Why the rush to judgment on 2011 Dogs?

Malcolm Mitchell's dazzling score proved to be too little too late, but what a play! (Brand Sanderlin / AJC)

Malcolm Mitchell's dazzling score proved to be too little too late, but what a play! (Brand Sanderlin / AJC)

The predictable happened Saturday night.

A Georgia program that struggled through a losing season last year got pretty soundly beaten by one of the country’s winningest programs in recent years.

A Top 5 team beat a team that somehow had sneaked into the Top 20 on the basis of a great recruiting year and residual respect from past glories.

Georgia fans booed and cussed Mike Bobo for yet another night of mostly predictable playcalling.

And the nattering nabobs of negativism, as Spiro Agnew might call them, immediately jumped off the bandwagon after just one game and started with the woe-is-Mark-Richt broadsides.

You knew that was going to happen, despite the fact that Boise State was favored over the Dogs and despite the fact that Georgia’s potential road to the SEC championship remains at least theoretically open despite the loss of the Old Leather Helmet trophy to the Broncos at the Georgia Dome. (The only way losing to Boise might impact Georgia in the SEC wars is if the injuries to a couple of key players Saturday night result in extended absences.)

But that’s the way the “hot seat” media scenario works. A “Dream Team” recruiting class might turn the heat down a couple of notches, but all you have to do is open the season with a loss — even a loss that most observers thought stood a pretty good chance of happening — and the “what has happened to the Georgia program under Richt?” storyline takes front and center again.

I’m certainly not here to defend Richt or Bobo. The downward trend of Georgia against ranked opponents over the past four seasons under Richt is undeniable. And despite the occasional deviation from the norm — Brandon Boykin coming over to the offensive side for a brilliant scoring reverse — Bobo fooled almost no one with what he was doing Saturday night, especially in the first half.

And while Aaron Murray played a little better in the second half, he mostly continued the slump that began in the Liberty Bowl and frankly didn’t show the amount of progress from his freshman year that most of us expected. He’s still standing back there holding on to the ball too long on third-and-long (thanks, Bobo) and getting sacked. He also was off-target on some key throws but we’ll give him that since he also had several surely thrown passes dropped.

Also, the line play was disappointing, both offensively and defensively, with Boise having the upper hand most of the evening. And Todd Grantham never did figure out how to defend Kellen Moore’s short passing game, whether the Dogs were in man-to-man or that extremely loose zone.

Yes, I had convinced myself Georgia could, under the right circumstances, beat Boise. And that might have happened had the Dogs played fully up to their potential, not made stupid mistakes, not gotten hit with some injuries — and if Boise had played a poor game. But they didn’t. Georgia still looked like a team in search of its identity while the Broncos played like a team that knows they’re good, something the Dogs are still dreaming about.

Still, as I was trudging back to the car Saturday night with my wife and brothers, we found ourselves doing something that ran counter to the general mood of the evening: accentuating the positive.

That long touchdown pass to true freshman Malcolm Mitchell was a thing of beauty, as he turned on the afterburners, catching the perfectly thrown ball from Murray in stride. That young man is going to be a Georgia football hero before very much time has passed. We also noted what a fine performance transfer linebacker Jarvis Jones turned in. And while tailback Isaiah Crowell’s debut was nowhere near Marcus Lattimore standards, he showed flashes of what is surely to come.

So if you want to throw up your hands and declare this another “lost” season on the basis of one game that Georgia really had very little chance of winning, go right ahead.

I prefer to think about the blur that was Mitchell as he literally blew past Boise defenders. The story of the 2011 Georgia Bulldogs still has many chapters yet to be written.

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814 comments Add your comment

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Bride of Chucky Knapp

September 4th, 2011
1:41 am

All out of Kool Aid over here Bill. Enjoy. It’s about effort. I’m done.

Chris

September 4th, 2011
1:42 am

Bobo has no clue how to establish anything for the offense. They never get into any sort of groove. He is in way over his head.

Chris

September 4th, 2011
1:43 am

and that third and 16 call down by three touchdowns…great thinking as always Bobo.

