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

Daniel#12

September 4th, 2011
1:17 pm

The problem is Richt is a product of the ACC and Bobby Bowden. With a huge size advantage on both lines we got manhandled (again). We cannot dominate even smaller teams. Is that coaching or philosophy? With his ACC mentality, MR does not see the need to run the football and dominate on both sides of the ball. As a Saint Bobby disciple, he does not have the team under control. Sporadic attempts to discipline do not send a message. The only positive of going into a game where a MWC team is favored over an SEC team and the SEC team is lucky to lose by 2 touchdowns is that on some plays we did not get a penalty. Beat South Carolina? Not based on what I saw last night (and the past 2 years). Music City Bowl is even looking iffy.

`Georgia is Florida's xtra homecoming game

September 4th, 2011
1:17 pm

yall should be glad LSU took the Oregon game you ran from…that would have been much, much uglier for the dawgs…DestinDawg was braggin for months about the improved nutrition and conditioning program in Athens…saw none of it last night…go back to the pork rinds, boys…if ya gonna lose, lose happy!

Buck Fobo

September 4th, 2011
1:18 pm

@BroncoFan – Auburn might be the SEC we will be able to beat this year. They looked awful without Cash Cam and Jailhouse Fairley

dogoneit

September 4th, 2011
1:18 pm

It’s going to be a long season.,,,,,,, My Georgia Bulldog 4 & 5 star thugs just got a lesson of how to play football by a bunch of 2 & 3 star Boise State ‘tater eaters. We were out coached, out hit, out smarted and they had more heart than we did.. This is NOT Georgia football. My hat’s off to Boise for having a well coached, discipline team will the will to win. What a pathetic effort……a damn pathetic effort…….

Skokie Dog

September 4th, 2011
1:18 pm

As others here have commented, we’re not rushing to judgment about this season. We’re just seeing what should be obvious to anyone who watched the game–or part of it in my case. I tuned out in the middle of the third quarter, when it was clear that UGa had no chance of recovering from a 14-point deficit.
Like many things in life, Richt’s tenure and the state of the football program is about the money. Don’t expect coaching changes unless and until the big-money donors have had enough of the underperformance on the field. As long as the donations roll in and people continue to buy tickets and merchandise, why should anyone get fired over losing a few football games? Richt, by the way, should be ashamed for taking his $3 million salary in exchange for another season of embarrassing losses.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
1:20 pm

Beast,

I just feel like the bills are paid without Nike’s additional check. I also feel like YES they are kids, and you don’t give them everything they like. Perhaps they need to learn to respect and honor traditional ala Penn State, Bama, Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Texas. Do we want to be like Oregon, or do we want to be like Bama?

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
1:20 pm

Apparently we have a 50 year old child on the thread now.

