Fan talk: Another week, another ‘must’ game

Every game this season is an important one for Coach Mark Richt. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Every game this season is an important one for Coach Mark Richt. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Let’s open up by noting that, again, due to unclaimed UGA student tickets, a limited number of tickets to Saturday’s football game against Mississippi State went on sale to the general public starting at 9 a.m. today and can be purchased until 3 p.m. Friday online or by calling the Athletic Association ticket office at 1-877-542-1231. Tickets are $45 each.

Now, let’s get to some Junkyard Mail …

Gerry Archer writes: Seems like every week we hear that it’s a “must win” for the Dawgs, and they’re saying it again as the Bizarro Bulldogs come to town. What’s your take on the importance of this week’s game?

When Georgia loses the SEC opener to South Carolina, it automatically ratchets up the importance of all the rest of the games on the Dogs’ conference slate. Toss in the heat under Mark Richt’s seat caused by an 0-2 start overall, and every week becomes a referendum on his future, at least in media terms. So, yes, just about every game becomes a must win if the Dogs are to contend for the SEC East. I think this game is particularly important, though, because it’s the last home game for a while and it’s probably the toughest opponent the Dogs will face until Florida. Also, judging from what Richt has said, last year’s game against Mississippi State still really rankles with the UGA program. It was a game Georgia should have won and didn’t. I’m hoping that means we see the Dogs come out Saturday determined to wipe away those bad memories and take the next step on reclaiming a season that started out in a hole.

66DAWGnNC writes: I recently read where there has been 14 or so players from last year’s team with eligibility remaining that are no longer on the roster. I understand that some left on their own accord (e.g. AJ, Houston, etc.), but many were “encouraged” to leave. Why has there been so much attrition and how does this affect recruiting? It seems to me that if there are issues with the coaching staff (or strength and conditioning as was one reported case), then as a recruit I would look long and hard about committing to the DAWGS. If it is because of depth issues or lack of playing time, then that is on the player and not the staff. I would be interested in your take on that. Understand I am one of the few on these blogs that support Richt, Bobo, and the rest of the staff. I do not think we are that far away from returning to prominence in the SEC and the nation. We lack depth this year at key positions due to this attrition. I believe if all this “fire Mark Richt” talk dies down we will see another version of the Dream Team in next year’s recruiting class. Obviously they did quite well last year and that is why I believe they are in position to be pretty good in 2012. Just my thoughts.

Actually, I think only a handful of the departed players were actually encouraged to leave, and I believe the team is better off without them. Likewise, with those players like Derek Owens, who appears to be leaving the program mainly because he is discouraged with his playing time and lack of progress on the depth chart. (Update: Ken Malcome also fit into that category, but today he changed his mind and asked to be reinstated, and was.) As Richt said, “sometimes they see the mountain as too high to climb and they decide to go somewhere else.” But as he also said, “I think there’s value in fighting for your job.” Those who aren’t willing to stick it out and fight for the right to start don’t add much to the program. I have no idea how a 17-year-old recruit views all this, but I would hope they’d see playing at UGA or any top school as a challenge rather than looking for the easy way to a starting position.

Jax Dawg writes: Why are the special teams underachieving this year? With no Jon Fabris for some fans to blame, who needs to get the unit back on track?

I understand that Richt doesn’t believe in devoting one of his limited and valuable assistant coach positions to a full-time special teams coach like some programs do, but I differ with him there. I think the glitches in punt coverage (or, in previous seasons, kickoff coverage) that seem to crop up fairly regularly with Georgia are probably attributable to the fact that special teams coaching is an add-on that the various position coaches do in addition to their regular job. Likewise, while I admire Richt’s devotion to giving walk-ons a chance, I still think the Urban Meyer approach to special teams — making them truly special and an honor to serve on, with the emphasis on schlarship players and starters, might pay dividends in the long run.

