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

CMR BOZO

September 4th, 2011
6:29 pm

YOU GUYS THOUGH I WAS GOING TO STEP DOWN? MAKE ME LAUGH. GA HAS GIVEN ME A GUARANTEED CONTRACT SO THAT HAVE TO PAY ME KNOW MATTER WHAT. I HOPE YOU LIKE BEING WITH THE KENTUCKY’S AND VANDERBILT OF THE LEAGUE

Bulldog Bob

September 4th, 2011
6:29 pm

I am not ready to give up on the team yet! First game against a seasoned opponent with many seniors on BSU. We got beat by a better opponent last night. Get over it you band wagon UGA fans. Go cheer for someone else because you do not benefit the program that I love and support regardless of the outcome.

CMR BOZO

September 4th, 2011
6:31 pm

CMR BOZO IS THE BIGGEST JOKE IN THE SEC. EVERY BODY ON HIS TEAM EXPECTS TO LOSE. RICHT HAS BREED IN IN THEM.

CMR BOZO

September 4th, 2011
6:32 pm

*BRED LOSING IN THEM.

Gatah

September 4th, 2011
6:33 pm

You are still irrelevant. Like you’ve been for the past 31 years. And the 70 years before that. Get used to it. Leave relevance to the Gators, the Tide, the Tigers, the TIgers and the Bucks.

CMR BOZO

September 4th, 2011
6:33 pm

ALL THAT TALENT AND NOTHING TO SHOW. FIRE HIS SORRY POSTERIOR NOW!

LakeDawg

September 4th, 2011
6:38 pm

@Bulldog Bob…No one has given up on the team, just CMR. You and your ilk are killing this program by continuing your donations despite subpar performances. As long as Adams is receiving the green nothing will be done.

bart

September 4th, 2011
6:42 pm

Grantham is an expensive joke. Bobo doesn’t have a clue. Richt loves Jesus but can’t coach and is earning 3 million dollars a year. It’s time to clean house and start fresh.

pete

September 4th, 2011
6:46 pm

Everybody, let McGarity know…it’s time for a change.

Lowcountry Dawg

September 4th, 2011
6:49 pm

Bill…I hate to say it…you sound like a South Carolina fan during the Lou Holtz era!

Return to Glory

September 4th, 2011
6:50 pm

Bill I am all out of excuses and reasons.
Bottom line no plan on either side of the ball.
Defense gave up 35 points just like last year no clue.
Our soft offensive line did nothing.
OUT coached
OUT played
OUT hustled
OUT of excuses

Straight Jacket

September 4th, 2011
7:06 pm

It could always be worse. At least when Richt lost to S. Florida, he did so with class. Did anyone catch Brian Kelly yesterday? He was saying stuff that would make that Grantham guy blush.

Burma Shave

September 4th, 2011
7:19 pm

The dawgs were bad
Crowell was worse
The dream team is under
Mark Richt’s curse

BURMA SHAVE

bugsquacher

September 4th, 2011
7:21 pm

FROM SPORTS ILLUSTRATED……
A program that enjoys as many inherent advantages as Georgia can only spend so much time outside the ranks of the elite without requiring wholesale changes. The Bulldogs receive the bulk of the attention in a state loaded with football talent. Simply by signing the best 25 players in Georgia every year, Georgia should be able to compete for the national title on a regular basis. Instead, the Bulldogs are middle-of-the-pack in their own conference…….ENOUGH SAID…..MAKE THE CHANGES NOW, RICHT/BOBO, SEE YA!

Pilar

September 4th, 2011
7:24 pm

Grantham is an expensive joke.

Yes, he is. His salary for the two years he’s been in Athens is $1.5 million. Where else could a clown like Grantham make that kind of money? Get rid of the jerk, he’s an inept joke.

NJ Dawg

September 4th, 2011
7:27 pm

It’s not that we lost Bill, it’s how we lost. It’s the same problems that have been around for 3-4 years now. They looked awful and I saw zero indication that any of the problems of the past 3-4 years have been fixed or are on the road to being fixed. They looked just as bad, if not worse, than the team that got embarrassed in the UCF game. Same lack of discipline, same 3 play offensive playbook and lack of any kind of creativity on offense, same lost defense, same lack of strength and conditioning, same situation with the defense on the field the entire freaking game, etc., etc., etc.

How many years are we expected to wait to see any improvement in any of these areas? Heck, at this point I’d just be happy to see improvement in any area. I’ve always liked CMR but seriously, we need a dang football coach, not a preacher. I’m not really sure his preaching and “making them better men” has really been very effective either considering how much trouble our players have gotten in during his tenure and the tweeting, showboating after a tackle when you’re getting your butt kicked, etc.

