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

I give up on UGA

January 8th, 2011
9:58 pm

Well let’s see: we already know we’re gonna have the exact same coaching staff. And that coaching staff has already openly and proudly declared that we don’t need to really change anything. All despite that we’ve gotten worse…and worse…and worse…over the last 3 years. Yep – looks like a turnaround is coming to me!

Wise up Dawg Nation – STOP GIVING MONEY to our moribund program until somebody finally realizes that richt is not the answer. Until change IS made, we’re just gonna continue to spiral downwards – along with our hard-earned money.

Snoop Dawg

January 8th, 2011
10:03 pm

It is possible for the UGA to bounce back in 2011, but not with Richt and his incompetent coaching staff. With the possible exception of Grantham, not one of them has a clue.

Mark Richt is no Dooley, and it is downright offensive to mention Erk Russell in the same sentence with the clowns on the sidelines imposing as coaches today.

UGA will never be a serious contender in the SEC again until hard decisions are made and Richt goes away.

GR82BAG8R

January 8th, 2011
10:03 pm

Georgia finishes 11 – 2 in 2011, loses to Florida, loses its bowl game.

Stuart

January 8th, 2011
10:15 pm

One of Bill Murray’s best comments about any issue is “It just doesn’t matter!”. The 6-7 record was bad and players and coaches should be held accountable.
Richt should get them motivated but it just doesn’t matter! Coaches can work with players on blocking/tackling techniques, running, passing and catching but it just doesn’t matter! The players were recruited by the coaches because they were supposed to have the ability to do the aforementioned and like the academic professors, the coaches assume that the players learned how to do the aforementioned.
Think of this as a class and improve the grade because in some cases it does matter.

Summit Dawg

January 8th, 2011
10:22 pm

Hell with Richt and Bobo (the joined at berth twins)…….Go Coach Fox and the “roundball dawgs!”

Big Dawg

January 8th, 2011
10:29 pm

Here’s some thoughts from one of Georgia’s all-time greats and an NFL Hall of Famer. And he is right on the money, as most of us living in reality will all agree with. He’s calling it like it is!

http://www.stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=87&c=671&f=66449

Snoop Dawg

January 8th, 2011
10:45 pm

HOPE IS NOT A METHOD.

Snoop Dawg

January 8th, 2011
10:49 pm

Suzanne Yoculan would make an outstanding football coach. She is a proven world class leader and is genuine in every respect. The contrast with Richt is absolutely damning to da Preacha Man.

Maybe she could convince Richt to resign with a golden parachute.

Snoop Dawg

January 8th, 2011
10:50 pm

Let’s pay Richt off to get rid of him. He is dragging us all down. He is all about money.

AltamahaDawg

January 8th, 2011
11:49 pm

“Mark Richt is no Dooley, and it is downright offensive to mention Erk Russell in the same sentence with the clowns on the sidelines imposing as coaches today.”

I think you must not have read the article or know your history. These guys had losses just as bad, and seasons just as pathetic (more actually) than the guys you say don’t have a clue. That was the point. So they didnt have a clue either, or we just ignore all that and pretend it was somehow ok for them?

Tuna

January 9th, 2011
12:54 am

Bill King,
You are old, you look like a molester, and your stories bore me. Just take a vacation already.

Coach Mark Rick

January 9th, 2011
12:58 am

Coach Rick here, I just woke up from a nap and the first thing I thought about was football. I’m really fired up about next season. I’ve set my mind on thinking about football alot more than I did last year. Man I’m excited, we’re getting close, be encouraged.

7576DAWG

January 9th, 2011
1:20 am

Bill
Accommodate Tuna by giving him a permanent vacation from your blog.

Red Man Reaction

January 9th, 2011
3:36 am

Misery loves company. No better way to divert attention from reality than to look at bowls that happened 20+ years ago!

