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

Dave H.

September 4th, 2011
2:34 pm

Gee Bill, you’re right, it was an awesome game! How silly of me to be concerned that it’s more of the same, despite eight months to prepare.

Apologists like you keep us mediocre (or worse).

Gen Neyland

September 4th, 2011
2:35 pm

shane #1 : Good to see you back in the sandbox. IMHO, Georgia didn’t simply get outplayed, they got outsmarted and that is in turn what sums up many outcomes. The Bronco’s brought a lot of players with experience to the Dome and in the long run, it showed… LSU’s defense pulled out the biggest surprise of the night to me. They didn’t allow Oregon’s no-huddle to wipe them out like I honestly thought it would. The Ducks drove for 6 in a 19 plays that would have exhausted other D’s but LSU’s D didn’t seem to miss a beat their next opportunity out. Give Chavis, LSU’s Special Teams and the teams conditioning credit in this one…

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
2:35 pm

Dude, would you just stop? You may enjoy surfing porn. It is a much better thrill.

whatsgoingon

September 4th, 2011
2:39 pm

Yeah – Murray was SACKED 6 times – and on the ground double that – against a WAC (well – Mt West now) Defense that most people said couldn’t handle Georgia’s line – Avg 6′4 and 325 lbs.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
2:41 pm

Gen,

LSU definitely wowed. UF looked like they have it together. SC is a little bit of a question mark. Garcia is a question mark. MSU looks solid. Didn’t see any clips of Bama or UT…

Richt needs to beat SC, UT, and UF in the same season to even consider firing Bobo and hanging around. Most of the rational folks around here aren’t too darn happy with him today.

yearofthedawg

September 4th, 2011
2:42 pm

Beat SC and all will be well.

okfornow

September 4th, 2011
2:43 pm

The Dawggies were completely out of shape – did you see all the cramping going on and how much they were huffing and puffing – and they were playing INDOORS – This all goes back to poor coaching – team not ready. CMR can make all the stupid comments he wants to about “we are still 0-0 in conference play” – but it REALLY disturbs me that he DID NOT HAVE UGA ready to play – on national TV – against a WAC team – after a 6-7 record last season. There is NO EXCUSE for that.

Still@theBAR

September 4th, 2011
2:44 pm

The best thing that could have happen last night was for Evander Holyfield to Fight Herschel Walker on the 50 at half time. Now that would have been worth the price of admission.

whatacrew

September 4th, 2011
2:46 pm

Comments regarding LSU like “LSU definitely wowed.” – Are you kidding me – did you see the game?
Oregon GAVE it away – 4 turn-overs – leading to most of LSU’s points.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
2:46 pm

Actually I should rephrase that. I don’t think SC is a question mark to Spurrier. Next week I don’t expect to see the team that let ECU hang with them for 3/4 of the game.

No Rush to Judgment. Just The Truth Here

September 4th, 2011
2:47 pm

Come on Bill….. Let’s just be real. Mike Bobo DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING. And Coach Richt is going to sit back and lose his job over his loyalty to Bobo. Bobo is a QB Coach on this staff…..that’s about it. As for the defense….. I can give them a pass. Kellen Moore is as good as advertised, BUT…..I hope Bobo was taking note. Richt too…..because sooner or later UGA is going to offer his job to Petersen. :(

Mary Wanna

September 4th, 2011
2:48 pm

It’s not that we lost. It’s that we SUCKED. Every phase of the game, on the field and off. And what SUCKS the worst is our COACH.

Sorry, Falcons, we want Van Gorder back!

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
2:48 pm

I agree with you, whatacrew. Oregon did shoot themselves in the foot. LSU had something to do with some of those turnovers, though, and everything to do with capitalizing on them. They played aggressive. They played hard. They looked good and looked good for a team overcoming some adversity right before the beginning of their season.

Still@theBAR

September 4th, 2011
2:51 pm

BOBO has had at least 20 job offers.
It seems every week Clarke Central or Athens Academy offer Bobo the job of gutting the playing fields

Still@theBAR

September 4th, 2011
2:52 pm

Be happy Dawg fans you could be Notre Dame fans this morning.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
2:54 pm

Still@theBAR,

That comment makes me wish there was a “like” button on this thread.

