Bulldog Nation struggles with after-effects of big loss

Let's keep the emotional connection between UGA fans and players a healthy one. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Let's keep the emotional connection between UGA fans and players a healthy one. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

As we’ve already discussed, the Bulldogs’ face plant on national television Saturday night was plenty embarrassing by itself, but that was nothing compared with the classless display of pique that transpired later that night at the Athens home of some team members.

As was first revealed in a Twitter posting by linebacker Christian Robinson, the house he shares with quarterback Aaron Murray and several other players was egged and rolled with toilet paper after the blowout loss to South Carolina.

The timing couldn’t have been worse for Murray, who learned the day after the game that his father would have to have cancer surgery, part of what he described as “probably the worst 12 hours of my life.”

While the idiots responsible for the vandalism no doubt were unaware of the situation with Murray’s father at the time they were engaged in their childish act, the two bits of news naturally got connected in national news mentions, including on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” — exacerbating the damage to the Georgia football program’s image and, probably, its recruiting efforts as well.

A disillusioned Robinson, after returning home to find the vandalism in Athens, tweeted, “Seems that people turn on you when you’re not perfect. Thought we were in this together.”

At least one tweeter, who may or may not have been involved in the vandalism, responded: “We didn’t turn on u cause u aren’t perfect we turned because u didn’t put up a fight … your play deserve egging.”

I find that response every bit as moronic as the act that was being discussed.

I agree with one caller to this week’s “Bulldog Hotline,” who said that anyone who would commit an act like that is not a fan. They’re a criminal.

But while I truly believe that only a tiny fraction of fandom thinks like that, I can’t deny it’s a part of the sports scene today. As I noted a few months back when I wrote about some of the positive aspects of extreme fandom in college football, UGA is not alone in that regard — whether it’s the poisoning of trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner, sexually humiliating a fan from an opposing team or even fatally shooting each other over the outcome of games.

I’ve seen plenty of disgusting behavior over the years by fans in red and black, and in this very forum I’ve experienced firsthand the depths to which the lunatic fringe of Bulldog fandom can sink. I recall a few years back having to ban one UGA fan because of language he’d used in the Blawg comments. This was shortly after my Dad had been hospitalized, and when I refused to reinstate the commenter, he sent me an email saying he looked forward to the day my father died.

And then had the gall to follow that up with another note asking if I’d changed my mind!

Obviously, we’re not talking about the sharpest knives on the rack here.

Fortunately, the Georgia players don’t appear to blame Bulldog fans in general. “It’s a small group,” Robinson said this week. “That’s what I’ve been hearing and that’s what people have been talking about. It’s a small group of people. Right when I sent out that tweet, I had probably 700 people tweeting me reminding me of that.”

When I put the question to Junkyard Blawg followers on Facebook and Twitter — Is this just a few isolated morons or is fandom getting out of control? — the majority seemed to agree with Robinson.

“They’re not real fans,” said Johnathan Tatman of the vandals. “I may have cussed [Murray] and the rest of the team for 4 quarters and wanted to puke, but a real fan will not do something so childish to their team.”

Some looked at the bigger picture. “I think it’s indicative of the way the world is now,” said Marcus P. Cannon. “Look at Kansas City’s fans applauding Matt Cassel’s injury on Sunday. Sick people. But you add alcohol to young dumb college kids and they throw eggs.”

Said Luke Jeffrey Mills VIII: “I think this is a sign of where our society is headed. Granted there will always be the core that will support through thick and thin, but it seems prevalent that the fringes are the ones with the loudest voices. Just look at fandom in pro sports and how it’s getting out of control, and compare that with politics. It’s getting to the point where it’s my team/affiliation is the best and you’re stupid for cheering/agreeing with the opposing side. Infantilism is running rampant in America.”

Alan Cason complained that “the lunatic fringe always gets the publicity. It’s the true fans who continue to support the guys who are representing Georgia on the field that should get some PR.”

Reggie Warren feels criticism of the team was deserved after the South Carolina game, “but retaliation, threats, and vandalism are criminal and despicable.”