sammiamm

September 4th, 2011
1:23 pm

well stated at 1:20 chazzo

TCFATL

September 4th, 2011
1:25 pm

CMR is a pious man. I don’t care. He wasn’t hired to build a parish. He was hired to win. I’ll take sinners like Nick Sabin or Les Miles (you know they are) to coach my ball club any day over a church deacon. BoBo must GoGo. Don’t put him on the sidelines, don’t put him in the pressbox, put him in the parking lot and send him packing. His next career step should be BoBo’s BBQ Shack – he was a horrid QB, so why would we think he’d make a great QB coach or OC? UGA in theory should be a consistent top five program. Now, it is hard to make a case they are even top five in the SEC – AL, FL, AU, LSU, MS, SC and AR – there is even a caee that VB, TN and KY are better. My goodness, when will the University, Michael Adams, the team and the UGA nation wake up to what the media and the rest of the country knows? We are not relevent anymore. We are notveven in the conversation. We are not invited to the party. Did you see that Big & Rich even dropped the Reference to UGA from the “Comin’ To You City” opening sequence for College Gameday on ESPN? We are now the opening game layup team for teams from Idaho. Soon, Vandy will start scheduling us for their Homecoming game, because they know a certain win will please their alums and open their coffers. We were there last night. We’ve seem that offense before. Its the same one that has failed against Florida 8 times in the last 10 years. We’ve seen that defense before. Its’s the same one that has failed against Florida 8 times in the last 10 years. Only 12 conference titles since 1892, that’s 1 every 10 years. Please, wake up! This is not a legacy of winning, it is a legacy of losing. No wonder the Chapel Bell has lasted ~ 120 years, because we haven’t worn it out ringing the sounds of victory. Wake up! The sky is falling, the house is burning, locusts are decending, aliens are invading, dogs and cats are living together. Or rather, Dawgs are losing to Wildcats. UGA has one of the top endowments, most profitable sports programs and the best facilities – what else could be wrong other than the leadership? How many more scooter accidents, how many more upaid traffic tickets, how many more D&D arrests, how many more academically ineligible, how many more “team rules” violations will it take? Wake up, WAKE UP! Who cares if the gymnastics, golf, soccer or Dungeons & Dragons teams are consistent champions? It IS all about football. Are you tired of all this great talent we squander during their college years going on to become top NFL talent? What does that tell you? Last night the UGA faithful crammed the GA Dome – the atmosphere could have inspired a 3rd grade ballet troupe to rise up against Boise State. Did you see the confusion of our player substitutions between plays on both sides of the ball? Our players didn’t know where to go or what to do – many times, the defense wasn’t even set when the ball was snapped. This is a lack of discipline, a lack of coaching. I don’t care what oil the new team nutritionist used to cook their pregame meal with, this program has no oil left in its well, we done gone dry. WAKE UP, WAKE UP! Pass the collection plate at the church of CMR today, so we can buy him out and pay for the moving vans.

DAWG with two bags over head

September 4th, 2011
1:26 pm

Bill,

So is this how it works? The Sports Information Office sends out an e-mail to you, Kevin Butler, Jeff Danzler and Buck Belue and tells you what the party line is going to be for the week. This week it’s “It’s only one game that really doesn’t matter. The BIG game is next week”. Bill, I use to respect your opinion, but his column reeks of payola from the Athletic Department. How about an objective piece for a change?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 4th, 2011
1:27 pm

Disappointing performance for sure. More disappointing in how many fans have shown how fickle they are after one game. I personally welcome them jumping off the bandwagon, but when the thing gets turned around w/ or w/o Richt feel free to stay away. I dare say you are not welcome back.

Buck Fobo

September 4th, 2011
1:29 pm

@Dawg Tired, maybe they ate too much at the pre-game meal. I know if I eat too much, I get winded a lot easier.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 4th, 2011
1:30 pm

chazzo

I said the same thing about Richt should be given a chance and you know what; I really thought the play calling would be different last night. Nope same ol crap

I really was hoping as I said in many of my previous post that I would be wrong and this staff would make changes, go back and look, and that you and others could come on here and tell me I was wrong and that Im an idiot moron etc

But again what I saw last night does not change my opinion

It baffles my mind that Bobo and Richt would come out with the same crap. I guess they think they are invincible and will not be fired

Oh well

I seen it

September 4th, 2011
1:32 pm

Vini. Vidi. [oops] No Vici. No cigar. No offense. No plan. No organization. The Dawgs looked like a high school team playing a BCS conference champ. Terrible coaching. Terrible preparation. They should have had mirrors on the sideline so they could admire the unis they said they loved. No one else did. I spent part of the game in sect. 305 and most in sect. 350. Everyone hated the unis. Not one comment that was positive. OK. Some woman in my area in 350 said, “I think the helments are cool.” Her son started to beg to go home right after halftime. His sister was in the band. Mother wouldn’t hear of it. I moved back to sect. 305 at the end of the third to be closer to the folks I attended the game with, even though my sight line was much better in 350. It didn’t matter, there wasn’t much to see. This was a team in disaray. After the half, the Broncos were bunched tightly at the 50, jumping and slapping each other. The Dawgs wandered aimlessly, lost in their power ranger garb. I think Nike did that on purpose. There was no way to read the numbers from the stands. Nike favors west coast teams. Let’s blame it on the unis, even though all of us know that Richt, Bobo and Grantham were the culprits. Sorry I was late today. I had a hang over and when I got up all I could see was red. Ugh.

