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

Real Daws Fan

October 10th, 2012
12:29 pm

He brings a calm and steadiness that you want in a head coach. Spurrier hates UGA more than any team in the land. Jesse palmer said it perfect ” Coach Spurrier will coach his tail off against UGA”.
Plus you idiots would have tried to fire Spurrier after he had a couple 8 win seasons. He’s no better than CRM and time will show you that. But just like life: you just need some perspective.

Monfongo

October 10th, 2012
12:30 pm

I was out and had to DVR the game, did not watch it and plan to press “Delete”. I think South Carolina will win out.

OkieDawg

October 10th, 2012
12:34 pm

Real Daws Fan…What is a Daws?

dwagdawg

October 10th, 2012
12:36 pm

Has anyone seen PuffDawggy (aka superDawg)?

superDawg

September 26th, 2012
7:50 pm

ss you are a little man that likes to hide behind others.If sc beats UGA I will come down and tail gate with you and your brethren at tek.
_________________________________

superDawg, we would love to have you at our tailgate party. Please RSVP and let us know what game you would like to attend. You can even wear your uga gear and root for the other team if you like. We just want to know if you are a man of your word, and how many beers/wine coolers/Zimas to have for you.

Thanks

NCDawg

October 10th, 2012
12:37 pm

I am a real fan and I have suffered through thick and thin with UGA football since I was old enough to know what football was. (IE: @1970). I I think that it is time to for a culture shift in Athens. There is something broken in a our program. You just do not lose big game after big game with the kind of talent we have unless something is off. I don’t think the coaching staff knows what it is and therefore can’t correct the problem. If they can’t correct it then it is time for a regime change and a new set of eyes. Progress is not being made.
I hate it because I think Mark Richt is a good man, a good representative of the school, and a good football coach. But there comes a time when results are all that matters… especially when you are being paid alot of money to produce BIG results. The talent level is there so something has to give.

ARdawg

October 10th, 2012
12:41 pm

Bill King

I’m not really that ig’nant :) your filter is hypersensitive and it is getting more and more difficult to state what one wishes to say even without something nasty or vulgar. You should loosen it up just a tad perhaps?

ARdawg

October 10th, 2012
12:42 pm

Enter your comments here

funny,,,

October 10th, 2012
12:46 pm

These are the same idiots that throw the footballs at opposing players.

Take a step back people. Being a Bulldog is a privelidge, not a right. Handle it as such.

BIG MIKE

October 10th, 2012
12:48 pm

I think it would bode well for people to realize how many Freshmen and Sophmores we are counting on this year. Guys that haven’t had time to develope…mentally or physically. Whether you like it or not, this offensive line is, one year in the weight training program, away from being competitive on the same level as USC’s defensive front (all of which will be in the pros soon). I honestly can’t wait for next year. The offense CMR and Bobo have built will be unstoppable on any level once the O-LINE gels. They already are against most teams and will be against UF.

SSIgator

October 10th, 2012
12:49 pm

Still missing in action:

The Yoda of all things UGA football – AltamahaDawg. However, his friend Nancy did show up yesterday, so he must be around here.

Rooster

October 10th, 2012
12:52 pm

What gets me with UGA fans and the media in Athens is when they don’t like a player or players on the UGA team they rip right into them. Now when something happens to Murray or Robinson or St. Richt everything is fine and dandy. What a bunch of hypocrites.

Johnny Depp

October 10th, 2012
12:52 pm

He brings a calm and steadiness that you want in a head coach. Spurrier hates UGA more than any team in the land. Jesse palmer said it perfect ” Coach Spurrier will coach his tail off against UGA”.
Plus you idiots would have tried to fire Spurrier after he had a couple 8 win seasons. He’s no better than CRM and time will show you that. But just like life: you just need some perspective.

Err….. I tend to think Spurrier’s record against UGA, his NC, and his resurrection of the South Carolina program all point to the fact he is a better COACH than Richt – a better man? No way.

Dawg Haus

October 10th, 2012
12:53 pm

Rooster

October 10th, 2012
12:55 pm

Where is WDE or the UGA Insider????

SSIgator

October 10th, 2012
12:57 pm

Our minister is thinking about retiring from the church this year and he really likes college football. He is a good man – a fine Christian man – where does he send his resume in Athens?