“As a former player,” said Michael Kavouklis, “I was mad at the the outcome and I was embarrassed by our team’s poor performance, but they don’t deserve this type of treatment. It’s frustrating to all of us when we lose ALL of the really big, significant games for the last four years BUT HAVE SOME CLASS!!! It’s still a game and we will have our day. Show the recruits why they should come here, not why they should stay away from a bunch of stupid, ignorant fair weather fans who think that they are the only ones disappointed by the outcome. TRUST ME, the players are already hurting more than you can imagine. Fans can only share the credit if they support their team in the bad times as well as the good times. As embarrassing as the loss to SC was, these idiots are 1000 times more embarrassing to the UGA community!”

And that’s the bottom line we should all take away from this, I think. The team did not play well and the coaches did not do a good job. And it’s completely valid for fans to say so. But we should always keep in mind that the players are college students, not hardened professionals. Pouring salt in an open wound, as the Dogs’ Artie Lynch put it, isn’t going to help matters. Let’s keep the emotional connection between fans and players a healthy one that both can benefit from.

And while it’s perfectly OK to be concerned about and frustrated by the direction of the Georgia football program, we should keep it in perspective and not overreact to one loss.

As Michael Askins put it: “I love college football and I get emotional when the Dawgs lose a game. But I remember that it is just that … a game. There are a lot more important things in life than winning a football game.”

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

232 comments Add your comment

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
10:34 am

fss

October 10th, 2012
10:34 am

I think the same passion that leads to spend $$$ on t-shirts, car decals, tickets, etc leads some very childish people to act in childish ways. I disagree with this kind of stuff following these players to their homes, period. Same with the coaches. No one should ever have to fear for themselves or their families.

I do think it’s time for a coaching change at the top. When CMR got here, we were the 3rd best team in the East. Now, 12 years later, we’re…the 3rd best team in the East. Give Tennessee a few more years, and we may end up 4th. Each loss the last 4 years or so has been because we are not physical enough in the trenches. Until our coaching staff puts emphasis on that on special teams and basic tackling, we won’t go anywhere…

Oh, and CMR is not a religious figure. I can be a “real fan” and think he needs to go. It’s the team that’s important, not the staff…

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
10:35 am

Brainiac

Columbus

Lobosolo

Truth??

Where are you guys; I thought the meeting at the Jedi Kool-aid temple would be over with by now

;)

Derek

October 10th, 2012
10:41 am

Mark Richt has built a great program and he will be here a long time. GA wins out, SC loses next two, GA wins SEC and the skies the limit. But if none of that happens–the LAST thing we need in Athens is a coaching change.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 10th, 2012
10:42 am

There will always be idiots disguised as fans at UGA though the vandals may have never been UGA students or alumni. Hopefully the police that are so good at arresting students for DUI can catch these criminals that egged the house but I won’t wait on it. What is so sad about the game is that Spurrrier coiuld have beat UGA by 50 if he had wanted to. With the big lead he got conservative with his offense in the 2nd half. This was a bad job of COACHING and playing. Jarvis Jones has been injured ever since the the Missouri game and it appears that there is NO one else that can rush the QB. Shaw had all day and half the night to find a receiver.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
10:46 am

The morons that did this arent UGA fans they are bunch of idiot criminals using the loss as an excuse to do something criminal

Anyone blaming the players for the loss is a moron as well

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
10:48 am

Derek

Seriously this team isnt winning out

Get your head out of the sand

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
10:49 am

Thoughts and prayers go out to Murray and his family

dawgfacedboy

October 10th, 2012
10:50 am

CMR needs to go. It’s not a gut reaction from yet another embarassment on national t.v. I said it last year when we won 10 games. We will 10 games most years with Richt. THere is a BIG difference between 10 wins and 13 or 14. If UGA is happy with 10 wins and 2nd tier bowl games then fine. Let’s all just readjust our expectations.

JAXDAWG

October 10th, 2012
10:52 am

Derek

I totally agree with your post.

gomdawg

October 10th, 2012
10:55 am

Look the SC game is over there is not on e thing we can do but move on I think our players fill just as bad as we do . SO LET’S STAND BY THEM AND PULL THE SEASON OUT WE HAVE A LOT TO PLAY FOR WITH A LITTLE LUCK WE CAN WIN THE SEC EAST. I HAVE SEEN SOME GREAT TEAMS LOSE AND COME BACK STRONGER I FILL WE HAVE THE TEAM THAT WILL DO THAT.

