, and Erk Russell recast his defense as the “Junkyard Dogs” and got the Redcoat Band on board, playing the Jim Croce song “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” from which the phrase came.

Georgia turned things around in 1975 with a 9-3 season, as Loran Smith pointed out in a column this week drawing a comparison with the losing season just completed.

“Sometimes it is difficult to ferret out the issues with a team that finds a way to lose,” Smith wrote. “This current Georgia team had that in common with the 1974 Bulldogs. Teams lose their edge, their killer instincts, but they can regain those intangibles.”

Dooley’s Dogs were able to do that by embracing hard-nosed football; it remains to be seen whether Mark Richt can pull off a similar feat.

So, anyway, while we’re wallowing in our misery, feel free to share your own nominees for Georgia’s worst games.

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254 comments Add your comment

DawgVoiceofReason

January 8th, 2011
2:36 pm

And now UGA VIII has lymphoma. Things are not going well. This according to Rivals.com.

DawgVoiceofReason

January 8th, 2011
2:37 pm

Sorry, Uga VIII

Savannah Dawg

January 8th, 2011
2:53 pm

I would love to see a turnaround and will be there to see if it happens. But while I want it badly, I’m reluctant to drink CMR’s koolaide again. Where will the passion come from? Where will the character to get up when your knocked down and kick someones a– come from? While there are a lot of guys here that I would go to church or go fishing with I don’t think I want anyone from this group in a foxhole with me.

I don’t get paid a large salary to be passionate. Nor do I have the promise of a NFL career to motivate me to perform at the limit of my ability. I just love the Dawgs and always will. The 1975 team had coaches and players that cared and demonstrted their care on and off the field. I don’t know that the current edition has those people. I hope I’m wrong but until someone steps up I remain a skeptic.

DawgVoiceofReason

January 8th, 2011
3:13 pm

Just listened to Fran Tarkenton’s comments about Coach Richt. He comes down pretty hard on him. I can’t disagree too much with his opinion on what Coach Richt has said recently, but I sure want Coach Richt to succeed. While it might be irritating to some, I don’t think his religion or his lack of expressed emotion on the sideline has anything to do with winning or losing. I think Fran gets that but something about Coach Richt having expressed his religious views bothers him. I think we all just want him to win as coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. This coming season is very important to his future, no doubt.

music city dawg

January 8th, 2011
3:16 pm

2006 Sugar Bowl, when I realized how totally unprepared, uncoached and clueless our defense was, and, in retrospect, would be for the rest of the decade.

Old Dawg

January 8th, 2011
3:18 pm

The big homecoming loss to Virginia in 1979 is another one. Can’t believe the Dawgs struggled so much against the ACC that year and were a game away from making the Sugar Bowl with their SEC play. Weird year.

1eyedJack

January 8th, 2011
3:30 pm

C’mon Bill, what’s with all the negative waves? Let’s start the new year positive and righteous for a change.

wildbill

January 8th, 2011
3:32 pm

As long as the current “band of coaches” are at UGA, I don’t hold out hope that they can turn things around. It is obvious they are just playing the system and milking that fat cow as long as they can. What CON artists!

Va'jayjay Jackson

January 8th, 2011
3:37 pm

(((42-34)))
(((9-1)))

Tech has a 95 year old DC! LOL!

C from Marietta

January 8th, 2011
3:38 pm

To All the fans that use the term “drinking the Kool Aid”. It makes you sound stupid. Some idiot on sports radio talk show started that term and you parriot it. We know all you guys want Coach Richt fired. We GET IT BILL. If you listen to some, you would think he is the worst thing to happen to UGA. When in fact, he is one of the best things to happen to this school. Please give it a rest. PLEASE SUPPORT THE BULLDOGS AND THEIR COACH OR GO AWAY.

1eyedJack

January 8th, 2011
3:40 pm

One of the beauties of college football is that one team can change a great deal in the space of a year. Influx of new talent, current players a year older, stronger, and more experienced. Next years team will be unlike this years for better hopefully, or for worse.

Dawgs88

January 8th, 2011
3:42 pm

The problem with a turnaround today is that we don’t have good coaches anymore like Vince Dooley and Erk Russell. We have Mr. Endless Excuses himself Mark Richt and an unproven Todd Grantham. I know a lot of UGA fans were split on Vince Dooley’s coaching abilities, but he did win our only official national title and his teams were almost always better disciplined and just plain better coached as whole during his tenure.

if the man in the picture was here, yes.