Tim

September 4th, 2011
1:49 am

Bill, give it up and start the cry to fire CMR. he is a loser.

Murray 2nd Best Still

September 4th, 2011
1:50 am

Bill, you are just trying to pull out a few positives from all the negatives tonight. Its a fact that UGA out recruits Boise State. We get the 4 & 5 star recruits and they get the 3 star recruits. How does 3 star recruits out play 5 star recruits ? Its called being coached. The game started with 3 penalties on the first drive. That is unacceptable. I watched a HIGH SCHOOL game two weeks ago that didn’t have a penalty by EITHER team until the 2nd quarter. That’s lack of discipline.

Take those rose colored glasses off. UGA fans paid hard earned money to watch that sorry game. Richt makes $3 million dollars per year to coach at UGA. Why can’t he COACH THE 5 STAR RECRUITS TO VICTORIES ?

Tim

September 4th, 2011
1:51 am

Like Idaho is a hot bed of top high school talent. it’s the coach, stupid.

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allwehaveishope

September 4th, 2011
1:53 am

Well, I wish I had your optimism, BK. But I don’t. yeah, there were a few bright spots but they were over shadowed by the same ineptness that befell last years team. The coaches had 8 months to fix it but failed miserably. It all falls on the coaching staff. They still cannot run the ball, can’t cover receivers, same old playcalling, got gassed by mid 2d qtr. Didn’t matter we lost several players as it wouldn’t have made a difference. No improvement at all. Time for a change as most of us are calling for, regardless the way the rest of the season goes. We all bleed red and black. Difference is some of us bleed more than others.

SydB

September 4th, 2011
2:04 am

I have a feeling the Dawgs will run the SEC table. Great game…good luck the rest of the way. JM in Boise

Ex-Disney Dawg

September 4th, 2011
2:05 am

I’ve seen better discipline at a peewee football game. You can look at what few positives from the game there are, but the sad truth is this program has lost it’s edge. It’s shelf life has expired and a change must take place.

UGA Alumnus

September 4th, 2011
2:07 am

Bulldog Nation needs to step up, right now, and learn how to be a good fan base.

We lost the first game of the year.

It’s time to make adjustments, and get ready for the next game.

Go Dawgs!!!

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Dcdawg

September 4th, 2011
2:16 am

We suck, so let’s not kid ourselves. Enough of Bill thinking all will work out or if and but we would’ve won. I’m officially over it as a 4th generation bulldog. I’m tired of no effort, bad plays and wasted recruiting classes. He’ll, lsu beat Oregon. We got outmanned up front. The game wasn’t close. Fire richt, bobo and mr overrated grantham as he is worse, much worse than even sorry bobo.

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Blueanorange51

September 4th, 2011
2:23 am

I spent the last few weeks trying to defend the recent BSU wins against the constant drumbeat that BSU could not compete with an sec team. The bsu team proved they can play with anyone. NOW UGA needs to man-up and beat USC. UGA has a whole state now rooting for them. Go BSO and UGA.

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tar and feathers party

September 4th, 2011
2:29 am

The mutts got smurfed, mounted and rode like b**ch dogs by little blue smurfs!

DAWG with two bags over head

September 4th, 2011
2:32 am

Bill, I’m not buying your kool-aid. I saw nothing tonight that would make me believe this cast of coaching clowns can turn this around. When you do the same thing over and over again, you’re not going to get a different result. Still running draw plays on third and long, you’ve got to be kidding me. How can you not see that we’re headed down the same road we’ve been down the last 4 seasons. Have you already forgotten the dreadful Liberty Bowl? Once again we were outcoached, out prepared (remember the first series and the whole first quarter), and out conditioned. How many times do we have to prove the same point. This should be the last season we have to endure Richt and Bobo.

Big Ten Champs Nebraska

September 4th, 2011
2:34 am

No rush to judgement. This is just continuation from last year.

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Big Ten Champs Nebraska

September 4th, 2011
2:46 am

delusion (dɪˈluːʒən)

— n
1. a mistaken or misleading opinion, idea, belief, etc: he has delusions of grandeur

newyearsamedawgfans

September 4th, 2011
2:51 am

UGA Alumnus
September 4th, 2011
2:07 am

Bulldog Nation needs to step up, right now, and learn how to be a good fan base.