GO DAWGS I’M BEHIND YOU 100 %

dawgfacedboy

October 10th, 2012
10:57 am

If Jones is hurt then sit him. He’s more use to us healthy and rusty than hurt and ineffective.

I can’t really blame it on the players. UGA goes up against the top dogs in recruiting and wins some and loses some. They continually pull in top 7 classes and have gobs of kids go to the NFL every year. What do they have to show for it? A few 10 win seasons? Really? That’s what all of the hype is about every year? Hell there is 8 players on that D right now that will be in The League in the next year or 2. I don’t get it.

Statick

October 10th, 2012
10:59 am

I could believe it when I heard that the players’ houses got vandalized. Just shameful. If you cowardly punks wanted to egg someone’s house so badly, especialy when they were out of town, it should have been Richt’s. He’s responsible for getting the team ready to play and he failed miserably. AGAIN.

gomdawg

October 10th, 2012
11:04 am

Player for player we are a better team than SC but the crowd and mistakes is what lost that game so get over it if it had been played in Athens it would have been a diff. game

FL Dawg

October 10th, 2012
11:09 am

I wish I knew who did this because I would walk up to this idiot and punch him right in the throat!

Truthiness

October 10th, 2012
11:10 am

I’m not sure how to talk about the direction of the program. The program’s pretty much where it’s been for a while, and there’s little reason to believe that without a lot of intervention by other teams that clears UGA’s way, things are unlikely to change a great deal. CMR fields a good team with good athletes, and he’ll win a lot of games on that alone—even in the toughest league in college football. The fact that the national champions also belong to that league and are largely doing it with players from the same gene pool we fish in can definitely be galling. I agree that if you want national championships, there’s little reason to believe CMR will deliver. But if you take the bigger view of what a state university ought to emphasize and that football is essentially just entertainment, then we’re probably doing okay. The question is who decides that? Right now the administartion and the big money donors must think the latter. And by the way, the fans who acted like idiots are in fact idiots.

Tuck Fech

October 10th, 2012
11:10 am

I’m not spending any more of my hard-earned money on UGA football. It’s the same story every year. Great recruiting class builds offseason excitement, 3-8 players get arrested/suspended/kicked off team, UGA shows up flat on national television and loses a game to an opponent with inferior talent and superior coaches. Then it’s wash, rinse, repeat. We will have the same thing happen again next year, and then again the next year. I, for one, am done contributing anything financial to this sham of a football program.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
11:11 am

gomdawg

Give me a break it would have been the same result if the game was played on the moon

Jim

October 10th, 2012
11:13 am

With the exception of Clowney, our talent was as good or better than that of SC!. It is ALL about coaching!!!!!!

ARdawg

October 10th, 2012
11:16 am

Bill

There you go adding salt to the wounds and fanning the fire. For Robinson or anyone else to blame the fan base because their house was egged and rolled is azzinine. Now here you perpetuate the rumor as well. It’s not the fan base and blaming the fan base on the actions of a lunatic is nuts and hyperbole. Stop it

ARdawg

October 10th, 2012
11:19 am

Let’s cottle the players blaming the entire because a house was rolled and egged? Really? Houses all over America is rolled and egged with regularity. These players need to grow a pair and reflect possibly on the houses they’ve egged and rolled. Geesh.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
11:21 am

UGA’s talent is far better than SC

The coaching is far worse and that made the difference

Football Bat

October 10th, 2012
11:23 am

Leave the players out of it. Those eggs should have gone in Mark Richt’s hairdoo, along with a bag of self-rising flour (I’m joking, goon squad). WAKE THE HELL UP COACH VALIUM!

Gimme Hines Ward with 3 good team coordinators and we’ll find ourselves on the field fighting to win instead of running for the locker room with timeouts on the board and time on the clock. Richt won’t fire Bobo (just like Martinez) despite a proven inability to make adjustments at the half. Nepotism is NOT a Christian value.

astrouga

October 10th, 2012
11:23 am

Anyone see this? That would help explain why USC seemed to perform better than they have all season against us:

JADEVEON CLOWNEY, South Carolina sophomore DE said Murray was tapping the center’s leg before snaps to signal for the snap:”The offensive line gave away when they were going to hike the ball, so I got a good jump on it and our crowd got into it.”