Lindsey Portmann writes: My family and I just returned from a great trip to Oxford, MS. So happy the Dawgs got a SEC win, I hope they keep getting them! I have grown up going to UGA games every Saturday in Athens and I love it, we have always tailgated around North Campus. Athens is a beautiful place but over the past years I feel the school is making it harder and harder to tailgate. I really saw the difference between Oxford and Athens. I know there is a much bigger Athens crowd but walking through the beautiful Ole Miss campus I noticed there were trash cans everywhere as well as bathrooms, and it was an 11:30 a.m. game. When I got to the stadium we were allowed to get pictures on the field before kickoff and they came around offering sweet tea and lemonade to drink. Plus I got to keep the top to my water bottle! From a fan who sits on the end seat by the aisle, my water bottle always gets kicked over and spills on my purse during the UGA game. Friday night the tailgaters were allowed to start setting up their tents and Saturday at The Grove police officers were walking around, kind of patrolling the area. I think it kept people from doing what happened to North Campus a few years ago. My question is, do you think UGA will relax a little more on tailgating any time soon? It feels like they always want more money in donations but they don’t encourage the Saturday experience by locking building doors for rest rooms, not having enough trash cans for later games, etc. Any thoughts and GO DAWGS!!

As you noted, UGA deals with much bigger crowds than Ole Miss, so I don’t think you’re going to see fans allowed on the field before the game or have anyone passing out sweet tea! But I do believe that there’s a happy medium between the out-of-control tailgating that used to take place on North Campus and last year’s harsh crackdown that basically killed tailgating there. We’ve already seen UGA relax the rules for North Campus this year and tailgating pick up a bit there. UGA also has increased the number of trash and recycling receptacles. Upping the number of portable toilets would also be a big help, and I think having police officers routinely patrol the area would be a great idea. I don’t believe the UGA administration is really anti-tailgating; I think they just overreacted to a bad situation.

Mike in Senoia writes: With the way Georgia has been playing what is the likelihood of going 9-3 and how does a 13-team conference next year affect our schedule?

I think 9-3 is a reachable goal for the Dogs, considering the remaining schedule. As for next season, until the SEC hashes out how it’s going to handle a 13-team league and unbalanced divisions, we can’t say for sure how it will affect the Georgia schedule, but chances are at least one of the games against an SEC West oppoent will be changed. I think Georgia-Auburn is safe, so the games in question next year are the trip to Alabama on Oct. 6 and playing host to Ole Miss on Nov. 3. I know which one I’d rather see swapped out from the viewpoint of making the schedule as winnable as possible!

Robert Law writes: Bill, I am sure you were watching the SEC networks telecast of the Ole Miss game on Saturday. I am also sure you were as upset and horrified as me when they did the “spotlight” on Herschel Walker and his amazing 3 seasons at UGA. You see they correctly spoke about his fantastic career, all of his record breaking performances, and his continued stewardship of the game. However, when talking about his Heisman season in ’82, the announcing team stated “in 1982 when he won the school’s first and only Heisman.” Even though I am of the younger generation (26), I was shocked and amazed that they would forget about Frank Sinkwich. An NFL MVP and member of the College Football Hall of Fame. I know that It was all the way back in 1942, but how can you forget about Frank!

Yes, that was a pretty egregious oversight on the part of announcer Dave Neal, but give him credit for coming back a few minutes later and correcting his error. Still, I think if was unfortunately indicative of the second-rate efforts we all too often get from the SEC Network.

Cleveland Williams III writes: The Dawgs’ passing reminds me of Florida State, Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears. They all run long deep routes that take a long time to develop (hence sacks and hits on the quarterback). Any chance Georgia goes to more crossing patterns, more screens and more routes to the backs out of the backfield?

I agree that Mike Bobo too often has had Aaron Murray waiting in a collapsing pocket for longer pass routes to develop rather than dinking and dunking. It cost the Dogs big-time several games last year, including Arkansas. But I was encouraged by the second-half drive against South Carolina when Georgia did indeed move down the field using the short passing game. I’m hopeful we see more of that.

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195 comments Add your comment

Cobb Dawg

September 29th, 2011
11:08 am

First. Had to do it.

Frank Lane

September 29th, 2011
11:11 am

How is Logan Gray doing at Colorado. I may be first!!

Rocdawg

September 29th, 2011
11:13 am

Rocdawg

September 29th, 2011
11:13 am

terd then. dangit

Cobb Dawg

September 29th, 2011
11:14 am

Attended the UGA-Auburn game last year — my first time on Auburn’s campus for a football game. Have to say that they seem to have this tailgating thing down pat. All the tailgating is run by one company that’s owned by a couple of recent Auburn grads (Logistics majors) who rent out all the space around the stadium (if you don’t rent from them, you don’t tailgate there) and also handle all the set-up and clean-up. And everyone seems to appreciate the strong sense of order and organization, and everyone behaves themselves. I think UGA could benefit from a similar system, instead of the free-for-all we seem to have at every home game.

