Big questions temper optimism as Dogs look ahead to 2012

Georgia returns a lot of talent, including Aaron Murray, but still has some major concerns to deal with in 2012. (Associated Press)

Georgia returns a lot of talent, including Aaron Murray, but still has some major concerns to deal with in 2012. (Associated Press)

A week ago, in the wake of the SEC’s 2012 schedule being announced, optimism was running wild in the Bulldog Nation.

This week, after watching the Dogs again collapse in the second half amid continued problems with special teams play and establishing a running game, many Georgia fans are tempering their optimism.

The Dogs still may start out next season as a Top 10 team based on a load of returning talent and an even more favorable schedule than this year’s, but there will be some big challenges, especially if the team is hit with major losses to the NFL. Orson Charles going pro would hurt, but the chance of the defense possibly losing two or three underclassmen is more worrisome.

Meanwhile, the offensive line, which was good enough against middling teams this season but gave up 33 sacks and faltered against the four best defenses Georgia faced, will lose three senior starters and will have little returning experience.

The Dogs will have to replace both their placekicker and their punter and still haven’t solved the problem of spotty special teams play overall.

Record-setting QB Aaron Murray will return but has some ball security problems to deal with (his turnovers when pressured or scrambling played a major role in three of the Dogs’ four losses), and Georgia could lose what little backup experience it has at the position if Hutson Mason decides to transfer.

And then there’s the running game, which went from inconsistent to pathetic late in the season as Isaiah Crowell found myriad ways to stay off the field. The bright spot there in 2012 is the arrival of Keith Marshall and probably at least one other freshman tailback, but we learned this season that signing a five-star recruit at that position is no guarantee of long-term success.

So, yes, Georgia reeled off 10 wins in a row this season and took the SEC East but as Mark Richt said, “our guys had a good year, not a great year,” losing to the four teams they played that ended up ranked in the Top 20 while getting their wins against teams that finished the season unranked.

All of which raises this question: Were the 2011 Dogs that much better than the 2010 team that finished 6-7, or was the SEC East title more a function of scheduling?

I think the answer is a qualified yes, the Dogs were much improved — mainly on defense. But they remained, as Richt noted, far from a great team. There’s no denying that a schedule that didn’t include the toughest teams from the SEC West probably was the biggest factor in Georgia’s 2011 turnaround.

They’ll get that break again next season. But it’s going to take more than that for Richt and company to improve on a 10-4 record.

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

828 comments Add your comment

smart dawg

January 4th, 2012
11:44 pm

Still, Does the beaver shave?

Dawg48

January 4th, 2012
11:44 pm

Still, you have a beaver in a pond! Now that should be easy!

smart dawg

January 4th, 2012
11:45 pm

48, Yes. Noontootla?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 4th, 2012
11:46 pm

48 I went in HEAD ONLY in his wet entrance and you can come get the BEAVER but you have to do it by hand. no guns. He/She is cool and the house is cool I can fit in it and stay dry and warm. I snorkeled in about 2 year ago to check it out while he/she was in the pond.

smart dawg

January 4th, 2012
11:47 pm

Still, you should try noodlin’

Dawg48

January 4th, 2012
11:49 pm

Smart, yea I love it up there! I had a old man pull a shotgun on me when I was fishing in the tacoaa. I thought I was DEAD, did not know I went on his property.
My dads best friend sells real-estate up there, his office was in the old vanzandt gas station.
He has a cabin around dial ga.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 4th, 2012
11:50 pm

HELL no to Noodlin’ less SHE it 7 feet tall Blonde with 44 DDDDD’s AHHAHA I will shove my arm in that hole to catch something.

Dawg48

January 4th, 2012
11:51 pm

Still, you can keep your beaver! Lol

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 4th, 2012
11:51 pm

48 I attended No. Ga College in Dalonega years ago.

smart dawg

January 4th, 2012
11:52 pm

48, Don’t tell everyone how nice it is…….