That and the usual poor outing by the dawgs in a big game.

ugab

October 10th, 2012
11:27 am

We need a coach.

Topher

October 10th, 2012
11:29 am

UGA recruits as good as any team out there, we have talent on the level of Bama, Florida, Texas, and any other team. Yet continually we have 10 win seasons, think the program is going somewhere and lose. This game reminded me of the 08 black out against Bama. The team was highly ranked, playing another highly ranked team, but still expected to win. In both we came out flat and were down big at half time. Then finished the game beaten, out coached, and out played. My biggest worry is that in just a few years Spurrier has built a great team that could beat us every year, just like we used to beat them every year. Florida has made a huge comeback since Meyer left and looks better every week. At this point UGA is the third best team in the east and 5th, maybe 6th in the SEC. I’m not ready to jump on the fire Richt bandwagon yet but if we lose to Florida, and the bowl game then come out and lose to Clemson on opening weekend next year I just might.

gomdawg

October 10th, 2012
11:30 am

GO DAWGS BRING ON KENTUCKY ONE GAME AT A TIME . THE SEASON IS NOT OVER

DCJohn

October 10th, 2012
11:30 am

That was nothing compared to what happened in Billy-Brice Stadium. I saw a Souf Carolina fan slap a woman on the behind, because she was a Georgia fan. When her husband and the coward/chicken who ran off about got into, that’s when we decided to leave. The best part of the game: the Souf Carolina Department of Labor Unemployment advertises to individuals out of work to collect benefits. I guess their target market is Souf Carolina fans who attend in person?

Fbfan

October 10th, 2012
11:33 am

Didn’t some Clemson fans egg Taj Boyd’s place last year after the Ga. Tech loss?

Wow….Georgia’s fans are now acting like Clemson!

How low can you go?

bill arp

October 10th, 2012
11:43 am

The direction the program’s going in?!? What direction is that, exactly? It’s not going downward.

The direction of the program is fine. I still say we finish 11-1, which is what I thought we’d do all along. Maybe 10-2. I for one can live with that. Our day will come when we play for the NC. Soon enough.

oakisland

October 10th, 2012
11:43 am

Enter your comments here

Inlet Dawg

October 10th, 2012
11:43 am

Still have a lot of love and respect for all of my players.

OkieDawg

October 10th, 2012
11:49 am

Just go out and play hard and everything will be just fine for the players, coachs, fans, administrators, Hartman fund, students, graduates and Russ.

bubba4dawgs

October 10th, 2012
11:50 am

This too shall pass! It’s not the end for UGA! This team will rebound! Surely, the loss is hard to take after such high expectations. Plain and simple, the team was not ready for this game! It was a flat day for the DAWGS! Any other day, this same team most probably would have played much better! Once they were hit in the mouth in the first quarter, it’s like they stopped and didn’t really give their best the rest of the game! THIS is where the coaching comes in! It wasn’t until later that the team was assembled and given a pep talk.

The DAWGS still have a lot to play for and I believe they will…..Flori-duh being the primary target! They need to win this one and it will probably take their best game to do it! It can be done!! Have a good game plan and just do it!

Meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with Aaron Murray and his family!

Get Real

October 10th, 2012
11:51 am

Topher
October 10th, 2012
11:29 am

“UGA recruits as good as any team out there, we have talent on the level of Bama, Florida, Texas, and any other team. Yet continually we have 10 win seasons…”

You WISH you continually had 10 win seasons. You haven’t been paying attention lately, have you?

SSIgator

October 10th, 2012
11:53 am

Uh, oh – This just in:

USA Today: “According to several LSU players, it was too hot. Yes. It was too hot.”
______________________

This is really bad news for St. Markus Rectumus. He won’t be able to use that excuse (like he did a few years ago) if UGA gets waxed by the Gators again this year.

Music City Dawg

October 10th, 2012
11:53 am

Bill – can you give us an update on Aaron Murray’s dad and how he is doing? I believe the vast majority of us really do care and want to know. Thanks!!!

