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.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

1,469 comments Add your comment

Phil

January 3rd, 2012
11:33 am

J.T. Keene

I wasn’t high on Walsh when he came in. He looked bad in the Army All American Bowl as a high school senior. Missed a couple of FG’s in that game! Was a sign of things to come I guess.

This is why

January 3rd, 2012
11:34 am

GA fans are so disliked. No credit to the MSU team for playing the game. They played through their mistakes ( 80 TD pass, TD punt return, interceptions, etc), and did not give up, made THE drive when they needed to tie the game without timeouts and overcame their mistakes in OT to win the game. This game had break downs in pass coverage, interceptions and mistakes made by each team and MSU deserves credit for winning the game just as much as Ga is being blamed for losing the game.

dawgcrzy

January 3rd, 2012
11:36 am

@insider MNC’s are exactly just that,we need a coach that can win SEC’s,and the NC’s will come. I hope all those years under Foley has put a taste for championships in McGarity’s mouth,only time will tell,and the clock is ticking.

pollackdawg34

January 3rd, 2012
11:37 am

Bobo has to go, that’s the bottom line. He does not physically cost them games but his play calling is well below par and this causes mental breakdowns as they get down on themselves. Find a Grantham aggressive style offensive coach.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

January 3rd, 2012
11:37 am

The bottom line is until UGA gets back to being able to run the ball, these kind of losses (S Car and MSU) will happen on occasion. The offense is one dimensional at best and that, I believe is why Murray has most of his turn overs. Fix the running game, fix the problems.

Pago Pago Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:39 am

Didn’t we have AJ and Stafford at the same time…and still couldn’t win the
“big games”?
Let’s face it…UGA just an average team in the SEC. (always will be).

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
11:40 am

SSIGator, the need for kool-ade is immediate…sure pipeline expension is in future, but will have to get by trucking the stuff for the time being…pipeline should be ready to go for the mizzou game…expecting big numbers after that one…

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
11:41 am

SSIGator… nice win by your gators…way to rep the SEC…

Phil

January 3rd, 2012
11:43 am

“Didn’t we have AJ and Stafford at the same time…and still couldn’t win the “big games”?”

Yes, but we also had Richt and Bozo during that same time.

DAWG with two bags over head

January 3rd, 2012
11:43 am

Did you notice that Murray didn’t really take the blame for his performance yesterday? If you followed him on Twitter last week, you know he was very nervous and anxious about the game. After reading those posts, I knew he was going to have a bad game. His head was not in the game, but he still won’t admit it. LeMay and Hudson (or the hope of a top-flight OC) don’t have a prayer with the Richt Benevolent Society in power. I’d encourage both Mason and LeMay to transfer now. Next season will be more of the same, padding statistics against the dregs while failing to beat a top 25 team.

Not All Bad

January 3rd, 2012
11:43 am

In a way, I think being better than KY and VAN and worse than four other teams in the SEC in any given year isn’t all bad. If UGA actually had the coaching talent to beat good teams with the talent on the field, it could get real ugly real fast in the state of Georgia.
Bama, LSU, Florida and Auburn all have won national championships in recent years. Yet, you don’t see nearly as many asinine displays of “team support” as you would by knuckle-dragging UGA fans as you would if the Dawgs won a BCS championship. Let’s face it. Dawg fans are an embarrassment to the state of Georgia. And that’s really saying something considering the kind of people we elect here. Even with meager 10-win aspirations, you see the shirts, trucks, stickers everywhere you turn, and you know 95% of the people waving the banner can’t spell “matriculate. ”
In summary, careful what you wish for. If UGA did somehow come out and beat a good team next year, you wouldn’t be able to get to Athens on game day for all the broken down F-150’s clogging up GA-316. I like my Dawgs mediocre, and I like Mark Richt.

ARdawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:44 am

I don’t know why the heavy on Walsh. He was solid and good money for 3 years. 45 yarders are low percentage kicks. The year he’s had Richt should have known better than to kick it from there on 3rd down. It’s not a kicking problem, it’s the coaching Stupid

TAS

January 3rd, 2012
11:45 am

I am not sold on Murry. First is height and second decision making. Going into spring it should be open competition and let the best man win…. Mason may be gone by then anyway..

gary hudson

January 3rd, 2012
11:45 am

AINT IT A SHAME BOUT THEM DOGS !!!!!

ARdawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:46 am

Who really gives a fl**ng fugg why Georgia is disliked? 8) not I

Chris Phillips

January 3rd, 2012
11:48 am

Bill. Well said. As a big fan of Georgia football, I am completely frustrated with Bobo’s inapt play calling. The sport-casters, fans, media, and opposing defenses are able to see the ultra-conservative and ultra-predictable play calling. Does anyone on the coaching staff at Georgia not see the problem? LSU adjusted during the half and shut down our offense. Michigan State did the same. If I remember correctly, I believe Georgia’s offense struggled in the second half on numerous games.

