Fan talk: Do Dawgs need to quit playing it safe in fourth quarter?

Mark Richt has said Georgia needs to be able to "put it away." (Associated Press)

Mark Richt has said Georgia needs to be able to "put it away." (Associated Press)

As the Dawgs prepare to travel to Nashville for the Vandy game, it’s time to answer some Junkyard Mail. …

Bob Leonard writes: Bill, we’re midway through the season (wow, seems like it’s just flown by) and I’m starting to be optimistic, which worries me since I normally like to under-expect when it comes to the Georgia football program. (Less heartbreak that way.) I think the defense has improved greatly and the offense looks really good in spurts, usually when Isaiah Crowell is in there. But Georgia still doesn’t look like a team that’s quite ready for prime time. What do you think’s missing?

The biggest thing that’s missing, I think, is the ability to put away even a lesser opponent in the fourth quarter. Of course, the situation has improved from last year, when Mark Richt’s Dogs were flat-out getting beat in the fourth because they were plainly out of gas. But the Dogs are still getting outscored in the fourth. Part of it is Mike Bobo’s desire to keep the ball on the ground, avoid an interception and eat up clock. And he’s certainly done that, with a fourth quarter drive against UT last week that ate up more than 8 minutes despite the Dogs ending up fourth-and-56 and with no points. Likewise, against Ole Miss there was quite a lengthy drive that produced no points. But there were also a couple of three-and-outs in the fourth quarter against the Vols and Richt himself noted after the game that puts more pressure on the defense and, “If we’re in that situation again, we’d better be able to put it away.” Bobo at times seems to be playing not to lose rather than playing to win. Down the stretch, that’s not going to cut it.

OkieDawg writes: When Georgia decides to run outside the tackles, they almost always run to the short side of the field which is normally to the left. The RB gets bottled up along the out of bounds and can’t really make any cuts. There are so many big bodies on the outside that there are just no running lanes and our backs run into their own blockers as often as the opponent’s defender. Crowell has the speed, if given the room, to run on the perimeter and turn up field with a couple of moves and make a long run. I know our strong side of the line is to the left, but there is a way to make that the wide side of the field. I really haven’t heard anyone else complaining about us running to the short side. Is this a legitimate observation/concern? And, if so, why do we do it so often?

I think two things are at play here. First, as you noted, Georgia’s offensive line is stronger on the left side, and that’s what running backs tend to follow. Also, though, in the Tennessee game, where Georgia’s penchant for running to the left was particularly noticeable in the second half, I think Crowell’s injured right wrist was a factor.

Allen Kennedy writes: Bill, what do you think about the attitude of the team? By that I mean, do we have the mentality to compete with Bama or LSU should we make it to the SECC. Does this team have the attitude, “Bring it on Bama,” or are they going to be like, “We made it here, we’ll be content with this.” I believe if [Todd] Grantham is more involved, we will dare them to get on the field with us. What do think, by end of year will the Dawgs be mentally ready for an Alabama?

I think you’re jumping the gun just a bit, what with four regular season conference games still to play, one of them in Jacksonville. But I do think this year’s team has a much better state of mind than last year’s. The fact that they didn’t let an 0-2 start derail their season is testament to that. If Georgia does manage to make it to Atlanta, taking on either Bama or LSU will be a daunting prospect, but assuming the team is healthy, I think they’d have good reason to feel up to the challenge.

BJOHNDAWG writes: Bill, Most people want to work at something they enjoy, but once they get home just want to relax and avoid talk of their job. While I know you are a UGA fan like the rest of us, is covering the Bulldogs as a job too much of a good thing and take the fun out of being a fan of UGA? For example, like debating UGA football with your friends and family?

Interesting question. Of course, I don’t actually “cover” the team in the sense that a beat reporter does. I get to write about the Dogs from the point of view of a fan, which is what I’ve been all my life. I also split my time between blogging and working as a story editor at the AJC, so I’m not focusing on UGA all day long. So, no, doing this blog hasn’t taken the fun out of being a fan and I still talk Dawgs with family and friends every chance I get!