Home Boy

September 4th, 2011
1:32 pm

What we need is more cowbell

Tom

September 4th, 2011
1:33 pm

I said it before, but Bobo needs to be fired! His playcalling is HORRIBLE!!! The O-line played very poor and the running game is a joke! There are no excuses for the penalties.

Richt’s demeanor is insulting. The fact that he has this smirk on his face like he’s not surprised any of this is happening. He laughs at penalties and in press conferences. Does anyone take this seriously?

Buck Fobo

September 4th, 2011
1:33 pm

Whoever the knucklehead is that pastes the same thing over and over, you need psychiatric help. Please stop. It is annoying and unproductive.

TCFATL

September 4th, 2011
1:35 pm

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

BOBO MUST GOGO!

THE (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GAY

September 4th, 2011
1:35 pm

FIRE MIKE BOZO

Will

September 4th, 2011
1:37 pm

Georgia has too young of a team to blame anyone on this loss. What Georgia fans should be worried about is the fact that when the game was tied 7-7, it seemed as if fans already gave up. Boise States fans where ten times louder than the UGA ones. Face it people in Georgia are poor sports fans BC we love to drink down here, simple as that.

Richt, Bobo, great game though. JUST WERE UP AGAINST A MORE MATURE TEAM.

THE (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GAY

September 4th, 2011
1:38 pm

THIS IS WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU HIRE A PREACHER TO COACH YOUR TEAM UGA!
LES MILES AINT NO DEACON
NICK SABAN AINT NO PREACHERBOY!
GET RID OF ST MARK

Dawgs1965

September 4th, 2011
1:38 pm

Hey, “Curtesy.” You can’t even spell. It’s Courtesy, you moron. And “champinship”? Go away. You think you’re being provocative, but your stupidity is showing.

bugsquacher

September 4th, 2011
1:39 pm

FIRE RICHT AND BOBO NOW. LETS TAKE OUR BRUISES THIS YEAR WITH NEW COACHING. WHY WAIT ANOTHER YEAR……….(QUOTE FROM 2010)….

Will

September 4th, 2011
1:39 pm

Yeah blaming this one on the fans, and the booing of freshmen. Who wants to be booed by their own fans in their first collegiate game?

bugsquacher

September 4th, 2011
1:40 pm

RICHT MUST GO NOW…..

THE (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GAY

September 4th, 2011
1:40 pm

UGA INSTEAD OF BEING CALLED SILVERBRITCHES
UGA NEEDS TO BE CALLED SUGARBRITCHES!

Rob

September 4th, 2011
1:42 pm

Anybody that thinks play calling is not a huge part of the problem doesn’t know jack about football. Yes the o-line was getting beat alot by good d-lineman, but that means that you adjust your play calling to maximize your potential, not run up the middle out of the spread. That’s why the play-action out of the I was working the FEW plays that we used it. But, we should have established the run and play-action out I alot sooner. IMO Bobo is not capable of calling plays at this level, the DC’s are way ahead of him and since the head coach can’t see that, then he has to be held accountable.

I wathced the game on TV so I’m not sure, but I hope that it wasn’t UGA fans being so loud on our first two possessions, it seemed to me that it was causing the false starts, but I doubt the Boise state fans could’ve been making that much noise..I hope i’m wrong.

