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

Win P.

January 3rd, 2012
2:16 pm

Bill, excellent assessment of UGA’s situation (bowl game and season). Really disappointed with Crowell. Yes, I’m aware that he is only an 18 year old kid and needs to mature and he deserves credit for some wins. IMO he should be reshirted for a year and given a chance to work on academics, mental/pyhscial conditioning and doing things “the Georgia Way” (other problems). His value to the team is being discounted by the fact that he is a problem. No, Crowell had nothing to do with the Outback Bowl lose and that’s the problem. I’ve changed my mind about him wearing # 1, however there should be a ? added.

UGA’s inability to adjust (offensive and special team)playing calling and execution to “real time” game conditions is frustrating to watch.

I’m afraid UGA will lose Grantham. Murray is a good qb, but there are times he should be allowed/required to sit on the bench and collect himself while watching another UGA qb play.

Boykin's Picture Says...

January 3rd, 2012
2:18 pm

“Damnit, Walsh sits on the sideline all game watching me play hard then misses a 42 yard field goal” ???

Relentless Pursuit

January 3rd, 2012
2:20 pm

The last two collapses just confirm that he will not make the decision to demote or fire Bobo. It will cost Richt his job by the end of the 2012 season. Murray is decent, but can’t win the big games.

USCe, Auburn, and Florida will beat Georgia next season.

Go DWAGS

January 3rd, 2012
2:24 pm

LADawg – So, you think Alabama and LSU win because of their superior coaching? You don’t think that maybe the players have something to do with it? You think the Honey Badger does what he does because of the great coaching staff at LSU, and Trent Richardson runs through, over, and around all those defenses because of Nick Sabin? These players make the incredible plays because they are great players. And Blackmon from Oklahoma State never breaks off a route when their slow QB is flushed from the pocket? Getting rid of the coaches at UGA will not do a thing. UGA needs to start recruiting real athletes, not a bunch of gang bangers that just run fast.

I Have No Blog Handle

January 3rd, 2012
2:28 pm

we need OL that can run and lead a toss sweep instead of bean anderson, just big and worthless getting hammered by DL weighing 40 pounds less

Go DWAGS

January 3rd, 2012
2:29 pm

I heard at the start of the season that the UGA o-line is as big as an NFL o-line. Too bad it was the Indianapolis Colts.

Boca Baby

January 3rd, 2012
2:30 pm

I think there should be some serious competition for QB next year. Murray’s liabilities are starting to out weigh his assets. We need a QB who can compete without turning the ball over.

Boca Baby

January 3rd, 2012
2:31 pm

I am finally in. Bobo must go. Do I hear a chant? “Bo-bo must go, Bo-bo must go, …”

dawgcrzy

January 3rd, 2012
2:31 pm

@GODAWGS getting rid of the coaches will not do a thing? Do you think the players decided to run the ball up the middle 3 times in a row? The players don’t call the plays.

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
2:32 pm

Yes, I am disappointed right now, and I do want to blame someone. And it ain’t Bobo. He just calls the plays Richt wants him to call. What you saw yesterday is as good as it’s gonna get.

And to answer you question of a couple of months ago, AltamahaDawg, Richt didn’t forget how to coach. There are just a bunch of better coaches in the SEC, and other places (UCF, MSU, Boise, etc) than when Richt got started.

Does anybody else think if we played Boise again, we’d still get beat by 2 TDs?

G-Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
2:33 pm

Nothing is easy about UGA schedule next year if we continue to beat ourselves offensively and lackluster special teams play. Our offensively philosophy has to be completely overhauled if we expect to compete in high profile games. Defense can only carry a team so far!

What Running Game ?

January 3rd, 2012
2:34 pm

The only runs that worked was when the entire line pulled left and Malcome ran right (away from the MSU defenders). Otherwise, it was run up middle for 3 yard loss and run left for no gain all game…
A retarded DC would know that when the line (TE) is stacked left that you are running left. I saw the tackles for losses BEFORE they happened.

