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

Fire Mark Richt

September 4th, 2011
11:33 am

Bill, did you watch the game. Brilliant coaching versus mediocre coaching, on display. 14-13 since the start of the ‘09 season, including several cupcake wins. At this point it would hardly be a “rush to judgment.”

UGAmutt

September 4th, 2011
11:34 am

#1) Gruden would NOT come back to FB to coach at a College (and he’d be worse than Richt…he won with Dungee’s defense and that was it)
#2) Even if he would, he’d probably be something like 40th on that list behind 1)Kirby Smart 2) Gus Mahlzahn 3)Bud Foster 4) John Chavis 5) Dan Patterson and BOZO is not even in that discussion. Ever.

Fire Mark Richt

September 4th, 2011
11:35 am

And to add insult to injury, we looked like clowns in the process. Burn those godawful uniforms and all video and photographic evidence.

dawgfacedboy

September 4th, 2011
11:37 am

Losing is one thing. Continuing to look lost, unprepared, and out coached is another. Keep drinking the kool-aid. I’m done.

WHERE IS THAT IDIOT DAWGINLEX AT?

September 4th, 2011
11:38 am

AT HOME EATING MORE IDIOTS SANDWICHES! ENJOY LOSER!

Festus

September 4th, 2011
11:39 am

One of the things football games do is separate hype from reality. Prior to the big games many football analysts, such as Lou Holtz of ESPN, pointed out the Georgia’s defensive line out weighed the Tater Tots by 50 pounds per man and that surely that massive defensive line would thrash and humiliate the Potato Peelers. Some even said that UGA had the best defense in the country. A smothering defense that no one could score on or even more the ball. The real experts pointed out that Potato State just couldn’t cope with the speed, size, depth, etc. of the mighty SEC. So what happened? The best defense in the country doesn’t give up 35 points to anyone. The experts failed to take into account that the Spuds have a coach.

Mike Bobo

September 4th, 2011
11:40 am

I follow CMR’s orders, thats why I still have a job. what ever my boss tells me to do thats what I do you idiots.

Dont blame me because CMR sucks!

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:40 am

Why the rush to judgement? Seriously? We looked like we haven’t practiced since Dec 2010…Our players looked unprepared and unmotivated…then Richt said (after game) that players needed to work to get their mind in the right place…What the f….If our coaches and players can’t “get their minds” in the right place for this game, then they never will.

DAWG with two bags over head

September 4th, 2011
11:40 am

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:41 am

Why the rush to judgement? Well, our helmets didn’t even fit…and shoes kept falling off. We can’t even dress ourselves, no wonder we can’t win.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:43 am

Why the rush to judgement? All I heard last year was, “give the 3-4 D a year.” Well, it’s been a year, and it still sucks. There’s a reason no one in college football runs a 3-4.

bravefan

September 4th, 2011
11:43 am

BoBo is a terrible offensive coordinator. As many commentors have noted, the play calling against B. State was atrocious and totally predictable. This team has tremendous talent but isn’t close to living up to its potential. Time for a coaching change.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:44 am

Why the rush to judgement? Because we lost to Boise St. of the Mountain West or WAC or whatever conference they play in.

Dawg Tell

September 4th, 2011
11:44 am

Richt is still laughing this morning.”I make 3 million doing this” HAHA-HAHA!!

Athens REDNECK

September 4th, 2011
11:44 am

Rush to judgment, weve said the same damn thing for over 4 years. Fire Mark Richt

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:45 am

Why the rush to judgement? Because we’ve already lost to Florida this year. We can’t beat those guys when we have a good team, and this year’s team is as bad or worse than last year’s team.

Audibles

September 4th, 2011
11:45 am

Torturing myself by rewatching the game…I think it tells you a lot about the coaching situation when you watch the number of audibles the sidelines call in-and they fail.

Athens REDNECK

September 4th, 2011
11:46 am

BoBo is a terrible offensive coordinator. As many commentors have noted, the play calling against B. State was atrocious and totally predictable

Mike Bobo

September 4th, 2011
11:40 am

I follow CMR’s orders, thats why I still have a job. what ever my boss tells me to do thats what I do you idiots.

Dont blame me because CMR sucks!

