Time for the Dogs to put the ‘cancer’ talk behind them

Orson Charles has the right idea about how to approach this season. (The State)

Orson Charles has the right idea about how to approach this season. (The State)

A lot of what you hear from college football players in the offseason should be taken with a grain of salt.

It’s part of the team-building process to talk it up, so you get a lot of “we’re working harder than ever” chatter. We heard last year about how much harder the players were working and how much faster they were. Then came the 6-7 season and the conditioning coach and his supposedly infamous mat drills were out, and now we’re being told how much harder the players are working and how it’s paying off with them being much bigger and faster.

Whether that’s true or just more talk, we’ll see this fall.

Also, if the previous season wasn’t all it was expected to be, you tend to hear comments about how much better it is now in terms of leadership and attitude. The past couple of years we’ve heard a lot of that kind of talk from Georgia football players, and we’re hearing more of it this year. There wasn’t any leadership in the locker room. There was finger-pointing going on after losses.

The difference is, this time the picture they’re painting of the previous year’s attitude and morale problems is much more extreme than we’ve heard before, with several instances of players who are no longer on the team being referred to as “cancers” that had to be removed in order for the team to get healthy again.

Whether that’s a bit of scapegoating or the morale problems really were exacerbated last year by some dissenters, this seems to be more than just team-building among the current players. Christian Robinson has been outspoken about last year’s morale problems, as has Ben Jones. And Tavarres King told the Macon Telegraph there were “absolutely” more chemistry problems with last year’s team than than those of us outside the program knew about.

Looking back, that’s not surprising, especially considering the early-season losing streak. In the midst of that four-game skid, Mark Richt was asked about how his team was handling the adversity, and he said, “All I would say is everybody showed up to work and we worked. That’s all we can ask right now. We just have to keep grinding right now.”

As the season wore on, we got more comments from him about the players needing to show up for work like a man and do their job.

Kris Durham said before the Tennessee game that the team was “trying to stay positive, trying to have a positive mentality, and get back to having fun. It’s never fun when you lose.”

Now it appears the problems with that team were more severe than simply not “finishing the drill.” It wasn’t all attitude, of course. There definitely were talent problems at certain positions. But perhaps members of the team who were unhappy over a lack of playing time or the way they’d been treated by coaches dragged the team down even more.

And this year? Well, it’s all going to be different, isn’t it? At least that’s what we’re being told.

I’m not sure all this pointing of the finger at departed players is any more productive than the “griping and moaning,” as Richt calls it, that apparently went down last year.

I think maybe a better mind-set is how Orson Charles appears to be approaching the coming season. As he told Dawgs247, “We just need to go back to just having fun. When I was coming here, I was watching when they played Hawaii. All them boys were jumping up and down and having fun. I’m like, ‘Why can’t we have that now? Why can’t we do that now?’ There’s nothing stopping us. We’re stopping ourselves. So I think that’s the No. 1 thing that we need to go out there and remember. We’ve been playing this game for a long time, and growing up, we’ve been having fun. So let’s just have fun doing it now.”

It is a game, after all.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

187 comments Add your comment

Denver Dawg

March 29th, 2011
11:24 am

I’m ready to tee it up right now….

PDX Dawg

March 29th, 2011
11:25 am

Me

March 29th, 2011
11:25 am

Can’t end the cancer talk with Caleb King still on the team. Biggest one of them all.

Loran, Whatayagot?

March 29th, 2011
11:29 am

The cliche’ mill is churning them out. One day all these cliche’s are going to be authentic. Let’s hope it’s this year.

Red-N-Black

March 29th, 2011
11:30 am

Bill you suck.

BornADawg

March 29th, 2011
11:33 am

Tackling can be fun too! 1) Wrap arms around guy with ball – 2) Drive to ground! See, wasn’t that a lot of fun!! Go DAWGS!!

Dawg Gone

March 29th, 2011
11:33 am

Bill good article…I agree with the old “shut your mouth and hit somebody” attitude. Talk when the game is over…an you have WON.

JaxDawg05

March 29th, 2011
11:38 am

The weeks between signing day and the spring game are such a waste of print.

BJohnDawg

March 29th, 2011
11:43 am

BornADawg…love it.

It more fun when you win. go out and win and see how fun it is.
go 14-0 see how fun that will be.
Go 6-7 again and you will see and feel the same crap as last year.

SSIgator

March 29th, 2011
11:45 am

“Then came the 6-7 season and the conditioning coach and his supposedly infamous mat drills were out, and now we’re being told how much harder the players are working and how it’s paying off with them being much bigger and faster.”

2011 – Second verse same as the first. UGA – where all good playes go to fade away.

DOES CANCER HAVE A NAME

March 29th, 2011
11:46 am

Does anyone know what players they are talking about? If the players are no longer on the team, be a man and call them out. Bill you wrote the article about this, give us the scoop. They should say a heart transplant was needed not cancer treatment.