Dawg48

January 4th, 2012
11:53 pm

Still, you may catch something you don’t want! Lol

Bad Dawg

January 4th, 2012
11:55 pm

dawg48, I could not fit them all into the 10 lol. Those two should definitely be on the list if not honorable mention. Any of you dawg fans out there giving up on UGA football while Richt is the head coach? I am thinking of doing so. Should I be a troll to our rivals next season or root for another team, any suggestions?

smart dawg

January 4th, 2012
11:56 pm

Still, I’ll probably go through Dahlonega tomorrow. Going to the lake for the weekend (no web, I’ll be back here for the birds on Sunday)

Dawg48

January 4th, 2012
11:56 pm

Smart, the tubing is going to ruin it just like it did Hellen GA!
I wish herman longs campground would stop it, but it pays there bills.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 4th, 2012
11:57 pm

48 I ain’t scared of Needles if they cure what SHE gonna give me after she Gives IT to me LOL. I survived Beauregard Rippers in Dahlonega with the Ranger recruits and the Gallon beers. LOL

smart dawg

January 4th, 2012
11:58 pm

48,
I knew Herman. He was a good man.

Dawg48

January 4th, 2012
11:58 pm

Bad dawg

I will never stop pulling for the dawgs no matter how bad it gets.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 4th, 2012
11:59 pm

ANY of you do T.O.W? I used to Ride.

smart dawg

January 5th, 2012
12:00 am

Still,
There are some things that soap and needles won’t fix…

Dawg48

January 5th, 2012
12:01 am

Smart

Yes he was, great with the kids that came to his camp ground. Hated to here he passed away.
I helped him put up a cow one day that got out of his fence across from the campground.

smart dawg

January 5th, 2012
12:01 am

Still,
Tail of the dragon?

Dawg48

January 5th, 2012
12:02 am

Still, are you talking about the ranger station up by that big 4H camp?

Dawg48

January 5th, 2012
12:07 am

Good nite guys I’m out.

smart dawg

January 5th, 2012
12:08 am

48, see you Sunday

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 5th, 2012
12:15 am

48 yes Frank D Merrill the Mountain Ranger school.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 5th, 2012
12:16 am

Smart Two Wheels only a Motorcycle only camp ground.

smart dawg

January 5th, 2012
12:18 am

yeah, Still, I know where they are. Union Co. I guess this WV/Clem game was a family affair…

See you Sunday.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 5th, 2012
12:20 am

Be good Good Night.

smart dawg

January 5th, 2012
12:21 am

Border dweller

January 5th, 2012
1:32 am

Alex Ogeltree in the first two weeks and one decent, uninjured tailback in the last few weeks and we win three of those four loses. We had no running game the last two games, and not a lot of side to side defense the first two. And did you notice how Jarvis Jones was ineffective after the knee strain in the MSU game? If you didn’t, you shouldn’t be posting here.
We ain’t far off from where we want to be, children. This isn’t the NFL, it’s college ball, where you can’t (or shouldn’t) buy your way into a championship. I think we’re on the doorstepof doing it the right way.

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
1:35 am

Mark Richt is here. He is talking. He said that we had a

GOOD SEASON

not a great season, but a good season.

I presume, of course, that good means good. According to Mark Richt,

25 LOSSES THE LAST 6 YEARS

is good.

Not great, but GOOD.

GOOD : respectable, noble, worthy, blameless, opposite of bad, sound, opposite of useless, effective, high quality, first-class, first-rate, superior, fine, excellent, good quality, opposite of poor, enjoyable, pleasant, nice, agreeable, lovely, delightful, opposite of bad, skillful, proficient, accomplished, skilled, clever, capable, competent, opposite of unpleasant, terrific, splendid, wonderful, smashing – this is what good means.

What we have is a season which started with turmoil of 30 players whom the fans told

GOOD RIDDANCE

- listed with their accolades, the come-backs were he isn’t going to be missed, him either, him as well, etc. What we witnessed was in fact that at the end of games, we didn’t have players to put out there any longer – it was pervasive across the board, but no where more evident that we did miss them 7-deep at Running Back.

The season, then began in earnest and we LOST both of the 1st two games against teams who all season maintained their position in the 25 – something we did not.

- listed as we cannot beat top teams, the come-backs were our fans prefer Mark Richt to Nick Saban (devil), to Les Miles (leprechaun luck), and anyone else put up on a long list of coaches who are doing better than Mark Richt, because well because Mark Richt is a fine Christian Man.

