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

Columbus

September 13th, 2011
1:51 pm

ALL so-called journalists on AJC need to be called out!

This is the MOST BIASED and IN THE DARK PUBLICATION IN THE STATE. BLEACHER REPORT IS SECOND!

MAN IF YOU GET OUT INTO THE “REAL WORLD”, THERE IS FAIR AND BALANCED AND YOU WILL FIND THAT THERE IS ACTUALLY MUCH MORE SUPPORT FOR RICHT AMONG FANS…..

DEFINITELY NOT THE WITCH HUNT HERE LED BY COMMENTS BY YOUNGUNS WHO ARE ON THE INTERNET ALL THE TIME.

THE RICHT WITCH HUNT BY AJC….THEY WANT TO BURN HIM AT THE STAKE…ITS NOT GONNA HAPPEN. JUST SO AJC AND ALL THE IGNORANT WET-BEHIND-THE EARS FANS KNOW THAT. LOL THE AJC. THEY COULD BE GOOD AS WELL AS BEING BIG BUT THEY ARE INSTEAD THE BIGGEST AND THE WORST. GOOD THING THEY HAVE THE POPULATION GOING FOR THEM……THATS ALL THEY GOT WHEN IT COMES TO FAIR AND BALANCED AND UGA. AND ESPECIALLY THE REALITY OF THE PLUS 30 AGE FANS WHO ARE NOT THE MOST VOCAL BUT ARE THE MAJORITY!

Buckeye

September 13th, 2011
1:52 pm

Miami of Ohio?

MAC! MAC! MAC! MAC!

SpurrierOwns

September 13th, 2011
1:52 pm

“Give me a team of 22 random North Ave. circle jerkers…enroll ‘em in SC and put ‘em on the field…and I will take that team of circle jerkers and own the GA Bulldogs. Won’t have to do much…Richt and the Dogs can’t help themselves…they love to get pounded by C0CKS.” —- Steve Spurrier

War Dang Dawg

September 13th, 2011
1:55 pm

I love the Dawgs, always have, but the elite of college football over the long haul is Alabama, Notre Dame, USC, Oklahoma, Texas and Michigan. Maybe throw in Nebraska and Ohio State, although Nebraska didn’t really arrive on the scene until the 70s.

The rest of us are just hoping for that one special year each decade, or maybe that special 3-4 year run like Georgia had in the 80s. As for schools like FSU and Florida, they are way too new to the party to even hope to have reached all-time top-tier status. They are always one bad coaching hire away from returning to the their former irrelevancy.

The point is – my expectations as a Georgia fan are not realistic or grounded in history…the ENTIRE history. The same is true for fans of Auburn, LSU, Florida, and almost all other schools in the south not named Alabama.

Still, in evaluating a coach like Richt, I look at more than W-Ls. What’s the culture of the team, how do they play under pressure, how often do they underperform, do they have off-field issues, etc. I’ve concluded that Richt just isn’t a good coach and Georgia needs a change. It’s nothing personal for sure. And as a paying fan I shouldn’t be “called out” for voicing my displeasure.

Get Real

September 13th, 2011
1:55 pm

As a fan of any team, I can behave in any manner I choose. What a bunch of crap talking as though a fan owes any kind of “loyalty” to a team. It is purely entertainment. Some people act like it is religion.

Jasper Sanks

September 13th, 2011
1:56 pm

Fans don’t lose games. Fans don’t consistently lose outside containment. Fans don’t stay in a two deep zone while the other teams’s QB completes over 80% of his passes underneath. Fans don’t forget how to play special teams. Fans don’t come into the season out of shape and take themselves out of the game in scoring position. Fans don’t wreck their scooters and miss two weeks of practice. Fans don’t sell their jersey for a couple of hundred dollars and miss four games to open a season. Fans don’t avoid responsibility for losses. Fans DO pay for all of the above.

Get Real

September 13th, 2011
1:57 pm

And for those of you that want to rep;ly that football in the South is a religion, then it just shows how badly misguided you are.