January 8th, 2011
3:50 pm

erk and dooley does not equal richt and grantham.

dawgs88 said it right….dooley and erk’s teams played with discipline and passion.

mark richt’s teams play with an arrest record.

Jimmy

January 8th, 2011
3:54 pm

Richt’s pretty solid at turning seasons around fast.

Remember 2001 & 2006? Look how Richt rebounded in 2002 & 2007. He knows how to get it done. For some reason, he followed 2009’s 8-5 season with a 6-7 season,. which is the first time in his 25 year career that’s happened.

But, I got faith in Richt to get it going the other way fast.

1- Run the ball 40-50x a game–Richt’s unbeatable when he gets a 100 yard rusher
2- stop the run on defense- Richt’s unbeatable when he holds the other team to less than 100 yards rushing
3- Don’t let a guy start at QB little to no experience like 2009 & 2010

FootballFan

January 8th, 2011
3:58 pm

The only coach that could bring UGA’s football program back from the dead is Vince Lombardi,and, unfortunately he is dead.

Ralph

January 8th, 2011
4:08 pm

Of course we can’t turn it around. We will have basically the same players, no real help from this year’s recruiting class and of course the same coaching crew. History has proven that Richy should have been fired last year. Next year will be a repeat of this year. What else could a reasonable man expect?

Memphis Mike

January 8th, 2011
4:17 pm

Even Mark Richt’s Ford commercials personify dullness, does he ever get excited about anything?

Memphis Mike

January 8th, 2011
4:19 pm

If Russ the fill-in mascot was healthy, why tempt fate? As it is, the UGAs are becoming a sad joke, they have about as much life in them as the football program does….

dawgfan

January 8th, 2011
4:24 pm

2001 and 2006 are poor analogies. 2001 was his first year as a head coach and he had a freshmen QB. 8-4 was not a bad record all things considered. There were signs that he had the program moving in the right direction, such as the dramatic win at Tennessee. 2006 was a similar situation. There were QB issues while Stafford was learning the ropes. We finished with 3 wins over ranked teams and there was reason for optimism. In both of those seasons, the core was in place to have a successful season the following year. The defenses in 2001 and 2006 were very good. There is absolutely no reason for optimism after 2010. The only similarity is that we had a freshmen QB in 2010. The rest of the team is in complete disarray. The foundation for a successful season in 2011 is not there.

cmac

January 8th, 2011
4:27 pm

What are they gonna rebound with? losing best offensive & defensive players to draft. Will have the same coaching staff.

UGA plays 2 cupcakes every year, Vandy, Kentucky & a less talented Ga Tech team. That’s 5 wins you should be able to put in the bank. The 2010 UGH football team only had 6!! wins. they lost to a terrible Colorado team, didn’t show up against Miss St in a must win game, played terribly against Arkansas & then were manhandled by Central Freakin’ Florida!!!

With Kentuky’s loss in their bowl game, UGH did not beat a single team with a winning record in 2010. It’s a fact that this program is in the bottom third of the SEC. But let’s keep building new facilities & keep paying OUTRAGEOUS salaries to undeserving coaches!

You delusional UGH fans are laughable. REBOUND!! you better hope they can beat a team with a winning record next year!

tide roll

January 8th, 2011
4:38 pm

Bill, there was absolutely no reason to delete my post. It’s Georgia homers like you who are doing the most damage to your program. Why is your blog with the ajc anyway. What credentals do you have? you certainly lack objectivity. You make about as much sense as the Joe T. hire. What a program.

Dawg 39

January 8th, 2011
4:53 pm

First they need a RB. Isaiah Crowell to the rescue ? Hre could make a bad OL look good,
I noticed that Tim Worley, Keith Henderson, David McCluskey, & Lars Tate were going to help Andre “Pulpwood” Smith with a charity event (sports related). Those 5 reminded me of Rodney Hampton & Robert Edwards. Were we ever Tailback U.? I still consider Garrison Hearst to be the second best Dawg RB that I ever watched. Now we need another one like him. Isaiah Crowell anyone.

Vain Jangling

January 8th, 2011
5:08 pm

That 1977 33-0 loss to Kentucky still hurts. It came after the Dawgs had beaten Alabama 21-0 in ‘76 and won the SEC. Of all things, Prince Charles was at the game. The only good thing about the day I remember was James Brown singing “Dooley’s Junkyard Dogs” at halftime.

