Richt got one thing right: Dogs’ performance against the Gamecocks was ‘embarrassing’

The Dogs dared Connor Shaw to throw deep on them, and he did just that. (Bob Andres / AJC)

The Dogs dared Connor Shaw to throw deep on them, and he did just that. (Bob Andres / AJC)

If you had deliberately set out to script a completely nightmarish first quarter for Georgia against South Carolina, where just about everything went wrong for Mark Richt’s Bulldogs, you couldn’t have come up with anything more demoralizing for the Bulldog Nation than what transpired Saturday night in Columbia.

It was a complete failure on the part of Georgia’s defense, offense and special teams right from the get-go, with the first quarter being the worst a Richt team has looked since the infamous “Blackout” loss to Alabama in 2008.

On the first series of the game, Todd Grantham’s defense loaded the box to try and slow Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore, who had feasted on the Dawgs the past two years, daring Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw to use his arm and go deep to beat them. Which he proceeded to do on the second offensive play of the game, hitting Damiere Byrd on a 42-yard pass on which Bacarri Rambo went for and missed the interception.

Shortly after that Shaw found Bruce Ellington wide open in the Georgia end zone and the Cocks were up 7-0.

Georgia got a great kickoff return from Malcolm Mitchell, helped by a flag against South Carolina, but hopes that the Dogs could keep up with the Gamecocks fizzled on Georgia’s third offensive play as an Aaron Murray pass was deflected (which would turn out to be a frequent occurrence on this night) and intercepted. That turnover led to the Gamecocks scoring a second touchdown — on another play on which Georgia’s suspect pass coverage again left a receiver uncovered.

Then it was time for the Bulldogs’ special team collapse of the night, with a punt returned all the way by the Gamecocks’ Ace Sanders for a touchdown.

So, with less than 10 minutes having elapsed in the first quarter, South Carolina was already up 21-0.

The second quarter saw Georgia briefly threaten to get back into the contest when the Dawgs put together their one sustained drive of the half, finally lining up first and goal inside the Carolina 10 thanks to a great catch by Mitchell.

First down saw Todd Gurley bull his way to the Carolina 2.

Then Mike Bobo decided he wanted to try and score in the most conservative (and predictable) way possible and called another Gurley run into the line that gained a mere yard.

On third down, Murray tried to force a dangerous pass that fell incomplete. Rather than take 3 points, Georgia rightly decided to go for it on fourth down, but for some reason Murray threw a pass in front of the goal line rather than to one of his receivers in the end zone and ended up short — and with no points to show for an 80-yard, 15-play effort.

The game was essentially over at that point, although the second half saw the Gamecocks add a couple more touchdowns and give up one in garbage time as a determined Boo Malcome ran hard against Carolina’s second-string defense to avert a shutout.

The South Carolina defense had its way with Aaron Murray most of the night. (Bob Andres / AJC)

The South Carolina defense had its way with Aaron Murray most of the night. (Bob Andres / AJC)

The main storyline of the evening was this: The Gamecocks’ defensive line dominated the Dogs’ offensive front all night, shutting down the “Gurshall” running attack and constantly harassing Murray, who had one of his shakiest performances in quite some time.

And while Grantham’s defense eventually slowed down the Carolina juggernaut a bit, there was no denying that early on they looked absolutely clueless as Shaw directed the Gamecocks’ offense just about perfectly.

So, once again, a Richt team that had soared into the Top 5 by beating lesser nonconference and midlevel SEC opponents came a cropper when it faced a good team.

It was a performance so flat and lifeless that ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit termed it “shocking.”

Actually, not so shocking for anyone who’s watched Richt teams in recent years repeatedly show up looking unprepared and unmotivated whenever they face a Top 10 opponent.

As the Georgia head coach himself put it after the game, it was bad enough that the Dogs lost, but “the way we lost hurts and is embarrassing as well.”

The emphasis there should be on embarrassing.

Feel free to share your own views on Georgia’s complete failure in Columbia.