Does anyone on the coaching staff sense a problem with our play calling? Do they have their head in the sand? Can we please hire a new offensive coordinator and get a special teams coach? PLEASE!!!!

granny clampett

January 3rd, 2012
11:50 am

Would love to get my hands on a six pack of “Bulldawg Gagfest”. Imagining sipping on a bottle of “WVU fakepuntpeach” next to the fireplace while watching a vhs copy of the 1980 UGA vs. Florida game. That would be great.

ARdawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:50 am

Chris Phillips

What we saw yesterday was the very same game plan we saw against LSU in the Dome. The very same. The only difference in the results were the difference of opponents

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
11:50 am

I’ll take “Who am I for 200″ Alex

This coach hasnt beat a top 20 team in 3 years and makes $3 million a year?

Answer

Who Mark Richt

Common Sense

January 3rd, 2012
11:51 am

All UGA fans need to realize that Richt has already repeated that there will be no change in the coaching staff. He believes he will lose recruits, so expect another year of BoBo making the calls and another 3 or 4 loss season. Murray needs to be a back up QB he has failed in any game against good teams. Time for Lemay to show what he has and become the starter against the softest schedule in the history of football for 2012.

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
11:51 am

All in all, it could be worse.

We could be tech fans . . .

jalexan49

January 3rd, 2012
11:53 am

It’s over! We lost. Got to focus on next season. Coach BOBO needs to go back to qb coach or find another place to coach. It’s evident to most people he is over his head and has no flexibilty in play calling.

Coach Richt needs to make a change at this position and there will be a lot offensive coordinators available this year to hire. Find someone who has the tenacity and drive that Coach Grantham and his staff has!

By keeping Bobo as offensive coordinator you are doing a disservice to the other coaches, players and fan base!

It should be apparent to Davis, Gurley, Cross and Robinson how bad Georgia needs them at Running back!!!!!! Hope you guys are wearing the red and balck at Georgia next year.

If Coach Frei could get top offensive lineman they would be good because he is a good coach. We need tough people on the line!!!

I hope there’s open competition between Murray, Mason, LeMay, Bingham, Welch and Bauta next year.
Why can’t Georgia play two quarterbacks like LSU and some of the other teams, if two rise above the others and redshirt those that are close?

Georgia needs to capture a lot of their top targets and hopefully a few quality walk-on’s will show!
I hope the juniors come back and thanks to Boykins and the seniors for coming to Georgia! Thanks to Coach Grantham and his players for a successful year and bringing respect to Georgia’s defense. I honestly believe with him and his current staff at the helm, good things will happen!!!! Great job to all the defensive coaches and they definetly need to seriously be considered for pay raises, they earned it!

Herschel come to Georgia and help with the conditioning and training of the running backs. You are needed !!!!

Coach Richt ? A Georgia fan now and always!

jalexan49

January 3rd, 2012
11:55 am

Sorry about the typo in above comments. Should have proof read before sending. Go Dawgs!!

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
11:56 am

“I don’t know why the heavy on Walsh. He was solid and good money for 3 years”
*****************************************
The problem is, ARdawg, he played that 4th year!

And sucked at kicks that meant a lot.

SSIgator

January 3rd, 2012
11:59 am

“And then the banged-up Georgia defense, which had played well most of the day, looked gassed on the Spartans’ last drive of regulation”

What happened to the strength and conditioning program enhancement?

Which is worse?

January 3rd, 2012
12:00 pm

being a fan of a team that is what it is, such as Tech, or being a fan of a team with top 10 talent like GA, and having your dreams of SEC and National Titles being flushed down the drain in games like the one we just saw played over and over again. I think doing “less with more” will always be a bigger disappointment.

schmeckdawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:00 pm

Buzz Off

January 2nd, 2012
11:46 pm
where was Crowell? Did he have a sore throat or was it an ear ache?

***************************************************************************************

I think it was another case of vaginitis and the trainers forgot to bring the Vagisil! Possible nicknames for Crowell and I will let the audience vote.

Humpty Dumpty (for his fragility)
Popsicle (One lick and he’s all gone)
Marshmallow (Because he’s so damn soft)

schmeckdawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:03 pm

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…

**************************************************************************************************************

Now even as a die hard DAWG fan, I have to admit, this is pretty damn funny!!!!!!!

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
12:03 pm

“It should be apparent to Davis, Gurley, Cross and Robinson how bad Georgia needs them at Running back!!!!!!”
*****************************************
What’s probably more apparent to those young men is that either: 1) UGA doesn’t have an O-line that can run-block, or 2) UGA’s O-line coaches are not very good, or 3) Our offensive schemes are predictable to the point that any good DC can mostly shut us down.

ARdawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:04 pm

Joey

Walsh had a bad year. So did Murray. Why were they both still in the position with the game on the line. It’s the coaching

SSI
Any defense regardless of the S&C is going to fold running on and off the field as much as the UGA defense did yesterday

SSIgator

January 3rd, 2012
12:04 pm

Another great performance by Isabel. More yards gained running off the field than on it. I can see why he was Freshman of the Year.