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
1:35 am

What we witnessed was that Mark Richt played 4 teams who end up top 25 and LOST ALL 4. We did, however, beat the teams we should have beaten, except for South Carolina, Boise State, and Michigan State – all games where we just blew it – not that we didn’t blow it against LSU because we most assuredly got beat by LSU as well. Would have lost, clearly to Arkansas and Alabama and Oregon, and Stanford, and Oklahoma State and Wisconsin, and on and on and on.

Then, Bryan McClendon and Mark Richt gained the commitment of Keith Marshall – single most significant commitment all 12 years of Mark Richt era. The following weak, we got The SEC schedule and our complete schedule.

- listed by all as games where the fans play the games on paper and say on paper there is not a team on the schedule who SHOULD BEAT US. The come-backs were by our opponents and they tried to point out that we haven’t beat the top teams not in any of the 11 seasons to-date; and that when we did beat 1, we lost 3 or 4 other games the same season – some to teams who did not end up top 25 or if they did squeaked into the top 25 at # 25 or # 24, obviously meaning if they hadn’t beat Mark Richt they would not end up ranked.

BILL KING says we played 4 teams ending up top 25 and LOST ALL 4.

MARK RICHT says we had a GOOD SEASON, not great GOOD.

I said all Summer we would be 11-3. Instead, we went 10-4, a 10-Win Season like that of two dozen other teams this 2011 season alone – two dozen.

AVERAGE Mark Richt would be a more accurate and fair statement, wouldn’t it sir ?

3 and half million dollars, $ 291,000 a month total compensation and we get from you that

MARK RICHT SAID WE HAD A GOOD SEASON.

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
2:06 am

I-A Wins 2011 Season FBS :

(01) 13-0 LSU
(02) 13-1 Houston
(03) 12-1 Oklahoma State
(04) 12-1 Boise State
(05) 12-2 Southern Miss
(06) 12-2 Oregon
(07) 11-1 Alabama
(08) 11-2 South Carolina
(09) 11-2 Stanford
(10) 11-2 Michigan
(11) 11-2 TCU
(12) 11-3 Michigan State
(13) 11-3 Virginia Tech
(14) 11-3 Wisconsin
(15) 10-2 Arkansas
(16) 10-2 Arkansas State
(17) 10-2 Kansas State
(18) 10-2 Southern California
(19) 10-3 Baylor
(20) 10-3 Northern Illinois
(21) 10-3 Clemson
(22) 10-3 Cincinnati
(23) 10-3 BYU
(24) 10-3 Oklahoma
(25) 10-3 West Virginia
(26) 10-4 Ohio
(26) 10-4 Georgia – CLEARLY NOT TOP 25

SINCE WHEN IS THIS “GOOD” MARK RICHT ?

Columbus

January 5th, 2012
5:00 am

UGA used to be the team to make chamges and dominate the 2nd half, especially on defense. It seems that the last 2 years this has changed and now the offense nor defense makes adjustments, especially when the other team makes offensive adjustments. I dont know. We stop executing on offense and I think part of that is the lack of a consistent running game and lack of a game plan when the defense makes adjustments. If we had an above average running game and Murray stopped making turnovers in big games, that would be a huge improvement also. The runing game is going to be better next year if the OL is good at run blocking. Hopefully we will get a junior college transfer on the OL to help out until out recruits get some experience. Richt is a fine coach and has righted the ship and now it is time to get it in high gear the next few years. He has us in position to and I think he will. I do agree with getting a better offensive coordinator. Bobo’s only experience coaching football has been at UGA and I mean imagine if we had Cutcliff or Weis or some other good OC. I know its not all Bobo’s fault but a lot if it is and not Richts fault, especially the playcalling later in games….we dont throw the screen pass or short to our backs worth a flip and that is UNACCEPTABLE and if our OL is weak early next year, you MUST throw it to those playmakers and get them in open field beyond the line and let them have a chance to make a big play. If the right fit at OC comes along, I hope Richt goes after him and lets Bobo be QB coach…do that, run the ball, get Murray to not think he is a running back when he runs the ball and to not throw dumb interceptions…and UGA will be a top team the next few years. Keep Bobo at OC, we better get a great running game quick…..then we might have a chance to be top 5. Get a good OC and a great running game and we will definitely be in the top 5 the next 5 years

UGA fan...not fanatic

January 5th, 2012
5:57 am

+++True dawg fan++++
I did watch it, and it was not close
It was close at half time….4 quarters makes a game.