Jim from the Class of ’84 (still the best record of all UGA classes!) writes: Whatever happened to Leonard’s Losers? The old original is probably not around, but what happened to him? Wasn’t he a UGA man? I would read those picks every Saturday for the humor and his choosing of losers instead of winners. Has anybody else ever taken over the name and use?

Many football fans have fond memories of “Leonard’s Losers,” particularly in the South. Athens native Leonard Postero, better known as Leonard “Postosties,” was the voice behind the colorful hillbilly-styled college football prediction show, which at its peak was syndicated on something like 1,400 radio stations, including Armed Forces Radio. He also had a Leonard’s Losers column in one of the Athens papers and for a while published a weekly newsletter. Postero also provided the voice of his sidekick, Percy Peabody. He main claim to fame, of course, was picking the losers rather than the winners, but his offbeat nicknames for teams also were memorable. He usually referred to Georgia as the Red Clay Hounds. Postero died in 2001, and for a while the show continued online with Leonard’s “nephew,” but it ceased production in 2005 and the website is no longer active.

Pendar Khosravi writes: Bill, I just wanted to preface this message by saying that you truly are a damn good dog and that I enjoy the passion and emotion that you put into your writing in regards to your beloved Bulldogs. With this said, I have a quick question for you and wanted your opinion on a play call at the end of the UGA vs. UT game last weekend. With UGA leading 20-12, and having just recovered an onside kick at the UT 35, UGA opted to run the ball 3 times to run out some clock at the end of the game. We had gains of 1 yard, 0 yards and 4 yards on the first three downs, putting us at the UT 30 with the clock running down. As we know, coach Richt decided to punt the ball on 4th down and Drew Butler kicked his 4th down punt well into the end zone (I’m guessing to alleviate the concern for a punt return TD) putting UT at the 20 with :18 seconds remaining in the game. My question to you is why do you not attempt the 47 yard field goal in this situation? … If you try the field goal and make it, you’ve automatically won the game and don’t have to worry about hail mary’s or trick play touchdowns going for 80 yards in the last 18 seconds of the game and crazier things have happened (just look at Notre Dame). … Do you not agree that a field goal attempt to win the game would be more beneficial than pushing Tennessee back 10 more yards? Now I understand that there is always the risk of having the field goal attempt blocked and returned, but in my opinion going for the points and the win would have been the smarter move. What is your opinion on this play call?

Thanks! You’re correct that a field goal would have definitely iced the game at that point, but I think considering how little time was left on the clock, punting it into the end zone was the safest call. Had there been a couple of minutes left, a field goal attempt would have been the smarter move.

Casman writes: Bill, It seems like we are “thin” (not much depth) at a lot of positions, i.e. LB, DL, RB, and OL. Seems to be okay at QB, TE, and DB. If UGA has been recruiting correctly over the years, why are we so thin at so many positions? Or is that the problem, and how many kids do we anticipate signing this winter with all of the attrition over the last year?

A combination of injuries and players departing the program unexpectedly resulted in Georgia being ultra thin at several positions this season. And, yes, perhaps not enough recruiting in those areas the past couple of years. The OL is still thin, though with Chris Burnette and Kenarious Gates both semi-healthy now Will Friend can at least do some rotating. And the backups at linebacker have come on so strong that once Alec Ogletree returns the Dawgs will have a surplus of talent there. I don’t know exactly what the breakdown is of players Georgia is recruiting, but you’ve got to bet that offensive linemen and running backs will be in the mix.

Luke Ellington writes: As a longtime Dawg fan, I am ready for our next Uga. I really appreciate what Russ has done for our team and fans, but it is time for the next Uga to be introduced to us. I would like to see the next Uga as a pup and be able to watch him grow into our mascot. I understand there are a lot of things to consider when picking a mascot, but as a fan I think everyone would love to watch Uga grow up. Can you explain the process of picking the next Uga and is there a chance of Uga being a puppy and using Russ until Uga is ready for job? Great job. Go Dawgs! P.S. I can see Uga pup being introduced at halftime of the Auburn game.