Dawg Gone

March 29th, 2011
11:53 am

SSIgator glad to see you back on the blog..quick question for ya. How many games as a HC has old Mushy won again? Gators are unreal, new unproven coach, new scheme , new staff and they are thumping their chests already…you had a 2 time NC coach last year and a redshirt freshman took you to O.T…keep talking this could be real fun.

jablonski

March 29th, 2011
11:57 am

We hear the same crap every year. Did you know that UGA had NO nutrition plan before this year? Players ate and did what they wanted? There has been absolutely NO leadership on this team for years. You can see the program has fallen hard by watching the bowl game. No fire, no intensity…kicking a field goal??? Coaches did not have faith in the players and players did not have faith in the coaches.

One way or another it will get fixed this year. Either Richt wins and that includes beating Florida or he is gone baby, gone.

BornADawg

March 29th, 2011
12:05 pm

@jablonski
Since “FUN” seems to be the word of the day, I agree with your post. Seems to me it would have been a lot more FUN to go for it on a 4th & inces, inside the five no less, with a 6 & 6 record in a “who really cares bowl” than kick a field goal. Coach, I love ya’, but bring back the fun. Let’s do the unexpected as well as the obvious. CMB, are you reading this? When you’re having fun and jumping up and down after good wins, we’ll be right there jumnping up and down with you! Go DAWGS!

1eyedJack

March 29th, 2011
12:08 pm

I assume Marcus Dowtin was a tumor but who were the others?

dawgfan

March 29th, 2011
12:09 pm

I could really give a flying crap what the players and coaches say at this point. Just win the damn games and shut up. Good grief.

Orson, the reason that team was having fun is because they were winning. Why don’t you focus on that? The reason they were winning is because they put in the blood, sweat, and tears necessary to get there. Got it? Don’t put the cart before the horse big guy. Nobody is going to have fun if we’re 4th in the East and get our azzes kicked by Florida again.

lucky21

March 29th, 2011
12:12 pm

What Orson Charles said would be really encouraging to me if i was a dawg fan because if your having fun then you are playing excited and excitement is what will help bring your program back. A little excitement encourages everyone to work harder hit harder run harder.

Jeff

March 29th, 2011
12:15 pm

I really do think the conditioning/strength change might have been a great move. I was watching an interview with Chris Low at ESPN.com with Aaron Murray and Murray looks like he has bulked up a lot. Same goes with some of the pictures I have seen on 24/7. They just look bigger and stronger.

Generic UGA Player

March 29th, 2011
12:21 pm

We are really doing great this Spring. [Insert new coach] has really gotten us working together as a team. We have great senior leaders this year. Last year we really didn’t have leadership but this year we do.

This is the hardest we have worked during the offseason. No one missed any voluntary workouts. We are really going to jell this year.
———————————
That same crap has been said every year since 2005.

schmeckdawg

March 29th, 2011
12:23 pm

dawgfan

March 29th, 2011
12:09 pm
I could really give a flying crap what the players and coaches say at this point. Just win the damn games and shut up. Good grief.

GREAT CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Buck Belue wears a toupee

March 29th, 2011
12:23 pm

Enter your comments here

Buck Belue wears a toupee

March 29th, 2011
12:23 pm

excuses, excuses.. been hearing the same garbage for over 30 years now.

Atl Sports Fan

March 29th, 2011
12:24 pm

Jablonski-Richt had been asking Damon Evans for the past few years to have a nutrionist on staff. Damon Evans would not approve the funds in order to bring in a nutrionist. Interesting how UGA hired a new AD and now they have a nutrionist on staff.

YardDawg

March 29th, 2011
12:25 pm

Have we had a “leader” since the Davids then Shockley?

Lots and lots of NFL-calibur stars here since then, but no leaders.

schmeckdawg

March 29th, 2011
12:26 pm

Has Mark Richt come out and said how rejuvenated he feels and he hasn’t been this excited about a team since his first year in Athens yet?

Nick

March 29th, 2011
12:33 pm

I’m just curious who these so called “cancerous” departures are. For the most part, in my opinion most of the seniors who graduated and the two juniors who left early were prime examples of what every coach and fan wants on their team as far as their talent, attitude and work ethic. The whole thing is just fishy to me. Can someone explain it to me??

McDawg

March 29th, 2011
12:35 pm

ballz to the wall (whatever the hell that means)-go dawgs

McDawg

March 29th, 2011
12:38 pm

lets wear all Red against Boise St.

edumacated

March 29th, 2011
12:41 pm

That’s right. This team needs more fun, dancing and jumping to win. Sheesh!

Clean House

March 29th, 2011
12:44 pm

There is still a lot of cancer in this program. Hope McGarity rids it but Im not so sure. The beatdowns keep coming in baseball and the womens basketball team was bounced from the tournament big time. Too many clowns in and that includes Adams.

