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

01HAWK

September 13th, 2011
2:49 pm

You can name call all you want to against me but it is your program that is in turmoil while CMR makes 5 MILLION in salary and endorsements.

SABAN is the highest paid because they expect him to win, and if he does not win ………………………..He will be history also.

IT IS ABOUT WINNING

Tiger

September 13th, 2011
2:49 pm

What happened to my fans? They’re not around anymore.

Gay Dawg

September 13th, 2011
2:50 pm

UGA has a very large gay population Bill King. Don’t attack us or you sir are a homophobe!

SSIgator

September 13th, 2011
2:50 pm

“Do UGA fans deserve to be called out?”

No, but the UGA coaching staff sure needs to be and the fans should not have to settle for “we lost a close one” and “we had some bad breaks today” and other such tripe. As long as the purse strings that control the situation are satisfied with those types of excuses nothing is going to change. No matter what the fans say or do.

Megan

September 13th, 2011
2:52 pm

SC Dawg, yes, we could all stop donating money, going to games, and buying UGA merchandise… But then UGA couldn’t pay the coaches’ salaries… what a concept…

Elvis

September 13th, 2011
2:52 pm

My fans all loved me cause I always gave them a good performance.

Steve Spurrier

September 13th, 2011
2:54 pm

My fans don’t particularly love me, but they put up with me,
cause I turned a losing program around to a mediocre program,
able to compete with Georgia.

Urban Meyer

September 13th, 2011
2:55 pm

My fans loved me more than Ron Zook, cause I had a few
winning seasons. Now, they hate me cause I will be the
next coach at Ohio STate.

SatillaDawg

September 13th, 2011
2:56 pm

Another year, another disappointing start.

I still think it’s time for a change at the top, but will always support my Dawgs, win or lose.

Go Dawgs! Sic ‘em!

Jim Tressel

September 13th, 2011
2:57 pm

My fans used to love me (except when we played a SEC team),
Finally, we had to cheat, but we finally beat one of them, and my fans
didn’t even care about the cheating as long as we finally won one.

Cam Newton

September 13th, 2011
2:58 pm

My fans loved me.

Pete Carroll

September 13th, 2011
3:00 pm

My fans loved me cause I brought a winning program
they didn’t care if I fudged a little bit to do it.

Joe Pa

September 13th, 2011
3:02 pm

My fans love me win or lose, cause their children are under my care.

Barry

September 13th, 2011
3:03 pm

Absolutely our fans are sometimes awful, Just shut up and let the season play out-I believe in these coaches and players. If they don’t perform-there will be plent of time to yell for changes..Come on-Support our Dogs!

LSUFANINGA

September 13th, 2011
3:04 pm

UGA fans are delusional! They think they should beat every team they play and that’s unrealistic.

shankit

September 13th, 2011
3:06 pm

LSUFANINGA – Seen the time the shoe was on the other foot, not only
with LSU, but Bama, Auburn, Tennesse, SC, (hope I didn’t leave anyone out)

Trojan

September 13th, 2011
3:06 pm

The fans have never called a bad play, the fans have never jumped offsides, the fans have never been suspended.

The fans have however, purchased 90,000+ tickets everygame for many years. The fans are not average.

stan

September 13th, 2011
3:07 pm

Enter your comments here

Skipper

September 13th, 2011
3:08 pm

Fun to play on blogs. While everyone has their theory, two things are solid: we have hustled backwards the past few years, and we are middle of the pack. If you’re satisfied, so be it, ‘coz the way things are now, thats where we’ll stay! Think we’re beatin’ Miss. State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Fla., Tennessee, Ky., and Vandy all????? We’ll have a good game or two, but will finish (as usual lately) as an also-ran. I’ll support ‘em either way; I’m not givin’ ‘em hell….just tellin’ the truth and it sounds like hell! Now, not only are we losing to power houses, we’re fininding ways to lose when we SHOULD win……0-2….it is what it is…….

shankit

September 13th, 2011
3:11 pm

It’s a tuff conference, almost have to cheat to have a winner.

wr29te

September 13th, 2011
3:13 pm

These people are not UGA fans and most of the 35% are only jock sniffers and have nothing to do as far as giving money or attending most games they just read t he paper and listen to the announcers who have never talk to the AD or the Pres who will make the final call on CMR

shankit

September 13th, 2011
3:13 pm

When does Boise State start their probation?
Probably right after South Carolina’s QB and coach sobers up.