Sonny Seiler and his family provide the mascot and they choose the new Uga, who will somehow be part of the same bloodline. No word yet on when Seiler will unveil Uga IX, but the Auburn game seems like a likely choice. Last I heard, they were considering a pup who’s all white except for black around one eye. That would be a first for the Uga line, which has always been all-white, but Seiler seems less married to the all-white idea than in the past, and I actually think a Georgia Bulldog with a “black eye” would look pretty cool. What do you think?

Randy Brock writes: Why did they move the band out of the student section and to the end zone?

Athletic director Greg McGarity thought the band would be audible to more people in the stadium from the end zone, and he’s probably right. They just need to move the visiting band elsewhere (I’ve heard reports they’ll wind up in the old Redcoats spot next year) and move more of the student section around the band.

Bryan Grantham writes: Bill, I want to expand on the student ticket situation. The reason that UGA dried up the secondary ticket market was simple: Student tickets are at a reduced price and subsidized by student athletic fees. I was a senior in 2002 and on Student Government. That year, all upperclassman got tickets but there were only something like 1,000 tickets for the entire 4,000 person freshman class. Thus, not all students who wanted student tickets got them. This was because, in part, students were buying tickets just to scalp them. So, it was not UGA being miserly — it was actually a policy that students demanded. So, we worked with the UGAA to have the policy changed to make it harder for students to scalp tickets. The reason was because not every student who wanted tickets could get them. This worked great in 2002-2008 when the team was good and the demand exceeded supply for students. However, now, it leads to a half empty upper level student section.

Thanks for the background on the decision. I’m sure the Dawgs winning big on the field would take care of a multitude of problems, including student attendance at games.

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

244 comments Add your comment

SSIgator

October 14th, 2011
2:28 pm

Is the UGA – Vandy game on tv this weekend? I checked the Comcast listings, but they do not show it. Oh, wait. I forgot to check the Comedy chanel. Oh, yeah. It is on after all.

ITP Dog

October 14th, 2011
2:30 pm

I think Fox SPSO SSIgator

AltamahaDawg

October 14th, 2011
2:30 pm

You are right JB, it shouldn’t happen. It’s very hard to explain why it does. It shouldn’t happen to Derek Dooley if he is around a decade, but it will. It certainly happened ot his daddy.And any coach that is around long enough. Just hard to maintain the right mix of classes every year after year I suppose. Should be the nice plotable progression of getting better every year till maxing out at 10-14 wins and being right there for as long as coaches are at a program.

That why fans hate it so much. It “shouldn’t” happen. I know I hated it. Which is why I am so puzzled to hear our fans now not wanting to hear about the good things now that we are headed back up in the cycle. That would seem to be a good thing to me.

Whaw!

October 14th, 2011
2:34 pm

Auburn 94 Florida 3

DawgTrue

October 14th, 2011
2:42 pm

Fire a ooach with a 100-36 record? An AD who would do that would be fired … and should be! Mark Richt is Georgia’s coach for years to come. And should be. If you think there’s anyone out there who’s available who could do better, then you need your head examined.

AltamahaDawg

October 14th, 2011
2:48 pm

Nope. But I do think he scores as much as he can within the confines of what he thinks is the best way to win a ballgame. (and I understand you do not like his definition of that). It’s really sort of pointless to compare one game to another though. Unquestionably , apples for apples, other coaches have a different philosophy than Richt.

BUt if you must, I am positive if he had an Oklahoma or LSU caliber team, he would have scored more points this year too. And If Stoops Or Miles was walking the tightrope that Richt is this year, they would have scored less.

