Same old problems plague Dogs in loss to Spartans

Brandon Boykin had a career day against Michigan State — but it wasn't enough. (Associated Press)

Brandon Boykin had a career day against Michigan State — but it wasn't enough. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt’s Bulldogs didn’t have to find any new ways to lose in the Outback Bowl — instead, they simply let lots of familiar problems resurface in suffering another second-half collapse and dropping a three-overtime battle with Michigan State.

Again, the Dogs wasted a superlative first-half defensive effort by giving the opponent a couple of cheap touchdowns thanks to turnovers by an erratic Aaron Murray, whose two interceptions put the Spartans back in the ball game.

Again, Georgia’s almost complete lack of a running game made the Dog’ offense one-dimensional. And was anyone at all surprised when Isaiah Crowell, reduced to a backup role, limped off the field after a handful of runs?

Again, placekicker Blair Walsh, once one of the nation’s premier specialists, proved himself more a liability than a weapon and ended up costing Georgia the game by missing two kicks in OT.

And again, playcaller Mike Bobo seemed incapable of adjusting to the realities of what was happening on the field and stubbornly stuck with what wasn’t working.

With the middle of the Spartan’s defensive line as solid as a brick wall, Bobo continually called for runs up the middle — often with delays that turned into tackles for loss since State was getting into the Georgia backfield so quickly. Early on, Georgia was able to have some running success on the outside, but once MSU adjusted to stop that, the Dogs basically were no threat on the ground.

To top it all off, with the Spartans continually blitzing from the corner, Bobo insisted on calling slow-developing downfield passing plays, an all too familiar scenario made even worse by Murray’s poor decision-making when pressured and Georgia’s tight ends being a nonfactor in the game.

Overall, Georgia relied too much on its big-play capability and never was able to really sustain anything offensively against the talented Spartans defense.

Typical of the day was what happened with a little over 3 and a half minutes left in regulation. Needing a first down or two to kill the clock and ice a victory, the Dogs went ultra-conservative and ultra-predictable — two hallmarks of Bobo’s career as a playcaller — by trying again in vain to run Richard Samuel up the middle.

It surprised no one, and the fact that it didn’t work didn’t surprise anyone, either.

And then the banged-up Georgia defense, which had played well most of the day, looked gassed on the Spartans’ last drive of regulation, getting no pressure on MSU QB Kirk Cousins, who cooly passed his team down the field to send it into overtime.

Just think how ugly things might have gotten had Brandon Boykin not played the game of his life in his farewell performance as a Georgia Bulldog, nailing a Spartan receiver for a safety, scoring on a thrilling 92-yard punt return that saw him reversing direction and weaving his way all over the field, and then moving over to offense to catch a touchdown pass for his third different score of the day.

He’ll be missed big-time.

So two disappointing losses bookended a Georgia season that started out 0-2.

Sure, the 10 wins between those four losses and an SEC East title is a big improvement over last season.

But, looking ahead, even though Georgia returns a lot of talent and will have another favorable schedule next year, if the problems that continually reared their head this season aren’t addressed, it’s going to be tough for Richt’s program to take the next step forward.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

1,469 comments Add your comment

A picture is worth a thousand words!

January 3rd, 2012
10:44 am

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:45 am

Would Paul Bryant have been satisfied with this 10-4 finish? HELL NO! Man would have Bama players running steps until it was time to report for spring practice. That is the difference between a coach committed to excellence as opposed to one in love with mediocrity! Get my drift? :(

Mama Crowell

January 3rd, 2012
10:46 am

Isabell, er I mean, Isaiha, has another big old nasty boo boo. Bless her heart.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

January 3rd, 2012
10:46 am

Post #317 yesterday at 6:36 pm.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
10:46 am

Mark Richt as I have said a few weeks ago does not deserve a contract extension

He has shown nothing to deserve an extension

If anything he deserves a substantial pay cut

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
10:48 am

Not yet, Flat Tire. I ain’t gonna let him spin this away, though. He saw the game, and knows there’s no defending Richt about that mis-management yesterday.

You know, I was thinking last night, if Richt had coached this way when he first got to UGA, he wouldn’t have lasted 3 seasons. I’ve never seen a coach try to get so conservative with such small leads, as he does now. If not for Grantham, we probably lose to Ole Miss, KY, and Vandy because of Richt going into Dean Smith’s 4-corners offense.