I only hope that now ............

January 3rd, 2012
2:35 pm

I hope that UGA AD- Greg McGarity and Dr. Adams RE THINK their decision to extend Richt. Here is why: He already has a fine contract. We can praise him in the papers, we can rave about him from the office of President of the U and all of that, for “window dressing.” RICHT ALREADY HAS A FABULOUS CONTRACT, so why extend it right now?

This bowl collapse and the LSU second half collapse are symtomatic of a team that lacks passion, grit, fire and a true understanding of the word committment. This is coaching.

Also, QB Aaron Murray cannot win at a high level in the SEC. He is simply too emotional and he chokes big time with his ill timed throws or his DUMB THROWS in bad situations that always HURT UGA so badly. Enough of AAron Murray and his EMPTY STATS.

Wait until the end of the season next fall and if UGA is AGAIN IN the SEC CG and WINS IT, then give him a rousing ovation publically and add some $$ and extend him for two or three more years AND OF COURSE, extend CTG with tons and tons of bread.

If CTG leaves UGA and Richt has a huge NEW 4 or 6 or 7 year contract ……………..UGA will be very, very sorry this next time around. Richt simply lacks the real deep in your belly fire to win BIG in the SEC and in college football and Coach Bobby Bowdon stated that when Richt was initially hired by UGA and Dooley and we are seeing why now.

DO NOT EXTEND MARK RICHT. HE ALREADY HAS A FAT DEAL. MAKE HIM EARN ANOTHER FAT DEAL.

Anti-Air Murray

January 3rd, 2012
2:38 pm

1 td versus 2 ints ain’t good friends. Murray is regressing instead of progressing. That pass to Bennett was 5 yards behind him right into the hands of a MSU db. Not using the tight ends was stupid by Bobo. You’ve got the SEC All-American tight end but he gets 1 pass all game ? Tavarres King played pretty well. But the good qbs spread the ball around to all the playmakers.

kybodawg

January 3rd, 2012
2:39 pm

yeah murrary threw 2 ints.and cousins threw 3 the difference is we had to make plays to get ours theres we handed to em, although the pick 6 one appeared to be tipped at the line.

fedupdog

January 3rd, 2012
2:39 pm

Questionable play, calling,a oc who has no idea want he is doing ,sound familar? To any of the juinors thinking about jumping to nfl ,one word go.This team will not compete for sec title next year much less a NC.To hudson mason go ahead and tranfer becauce no how ba AM plays next year you will not get to play. .To the incoming kicker next year ,do not be worried about missing any kicks in games and costing the team a game or two.CMR will have confidence in you. Here is preview of next year. Ga will go to missouri and lay a egg ,win out till they go to SC,lose ,then will win the remaining games.Then while uga fans can look forward to the chic-fil bowl or a return trip tampa, UA and LSU will playing in a BCS bowl and chance for another NC.Only when the AD forces CMR to fire CMB and hire a full time special teams coach will any thing change!

Stephen A.DAWG: UGA has sold its SEC soul to have & keep ACC/FSU Richt.

January 3rd, 2012
2:40 pm

No self respecting established Offensive Coordinator would ever come to Georgia to let Richt claim the credit for his hard work like Coach Grantham has on the defensive. It was plain to see despite Bobo, despite Murray, UGA’s defense gave the Dawgs a chance to win in OT. CTG has saved Richt’s job and deserves a decent raise and extension for it. Richt’s unmovable “faith” in the mediocre Kicker Walsh to win the game in OT from 42 yards out on 3rd down, only made Richt look even more incompetent. The final outcome for the Dawgs was ludicrious after being up 16-0 at the half. To end the mediocrity and incompetence in order for Richt to stay UGA MUST mandate that he:

1) Totally overhaul and scrap the pass-first 90s FSU offensive playbook. Georgia for the past 11 years under Richt has been ACC-FSU (minus their 93&99 titles) in predictable scheme and disguise. Hire a real OC and tell Bobo to burn all the old 1990s film of the Richt-led FSU offense and accept a “voluntary” demotion to recruiting coordinator.
2) Develop a SEC/ pro style power running attack. This is nothing new to the UGA faithful who have waited well over 2 decades to see a return of a dominate run game. Build depth in the O-line & quality SEC calibre RBs,FBs and bring the TEs back into the offense in traditional roles.
3) Open up a un-biased competition at QB. The play from that position MUST improve if UGA is going to attempt to get to the next level. Murray has started the last two seasons and is 16-11 for those starts. Murray has yet to perform to acceptable levels against top twenty competition and has no signature victory to date, but many signature poor performances in big games. It’s time to give Mason and Lemay a chance to compete against Murray for the starting QB position. No doubt about it.
4) Bring in a Special Teams coach and stop relying on the talent of uncoached punters and kickers. Keep the walk-ons on the bench on kick coverages against dangerous kick returners.

UGA lost the first two games to quality opponents, then won ten in a row from below average opponents, only to lose the last two games to quality opponents. So in the in the Dawgs are still average or the best of the worst. Which means UGA is still mediocre when compared to LSU or ‘Bama in the SEC. Thus Richt really doesn’t deserve any increase in pay with only a one year “conditional” extension to his current contract that still has two years on it. If these changes are not made UGA has NO chance of ever winning the SEC title or the MNC with Richt as head coach.

Season Factoid

January 3rd, 2012
2:42 pm

UGA lost the first two games to good teams then beat 10 mediocre to very bad teams then lost to two good teams. That tells you that when UGA plays good teams they lose. Is that the kind of coach you want to extend ? Not me friends.

Go DWAGS

January 3rd, 2012
2:43 pm

@dawgcrzy – No, the players don’t call the plays, but the great players make the great plays. I don’t see any RB from UGA doing anything close to what the RB’s from Oregon and Wisconsin did, but I saw them run up the middle a whole bunch of times.

G-Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
2:45 pm

Receiver routes need to be redeveloped in the play book.

Oline recruiting needs to be a yearly priority.

Offensive playbook needs to be circumcised to create better mismatches..and utilizing our strengths. No more relying on the big play factor in games.

Less pass blocking by RBs…get them into space out of the backfield, and dump the ball if teams continue to blitz from the corners.

More underneath crossing routes.

No more delayed handoffs in the shotgun formations to a power back!! Move our backs into the pistol formation, to give them some forward momentum taking the handoff. Big backs hit holes, small back hit the edges.

Move the pocket more on heavy blitzing teams.

We had a great FB in Figgins, who has great hands coming out of the backfield. Utilize this more, including our stud TEs.

Defensively, continue to develop backup players!!

Finally, a big contract to Grantham!!!! If it wasnt for him and his asst coaches, we’d still be stuck in Martinez years!!

Go DWAGS

January 3rd, 2012
2:48 pm

@dawgcrzy – When Montee Ball from Wisconsin breaks 4-5 tackles running up the middle time after time and gains 164 yards, you think that is the great Wisconsin coaching, or just a great player?

Proud to be a DWAG

January 3rd, 2012
2:49 pm

HAHAHAHA Dwags.

Proud to be a DWAG

Season Factoid

January 3rd, 2012
2:49 pm

Its like Evander Holifield losing to Buster Douglas & Mike Tyson then beating 10 hugh school kids then losing to George Foreman & Lennox Lewis… You lose to the 4 tough guys but beat up on the weak sisters… Sad.

bdaamwag

January 3rd, 2012
2:53 pm

Bobo needs to go. The offensive theme has not changed since ‘07. It is hard to watch. I hate looking at it. Again, Bobo needs to go. Let him keep that QB coach position if he wants. I think Richt develops better QBs anyway.