The real critisism is NOT having those caliber teams. You sem to be a lot more confident than myself in our ability to just turn on the scoring at will.

AltamahaDawg

October 14th, 2011
2:49 pm

Wow, cool trick. How did you do that?

JB

October 14th, 2011
2:50 pm

Richt could always turn to politics. Like this president we have now, he has legions of people who adore him for absolutely failing to due his job after many promises it would all be better.

JB

October 14th, 2011
2:51 pm

s/b “do” his job.

JB

October 14th, 2011
2:55 pm

But, I do think we are “one” million dollar a year top notch OC away from being in the dome on a regular basis. The play calling and the ’staleness” of our offense is pretty poor to be a ‘football” school.

JB

October 14th, 2011
3:01 pm

I do think the big difference in the impact the 2 freshman RB’s at UGA and Clemson have had on their teams is the play calling. Dabo went out and hired a stud as OC and it’s paying off, along with that stud freshman they have. The guy up their knows how to use him, unlike Crowell, who has been flashy at times, but has been given very little opportunity to get the ball in space as the guy at Clemson has.

Dawglasville

October 14th, 2011
3:03 pm

Bobo was one of the most underrated players to ever play at UGA. He had a great senior year.

G-Dawg

October 14th, 2011
3:10 pm

Gayterd trolls are like herpies…they disappear on these blogs after a few bad losses..but you can never get rid of them!! LOL

AltamahaDawg

October 14th, 2011
3:11 pm

except JB to me the average Dawg fan has a lot more in common with the average citizen when it come to the president. They are looking at all the variablse and specifics to determine if they think what he is doing is positive goinf forward or not. I don’t know a single person in love with eitehr one for such banilites as “not doing thier job”.

In your anlogy, the blind Obama followers are in the minority, sort of like the folks who had decided they want Richt fired no matter what and stuck in that agenda.

G-Dawg

October 14th, 2011
3:11 pm

Bobo was successful his senior year because of his stud running back that carried the team!!

(STILL) 2-10 against ranked teams

October 14th, 2011
3:12 pm

I’d just as soon not win the SEC East…..only to get OBLITERATED by Alabama and LSU. Then all the Richt lovers can say we’re “SEC East Champions”…..and he gets to keep his job for another 10 years of mediocrity……tough being an Atlanta or Georgia sports fan these days!!

(STILL) 2-10 against ranked teams

October 14th, 2011
3:16 pm

DawgTrue….I’m sure there are plenty of coaches out there who could do better than 2-10 against ranked teams the past 6 years

take off your Richt colored glasses

AltamahaDawg

October 14th, 2011
3:16 pm

Actually, that sounded exactly like an Atlanta sports fan to me.

(STILL) 2-10 against ranked teams

October 14th, 2011
3:20 pm

yeah….AltamahaDawg……Atlanta fans accept and celebrate mediocrity

We are what we are….I guess

MarineDog

October 14th, 2011
3:29 pm

I think the staff feels that if can get a 2 score lead early the defense can hold that lead for them. I think they can score more points as evident in the SC game. All 42 points were score by the offense, but 28 points were also giving up by the offense and special teams. The staff does not want to lose another game becuse of bad decisions by the offense, whether it be the qb or the receivers tipping balls in the air. I really believe that he has a lot more in the playbooks that’s being saved for the Fl game, which has the potential to decide who wins the east. Fl will beat SC. We just have to beat Fl and that’s where he’s going to show us a whole lot more of what this offense can do. Can’t reveal too much for the scouting report prior to that game. We will have all our heavy hitters back and a week off to better prepare. Win this game against Vandy this weekend and the Fl game will prove to be huge. Fl’s coaching staff knows this as well. But if they lose to Auburn this weekend, the best they can hope for is to be a spoiler for either SC or UGA. SC is going to lose again; maybe twice.

Joey

October 14th, 2011
3:31 pm

Of course not. But, talent-wise, UGA vs UT was probably close to the differential between OK vs TX. We could have scored many more points in our last 4 games.

