Do UGA fans deserve to be called out?

Was fan support lacking Saturday Between the Hedges? (Associated Press)

Was fan support lacking Saturday Between the Hedges? (Associated Press)

ESPN.com senior writer Ivan Maisel was at Saturday’s game in Athens and was impressed by what he saw on the field from the Georgia Bulldogs.

In fact, he was so impressed with Georgia, the only team that has played two ranked opponents so far, that he concluded that down the stretch if Mark Richt’s team “plays the way it played Saturday, it will contend for the Southeastern Conference East Division championship.”

But Maisel wasn’t impressed by the fan support in the stands at Sanford Stadium.

When Richt said after the game that he saw “an awful lot of really great ingredients on this football team,” Maisel noted that “when Georgia fans hear that, the only ingredient they reach for is a grain of salt. They shouldn’t. They should listen.”

Richt said he saw the toughness and resiliency of his team in the losing effort against South Carolina, but Maisel said, “Too bad his team’s fans didn’t. Judging by how long it took them to get SEC loud, they came to the game tentative. They didn’t come in expecting Georgia to play well. If Bulldogs fans are honest with themselves, they won’t point a finger until they’re standing in front of a mirror.”

He went on: “If the Georgia fans hit the pause button on their complaints about what their team hasn’t done, they might see a team that improved markedly from the one that lost to No. 5 Boise State, 35-21, last week. If the red-and-black faithful stop batting their eyes at Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen long enough, they might notice a Bulldogs team that fulfilled the essence of the breed.”

That’s a pretty devastating knock on a fan base that prides itself on its loyalty. But I’m not sure it’s fully justified.

After all, the Dogs looked pretty bad in the Georgia Dome against the Broncos and yet a poll last week found 65 percent of UGA fans still supported Richt despite all the doom and gloom and hot seat talk.

OK, I think probably because of the uninspired way the Dogs lost the previous week to Boise State (exacerbating a general malaise hanging over the program the past couple of seasons), the crowd at the South Carolina game did perhaps start out a bit tentative Saturday. The pregame wasn’t as loud as you would have expected at the season’s SEC home opener against Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks.

And the first half didn’t do much to get them excited, with the Dogs looking fine between the 20s but squandering opportunities to put the game away by having to settle for too many field goal attempts when they got in the red zone.

But once the offense started to get on track in the second half, the UGA fans were pretty loud and supportive. I’ll admit, I did wonder about those fans who packed up and started to leave when Carolina went up by 10, despite there being 3:12 left on the clock and Georgia having all three of its timeouts. You have to wonder whether those folks just come for the social experience and are more concerned with beating the traffic crush than backing the Dogs to the end.

But most of the crowd stayed put and stayed loud as Georgia narrowed the gap to 3 points, with the flood to the gates only really getting under way after the Dogs failed to recover the onside kick and the chance at one more comeback was lost.

I don’t think fan support is the problem at UGA. OK, maybe a lot of folks arrived at the stadium expecting the worst, but the place was still packed and the fans were into the game.

And while a loss is still a loss and “moral victories” generally mean nothing, most of the Georgia fans I’ve encountered actually came away from the South Carolina game feeling encouraged by what they saw — a promising team that fought hard, didn’t give up, and which lost mainly because of mistakes, not lack of effort or talent.

How about you? Do you think Maisel’s knock on the Georgia fans was unwarranted? Do you feel better about the Dogs’ chances this season than you did a week ago?

It’ll be interesting to see what the game day atmosphere is like this week with an underwhelming opponent coming to town. As of Monday, there were less than 500 tickets (which Coastal Carolina had returned) still available for the game. Will UGA’s streak of sold-out games continue? And how many folks holding tickets to the game will actually show up?

Hopefully, most of the seats will be filled. So what if this isn’t exactly a compelling match-up? It’s Saturday in Athens and a chance to see the Dogs playing Between the Hedges!

Join me there and let’s show Maisel and the rest of the college football crowd that Bulldogs fans are indeed loud and proud, no matter what.

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529 comments Add your comment

H

September 14th, 2011
9:49 pm

Yeah that great qb play, the great o line blocking on the fumble play, the dropped passes, the missed tackles, the def lineman scoring 2 td’s. It was great to lose!

lotsadeacs

September 14th, 2011
10:00 pm

Dr. Luke, thanks for all the babble blather. Go fix another Jack and coke.

PowerDawg

September 14th, 2011
10:10 pm

@ just a fan…

Lovely speech. You still haven’t answered my question, genius.

What are you going to do when this new coach, you know, the one YOU believe is the answer to ALL the football team’s problems…the one who will lead us back to SEC and BCS glory…the man with the plan…
what are you going to do and better yet, what are you going to say when the same exact things start to happen.

