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

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
4:29 pm

GA Tiger. That is the most frustrating aspect. Other schools with less money and less in state recruits get it done. Big time hires and national championships. Georgia NEVER does. It goes beyond football. Does McGarity realize we SUCK at almost every sport.

GoDawgs

September 4th, 2011
4:30 pm

I am open to Mike Leach giving the UGA coaching staff a call to consult us on how to make an offense work properly also.

wes

September 4th, 2011
4:31 pm

“Why the rush to judgment”, Bill?

Maybe because UGA has one of the most delusional fan bases in college football. We all heard the UGA fans a barkin’ ALL OFFSEASON about Crowell, uniforms, Dream Team, and how utterly awesome their new Strength & Conditioning program was.

All for not. And yes Bill, you are still the ugliest sports writer for the AJC. You actually beat out Schultz AGAIN this year.

Congratulations.

Will

September 4th, 2011
4:32 pm

Georgia fans suck!

DAWGS

September 4th, 2011
4:33 pm

We were taken out of the national championship race last night, but we can still compete for the SEC East title. Go DAWGS!

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
4:34 pm

Boise in ATL…that’s what I’ve been trying to say…we’re an average Mountain West team at best…mediocre, slow, poorly coached, and over-rated…and the underdog…Boise St. was expected to win. You were ranked higher, had a better record over the last 5 years, have better coaches, better players, etc. So, congrats on your win, now quit acting like you beat a great team or that beating a poor UGA team equates to beating a good SEC team. Also, a little humility or graciousness after a win is a sign of class and respect, something you obviously lack. Good luck to your team for the rest of the year.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
4:35 pm

Will, say that to a Georgia fan’s face. It’s easy to be a bully on the keyboard.

RNB

September 4th, 2011
4:35 pm

Someone please post the email adress for Greg McGarity.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
4:38 pm

War Eagle, why are you on this blog? It’s not enough to win a NC? You have to degrade others too? Another bully with a computer. You are like every other trash talking fan on this blog, a coward, a bully, and mean human being.

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
4:42 pm

Dear Greg McGarity,

While we have had some relatively recent success in some minor women’s sports, we are pretty terrible in everything else. Even where we have found success, our teams can be depended on to choke at the championship level (See UGA Baseball vs. Fresno State for an example). I know you are still early in your tenure, but please start taking the drastic steps necessary to turn the athletic program around. The Alumni are tired of watching the hideous products and choking teams that we know accept as normal UGA athletics.

Sincerely,
Everyone who used to enjoy Georgia sports

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
4:42 pm

Wes, you’re personally attacking someone over the Internet…maybe step back a little and consider that Bill King is a human being. Oh, and you’re stereotyping all UGA fans. Oh, and you’re a bully, too…hiding behind a keyboard…maybe take the high road next time?

GATiger

September 4th, 2011
4:47 pm

One more thing. I’m an LSU fan first and an SEC fan second. Every one of us SEC school fans was pulling for the Dawgs last night, first out of regional pride, and second to put to bed any chance of BSU, with their weak-ass schedule, claiming a right to compete for a championship. Dawg fans, your team let us all down last night, not just because you lost, but they way you lost. For an SEC team with all its size and speed on both sides of the ball to be dominated up front like that is nearly unthinkable.

85dawg

September 4th, 2011
4:49 pm

Long season folks. We could have scheduled western carolina in game one and scored the easy win. Boise St. has a good team. Not one serious UGA fan thought we would be in NC contention. So lets see what we do next week. For all of you quitters/whiners who never played one football game in your life please stay home next week. You must have played on undefeated teams your entire life.

CMR BOZO

September 4th, 2011
4:49 pm

Hey guys, can you guys keep it down? Im Praying about my hair….

Mark Richt

September 4th, 2011
4:54 pm

One more thing….
IM GAY!

Mark Richt

September 4th, 2011
4:56 pm

I was proud of my team giving it the ol college try last night. How cool Was that.

LakeDawg

September 4th, 2011
4:56 pm

@Boise in ATL …The MWC is too tough for UGA. Conference USA might be a good fit.

Dawgster

September 4th, 2011
5:01 pm

News just in. Those uniforms came from the Dollar General in Valdosta.

Mark Richt

September 4th, 2011
5:02 pm

Poor, poor pitiful me.

Tony Barnhard

September 4th, 2011
5:02 pm

An unspeakable human tragedy.

Frank Lane

September 4th, 2011
5:10 pm

Four observations.