Your friend, ‘Red Man Reaction’ says rather than delve into the past, you should be looking into the future. That means a new head coach.

doggoneit

January 9th, 2011
4:07 am

I don’t remember the year, but I think it was in the 70’s when we lost to Wofford at home.

tony

January 9th, 2011
5:54 am

The defense will be better next season when Justin Anderson return and Tyson move to end. Todd Grantham will have the defense ready. The things that have plague the dawgs since Mr.Richt been there are his inability to play the right players and call the right plays. He already had the players(DJ, Moreno, Stafford and AJ) to win a nc but he gets out coached year after year.

Doug

January 9th, 2011
7:39 am

DUH. The Dogs in 2011 will have the same dumb, uninspired coach (but at least he is a good Christian man), the same or worse thug players, and a tougher schedule. If you think the team will improve you are as smart as Sarah Palin.

DawgVoiceofReason

January 9th, 2011
8:35 am

AltamahaDawg,

I always appreciate your comments. You have a good sense of perspective and provide relevant information. It is ironic when other people talk about Coach Dooley and Erk as though their teams never struggled. Those of us who are old enough to remember know about the outcry to get rid of Dooley at various times in his career. My point is not to diminish either one of them (they both are worthy of the Hall of Fame), but like you to acknowledge that they were certainly not perfect.

Coach Richt is being given another year to show what he can do. I believe he has earned the opportunity. And, to use an old cliche, the proof will be in the pudding.

Woebegong

January 9th, 2011
9:04 am

I have been as critical of CMR’s lack of emotion and perceived lack of motivational skills as anybody on this blog. I will say though that I think he is capable of turning it around. We are missing a few cogs in the machine but I think overall, we have the athletes to be competitive in the league.
Having said all of the above, CMR will be here for this season so maybe we all just need to get behind our DAWGS and hope CMR, can turn it around. Maybe he will get the emotion he needs and also really examine his team and coaches before spring practice starts and be able to right the ship. I sure hope so, because I bleed black and red, and I am in need of a transfusion.

e.relevant

January 9th, 2011
9:06 am

Enter your comments here

e.relevant

January 9th, 2011
9:07 am

Gary patterson to UGA!!! Sounds good to me!!

G-DAWG

January 9th, 2011
9:33 am

DirkDawggler, GREAT name by the way, hit the proverbial nail on the head. The 08 ” Blackout ” Bama game was by far the low point in my life time. So many variables determine this for me. First of all, the black jerseys and the whole ” Blackout ” theme still held an aura of fear and invincibility due to the fact that the only two times we had worn them were blowout wins at Auburn and Hawaii in the Sugar bowl. Second of all, we were ranked #1 for the first time in 20 some odd years and the ESPN Gameday crew was there for the first time in 10 years, a 24 to 3 embarrassment to Tennessee. Third of all, the atmosphere in that stadium was simply ELECTRIC, the field looked absolutely AWESOME and the fans were JACKED!!! We even won the coin toss, everything was going OUR way. Bama’s first offensive series we get a stop and then, our ole nemesis appears, untimely penalty, of the 15 yard variety. And that my friends was the beginning of the end. That was when our true weakness was revealed, offensive and defensive lines. From that point forward, we seem to lose our ” Swagger ” and has only gotten worse since.

Snake Doc

January 9th, 2011
9:44 am

Same CEO, same coaches, same laid back attitude, nothing is changing! All smart betting men say NO WAY!

Big Dawg

January 9th, 2011
9:48 am

If you are constantly working on the wrong things on a daily basis, it really doesn’t matter how much harder you work or try. It’s probably going to be a tough road for you, and you’ll most likely end up somewhere else.

AltamahaDawg

January 9th, 2011
9:48 am

Thanks. The is no bigger fan of Coach Dooley than right here. He was the coach when I was old enough to know what a Georgia Bulldog was, and he was coach when I attended. Multiple signed stuff around the house and have been fortunate enough to have met and talked to him both in Athens and the Golden Isles. Made sure I was at his last few games.

But some of these guys are either, as you say, not old enough or have selective memory about fans wanting him fired for several years leading up to his best seasons. Not to mention thought him past his prime and long overdue for retirement as Athletic Director years before Adam’s PR debacle. (I was not in either of those camps, no surprise).

