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

Beast from the East

September 4th, 2011
12:41 pm

“We had grown men barking in our faces going into the stadium. That is a lack of class.”

Boise,
Grown men do not bark at people. Those are called rednecks…..not grown men.

Dezz Nutzs

September 4th, 2011
12:41 pm

How in the HE_L can you say ” rush to judgment”? Why the freakin delay? five years and every year you a_-_holes blame it on some assistant coach who does what ever RICHT tell him to. Theres nothing left. We expect The athens redneck aka bull dawgs to lose. This is the new Kentucky. LOSERSVILLE USA!

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:42 pm

“pre-game dancing” that’s what our team is all about. Pre game dancing, running of mouths, and artificial hype. When they get on the field, they crumble like cheese.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 4th, 2011
12:42 pm

Rick N.,

I was completely surprised that in the 2nd quarter of the first game of the year when BSU ran three straight no huddle plays our guys where so winded. I know the emotion in the game can be attributed to it, but these guys train year round to position themselves for scenarios. It was disappointing indeed, but we still have a ton to play for.

UNC grad

September 4th, 2011
12:43 pm

I saw Wake Forest loose to Syracuse in overtime in an exciting game. I believe Wake can beat UGA. All they have to do is play up-tempo with short passes. Plus put pass rush pressure on the QB

BUBBA

September 4th, 2011
12:43 pm

IS IT MARK RICHT OR BICHT?

DanNotDan

September 4th, 2011
12:44 pm

Georgia and Notre Dame should swap coaches, Kelly can light a fire under the complacent players in the roller ball uniforms and Richt can settle down the dear in the headlight domers.

BUBBA

September 4th, 2011
12:44 pm

a SACK OF POTATOES BEAT THE BULL B!TCHES COACHED BY CMR BOO BOO THE CLOWN

CMR BOO BOO THE CLOWN

September 4th, 2011
12:45 pm

BUT MY HAIR LOOKED GOOD ON NATIONAL TV

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 4th, 2011
12:46 pm

What we need is another Uniform change, Dancing in the endzone, and more of what ESPN calls us PREDICTABLE PLAY CALLING

With that we will go undefeated the rest of the year

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 4th, 2011
12:47 pm

Also for the UGA fans barking at BSU fans. Look every team has a lunatic fringe part, especially in the SEC. I hate that it happened but when you mix a late kickoff, alcohol and a team in the SEC those things are unfortunately going to happen. Insert any SEC outside of Vandy and you would have been taunted. From a SOOO-WEEE-Pig or whatever the spelling, to a Gator Chomp or a War Eagle cheer to your face. Every school is represented by rogues. I would never embarass myself first by that type of conduct, but it happens. Grow up a little and understand it.

ActuaryDawg

September 4th, 2011
12:47 pm

There’s plenty left to play for, but does anybody actually believe this team is capable of being successful. I guess we’re committed to this staff for the rest of the season, so I’ll hope for the best. But, my expectations are pretty low. I’m a fan, not a cheerleader.

Jake

September 4th, 2011
12:51 pm

These Dawgs won’t hunt.

Beast from the East

September 4th, 2011
12:51 pm

“Every school is represented by rogues. I would never embarass myself first by that type of conduct, but it happens. Grow up a little and understand it.”

Lowcountry,
When that type of crap happens it is incumbent on the NORMAL fans of UGA to put a stop to it. I routinely call out Gator fans that are acting like idiots when I see it. Yes, all fanbases have idiots, but I see way too many Dwg fans laugh it off or even encoutrage the behavior. It’s a poor reflection on a fine institution.

Beast from the East

September 4th, 2011
12:52 pm

several typos, but I’m sure you can make it out

CMR BOO BOO THE CLOWN

September 4th, 2011
12:53 pm

all fanbases have idiots, like CMR bozo Richt!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 4th, 2011
12:54 pm

Im tired of hearing about fans leaving early

Yea I left at the start of the 4th qtr

You want to know why?

Because I new this inept staff couldnt coach this team back to victory and I sure wasnt going to stay in traffic and get home after 3 am

Im not even saying we should have won but good grief the same play calls with one trick play that works for a td and then back to the same ol crap, give me a break man

No the entire stadium should have emptied 6 mins to go in the 3rd qtr to send a message to this staff that you learn to coach better and earn your high dollar pay or learn to fill out unemployment papers

cpinthedawghouse

September 4th, 2011
12:54 pm

Kirby, Mama’s calling, time to come home. Richt has driven this once proud football program into the ditch with Kentucky and Vandy. I’ve had enough of poor coaching.

CMR BOO BOO THE CLOWN

September 4th, 2011
12:55 pm

Mark BICHT is a loser, why cant he be the coach of which ever team the REAL dawgs are playing that week?