NC Dawg

March 29th, 2011
12:50 pm

The only thing that really matters is cleats on the gametime turf. It always shows the truth.

Bill King

March 29th, 2011
12:51 pm

None of the players have named names so far concerning who the “cancers” were last season. Speculation centers mostly on those who transferred out, but it could involve the seniors, too.

Mike

March 29th, 2011
12:54 pm

Stop blaming teammates.

Get a mirror.

joe

March 29th, 2011
12:54 pm

hmmmm…seems like we hear the same old crap from you and the other so called sports writers too….maybe its time for you guys to shut up with all the negitive talk as well. I could name a few writers and people that call themselves UGA fans that are “cancer” also…..Bill King….Fran Tarkington…..need I go on??? Take a look at some of the crap you both have said over the last year or so…..Time to either back this team or shut up!

Since Vince

March 29th, 2011
12:58 pm

I think our overall talent was lacking in the trenches. We were not as athletic as our SEC brethren across the board and we seemed tired by midway in the 3rd qtr a lot of times. Time for these guys to put the blame game behind them and buy into coach T ’s old skool mentality.

AltamahaDawg

March 29th, 2011
12:59 pm

I’m not sure what the definition of “put it behind them” is exactly, but this is the second time this has been covered in this forum in about a week. I don’t think Robinson is out there calling it to anyone attention at this point, is he?

Not to mention it was a responce to a line of questioning from a reporter looking for just such an angle. All of which is fair, nobody puts words in his mouth. Just saying, it’s not like anyone inside the program sought out this story in an effort to make excuses. Obviously at 6-7 there weren’t high fives all around. It’s pretty amazing there wasn’t full blown fist fights in the locker room.

frannie mae

March 29th, 2011
1:01 pm

@joe blow……. glad Fran spoke out because he aint mamby pamby like you!

Mike

March 29th, 2011
1:01 pm

Blaming teammates won’t erase Murray’s 15 fumbles & interceptions, Ealey’s 2 fumbles, King’s fumble, and so on.

Guys just had some bad plays, at the wrong time, against the best teams.

That’s what they need to be focusing on.

Reggie

March 29th, 2011
1:04 pm

Robinson didn’t have a good year. Especially against the good teams like Florida, what 1 tackle against Florida? Murray had like 18 interceptions against Florida. They need to take a look at themselves.

Reggie

March 29th, 2011
1:07 pm

Murray had so many issues, I don’t know if he can be fixed. Pre-play reads, 3rd downs, 4th quarters, red zone, footwork, turnovers, proper run audibles, deep ball accuracy, etc.

chilidawg

March 29th, 2011
1:07 pm

Logan Gray? A cancer? I don’t think so.

cobbdawg

March 29th, 2011
1:08 pm

If the players will focus on the entire word…FUNdamentals…yes, 2011 can be a great season. Doesn’t hurt to focus on the latter part of fundaMENTAL either…gotta truly believe it, not just talk it.

frannie mae

March 29th, 2011
1:10 pm

@ reggie… I agree! Stop this crap and the excuses. Get out there and prove it on the football field which also means stop Dancing on the sidelines.

AltamahaDawg

March 29th, 2011
1:11 pm

Fran “spoke out”? He complained about a poor season record (well Duh!) on a radio interview that was choreographed for just that, simply to get publicity. He said nothing of value, offered no solutions, and was just purely factually incorrect on a couple of points. Not to mentioned he picked about the worst possible timing possible to do so, unless his objective was actually to hurt the recruiting effort he was supposed to be so (never mind his complete absence for the past 20 yrs) concerned about.

Will

March 29th, 2011
1:18 pm

Nick Sana offered Zach Mettenberger a scholarship, so did LSU. Doesn’t sound like a cancer to me.

Mamby Pamby fan

March 29th, 2011
1:20 pm

excuses for next season: we have a new offensive line coach….. we have a new defensive back coach……South Carolina always plays UGA tough……….. Murray had the sophomore jinx. …..injuries…….new strength coach’s program needs more time………… Coach Richt needs one more year to right the ship…… Our former AD left us in a bigger mess than we realized….. We have no wide recievers to fill AJ’s shoes………

Ray Goof

March 29th, 2011
1:20 pm

The “dream team” will save Richt. The “dream team” is Richts’ cure for his dawgs cancer.

Will

March 29th, 2011
1:20 pm

Ban Jones’ o-line gave up dozens of sacks and finished 10th in the SEC in rushing. He has enough junk to worry about than trying to blame teammates for the O-Line’s disastrous year.

Ray Goof

March 29th, 2011
1:21 pm

The “dream team” can beat up Chuck Norris.

joe

March 29th, 2011
1:22 pm

Alta Dawg…my point exactly…..talk about losers…he is right up their. After his comments, have no respect whatsoever for him…hope he never shows up to another game and if he does hope we boo him loud and clear….
FrannieMae…you’re an idiot- plain and simple.