SLOBBERKNOCKER

September 4th, 2011
2:58 pm

Third straight opening game loss. Nobody’s mentioned that yet. I’m almost certain that they will be
hammered next week in Athens. As an ‘81 graduate I got to witnees true Bulldog football, but since it’s been few and far between. This program is a shadow of it’s past. Outclassed, OUTCOACHED, outplayed, outschemed defensively and offensively, outrushed, outblocked and they ONLY thing they beat Bloise in was number of penalties. i knew the game was lost by the 1st 4 plays. Oh, yeah,
one last out. OUT OF WORK, CMR. Bite me, Bulldogs. I’m sorry, but I’ve had enought of your losing lack of effort ways. This is my last year of season tickets, athletic department if CMR, Grantham and Bobo are still employed next season.

DawgVoiceofReason

September 4th, 2011
2:59 pm

It would be foolish to “abandon ship” after only one game into the season. Why? Because giving up on the Dogs now won’t change a thing as far as the coaching staff. Also, this is a young team that has a chance to improve.

That being said, given all the buildup to this game, it was really unbelievable how unprepared we looked and were for what we faced. Boise played very well and didn’t have to resort to any gadgetry (except maybe their punts) or trick plays. They just lined up and beat us. Of all the teams we play this season, this is one game where I really thought Coach Grantham’s “alleged” attacking style of defense, with a little creativity, could have really paid dividends. We needed to get pressure on Moore and got almost none.

Why could we not adjust to what they were doing on punts? Were we so afraid of a fake punt that we wouldn’t even try to go after their punter who just waited for his coverage to run down the field before punting?

As for the offense, Coach Bobo also showed very little creativity (except for the Boykin play), but he won’t be able to do much until his offensive line can open a hole or provide protection for the QB. He had one play that was fantastic (the Boykin run) and never tried it again, that I saw.

As for the uniforms, they looked terrible. Of course it doesn’t matter what uniforms we wear as long as we play well, and I know this time it was all about the money from that northwestern shoe company. However, what the powers that be don’t seem to get is that it just makes the fans mad when we lose in them and we are asked to accept them because “the players like them”. It has now been pretty conclusively shown that the uniforms don’t motivate the players enough to make the slightest bit of difference in winning any games because we keep losing in spite of any uniform changes.

Fire Mark Richt

September 4th, 2011
2:59 pm

“I routinely call out Gator fans that are acting like idiots when I see it.”

Then you must do little else when you attend games at UF, Beast. I attended a couple of games at Florida Field, and the behavior was shocking. And that was back in the 80s, before Florida had won a single (officially recognized) SEC title. I doubt they’ve become more humble since they figured out how to win.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
3:03 pm

You would think going up against a team whose DBs have gone up against one of the best QBs in practice for the past five years would warrant taking a different approach than trying to emulate him. Why did they try to turn our great little mobile QB into a pocket passer last night?

shane#1

September 4th, 2011
3:05 pm

Chazzo, just my thoughts. Sometimes when a team has an O line as big as UGA’s you keep running inside to beat the D line up. Last night it was doubtful as to who was beating up whom. Keep running into a wall and you get a headache, the solution is to run around the wall. I have never liked a three man rush but many good coaches insist on using it, kind of like the prevent defense. Everybody uses it so it must work. NOT!!

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
3:06 pm

Bootleg Dawgs! BOOT LEG! Remember what Lan Kiffin did to us rolling out the QB. You tried it twice last night with the wrong personnel running routes.

smitty

September 4th, 2011
3:08 pm

Hire Michael Vick he has proven to be able to get dogs to fight

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
3:11 pm

Yeah, Shane. I cringe any time I see the prevent D. It is time to pick apart the zone and march up field. I really thought we have enough fast DBs to rotate and keep fresh going man to man. They should have used the Mickey Andrews strategy against Wuerfel (except maybe a little more honest). But you know… shoulda coulda woulda. I still think there were some flickers last night. I still think there is hope to make the season respectful. I am skeptical, but there is a little hope. I can’t say the same for CMR. Even his loyalist seem irate today.

dumbfounded

September 4th, 2011
3:12 pm

It’s amazing how little can be accomplished with those 4 and 5 star recruits. You can sign as many as you want, but there’s a lot to be said for good coaching.

UGA will recover, win the SEC, the MNC, and Richt will be coach of the year. (yeah, right!)

Buck Fobo

September 4th, 2011
3:16 pm

@chazzo, I wish you were our offensive coordinator instead of Bobo (Did I say, Buck Fobo?)

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
3:17 pm

Dumbfounded,

Who has made those claims? The most optimistic of us have stated that we can win the East at best. This still could turn into a winning season. I am betting , though, not winning enough.

Eric C.

September 4th, 2011
3:19 pm

Boise could have put up 56 easily…they didn’t want to demoralize the Dawgs too much because they need UGA to stay relevant for some schedule strength in the end. If the Dawgs fall too much, the win won’t be worth more than La Tech.