FBFan

September 4th, 2011
12:56 pm

Bill King of the Kool-aid. You need to cut back on the refreshments. CMR has lost it. Sometimes leaders have to make tough decisions CMR can’t do that. Keeping “Booboo” around will cost him his job and it is too late to fix it..

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
12:56 pm

I am not sure that a lack of inspiration or motivation is the problem, folks. The problem is that the team doesn’t seemed to be assessed for its strengths and weaknesses. Schemes are not created to utilize talent. Opposing teams are not assessed for strengths and weaknesses. Schemes are not created to take advantage of their weaknesses. That is what Mark Richt needs to be blamed for, not anything dealing with heart or swagger.

Unless you have a Cam, Vince, Tebow, Bo, or Herschell: Disciplined, fundamental football wins every time. UGA can’t win if it can not create sustained drives. I like many was disappointed in the D’s lack of stamina. Since the Stafford days, though, the D is on the field all the time. It’s either a quick strike or 3 and punt. Then the D is back on the field. There hasn’t been a sustained drive since Greene was QB. Is it a coincidence that it is also since Bobo took over as OC and play caller?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 4th, 2011
12:57 pm

I agree Beast, but to categorize a entire fanbase for the actions of say under 10 people is completely unfair and biased indeed.

Dawg Tired

September 4th, 2011
12:59 pm

Bill – Where was Mitchell in the first half? Do I need to go on and on? “Nuff said.

CMR BOO BOO THE CLOWN

September 4th, 2011
12:59 pm

Its time for me to go…..

pick up my paycheck for last nights embarrassment. Wait till next week. I am actually an undercover coach for Florida. Is to run Georgia to the level of Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Im almost done but I ve got to finish out this year.

What did yall think of my hair? that chit cost me a lot.

CMR BOO BOO THE CLOWN

September 4th, 2011
1:02 pm

*my goal Is to run Georgia to the level of Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Im almost done but I ve got to finish out this year.

Dawg Tired

September 4th, 2011
1:02 pm

I do think the uniforms are appropriate. They say it all.

CMR BOO BOO THE CLOWN

September 4th, 2011
1:04 pm

Those uniforms say top five every year and elite program.

Beast from the East

September 4th, 2011
1:04 pm

Lowcountry,
I realize that the vast majority of the Dawg Nation don’t act like idiots. My point is the only way to stop it is to police your own. When they realize their own won’t tolerate it, then it’ll slow down. Kind of like how the Bammers have disowned Updyke. We all have passionate fanbases, but we can be loud and proud without being disrespectful and obnoxious.

outkasted

September 4th, 2011
1:05 pm

I haven’t read any comments but my view is not Bobo’s fault… I blamed this all on Aaron Murray b/c there was times when he had mitchell or crowell underneath and alot of times he was forcing to Charles… they had many chances in the 1st half when the were up 7-0 and tied 7-7 but Aaron Murray did not get it done… I think crowell should be starting and he needs the ball in space and same thing with Mitchell… Tavaras King dropped too many balls…. at first I was angry with the Oline but they killed us on the penalties especially to start the game b/c that 1st play was a playaction pass and someone was open down the middle of field…. as far as the defense i was encoraged by their play but with the offense not producing i can’t expect them to hold down the fort the whole gm and olgetree going out really hurt b/c they were awesome on 3rd down until he went out…. i think jarvis jones played outstanding and although we lost we still got to get reay for south carolina next week… if aaron murray doesn’t check down to the underneath then maybe its time to give hutson mason some snaps maybe a series or two to see what he got but i was really disappointed in muray and the offensive line…….

Dawg Tired

September 4th, 2011
1:05 pm

Talk about being out of shape! The D literally was done by half-time. They used to at least last to about 1/2 way through the 4th quarter before totally collapsing.

Sonny B. Layne

September 4th, 2011
1:05 pm

I am in position to hear a lot of rumors. Remember, that is what they are, just rumors. I have heard a lot that turned out to be true and a lot that didn’t pan out. Here’s what I am hearing now. If MR does not make it, the interest is in Urban Myer. Does that mean that UM is interested in the GA job? No it doesn’t. He may not be interested in ever coaching again. Is GA planning to rehire if this year goes bad? Maybe not. I will say this, if GA decided to rehire UM would be the one. Great recruiter in GA & FL as well as Nationally. And, he can coach. No one can dispute that. Again, this is just one of the rumors floating around from a fair source. But, this source has been wrong and right before and gets on things pretty early.