Season Factoid

January 3rd, 2012
2:53 pm

Aaron Rodegers throws the ball to 10 different receivers & rbacks. Aaron Murray locks in on one receiver (T.King) and the offense struggles. I’m sure a quick 2 yard pass to Orson Charles could have resulted in a 10 to 20 yard play. Where was Aaron White ? Talk about dumbing down the offense to predictable levels…

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
2:54 pm

G-Dawg, just don’t take my favorite – the pass in the flat for 2 yards. Man I love that play . . .(sarcasm) . . .

JB

January 3rd, 2012
2:57 pm

Lot’s of new NFL coach’s with staffs to fill….and they all know Grantham, and he knows them, and yes NFL coach’s are a fraternity, and these guys just move from team to team. Grantham will want a raise and a new 3 year deal. It won’t happen. Our loss. Richt will just call UAB and see’s who’s available for 180,000 per year. Championships are overrated I guess.

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
2:59 pm

39 rushes for 53 yards on the day. Average 1.3 YPC.

MS loading the box all day to stop any run and rush the passer.

A.M. 2 INT’s leading to 2 TD’s and one fumble.

M.S. moving the ball in 2nd half, especially in Q-4. Defense tired.

A.M. (with the playbook opened up) has just driven 80+ for a TD to go up 7.

UGA takes the ball with 3:39 needing to run some clock for the W. Need 1 first down and we win.

Your the DC for MS.
What do you think UGA is going to do?
How will we defend to get the ball back to the O?

a: Run up the gut.
a: Lets load the box as we have all day.

Your UGA OC or HC:

What do we need to do to insure we run off clock and preserve the W?
What formation should we run out of?

a: Lets run it up the gut. Eventually we will surely break one?
a: Tight power running formation.

MS-DC … “Look, They are in the run formation. Wow, what a D call…That worked lets do it again!”

UGA-OC… “Wow, They are still loading the box. Didnt work that time… Lets try it again on 2nd down”

MS-DC… “What do you know? They ran it again… Thanks”

UGA-OC … “Crap.. stopped it again, how did they know? 3rd times gotta be the charm! Run it again, they will bever guess.”

MS-DC “Wow… what a call – 3 and out… Damn I am good. Thanks for the gift BOBO.”

Just Da Facts Ma'am

January 3rd, 2012
2:59 pm

The defense and special teams played well. The offense and field goal kicking game sucked. The heroes are Boykin,J.Jones,Jenkins,Ogletree,D.Butler,T.King,T.grantham. The goats are R.Samuel,O-Line,A.Murray,B.Walsh,Bobo,Richt.

JB

January 3rd, 2012
2:59 pm

All the gut wrenching on these blogs will not change anything. We will open next year with a new DC, and that’s it.

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
3:00 pm

Season Factoid, you are now entering dangerous territory – you are a Richt-Hater. Clearly, you did not get the memo that Richt is a goooood mannnnnn.

Oh, and if you don’t “support” the gooood mannnn Richt, you aren’t a good UGA fan and you need to pull for another team.

Get ready . . .

JB

January 3rd, 2012
3:01 pm

#9 Ogletree could start for LSU. Every defensive player they have is that good.

dawgcrzy

January 3rd, 2012
3:02 pm

@DWAGS Oregon did’nt have the box stacked on Wisc. either,when the box is stacked you throw a screen or a quick pass underneath,our coaches can’t ajust ,that’s the bottom line and another thing Richt has been doing the recruting for 11 years,it’s one of two things he can’t evaluate talent or he can’t coach up the talent he recruits, either way it falls on coaching. since ALA and FLA are recruiting the same players i’d say we are not coaching up the talent.

Just Da Facts Ma'am

January 3rd, 2012
3:02 pm

I think if Mike Bobo had Jason Witten TE,Roddy White WR,and A.J. Green WR he still runs the ball up the gut… Dumazz.