Get Real

September 13th, 2011
1:57 pm

Well said, Jasper!

Instant Dawgma

September 13th, 2011
1:58 pm

Case in point Columbus, why are buckeye, gator, tech, etc. fans here in a UGA blog? To instigate crap because they have no life. And cannot simply legitimately critique their own programs elsewhere.

Larry

September 13th, 2011
1:58 pm

AR Dawg…..anyone that walked in their shoes would not be posting blogs in the tone you do…..your money? thanking you? dont flatter your self son….I have given twofold to this university long before my son got here.

MagnoliaDawg

September 13th, 2011
1:59 pm

It was the apprehension of not having a running game and not seeing our super freshman Crowell break a long one. But we are ok now bring it on

Frosty Dawg

September 13th, 2011
1:59 pm

Been to a couple or more Dawg games a year since the early 70’s, as well as other venues and for other sports, and one thing I’ve never understood is the fans who leave early. Why go to the time, trouble and expense of buying a ticket and getting to the game if you think beating traffic is more important than the end of the game? I would never give opposing fans or players the satisfaction of seeing me leave early–I even sat in Neyland the last 2 awful games there until the final buzzer (got compliments from UT fans for sticking it out for my team). And I would never want to miss my team scoring or getting a pick or even just going into Victory Formation.

Still, when it comes to leaving early, Dawg fans are no worse than anyone else. Where we are a bit worse than some others is in sitting on our hands when things start to look down. My wife (who’s a NY girl and not even a UGA grad) and I have literally stood up at games in the Goff years, turned to face the fans behind us and yelled “get up off your butts and make some noise!” in close games. Looks like that same ol’ thing, some sort of sense of entitlement (”I’ll wait til they’re winning again like thar s’posed to, then I’ll cheer”), is back again.

Folks, aside from Richt’s 2002-2008 run, our Dawgs had two 10 win seasons in 19 years, and no championships of any sort (except state of Ga, I guess). We have no reason to feel entitled to anything. If you think some mystery Super-Coach is going to swoop in and magically cure things, and then you can start cheering again, go root for someone else. When I’m at games, I’ll continue to cast aside the trappings of my professional life and yell til I’m hoarse, no matter who’s coaching or what the score is, and I sure wish you’d do the same!

Dustin

September 13th, 2011
1:59 pm

ARDawg, you my friend are a dumb@ss. When you and all the other bozos out there boo the players, leave the game early, spout off on these messages boards, you are making all UGA people look bad. Be a real UGA fan and support the team and at the end of the year, don’t donate any money, don’t come to the game, and don’t wear any UGA stuff. Cause in the end, you come out to support the University of Georgia, if you don’t like it, GT is looking for fans.

SC DAWG

September 13th, 2011
2:00 pm

I think our fans are pathetic. Maybe it’s where I sit, which is homeside on the 50, but it’s a dadgum wine and cheese crowd who sit on their hands, make no noise and are more interested in hobnobbing than watching the game and this makes me SICK!!!! If you want to talk and socialize, then stay in the parking lot. Otherwise, you better stand up and make some noise!

