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

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:07 pm

Bring on Bama or LSU or Florida.

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:07 pm

Boise – UGA plays dumb. You will get killed by a SEC team that is well coached and prepared.

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:08 pm

NiceUni – think we can beat Vandy this year? I m not so sure anymore.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:09 pm

But Aaron Murray said you guys were the mighty SEC! :)

Pete

September 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

@GaWins- You my friend have “hit the nail on the head”! UGA president Mike Adams IS THE REAL PROBLEM-

The Truth

September 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

No jump to conclusion – this was the same pathetic effort seen week in and week out last season. Richt, Bobo & company should be fired immediately. Boise State was well coached, Georgia was not. Boise State made adjustments, Georgia did not. Boise State’s players knew where to be and what to do every play, Georgia’s did not. Boise State executed 4 quarters of football, Georgia did not. It’s pathetic that Georgia is continuing to waste talent. From what I saw last night, Georgia will struggle to match the wins posted last season.

Fred

September 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

Mark Richt is this morning doing his REAL job. He’s teaching Sunday School. Last night he put in an appearance at his part time job, being a coach. Is that rushing to judgement?

Seeing the SAME undisciplined out of shape team as last year is “rushing to judgement?” Getting beat is one thing. Being losers is quite another. Concluding after THREE penalties in the first possession that the team still has ZERO discipline is “rushing to judgement?” I think not.

I’m glad you saw something positive, I saw yet another group of talented young men left adrift without adequate coaching, training, or discipline. Without a DOUBT.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

We are in serious trouble this year in the SEC. Obviously, Bosie St. would be a middle tier team in the SEC, and they destroyed us. I’m not sure we get to 3 wins in the SEC this year.

William

September 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

What happened to that Dream Team?

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:11 pm

I-Dog – I agree about how much I respect Boise St. I will root for the farmboys this season, although I dont think they go undefeated.

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:12 pm

William – apparantly they forgot to wake up…still dreaming

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:12 pm

NiceUni, but you are the “Mighty SEC”! Your QB said so.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:13 pm

Memo to Murray, until you’ve won some games on a big stage, shut up and play football.

Fire Mark Richt

September 4th, 2011
12:14 pm

Holy crap, there are people on here who are actually blaming the FANS for these pathetic performances. Yes, if only we were better fans, our players wouldn’t drop like flys, get penalized, and get manhandled by a supposedly inferior athletes.

Personally, this is one fan who’d like to see Georgia stop recruiting “athletes” and start recruiting FOOTBALL PLAYERS. I know they’re out there because Boise showed up last night with about 60 of them.

FDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:15 pm

Enter your comments here

The Truth

September 4th, 2011
12:15 pm

Boise – at least our women aren’t fat and hairy. That’s all I’ve got. Ya’ll played well, and Georgia did the same thing it’s done for the past few years – underachieve and get out-coached. Pathetic effort by an inadaquate coaching staff.

TallyDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:16 pm

First off, Boise is a good team. It pains me to admit that, but they are. They aren’t nearly as big as us, but they are an infinitely better conditioned and fundamentally sound football team. Their game plan was sound, and they made adjustments on the fly flawlessly, something UGA’s coaching staff has proven utterly incapable of.

We are an undisciplined gaggle of thugs.

UGADawg97

September 4th, 2011
12:16 pm

Pathetic coaching. I am done until a change is made. This is humiliating.

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:17 pm

BroncoFan – agree. Boise St t UGA in the football dept AND the class dept. (excpet for this poster on-line call Boise, who is beginning to irritate me) Have a great season BroncoFan

BroncoFan

September 4th, 2011
12:18 pm

Dazed… and Nice Uni… Well, let’s see, Utah St., a perrenial bottom dweller in BSU’s old conference… what you folks like to call a patsy conference… outplayed Auburn yesterday. It’s nice that you are so devoted to your SEC; go ahead and talk smack all you want…. BSU can hold its own and probably win over anyone in the Seriously Egocentric Conference…

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:18 pm

The Truth, your Mom said to get off the computer, finish your homework and then straighten up your room…

Dangerous

September 4th, 2011
12:18 pm

Let’s not forget that after 10+ years at the helm that Richt still likes to run a Chinese fire drill on special teams and still can’t manage his time-outs……….called way too many dumb ones.

