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

JB

January 3rd, 2012
3:18 pm

If I’m an opposing coach going after a QB that UGA is also, we lose. All the other coach has to say is you will never see the field ahead of the starter regardless of how you’re practicing or the other guy is performing. Not under Richt. You will sit and never get your chance until the guy is gone. …. and it’s true.

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
3:23 pm

Haha, yeah, I meant the WR pass in the flat, where the WR takes the pass a couple yds behind the line. If the CB is good, the result is 2 yd loss. If the CB plays off, the result is 2 yard gain.

AJ made a few of them go for 10 or 12 yds, but AJ is Cincinnati now . . .

JB, I posted about that (3:06) earlier. If Richt/Bobo don’t trust the QB, why not change QBs? I don’t get that at all.

For Real ?

January 3rd, 2012
3:30 pm

I heard that Walsh tried to shoot himself in the foot after the game but missed WIDE RIGHT…

For Real ?

January 3rd, 2012
3:33 pm

Joey, lots of rbs,te’s,wr’s catch 2 yard passes and turn them into 10,20,50 yard gains (even tds). When you have the best TE in the SEC and don’t run quick hit passes its crazy…

G-Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
3:34 pm

Would have loved to see Mason get a fair shot at the position, but transferring is in his best interest.

Andy

January 3rd, 2012
3:36 pm

Another bowl loss to a perceived ‘non-worthy’ conference.

I wonder if the puppies can finally beat a ranked team in 2012?

G-Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
3:41 pm

Any updates on the possible Gurley commitment?

LADawg

January 3rd, 2012
3:45 pm

Go Dawg – I absolutely know that AL and LSU have superior coaching and that we have equal players that don’t produce results – until they get into the NFL. Georgia has to lead all of college football during the Richt years for the number of players that get into the NFL that don’t produce championships in college. Do you really think Honey Badger and Trent were born game changers without great coaching? Do you think #47 would have been as great under Martinez than Van Gorder? HA, I laugh at you! If you had been at the blackout against AL you could have seen what great coaching does to superior talent with mediocre coaches!

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
3:46 pm

CMR should sit down with MASON, LEMAY and MURRAY today and let them know that the QB decision will be wide open for the starting spot next season. Dont want to hear that we have a QB with 25 starts under his belt… Doesnt matter. We need a “winner” … to step this team up to the next level. Let these three compete. No starter named until the week before the opener.

I just have a feeling that the team might react better to a Mason or at least to true open competition. AM to me is a stat guy maybe with obvious talent…we need more the Buck Blue/David Greene type who will’s us the W’s in the big game. I just dont think AM has that IT factor.

We open the season with a really easy schedule and any starter can gain experience in these first few games. And I hope the competition open competition will help AM step to the next level to win these big games. BS, SC, LSU, and a bowl.

SSIgator

January 3rd, 2012
3:46 pm

DawginLex -

Glad you survived the holidays. Thought you might have drowned in your own KoolAid yesterday. We were all worried about you. Come back in. The water is fine. Besides, there is a new KoolAid manufacturing plant that opened in Whitfield County, outside of Dalton, that is already gearing up for three shifts to accomodate the higher than normal demand by the UGA fans for the 2012 season. They have even named two specialty flavors for a limited time offering: AltamahaDawg Apple and DawginLex Lime. You should feel very honored.

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
3:55 pm

AM should have the flexability to check off to another play if he comes to the line with the box stacked. I think most offenses this day in time give their QB that option. If not, we shouuld have at least gone to the line in the NO huddle and let the coaches on the sideline see the formation and change the play for us. It was like suicide on that 3 and out late!.

dawgcrzy

January 3rd, 2012
3:58 pm

Bill has’nt had this many post in two years,maybe ever.

Dawgstyle86

January 3rd, 2012
3:59 pm

It’s THAT time; TIME for all of our LOSER staff to GOGO, especially BOBO. SEE-YA…………………

UGA Insider

January 3rd, 2012
4:01 pm

UGA fans should lower expectations as I have. We are not on the level of Bama or LSU but we are much higher than most. UGA may never win another MNC and that is fine…who cares? Athens will always be a fun place to visit on gamedays and that is enough for me.

Brent

January 3rd, 2012
4:02 pm

Bill,

Murray had another game with 3 turnovers against a top 20 team. Like the LSU & South Caorlina teams this year, UF, UCF, and SC last year.

9 turnovers in those 3 games.

Murray is the #1, #2, and #3 problem on the team.