James

September 13th, 2011
3:14 pm

If you want objective analysis about UGA’s situation…

Go here: http://coachesbythenumbers.com/should-richts-backside-really-be-on-fire/

These guys call it straight and back it up with numbers. Not subjectivity.

86Dawg

September 13th, 2011
3:23 pm

Who cares what some ESPN idiot thinks? The sports world existed before ESPN, and regardless of what they (ESPN) would like to think, we’d all be just fine if ESPN disappeared.

ESPN’s own “experts” beat the “hot seat” label into the ground re: CMR before BOTH games this season. Then another of their “experts” blasts a sold-out stadium full of fans for having an opinion based on actual recent experience, over the last several years?

True fans DO support the team, and the staff, but we do also have a right to express our own opinions. And for most of us our opinions don’t begin or end with one game. Maisel should watch every game since 2007 to gain some context before “calling out” anyone. What a narcissistic dolt.

Megan

September 13th, 2011
3:29 pm

Dammit Bulldog Nation, just sit back and take it… Be real fans regardless of how the Dawgs play. Support the coaching staff no matter what! Besides, do you really think we can bring in a new coach and turn things around? Look how long it took Coach Richt to win an SEC Championship at UGA. Look how long it took Nick Saban to win a National Championship at LSU and Alabama, or how long it took Urban Meyer at Florida, or Gene Chizic at Auburn? We cannot expect miracles! For God’s sake look how Dan Mullen is struggling over at Miss. State and Steve Spurrier having a hell of a time trying to South Carolina into relevancy! Just be happy that we are picked to beat both Tennessee and Florida this year which will be the first time in who knows how long?

" Mad Dawg" : Losing football at UGA ain't that bad !

September 13th, 2011
3:29 pm

Macclenny_dawg

September 13th, 2011
3:31 pm

James,
Like it said the SEC East has gotten better!!! UGA has not!!! Sounds like coaches fault to me!!! Bottom line Richt had 5 good years!!! 4 fair years and a losing season. That leaves us with this the deciding year. To right the ship he would have to win 1 of the 1st two games against agianst top ten teams like he did the 1st year!!! Record 0-2!!! Enough said!!! Bye bye Richt!!!

David

September 13th, 2011
3:32 pm

Funny, I’m an SC fan and I knew I had to watch the game til the last second. I wasn’t relaxed with 10 points and 3 minutes remaining, and felt GA would come up with a score at least.

JB

September 13th, 2011
3:33 pm

My problem with the “faithful” is the constant blaming of losses on Coach Bobo. Many still blamed last weeks loss on the man and we scored 42 points. Frickin’ amazing!!!

HBTD!!!

7576DAWG

September 13th, 2011
3:34 pm

Maisel doesn’t know what he is talking about. UGA fan base has not abandon it , they just want to win, as they should. The reason a lot of fans started to leave at the 3 minute mark was not because they didn’t think we could come back it was because of the respect most has for Spurrier to not lose a ten point lead with 3 minutes to go.
McGarity will get us relevant again because he takes his job very serious and he knows what it takes to be a top10 team.. I think college football is about to change with the conferences expanding to 16 teams. As long as we have everything in place within 3 to 5 years everything will be okay.

Rob

September 13th, 2011
3:36 pm

I was sitting on the 45 yard line during the game and had to try and convince everyone around me to stay and support the team which they didn’t!! The fans bailed on the team when they needed them to get loud the most! The team didn’t give up but the fanbase sure did!!! Very hypocritical to ask something of the team when ur not gonna give the same effort. I feel that UGA fans have forgotten the importance of crowd noise and support during a game. The UGA team has suffered a terrible injury to one of it’s most important men, one who plays every single down and that would be our 12th man and the way people are whining it might be a season ending injury

Dawg14

September 13th, 2011
3:37 pm

Fans definitely deserve the criticism. Sanford has so much potential but its home field advantage is not much because the place only gets loud during TDs, rallies, and occasionally 3rd/4th downs. If the stadium was loud the whole time the other team’s offense might jump more. I remember the Arky game last year during the UGA late rally, fans were so loud that Arkansas backed themselves to their own 5 because of 3 consecutive false starts because of the noise. If we were that loud the whole game, we might not have had to rally.

conyersdawg

September 13th, 2011
3:44 pm

I thought the crowd was extremely loud. In both of the games only a scattered few, mostly enebriated, fans were booing and yelling for Richt to “go”. I see positives and I’m optomistic for the remainder of the season. My South Carolina friends were shocked at what happened.