Beast from the East

September 4th, 2011
1:06 pm

Give it a rest with the uniforms. Anyone that is sponsored by Nike has had to endure the horrendous “combat” uniforms at least once. The coaches had no decision in that matter. It’s all about those Nike $$$$$.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 4th, 2011
1:07 pm

Dawg Tired

Mitchell was on the sidelines talking to Knowshon Moreno over the phone about the importance of learning the playbook

BeerDawg

September 4th, 2011
1:07 pm

Bill, you have lost all credibility whatsoever…..this team is toast.

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
1:09 pm

Flat tire,

I agree with you. Insanity = trying the same thing again and again and expecting different results. What kills me is that when they change it up and get something going, they default back to what wasn’t working. I don’t blame you for leaving the game. I just couldn’t bring myself to turn it off even though I suspected at halftime it was going to get ugly. I have only turned one game off or left early and that was the UF game 2 years ago.

It has never been that I thought Richt was brilliant. I thought he deserved the chance to right the ship. I have serious doubts that he did. I honestly didn’t think there was an adequate replacement available. I admit I was wrong about that (for about the fifth time today).

I never will pull for my team to lose.

I think Murray does not deserve the heat he was getting from you guys about last season. It remains to be seen how this season will go for him. I think he was utilized very poorly last night.

It is a good time to clean house. Bring in someone who can build a team out of these young players while installing new schemes. This team could be a contender in a couple of years. I am not sure with Richt. Definitely not with Bobo.

BeerDawg

September 4th, 2011
1:09 pm

Sonny, I want nothing of Urban…..after Tebow and Dan Mullin left, he couldn’t do squat!

Beast from the East

September 4th, 2011
1:10 pm

Sonny B. Layne,
I think Urban is the next HC at Ohio State or Penn State. I can’t see him going to coach at one of UF’s main rivals. I’m sure if McGarity does decide to part ways with Richt that he would be interested in Meyer because of his success and their past relationship, but I just can’t see Urban doing it.

Tom

September 4th, 2011
1:11 pm

Why the rush to judgement?

Because Georgia had 8 months to prepare for this game and looked absolutely terrible. Undisciplined, poorly conditioned, out coached and out performed in virtually every possible facet of a 21st century football game.

Yes, Boise St was ranked 5th and it was theoretically a neutral field, meaning they *should* win most of the time.

A hard fought loss that was not decided until late would have been acceptable. But this baby was over by early in the 2nd half…that glimmer of hope late in the 3rd when the Dawgs cut it to a mere 2 TDs was fool’s gold.

It’s only a “rush to judgement” if you’re the type to accept and defend outright mediocrity.

BeerDawg

September 4th, 2011
1:11 pm

this team needs a disciplinarian….ala Saban. It makes perfect sense for Kirby Smart to come home….after a few years of tutelage from the Great Saban…

SiddyBoy

September 4th, 2011
1:11 pm

Bobo’s play calling !

Same song different verse.

PS: Did we ever run a “toss sweep”?

chazzo

September 4th, 2011
1:12 pm

Beast,

You are right. We should lay off the uniforms. Let’s knock the crappy, cheezy Nike designers and Nike’s labor practices. Screw Nike. They make ugly crap that doesn’t work.

Dawg Tired

September 4th, 2011
1:12 pm

Notice: Boise State’s offense is an example of a coach being on the “cutting edge.” He has 2 and 3 star recruits who are coached-up and easily beat a team full of 4 and 5 star recruits who are self-consumed, undisciplined, out-of-shape prima-donnas who can’t handle adversity. So I certainly understand why Bill is so positive. Hopefully we have enough sense next week to at least defer if we win the toss so we can avoid three penalties on the first three plays. But I’m really not all that confident we are smart enough to even learn that.

BeerDawg

September 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

“Curtesy”….understand your frustration…..but you’re an idiot……learn to spell

SiddyBoy

September 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

Bobo’s play calling.

Same song different verse

Gainesville Gator

September 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

The pressure was on Boise St. Georgia clearly superior.

So said Bill King, who fell of a mule on peanut farm in south georgia, and bonked his (empty) head.

Steve

September 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

Bill if you can’t see the writing on the wall after this performance and the past three seasons, please get another job. You’re not qualified to be a CFB sports writer.

Sonny B. Layne

September 4th, 2011
1:14 pm

I’m neither for UM or against him. It is just a rumor floating. It could be totally false. But, this guy has come up with good information very early, as well as very bad information.

Beast from the East

September 4th, 2011
1:14 pm

chazzo,
Yeah, but they pay the bills and the kids LOVE them.

BeerDawg

September 4th, 2011
1:15 pm

Dawg Tired….you’re absolutely correct….would love to see Chris Petersen here….But i hear he has a chronically ill child and wife doesn’t want to move…..sigh!!!

SiddyBoy

September 4th, 2011
1:17 pm

Bobo’s play calling.

Same song different verse !!!!