He even tried it with a 10 point lead over LSU.

Common Sense

January 3rd, 2012
10:48 am

Once again the CMR era produces an embarrassing moment for the SEC. When will you people ever learn? You put that much talent on a team and can’t put points on the board, and you keep your OC around year after lousy year?
But anyway, kudos to Coach Grantham for the quick turnaround of the mess that Martinez made.

BurytheBone

January 3rd, 2012
10:49 am

Hats off to Brandon Sailors in a losing effort. He played well all year with no kudos. Seems to always be the first or second down the field and is a tackling machine.

JB

January 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

GOTTA GOTTA hope that there are strings attached to the Richt extension…..If McGarity does not see the problems…..Then we need a new AD…..My wife can see the problems for pete’s sake.

Felix Millan

January 3rd, 2012
10:52 am

Bean Anderson can’t block air. We’ll lose Hutson, and that will be a shame. When things get tight, Murray panics. 4th and a little, MSU has an All American DT, we run AT HIM. Crowell’s one year scholarship should be just that. When we scored to make it 8-0, we should have gone for 2. Walsh should have left early. Now, I hope gets a good degree. He’ll need it.

Dawg258

January 3rd, 2012
10:52 am

I think you should do a piece on exactly why our coaching staff starts the 2nd half trying to salt the clock away…… dont you usually see that with 5 min or less left in the game….
Bottom line – the talent is there, I would rather lose a game with my foot on the gas the whole game and just getting beat by a better team then the coaching staff continue to handicap the team “thinking” something could go wrong……. If it does, this team has the talent to come back out and go down the field on anyone…. you just CANT turn over the momenum of the game being conservative and put all the pressure on a defense that shuts down everyone in the first half but spends WAY too much time holding up the fort in the second half…..
The coaches should take accountability for losing this game!!!
I would love a piece to be written on the things stated in this piece…. maybe then I could actually have a better understanding of how a team that wants to be a top 5 top 10 preseason team next year can make this happen when the coaches seem to only be top 25!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!! FIGURE IT OUT!!!!!

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
10:54 am

Haha! Richt # 68 in that ranking. I appreciate that info, Mark K.

That’s funny, cause every time we discuss UGA changing HCs, the KoolAid Drinkers howl, “who are you gonna get that’s better?

I’ll tell em next time, heck, there’s 67 better coaches!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
10:55 am

I have been critical of this staff all year. I took the show me results approach as well

Well once again I have been shown this coaching has no clue how to beat a top 20 team

UGA football is going nowhere with Richt but 10 win seasons every now and then.

I would trade for the Dooley 9-2, 8-3, 7-4 seasons than the 10 win we didnt beat no one garbage

And Im not a Dooley fan

At least with Dooley you could always count on a UGA team that could go out and beat anyone even if they were outmatched by the other teams talent

With Richt

You can count a team that if ranked in the top 15 UGA has not much of a chance at all to win period

And we pay $3million a year for this crap

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
10:56 am

I can’t believe we have to wait 8 months before we see that pass in the flat, again. Boy, I’m gonna miss that . . .

Mad Mike

January 3rd, 2012
10:57 am

maybe i’ve already missed it, but does anybody know why ken malcome disappeared from the game?

CAndrews

January 3rd, 2012
10:57 am

This is not the fault of players. This is a “system” ploblem. Our system is broken, and until we change the individuals in charge of the system, it will not get much better. Evidently, the big money supporters of Georgia Football are happy with 9-10 wins. Nine to ten wins will get you fired at LSU or Alabama. Change the system by paying big money to get the right coach. Why do we continue to leave the system the same and expect better results? Insanity!!

HARTDAWG

January 3rd, 2012
10:58 am

It was a tough loss. Bobo’s play calling was pitiful in the second half, which seems to be the trend. I will say that the future is looking bright though. I am also tired of fair weather fans who love them when they are up and kick them when they are down. I bleed red and black,and support CMB fully.