There are only a few games that embarrassed me as much as this one…painful to watch

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
3:19 pm

Buck,

I assure you Bobo is better than me and probably anyone else on this thread. Unfortunately, that aint saying a whole lot.

Think About It

September 4th, 2011
3:20 pm

September 4th, 2011
3:10 pm

If the Governor can replace the Atlanta Public Schools Board doesn’t he also have the authority to replace a state schools inept football coaching staff. Especially since the current staff has a lengthly record of ineptness. Please contact your state representative & the governor’s office!!!!

Mary Wanna

September 4th, 2011
3:21 pm

Coach Valium and his band of limp noodles can coach down even 5 star recruits. He could take the gas out of anyone. Got insomnia? Listen to his press conference. zzzzzzzzzzz……

Rest of the SEC

September 4th, 2011
3:28 pm

There was one flash of brilliance by the dream team recruits and that was Mitchell’s afterburners on that 51 yard td. Otherwise Crowell looked like a below avg running back. He’s just another Ealey or King. An Okay running back but certainly not an impact freshman like a Lattimore or Michael Dyer or a mark Ingram or trent richardson. He will be okay but not great.

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 4th, 2011
3:28 pm

Grantham sucks…I hate to say it but that was not a good hire.We go on and on about the offense fellas but our defense is not very good and that’s a fact.We’ve reached the point that unless we score 30 plus our chances of beating a good team are very slim.

Buck Fobo

September 4th, 2011
3:29 pm

@chazzo, I honestly don’t believe that. He may be a great dad – and definitely great at the activity it takes to become a dad, and he is a good old dawg, but I think there are a lot of high school coaches who are making better play calls, adjusting to opponents and breaking down film than Mr. Bobo.

Why doesn’t he let mobile Murry be mobile?????? Why didn’t he move the pocket, have some designed runs, etc. We have QBs behind Murray if they are afraid he will be hurt. They won’t even do QB sneaks with him. It is like he is made of glass.

I am embarrassed and sick @ the way UGA performed last night. I respect all the hard work and dedication the players and coaches put in, but to throw it away in such a lousy way is disheartening.

Boise in ATL

September 4th, 2011
3:36 pm

A few things…….

1. Maybe Boykin will keep off his tweeter account for a while – his kickoff returns were nothing special.
Boykin/UGA = ME/team
Boise ST = TEAM/me

2. Our D-Line whipped your BIG SLOW O-Line. When you weigh 340LBS = expect 290lb DE’s to be a ton quicker – that proved so.

3. Our O-Line whipped you D-Line – so much for that smack I got hearing how superior UGA players were – bigger faster stronger. In fact- our players were more athletic.

4. Coaching – Boise new what to do when they had the ball -we had a plan and options.
UGA’s passing attack did not have a lot of checks for Murray.

Basically – UGA would be an average Mountain West team – from what I saw.

SEC indeed!

Ralph

September 4th, 2011
3:43 pm

There is no rush, you idiot!! We’ve been silent for three years. Richt and company need to be gone ASAP!

Ghost of Dodd

September 4th, 2011
3:43 pm

The Bill Lewis Era of UGA Football is upon us…

Diehard

September 4th, 2011
3:45 pm

Georgia looked terrible but have a chance because Spurrier is another washed up coach that the games has passed by. Hasn’t won a championship in forever.

Diehard

September 4th, 2011
3:49 pm

Curtesy – when you waste bandwidth- the terrorists win.

Tide Roll

September 4th, 2011
3:58 pm

GUS MALZAHN, WITH MANNY DIAZ ASST. HEAD COACH AND DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. Let Gus groom LeMay. Let Murray join a boy band. And Richt would be available to manage it. Uga’s football program is hilarious, and it has nothing to do with wins and embarrassing losses.

bleed gold and white

September 4th, 2011
3:58 pm

again the UGA thugs make the state of GA look like a overrated ghetto. What a bunch of Dumba@@.
thumping there chest like they are really doing something. Not once did I see the Bronchs jump around and
throw useless punches to there chest. Well Boise State runs this state LMAO

War Eagle

September 4th, 2011
4:02 pm

Wow, you dawg fans are on Richt more than Cam Newton, but their is a big difference…Cam was a winner with another National Championship ring, his third(Fla. Blinn Jr College and Auburn, Mark richt and company will never wear one