THE (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GAY

September 4th, 2011
1:43 pm

KEEP ON DEFENDING THE SOFT PREACHERMAN RICHT

dawgforlife57

September 4th, 2011
1:43 pm

Sure don’t like to invoke references to other SEC coaches, but have to go there to make my point. Try to imagine ‘Bama’s Nick Saban or former Gator coach, Urban Meyer chuckling about anything in the post-game interview after a lopsided, sloppy loss. A reporter would almost be scared to crack a joke around them if Bama or the Gators, under these guys, had just played as poorly as the Dawgs did last night. I love CMR’s integrity, and am a huge fan of his up-front faith in God. I just want to believe that the mental lapses, poor scheming, and lack of adequate conditioning are gone, and that my beloved Dawgs will not only finish the drill, but let every opponent know coming in that they better bring their best because UGA’s bringing ‘em a butt whoopin! I want it to be under Coach Richt, but doubts have been growing since ‘09.

JD

September 4th, 2011
1:43 pm

C’mon Bill, remove the long multiple posts. It’s just stupid to do that no matter how mad that you are with Mark Richt. I assume the poster just wants people to quit reading.

THE (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GAY

September 4th, 2011
1:45 pm

YOU HILLBILLIES SUFFER THE WRATH OF S.E.C PLAY COMING UP NEXT WEEK

oldfart

September 4th, 2011
1:48 pm

Nice guys finish last.

THE (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GAY

September 4th, 2011
1:49 pm

PAUL JOHNSON IS THE MAN HERE IN GEORGIA!

Steve

September 4th, 2011
1:51 pm

Losing a close competitive game would have been no problem for me, but it’s the way we lost and the way the team looked. They seem lost out there and so do the coaches. I mean they had all off season to prepare to play a bunch of white boys from Idaho!! I observed the same thing as the last few seasons: Loads of talent but no discipline, no sense of urgency, stupid mistakes, dropped passes and lineman getting man handled. What do you think the SEC teams are going to do to this team????

NCDawg90

September 4th, 2011
1:52 pm

Richt isn’t a loser. He made us a relevant power again, years after Vince Dooley stopped paying attention, Ray Goff was, well, Ray Goff, and we had a morally (and financially) bankrupt Ponzi schemer with a pack of potheads playing for him.

But I’ve been a LA Laker fan all my life, and have even seen teams full of future HOFérs quit on HOF coaches. Sometimes, after awhile, teams stop believing whatever comes out of their coach’s mouth, no matter what the team and coach accomplished in the past.

Their is a complete leadership vacuum on the sidelines and on the field. We have enough talent on offense to average 40 points a game, but not if our OC has all of 5 plays in his trusty 1998 FSU playbook. Murray still looks like a kid out there. We never make the right adjustments. Our players look like they expect to lose, not expect to win. The offensive line is awful, again. The team plays with no fun or passion, because the coaching staff coaches with no fun or passion.

This all could change, and Richt deserved the chance to change it, but I don’t see it happening anymore.

I

Davil

September 4th, 2011
1:52 pm

I have attended most games since 1973. This trend of what we are seeing has become a Georgia Tradition of undisciplined ghetto hot mess since 1990 (except for a few bright spots). Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, blown coverages, dropped balls, penalties, missed oportunities, missed routes, missed tackles, missed blocking assignments, embarrassing decisions, poor showings, poor blocking, play from behind, soljaboy instead of disciplined teamwork, Georgia has made a habit of playing well below capability. I shall no longer waste my time and money here. PS – This Kool Aid being spoken of here was that bad high school uniform worn at the dome. “Hey Kool Aid?”

THE (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GAY

September 4th, 2011
1:54 pm

SUFFER MUTTS FANS SUFFER

daslicksta

September 4th, 2011
1:54 pm

Sorry Slick, Other than the beautiful touchdown pass/run to Mitchell, I saw the continuation of last season—no offense, no defense, no balls, same inept coaching staff, no real UGA, hope Richt enjoys this season, I fear it is his last….

