Fan talk: Georgia-Florida week brings challenges for both players and coaches

Should Mark Richt have said he was "happy" with the win over Kentucky? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Should Mark Richt have said he was "happy" with the win over Kentucky? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Let’s get right to some of this week’s Junkyard Mail …

Clint Harrison writes: Bill, I enjoy your stuff. Georgia-Florida week, the theme should be: “We have an opportunity … What are you/we going to do with it?” We have what we were hoping for. Did the Gamecocks peak too early? I know [Steve] Spurrier had those guys’ intensity levels up for Georgia. Then their confidence kicked in. The crowd was already kicked in. And they were in our heads (or we were in our own heads) the rest of the way.  But all that is behind us. It’s a new day. (What are we going to do with it?). So my question to Coach Bobo is, Do you think [Will] Muschamp is going to send a blitz right up the middle at Murray on the first series (to send him/us a message) like he did to Connor Shaw and the Gamecocks in their game? You know it’s coming; what are we going to do? A screen, quick slant, quick toss to the outside? Coach Grantham: Which linebacker is going to be the spy on [Jeff] Driskel or [Trey] Burton or whoever comes out of the backfield with the ball? You know Driskel is going to run and yes we will give up some yards this way but at least we won’t let them gash us like Shaw did. Coach Richt: What are YOU going to do to ADD to this game. … We need INTENSITY, CONFIDENCE … SOMETHING from you that shows that this means something PERSONAL. I KNOW you love this team and you love those guys and where you are in your life (just like we do). But this is a great opportunity that we don’t get in our “business as usual” lives. We have an opportunity to do something special. As always on Monday (win or lose) I WILL be wearing my GA shirt to work because they will ALWAYS be my team.  GO DAWGS!

You’re on the mark with some of the challenges facing the Georgia team in this game, Clint. When Mike Bobo had to stare down South Carolina’s awesome pass rush, he frankly blinked and came up with an awful game plan, as he later admitted. Todd Grantham did likewise when it came to planning for Connor Shaw early in the game against the Gamecocks. It will be interesting to see if they rise to the occasion against the Gators. And while Mark Richt indicated early this week that he didn’t think the team needed pumping up for Florida, I get the impression that the Georgia coaching staff deliberately allowed the whole Shawn Williams “too soft” thing to play out in the media as a way of publicly challenging the defense (and the team at large) to rise up, as the Falcons ads say. We’ll find out soon whether that was enough.

Lamar Westbrook writes: Bill, this is hard to believe. Richt said after the [Kentucky] game “You know what? I am happy with the victory.” Correct me if I am wrong, but how can he be happy when his team is giving it about 60%? When the guys play down to the competition and then the coach himself thinks it alright, then why should the guys change the way they play? If [Nick] Saban’s team played like Richt’s [against the Wildcats], do you think Saban’s answer would be that he is happy? He would be so deep down their throat that they would choke! The team is not giving it their all, yet their coach says it’s alright. This is a alarming thing!

And Ben writes: Do you find it disturbing that Mark Richt actually said he was happy with the win over Kentucky? I know he doesn’t wish to be an “energy vampire,” but he seems like he’s in denial. By continuing to praise such lackluster efforts, he sends the message to his players that just getting by is good enough.

The Richt quote that’s gotten some Bulldogs fans stirred up was this: “Know what? I’m happy with the victory. We’re 6-1. That’s not bad.” I think that probably wasn’t the wisest choice of words, but I understand what Richt was trying to do there. He wasn’t pleased with the overall play of the team and he made that clear, but his point was that it was an SEC East victory and his team only has one loss, so he’s not going to jump off the bus like some folks and declare the season a failure. Still, I don’t think anyone in the Georgia locker room after the Kentucky game was happy about the way the game went, despite the head coach’s positive spin. As Malcolm Mitchell said, “You don’t wanna look at any game like ‘We’re just happy to win,’ because you gotta play another team next. So we just need to focus and get ready for the next game.” And then there’s the challenge Richt issued to his team leaders, mentioned in the next letter …

Cleveland Williams III writes: Bill, Just read your column on Shawn Williams and the thing that stuck out to me the most was the statement made by Mark Richt about leaders stepping up. Seems like he has the pulse of the team to me. I understand his calm demeanor on the sideline and some view that as a lack of fire. So why don’t we hear more of the statements he makes like that one being published?

The quote in question here came when Richt addressed the team after the Kentucky game and, with the cameras rolling, said: “It’s going to be a war in Jacksonville. … You leaders, I want you to think about what this game means. You’ve been talking about it all offseason since January. ‘Our team, our time, no regrets.’ Well, here we are. We’re at the moment of truth.” And I translated that somewhat more bluntly as: Put up or shut up. Richt is a competitive guy and I think he probably addresses the team like that a lot more than we know; he just doesn’t let us hear it. Perhaps he should.

Joe writes: Hey Bill, Just wanted to get your thoughts on the game this coming weekend … is this a must win for Coach Richt? Not literally, but in the figurative sense. Does UGA need to at least show up, if not win, for coach to ‘win back’ the belief, love and support of Bulldog Nation?