Robert

September 13th, 2011
3:45 pm

“Richt said he saw the toughness and resiliency of his team in the losing effort against South Carolina”

That’s like a guy serving s%it sandwiches trying to convince you that they taste good

I-DOG

September 13th, 2011
3:46 pm

Columbus, that is a mighty big assumption and I think you are incorrect that only young people use computers and enjoy following the team and commenting on it via this forum.

I for one can’t be confused with being young. I think many of the people in here (like myself) were there when we got hosed at Auburn and remember what time it is in TX and were ecstatic when Donnan and Bobo and Edwards vanquished FL after such a long dry spell and remember Dooley’s tight lipped comment “it was poor coaching on our part” when James Jackson laid the ball down at midfield after a win only to have South Carolina return the ball for the winning td with no time left (though mercifully it didn’t count!).

You would have to be in your 70’s to have any real memories of a 3 year streak this bad. I personally don’t remember some of the bad teams from the 50’s since that IS before my time.

doug dawg

September 13th, 2011
3:49 pm

things won’t change, folks, until the stands start to get empty and the tv contracts dry up. it is as simple as that. only money talks these days, and the ad understands that, and so does adams. as long as week keep supporting this mess, it will go on, down and down and down. we do not have the ‘worst’ fans; we have the best fans. but frustration builds and is continuing to do so. for three or four years we have heard the excuses. it is getting old, fast. or maybe not so fast.

Greg

September 13th, 2011
3:51 pm

cs:you are delusional. If you think those coaches and players are busting their tails every day to get better you are more of an idiot than you sound like you are. All of the coaches have more football knowledge in their pinkie finger than you have or will ever be able to have. So, how about you support these 18-22 year old kids or just stay out of it!!!

Greg

September 13th, 2011
3:52 pm

Not busting their tails…sorry.

just a fan

September 13th, 2011
3:53 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn27sLE-R4s

The link above is a short rant by the Coastal Carolina coach its short and funny.

WDE

September 13th, 2011
3:53 pm

@Gay Dawg = Tech Troll….

ha

September 13th, 2011
3:54 pm

I will call yall out.
Trailer trash
knuckle draggers
Toothless rednecks
Mouth breathers
Whiners
Full of it
Pathetic
husband hunting hos

WDE

September 13th, 2011
3:56 pm

@just a fan thanks for sharing that’s a hoot….!

WDE

September 13th, 2011
3:57 pm

@ha my my troll boy that was really funny…what else ya got….

" Mad Dawg" : Losing football at UGA ain't that bad !

September 13th, 2011
3:58 pm

Megan stick to cheerleading for UGA, because your ignorance only reveals you don’t know a damn thing about expectations associated with big time SEC football. Please be quiet and don’t forget to pack your red and black pom poms & your keep Mark Richt under LOSING circumstances only sign with you.

Congrats, you are precisely the type of delusional fan that deserves the mediocrity and losing which is prevalent at UGA today. Georgia football will only get worse because of people like you who have the football i.q. of a common chicken. How much more losing football must the program endure before fools like you see the light. UGA could get blown out by Coastal Carolina and idiots like you would be launching “keep Mark Richt “websites and telling rational fans to be as stupid as your kind are. Just do us all a favor and shut your damn mouth !!!! Pathetic Loser !!

ha

September 13th, 2011
4:00 pm

professors of Pizza delivery

ha

September 13th, 2011
4:00 pm

Tea Bag tasters

ha

September 13th, 2011
4:01 pm

ball jugglers

ha

September 13th, 2011
4:02 pm

JB

September 13th, 2011
4:02 pm

Robert – “Richt said he saw the toughness and resiliency of his team in the losing effort against South Carolina”

If you cant appreciate that statement, then you don’t know much about football. That squad kept having to deal with TO’s run back for TD’s but kept coming back. Many temas would have caved after one if not two, etc.

Losing still sux but the squad did show tough, resiliency AND heart.

HBTD!!!

wreckmaniac

September 13th, 2011
4:05 pm

Stafford, Tereshenski, Cox, Murray. They’ve all been thrown under the bus. The only lucky one is Mettenberger.