It’s particularly funny to read that Dooley Always had this, or his teams Never suffered from that, and of course he had Erk. So if those are the keys, how would you then explain all the 5 and 6 loss seasons. And the 0-33 losses, and the offenses that couldn’t move the ball, and the defenses that stunk. In fact the season question….74, that defense was worse than Grantham’s (indexed for the times). And this was TG first year, with misfit players. That staff had years of experience and recruiting classes to get that point. THAT was a passionate, discipline, hard working team(s)? really?

I actually don’t even think that it’s a matter of Richt earning the opportunity. UGA doesn’t owe him anything except what’s written on the contract. If replacing him was or becomes the thing to do, he shouldn’t be afforded any goodwill. I just don’t think that’s part of it anymore, as it was in Dooley’s days. I’m sure he doesn’t expect any. It just seems to me that McGarity took a look at all the factors and made a decision based on what he sees as facts, devoid of the emotion fans can afford since they deal with no consequences. He’ll do that again next year.

What I read is that the AD’s and coaches aren’t doing things the way that some fans say that they would have done it. (putting aside for now, that they have no idea what they would actually do standing in those shoes for real, lets assume they arent just lying to themsleves for the sake of bravado). It’s easy to understand how frustrating it is to make assumptions that based on a false premise from the beginning. It’s based on thinking that they know all the same things, and see everything the same way, and have the same considerations.

I just feel sorry for those fans who have already determined that are going into next year pulling against the team to win ballgames. If it happens, it happens. Chip will fall. I just enjoy the game too much for all that.

Snake Doc

January 9th, 2011
9:52 am

The CEO and his apologizing, excusing making champions can only wish that MR could attain the stature of Dooley. MR is no Vince Dooley and never will be!

And for all you boneheads that say, “Well Dooley had some bad years” – With Dooley there was always hope because we knew he could recruit and coach. Dooley had a mind, a passion and a fire for the game of football. Dooley lived and breathed football, the CEO not so much. Dooley was respected by fans and players alike, the CEO not so much! The CEO couldn’t carry coach Dooley’s jock much less coach his way out of a wet paper bag!

Snake Doc

January 9th, 2011
9:53 am

The CEO works really hard – So do washing machines!

Mike

January 9th, 2011
9:59 am

It is “Dawgs”, not “Dogs”.

harold

January 9th, 2011
10:19 am

IMPOSSIBLE. GEORGIA IS AN AVERAGE TEAM WITH AN AVERAGE COACH. GEORGIA IS NOT A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM WITH A CHAMPIONSHIP COACH. ALABAMA AND SABAN AND AUBURN AND CHIZK ARE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS.

huffsleeper

January 9th, 2011
10:26 am

I cannot believe the delusional posts that think something good can happen next year. We have no recruits, no discipline, no vision and a coach who really does not know where to turn. Wishful thinking is just that. McGarity is going to let Georgia sink further before pulling the plug next year. What a waste. Georgia is an embarassment. If Richt was truly a good man and not selfish he would give it up but he doesn’t want to give up the money and Georgia does not want to pay the settlement.

AltamahaDawg

January 9th, 2011
10:29 am

Great.
please explain to me how such a great coach could have had so many terrible seasons.
please explain to me how such a terrible coach could have had so many great seasons.

As I have said multiple times in the past, the comparisons of those coaches in different eras of football is pointless, but you insist on doing it, so please do.

huffsleeper

January 9th, 2011
10:31 am

Quit comparing Richt to Dooley. We are not playing against Dooley. We are playing against Florida, Alabama, LSU, Auburn and now apparently teams like Central Florida.

chazzo

January 9th, 2011
10:31 am

UCF is actually a good team. A big part of the disappointment was that fans, players and coaches didn’t think so. UGA has a better team than showed up for that game, but it is hardly one of the worse losses in history. Please. I would put last years Tennessee game or the Bama Blackout on that list well before this game.

There are some promising young players. There is potential. There was improvement (Murray, sacks, turnover margin). Yup, there is no need to get delusional about a BCS championship in 2011. Nor is there a reason to think this is the end of the world.

Hey, if you are that self-hating, contact me, I would love to have some tickets next season.