JaxDawg05

September 29th, 2011
11:20 am

Thanks for the outlet, Bill. Nice to see level headed Dawg fans with a forum to discuss issues not “hot seat” related.

bugsquacher

September 29th, 2011
11:26 am

and the hits just keep coming…. cmr coaching the fans on how to cheer, players jumping ship… the recent two year run….. the record speaks for itself…… cmr should be done….. and those clowns he calls assistant coaches…..

facts speak for themselves….. I bet 8-4 or 7-5 is the best we will do…..

1- GEORGIA is a combined 0-5 against Top 25 teams in 2010 & 2011 (0% winning ratio)
2- GEORGIA has lost 10 of its last 12 against ranked teams (20% winning ratio)
3- GEORGIA is now 16-14 in its last 30 games (53% winning ratio over past 30)
4- GEORGIA is 7-10 in the past 17 SEC games (41% winning ratio against SEC teams)
5- GEORGIA is 4-5 in their last 9 games going back to last season
6- GEORGIA has won 2 of it’s last 4 games. (neither were a powerhouse)
7- GEORGIA has not beaten a Div 1A team that finished w/ a winning record in its last 18 games.

Still@theBAR

September 29th, 2011
11:26 am

There is a Problem.

Joey

September 29th, 2011
11:28 am

Sorry JaxDawg05, but a coach making $3M+ a year needs to be on a “hot seat” when he loses 14 games in 2+ seasons, don’t you think?

The special teams improved dramatically last season, but has regressed this season, so far. It’s tough enough to beat inferior teams when your STs are giving up points and field position, but when you do that with equally talented teams (Boise, SC), you lose.

Logan Gray

September 29th, 2011
11:28 am

Thanks for thinking about me Frank! I have 2 catches for 23 yards! GO BUFFS!

FBGuy

September 29th, 2011
11:32 am

Too bad about Boo Malcombe, but without getting psycho about it, it seems the kid has opportunities but failed because of injuries and possibly attitude. Doubtful the coaching staff would have held him back if he had exhibited the highest levels of running skills. Hope he finds a more satisfying school, maybe a GASouthern etc. .

jWall

September 29th, 2011
11:34 am

bugsquacher
maybe if uga fans knew how to cheer he wouldn’t have to teach them

Still@theBAR

September 29th, 2011
11:36 am

Games wouldn’t be must wins if Richt wasn’t on the Hot Seat.

Still@theBAR

September 29th, 2011
11:37 am

There would be no problem with Tailgating if the fans respected the campus more.
There is a Rule in Camping and Hiking…..Pack it in…….Pack it out. If the fans can get all the tailgating stuff to the game, then they can just as easily put it back in the car………………………..

tulevol

September 29th, 2011
11:39 am

missy state might be tough, but UT in Knoxvegas will not be a pushover for the Dawgs. I hope you guys beat missy state this weekend, to set up a great east showdown. SC sucks, Auburn will put them in their place this weekend.

Still@theBAR

September 29th, 2011
11:40 am

Pack It in…………..Pack It Out………….Tailgating would not be an issue if the fans Respected the Hikers and Backpackers Rules of etiquette.

Had It

September 29th, 2011
11:40 am

Why are GA fans so trashy?????????

Matthews Dawg

September 29th, 2011
11:42 am

bugsquacher….are you and Tide Roll the same? Give it a rest!!! Tide Roll talks about linemen and you about their record. It’s a tired story and we all know. I guess it’s serving its purpose, because I’m not the only one who is sick of seeing it. Nobody reads it, I didn’t, just a glance and move on to the next! Give it up! CMR, I believe is here to stay! Go Dawgs!

PB

September 29th, 2011
11:43 am

Disagree with Miss. St. being the best team ’til FLA. There offense is hit and miss. Tennessee has a relentless offense and will sternly test the Dogs D. Plus we are sadly 0-2 in the last couple trips to Knoxville and it wasn’t even close!

bugsquacher

September 29th, 2011
11:45 am

have you noticed? over the past 2 years, Georgia get little if any attention on the SI pages, on the USAtoday pages, on any of the sports publication pages. Are you beginning to wonder? Have we become a 2nd or 3rd tier team in the SEC? Can we only beat the has beens? Wake up Dawg Nation, this current Coaching staff is running this team into the ground, day-by-day, week-by-week, season-by-season.

The facts are clear….its time for a change….