We lost the first game of the year.

It’s time to make adjustments, and get ready for the next game.

Go Dawgs!!!

Your dawg brethren are exhausted after spending 6 months awarding themselves their 31st consecutive offseason national championship.

I particularly enjoyed reflecting on all of the chest thumping over the new strength & conditioning regime during the 3rd quarter opening drive when the UGA defense was run ragged after a halftime of rest & recuperation.

Overmatched and outcoached. Get used to it.

The old ball coach is licking his chops.

Dylan

September 4th, 2011
2:53 am

I won’t give up on them yet, but what I saw tonight was not encouraging. Boise exposed a glaring weakness in our defense and that’s the inability to stop the short pass. Our offense lacked big play mentality tonight until late in the game when it didn’t matter. If UGA comes out and beats South Carolina next week, all is not lost, but they MUST beat USC or the wheels may fall off the season. GO DAWGS!

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uga-brave

September 4th, 2011
3:06 am

blah, blah.

samae frickin thing every game.

uga-brave

September 4th, 2011
3:09 am

we never touched moore.

christin robinson is frickin joke. talks all the time never makes a play.

reminds me of keith brooking.

always chasing the play.

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uga student

September 4th, 2011
3:22 am

is this really a credible article on the ajc? This really should be a joke because you were obviously enjoying your georgia dome beer and not watching the game. The effort was awful the lack of discipline was abysmal and the playcalling was so predictable that us drunk fraternity boys knew what bobo was running next. I like Mark Richt but this is how coaches get fired and with that effort we are not going to even beat Ole Miss. I think he deserves to be fired. You just lost to boise state and oh wait it wasnt even close and your going to make jokes in your postgame interview. Ive had enough.

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Phuch Le` Duch

September 4th, 2011
4:03 am

(pronounced / foosh le duke)

The UGA fans on this blog must be the related to all those
UGAposer-fanClowns who left the game around the 11:00 min mark.
First of all – don’t our lads deserve better ?
We critique Richt & Bobo, yet the Georgia fans are worse than either.
I was embarassed and ashamed of the fan base tonight.
You, the ones who left early,
diminished the UGA program tonight on national TV.
Then you, we, us, get on the blogs and call for a coach’s job ?
Talk about “nattering na-bobs”.

I have my own opinions of the Coaches;
but until the fans act as if they deserve better,
the fans have no right to criticize.

The Boise fans were 1st class.

LSU fans intimidate opponents !

UGA fans don’t even realize when to make noise.

We, the UGA fans, would get loud when we had the ball,
yet rarely, maybe never made it difficult for the Boise QB to hear
or to audible, change plays, or even for the line to hear snap counts.

Bama’s fans are truly more passionate.

@ Georgia we have all these neat traditions, but none are related to fans
intimidating opponents.
Perhaps, our drunks are more rude than other schools.
I encountered more rude GA. fans tonight than I’m willing to admit.
Not rude to the folks from Idaho, but to me, an obvious Ga fan.
Just pure rudeness !

Kentucky has better basketball fans than we do in football.

All in all, the Coaches do a dang fine job, compared to
the UGAposers who nonsupport this team.

What if the team just left the field with ten or so min remaining.
Forfeit.
Oh but the bloggers would be out in force talking about what
degenerates and quitters Richt is recruiting.

My last statement:
60% or more of the UGA fan-base are quitters.
Put that in your smoke and pipe it !

I do not like cliches but I enjoy malapropisms.
-Phuch Le` Duch-

Still@theBar

September 4th, 2011
4:21 am

help me 犬は非常においしい。hoursesあまりない。

Still@theBar

September 4th, 2011
4:25 am

Phuch Le` Duch

90% of UGA gans didn’t ever graduate from UGA. They did the same crap in Athens when Kentucky beat a few years ago. They are DAWGS….sore Losers and Winners.
UGA played well at times just not long enough to make scoring drives.

gofortwo

September 4th, 2011
4:26 am

How can Boise have 18 fifith year seniors. Might as well bring back Dooley if every running play is up the middle.