This team has tremendous talent but isn’t close to living up to its potential. Time for a coaching change.

Fire Mark Richt

September 4th, 2011
11:46 am

We had guys on defense tapping their helmets asking to leave the game – on the OPENING SERIES of the 3rd quarter. That implicates not just conditioning, but courage and heart. We haven’t had much of either since 2005 in my opinion. At some point that has to fall on the head coach.

Why anyone would be optimistic going forward is baffling to me. Since ‘09 we’ve had the wimpiest team. Boise State won because they are better coached and had more men then we had.

I guess our team could grow larger cajones during the course of the season – it happened in ‘07. But I’m not holding my breath. Richt seems lost.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:47 am

Why rush to judgement? Because no one in the real world gets to see productivity and performance decrease for 5 years without consequences.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
11:47 am

Odd thing: Richt pioneered the hurry up O. He was also known for trick plays. He hasn’t pioneered anything since.

LoganvilleDAWG

September 4th, 2011
11:49 am

RGR…Could I get a little more detail on this one…”Your coach waste talent like no other He a Heisman Winner playing DB”..I am dumb has JoeDirt sometimes, I just don’t have a mullet yet..so pls explain…
Loyal Dog, I wasn’t speaking about this game, I was not there. I am talking about our HOME FIELD, we are terrible about making it a loud, tough place to play. It doesn’t scare the opposing team anymore, it is sad when my son & his friends try to get our fans to stand up & make some noise. All they want to do is complain about Coach Richt & what we just ran or didn’t run.
It was louder in the 70’s & 80’s then it is now. I agree with you about running the ball, BLOBLO is so predictable, have BF, RS & IC in the backfield at the same time, QB under center & pound the ball to the left, then right, have Figgins & Samuel block for IC, wear the defense down…then pass the ball, 10 to 20 yard shots, not 30 to 40…his play calling is DUMB…
So start supporting CMR & these young men…I know & promise you they are alot more positive this year & are buying into what we are doing…so all of you FANS, start being POSITIVE ROLE MODELS, not Dipsticks….

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:49 am

Why rush to judgement? Because our coach had orange skin on the sideline. How can you trust anyone with a spray tan?

Todd Grantham

September 4th, 2011
11:49 am

I knew I shoulda given the Boise kicker the choke sign!

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
11:49 am

I like Mullen. Pay him big!!!

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:50 am

Why rush to judgement? Because evidently our players and coaches get more excited about new uniforms than the prospect of winning.

William

September 4th, 2011
11:51 am

Hey, what is Georgia’s record the end zone celebration? Just sayin. Karma?

Steve O. Spurrier

September 4th, 2011
11:53 am

I still remember those Grantham comments. Let’s see if I can hang 50 on that swiss cheese defense!

Ga Wins

September 4th, 2011
11:53 am

I hate to bring this up but really our collective downturn started when Micheal Adams started making decisions that are best left to the coaching staff.

I wonder just who made the final decision on the Nike uniforms Richt or Adams? I think behind the scenes the politics at UGA are affecting our on-field performance more than we realize.

We need an adminstration at UGA thats looks at the football team as more than a revenue source.

@Nub I think you have a very good point.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
11:53 am

Flat tire,

I disagree with you about a number of things. Why is that calling you out? I am still pulling for my team. I honestly don’t watch games thinking about you and your multiple IDs. It’s just plain weird, Dude, that you would think about me. I guess I am flattered????

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
11:54 am

The problem isn’t that we lost, it is that we were embarassed. The problem isn’t that we lost a better team, it is that we used to be the better team. The problem isn’t that there were no bright spots, the problem is that the coaches are reluctant to use them, preferring sprint draws and lack of defensive aggression.

Had It

September 4th, 2011
11:55 am

We need a coach with dreadlocks!!!!

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
11:55 am

Why rush to judgement? Because it’s not rushing to judgement to want change after five years of falling performance. It’s time to wake up and make a change. UGA looks clueless, poorly conditioned, and poorly motivated. Our guys were jumping around like they had won the BCS championship when they were down by 21 and made a tackle. It’s all about individual performance and immediate gratification, not about team play or winning. This team is totally lost.