Spokesman for the SEC East

January 3rd, 2012
10:58 am

Well we certainly hope that McGarrity offers Richt a lifetime coaching contract like his daddy had at Free Shoes University.

ole richie

January 3rd, 2012
10:59 am

that NFL decision was all in Orson Charles head. He was non existent yesterday. Couldn’t get open and didn’t block at all

TexasDawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:02 am

Wasn’t that beast of a MSU running back from Duluth, GA??? How many times did he CARRY 2, 3, 4, 5 would-be tacklers for positive yards after contact?? But we did recruit Crowell. Lucky us. Time to clean house, but it won’t happen, sadly. Did anyone see the ESPN special on Herschel? If so, did you notice how gassed the team was when he lead their workout? Herschel is still a BEAST!

Love the Dawgs, but gonna have to root for Texas A&M next year. Just can’t take the pain anymore.

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
11:02 am

I bleed red and black,and support CMB fully.

HARTDAWG…how can you blame bobo…cmr is ok with the playcalling…he’s wearing a headset….he’s involved with the game plan…bobo is part of the problem…cmr is the problem…wake up…

SSIgator

January 3rd, 2012
11:05 am

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville and Joey -

There was an emergency session of the KoolAid Club called by its President, Altamahadawg this morning. All members were given a list of excuses to memorize before posting comments on any site regarding yesterdays game. The meeting is suppose to adjourn around noon today, but not until they have all of their canteens filled with that newly formulated 2012 KoolAid.

dawgcrzy

January 3rd, 2012
11:05 am

@HARTDOG Bobo’s play calling was pitiful,yet you support him fully? That’s the problem in a nutshell

Wrecked F150

January 3rd, 2012
11:05 am

“Richt’s F150 ran in a Tampa ditch and got stuck. Blair Walsh tried to pull him out but the chain broke wide right”…

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
11:07 am

Saint Mark Wretch has made my beloved Dawgs the Ohio State of South. Pad statistics against technical schools to get rest of nation talking dynasty then get waxed by any halfway decent teams! Sigh. :(

Wrecked F150

January 3rd, 2012
11:08 am

Dawgs let MSU # 9 control the D-Line all game. Just like they let SC’s stud control the D-Line in week 2.

Barry

January 3rd, 2012
11:08 am

In spite of Murray’s pick 6, the other costly turnover and poor kicking. We lost that game because we cannot run a lick! We are poor run blockers and we have 3-4 very average running backs – and 1 with “some” ability but it seems that he has no heart. I believe we had more run play losses or no gains, than we did runs for any positive yardage at all. It is a sad situation when a team like Georgia has to continually shift defensive backs over to the offense to get any production at all. You cannot win against a good, well coached team with a strong defense, when all you can do is throw a 60 yard bomb. They are wonderful when they work, but it happens only once in a long while. The best teams can always run the ball – especially in college. I don’t think that Bobo is the answer. No imagination or creativity and an average play caller at best. Also, we need to stop coaching so conservatively to avoid losing in games like that,and go aggressively for the win!
Let’s hope for some changes there, along with a great recruiting year, and perhaps Coach Richt getting out of his lethargic, half asleep mode on the sideline. Leadership is not always about staying “cool and collected.” We now have some fire on the defensive side (Grantham.) We need more of it on offense and at the very top.

NOBODYYOUKNOW

January 3rd, 2012
11:08 am

WHY?WHY?WHY?

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
11:09 am

“Richt’s F150 ran in a Tampa ditch and got stuck. Blair Walsh tried to pull him out but the chain broke wide right”…

Loved this… :) :) :) :)

JB

January 3rd, 2012
11:09 am

OK, I just emailed McGarity. ( I know, whoppie)…. but hey, all you guys need to do it. just go to the athletic site and hit his name and his email pops up…………Now, I’m not naive enough to think it’s his DIRECT email, but someone will read them and tell him in general, “it’s ugly”

icedawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:09 am

Runs up the middle stuffed over and over again. Clutch drive at the end to seal the game. 3 runs up the middle and punt. What kind of strategy is that?

kybodawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:09 am

well they say insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome, but trying to run up the middle on a big def. line without any running backs over and over takes it to a new level. bobo go.

Bye Bye Bobo

January 3rd, 2012
11:10 am

Replacing Mike Bobo would be a great start…

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
11:10 am

Dawg fans will one day moan. “We had Hutson Mason!” Will be too late then. :(

icedawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:10 am

It would have been better to go down with guns ablazing.

SSIgator

January 3rd, 2012
11:10 am

evil empire -

Any truth to the rumor that Richt has sent a team of engineers to Whitfiled County to install a larger diameter pipe to increase the gpm flow from the manufacturing site to the warehouse in Athens?