Macclenny_dawg

September 13th, 2011
2:11 pm

Bill,
I think we support the Dawgs but most of us have given up on our coaching staff!!! Too many times even in Richt”s best years we came out flat in several games a year!!! We overlooked it when we went on and won a championship!!! Anybody who knows anything about football can see that we get outcoached!!! Perfect example is in the comments made by our players and opposing coaches!! Against Boise state after the loss one of the players on defense stated that we didn’t expect them to come and line up like that!!! Spurrier stated if they line up a certain way run the fake!!! We just get outcoached!!! Sometimes all the talent we have overcomes coaching by the coaches. Sometimes we just can’t!!! Boise state coach stated that when he asked about Uga to other SEC coaches “we don”t spend alot of time on them because they are so vanilla!!!” Folks this is other coaches in our conference!!! We line up the same every week. We run the same plays every week. There is no change in our gameplan!!! The years we were winning we changed some things. We used to try to block a punt to try to change momentum!!! Bobo needed 2 years ago to be demoted back to our qb coach. He is a good qb coach. Our qb”s were better prepared. Murray last year and in the 1st two games this year comes out looking like crap. Is that the coaches fault??? I say it is!!! Murray is out team leader the qb always is. We need to get him going quicker!!! How??? Get him some safe throws like the screens. Call a qb draw!!! He stated himself he gets too jacked up!!! The best way to settle him down is to get him involved fast!!! Folks all the talent in the world can”t overcome getting outcoached all the time!!! For those who think Richt will get this thing turned around I agree he will!!! That is what scares me is if we win out and we keep Richt !!! I gave him every chance for the last three years to take back over the playcalling duties and put Bobo back where he belongs coaching the qb!!! He just fails making the adjustments way too late!!!! Conservative Richt doesn’T even go by the motto he made up!!! GATA!!! Then goes out and coaches not to lose instead of coaching too win!!! I have been a BULLDOG for over 30 years and like all fans I hate it when we lose!!! But is losing the rest of our games this year would guarantee a new coaching staff I say lets lose!!! I just don”t want to settle for being good. I want my beloved DAWGS to be GREAT!!!

SteveSpurrier

September 13th, 2011
2:14 pm

“After the game, and I went over to shake Mark Richt’s hand, he turned around, dropped his pants and grabbed his ankles.
I said, “Mark, what are you doing?!?”
Mark said, “Finish The Drill.”
——– Steve Spurrier

AthensDawg

September 13th, 2011
2:14 pm

I don’t know what Ivan heard but I was at the game and it sounded like the place was rockin. And the other thing is is that the Dawgs are 0-2 and duh we aren’t happy at what has happened.PS I don’t like Ivan Maisel.

Manofdawg

September 13th, 2011
2:14 pm

Actually, ECU has opened up against two ranked opponents – South Carolina and Virginia Tech. They are also 0-2.

01HAWK

September 13th, 2011
2:18 pm

CMR would have already been fired at the following schools: These schools will not accept mediocrity.

BAMA
LSU
FLORIDA
AUBARN

Ryan

September 13th, 2011
2:18 pm

I don’t trust ESPN writers. They also had a story the other week about the Falcons cornerbacks being the best tandum in football – HA – I knew that was a load of junk when I read it. The best CBs don’t allow cry baby Cutler to throw for 300 plus yards!!!!!!!!!!

shankit

September 13th, 2011
2:19 pm

Steve Spurrier – You must be talking about the drill Bill Stanfill
put on you your senior year. Probably where your hemorroids
came from.

shankit

September 13th, 2011
2:20 pm

O1HAWK – Your are right about Bama would have fired.
6 coaches fired in the last 7th year and on your 7th with Saban.
Richt is longest tenured coach in SEC.

shankit

September 13th, 2011
2:22 pm

Make that 7 coaches in last 11 years at Bama.
Mediocre for a long time.

JB

September 13th, 2011
2:22 pm

As long as the Hartman fund is a requirement to ” attend”, the fans have a right to cheer or boo. It’s not cheap to attend these games….And if the Product doesn’t improve, There will be no need for the Hartman fund for we will be like little brother in Atlanta with 4 cokes 4 hot dogs trying to fill the place. Is there anyone teaching economics over there who could explain some of this. The Games AREN’T FREE for the 95,000+.

collegeballfan

September 13th, 2011
2:24 pm

“After all, the Dogs looked pretty bad in the Georgia Dome against the Broncos…”

Correct. But you usually look “pretty bad” when you play a better team. And Boise was clearly the better team. And football is still a team game and the best team usually wins.

Georgia is 0 – 2. But the losses were to teams that were expected to beat Georgia.