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

420 comments Add your comment

Sick Naban

October 7th, 2012
12:06 am

Enter your comments here

Sick Naban

October 7th, 2012
12:07 am

How is that dream team thing working out?

Doug

October 7th, 2012
12:07 am

The embarrassment is Richt and his staff who did not have these talented young men ready to play.

Doug

October 7th, 2012
12:10 am

This was the first time in my 50 years of following UGA football that I heard announcers essentially say Georgia fans should be ashamed of their football program.

SC Dog fan

October 7th, 2012
12:16 am

Ok.I’m getting tired of buying in and believing and getting run over by a mack truck. 0-10 against ranked opponents since 2009? Are you kidding me? Something’s wrotten in Denmark.

Todd grantham

October 7th, 2012
12:19 am

Embarrassing is putting it mildly! My Grandmother could beat the patsies Richt has defeated this year.

yardawg

October 7th, 2012
12:19 am

actually faithful dumbazz, jim donnan is the best head coach that Georgia has had in the thirty plus years

yardawg

October 7th, 2012
12:19 am

actually faithful dumbazz, jim donnan is the best head coach that Georgia has had in the thirty plus years

Al

October 7th, 2012
12:20 am

Herbstreit ripped them! Preparation is key and was completely absent tonight. There’s only one person to blame when nothin goes richt….

colorado dawg

October 7th, 2012
12:20 am

This loss sits squarely on the coaches back. Once again Richt didn’t have a very talented team ready to play.

yardawg

October 7th, 2012
12:22 am

i bet you alot of donnans athletes, go pro after this year, just like they did every year since he left, just ask Hines Ward

uga_alum_93

October 7th, 2012
12:23 am

Until we recruit offensive linemen and quit relying on freshman for our patch-work OL we will continue to lose these battles in the trenches. For some reason we haven’t learned this.

Todd grantham

October 7th, 2012
12:24 am

I hate the thought of more years of Georgia football with such an inept head coach

yardawg

October 7th, 2012
12:24 am

Im sorry, I forgot to let the dawgs out tonight! LMAO

Dawg in bama

October 7th, 2012
12:24 am

Ive been a dawg fan since the richt era in the good and the bad , but this was it for me concerning richt and bobo , ill always be a Georgia fan but somwere in athens someone has to do something about this coaching problem or whatever problem this is , when is enough enough , #WTH

Sick Naban

October 7th, 2012
12:25 am

Why squarely on the coaches? They don’t block and tackle. Murray had a lousy game and the ol couldn’t block anyone. Nuffield said…oh yeah the d is really overrated. That’s 79 points in 2 games.

Todd grantham

October 7th, 2012
12:26 am

Richt sent out a tweet yesterday that he was going to nap on the bus trip to Columbia. Seems he did the same thing during the ballgame

Tanner

October 7th, 2012
12:27 am

Bill, read your Blawg everyday. I love the Dawgs and always will. I have three concerns I’d love to express. 1st.How could a team so talented show up with no motivation in the biggest game this program has been a part of since 2008 ? 2nd. I know I’m not the only one who sees us passing in running situations and running in passing situations. I simply don’t understand the ideology behind Bobo’s play calling. 3rd. I’m glad you don’t defend Richt in this post. He’s done a pitiful job of getting his teams prepared for big games. Is it safe to say that we Georgia fans must get used to not competing for the SEC, and simply playing for 10 wins every year ?

yardawg

October 7th, 2012
12:28 am

john theus didnt have a bad game 93 alum it was the other DUDE that did

Desert Fox

October 7th, 2012
12:29 am

faithfuldawg86

October 7th, 2012
12:15 am

Don’t blame BK, its fans like you that keep this team mediocre by wearing rose colored glasses and not pointing out where the actual blame for this loss and many others like it lies, right in the lap of the GA coaching staff. You want this team to remain an over rated, under coached imposter ? Thats what it will remain if the administration in athens isn’t scolded into making a long over do change in direction by hiring a new coaching staff and coaching up the talent that has under achieved under the current coaching staff. You’re not a true dawg fan if you settle for second best, status quo. Bone head.