So you think Richt scores as many points as he possibly can?

Athens= God's Country

October 14th, 2011
3:43 pm

Joey

LSU ran up the score by RUNNING THE BALL.

harold

October 14th, 2011
3:50 pm

ARE UGA FANS CONTENT WITH RICHT NOT IN THE SEC TITLE GAME FOR SIX YEARS IN A ROW. I SAY NO!

Athens= God's Country

October 14th, 2011
3:51 pm

WHY DO YOU CARE ABOUT UGA FANS, HAROLD?

38 Yardline Dawg

October 14th, 2011
3:53 pm

I’m sure the Gators are just planning to give up after the first half this year, if the Dawgs are ahead on the scoreboard. So sure, why even bother with a second half gameplan?

I mean, look how nice Urban Oscar-Meyer was to us in the second half of his last couple of games in Jacksonville. He even let the second string play some. Nice, huh?

Dripping with sarcasm,
38

WDE

October 14th, 2011
3:56 pm

Well I for one don’t give a hoot, that we didn’t do this or didn’t do that in the 4th quarter we got the “W” and that should speak for itself.

DIT

October 14th, 2011
4:06 pm

I’m with you WDE, Just win!

meh

October 14th, 2011
4:11 pm

I think you gotta keep putting it on your opponent until that last second ticks off the clock. This is SEC football, if you ease up at all it could come back to bite you in the hind end.

Snake Doc

October 14th, 2011
4:24 pm

How about the CEO and his band of merry men field a team that can actually beat a quality opponent first.

Well that ain’t never gonna happen so the rest is just mindless blather from a bunch of infantile boneheads!

Snake Doc

October 14th, 2011
4:26 pm

Richt colored glasses. Now thats funny and ain’t too far from the truth as far as the apologists and excuse makers are concerned.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 14th, 2011
4:31 pm

Yea who cares if we are conservative we got the W right

Yea it doesnt matter that you run a conservative offense against 4 sorry defenses until you play a good team

Boise comes to mind

oh yea

We went conservative; the defense stayed on the field too long, and Boise began to pull away in the 3rd Qtr

Oh and coaches like Boise show they dont start to run the clock out when they are up by 10

they try to put you away until the game is over

But hey we are on our way to another “10 win no one outside of UGA fans cares season”

And the conservative play calling lives for another season next year too

fRANK

October 14th, 2011
4:32 pm

Switch to Hutson Mason and we won’t have no QB problems.

Murray is just awful.

DroopyDog

October 14th, 2011
4:45 pm

What’s killing us is turnovers.

LSU & Bama lead the country in turnovers lost of offense.

Aaron Murray has to settle down.

Beating yourself with lost turnovers is not what champions do.

Rilo

October 14th, 2011
4:49 pm

On the 1st question (re:Running to the short side of the field) the answer is YES. This is Bobology 101. He LOVES the short side more than Jenkins likes to eat, If any team did a pattern analysis on Bobo he would be SOOOO easy to figure out that teams would be able to baffle this offense on 50-70% of our drives. Wait……that’s exactly what has happened.

DroopyDog

October 14th, 2011
5:02 pm

Crowell in 4th quarter:
3.6 yards per carry, long run 15 yards, 1 td

UGA is getting outscored again in the 4th quarter like last year, 35 to 32 points. Dominant in 1st quarter, close in 2nd, dominant in 3rd, losing the 4th in scoring.

Probably conditioning. Crowell especially looks exhausted in the 4th quarter. But a lot of guys grabbing their knees.

Snake Doc

October 14th, 2011
5:02 pm

Just like a bonehead. Always, and I mean always its blame a player or group of players. Doesn’t matter that the CEO is not a coach, its always a players fault, the referee’s fault, a Tsunami in Japan, a hurricane, Bush’s or an earthquakes fault that UGA stinks.

Its never the spray on tanned, orange CEO’s fault!