1- GEORGIA is a combined 0-5 against Top 25 teams in 2010 & 2011 (0% winning ratio)
2- GEORGIA has lost 10 of its last 12 against ranked teams (20% winning ratio)
3- GEORGIA is now 16-14 in its last 30 games (53% winning ratio over past 30)
4- GEORGIA is 7-10 in the past 17 SEC games (41% winning ratio against SEC teams)
5- GEORGIA is 4-5 in their last 9 games going back to last season
6- GEORGIA has won 2 of it’s last 4 games. (neither were a powerhouse)
7- GEORGIA has not beaten a Div 1A team that finished w/ a winning record in its last 18 games.

LHarding Dawg

September 29th, 2011
11:48 am

bug-idiot – We just read that trash on another blog. Get a life and off your mama’s tit.

SSIgator

September 29th, 2011
11:51 am

“one of his limited and valuable assistant coach positions”

This has to be one of the funniest things Bill King has ever written. Truth be known, they are “limited” in their ability and they are only “valuable” in terms of the amount of money they are paid.

SSIgator

September 29th, 2011
11:52 am

No DawginLex yet? It can’t be that time of month again already.

bugsquacher

September 29th, 2011
11:53 am

Hey Matthews Dawgs, Im just sick and tired of the performance of the team. I believe it is NOT the fans, or the support, or the players, or the facilities, or the recruiting. It is the game strategies, it is the play calling, it is the motivation of the players, …… this all falls in the coaching staff arena. I think CMR is a good guy, I just think for some reason he has lost his edge. There is no reason for Georgia to be performing the way they are. Its a shame its happen but maybe a change is the right thing. I love this school and this team. Ive been a fan for well over 40 years. I just dont think with this current coaching staff, they can turn it around. The record is pathetic. Its not getting better.

Ummmm

September 29th, 2011
11:56 am

I thought only big bad Saban ran kids off to make room. Are the mighty Puppies doing the same thing? Gasp! The horror!

SSIgator

September 29th, 2011
11:57 am

“the Dogs are to contend for the SEC East”

And the laughs just keep coming.

double degree dawg

September 29th, 2011
11:58 am

we likely won’t know until the season is over if any specific game was a make or break for MR but if we are beaten by MSU it will be a good indication of probable results for the remaining schedule. We should all hope that this is a season that gives clear indication of MR’s future. The uncertainty and split support of the program and coaching staff hurts a fine school and a fine man. It will have a progressive toll on both.

SSIgator

September 29th, 2011
11:59 am

“It was a game Georgia should have won and didn’t.”

What is new about that?

Dawgs Roll

September 29th, 2011
12:00 pm

No worries–miss state is not that good. Ga should beat them easily, by at least 13! Dawgs 33 Miss State 20!

Steve

September 29th, 2011
12:01 pm

Go MSU Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matthews Dawg

September 29th, 2011
12:02 pm

bugsquacher…glad you are a Dawg fan for 40 years. That’s me too, but give the same blog a rest, we see it over and over and over again. We all know that we haven’t played well the last few years. If that doesn’t change this year and they struggle, there may be a change. But, change it up and be positive every “blue moon”. IMO, I think CMR is getting things handled and they are moving in the right direction. Go Dawgs!!

Actually, SSIgator...

September 29th, 2011
12:04 pm

…we will learn this weekend if UF is a contender or pretender – not saying they have to win, mind you, but since it is a home game and they have not played any really good competition as yet, they will need to keep the score respectable to receive the beliet that they might beat USC (beating UGA is a given, unfortunately)…

SSIgator

September 29th, 2011
12:08 pm

“a season that started out in a hole”

You know what they say, when you have dug yourself a hole – quit digging.

Old Dog

September 29th, 2011
12:14 pm

So what was the issue that caused them not to allow drink bottle caps? I hate not being allowed to carry in UNOPENED water bottles, I REALLY hate them taking the bottle cap off my $5.00 ckoe so that I cannot seal it back up and keep it from spilling. Was there someone seriously injured in a bottle cap throwing incident?

Old Dog

September 29th, 2011
12:15 pm

R U kidding?