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
12:57 pm

Real Dawgs Fan

I see we have gone from kool-aid to bong smoking

Coach Richt will show us he is better than Spurrier

LOL

:roll:

Richt isnt even in the same planet

Richt has never beaten every team in the SEC east yet Spurrier goes to a joke program at SC and does at SC what Richt has yet to do

Richt has backed into every SEC championship game thanks to the help of other teams Spurrier can say he didnt need that when he won his Championships

Oh and thanks for putting this quote for me “Coach Spurrier will coach his tail off against UGA”.

Im sure glad we have a coach that doesnt want to do that against FL and against Spurrier I would hate to hurt their feelings by beating them on the field

Did you graduate from “How to Be a Loser University?

OkieDawg

October 10th, 2012
12:58 pm

If we beat Florida, we will be a perfect 1-0 against against ranked opponents.

BIG MIKE

October 10th, 2012
1:02 pm

@Johnny Depp
Better coach…..BS. He is more experienced. He’s been coaching a lot longer than Richt. Unlike Spurrier, Richt has been successful everywhere he’s coached. UGA is no different. He has already made the necessary changes to be successful year in year out. Time is all that’s needed for the wine to furment. I expect UGA to be unbeatable next year…….but this is college football, so you never know. The fans might screw it all up. They may make recruiting more difficult than it already is. We could shuttle coaches in and out the door for years and not find another winner like Richt. When you make a coaching change, you have to allow minimum 3 years before moving on to the next coach. Do you think getting rid of Richt is worth another 10-15 yrs of GOFF-DONOVAN type success…..or maybe we just see if he can get the ship right again.
I say wait and support!

SC Dog fan

October 10th, 2012
1:03 pm

Senidng out prayers for the Murray family. Better times ahead both on and off the field.

ARdawg

October 10th, 2012
1:08 pm

Big Mike

Freshmen and Sophomores it may be, but wouldn’t most coaches take that into account for game planning. Opps, we don’t have a coach that does much of that. When you have two beasts like Clowney and Taylor up against Fr and Sph. Why not go to a two wide out set and double team them with the TEs? Did you see that even once on Sat?

We have a coaching problem my friend. Ignoring it and trading it off for 10 win seasons against lesser opponents doesn’t make it go away

BIG MIKE

October 10th, 2012
1:14 pm

There’s no doubt, the coaches screwed the pooch on this last game. Badly. Spurrier almost did the same in USC’s game against Vanderbilt and again at Kentucky. I don’t know why UGA didn’t gameplan for the UGA O-LINE; USC D-LINE mismatch, or if they did…what did they do and why did it fail? I would love to hear somebody in the coaching staff answer for this. The fact is, we may never know. They aren’t going to give the fans a film/strategy breakdown without tipping off future opponents. So, suffice it to say “we know they screwed up and they know we know”. FIX IT!

Lakedawg

October 10th, 2012
1:15 pm

Flat Tire—Having a big time since the Dawgs lost one are,’t you.

Don’t clebrate to much because your sorry program does have to come to Athens and no mercy will be had on your bees.

NCDawg

October 10th, 2012
1:20 pm

I get really tired of people tying Mark Richt competence to his being a outspoken Christian. Tom Osborne rarely showed any emotion on the sideline. He won 2 National Championships. Stoicism and being Christian do not go hand in hand. Being gentlemanly is not exclusive to being Christian but someone who follows Jesus is supposed to be civil. Doubting a man’s commitment to football because he chooses to go on missions trips is just stupid. I tend to stop reading when I see this. Try some other tack… you just look like a bigger idiot than you probably are.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 10th, 2012
1:22 pm

There is always next year….

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 10th, 2012
1:24 pm

Where is Dawginlex or Altamaha Dog?

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
1:30 pm

Lakedawg

Um Im a dawg fan but you wouldnt know that because you’re too drunk on kool-aid to realize this program has become a national joke along with VT

still hurtn

October 10th, 2012
1:32 pm

mark richt=underachieving&overrated- being christian AINT GOT NUTHN TO DO WITH IT. P.S. i know “the sun still came up Sunday”,corch to another loss to another ranked football team. just shows how important Uga football is to you huh?