Once again a bonehead shows its lack of intellect.

ATLnative

October 14th, 2011
5:02 pm

I’d love UGA with a black eye – GATA!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 14th, 2011
5:05 pm

Snake Doc

LoL

Yep its the players fault

Whats funny is I didnt realize 2-8 vs FL was because we had these same players for 10 years

Jordan

October 14th, 2011
5:20 pm

RamboDog

October 14th, 2011
5:48 pm

SSIgator, welcome back! I know it must be tough to get back on a Blog after the a## kicking ya’ll have taken last couple of weeks. UGA has a ways to go, but certainly counting the Gators as one in the WIN column this year. Ya’ll suck…

Better crawl back in that hole, and guard your little babies…”everyone” is getting some of that gator tail this year !!!! hahahahahahaha

Snake Doc

October 14th, 2011
5:49 pm

My fish pooped in his aquarium, has to be why UGA and the CEO stink!

RamboDog

October 14th, 2011
5:52 pm

SSIgator, wow…you guys are on tv again, more to be ashamed of!!! It just keeps getting better and better…see your gay self in Jax (man it stinks there)…LOSER!

2-10 against ranked team

October 14th, 2011
5:54 pm

Like I’ve said before

Mark Richt = Mike Smith

’nuff said

(STILL) 2-10 against ranked team

October 14th, 2011
5:58 pm

Don’t get ahead of yourself there RamboDog…..beating Florida this year wouldn’t be saying much as bad as they are….

Still too early to count it in the W column…..if recent history has any say in it.

If Richt somehow manages to get UGA to Atlanta early December….it’ll be like throwing “Christians”(that would be Richt, pun intended) to the lions (either LSU or Alabama)

RamboDog

October 14th, 2011
6:05 pm

This UGA team will win out, and make the SEC game. They can beat LSU, probably not Bama. You are a Tech troll… they will go down again this year. Be gone troll.

Niceville Dawg

October 14th, 2011
6:08 pm

Article in Athens Banner online….an interview with Crowell.Titled,Notebook:Crowell still adapting to SEC toughness.When asked about all the nagging injuries he responded with this.”I didn’t want to get banged up while I’m here.It’s just…I don’t know….” WHILE I’M HERE….REALLY???This guy has played 6 games and is already thinking about staying healthy for the next level??Am I reading into this wrong?Did anyone else see it?Just checked it again and it has magically vanished.

Joey

October 14th, 2011
6:10 pm

ATHENS= GOD’S COUNTRY, I don’t care which of the phases of the offense is working. Just don’t stop what is working.

I don’t dislike Mark Richt. I would rather him stay, and get a “Grantham” for the offense. An OC who can determine what offensive schemes best suit our QB, RB, current OL, etc.

Not one that blindly runs the same offense, no matter what skills each possess. An OC thats(trictly for example), envision Cam Newton (when in high school) as a dynamic, spread, run and pass QB, that could lead UGA to the Big Game. Not as a player to be turned into a TE.

It’s a shame that so many highly regarded HS players come through here on their way to a successful NFL career, and we get so little out of them here.

AltamahaDawg thinks we have so much less talent than LSU and Oklahoma. I ain’t taking the time to do it, but I’d sure like to see what their last 4 HS classes ranked, compared to ours. That might open some eyes that aren’t entirely open at this time.

My take is that Stoops and Miles have better staffs than ours.

But, it is what it is.

Go Dawgs!

bill

October 14th, 2011
6:16 pm

All I want before I die is to beat Florida again, and to have SOMEBODY offer Bobo a head coaching job…

Dawg89

October 14th, 2011
6:19 pm

Leonard’s Loosers – A blast from the past. God rest his soul.

Bob

October 14th, 2011
6:23 pm

Whomever the apprentice that wrote this article…thanks for including the one on Leonard’s Losers. I enjoyed his commentary and wondered what had happened to him. Dawgs squeek by Vandy, 28-21.