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:18 pm

BroncoFan – agree. Boise St beat UGA in the football dept AND the class dept. (except for this poster on-line named Boise, who is beginning to irritate me) Have a great season BroncoFan

Rick N.

September 4th, 2011
12:20 pm

Other commenters are correct. It’s the coach. Or is it? Growing up in Florida, now living in California, the South has always had top high school recruits. My two African American sons go to Boise State after graduating in California. At 50 years old, the one thing I have to come to learn is that a great leader can take average players and make them better. But I mediocre leader can ruin very talented players. Boise State has one of the best coaching, physical fitness training I’ve seen. Just look at BSU’s players compared to UGA players. UGA’s line was fat and out of shape and could not endure back to back to back Boise State, no huddle offensive plays. In contrast, BSU team, especially the off and def lines are not fat and out of shape. UGA coach should slim those guys down and make them quicker. The last comment that I would like to add is people should not minimize Boise State football. Obviously, there are probably less distractions in Boise ID (population 400,000) than the ATL or other big city colleges. Just because Boise is not in or near LA, NYC, Dallas or Miami, does not mean BSU is not capable of producing quality players. About 60% of BSU football players are recruited out of California, at state of 42 million people. So BSU does not get the big names that attend Cal, Stanford, USC or UCLA, but they recruit quality players looking for a great place to study and enjoy college life. Boise is a nice city with a selection of Haitian, Brazilian, and Jamaican restaurants, businesses and boasts 3 urban radio stations. Hey, but it still is a cowboy town, too.

Dazed & Confused

September 4th, 2011
12:20 pm

BroncoFan – I take back the compliments. Turns out your just as ugly as the people you criticize. I guess Boise lacks the class we were attributing to it.

BroncoFan

September 4th, 2011
12:20 pm

Dazed… thanks. And every fan base has a few annoying folks…

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:20 pm

Murray is right. We are in the “mighty SEC.” Which means that he probably won’t live to see the end of the season. Our O-Line is pathetic.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:20 pm

Dazed & Confused, the truth hurts, huh? If it were dancing instead of football, you guys would beat us hands down. Ooops, but it’s football! Have a nice season. :)

TallyDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:22 pm

As I continue to think about this, I cannot defend this coaching staff any more. CMR, if you want to go down with the ship to protect your buddy Bobo, then so be it, but you will not have my support in doing so.

Dawgs1965

September 4th, 2011
12:22 pm

About Mark Richt…fire him. He is deluded and out of touch. He had eight months to prepare for this game and what happened? Our Georgia Bulldogs came out and utterly embarrassed themselves on the national stage. All of your stratagems, Mark, a “cool “new uniform, a big opening game, all of those things that were supposed to motivate and inspire, none of them could compensate for the fact that your staff cannot coach and your conditioning coach cannot condition. Eight months to prepare for this game. A stadium full of people on your side. What do we do? Three penalties on the opening drive. Dispassionate, confused, unprepared, out of shape. Eight months to prepare for this game.

UGADawg97

September 4th, 2011
12:23 pm

Tallydawg, Grantham is worse than Bobo.

The Truth

September 4th, 2011
12:23 pm

Boise – Don’t you have anything better to do? Oh wait, you live in Idaho…

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 4th, 2011
12:23 pm

chazzo

Multiple ID’s what are they then

And what is it you now disagree on a number of things about what Ive said

No you woke up this morning with a kool-aid hangover and now want to talk about how this staff is outcoached. Well Ive been saying that for a long time

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
12:24 pm

I’m flattered that so many fans of other teams still view a win over Georgia as validation for their own team, but sadly, this isn’t the UGA team of 2005 or 2002. This team is a shadow of it’s former self. We appreciate the respect from the Boise fans. Thanks and Go Dawgs.

TallyDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

@UGADawg97 I thought the Defense was decent until 1: the inept offense couldn’t stay on the field and 2: Ogletree went down and a freshman walkon has to play MLB

Mr. SEC

September 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

Bill, face it, I also said give the dream team 2 years, but with the same old S— offensive coaching style of Bobo it’s a no brainer, he has got to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If Richt does not have the balls to get rid of him, he needs to go also! I love UGA to death, too bad others don”t that’s on the field, coaches included!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

I know one thing

I hope I never ever even here about a uniform change much less see one

Andy

September 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

Why the rush to judgment? BECAUSE THEY LOST THE SAME WAY THEY’VE LOST FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS!! Nothing has changed, so why expect a different result for the rest of the games? I could give Richt the benefit of the doubt if he changed things up and at least tried something different from the same sorry game plans that lost us games last year, but not if they keep trying the same high school strategies and expecting a different result. It is the definition of madness, and apparently everyone but Richt sees it.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

The Truth, take your beating like a man and no, I live in California. Enjoyed Atlanta and the southern hospitality. Any time you boys want to matchup just let us know. Always a pleasure!

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:26 pm

What’s more embarassing?
1. The way we were dominated and the coaching staff could not adjust.
2. The way our defense celebrates like they won the Super Bowl when they occaissionally stop a rusher for less than a three yard gain.

FDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:26 pm

No rush to judgement…but where was the improvement? We’ve waited 8 months for the new and improved UGA…but we trotted out the same old predictable offense and our defense looked as bad as it has anytime in the last 3 years. UGA is trending downward…and badly. I’m not giving up on the players…but Richt, Bobo and Grantham should definitely be feeling the heat. Guess we’ll see what McGarity is made of sooner than later.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:29 pm

I loved how arrogant the UGA fans were prior to kickoff and when they went up 7-0. All that later came crashing down. :)

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:30 pm

I actually have a different take on the new uniforms. I think the players should be forced to wear the hideous things until they start to play like Bulldogs. Because the wuss prima donnas I saw on the field last night don’t deserve to wear real Bulldog uniforms.

BroncoFan

September 4th, 2011
12:30 pm

Dazed… you made a good point. Apologies. No excuses. But it does get tiresome hearing all the continuing lack of respect and class from so many… (not you).

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
12:31 pm

Boise, you seem a bit of a bully taunting fans of your team’s opponent. It says a lot about you as a man. Great game for your team. Good luck the rest of the season.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:35 pm

Niceuni, pot calling the kettle black. We had grown men barking in our faces going into the stadium. That is a lack of class. I’m just glad we can have the fun and laugh after the game. And by the way, it’s just a game and just having some fun. Comments say nothing about character. Lighten up a little.

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
12:35 pm

BroncoFan, it’s clear that Boise has one of the top programs in the country. You guys can hang and play with anyone…you’ve proved that year after year. Don’t confuse our disappointment with Georgia, our losing record last year, and our probable losing record this year, as anything but frustration with our own team. You guys have great team, UGA doesn’t. Good luck the rest of the season.

BroncoFan

September 4th, 2011
12:36 pm

Thanks NiceUni… Best to you and UGA too.

Boise

September 4th, 2011
12:37 pm

And we enjoyed the pre-game dancing…

NiceUni

September 4th, 2011
12:40 pm

Boise, then man up and say something to the fans barking in your face. Posting anonymous messages taunting losing fans after a win shows a lack of class, and it does say something about you as a person. Yeah, people do it all the time. It doesn’t make it right. Sorry some of the UGA fans were poor sports, you don’t have to be one too. I’m done, but take this from a UGA fan…your team is awesome. You guys can hang with and beat anyone in the country. Your program is top notch. I’m jealous. I hope you have a great season.