Because they will. New coach, new staff, new offense, new defense, new schemes and recruiting needs, etc. Might take 10 years before we compete again. Meanwhile, you have written off these coaches and this team after two games and predetermined that this season will be failure also…without letting the season play out. You don’t know what will happen the rest of the way. If you do, then can I have next weeks Powerball numbers?

Something tells me that you and a lot of these other UGA fans that want winning at all costs and above all other concerns, will be saying the same thing you are saying now. Just insert a different name next time.

What a pitiful excuse for a UGA football “fan” you are.

Just don’t try and jump back on the wagon when these kids put together a very good season from this point on.

We don’t have any room for you.

Gen Neyland

September 14th, 2011
10:18 pm

Ray Goofs Hat : Say what you will about Lane Kiffin. We Atop Rocky share many of the same sentiments but I’ll tell you what LK brought The Hill : Bray, Hunter, Rogers, a host of OL’s and a few D guys plus some Special Teamers that will soon impress. UT starts a young team on both sides of the ball (apx 14-15 sophs and frosh combined O & D) and Kiffin had a hand in bringing in the talent. May CDD keep building on the good foundation laid in by Kiffin…

Music City Dawg

September 14th, 2011
10:24 pm

How many of the UGA fans realize that Boise showed up with 25 (yes, 25) fifth year seniors. That’s pitting 23-24 year olds against UGA’s 18-20 year olds. Boise SHOULD have won that game. We have a good team and good coaches. We really do. But they’re young and need some time to develop. They are about there and are about to rock & roll all over the rest of their schedule!!!!

Mobile Dawg

September 14th, 2011
10:27 pm

Seems Maisel used to do a commentary on the state of Alabama, Auburn football that was on local radio here in Mobile. Could be he’s a bit of a Bama homer and just piling on the UGA nation. I could be wrong about that though.

Msrsdawg

September 14th, 2011
10:28 pm

I don’t know what game Maisel was at but the crowd was about as loud as I have ever heard it and we have been season ticket holders for 37 years. Coach Richt had asked the crowd to be quit when UGA had the ball and we did as he asked. Why don’t some of you writers find something else to complain about? All we hear is how Coach Richt is on the hot seat and the fans are so upset…..did Maisel know about the Poll that was taken and how 65% of the fans are behind him? I know the last years were not his best but do you really think Coach Dooley would have survived in this environment. Give Coach Richt and this team a break.

Wow

September 14th, 2011
10:32 pm

Music City Dog…

It is sad that you seem to be ok with UGA losing to Boise State…oh how the mighty have fallen.

yearofthedawg

September 14th, 2011
10:36 pm

Yes we deserve to be called out. At least the subset of us that post on the internet. Of course, who knows if its really Georgia fans or other schools’ fans masquerading. I used to bask Schlabach because he would quote internet “fans” in his column, which is about the dumbest and saddest excuse for ‘journalism’ I’ve ever seen.

Question

September 14th, 2011
10:38 pm

If UGA goes 9-3, what will that really mean? I mean, 9 wins is fine…but it basically means that UGA lost the 3 games that really matter.

If UGA fans become “ok” with losing to teams they are supposed to lose to, then become used to going 84 or 9-3.

Rolo

September 14th, 2011
10:52 pm

Do moral victories count in the SECE standings? Geez, happy with playing well against USCe. I think that says all ya need to know about this MR coached team

Still@theBAR

September 14th, 2011
11:30 pm

I guess Curran learned to like the Light meat while he was at the White Girls College of Georgia.

RED DOG 77

September 15th, 2011
1:23 am

As a University of Georgia alumni, I can’t tell you how sickened I am at the BULLDOG fan base. Granted, you will always have the “country-club” set, sitting silently in their seats until mid-way through the fourth, but now even our “redneck fan-club” is silent………….You people make this DOG sick!……….Mabe you’ll get your wish, dump Richt, and really go down the toilet for the next 7 or 8 years[see Alabama, Tenn. Miami, Michigan]…………..Be careful what you ask for!………..Think about it!…………..RED DOG 77

LakeDawg

September 15th, 2011
2:21 am

I love the argument put forth here by some bloggers. It goes like this: you better keep this sorry coach, because you might hire another sorry coach. Well, if we do, what’s the difference. At least there’s a chance the next one can turn it around and if he can’t we’ll just get another one. Pretty simple. Now, I’m not saying CMR can’t turn it around, but he only has till the end of this year to do it.

richie

September 15th, 2011
6:14 am

UGA fans are a bunch of drunks.Nasty drunks,But what do you expect from a bunch of jokers.