AltamahaDawg

January 9th, 2011
10:34 am

simple huff. We lost several games by a few points. We have a rising star at QB, a deep receiving corp, a running game that can;t possible be any worse, and a defense that will be able to practice at full speed this spring. Very logical to expect the record to improve. What’s not clear about any of that?

And we do have recruits, some good one already and some on the way. I have no idea what list(s) you are seeing. And some pretty good talent that RS last year.

And how do you know what Coach Richt knows?

huffsleeper

January 9th, 2011
10:37 am

AltamahaDawg is a delusional wishful thinking fool. Very dedicated to his team though and I do appreciate his willingness to go down with the ship.

AltamahaDawg

January 9th, 2011
10:40 am

….and you didn’t answer my questions.

Some feller from a flyin' saucer

January 9th, 2011
10:56 am

To Chuck UGA:
I will add the ‘66 7-6 loss to a mediocre Miami. Was Georgia’s only loss that year. May have cost them the MNC.
Also, the ‘69 16-2 Sugar Bowl loss to Arkansas. Georgia was undefeated with 2 ties going in, and were probably the best team in the country at that time, and they were absolutely loaded with great players. Jake Scott, Bill Stanfill, Steve Greer, and on and on. If they had been sober for the game, they would have beat Arknasas by about 3 touchdowns.
Last, but not least, the ‘74 34-14 loss to that smirking ratfink, Pepper Rodgers, and Tech. I was there, and it was pouring down rain, and cold. I was wet and cold and drunk and miserable, like a lot of folks that day. This one tops my list for being the worst Bulldog loss in my lifetime.

10SEConds

January 9th, 2011
11:25 am

AltamahaDawg, we are apparently almost generational peers, and I agree with some of your points. Dooley was a very good, not great, program coach and solid, stolid play caller. I remember defending him in the 70s against numerous gripers: “third and 20, up the middle Dooley,” some would say. After one bowl loss (77 Sugar Bowl), one of the PLAYER’s father said to me “I’d like to cut Vince Dooley’s —s off!”. My view then and now was that he was consistently the 2d best coach in the SEC, and it’d be stupid to replace him. By ‘85, tho, I thought it was time for him to go; always hoped it’d be Erk.

Also agree this is a better team than 74 and 79 Dawgs, so we should stop the “sky is falling” hysteria. Start 3-3 next year, and I will join the tar and feathers crowd.

Also agree the UCF loss doesn’t even make top 10. This year’s loss to Colorado does, along with Goff’s loss to UF in Athens; the ‘07 loss to UT; the awful ‘76 debacle v UK; the embarrassing loss to AU in ‘99; Bama shutout in ‘95; the bowl blowout by Nebraska (forget the year; early 70’s); the horrifying ‘79 loss to UVA (people were sure Dooley had lost it and I thought maybe so myself at that point); and the legendary loss to AU in ‘42. I reserve the 10th spot for any and all losses to GT, with a special circle of Hell for their string of wins in the 50s. Which brings me back to Dooley: he made UGA THE state team and utterly dominated Tech. Just ask any of our 60 something fellow Dawgfans what that meant after the hard years of the 50s!

AltamahaDawg

January 9th, 2011
11:27 am

Tell you what, we’ll keep it to simply “no recruits” and why you say that. Forget the other mindreading stuff. That one is black and white. Come on now, how hard could it be to debate a “fool”? I’ll give you a few minute to actually go look it up and get back to me.

JTDawg

January 9th, 2011
11:32 am

Wonder how Saban “seals the deal” on so many recruits?

He may be headed for a suspension . . .

http://network.yardbarker.com/college_football/article_external/multiple_schools_told_ncaa_of_saban_violation/3927048

GoDawgs

January 9th, 2011
11:45 am

No, the dawgs don’t have the underclassmen that these past teams did to rebound to perform fundamental football that will equate into wins. I think the best this team can do in 2011 is win 8 games. When Richt first got here we were aggresive on offense running no huddle trying to tire the defense and we haven’t been that way since 2005. The problems that were at FSU with all of the arrests while he was there are here now. I am not saying he was responsible for what happened at FSU the point is that we are recruiting similar players with similar personalities that is having similar results and that needs to stop.