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

October 7th, 2012
12:30 am

I’m done.

This song has become too familiar and Richt insists on singing it like its “Amazing Grace”.

Unprepared. Embarrassing. Poor schemes. Poor play. However you want to term it its an all too familiar commentary on our Program.

There will be some who call me a fair weather fan, so be it. However, my money is better spent elsewhere rather than on a Program that continues down Richt’s path. I’ve already told McGarity about me stopping my contribution (its not much but I gave for 20 years) and that he can let me know when a real change has been made.

So, so long and thanks for all the fish.

Frank Lane

October 7th, 2012
12:30 am

I am embarrassed for the team.

chipper

October 7th, 2012
12:30 am

I’ve seen all the appropriate adjectives. I wish I could think of something to say about this team that achieved the level of degradation I’d like to inflict.

Todd grantham

October 7th, 2012
12:30 am

Richt’s “signature” wins come against the likes of Vandy, (a weak) Tennessee, and Kentucky.

ave2321

October 7th, 2012
12:31 am

WELL SAID!!! I’m so tired of the “Richt is a good guy” stuff. He and the team fold in almost every big game. He team was unprepared because Richt and Bozo were unprepared. Examples: the ‘08 season, UCF, USC 3 years straight. So tired of the same ole same ole. Time for Kirby Smart. Actually, it’s part time.

Brown Dog

October 7th, 2012
12:31 am

Sorry, but your team is not that talented. Your offensive line is below average. Your running backs are promising but inexperienced. Your defensive line is very thin, and your linebackers and secondary play with little discipline. Ever see a three-year starter play with as little poise as Murray? And on top of everything else, you have no depth. Talented? Compared to whom?

Raleigh

October 7th, 2012
12:32 am

Hire Jon Gruden.

pop

October 7th, 2012
12:32 am

when u get rid of bobo and get a real offensive coach then we will win big games anybody can figure out same play bobo run up the middle run up the middle even my 12yr old granson knows bobo plays come on coach richt get rid of bobo the dawg nation is tired of him the dawg nation has spoken

SC Dog fan

October 7th, 2012
12:32 am

I find myself thinking about the Goff era. The difference being that I expected the ass-kickings back then. I was only shocked back then by the extremity of the whipping. Tonight ranks right up there with the “worst 19 seconds in Georgia football history” under Goff. But these repeated collapses are harder to take because the Richt teams are just good enough to make you expect better.

Todd grantham

October 7th, 2012
12:35 am

Last words: sickening, embarrassing, disillusioning, mind blowing, disheartening. Georgia will never be anything but mediocre with this head coach. And I use that term loosely.

DAWG with two bags over head

October 7th, 2012
12:36 am

Unprepared, outcoached, 0-10 against ranked teams. McGarity, do you need any more information to make the decision? I think the Dawg nation has reached the end of the line with the Richt Regime. Total embarassment. Going 10-4 last year just hid the fact that Richt is completely clueless when it comes to preparation, in-game adjustments, and motivating thugs.

yardawg

October 7th, 2012
12:38 am

Hey, I heard Mark Richt is gonna be our next head coach, and hes the offensive coordinator for Fla St. and they have been really winning like alot of football games, but, he likes the pool and the beach and the lord, nothing wrong with the all of them, but, the lord dont win football games cause everybody prays before the game

Ick

October 7th, 2012
12:39 am

faithfuldawg…..Majority of Bill’s article was a re-cap of game, and everything else is (sadly) dead on. spot. Considering how he and his family are Bulldog alumni/students, I doubt he’s fair weather.

Tonight brought a new meaning to the term “Junkyard Dawgs,”…cause tonight they were Junk.
I don’t even think they got on their new fancy buses to go to Columbia.

I’m glad CMR realizes this is an embarrassment, cause it was. I will always love the Dawgs, but agreed team was not ready for tonight. Too many amazing recruits to be showing up with that kinda team. The only field goal was probably a mercy touchdown.