RiffRaff

October 10th, 2012
1:39 pm

I think Rambo had something to do with the vandalism – there was egg on his face early in the SC game.

TC

October 10th, 2012
1:42 pm

Loyal dawg fan and a realist.Yes, I was upset at our performance. It was hard to believe that SC had a 21-0 lead and their excellent defense had only faced our offense for 7 snaps. After that, they could play out of their minds in a frenzied stadium.with very little risk None of us would have changed places with our offfensive line to willingly face Jadaveon Clowney unleashed.

The team fought hard after that, and I respect them. Regroup and move on with the season.

Go Dawgs!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
1:47 pm

Yea

Regroup for another embarrassing loss to ranked teams

Coach Scott

October 10th, 2012
1:48 pm

There’s no excuse for bad behavior. But, here’s the problem. College athletics has become a significant business as evidenced by endorsements throughout the stadium and attached, I believe, to radio and television. Merchandising is off the chain. And, no fan can escape having to financially support machine in order to be close to it. And, for many, when personal money goes into something, well, there’s a customer service expectation. If I go to McDonald’s, I expect McDonald’s to do every single thing it can to put the best food in front of me. And, if they feel, they have a responsibility to listen to the customer. Now, the customer has a responsibility to personal decorum, too. All that to say, Georgia doesn’t always seem to be listening to its customers, or at least acknowledging that it’s listening. It’s not enough to say, “You don’t understand football.” True. But, if I have a plumber come fix my plumbing, I may not understand plumbing but I have a right and they have a responsibility to provide good customer service and provide a great product. Or, at least listen and explain the situation. Sadly, major college athletics has become a significant business with millions of customers, and those customers have a right to expect the best product available and the best customer service possible. But, regardless, customers have the responsibility to maintain decorum, civility, and poise. My opinion.

Derek

October 10th, 2012
1:49 pm

You fire coach richt crazies have no idea what you are saying. Unbelievable the lack of football knowledge on this blog.

Inlet Dawg

October 10th, 2012
1:51 pm

I still like Ray Goff and I like Zaxby’s but I don’t want him as a coach,CMR has had a good run but it is over now it is time to move on as we did with good old Ray.Bottom line you lose in Columbia look for a job.

Benji

October 10th, 2012
1:58 pm

UGA will never win a NC with Richt. Never.

Now What?

October 10th, 2012
2:04 pm

Enter your comments here

Topher

October 10th, 2012
2:05 pm

Get Real

October 10th, 2012
11:51 am

@Get Real
I meant UGA’s best seasons are 10 win seasons, when the last few years Bama/Auburn/Florida, and other national champions have been able to go undefeated or just lose 1. UGA can never get over the hump and win the big game or perform in the big moments that lead to those chances.

blackbird

October 10th, 2012
2:08 pm

Well, UGA has owned Tech but look at Tech—I mean what in Gods name is going on at that rich ass football team—they have everything in the world to win with except leadership and someone to teach them how to win big—Richt never had to do that in the SEC at Flardy State—–my god and then they bringin some kid from Tampy to quarty back——Blahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!—I have had enough—-

Time For Change

October 10th, 2012
2:11 pm

UGA is just above a middle of the road program. CMR hasn’t even played in the BCS Championship Game yet. Recriting has always been good at UGA but it never seems to produce a BSC contender. Rodney Gardner walks around like he’s God and yet he can’t coach his way out of a paper bag with those huge kids! He’s managed to land a few recruits in his day but word is from the bigger and better recruits is they don’t like the way he comes across. His don’t call us we call you approach isn’t well recieved at all.

Is Kirby Smart really ready to be a Head Coach?

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

October 10th, 2012
2:12 pm

Derek

It doesnt take much football knowledge to know something has to change when UGA puts more players in the NFL since 2001 than FL AL and LSU

All 3 have won 2 National titles since 2001

yes thats right 2 National Titles since 2001

Going to say it again so you get it

222222222222 National Titles during Richts tenure

and UGA cant even beat top 10 teams much less top 20 teams

Lay off the bong smoking and your mind might become a little clearer

Ed

October 10th, 2012
2:21 pm

My house was egged and rolled recently, probably for no other reason that I have an obnoxious teenaged daughter who goes to school with the perps.

