Time to check some Junkyard Mail. …
Reagan Mabry writes: I have read the various comments/articles and watched all of the videos of the blow-up at the end of the game. I am very disturbed by what Mark Richt said to [Vanderbilt Coach James] Franklin. Do you think this will only continue to hurt the morale down the road by Richt calling one of his players a dumba–? I don’t agree with what Shawn Williams did after the game to another coach and that should not tolerated, but Vandy was throwing cheap shots and we could only guess what was being said on the field. I agree that Grantham went overboard but, come on Richt, vanilla coat that like everything else you do.
Because of the bleeping, it’s difficult to tell exactly what Richt says on the videotape, but assuming the Nashville TV station’s transcript is accurate, it was surprisingly frank talk on the part of the coach, though obviously not intended for public consumption. A couple of thoughts on that: First, Richt learned a lesson, that as a public figure you should always assume you’re in the vicinity of a live mic. Would Richt have made those comments if he’d known anyone other than Franklin was going to hear them? Probably not. But Richt was angered over the melee at the end of the game, and what he said was correct. No matter how many cheap shot chop blocks the Vandy players committed (and there were many), Shawn Williams mouthing off to the opposing coach after the game was dumb. And Richt’s description of Grantham’s post-game shenanigans (assuming that’s what he was talking about) is just an earthier way of saying what he said elsewhere: That’s not the Georgia way. As for the impact of Richt’s post-game comments, I doubt there’ll be much. The players and coaches involved already knew he was highly displeased. It’s simplistic to view all this and say Todd Grantham has his players’ backs and Richt doesn’t. Not only did Grantham’s tirade set a bad example for his players and embarrass UGA, it probably cost him the use of Williams in the first half of the Florida game. It’s very doubtful conference officials would have reviewed the tape and decided to suspend Williams for a play on which he wasn’t flagged during the game if the Franklin-Grantham showdown hadn’t occurred.
Jeremy Floyd writes: Very concerned that UGA hasn’t beaten a good team since Tech in ’09. Before that have to go back to 2008. Do you think this team really has what it takes? I just don’t see them beating both Florida and Auburn, but hopefully I’m wrong.
This team is fully capable of beating both Florida and Auburn, but it has yet to put together a complete game against lesser opponents and if that continues I’d say it’s bucking the odds to expect the Dogs to win both of those games. I’m hopeful they’ll rise to the occasion.
Craig Plank writes: Hey Bill, First of all I love reading your posts throughout the week and I love how honest you are with your feelings about the Dawgs. I live in Tennessee in the Nashville area and I am starting to get the feeling that most SEC fans are thinking the Dawgs are just gonna fall into the SEC championship and truly not deserve their chance. What’s your feelings about that?
I think if the Dogs make it to the SEC Championship game, they’ll certainly deserve to be there because they will probably have beaten Florida and Auburn and they should have beaten South Carolina. Now, how they’d match up against Alabama or LSU is not something I want to think about too much at this point.
Rontavius Smith writes: Hey Junkyard, I want to know why does [Mike] Bobo call run plays that send Carlton Thomas up the middle when he is a scat back? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to send him to space being that he has speed? The next question is do they believe they can get the offense to run on all cylinders when they play UF, because in my opinion I believe they have to score touchdowns instead of FGs to beat UF.
I’ve never understood trying to run the diminutive Thomas up the middle, considering Georgia’s offensive line, but fortunately there’s been much less of that this season. You’re right that Thomas can be very effective when he gets some space to work in. And I agree with you that attempting field goals (which are no longer a lock with a yippy Blair Walsh) is not going to get it done against the Gators. The two keys there are going to be whether Aaron Murray continues to improve at ball security and how healthy and effective Isaiah Crowell is.
Allen Kennedy writes: Bill, I heard that caller [on "Bulldog Hotline" about Georgia's red zone woes]. I have the same questions. Also, on our opening drive, we are 3rd & 5. We only need 6 yards and we throw a 30 yard pass!? A low percentage play! We have to settle for what used to be an automatic field goal attempt. And for some reason we keep calling low percentage plays on 3rd down. And another thing, why do we keep sending our 3’s & 4’s on special teams when other teams have their 1’s & 2’s out there? The reward for our 3rd stringers should be the privlege of wearing the “G,” not playing on special teams. And one last comment: I was glad to see Grantham take up for the boys after the game. At least somebody has their backs! Thanks Bill, I enjoy the blogs.
I don’t question Grantham supporting his players; I just question the manner in which he did it. As for the playcalling on third down, I agree with you completely. The Dogs seem to make it harder on themselves than it needs to be. And special teams are pretty much a disaster at UGA. Richt’s whole approach to that aspect of the game needs to be rethought.