legionaire

September 15th, 2011
6:17 am

Bill as an alum ‘63 I think the sports writer is a moron. Times have changed. When I was in school and for years there was no booing players, but also we did not see players behave on the field as they now do. College sports sold out to tv and big money. “Fans” are held up for thousands of dollars before seeing a game. Coaches are paid millions. This is no longer the college game I knew
The writer could go to any big time program and do a hatchet job about boorish behavior of fans. He just chose UGA but there is a much different fan base and when Richt signed that long contract, it was for winning.

bubba4dawgs

September 15th, 2011
6:55 am

Gee, read above what “harold” had to say. Perhaps they should put his candy ass in to replace Richt and then it all would be straightened out! God help the Dawgs!

East Repeat

September 15th, 2011
7:07 am

I was at the game. Atmosphere and crowd noise was off the charts. Dawg fans did ther part. I was wondering if SC could handle the tough road crowd. They did, we won!

Dogs Smell

September 15th, 2011
7:24 am

Vol Max -
Im a Vol but that comment sounds like a dog fan. We and our Vols have yet to prove anything except we cant run the ball very well and that we have an outstanding qb. Bow your chest and brag after the Florida game and then boost of the chances we have against GA. The one thing I respect about our fans is that we dont ever have unrealistic hopes try fitting in with the rest of us. Oh ! The Dogs Smell !

Richt Stays!

September 15th, 2011
8:23 am

Ga fans need to suck it up and stop complaining about Coach Richt. He is a solid, Christian man and does a lot of good on missions. He will be at Georgia for many years. Ga can’t be expected to compete every year with teams like alabama and florida that bend all the rules to get top players.

GA Beats Coastal!

September 15th, 2011
8:25 am

The dawgs will blow out coastal carolina and get back on the winning track! Take it to the bank.

archaeopat

September 15th, 2011
8:28 am

I was extremely well impressed by the way Georgia played against South Carolina. They caught some bad breaks on a fake punt and some turnovers, but clearly outplayed South Carolina. The coaching staff did a great job of turning the tea around after their dismal performance against Boise State. Bobo even called a good offensive game. We need to stick with this team and the coaches.

AltamahaDawg

September 15th, 2011
9:07 am

Friends, (and others): I have learned 2 important lessons this week. 1). Surge protectors do NOT stop lightning strikes. 1a) that is an expensive lesson. 2). It’s not as difficult to live with without a computer as you would think.

Hope to be back in the fray by tomorrow.

TRUTH

September 15th, 2011
9:08 am

Maisel is an idiot. How about the ‘Black-Out’ game in 2008 w/ ALA?? Was the UGA crowd there for that game? It was 31-0, ALA, at the half. How about at the FLA games for the last 10 years? Have UGA fans been at those games?? Was the GEORGIA Dome not claded in Red & Black?? UGA was embarrassed their by 2 & 3 Star athletes. UGA has been embarrassed too much over the last 4 years & 10 years against FLA. UGA has lost their last 3 games. UGA lost to Colorado & Central Florida last yr. Why WOULDN’T UGA fans be tentative??? Again, Maisel is an idiot.

Fred Sanford Stadium

September 15th, 2011
9:38 am

what does Sanford stadium and the tv show “Sanford in Son” have in common, besides the obvious name…both are funny…one was a sitcom, the other a joke…

Dogs Smell

September 15th, 2011
9:43 am

GA Beats Coastal! of course you get a win. You’re playing a school very few people have ever heard of. The ting is with fans like yourself is you think this is a BIG win and for Gods sake you’re supposed to win. You might as well play Norcross High. Just like the remainder of your schedule. Noone in the SEC plays an easier one. A few wins and you Homers will talk like World beaters yet when you played 2 quality teams YOU LOST !

Still@theBAR

September 15th, 2011
10:11 am

Thank God for Coastal & Ole Miss games. The Dawg fans will come down off the ledge and UGA gets to .500. The the wheels come off the bus again with Miss State or the Vols beating the dawgs. UGA will be 500 and get Vandy to have a winning record for a Week until the GATORS put the dawgs back to .500. the home stretch of new Mexico St, Auburn, Kentucky and Tech. The Dawgs could be 6-6 in the blink of an eye.

Etymologist

September 15th, 2011
10:31 am

Three words come to mind when talking about UGA players and fans:

Sleazy

Tawdry

Drunks

Claridge

September 15th, 2011
10:35 am

“What does Sanford stadium and the tv show “Sanford in Son” have in common, besides the obvious name…both are funny…one was a sitcom, the other a joke…”

Pretty funny. And Sanford and Son was far more entertaining. But if it’s clowns you want to see, take Sanford Stadium.