Athenzdawg

October 7th, 2012
12:40 am

Thanks UGA….once again all we prove is that we are a top 25 team. Oh but don’t worry our coach says we were just a few plays away….REALLY!?!?!?!?!? Sick and tired of looking unprepared due to bad coaching….4 & 5 star players on our team who play high school ball. Saban goes into every year with a national championship and nothing else is acceptable to him. We just try to win the East…see the difference? Fire Richt…..get a coach that will atleast show some life…and win important games…..Another year down the tubes….we suck ;;

Hugh

October 7th, 2012
12:41 am

The writing was on the wall. Richt said his team came through against UT when the game was on the line. Giving up 44 to a mediocre team was OK. Grantham chimed in that he was satisfied with the defense – adding that they know what the need to do. So instead of challenging their players, these guys accepted mediocrity. So who’s surprised at the SC outcome?

Todd grantham

October 7th, 2012
12:41 am

If Richt was a stand up guy, he’d go to McGarity and say “Greg, I’m an albatross around your neck and here is my resignation”. But I’m not holding my breath.

Raleigh Dog

October 7th, 2012
12:42 am

Wait till UGA gets LSU and AL back on the schedule. This is the easiest schedule they will ever have. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost at Kentucky. They gave USC a tough time. In fact, almost everybody else USC played has given them a tough time except the Bulldogs. UGA is the only SEC team they have really embarrassed. Richt has his perspective in life right up to a point but he is missing the point I think. The bloggers who rage against him need some of his perspective and he needs a dash of their insane desire to win. If you don’t really think that what you put your hand to each and every day, your work, the way you spend all of your time, is super important–playing championship football at the highest level–then you should change jobs. To me it’s like a movie director with a big budget and lots of backing making a bad movie, letting down his investors and the people who worked on his movie who then says, “Well, it’s not the end of world. There are other scripts out there. I will get it right next time. There have been way way too many of those moments for Richt. And he never really follows through. Winning games and playing championship level football does not require you to sell your soul or abandon your family. Richt should also know that, as the Dean of SEC coaches, he’s had time to do something grand. He capitalized early in his career at UGA but he’s become a bland colorless figure since 2008–even at 13-1 or whatever the record was, he still lost to Florida. He took the job and gets paid handsomely to win games. He is too philosophical about it all. Fans don’t want a philosophical coach. They want a coach who wants to win as desperately as they do. He just doesn’t get that part of the job anymore. He has not delivered on all the big promises. He lost to Vanderbilt in Athens on Homecoming. The only thing he has really done is beat Tech on a regular basis but that’s not saying much these days. He should look in the mirror and ask himself if he thinks he has taken UGA where they wanted to go. He’s a philosopher. He should excel at introspection.

Daddydawg74

October 7th, 2012
12:45 am

One of the worst performances by a georgia team in a long while..south Carolina is good but not 28 points better..did we just give up on punt returns? I can take a loss but to lose and see richt on the sidelines looking like he’s out fishing with buddy’s is unacceptable..no emotion no emotion whatsoever..makes me physically ill

NCDawg

October 7th, 2012
12:45 am

Many of you have seen my posts here and know I am a true Dawg fan and have been a staunch supporter of Coach Richt through thick and thin. I think Coach Richt is a fine man, a good representative of the University and a good football coach but tonight I can only come to one conclusion… it is time to clean house. Please Mr.McGarity it is time to try something different. Shocked, bewildered, embarrassed… these words have no place in Georgia football lore. I was ashamed to call myself a Bulldog tonight. The coaching staff needs to go… everyone… no holdovers. We have more talent than South Carolina but we somehow can’t seem to use it properly. The pattern is undeniable and it has to end. There is something that is out of whack in our program and it seems to be endemic. We must have a culture change and the only way that is going to happen is for the coaching staff to move on and start afresh. Mr.McGarity this is not the level of excellence you are looking for and I’m afraid that the flaws are so entrenched they can’t be corrected any longer. The Bulldog Nation deserves better.