1. Our line cannot hold the rush for long patterns to develop and long patterns is what we throw.
2. Out zone defense does not work on a quarterback who throws short passes and never misses. His longest completion was 20 yards, about the length of a GA pattern.. The only time he threw long, the GA rush got to him and we picked the ball. Unlike GA which does not learn and adjust, Kellen switched to quick developing patterns.
3. Our line make no holes for the backs and we ran no power sweeps or wide plays to utilize our speed except one that went all the way.
4. Last point is that UGA is loaded with Sophomores and Freshman. Boise was loaded with 5th year seniors. We recruit such good players that they go pro early and we rarely have seniors and 5th year seniors who are truly good. The exception was Green and Pollack and look what we did then. We have some Freshman who will be impact player and gone by the end of the Junior season. Down side of recruiting great players.

Having said that, I can do a better job of game planning and game day coaching.

ED SINGLETON

September 4th, 2011
5:11 pm

BOTTOM LINE, BOISE STATE HAS BETTER COACHES, NOT TALLENT, SO HIRE ALL OF THEM.

LakeDawg

September 4th, 2011
5:12 pm

I can’t get last night out of my mind. It’s like a bad nightmare. In the nightmare UGA has fallen to the Kentucky level, but has dedicated the off season to the return of the UGA of old. I get a little hopeful (I know, I put too much emotional energy into a game played by 18-22 year olds). Then I flash ahead in the nightmare (you know how dreams are). And what do I see. UGA wearing clown uniforms with circus music playing in the background. And just like at the circus, the clowns (UGA) can’t do anything right. Their helmets keep flying off. Their shoes keep coming off. The players all have Predator hair….and is that CMR with clown make up on? No, its a spray on tan! Aaaaaaggggghhhhh(screaming)…somebody wake me up!

Frank Lane

September 4th, 2011
5:14 pm

Win out and take the SEC championship and we can play Boise again, after our bullpups have a chance to grow up a bit.

Dawg1

September 4th, 2011
5:23 pm

You hit it. There is plenty of talent on this team. BoBo seems to have used up all the creativity that he had against Virgnia Tech. Defense actually looked better than the score indicates.

Going to be an interesting season…

Dodd's Luck

September 4th, 2011
5:25 pm

There is more to CFB than winning and losing games. Developing the player to be successful in life after the game should be an important feature of the game. This is, unfortunately, lost in many fans, spectators, and coaches eyes.

Honesty, Integrity, Scholarship, and Sportsmanship need to be seen more in CFB.

RNB

September 4th, 2011
5:29 pm

Here is McGarity’s email address Dawg fans. Use it.

ad@sports.uga.edu

James Davis

September 4th, 2011
5:34 pm

Geogia’s downward spiral begin in July,2010 when Damon Evans was fired. He was the glue that kept the football program going. So what, he got a little tail on the side, he was an effective AD!

Bring back Damon Evans.

UGA is a Tier II Program

September 4th, 2011
5:35 pm

I remember several years ago (after let down in 2008) I told my neighbors that UGA is not a top tier NCAA Division I program (they laughed at me and thought I was crazy). Well…it just goes to show you that at least this 45 year old (lifelong UGA fan (first game 2 years old) / MBA graduate) knows the difference between program excellence and one built on gimmicks/fads. Oh where are you Erk Russell?

I used to not like Nick Saban but I was wrong. That guy knows how to coach and how to assemble a great coaching unit. Same is true of Boise State.

It’s sad because UGA has finest resources (tier 1 in that category) and it should be able to reach tier 1. However, just like the Braves and other dsyfunctional Atlanta sports teams, UGA can’t get over the hump. Dan Mullen might be headed to UGA after this year.

itpdude

September 4th, 2011
5:39 pm

I was on the wagon to get rid of Mark “We didn’t worry about penalties at FSU” Richt.

This is the guy who told his players to celebrate a touchdown till they got a penalty.

Come on. Richt is not the same guy and hasn’t been for a few years now.

Call it what you will, bandwagon or reality, the guy has to go. Recruiting means squat if he can’t take advantage of the talent.

Nerd Ferguson

September 4th, 2011
5:56 pm

Time for Blowbo to go!

CMR-Bozo-the-Clown

September 4th, 2011
5:56 pm

Ill bet I dont win a championship? why? Im not even trying.

Matt

September 4th, 2011
5:57 pm

Bobo needs to go…play calling dull and predictable, as always. Defense confused on any pass play.