Big Wally

September 4th, 2011
7:29 pm

Georgia’s OL and DL = fat and slow. The new strength and conditioning must be who can get to the buffet line the most times. .

Straight Jacket

September 4th, 2011
7:37 pm

Not that it matters too much, but since you bring it up, Gatah, when was UF relevant before Spurrier?

hind tit

September 4th, 2011
7:43 pm

For the guy that ask how Boise had 18 fifth year seniors. They red shirt their freshman year and are smart enough to stay in school another four years. 1+ 4 = 5. They not only had 18 fifth year seniors but 25 seniors total. I would guess you would have a hard time finding 18 fifth year seniors total in the SEC which is why the DAWGS got their butts beat. The longer you play together the better the team gets. How many Boise players leave early for the NFL or flunk out by the second or third year. I would say none. You can’t expect a first or second year player to be as good a senior or fifth year senior until these kids start finishing school i don’t care how many stars they have by their name. The SEC is on the way down mark it down.

Jim

September 4th, 2011
7:44 pm

This was a game which never should have been played. Why would a 6-7 team schedule a non-conference game with the No. 4 team in the nation?. Defeat was assured from the outset. Richt should be fired for that!!!!!

scdawg

September 4th, 2011
7:46 pm

uga has lost 4 out of their last 6 games dating back to last year. i am sick of the losing and the excuses. we need to man up and start playing and coaching the georgia way. no more excuses, make the plays or turn in your scholarship.

BusterBronco

September 4th, 2011
7:47 pm

Coach Pete could win the Kentucky Derby with a jackass.

Spike 80DF

September 4th, 2011
7:54 pm

BSU outplayed and outcoached the Dawgs, the game wasn’t nearly as close as the score ended up.

Apparently it’s too much to ask for a well coached, hard-nosed team. We’re stuck with richt because we’re a bunch of clowns with no expectations. Everyone around me in the dome seemed content getting our asses kicked all night and they acted like I was unrealistic for wanting to win.

Fire all these idiots and start over with a coach committed to winning who you don’t have to force to make changes….

Whiskey Breath

September 4th, 2011
7:54 pm

Don’t do this Bill, you are smarter than this. You know the whole team was poorly prepared for this game. You also know once Ga starts poorly, it is like dominos. You are no blind, stupid homer Bill,
you know better than I do it will be a long season. The half full glass mentality, will not work.
You know better than I do that Richt should have been shown the door 3 years ago. 4 years ago is when the decline started.

Tea Parties are for Old English Ladies!!!

September 4th, 2011
8:00 pm

I guess UGA will have another season like they always do – start with the best recruiting class in the country and then slink into mediocrity. I think this is representative of the entire university itself – good in some areas but just average overall – UGA is no one’s first choice for academics, and soon it will not be for football as well

Loyal UGA supporter

September 4th, 2011
8:07 pm

I agree with you TPAFOEL – I have had my UGA degree for over 9 years now, and it is always compared negatively to most other schools in the southeast. This attitude comes not just from UGA’s usual haters but from almost every recruiter I have talked to over the past couple of years especially – they just do not place the same value on a UGA education that they do on a degree from most other schools in the region. I had the football team to cling to but this start just seems to indicate another futile season

crusher dawg

September 4th, 2011
8:11 pm

Thank Goodness that we don’t have to see those nasty, ugly, horrible outfits again. Please never agree to another contract like this again…..

Swampdawg

September 4th, 2011
8:12 pm

Just like last year….Still No Blocking ! Still Poor Tackling! This crop of Dawgs can’t block and can’t tackle! How were they rated so high when recruited. Need stronger and meaner guys on the team. Need more Diversity on the Team.

icedawg

September 4th, 2011
8:14 pm

8-4. Lose to BS, SC, UT, UF.

icedawg

September 4th, 2011
8:16 pm

When are the folks in Georgia going to realize that the talent in the state is mostly average not 5 star? it’s time to face up to reality.

Swampdawg

September 4th, 2011
8:24 pm

That’ right icedawg… gotta change the way they are recruiting and go after more players like Pollack, Boling , Goldberg, the Stinchcombs , Hoage and Tardits, etc! Too many boys and not enough men on the team. Getting worse every year.