UGADawg97

September 4th, 2011
11:56 am

What a joke that AM is preseason all SEC! Talk about over rated! The kid’s done zero since he’s been here. Quick, what’s his biggest win? We better find a real QB and soon or it’s bye-bye CMR.

UGADawg97

September 4th, 2011
11:57 am

Dan Mullin, Chris Peterson, or Bobby Petrino. Get it going now!

BroncoFan

September 4th, 2011
11:59 am

BSU coach Peterson is not only brilliant at his job, but full of class that permeates his teams. You would never ever see a BSU player text or tweet an opposing coach and dare him to kick to him (a’la Boydkin) nor would you ever see or hear Kellen Moore say something so arrogant as Murray did last week… “We are the SEC, the power house, we should be able to man-handle them (BSU)”

BSU maintains class; they just show up and play their game… as in last night’s game…

B.Beaver

September 4th, 2011
11:59 am

And what is it with your band playing paint it black all niight?

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:00 pm

Richt was an innovator when he arrived 11 years ago. Since then the other schools have upped the anty and Richt appears to be a one-trick pony.

the bulldogs appear unprepared & undisciplined. Look to the Mike Smith and Nick Saban model of discipline, preparation and fundamentals for the next coach.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
12:00 pm

Actuary…you nailed it. I was embarrassed after this game. I can take a team that loses, but not one that is embarrassing. Up until this game, I wanted to give the 2011 team and Richt a chance, but not now. I can see that nothing has changed, and that mediocrity is here to stay as long as we have this team, these coaches, and these players. It’s sad and pathetic. I am so disappointed in the team, and my excitement for another season of college football is completely gone.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:00 pm

All I heard was how tough and physical the SEC is. Didn’t look so big and bad to me. We’d win that conference.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
12:00 pm

Lattimore put on 30 lbs. Couldn’t defend Jeffries last year on 3rd and short. Sc’s D line is superior to Boise. Spurrier is smarter than Richt. I am not optimistic. I will still pull for the Dawgs!

Get in the danged I, and hit the holes quick before they close. Keep our D and SC’s O off the field.

NO TWEETS! NO SMACK!! NI SWAGGER!!!

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:01 pm

I was watching the TCU Baylor game the other night. Even though TCU lost in game they were expected to win, their players showed heart. Their quarterback was playing with cramps in both legs. He was getting treatment every time out, limping between every snap, playing his @ss off for his team. Contrast that with UGA players rolling on the ground in agony with every cramp. Compared to other teams, UGA is a bunch of wusses. Hell they get a little winded and tap their helmet wanting to come out of the game. The culture at UGA is weak and selfish.

Marie

September 4th, 2011
12:02 pm

Phuch Le` Duch – Amen. The UGA “fans” that were in the Dome last night were pathetic – total embarrassment – on national TV, no less. Why would any recruit considering UGA want to play in front of that??? They wouldn’t. So, good job, “fans” – way to show you will support your team!
GO DAWGS!

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:02 pm

Hey Aaron Murray, “we are the SEC”? Haaaaaaa haaaaaa. How was that georgia dome turf? you’d be 3rd string on our roster!

mdcain

September 4th, 2011
12:02 pm

Sadly, the highlight of the night for me was hearing my Buford Wolves mentioned on a national broadcast. Terrible game Dogs.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
12:03 pm

I feel bad for all the 10 year old kids out there, young Georgia fans, that have to watch this garbage. They’ll never grow up with a passion for UGA, because Richt and this team do nothing to inspire passion, loyalty, or respect. It’s shameful what these coaches and players have done to this team.

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:03 pm

speaking of lack of preparation, the fans need to be coached up. Shutup when your team’s offense gets to the line. Silence! Scream when the other team is trying to audible.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:04 pm

Maybe LSU, Bama or Florida will give us a better game in a BCS bowl!

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:05 pm

ActuaryDawg – agree. the coach should inspire you to have heart.

Boise – UGA is not indictive of the elite SEC teams. Try playing “bama and then say that.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
12:07 pm

I even feel sorry for the Boise St. fans and players. They probably feel like they beat a good team, an SEC powerhouse. Sadly for them, they beat on overrated team in the bottom third of the conference. This win would be similar to a win over Vandy.