CRO-MAGNON MAN

January 5th, 2012
6:21 am

This is coach Richts offense, same stuff he ran at FSU…NONE OF IT IS ANY GOOD WITHOUT A RUNNING GAME…GOT TO FIND SEVERAL RBS LIKE LSU HAS…AND JOE T WILL PUT SOME MORE MUSCLE ON OUR OLINE….CMR HAS THE ABILITY SINCE HE HAS THE HEADSETS ON TO CHANGE ANY PLAY HE DOES NOT LIKE….LISTENING TO SOME OF THE IDIOTS ON HERE, YOU WOULD THINK THAT BOBO TOLD THE QB NOT TO THROW TO THE TE…IT IS ALL ABOUT THE PROGRESSION, BUT MOST OF THOSE WHO CRITICIZE BOBO ON HERE HAVE NO CLUE WHAT THAT IS….WOULD BE LIKE MYSELF SECOND GUESSING THE WORK OF A QUANTUM PHYSICS INSTRUCTOR AT MIT…BOBO IS ALSO LIMITED BY NO RUNNINGBACKS THAT ANY OTHER SEC TEAM WOULD CLAIM EXCEPT MAYBE OLE MISS….

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
6:25 am

KB January 4th, 2012 11:25 pm

“How about some loyatly to the institution that pays you 3 million a year! How about some loyatly to the fan base that supports the program and deserves at least a competitive program!!!!”

CRO-MAGNON MAN

January 5th, 2012
6:27 am

Columbus
January 5th, 2012
5:00 am
Cutcliffe or Weiss? You got to KIDDING…WEISS HAD THE WORST OFFENSE EVER AT FLORIDA AND CUTCLIFFE FROM THE DUKIES…WOW

reality man

January 5th, 2012
6:28 am

Is it true season ticket holders are practically “giving” their tickets away because of the ‘12 home schedule for the, let me see, I think you spell it Dwags?

CRO-MAGNON MAN

January 5th, 2012
6:33 am

Wake up and More are Fed-Up
January 5th, 2012
2:06 am
Dude all these records are irrelevant if the don’t play in the SEC….really…northern Iowa, southern miss, YOU GONNA PUT SOUTHERN MISS ABOVE THE DAWGS AND THEY LOST TO USB…IT’S ALL ABOUT WHO THEY PLAY, DUDE, THIS IS REALLY A STUPID COMPARISON…IF YOU DON’T LIKE 10 WINS, CRY ME A RIVER….

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
6:46 am

DawginLex January 4th, 2012 11:42 am

“paradise

Nah, I left them all at Walamrt for you and your family for the reunion”
________________________________________________________
There you go about someone else’s

CHILDREN

again.

AltamahaDawg

January 5th, 2012
6:47 am

Dammit! I can’t believe he used the word good and not the word average.

dogdawg

January 5th, 2012
6:53 am

was it Ritch or BOZO who called 3 runs up the middle?Find the answer to that question and you find the trouble at UGA!!!!

legionaire

January 5th, 2012
6:57 am

Richt will get a pass next season and UGA should get into the SEC East. Unless the O can be somehow brought up to a decent balanced run-throw scheme, the SEC Championship game will be just another embarrassing Alabama or LSU blowout. It is not rocket science to make adjustments on the fly. As the saying used to be “take what they give you”. Bobo and Richt seem incapable of this concept. I.E. Why did Bobo continue to try dive plays into the stacked 4 with blitzing linebackers of MSU ? Why not hit Charles on 6-8 yard down and outs until the D wised up and had to drop linebackers off to try and stop it. If Bobo had Murray throw more than 1 time to Charles I am unaware of it. Murray continues to try and do too much and it leads to dumb turnovers. Why risk a fumble while trying to pick up a few yards on a scramble. Take the sack or throw the ball away. It also appears that routes are not being run properly and secondary receivers not picked up that leads to thowing a pass into the hands of one of 3 D backs for a cheap TD. Richt has his work cut out for him and he can thank the football scheduling gods for keeping him around for another year.