September 29th, 2011
12:18 pm

I don’t get it. Do UGA fans expect a 6-7 team from a year ago to all of a sudden contend for an SEC Championship? Your expectations are too high. get rid of Richt and no top tier coach wants to come to UGA listen to a bunch of whining fan. Appreciate what you have.

rational

September 29th, 2011
12:23 pm

If every game is a must win and you are not contending for a national title then you are probably doing something wrong.

jvillebil

September 29th, 2011
12:25 pm

The Dawgs were within a touchdown and a few breaks of going 10-3 last year. Anyone that has ever played sports would know that a team can have a huge turn around in one season. If you don’t think you can win you won’t, if you don’t think you’ll make the catch you won’t, if you’re a running back and don’t want the ball in crunch time you’ll fumble. With all that said and done, I think we still have a shot at winning the east, but if we lose to Florida, well then I don’t think Richt will ever break the mental block to consistently win at least 50% of the time against Florida and it will be time for change. AND I’m not talking obama change.

Macclenny_dawg

September 29th, 2011
12:27 pm

The Bulldogs will win this weekend!!! I am not positive that it will be my Bulldawgs though!!! Kinda scared we will get outcoached once again!!!

1990 J-school grad

September 29th, 2011
12:27 pm

“Still, I think if was unfortunately indicative of the second-rate efforts we all too often get from the SEC Network.”

At least Dave fixes his mistakes. Andre Ware has a keen eye for the obvious and lets everyone know about it. I am amazed that he has a professional broadcasting job. I think it is time to recreate the NBC announcer-less game experiment from the ’80s.

dagadawgs69

September 29th, 2011
12:28 pm

32 comments and already a handful of Tech and Gator fans making comments on here. You people are the saddest group of folks I have ever seen. I have never been to another teams blog once. I come here everyday and have to read the same pathetic drivel from other team’s fans. I am interested in the Dawgs, not what Tech or Gator fans think. Get a life losers

Bill King

September 29th, 2011
12:30 pm

Old Dog:

I’m not sure whether there was a specific incident that sparked the policy, but the caps are taken off the bottles to prevent a full bottle from being tossed from the upper level. The theory is that if the bottle is open, by the time it hits someone down below it will have lost most of its contents and weight and will be less dangerous.

steve

September 29th, 2011
12:35 pm

I dont think you people understand SEC football…You keep saying is this week a must win for CMR ? This is the SEC, every week is a must win for every team Fla, Bama ,LSU…everyone!!!!!Go Dawgs !!!

Daily Aued

September 29th, 2011
12:41 pm

The program dints of a pounding.

SSIgator??

September 29th, 2011
12:43 pm

Also, judging from what Richt has said, last year’s game against Mississippi State still really rankles with the UGA program. It was a game Georgia should have won and didn’t.

So…should we be encouraged that the Missy State game is what made the light bulb go off…….certainly the list of games that UGA SHOULD have won isnt limited to Missy State….in fact, SC this year could be included….so has the message really been received? or is it pretty much same old same old……could of should of would of….

Robinwood

September 29th, 2011
12:44 pm

How about not playing in a manner worthy of inciting someone to throw a bottle from the upper deck?

Joe

September 29th, 2011
12:45 pm

Ha! “light bulb go on” my bad…..and it’s Joe…the SIGator? was a slight at his remarks yesterday….

NeoDawg

September 29th, 2011
12:53 pm

We ‘tailgated’ before a Styx/Boston concert at Verizon Amphitheater a couple of years ago and people working the parking area came around and handed out large trash bags. They told us to put in our trash and leave it in front of our parking spot and they would pick up up after we left. This way they were assured the bags were durable and people appreciated and respected the ‘ounce of prevention’ approach. A company like Waste Management would probably provide the bags if they could put their logo on them and get a mention during the game. Why can’t they do something like that for No Campus?

NCDAWG

September 29th, 2011
12:55 pm

So students are not using all their tickets again for an SEC game. I say lower the number of student tickets available and make more available for season ticket holders. What a sad statement our current student body is making. Tickets were nearly impossible to get back in the day. I guess I’m getting old and complaining about the apathetic next generation.

jvillebil

September 29th, 2011
12:57 pm

If you look at the 2010 schedule.
1) SC: we fumble while going for the score to tie = Loss
2) Arkansas: stupid conservative play calling made no sense in 4th qtr. = Loss
3) Miss State; well we just played dead so we deserved to Lose.
4) Colorado: can’t even get a field goal = Loss
5) Florida: more stupid play calling in OT = Loss
6) Auburn, just got our buts beat once again deserved to Lose
7) Central Florida you got to be kidding = Loss
Realistically we could have went 11-2 if it had not been for mental blocks and poor play calling.
If this team really set it’s mind to it, we could run the table, but not sure if the coaching staff can get us there, but I’ll be in Athens Saturday and wait till after the game to reserve my judgement.