Tim

September 4th, 2011
1:56 pm

I hate the naysayers as much as any other diehard UGA alumni/fan – and I hate it that I’ve become one when it comes to Richt – but being at the game in person here’s what I saw: Poor game preparation, poor conditioning, poor game management, too many penalties, too many dropped passes, too many mistakes, bad play calling and poor clock management. Other than that the coaching was perfect. But damn did the uniforms look good (not). Same crap, different season. It’s time.

THE (G) ON THE MUTTS HELMET STANDS 4 GAY

September 4th, 2011
1:57 pm

WHEN YOU MUTT FANS SAY THE WORD GHETTO,THAT MEANS YOU DONT WANT BLACK PLAYERS PLAYING FOR UGA!

BLACK PLAYERS READ THESE BLOGS,NOW I SEE WHY CAM NEWTON LEFT HIS HOME RACIST STATE

shane#1

September 4th, 2011
1:58 pm

1- Peterson made a great adjustment when he went to the bunch formation to stop the UGA D backs from jamming his recievers. Grantham never figured out how to stop it. I noticed that when the Dawgs applied pressure they were able to stop BSU, when UGA rushed only three men BSU completed the pass every time. 2- A thrown together O line cannot manhandle a tough, veteran D line. Try some sweeps and short passes to move the ball, and a little misdirection, you won’t beat those guys playing straight up. I thought the Dawgs could run right at’em but it was obvious that wasn’t going to happen by the end of the first quarter. I believe in sticking with the game plan, but Bobo stuck with it too long. I am willing to wait and see what happens in the SEC and I hope CMR can pull it out, however I am very discouraged.

George O'Leary

September 4th, 2011
1:59 pm

Enter your comments here

CMRBooBoo The Clown

September 4th, 2011
2:08 pm

Richt hasnt looked this bad since last year or the year before. As a matter of fact this Richt regime keeps playing the same song over and over…

BobDawg

September 4th, 2011
2:11 pm

I really want to see how this season plays out…. Next week could be even worse than this week and we are playing the Freshman out of necessity which is good to see in my opinion. Boise is as good a team as I have seen in a long time. Seasoned, experienced and just damn good ballplayers. We seem to have the athletes but Boise has Ballplayers. How about their 2nd string center snapping the ball when he saw the play clock winding down (either 2nd or 3rd qter). That’s the kind of players we had in Pollack and Greene. I don’t know if we have those type of players now???? Will this coaching staff make adjustments and coach these kids up??? We’ll see….

Price

September 4th, 2011
2:13 pm

Did the announcer say that it was noticeable that the guys were tired and many needing to come out of the game? Seriously…We can’t get in shape for the first game ??

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
2:15 pm

Shane #1,

Good comments and observations. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but clearly there are problems in the assessment of the other team and the ability to make adjustments. Why a power sweep is not bread and butter with a 270 pound FB is beyond me. For that matter, with a mobile QB why not run some option? When they do run a dive, they don’t dive. They do a half gainer twist with a flip that takes three seconds to get the back the ball. Open a hole and hit it. Get three. When they line up to stuff it, power sweep or hit your full back or tight end with a short pass. We should be looking to get 4 and 5 yards a play. If a D starts to load it up and cheat, that’s when you send a speedster long to keep them honest. In my humble, unprofessional opinion. For what it is worth.

TallaDawg

September 4th, 2011
2:16 pm

How does 3 star recruits out play 5 star recruits? It is called intelligence and a WILL to try hard and win.

bill king

September 4th, 2011
2:17 pm

is a teabagger just like all you dawgs

go gators

TallaDawg

September 4th, 2011
2:18 pm

Agree, Chazzo.

BOZO THE BULLDAWG CMR

September 4th, 2011
2:30 pm

THERE IS NOW TALK ABOUT KICKING UGA OUT OF THE SEC…. THE VOTING BY CONFERENCE TEAM MEMBERS WILL TAKE PLACE ON TUESDAY.