Looking at the schedule Georgia should be favored to win all games except maybe Florida and Auburn. Maybe Florida and Auburn. Win the games you are expected to win and you have 8 wins.
Florida and Auburn can put Georgia in double digit wins.

Per the numbers Richt is the best football coach in UGA history.

JB

September 13th, 2011
2:25 pm

I’m a regular on these blogs. The frustration is building because I’ve never seen to many long,wordy blogs by so many new bloggers…You get a long one every now and then, but man. Lex,Mobile, any of you guys noticing this?

SteveSpurrier

September 13th, 2011
2:26 pm

“Two of the keys to Georgia’s decline to the bottom are 1.) the coaches and fans emphasis on shiny pants / glittery uniforms and 2.) emphasis on crowd noise and crowd fashion. Neither has anything to do with what happens on the field. Remember the ill advised incredibly embarrassing “Black Out” (also known as THE SMACKOUT) vs. Alabama? As Alabama ROLLED to a 31 to NOTHING whomping of GA after 2 quarters, the Alabama players were clearly feeding off the yelling dumb Dog fans, Alabama players actually gesturing and encouraging the Dog fans to make even more noise as they walloped the Dogs. The BlackSmackout and the Dog fashion / noise emphasis actually turned into a bigger distraction for the Dogs themselves, and they were clearly flabbergasted by their own foolish strategy and lost the game before it even started. Obsessed with fashion statements and crowd noise – A perfect example of what a coach should NOT do.” —– Steve Spurrier

rward

September 13th, 2011
2:27 pm

I was ashamed to see the “fans” leaving. When they started to come back they should have been denied their seats. I too am frustrated with the coaches and team, but you don’t do that in Athens.
I can’t recall that ever. If it’s more important for you to beat the traffic then stay home. We don’t need you. We had recruits at the game you idiots !!!!

JB

September 13th, 2011
2:29 pm

collegeballfan……………you just laid out exactly why we want change. The rest of the conference doesn’t want this sleeping giant waken up. This state outside of Florida and Texas produces the best Div 1 players on the East coast ans has more money than ANY program but Texas. They want us to be good little doggies and stay on the porch.

ATL Fan

September 13th, 2011
2:31 pm

The fans can be GOOD or BAD (whatever that’s supposed to mean) but the onus is upon the team. If fans are booing, it’s because they don’t like what is happening on the field.
The fans behavior toward the team is a barometer of product satisfaction. If the product is good, the fan will applaud. If the product is bad, the fan will likely boo.

01HAWK

September 13th, 2011
2:34 pm

BAMA………………..2 CHAMPIONSHIPS since 1992……………………………………..Winningest program in the SEC. The most elite program in the SEC.

Have always been the top program in the SEC. Check the numbers. You can always go back to 1980 to see what you have done. Most of you were not even born. Yes we had a dry spell which every program has but we do get it right eventually. DOOLEY always played 2nd fiddle to BEAR BRYANT and CMR does the same now to almost every coach in the SEC.

Leading in SEC TITLES:

BAMA…………..22
TENN…………..13
UGA…………….12
LSU……………..10
FL…………………8
AUB………………7

NUFF SAID

JB

September 13th, 2011
2:34 pm

The boo’s are not because of ONE bad game. They are from starting year 3 with mediocrity and after this head coach has over promised and under delivered for THIS YEAR. Georgia OWNED both these teams four or five years ago.

JB

September 13th, 2011
2:36 pm

01HAWK….be fair, list all the cheat’n,probations and forfeited games by the NCAA. Tell it all bother.

War Dang Dawg

September 13th, 2011
2:36 pm

“Georgia is 0 – 2. But the losses were to teams that were expected to beat Georgia.”

True, but why should we EXPECT to lose to Boise State and South Carolina?

“Per the numbers Richt is the best football coach in UGA history.”

Do the numbers take into account the automatic W’s – usually 2 a year – against I-AA and directional schools that didn’t exist in Butts’ and Dooley’s eras?