JTDawg

January 9th, 2011
11:46 am

Dooley was head coach under Eaves, then Co-AD for a few years, then finally AD (after flirtation with Auburn in ‘80, I think).

Yet I never read where he cut back his administrative duties so he could, “study football and be on the cutting edge.”

I just wonder when he stopped studying football?

I read an interview with Bill Bellichick a couple of years ago, where he said, for several years, he has gone to Tuscaloosa and Gainsville, to visit Nick Saban and Urban Myer during the off season, to “pick their brains” about their offensive and defensive strategies. See what they had cooking.

Needless to say, he doesn’t stop off in Athens . . .

Blue Chipper

January 9th, 2011
12:00 pm

It’s kind of sad to see all the Dawg fans getting so excited this year (just like the year before, the year before that, etc.). How long is it going to take for UGA fans to realize that UGA is simply no longer relevant in the SEC? In the national picture, UGA isn’t even a blip on the radar, and hasn’t been since the preseason #1 ranking two years ago.

Sit back and be grateful for the six or seven wins you’ll get every year. Coaching genius Mark Richt may take you to 8-4 or even 9-3 occasionally, but Florida will still win the SEC, meaning no BCS bowls and no top 10 final ranking. Most years, UGA will be very lucky to finish in the top 25, and only after a big bowl win over a nobody opponent.

It’s a different world now, and Dawg fans need to adjust their expectations downward to reflect reality.

Unfortunately nothing is going to change until UGA changes its mediocre coaching. That’s where the difference is, and that’s why everyone outside Dawgtard Nation just laughs at Dawg fans getting so excited year after year about what a great recruiting class UGA gets. It doesn’t matter how many blue chip high school players go to UGA, they simply don’t get the coaching they would get at Florida or Alabama, to name two schools whose programs are far ahead of UGA. And that’s not going to change as long as Mark Richt is in Athens.

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality. And mediocrity and irrelevance.

SCAM Newton

January 9th, 2011
12:03 pm

If you spend enough money on a good quarterback or running back….. MAYBE!

chazzo

January 9th, 2011
12:04 pm

What’s to study? Run three times: score, punt, or field goal. Let Erk do his job.

AltamahaDawg

January 9th, 2011
12:21 pm

Could it be Dooley was quoted all of about 4 times a year in those days.
AGAIN, I asked the question….for all the things he did right, but Richt does wrong, wouldn’t having just as bad of results multiple times, be even Worse? It’s not really a complicated question.

Not even get into the apples and oranges of what climate his administration duties were dealing with then and now. Basically if he said it, Davidson did it.

Joseph

January 9th, 2011
12:34 pm

Richt to LSU.

Dawg Tired

January 9th, 2011
1:07 pm

Main difference between the turn-around that occurred after that truly miserable 1974 season (yes, I was there for everyone of those games that year) and any hoped for turn around in 2011: In 1975 we had Dooley and Russell; now we have Richt and Grantham. I submit that is where the analogy breaks down fairly quickly.

Brucerugby79

January 9th, 2011
1:20 pm

Cuz you are correct that Va. game my first homecoming as a graduate-my Dad went to Va. and he had all his frat. brothers in tow-they were all uncles to me-it was so bad they felt- sorry for me–that Ky loss in front of the Prince was also bad all losses to florida hurt worse than anything else

AltamahaDawg

January 9th, 2011
1:43 pm

Certainly can’t argue that Dooley and Russell proved that they could turn it around, and yet to be seen if Richt and Grantham can/will. And I understand that is the question posed in the topic.

But that’s really not what folks are upset about now. It’s that it slipped at all. Richt who has had some of the best team in the nation let it slip to the point it is today. We did have Dooley and Russell in 75 to turn it around, but we also had Dooley and Russell in 1974 in the first place, and then 77, and 79, also terrible years when they supposedley had it turned around. Surely that factors into any fair analogy. If they were far better prepared to turn thing around, this is even harder to excuse. (than the speculation, yet to be seen, about this crew)