Old65DAWG

September 4th, 2011
8:26 pm

Enter your comments here

Mike

September 4th, 2011
8:29 pm

Bill…enough with the kool aide….its done….the other thing that is a question is if Boykin will text Steve Spurrier……i am done with this group of morons.

gt4ever

September 4th, 2011
8:42 pm

Big Wally

September 4th, 2011
8:46 pm

This team, like the previous teams are NOT in shape. If your are not in condition, your going to be out of position on defense, which we were most of the time after the 1st quarter. The OL is fat and slow and can’t sustain blocks, hence the poor pass protection. No excuse for being out of shape. Fire them all right now.

stiggywiggy

September 4th, 2011
8:47 pm

Great goin’, dawgs. You dress like an arena team and play like one too. Red Britches. Red necks. Red Man chewin’ terbakky. The trifecta in lame color schemes. How’s that “dawg nation” thing working out? I like your new “dream team.” A rather wet one, it seems. Boy, y’all really showed those lumberjacks a thing or two about smash mouth SEC football, didn’t you? I’ll bet they were real impressed. I guess it’s time to dust off that old “Lindsay Scott-Lindsay Scott” cassette, and relive those days of glory so many decades ago. As for the present, it looks like you’re heading for Baylor-ville.

Auburn Fan

September 4th, 2011
8:48 pm

That was not the next Herschel Walker……

Isaiah Crowell

September 4th, 2011
8:51 pm

How did you like my first play from scrimmage? I call it “Banana Peel on three.”

Auburn Fan

September 4th, 2011
8:52 pm

Hey look on the bright side. At least the Boise State players did not jive and dance to rapp music like you did when you beat Auburn. That is just one example of the lack of control that CMR has on his players. The inmates are running the program.

Auburn Fan

September 4th, 2011
8:53 pm

I could not wait to see the next Herschel Walker. When are they going to play him?

Auburn Fan

September 4th, 2011
8:54 pm

Did the Dream Team take the night off?

Concerned Boise State Fan

September 4th, 2011
8:55 pm

Naturally, for strength of schedule purposes, I will now become the biggest dawg fan in the nation. However, I am deeply troubled as to whether your football team is capable of winning a single game. You sucked that bad!! That being said, GO DAWGS!!!

Auburn Fan

September 4th, 2011
8:58 pm

why did those snazzy helmets keep flying off your players? Did they forget to snap the chinstaps? Good coaching right there.

Larry Munson

September 4th, 2011
8:59 pm

I see absolutely nothing falling out of the sky.

Chuckles the Clown

September 4th, 2011
9:01 pm

Hey dawgs. Can I have my pants back?

Number One Bulldawg Fan

September 4th, 2011
9:04 pm

Them power rangers unies are awesome. We have the coolest unioforms in football. We’re Number ONE!!

Top Recruit

September 4th, 2011
9:06 pm

An improved S&C program. A nutrionist. A few quotes from the highly compensated HC and OC. “Hell, I know what I’m doing”. “We have looked at them on film since January”.

Good deal. For all of that hype and blowvation we get drilled 35-21. Throw out one rush by a defensive player and the guys in charge of what is “doing” and “knowing about them” had one drive of about 5-7 plays and 30 rushes for slightly over 50 yards. Boise is good, but not that good. And the Dawgs, they are not that bad. Nope they are worse.

From 2009, 2010, and even one game in 2011, a reasonable minded AD has to ask where is the program is going. Sorry about that word. Boise is a program. No one but CMR knows what his teams are. Alumni do. It ain’t what they want and support.

Let’s be honest about CMR teams. They under perform. They are not ready to play. The record since 2009 and the level of play is a statement to that. CMR’s team lack focus, intensity, desire, heart, and endurance. Two years are on record and a third does not look promising. Time. Time is important in sports, especially SEC football. Fall too far behind in the level of play and you may have doomed a program for along time. That is what the current AD is facing because his current coach can not solve the riddles of the current state of collegiate football. Virtually every spread offense CMR faces destroys his teams. He may have improved his Defense, but unfortunatley his OC is way behind. In the process the OC has destroyed a storied program in 2+ years. A university football program that ran the ball with style, fame, and dread on opposing teams.

No one respects or fears CMR’s teams now. Time is not on our side anymore in this game. The OC has brought this conference team to the bottom.

Producer

September 4th, 2011
9:10 pm

Bill’s long past the “Kool Aid” stage. How ’bout taking your hat off so we can all see the flat surface where Richt puts his beer?

James K. Polk

September 4th, 2011
9:16 pm

You people please shut up about Kirby Smart. He has never called a defense at Bama and never will. That is Saban’s defense. Smart would be worse than Richt.

alex

September 4th, 2011
9:17 pm

richt: takes 4/5 star recruits and coaches them to 2/3 players….
Boise running bach: “we were in a little better shape….”, new conditioning coach, another richt pick, Get in that 150 ford and drive away, far away..