Class of '98

January 8th, 2011
5:08 pm

1994 Vanderbilt… the homecoming blowout loss.

ARdawg

January 8th, 2011
5:14 pm

ALL of the Florida losses and the Florida/OldBawlsack stings even worse

Coach Mark Rick

January 8th, 2011
5:32 pm

I’m excited! I watched a film today about football and feel cutting edge sharp. The coaches did great this year and will be even better next season.I am really fired up. We are tweeking the porgram. You’ll be surprised. One thing we are going to do is have a black out the first game, but I’m going to tweek it a little and have everyone wear a red hat. Also I’m going to run out with the team waving the georgia flag. I am so pumped, Anyway that;s enough for now, but don’t worry I have some more cutting edge ideas in my vast bag of tricks.

clarke county dogs

January 8th, 2011
5:34 pm

Sun came up today.
2010 is a memory.

MikeyD

January 8th, 2011
5:38 pm

As poorly as Erk Russell was treated by UGA in ‘88 (offering him the head coaching position and then lying and denying the offer), no UGA blog should be allowed to mention that great man!

saban

January 8th, 2011
5:57 pm

Keep Richt.

An FSU guy running the Georgia program.

Dumb and Dumber.

So many Georgia recruits so little time.

Man I need a minor league to put them all in.

saban

January 8th, 2011
6:02 pm

by the way Crowell is mine.

He received a pair of red panties and a little choak dawg from the georiga coaches and lost his mind.

Fan of the Game

January 8th, 2011
6:13 pm

Great win over the Wildcats! Go Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RomeDawg

January 8th, 2011
6:34 pm

EVERY loss hurts, to me!

Since Vince

January 8th, 2011
6:39 pm

Mark Richts three losses to South Carolina where each team failed to score a TD. Pathetic. !

I still become ill when I ...

January 8th, 2011
6:42 pm

Yes, they still haunt me ………….. the UGA losses to Miami of Ohio, Pitt with Frosh Tony Dorsett twice and UGA w/one loss and one tie, PItt and UGA vs Heisman Dorsett in Sugar Bowl in 77, Vandy( couple of times) Ky with Prince Charles sitting there IN ATHENS bored in 75 or 76, Wake Forest and UVA in Athens and GT in 08, and 69 GT vs biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig Rock Perdoni and the 68 Arkansas/UGA Sugar Bowl and also in the 75 Cotton Bowl. I could go on.

UGA will not be any better in 2011 because UGA does not have a talented line ( s ) of scrimmage. Period. We will scrap to around 6-6 or 7-5 if lucky.

This is all on Mark Richt and Rodney Gardner, Tracy Searels ……………… their lines are inferior. UGA does not have a 345 nose tackle and every one else in the world does. The O line is effemminate.

With a new fundamentally sound coach this time next year, UGA will rebound by 2012 and beyond.

GO Dogs.

Skitty Fritty

January 8th, 2011
6:52 pm

Who cares, it’s Basketball season and the Dawgs just beat UK!

edumacated

January 8th, 2011
7:08 pm

It’s time to quit sulking folks and start talking about who we are going to get next year to replace Richt. We all know it’s gonna happen, so let’s not be delusional.

My money is on Kirby Smart. Everybody thought he was turning his back on his school for not coming, but he was intelligent enough to recognize a sinking ship when he saw one.

BG

January 8th, 2011
7:34 pm

Oh yea baby! The DAWGS will be back in 2011 and it started today with Mr. Swann committing to the DAWGS today. This years recruiting class is going to be very special. Come on down Mr. Crowell and Mr. Drew!

BG

January 8th, 2011
7:35 pm

If you don’t love them DAWGS then GET off of the DAWG board!!!!!!!!!!

Dixie Redcoat Band

January 8th, 2011
7:41 pm

Actually, there are several MAC teams in better physical shape then then UGA…sad.

AltamahaDawg

January 8th, 2011
7:56 pm

“dawgs88 said it right….dooley and erk’s teams played with discipline and passion.”

Ok but they lost a LOT of game in the decade of the 70’s, so clearly there are factors other than than coaches ability to inspire his players. He could have also pointing out the 6-6 a couple of years before or the 6-5 a couple of years later, but that’s not the point. It was that a 74-75 type turnaround is not really that difficult to imagine.

Personally, I would say that Dooley’s team were far more frustrating that Richt’s. Richt’s have just slipped over the course of a couple of year, but Dooley would have a pretty good season, then follow it up with a total flop the very next. And did that several times.

ON a related note….If NO discipline and passion is why Richt’s teams have struggled, but VD/ER teams always had plenty of that, wouldn’t that make thier pitiful years even worse?