TGT

October 7th, 2012
12:47 am

I’ve NEVER said this before, but after tonight, I’m done with Richt and his staff. I’m a UGA grad. and old enough to have watched Hershel as a kid. It seems clear that UGA is incapable of winning BIG (national championships) under Richt. It is time to move on.

drbasic1

October 7th, 2012
12:49 am

OK. i didn’t play college ball, but i did play HSchool and yes huge difference, however……we did not get a day off to the pool, we did not get a watermelon day day off, nor did we just practice one day in full pads…we won state………………and a game day was more like an easy practice…………….Shouldn’t college be harder???…………..or am i missing something here???

fired up

October 7th, 2012
12:50 am

Saban and Spurrier may be hard a**es, and demand excellence in some extreme ways…but they win championships. They are old school football coaches and sometimes I think that’s what boys need today.
I respect CMR and the good life example he leads for the boys, but you are a football coach…SHOW SOME EMOTION!!!! Get tough and a little peeved when your boys give up 21 points in 10 minutes!!
Don’t finally pull them to the side in the 4th quarter and give them a lil pep talk.

Love my DAWGS and always will, but come on, TV even said it…we have way to many good recruits to be playing “soft.”

Bob in Buford

October 7th, 2012
12:51 am

I’m so tired of these Kool Aid drinkers, the same ones who had the “Ray must stay” signs. How many times are we going to get embarrassed in big games? Are we supposed to be satisfied with trying to be competitive? Ready for another beat down in Jax? It’s time for a change. The argument about who to bring in to replace Richt is old. I just want a chance that we can get to the next level. Coach Richt built some momentum and now we’re stagnant. Thanks Coach but it’s time for the step to the next level. Look at al the players in the NFL and what do we have to show for it? There are at least 8 future nfl players on our roster. How many do you think Carolina has? Does anybody doubt that if the teams changed coaches that UGA would’ve won? Time to move on and it’s not the “lunatic fringe Buck Belue,’ it’s season ticket holders.

Frank

October 7th, 2012
12:52 am

We see it every year. Do well for a few games against lesser opponents. Finally face a legitimate team and crap the bed. This is Mark Richt football. For all the touchdowns Aaron Murray throws, he is just like his coach as well. Against lesser competition, he is lights out. Against tough teams, he is a loser. That is just a fact. It will be unpopular with some of you, but Murray is just not steady in big games.

drbasic1

October 7th, 2012
12:53 am

@fired up

well said!! I am old school (graduated HS in 77) our coach was known to grab us by the facemask, turn our head sideways and scream in our ear until it echoed and hurt….never see Richt show any emotion….that reflects on the team also…..

yardawg

October 7th, 2012
12:55 am

im hungry, anybody got any pot brownies

drbasic1

October 7th, 2012
12:56 am

Murray will stay as he has NO SHOT at the NFL…Scouts are not that dumb!

drbasic1

October 7th, 2012
12:57 am

@yardawg

Ask the fab 4, they could probably help you out!

Rabid Dawg'84

October 7th, 2012
12:58 am

I noticed that UGA came onto the field with no emotion, no jumping, no holloring. No one geeked up for the HUGE game. I don’t get it at all. I coached and would replace players to see if the next guy could get the job done. What do you have to lose with fear and coompetition? Why on 4th and 3 are we throwing a 30 yard pass? why on 3rd and 12 are we running and connecting on a 9-yd route? The 1st play Gurley got to the edge for 15 yd. Since we couldn’t block them up the middle, why didn’t we run wide more often? How many of the top ten recruits in GA are we getting this yr? I predicted to my family that we wouldn’t punt out of bounds 35 yds, but give Sanders an open field to make us look silly like the Honey Badger did. They yelled at me to predict something good for Georgia. I couldn’t because I knew too much football. 0-10 v. ranked teams gets you fired. I hate this crap we’re going through.

yardawg

October 7th, 2012
12:59 am

I went to plante high school, in Tampa, and Vince didnt call me?