Doug

January 3rd, 2012
12:05 pm

Hit the nail on the head with your blawg and what I would like to know is why do you not try to get close enough for a field goal with 13 seconds left in the half? Why take a knee? (well, maybe I do know the answer…Blair Walsh.) And I would like to know, why rush the field goal attempt in the 3rd overtime? GA had a time out left…why were they rushing like they did…and screwup the attempt. You know how coaches always say they are the ones that lost the game….well, in this case they would be correct.. I just hope Bobo is gone..he was a good quarterback but he just makes some wacky decisions on the field. Straight up the middle boys! woof woof

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
12:06 pm

I’ll take “Who am I for 300″ Alex

This coach 8-12 against top 10 team and makes $3 million a year?

Answer

Who is Mark Richt

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
12:06 pm

No, I would think never winning bowl games, and losing 10 of 11 to your in-state rival would suck worse.

dawgcrzy

January 3rd, 2012
12:06 pm

IC will not be a dawg next year,he will either transfer,flunk out or be dismissed for off field problems.

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
12:08 pm

thanks schmeckdawg …i try…

savannahdawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:08 pm

Some thoughts…………..Isiah is a dud just like his brother Caleb was. No toughness and no heart. Talent mean nothing if your head isn’t on right. I hope this new kids coming in will help because our running game just isn’t there yet. Bobo just isn’t a good play-caller. He just doesn’t seem capable of thinking outside the box. All of these weapons to use but we don’t use them? Keeps going back to the same stuff over and over. This team has a core of receivers, that is better than any team in the country but we don’t use them correctly…………why BOBO???????

schmeckdawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:10 pm

Is it just me, or when Aaron Murray screws up does he have this look on his face that makes you want to cave his face in?

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
12:11 pm

What happened to the we better sign Richt to a contract extension fast or else he is going to get picked up by other schools crowd?

schmeckdawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:12 pm

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
12:08 pm
thanks schmeckdawg …i try…

**************************************************************

Well you succeeded!!!!!

bubba4dawgs

January 3rd, 2012
12:12 pm

Coach Richt, we all love you but you don’t have a tough bone in your body! You’re simply too loyal to your offensive coordinator and quarterback when they’re having a bad day! You should at least make the fans believe you are doing everything you can to win and take Murray out when he’s having a bad day. Even he says he has to learn to throw the ball away instead of being sacked. He hasn’t learned it yet. What is there to learn?? He fumbled in the LSU game and again in the Michigan State game. Hmmm, Murray can you learn this too?? As for Bo Bo, just catch the bus!! We need an offensive coordinator, someone like Gus Malzone at Auburn who is now a head coach at Arkansas State. As for Crowell…..what is there to say? He stubbed his itty bitty toe again!! This guy doesn’t want to play! He likes watching the game on the bench. Put him in the student section. He doesn’t even need to dress out! Gee, talk about a disappointment!!! Give him some weed and he’ll be in there every play and never want to come out!!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
12:14 pm

I’ll take “Who am I for 400″ Alex

This coach is 31-28 against top 25 teams and makes $3 million a year?

Answer

Who is Mark Richt

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
12:15 pm

i’m tellin you fellas, the video i saw on Mitchell showed me big holes opened up by his line and few if any broken tackles…he’s fast, and makes quick cuts, but he ain’t gonna move the pile…uga has had a half dozen or more Mitchells in the last couple of years…he looks like an ACC back to me…which makes him perfect for the CMR system…

Colin

January 3rd, 2012
12:15 pm

Bill, you nailed the problems at Georgia: no ground game, reliance on downfield big-plays, and ultra-conservative offensive calls. How long will Bobo and, if necessary, Richt, remain at Georgia? Can he compete with the Spurriers, Sabans, Miles, of the SEC?
Colin

robodawg

January 3rd, 2012
12:16 pm

Not going all out to move the chains and run out the clock on our last possession was a mistake. Don’t give a senior QB a chance to beat you.

Playing for the long field goal in OT was a mistake.

Murray shows a lot of guts and grit, but he has GOT to work on ball security this off season. Not just the INTs, he’s also given up more than his share of fumbles.

Bye Bye Bobo

January 3rd, 2012
12:17 pm

That pass to Bennett was the worst 10 yard pass I’ve ever seen (right to the db for an int).

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
12:17 pm

or my personal favorite reason to sign him to an extension…”it will hurt recruiting if we don’t extend him”…really, does it matter…

SSIgator

January 3rd, 2012
12:17 pm

evil empire -

Just talked to dispatch at Landstar Trucking. They need an estimate of how many tanker trucks will be need this year for transporting the KoolAid from Dalton to Athens. Remember, each tanker only holds 8,000 gallons. Better get on the phone to AltamahaDawg, President of the KoolAid Club, and see if he can gauge what their requirements will be for 2012. He knows everything.

Which is worse?

January 3rd, 2012
12:18 pm

I disagree. Unrealized potential is always a greater disappointment. That is why people revert to the at least we are not Tech theme. Tech is what it is, when they lose it is no big surprise most of the time. But for GA the expectations are much greater and much more disappointing when they are not met. Just look at the volume of negative blog posts this loss has generated.

Henry

January 3rd, 2012
12:19 pm

You can replace Bobo if you want , but nothing changes If CMR has final decision on offense .