And he’s Richt’s favorite for SOME reason (no suspensions?) so he’ll be back for more of the same in 2012..

dawgcrzy

January 3rd, 2012
4:08 pm

@UGA Insider really? I hope that’s sarcasim

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
4:09 pm

For Real?, do you watch UGA games, or do you not read?. I’m talking about a 15 yard (vertically) pass where the WR (not a RB or a TE) drops back 2 yds deep, takes the pass, and the play depends on the WR out-maneuvering the CB and the safety in order to get positive yardage.

I counted at least 3 of these in our first two possessions (2 to the left side), for probably 3 or 4 total yds.

Not talking about a quick hit over the middle to a TE, which we NEVER do.

Rick

January 3rd, 2012
4:12 pm

Exactly, on keeping running the ball up the middle when nothing was there….over and over. And where were the TE’s? MSU was a fine, well coached team, but Bobo didn’t adjust…sometimes he has a good game plan/play calling, but often not – we need an offensive coordinator upgrade, or Richt should take it back. Third and 8 with 2:45 and MSU with 0 timeouts left…UGA could win the game on one play with a pass for first down – then its OVER….where’s the courage…how often do you have a shot to put a stake in the heart on one play? And MSU last drive….rushing 3 and 4…big lineman get gassed on continuous pass plays….where were the blitzes/pressure….saved for OT I guess, another missed opportunity. One of Murray’s picks was deflected by a lineman…I watched in over in slow-mo, but commentators didn’t see.

Proud to be a DWAG

January 3rd, 2012
4:13 pm

It’s great. to be. a jawja bull dwag. Wait. What’s a dwag? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

dwag (n): a perennial animal who only lives off 10 win season championships.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

dawg in the outhouse bowl

January 3rd, 2012
4:14 pm

Another long cold winter in Athens.

Gators for Richt

January 3rd, 2012
4:19 pm

Another beautifully executed game plan!

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
4:23 pm

I’m a golden GOD!! I love being worshipped on AJC!!

Bob

January 3rd, 2012
4:24 pm

All I can say is AMEN or ditto or something else. It is very frustrating how the Dawgs go into that conservative mode when trying to ice the game. When you have not been able to run when they did not know what you were going to do, why do you think you can run when they know exactly what you are going to do. This is how a team loses while statistically looking pretty good.

Buck Blew

January 3rd, 2012
4:26 pm

what happened to all the crowell is the next herschel walker talk? didn’t this ajc blog compare their freshmen stats earlier this season? more typical dawg nation electric kool-aid acid nonsense.

run Lindsay!!!

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
4:26 pm

“UGA could win the game on one play with a pass for first down – then its OVER….where’s the courage…how often do you have a shot to put a stake in the heart on one play?”
*****************************************
Rick, I’m afraid whatever nerve or “courage” Richt once had, is now gone. He coaches not to lose now, instead of coaching to win (see Ole Miss, KY, LSU, Michigan St).

Dang, even Les Miles and Saban, with their powerhouse teams, occasionally fake a punt or FG. They try ANYTHING it takes to win. Richt /Bobo go 3-and-out, over and over, and hope the D can hold – for the entire second half.

It’s sickening to watch, but in 2012, I’ll be there to watch every minute of every game.

sjvet

January 3rd, 2012
4:27 pm

I don’t know why so many people support Richt when he has shown nothing to indicate he knows how to be an effective head coach. He spent a lot of time playing mediocre Thomas Brown because Brown’s dad was a minister, so his best running back, Danny Ware, hardly got to play and left for the NFL, despite not having much playing time. Now Ware has a Super Bowl ring and he’s still playing for the Giants. Grantham seems to have turned the defense around in many good ways, but it’s hard to respect a DC who thinks a prevent defense is a good idea. I predicted to my wife that UGA, instead of getting a first down, would run three running plays with a one-back set, then go into a prevent defense and let MSU score. It wasn’t very hard to predict that, and probably Dawg fans all over the country did the same. Neither Richt nor Bobo understands the game of ball control. If a team needs to pass to get a first down, then pass the darned ball. It’s easy to see where “playing it safe” got the team. Every loss this year was due to poor coaching, just like the past ten years or so. The Dawgs may not beat Vandy next year – this year it was five points, and only beat a hapless Gator team by 4 points. Georgia will go nowhere with Richt, no matter how nice a guy he may be.

UGA Insider

January 3rd, 2012
4:28 pm

dawgcrzy,

I’m afraid I am being serious. The loss really hurt yesterday because I could see it coming when the 3rd quarter started. Our enitre offensive line was sitting around laughing and telling jokes. They had no idea they were about to get punched in the mouth. As long as CMR roams the UGA sidelines we will NEVER win a MNC. NEVER.