JB

January 3rd, 2012
3:03 pm

I’m worried about DawginLex………………I’m afraid he’s just given up.

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
3:04 pm

NO confidence shown in A.M. down the stretch and conceded the ball on downs.

Does A.M. not have the option to audible in that situation or call a time out as important as that possession was to change a play?

Calabama

January 3rd, 2012
3:04 pm

Well yall won’t have to worry a

DawginLex

January 3rd, 2012
3:05 pm

JB

No. Just tired of being attacked by bulldawg so i moved to another site.

G-Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
3:05 pm

Joey…i just remember back in freshman years with Ware and Brown…they used to release those guys out of the backfield into the flats, or occupy the area where the blitz came from..and get good chunks of yards. It also kept defenses from blitzing so much. Havent seen those plays in years. They ran it one time with Boykin yesterday for a TD. Instead, because of the inconsistent line coverage, we’re consistently relying upon RBs to pick up blockers instead of using their skill set for what they were recruited for….and thats carrying or catching the ball out of the backfield.

JB

January 3rd, 2012
3:06 pm

What does it say about Murray when Richt decides to kick a FG on 3rd down in OT. It’s say’s I’ll take my chances with the worst % kicker in the SEC this year vs Murray throwing one in the end zone to T. King. Think about it.

G-Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
3:07 pm

My fav play…and 10 yard and out route by a receiver…resulting in a pick 6 multiple times this year!!

Title Time

January 3rd, 2012
3:07 pm

In 2012—the dawgs will be loaded. Richt’s built up the roster with these dream team recruiting classes. In reality, only lsu or alabama will be able to match up with Ga next year. I think Ga beats alabama for the sec title in the ga dome. The Big Dawg must eat!!!

JB

January 3rd, 2012
3:07 pm

WHEW………..Happy New Year Lex.

Season Factoid

January 3rd, 2012
3:08 pm

I know. If you call out Richt you are a bad Dawgs fan. I learned this from Loran Smith a couple years ago. They think that if you point out all the problems (amazingly exact same deficiencies that ESPN analysts also point out about UGA) then you are not a loyal fan. I guess its be a ho-hum dumb supporter whether the team wins or loses ? If this is acceptable fan behavior then why do coaches get fired and hired ? You know, the fans put in $1,000,000 to watch the games every year but heaven forbid that we gripe about awful coaching and poor play…

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
3:08 pm

Like CMR but he needs to be willing to change or adjust for the game situations. Other teams adjust….I felt like we were playing Dooley ball with the game on the line… jusk keep banging on that brick wall.

Calabama

January 3rd, 2012
3:10 pm

At least yall won’t have to put up with fatcat texas oilmen throwing around 200 million bucks to buy your coach!

JB

January 3rd, 2012
3:10 pm

title time……………..murray and bobo and richt will not beat bama. tell me who they have beat in the last 24-25 games to make you think that.

JB

January 3rd, 2012
3:14 pm

Richt would be a hero in the ACC. Win 9-10 games a year, he would be a 2.2 mil coach for life somewhere……………….But he’s blessed. He’s at a SEC school winning 10 games and a school President who thinks it’s wonderful….so much he’s is going from 3 mil a year to probably 3.5 mil a year.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
3:14 pm

JB…Dawginlex will never give up on the dawgs. I am guessing he needed a break form the blogs. He is MAD I am sure.

All I heard was Aaron Murray is the Best in the SEC & A Heisman Contender neat year!
Murray probably will not or better yet Shouldn’t be the Starting QB next year. Richt & Bobo screwed up not playing HUTSON MASON more. Mason Should transfer because Richt will ride Murray like he does.

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
3:17 pm

JB – Your right – He didnt want to take the chance with AM. 3rd down, I can see kicking the FG. The play call on first and then the kneel down on second were like waiving the white surrender flag. hard to figure how he had such confidence in Walsh though, Huh?