Stinger

September 4th, 2011
4:05 pm

Why Rush to Judgement? Because with UGA the pre-season is always hype without backup. UGA always claims the best recruits for hype – it just has not proved itself in a long long time. This is from someone who saw Eddie Lee Ivery speared and fall limp in a great GT Georgia Game at Sanford Stadium many years ago, that Georgia Defense was feared much like the Auburn Linebacker who has moved onto the pros that haunted the bullpups last year enought to see printed yelps. The pre-season hype has proven itself wrong again. The bullpups start this season 0-2. The bullpups might as well been Ole Miss playing BYU. This week we will hear on the talk radios and in the paper that not is all lost and this time is full of big time recuits etc. etc. and that the season begins next weekend …The season started yesterday evening. I hope the hype turns true. Just don’;t believe it. Bullpups get spanked in their own backyard next weekend by a score too horrible to mention.

DawgFan 88

September 4th, 2011
4:13 pm

It’s all about toughness – Georgia has none. Tubberville said in the early 2000s that Richt needed to learn he has to run the ball to win the SEC. Pat Dye said we weren’t tough enough to beat Alabama (and probably wouldn’t have been without that motivation). We come out against a good team and wilt. I’m tired of the fake motivation – the uniforms, the tweets, the personal foul penalty – why isn’t it enough to play because you have the G on your helmet? I hope Richt can turn this ship around, but honestly I don’t see how. Even with the easiest schedule in years, if we continue playing like we did last night we could easily have another 6-7 year. Where is the player development? Where is the toughness?

GoDawgs

September 4th, 2011
4:19 pm

Bill,

I am not shocked by the lost and throwing my hands up in the air that the season is over. After last night I realize it’s going to be a difficult year. The score may have been 35-21 but it felt like 52-7. Our offense couldn’t move the ball. Murray held onto the ball to long and didn’t read all his routes when other guys were open that led to him pressing throws. We continued not to make adjustments and insisted on running up the middle against a defense that pinched to the middle when runs to the outside were more successful the entire game. We threw the ball long when 5-10 yard dumps would have become 20 yard gains. Our defense left huge holes in the middle so a 5 yard catch could become a 15-20 yard gain. We acted the part in pre-game with the hype and look but we have the maturity of a high school team. Boise was the part acting very business and like they had been there before. They were not intimidated which is how we looked during the David Green era. We may get so called 4-5 star recruits but they looked lost during the game many times and were outplayed by a system that gets 2-3 star recruits. South Carolina looked a lot faster than Boise in their highlights so I am very worried and will feel lucky to get 8 wins.

allwehaveishope

September 4th, 2011
4:23 pm

Ever wonder how all the pre season hype was generated? Dawg offense playing dawgs defense. Both ain’t worth a flip so naturally they’ll look impressive against each other. Put them against other teams Off andf def and they fall apart. No wonder the coaching sux. They don’t know how to adjust because they don’t get to see it in practice when they all look so great. Rose colored glasses.

It came down to coaching

September 4th, 2011
4:24 pm

This years losses will be to Boise, SC, MS St, Fl and AU. Book it!!

GATiger

September 4th, 2011
4:24 pm

I don’t know why Dawg fans expected a 6-7 team minus both running backs and their best receiver from last year to compete with BSU. The problem isn’t Bobo, or Grantham, or Willy Martinez, or even Richt. The problem is the administration. A major program like UGA shouldn’t be hiring a coordinator and hope he becomes a head coach. They shouldn’t hire a position coach and hope he becomes a coordinator. I’m an LSU alum, but have a daughter at UGA, so I have a vested interest. LSU hired Miles because he had experience as a head coach at a major school. Miles hired Chavis as DC because he had a long and successful history as a DC. He hired Kragthorpe because he is a former OC and head coach. Even Greg Studrawa, who replaced Kragthorpe upon the Parkinson’s diagnosis, has OC experience. And these guys are paid well. Do you think we have any more money than UGA? It’s all about passion and commitment to winning.

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
4:26 pm

8 wins is next to impossible with this team. I see, at most six, 2 cream puffs, vandy, ole miss, kentucky, georgia tech. That is optimistic. No way we beat S. Carolina, Mississippi State, or Florida. Tennessee seems to be stronger than us and heading the right direction. Auburn will get things going by the time we face them. Georgia regresses as time passes.

Gray

September 4th, 2011
4:29 pm

I am not judging a season’s worth of games, by the first game. However, they revolting uniforms, worn yesterday, left a lot to be desired!!
Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have imagined Richt would okay something that tacky!! In the past, I managed to go along with the Atlanta Falcons uniforms,when they changed from red to black but I don’t think I can remain a Dawg fan, if they don’t get rid of these eyesores!!