I didn’t find it to be that traumatic an experience. Annoying maybe.

Seems like much ado about nothing.

Kirby Smart

October 10th, 2012
2:29 pm

Real Dawgs Fan – You mean like UF rotates coaches? And wins NC’s with them. YOU are whats wrong with our program. Its expectations! You have none compared to Bama ,LSU or UF.. wake up!
By the way even Ron Zook had a wining record against Richt and he didnt make the cut at UF.

1969 Graduate

October 10th, 2012
2:30 pm

The behind-Richt-crowd-no-matter-what-happens isn’t going to change their mantra no matter what happens.

Mark Richt could possibly change the fire-Richt-crowd’s tone? How? Win the big games. Fire Mike Bobo. Admit failure. Will any of this happen? No. Mr. Richt is fine with the situation as it is, and so are the die hard Richt supporters.

Anyone who thinks we will eventually win a NC because the cards just happen to line up right is missing the point. Yes, it helps to have a player like #34, but, even with Mr. Walker on board we didn’t win the NC every year.

Mike Bobo wouldn’t know what to do with a Hershel Walker if we had one. That’s the problem. Our coaches don’t know what to do with the athletes who come to Georgia.

Kirby Smart

October 10th, 2012
2:31 pm

Flat Tire – Thank You!!!!!!!

Inlet Dawg

October 10th, 2012
2:36 pm

CMR’s best finish to date????????

Couldn’t even win the east that year backed into the Sugar Bowl and played a sub par Hawaii team.end the year #2 Start the next year #1 end up a disappointment.(Doing Less With More)

chet

October 10th, 2012
2:36 pm

Always losing to to the good teams makes the Dawgs mediocre at best. Still vandalism is a petty act carried out by……well, petty criminals that need to get a life.

Time For Change

October 10th, 2012
2:37 pm

I agree with FLAT!!! It’s time for a change. There is nothing wrong with the quality of our players. They have all made the transition to the NFL and go onto decent careers. You take Matt Stafford who never won a BIGTYME GAME at UGA and he’s manage to bring CJ aka “MEGA TRON” and the long lost Detroit Lions back! Brandon Boykins would put this team on his back and carry them to wins! I love CMR and I appreciate those 2 SEC Titles and the trips he made to the GA DOME but it’s time to move on. Look what Muschamp is doing already at FL. UGA has to make sure that they don’t end up with a Cheznick type Coach… oh damn! He has a BCS Ring to!

CLTdawg

October 10th, 2012
2:47 pm

dont start annointing UFand SC as the beasts of the east just yet. we’re only mid-way through the season with a lot of football to be played. neither is going to go undefeated. mark that down

Dawg Haus

October 10th, 2012
2:51 pm

I support Coach Richt, but it does seem that he’s become almost reluctant to adapt in an evolving conference. Compare Richt of 2002 to Richt of today. The difference is almost night and day. His early teams at Georgia had a confident swagger about them, almost never lost big games, were a sure shot winner on the road, etc. They were focused, prepared and mentally tough, which we really can’t say nowadays.

I don’t think it’s Richt per se that’s the problem; I think it’s his refusal to stay ahead of the curve in a constantly changing league that’s leading to this problem.

Regardless of how you feel about the coaching staff, some of the players, the mascot, whatever, the Georgia Bulldogs are our team and its our job as fans to get behind them 100%. Dawg till I die!

UGA does not beat the good teams !

October 10th, 2012
3:08 pm

Hey Mr. Bill King,

Appreciate that you support UGA program and Mark Richt, but there has to be an improvement. UGA cannot beat the really good (top 10) teams. If win all the rest this year except Florida, will go 10-2. Same as last year. And this team should be better than last year’s. Goes back to coaching, with talent level UGA has. Are we going to accept always being one of the 2nd or 3rd place teams in SEC? Richt has to step it up a notch, or go bye-bye.

gomdawg

October 10th, 2012
3:09 pm

ON ANY WEEKEND ANY TEAM CAN GET BEAT THE SEASON IS NOT OVER. LET’S GET BEHIND OUR TEAM AND SUPPORT THEM. GO DAWGS