Bill Grogan

September 4th, 2011
5:57 pm

All this coach(s) bashing would not be necessary if UGa could have scheduled Coastal Carolina first.

Jerry

September 4th, 2011
5:57 pm

I was amazed and dissappointed to see that the defense looked so much like last year. The o-line looked horrible too. Who is teaching these kids to tackle and block?

CMR-Bozo-the-Clown

September 4th, 2011
5:57 pm

I so stupid and gay, but I have nice hair…

Music City Dawg

September 4th, 2011
6:00 pm

I’m disappointed that our AD and coaching staff even accepted the game at all. Knowing that we wouldn’t be on a level to play with Boise and putting our players in such an embarrassing game situation is shameful. Its all about the money Chick-fil-a paid out. I would rather see them keep to a normal schedule and really develop our players and play calling for the SEC. So much for McGarity’s idea of working out favorable schedules.

Frank Lane

September 4th, 2011
6:00 pm

I also think the combat uniforms made the GA players hard to see on the field, blending into the sidelines and low level fans. Cannot possible help. Bring back the traditional look.

BPK DAWG

September 4th, 2011
6:02 pm

Why doesn’t Mark Richt try taking over the play calling like he did in the past?

Ginger

September 4th, 2011
6:05 pm

Agree with Bill……let’s take a deep breath and pull together…it is the best thing to do at this point.

We played a SR rich team with a SR QB who is very good and they have played in big games so they had the experience.

Hoping that we learn a lot by playing a tough tough team and it will help us get ready for SC rather than beating some easy team and not learning much.

Dr Stu Green ...

September 4th, 2011
6:09 pm

The closest thing Bill King has come to be a football player was running water bottles out the the players during timeouts!

“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.”

It’s comments like that which lead so many of the Dawgs fans to delusional thoughts.

Bill …. there was NOTHING “dazzling” about Mitchell’s TD! He simply ran a FLY route (Bill, that’s when the WR runs straight towards the endzone, no cuts/curls, as fast as he can), the DB blew coverage, AGAIN (like with O. Charles the series before), and A. Murray made the throw. A Murray deserves the credit since he made the throw. All Mitchell did was run straight ahead … didn’t know that was such a tough thing to do.

Dawg Tell

September 4th, 2011
6:10 pm

CMR is still making 3 million today and our football team still looks like S@#t!! CMR could make it another year or two with the current Admin. (Adams/McGarity).

Straight Jacket

September 4th, 2011
6:14 pm

Enter your comments here

Bob in Buford

September 4th, 2011
6:15 pm

I’m so sick of people like you saying “these crazy fans are panicking.” You said the same thing in 09′. How did that turn out? You said it last year; how did that turn out? It’s not panic and it’s not the “lunatic fringe.” It’s just the state of things. It’s time for a change. What’s the worst that can happen, 6-7?

Dr Stu Green ...

September 4th, 2011
6:16 pm

Nobody wanted to listen to me leading up to the game…all my buds thought I was crazy (”their DLmen ain’t big enough, our OL avg 325lbs” is all I heard) ……. Well, BSU made it obvious….Good D-Lines will give the Dawgs fits this season!

And it certainly doesn’t help the DL that the Broncos tiny center whupp’d both of the Dawgs’ 350lb nosemen. Lot’s of OCs will be looking at that for sure!

And can somebody show #29 how to tighten his chinstrap! Dude’s helmet popped off at least a dozen times.

Steve in Buckhead

September 4th, 2011
6:17 pm

It’s people like you that kept Goff around 3 years too many.

Straight Jacket

September 4th, 2011
6:20 pm

Kudos to UGA for moving outside of its comfort zone and scheduling this game. Look on the bright side, you also play Auburn.

Scott

September 4th, 2011
6:22 pm

The fancy new uniforms did not make up for the poor execution…

allwehaveishope

September 4th, 2011
6:22 pm

Most GA fans wouldn’t be so upset had the dawgs lost a close one but this wasn’t close and was an embarrassment to watch. I had false hopes coming into this season as did many dawg fans only to suffer another letdown and sad performance on both sides of the ball. They had their bright spots however it was all over shadowed by mistakes and poor play on both sides of the ball. The coaches still cannot right this ship from 3 years decline and must fall on the sword and allow new blood to step in and inject new spirit and most of all the ability to coach this team up and know enough to make the proper adjustments that will allow us to win.

My name is below

September 4th, 2011
6:26 pm

CMR BOZO

actually i like losing.