JB

September 13th, 2011
2:38 pm

5 years from now, let the record show 0-2……..and the excuses too many to remember.

01HAWK

September 13th, 2011
2:38 pm

collegeballfan …………………………..Per the numbers Richt is the best football coach in UGA history

NOT…………………………………Until he wins a BCS Championship he will always play 2nd fiddle to DOOLEY.

Ron Smith

September 13th, 2011
2:38 pm

Facts speak louder than what someone thinks. If you wanna know what someone is going to do, look at what they’ve done. UGA’s record speaks for itself – continued downward spiral; UGA quarterback is great as long as they’re playing teams with losing records; the team continues to give the ball away; 4th and goal from the one yard line and UGA coaches call for more field goals; if UGA continues down the same path drop ticket prices and give coaches a pay cut; stop blaming the customer for a poor product; remember Colorado, UCF, Auburn, Boise State, USC, Florida. top 10 recruiting class year after year with bottom 10 results; poor conditioning; players in legal troubles, etc., etc. Something is wrong in Athens

shankit

September 13th, 2011
2:39 pm

01HAWK – Are you the Bama fan that called in to the Paul Fienbaum show
on XM College Sports and asked Paul, ” Paul, why duz Auburn still
have an Injuneering clazz, heck, thar ain’t hardly any trains running
anymore.

Megan

September 13th, 2011
2:39 pm

Frosty Dawg, yes we do believe that some coach can come in and bring us a national championship…LSU, Alabama, Florida all thought the same…guess what happened? Now Auburn, Miss. State, and Arkansas are starting to compete on the big stage… but, where is Georgia? moving backwards, 14-14 in last 28 games, 1-10, against ranked opponents, 0-2 this year, and we know we will not beat florida!

JB

September 13th, 2011
2:39 pm

01HAWK…………..Not being a regular, you’re missing his point.

WONDERING

September 13th, 2011
2:39 pm

Dawgy Due, who is suppose to correct the mistakes? I think that is the coaches job. Just WONDERING.

Gay Dawg

September 13th, 2011
2:40 pm

OMG Crowell to start! I just spewed coke all over my face and stomach! EXCITED!~

shankit

September 13th, 2011
2:41 pm

Don’t wish any bad luck on anyone, but if Blair Walsh
pulled a hamstring, maybe Georgia could score inside
the red zone sometimes.

JB

September 13th, 2011
2:41 pm

Gay Dawg, I could, but I won’t go there. Too easy

shankit

September 13th, 2011
2:44 pm

3rd and two inside the red zone (2 plays to make a first down or TD),
Georgia is going to try a pass (usually unsuccessful, cause the other
DC knows it is coming,) and then rely on the field goal.

01HAWK

September 13th, 2011
2:45 pm

MEDIOCRE……………………….When you are grouped with KY, TENN, VANDY, OLE MISS, and MS. STATE……………………………………………….Then you have a right to complain about the product.

Even Ole Miss and MS. STATE have been tired of losing and changed coaches. And rumors are HOUSTON NUTT is on the hot seat at OLE MISS.

CMR makes to much money to produce such a lousy product on the field. Keep him…………………..Because BAMA is going to give you a BEAT DOWN next year……………………GET READY.

Bobo is Not the Problem

September 13th, 2011
2:46 pm

ASSININE. Fans are the freaking customer. They pay the bills. They account for the revenue. Fans are the dang driver, not the sportswriters and announcers. We will let you know when we feel like cheering and when we feel like booing.

Johnny G

September 13th, 2011
2:46 pm

Jasper…your comments from 1356 hours are everything wrong with Georgia “trailer park” football fans. I wonder if you ever done anything other than pay $9.99 for a UGA hat from the local gas station.

excuse # 17

September 13th, 2011
2:47 pm

Its the fans fault!

Tiger

September 13th, 2011
2:48 pm

I am who I am cause of who I am, I don’t sign autographs,
cause the fans don’t know squat about my game and ought
to chill out.