Octoberdawg

October 10th, 2012
11:56 am

A win in Jacksonville heals all. I am not ready to give up on CMR or this team. I agree that UGA gets some of the best recruits every year….but so does Alabama, Auburn, Florida, USCw, Ohio State, Florida State etc….
I submit this thought for your consideration: What if we win out and slide into the NC game? What if we win? What then? If CMR and the Dawgs go 10-2 next year are we calling for his head again? Some of you out there would….because you are unrealistic. Look at Chizik. Two years removed from a NC and there is already talk of replacing him.
I am as humiliated as the next fan by our lack of effort against USCe. However, I love our coach…I love our players and more importantly I will support these guys to the end. A true fan does that.

Bill King

October 10th, 2012
11:59 am

ARdawg, it’s obvious from your response that you didn’t really read what I wrote. But I have to admit your creative spelling is entertaining.

robodawg

October 10th, 2012
12:01 pm

Well said Bill. Some fans don’t deserve a winning team to cheer for. You want your players to show some class, you’ve also got to show class in the way you support them — win or lose.

I love my Dawgs and hate to lose, but at the end of the day, it’s a GAME. Get some perspective people.

Bill King

October 10th, 2012
12:01 pm

Music City Dawg: Last word I saw, Aaron’s dad appeared to be recovering well from surgery.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
12:05 pm

Octoberdawg

Time to wake up you shouldnt have drinked so much kool-aid last night

For one this team has no shot at the national title even if we win out due to all the coaches and sports writers will all say UGA’s schedule was easy and they beat no one.

Two this team has no chance against a team like Bama and a better coach

Three 10-2 next year isnt happening with all the players we lose on defense this year; If Grantham cant do better than what he has done with his current roster the he sure isnt going to do anything losing 9 starters

Four this coaching staff cant win a big game period

Now again please lay off the kool-aid at night it will give you delusional dreams

robodawg

October 10th, 2012
12:11 pm

Jim
October 10th, 2012
11:13 am

“With the exception of Clowney, our talent was as good or better than that of SC!. It is ALL about coaching!!!!!!”

Their entire defensive line was as good or better than our entire offensive line. Their DBs played exceptionally well, knocking balls away at the last second. And Lattimore is easily one of the best backs in college football. SC was favored for a reason.

SSIgator

October 10th, 2012
12:12 pm

Bill King:

Don’t be too hard on ARdawg. He is a recovering KoolAid drinker that just came back to earth. However, I would agree that his spelling is very creative.

Cuz

October 10th, 2012
12:14 pm

I can confirm that there are more important things than football. Many of you know I have sat in hospital rooms with my daughter praying that she would live through some of the problems she has had. I have had to do it more times than I would like to recall. Right now she is okay. One year ago her future was very much in doubt.

Sometimes we should just step back and take a deep breath.

lol

October 10th, 2012
12:16 pm

they should of egg mark richt’s house and then arrest him for stealing public fund.

Kirby Smart

October 10th, 2012
12:17 pm

Last time UGA beat an SEC team that finished with 10 wins or more? Aub – 2006. Richts record vs. UF – 3-9. Last two bowl games lost to UCF yes UCF and MSU. This man should have been fired no less than two years ago and would have been at UF or Bama. Our idiot fans are to blame for what happened last week. Those of you who still support Richt are morons. UGA deserves better that the outback bowl every year.

Real Daws Fan

October 10th, 2012
12:18 pm

The same ole idiots on here trying to fire Mark Richt. He’s one the best and most respected coach in the land. You act as if we don’t play in the hardest conf in the world with really great teams. You guys obviosly have no historical perspective on UGA football. CRM has brought this program out of the MUD that Donnan and Goff had us stuck in. THANK YOU CRM and here’s to many many more.

Real Daws Fan

October 10th, 2012
12:21 pm

Mark Richt led us to finish 2nd Nationally twice and won SEC titles!
We shoulda played in NC game in 2005 and 2007. Greatness is cyclical like anything in life. We can be patient for our next turn OR we can rotate new coaches in every 3 years (like every other program) chasing our tails!

OkieDawg

October 10th, 2012
12:23 pm

Spurrier is pretty impressive on the side line. He is in total command of his team. He calls the plays, lectures the players for their mistakes, throws his head gear and tosses his play chart. He is so into the action. He looks as if he is on the playing field. The team feeds off that passion and it shows up on the field. He is COACHING!

Contrast that with CMR. He has his hand over the headset mic, removes the headset to hand comb his hair, scratches his nose and seldom shows any facial expression or emotion. The team feels the lack of intensity and it shows up on the field. Start COACHING!