After Saturday night’s game in Nashville a dispirited Mark Richt sounded like anything but a victorious football coach.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said, obviously a very unhappy man.
Yes, Richt acknowledged with Chuck Dowdle’s prompting, Georgia is keeping pace with South Carolina in the SEC East, but he said “we’re kind of limping our way into being tied for first.”
Dowdle, always Mr. Positive, sounded like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Georgia had won its fifth game in a row, fourth conference win in a row, and yet, he said to Richt with a note of surprise in his voice, “you sound disappointed.”
Richt, apparently more in touch with reality than the happy-talk interviewer, answered flatly, “I am disappointed. I’m thankful for the victory … but I’m disappointed in how we played overall.”
Richt had good reason to be downcast. A Vandy team that had only been able to rush for a combined 45 yards in its two previous games racked up 200 against a Georgia defense that previously had appeared to be stout against the run. All night long, Vandy runners had big holes to run through, juked Georgia defenders with cutbacks and slipped through arm tackles.
With Isaiah Crowell essentially a nonfactor after sitting out the first quarter apparently for disciplinary reasons and then looking tentative during his very limited time in the game, with only one really good run, Georgia was one-dimensional on offense. While Aaron Murray had big numbers passing for the night and Marlon Brown finally got a chance to shine with two touchdown catches, the Dogs were not consistent in moving the ball most of the game.
Worst of all, the special teams play again was simply horrendous and almost cost Georgia another game (after playing a big part in the loss to South Carolina).
On the subject of the many special teams miscues — which included falling for yet another fake punt, giving up a kickoff return for a touchdown, two missed field goals and a blocked punt that nearly gave Vandy the game at the end — Richt lamented that they were “too big” to happen and have Georgia still “expect to win in this league. We’re just very fortunate to get out of here alive.”
Yes, a win is win and any kind of road win in the SEC is a good thing. But Saturday night in Nashville the Dogs looked like a team that might be capable of outlasting mediocre opponents but not much more.
The fact that Georgia remains tied for first in the SEC and still has favorable prospects seems more a fluke of scheduling and an off year in the division than a testament to the way the team is playing.
Feel free to share your views on Georgia’s latest ugly win.
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