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
7:33 am

RxDawg January 4th, 2012 11:53 am

“What I really can’t stand is that we are probably stuck with Murray for another 2 years. That’s not all bad, but when Murray starts having a bad game it doesn’t go away and he get’s in a major funk. And our coaching staff just will not let another QB play if Murray goes bad. Things will have to get terrible before the staff actually gives someone else a shot at QB.”
___________________________________________________

Rooty Tooty January 4th, 2012 11:51 am

“UGA was an average football team this year”
_________________________________________________
gbal January 4th, 2012 11:50 am

“Okie … Another years experience???… He has 28 games experience as a starter and has shown repeatedly that he can not handle the pressure of the big game.”
_________________________________________________________
He has started 27 games and LOST 11. 11 divided by 27 is in

EXCESS OF LOSING OVER 40 PERCENT AARON MURRAY STARTS.

ALL 9 of the teams ending up top 25 BEAT HIM and put the BETTER QB on the field vs him, head-to-head that day. Also 2 teams who did NOT finish top 25 beat him. The splits on Aaron Murray do not lie. He sucks against the top teams. No one comes in to stem the tide. It’s not the OL that causes his sacks, his interceptions, or his fumbles. Truth be told, it’s not the play-calling that causes him to have the heebie-jeebies in games against teams everyone knows ends up top 25. He has poor footwork, happy feet, thinks he can run with 21 fumbles in 27 games all at worst possible moments for his football program, thinks he can pass with 22 interceptions in 27 games all at the very worst possible moments for his football program, does not go through his progressions at all not ever, holds the football too long, is shorter than Drew Brees and when you look into Drew Brees’ eyes, you see a mean mother – which Aaron Murray ain’t

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
7:34 am

AM doesn’t even look the part, and he is a serious DRAIN ON OUR RUNNING GAME STEALING 8 CARRIES A GAME EVERY GAME ALL 27 GAMES FOR 1 YARDS A CARRY IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL AS A COLLEGE QUARTERBACK AND IF HE EVER DOES GAIN MORE THAN A YARD, HE FUMBLES THE BALL, he gets happy feet back there, he stares down his receivers, he underthrows his receivers, he over-throws his receivers and his 55 SACKS in 27 games are a DIRECT RESULT of Aaron Murray not wanting to have STATS indicative of a poor completion percentage, so instead of throwing the ball away, if someone gets close to him after 10 seconds he throws his wee-little body to the turf.

45 TD Passes vs teams record of 86-122, none finished ranked, lost 2 of those.

14 TD Passes vs teams record of 97-21, all 9 finished ranked, all LOST.

If there is anything else to discuss about Aaron Murray, it would be how his Offensive Coaching Staff Geniuses think we had

A GOOD YEAR 2011

or, 2010 with his LEADERSHIP SKILLS, or lack thereof tweeting how he is heading to the Georgia Dome to kick some __, declaring on some lark to hear what NFL scouts have to say about him as a QB, or indeed what he does to be the only QB played all last season and all this season, with Mark Richt announcing today, after yesterday announcing it was a GOOD SEASON 2011, that today Mark Richt says that Aaron Murray is A GREAT QUARTERBACK.

He does not zip the football. Mid-season a photo of him with a band-aid on one of his legs, led me to believe it was in fact his ARM, not a leg with a band-aid on it. This guy is puny. He will never take a snap in an NFL game, NEVER. He’s immature, and oh yeah, he studies film when he should be in the gym lifting weights, running because his 4.7 speed in the 40-yard dash is WAY SLOW against top-ranked football teams’ linebackers and DE along with their secondary as well.

He’s an insignificant pint-sized LOSER, and that is being as kind as I can be.

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
7:40 am

AltamahaDawg January 5th, 2012 6:47 am

“Dammit! I can’t believe he used the word good and not the word average.”
______________________________________________________
Amen on that AltamahawDawg.

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
7:48 am

dogdawg January 5th, 2012 6:53 am

“was it Ritch or BO ZO who called 3 runs up the middle?Find the answer to that question and you find the trouble at UGA!!!!”
__________________________________________________________
What difference does it make ?

JE

January 5th, 2012
7:55 am

The problem with the defense in the second half this year was the short field the other teams had because of the turnovers from the offense. Field position and time of possession in the four losses was glaring because of the turnovers and poor special team work. Oh hes I forgot….The defense was not on the field in the pick sixes….So Get a new offensive coordinator. If Murray has not learned how to run and slide and not get hit and fumble it is Coaching period.

Wake up and More are Fed-Up

January 5th, 2012
7:56 am