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
11:11 am

Good post, Dawg258 (10:52).

My thinking is, if you don’t trust your QB to win those games when you have a lead, and Richt/Bobo clearly don’t, then get another QB.

Richt didn’t coach like this when he got to Athens, or either Greene changed so many plays at the line, he made Richt look like a genius.

Brick

January 3rd, 2012
11:12 am

Tough loss,but Mich State had to be a little lucky to pull this out. UGA fans should not cry to much. This was a great improvement over last year and don’t tell the Stanford fans your problems. They KNOW how you feel too!

DawgSTILE

January 3rd, 2012
11:13 am

To “evilempire”, you are correct my post was to be a joke. Of course there is no excuse for that game being lost. I am a realistic Tech fan ( I hope for the best but expect what I usually get). I do enjoy however watching the trials and tribs of the UGaNation. Most, but not all of your problems could be fixed by getting rid of Mike Bobo. Don’t forget Alabama and LSU however. Georgia’s usually good, just not as good as the fans think they are. I think the bigger issue is how can you keep a MASCOT alive for more than one half a season. Them inbread bullpups aint working out so well these last few years. Mix in a little cancer and a wayward pickup truck and you got problems!

0-4

January 3rd, 2012
11:16 am

against the better teams on the schedule is the true indication of where the UGA program is at this time, not the 10 wins against average to inferior talent teams. And the fact that it was 0-2 at the beginning and the end of the season shows little to no progress in correcting the problems.

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
11:18 am

What did you say to him, JB?

puppyhater

January 3rd, 2012
11:19 am

Doggies blow it again—-as usual. Spurrier said it best; “UGA, where great players go to never be heard from again.” How can UGA continue to have such incredible recruiting success without success on the field, and no one be held accountable?

Mad Mike

January 3rd, 2012
11:20 am

maybe i’ve already missed it, but does anybody know why ken malcome disappeared from the game?

old dog

January 3rd, 2012
11:23 am

Sparty adjusted, we didn’t. Disect it all you want, but there it is. We cannot run the ball, period! (I’m not including garbage yards on bad teams.) After the 1st half, the underneath passes to the slowest receiver in D-1 football were unstopable! Put the waterboy on him or something! We will be better next year, but we willl have to run block and ADJUST when we need to. That’s why Miles/Saban can take theirs and whoop your’n and your’n and whoop theirs!

J.T. Keene

January 3rd, 2012
11:26 am

Looks to me like UGA took an all american place kicker and coached him down.

Phil

January 3rd, 2012
11:27 am

Mad Mike

Been asking the same question about Malcome. Can’t figure out what happened to him. We sure did need him when trying to get that crucial first down.

UGA Insider

January 3rd, 2012
11:29 am

UGA has never been on the same level as Bama or LSU and never will be. That is the history and it is fact. Yes we are above Kentucky and Vandy but we have never been a top-tier program like the above mentioned. UF has had a great 20 year ride but that has been recent success. UGA stunk prior to 1980 for much of the time as well. Most UGA big money people understand this and are happy being a $89,000,0000 program. UGA will struggle to ever win another NC again I predict.

Bo in North Carolina

January 3rd, 2012
11:31 am

McGarity will have to step in and fire Bobo as Richt will never do it. He is more loyal to his assts than UGA. His loyalty to Bobo blinds him to Bobo’s incompentence.

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
11:33 am

the kool-ade plant up in dalton has immediate openings in operations…having to ramp up production to near record numbers…expecting product needed may exceed amount produced following the ucf game…still available in limited quantity are six pack offerings of what is called the “Bulldawg Gagfest”…contains kool-ade commemorating some of uga’s biggest choke jobs during cmr’s time in athens…featured in the “Gagfest” collection is “Bama BlackoutBlackberry”, “WVU fake puntpeach”, “UCF Fruitpunch”, “2009 Kiffin Apple assault”, “2006 Vandy Vanilla”, and “2001 Music City punt it away Gutless Purple Punch”…expect 2011 season to produce first time back to back commemorative flavors, considering the outcome of the LSU and MSU games…

SSIgator

January 3rd, 2012
11:33 am

What was it Richt said? Knocking on the door of greatness? Well, maybe the limp-wristed one should try ringing the door bell. No, that won’t work either. Greatness will think it is the Avon Lady calling.