Josh Cuevas writes: Bill, Once again, strong, even-handed analysis on your part. Two questions: Is there any team in college football right now, or that you can remember in the recent past, with a superior defensive backfield to the current Dogs? Between Boykin, Smith, Rambo, Williams, and Commings, we have not just five solid performers, but five star-quality All-SEC type players back there. I don’t recall a team having that much high quality depth in the defensive backfield. The Dogs defense is finally looking like the “D” of old, stopping the run up front (for the most part), wreaking some havoc on the opposing quarterbacks, and creating turnovers in the secondary. On offense, we’ve got a good quarterback, some receivers have emerged, Crowell has lived up to expectations when he can stay on the field, and the massive O-line has probably performed a little better than initially expected. But it all seems to come apart on offense in the second half. Is this a conditioning issue or is it a result of the opposing coaches making better halftime adjustments and essentially out-coaching our staff? If not for the second half meltdowns and horrific breakdowns on special teams, we could be a Top 10 caliber team right now. What’s causing this second half ineptitude and how should it be addressed?
Georgia’s defensive secondary is extremely talented, and certainly looks like it could be the best the Dogs have had since early in the Richt regime. The next few games will tell the tale. As for the offense in the second half, some games have been better than others, but generally I think it’s been skewed by Mike Bobo calling the games conservatively with a lead.
Harold A. Black ‘66 writes: [The Vanderbilt] game had the dumbest call I have seen in my 50 years of going to the Dawgs. We were at the game and I was stunned that the Dogs just didn’t snap the ball and either take a knee or run around. It was 4th down with 15 seconds on the clock and Vandy did not have a timeout. Snap the ball and the game is over. Instead they were going to kick and give Vandy and chance to run it back and win? Worse, give them an opportunity to block the punt? No way. Richt is too smart for that — right? Wrong. We were lucky that Vandy could not get a handle on the blocked punt or else they would have won. Also that first pass hit the receiver in the hands and we could have lost it there. How could Richt have been so out of it is beyond me.
I don’t know that taking a knee would have been the answer, since it would have given Vandy pretty good field position (though not as good as the blocked punt). But certainly the decision to switch punt formations during the time out was a poor one and the punt team did a horrendous job of executing (other than Drew Butler’s game-saving tackle). But there’s no rhyme or reason to Georgia’s approach to special teams play.
SSgt David Forston writes: Greetings Junkyard, I am currently deployed to Afghanistan and did not get to watch the Bulldogs play [against Vandy], but from what I am reading don’t sound like I missed too much. Like you, I hate when the Dawgs play like pure trash but I have to say I’ll take an ugly win (Vandy) over a pretty loss (S.C.) any day and at the end of the day a W is a W. I have a few questions for you going into the bye week and as the Dawgs get geared up for the greatest outdoor cocktail party. 1) What is happening with our special teams play? B. Walsh clearly has something wrong with him. Have you heard any word going around of maybe replacing him and during all of this is our special teams coach taking any heat? 2) Any news on Crowell and why he was set out for the first quarter? I think the kid has a ton of talent and I am looking foward to seeing him run the rock for a few more years. If he was out for trouble issues I hope CMR can get his head right and maybe this will be a wake up call for him. 3) Last but not least, do you think our D was finally out of gas or do you think Vandy opened up some weaknesses and holes in our D? I know that for the last few weeks the D has carried this team and I hope they were just worn down. As much as I dislike not having a UGA game on a Saturday I think this coming up week is much needed. Can’t wait for that Saturday in Jax to see them Dawgs keep this winning steak going. Take care Junkyard and GO DAWGS!
Georgia’s special teams play, which doesn’t have one overall coach, is a mess right now, but I don’t think there’s been any serious consideration to benching Walsh. The coaches apparently think he’s still the best option. They’ve never said exactly why Crowell was benched in the first quarter but there’ve been rumors involving him getting a bit mouthy with some staffer. Obviously Richt was trying to teach him a lesson. As for the defense, I think a combination of Vandy’s cut blocking and some sloppy play on the part of the Dogs resulted in the Commodores being able to run on Georgia better than expected. I’m hoping the run defense can get back on track after the off week. Thanks for reading and for your service, and stay safe!
Alan Powell writes: Why, why, why won’t Richt play Hutson Mason any? If something happens to Aaron Murray, playing experience will be most beneficial for both the team and Mason.
I agree it would be beneficial for Mason to get more real-game experience. The problem is that Georgia hasn’t been able to get far enough ahead of anyone to put in the backup quarterback. With a mere 5 point lead over Vandy, you didn’t really expect to see Mason coming in during the fourth quarter, did you?
I’ve gotten a lot of letters this week and since there’s no game Saturday, I’ll answer more of them then. So if you’ve got a question or issue you’d like to raise, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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