Dooley 70-79 was exactly the same winning percentage as Richt’s past 3 years.

7576DAWG

January 8th, 2011
8:05 pm

edumacated
I don’t want Smart , there is no indication that he will be any good as a head coach. His only shining star is he is very outwardly emotional which CMR isn’t capable of. But this outward display is great when you are trying to get 18 to 21 year olds fired up. I would rather offer a proven winner like Paterson six or seven million a year to bring in instinct success.
Grantham will have a very good defense next year and could carry the Bobo’s inconsistent offense, so don’t count CMR out just yet . We will know after the South Carolina game . If we are 2-0 and the losses were solid wins then UGA could win a minimum of 10 games.

Big Harry

January 8th, 2011
8:05 pm

If things go back to where they were with Richt ACUTALLY being involved with the team and the players’ develpment then I think he can turn things around. I don’t for a second believe that Richt had been “covered up” in other stuff – what a load of crap!

Should Richt NOT get totally involved then he can find somewhere else to go… I want a coach who not only wants to be here but SHOWS he wants to be here.. nuff said.

59bulldawg

January 8th, 2011
8:34 pm

I was at that “humiliating 34-14 loss to Tech on a miserable cold, rainy day in Sanford Stadium” and I still get a shiver up my spine when I think about it. And as bad as that was and the bowl game that followed I have never been as depressed about my Dawgs as I am today. First of all how dare anyone compare Grantham to Erk. Grantham may yet do something to make me think higher of his abilities, but at the moment I’m not sure he’s even worthy to carry Erk’s clipboard. But time will tell! Second, I don’t see Richt ever putting the team through a “punishing” spring practice. Loran, I love you man but you’re really reaching by comparing the 1975 junkyard dawgs to what may be possible in 2011. I REALLY HOPE I”M WRONG ABOUT THIS! But Richt has lost me. He was spoiled by early success and he put the program on autopilot while he fell asleep at the wheel. Truly passionate coaches who know how to motivate players and coach them to consistently play hard and win big games would never have allowed the Georgia program to nosedive like it has the last few years. It’s always possible for things to get better for us in 2011. After all even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then. But with Richt at the helm I sure wouldn’t bet on it. At this point I’m just going to brace myself for another stinker of a season and hope we can hire someone next December who knows how to run a major college football program the way it should be run.

cynicaldawg

January 8th, 2011
8:43 pm

BG
We love the dawgs, always have and always will. It’s the product they put on the field that’s the problem. We want and deserve better.

Girldawg

January 8th, 2011
8:52 pm

Wouldn’t that be wonderful to be truly considered Junkyard Dawgs AGAIN !!! I can only hope that McGarity was able to get thru to CMR we have to be tough and we have to win and he needs to act like he is enjoying being on the field and if he is not resign nothing wrong with that… but on GREAT NOTE way to GO B-Ball Dawgs you definitely handled the Cats I am so excited and so proud of ya’ll you looked great!! Thanks to Coach Fox and all the team!! Wow!! On to Vandy!!

Ron

January 8th, 2011
9:01 pm

UGA’s worst games are yet to come. Next season is going to be a disaster. Too bad. Such a great university should be able to attract the best talent and DEVELOP IT!

Girldawg

January 8th, 2011
9:07 pm

Okay I am going to throw this out there and see what the BullDawg Nation thinks… McGarity needs to at least be looking around for a replacement just in case we end 6-7 again and that is NOT impossible in 2011 …sooooo what do ya’ll think about Dave Wansted (?) from Pittsburgh? He truly has a passion for the game and I am surprised that Pitt let him go but in the SEC he may have better talent and better opportunities your thoughts?? Am I just crazy??? I like Rich Rod too he just has to get him one heck of a Defensive Guru.. and don’t he has beat UGA….. when he was with West Virginia..sooooooooooooooooooooo what do you think??

Girldawg

January 8th, 2011
9:14 pm

FYI.. I have given up on CMR… you cannot manufacture passion for the game you got it or you don’t
I have more passion for the game in my sleep than CMR displays on game day! He is a good man don’t get me wrong he is a good man!!

Lakedawg

January 8th, 2011
9:37 pm

BG—-Amen Brother, well said. Dawgs will win at least 10 games and play LSU for SEC in 2011. Several incoming recruits will play key roles. Girldawg get real DW or RR for coach???? Mark Richt will get extension next year and be here to play OSU in 2020.

icedawg

January 8th, 2011
9:43 pm

Maybe if they wear more spandex, extra tight, it might pick their game up to the “next level.”