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
4:31 pm

Hey Buck, whatever optimistic Dawg said something like that, they just meant that Crowell will look like Herschel when we play little tech. You know, like Caleb and Ealey both looked like him a couple of years back.

“New Sheriff in town.” “Best Coach in America.”

Haha!

Bob

January 3rd, 2012
4:33 pm

UGA Insider I have a question – Why should fans lower their expectations? Georgia is a major college program with great facilities, tradition of winning, and in a state that consistently ranks in the top two or three in turning out major college players. Alabama and LSU are the same and they do not turn out as many great high school players as Georgia. I think Georgia has the ability to be great academically (as it is now) and great athletically (as it is now except for winning championships in football). We recruit the same players as the other major programs and get our fair share of them to come to Georgia. No Georgia high school player should ever have to leave the state to play on a championship caliber major college football team.

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
4:34 pm

Don’t get why our OL was unable to open holes for the running game with some amount of consistency this year. Biggest OL in the country. Other teams playing the run? Scheaming better with stunts…? When I boil the season down our losses come down to two key problems in my mind, and maybe a third could be added

1) Multiple turnovers in key games. QB mainly responsible here.

2) OL not being able to open up holes for our backs. I think we had the atheletes at RB that could gain yards. Maybe not the spectacular back that takes it to the house, but adequate.

3rd – Special teams breakdowns – Not FG misses, although they hurt but you cant really coach a kicker like Walsh who obviously is great… Just bad run between the ears.

Significant improvement at 1-2 and a little help on SP teams and we are a 0-1 loss team in 2011

Gainesville

January 3rd, 2012
4:37 pm

Enter your comments here

gbal

January 3rd, 2012
4:39 pm

Buck – That was press – not fans or coaches suggesting Crowell could be the next Hershel. Schultz, Bradley, … mixed that koolaid … They just say us UGA fans were hoping for that… of Course it would be nice but no one in their right mind predicted this.

sjvet

January 3rd, 2012
4:40 pm

When a team runs a one-back set it’s not too hard for the other team to figure out what the play is going to be. It matters little whether the play goes up the middle or outside; the other team knows who is getting the ball unless it’s a pass play. The only ones surprised by these plays are Bobo and Richt.

OnTheMoney

January 3rd, 2012
4:41 pm

This was one of the WORST coaching jobs ever done in a bowl game by a DAWG coach!!!!

You could tell by late in the 3rd qtr we were playing conservative and NOT to lose! Playing the prevent defense in the last minute is what PREVENTED us from winning…….Playing consevative after the int in overtime again prevented us from winning! Players made the misplays but the COACHING put them in the position to lose…..

Conservative play is for LOSERS!!!!!!!!

Savannah's Favorite Son

January 3rd, 2012
4:42 pm

The Dawg’s just do not have the instincts to really get after an opponent. Our offense being conservative could be understood if we consistently had a world class defense. Our defense is excellent but the whole game cannot be put on its shoulders.

"Big" does not equate to strong or quick footed

January 3rd, 2012
4:44 pm

UGA’s O line is basically some fat boys. I am a UGA man, class of 71 & 73 and our line is fat and they are not bulked up guys with some muscle mass and nifty footwork. No way. They are tubs of belly goo and yesterday showed it. They also did not block as a group for the entire game.

MSU wanted that game. Their coach was hungry, their fine QB was hungry and their entire team was hungry ……………….UGA? Fat and happy because of nutting accomplished beyond the SEC East.

Murray? UNCONTROLLABLE EMOTIONS and fingernail biting. He has become a liability in tight games. He is a CHOKE ARTIST. Look at his eyes …………… deer in the headlights look they are. bad news he is. Empty stats and TDs they are.

What happened to the idea of using Bruce Figgins at 6′5″ and 275 to BLOCK in the FB position to help Murray when we needed some completions? Did he play one down?

DO NOT EXTEND RICHT’s CONTRACT MCGARITY !!!

Until September 12

January 3rd, 2012
4:50 pm

Every coach should get some of what Grantham is drinking and go on a binge until next season!

GT Theo

January 3rd, 2012
4:50 pm

An Inconvenient Truth

US News Ranking
GT: 36
UGA: 62

Endowment Size
GT: $1.5 BILLION
UGA: $600 million

Avg. Starting Salary
GT: $59,000
UGA: $44,000

Football
GT: 4 National Titles (1990)
UGA: 2 National Titles (1980)

Basketball
GT: 2 Final Fours, Chris Bosh, Derrick Favors, Thaddeus Young, Jarrett Jack
UGA: 1 Final Four.