P. Bull Terrier

September 4th, 2011
4:36 am

Phuch Le` Duch – When UGA starts PAYING me to watch the games, they can expect me to do my JOB as a fan and cheer until the bitter end. As long as I’m the one paying them for an afternoon/evening of entertainment, I’ll leave whenever I feel like I’m no longer getting my money’s worth. Had I been there this evening, that would have been some time in the 2nd quarter.

Like so many, I had high hopes that UGA would turn things around this season. I wasn’t expecting to go undefeated or play for the national championship, but I was expecting to see an improvement over last year. This game looked exactly like last year.

I could have accepted a loss to Boise St. if it was a reasonably close, well played game by UGA. This one wasn’t as close as the score and the score wasn’t all that close. This doesn’t look like a team that is a threat to win more than 6 or 7 games this year.

Bobo Still There

September 4th, 2011
4:37 am

I thought Bobo was a ’sacrificial lamb’ given up by Deacon Richt several years ago. We are always getting miss information here in Kentucky…. Is the coach that ‘jumps up and down on the side line to make kickers miss field goals’ still there?

SLC Dawg

September 4th, 2011
4:48 am

“just one game” seriously?

Still@theBAR

September 4th, 2011
4:52 am

P. Bull Terrier

You are full of crap………..How many times have you walked out of a movie when it is not as great as you expected?
You don’t leave because it don’t look like it will turnout how you want. Hell you would have been the parking lot like many of the Auburn Faithful today. Look what many Auburn fans missed. If you want that MONEY’s worth of Entertainment then you better get on the 3/4 ticket plan. As long as A Murray is your QB. Just pay for the 1st 3 quarters then leave and let somebody else watch the 4th qtr.

SLC Dawg

September 4th, 2011
4:52 am

and don’t you dare call me a poser, i’ve done my share.

SLC Dawg

September 4th, 2011
4:58 am

REAL GEORGIA FANS ASK YOURSELVES THIS: WOULD LOSING EVERY MEANINGFUL GAME BE WORSE WITH A DIFFERENT COACH?

SLC Dawg

September 4th, 2011
5:07 am

unlike the saintly mister richt, i am required to work hard and do my job well. if i don’t, people can get hurt and i can get sued. Sound familiar to any of you out there?

SLC Dawg

September 4th, 2011
5:10 am

and yet this moron makes $$$$$$ for ineptitude and excuses.

red&black

September 4th, 2011
5:37 am

Ahhh Bill, you are the “eternal optimist”….God bless you………..

Ricky 4

September 4th, 2011
5:48 am

Second verse same as the first Bill. This team has shown no improvement. We looked as poorly coached & lifeless last night as we did on Dec. 31 against UCF. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over & expection a different outcome. Well my insanity is ending now. I will scream & yell for the Dawgs as loud as I ever have for the rest of the season but I will no long defend any member of this coaching staff. I believe that come the first of the year someone other than Mark Richt will be the Head Coach at the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs!

Bryan G.

September 4th, 2011
6:06 am

My problem is not that they lost, it’s that they looked like crap doing it. It wasn’t just that Boise was better, it’s that as soon as Boise got a lead we had no idea how to man up and play. We showed tonight we were not better than 2010.

McGarrett

September 4th, 2011
6:06 am

Just take another sip of the Beam carry y’alls drunk ass home and get ready for a repeat performance next week

SC Dog fan

September 4th, 2011
6:19 am

Have been a die-hard Richt supporter for a long, long time and am still hoping he pulls it together, but Geez. Seems like the top talent/recruits in the country just keep getting b-slapped under this regime for the last 3 years. A competitive loss is no shame. But this one felt like one of those growing number of games where you have the awful feeling early on that the coaches have no answers to very obvious problems and, sure enough, don’t.

Get Real

September 4th, 2011
6:28 am

Typical UGA response: “Things aren’t all that bad even though we got our doggy rear ends spanked out there tonight.” “We are REALLY a good program even though we can’t beat any of the “big” teams” It is so funny to see all of the UGA fans (and now you, BK) try to talk their way out of this one.