Baseball
GT: Mark Teixeira, Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Brown, Matt Weiters
UGA: Gordon Beckham.

Golf
GT: Matt Kuchar, Stewart Cink, David Duval, Bryce Molder
UGA: Bubba Watson.

GT is a GLOBAL brand. UGA is a regional brand.

It appears obvious that UGA is the “flagship” in name only.

scdog

January 3rd, 2012
4:50 pm

HIRE NEW OC AND OPEN UP THE QB POSITION IN THE SPRING.

old dog

January 3rd, 2012
4:54 pm

They adjusted at the half, we didn’t….end of story!

Snoop Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
5:00 pm

Now the tarbaby is Bobo, huh? Red Herring, Red Herring! The problem is Mark Richt, stupid!!!

What after Richt is forced to replace every assistant that he has hired? Then who are you going to blame? Oh yeah, the players, the fans, the alumni, the administration–the possibilities are almost endless!

Time for everyone to solve this simple algebra and it goes like this: Richt is an imposter. He’s a salesman, not a coach. He’s a recruiter, not a leader.

UGA football will continue to dwell in the cellar until we get a new head ball coach. I mean a ball coach in charge at the UGA.

Snoop Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
5:07 pm

UGA Insider, you are a loser and your lousy attitude is a problem for the University of Georgia.

Snoop Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
5:16 pm

I can’t wait to try the new Richt Koolaid flavors next year: Altamaha Red and Lex Infex! Drink up, Bulldog Nation! There are two new plants online, I understand with a capacity for 24/7 operations to keep up with increased demand…

Buzzzzzzzz

January 3rd, 2012
5:16 pm

Dawgs know this, but with their weak minds, they tend to forget, so here’s a reminder:

Georgia Tech is a very highly ranked academic school that has a football team. Its alumni and fans have real lives and careers that don’t depend on the football team for their happiness.

Georgia, on the other hand, is basically a sell-your-soul-to-the-devil football factory that also gives diplomas – worthless as they are. They have sleazy coaches like Mark Richt who have no scruples or ethics, who recruit morons who barely got through high school, and collect huge paychecks, but still can’t win big games.

Now, can you remember all that?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
5:18 pm

UGA Insider glad you finally figured it out. It is Only a game and it is entertainment. I love Tech and want them to win every game too, but I know that is not rational. I do expect to see a good game and a win at the home games I pay to see. What I am happy with is a Winning season and to be in the hunt for the ACC CG and I do expect that. Tech has had a shot at the ACC CG every since CPJ arrived. I wast TECH to beat UGA more and I expect that to, but to play for BCS MNC is very difficult. Enjoy you game days and watching your team that is truly what it is all about.

tell me again

January 3rd, 2012
5:21 pm

Bill, that was the most concise, accurate and complete article ever written about this team and program……congratulations. I agree 100%. Nothing to add to that assessment. I will say this – Richt is already talking about Murray as if he’s the starter for his entire term there – I love the kid – a great talent but so far he has proven to be incapable of taking this team to the next level – I am hoping the spring QB competition will be wide open but somehow I don’t think it will be – I can’t blame Mason for wanting out. Bobo has to go go. He has not proven he is capable of calling a complete game and he definitely is the poster child for the word “CHOKE”. Coach Richt needs to add some magic to this offense – my wife is calling the next play from her easy chair – and if she knows what’s coming – so does the opposing defense.

dawgcrzy

January 3rd, 2012
5:22 pm

hey buzzard there is one more blog you can post your stupid comments on,not that anybody cares…idiot

Snoop Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
5:24 pm

Georgia Tech is a school for nerds. Even the Varsity moved to Athens. You will always be nerds and inferior to UGA students and graduates. Engineers are technicians and work for UGA managers.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
5:30 pm

Snoop Dawg fine Tech is for Nerds. I know Bros like Snoop are cool for bring stupid pot heads. White kids wanting to be black love to dumb themselves down to be cool and TECH is not for them. Tech wants highly motivated intelligent problem solving people. Sure snoop whatever.

Bulldog59

January 3rd, 2012
5:31 pm

So the 2011 season didn’t end as we would have liked, but we (not Florida, not Tennessee, and not South Carolina) made the trip to Atlanta. So, we enter 2012 as the defending SEC East Champions with a 10 win season. Plus, we’re the #6 rated best value in the nation for public colleges. Congrats to Florida at #2.

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/01/03/uga-in-top-10-list-of-best-values-among-public-colleges/

The most disappointing thing is, we probably won’t change anything. We’ll try the same OC and the same QB in 2012.