And Morris Rich writes: Bill, let me just say I love Mark Richt and if I had to choose a someone to coach my son, it would be Mark Richt hands down because of his character. But having said that, I am really concerned that maybe it is time for Coach Richt to retire. There is no doubt that we get some of the best talent in the country. But for some reason, they just don’t perform up to their talent. As much as I don’t like to even say it, it has to come down to the coaching. I would love nothing more that for Coach Richt to get that NC, but I just don’ t see it happening.  What are your thoughts on this.

Is this a “must” win? No. Georgia can still have a 10-win regular season and go to a New Year’s Day bowl without beating Florida. And that’s a heck of a lot better than many programs will experience this season. Would this win be a major step forward for Richt’s program? Yes, of course. As for those who think UGA ought to be thinking about another coach, I’d just like to remind them of what has happened to the Tennessee program since they dumped Phil Fulmer. Do you really want to go down that road?

When does it make sense for Malcolm Mitchell to return a kickoff out of the end zone? (Associated Press)

When does it make sense for Malcolm Mitchell to return a kickoff out of the end zone? (Associated Press)

Bubba King writes: Malcolm Mitchell could have got 5-20 more yards on kickoffs if we didn’t have 2 would-be blockers running with the defense with their hands up waving him to stop or physically keeping him from returning the ball out of the endzone. Now, I don’t think he should necessarily return the ball that’s kicked 8 yards deep, but he can’t make it to the 10 yard line if he is outrunning 2 of his blockers to the point of attack. He is the return man, and we will never get a return if the blockers are more concerned with him downing the ball than making a key block to spring him. If he is not equipped to make the decision on his own, he shouldn’t be back there. If he is back there, he has a better view of a possible crease than someone running with his back to the defenders. Just do your job, and maybe our special teams would not be so pathetic!

Actually, that is part of their job. You’re referring to the Kentucky game when Mitchell fielded a kickoff eight yards deep in his end zone and started to bring it out before Kyle Karempelis stopped him. Mitchell wasn’t happy at the time, but he said this week that he later apologized to Karempelis. With the new touchback rule, it doesn’t make sense to try and return a kick that goes more than a yard or two deep into the end zone, as the odds of getting it out further than the 25 yard line are slim. Now, if it’s not a high kick and the coverage hasn’t had time to make it downfield, that’s a different matter and it’s probably worth trying a return. But that wasn’t the case in this instance.

Jeremy Floyd writes: Here’s what I fear about Saturday, and I think it has been a problem for UGA over the last few years. I fear that UGA players will not be able to regulate their emotions. I fear they come out way too high and fired up, eager to prove they are not ‘soft.’ I fear this will lead to early mistakes and we’ll see the pendulum of team emotions swing the other extreme. I think this happens a way too often with the team. What do you think?

I’d much rather have Georgia’s players come out fired up than flat. Yeah, they might make a few mistakes if they’re amped up, but we saw in the South Carolina game what can result when one team comes out more pumped up than the other one.

Michael Scharff writes: I haven’t seen any mention of a connection between the loss of Michael Bennett and the deterioration of the Dawgs’ ability to open holes for our running backs. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the loss of a large and powerful offensive force came at the same time our offense first began their current downhill slide. What say you?

Georgia still has plenty of talented receivers, and while Bennett is a great one, I don’t think his absence is responsible for the lack of an effective rushing attack the past two games. Against a terrific South Carolina defense, the flaws of Georgia’s offensive line were put in the spotlight. They simply were overwhelmed and couldn’t open holes for the running backs or protect Aaron Murray. In the Kentucky game, the Wildcats sold out against the run, leaving themselves vulnerable to Georgia’s passing game, and Murray made them pay for that.

Marshall Morgan reacts to a missed PAT. (Associated Press)

Marshall Morgan reacts to a missed PAT. (Associated Press)

Ryan B. writes: Why is no one even mentioning Damian Swann as an option for punt returner? He had a few nice returns early in the season and at least gives us a chance at a return. Let’s be honest, [Rhett] McGowan isn’t scaring anyone by being back there. At this point we should rush all 11 and let the ball be downed wherever (that’s what is happening any way). And while I am on the subject of special teams, let’s talk about extra points. What would it hurt for our coaching staff to actually hold someone accountable for bad play? If for no other reason than to incentivize Morgan to improve, why not let the walk on attempt a PAT. That’s probably the number one issue with this coaching staff and therefore the team, not holding people accountable. The players at least subconsciously know that their spot is safe, so what incentive is there to be perfect or at least always get better?

I’m not sure why the Georgia coaches soured on Swann as punt returner, but that’s certainly one of the special teams problems that need addressing. As I wrote earlier this week, I’m partial to Kevin Butler’s suggestion that the Dogs start putting two deep men back on punts to assure that the ball is caught. This business of letting it hit the ground has got to stop. As for Marshall Morgan and PATs, I have a feeling if they thought the backup was going to be any more consistent than Morgan they’d give him a try. That’s another case where Georgia’s lack of attention to special teams play is hurting. It was interesting to see Richt say this week that he might study up on kicking and take on coaching the kickers himself next season, like some other head coaches do. What’s frustrating is that it took him this long to come to that conclusion.

Bad Brad writes: Bill, When Richt first came to UGA we beat top teams at home and particularly on the road. In the past few years we have been unable to win big games. I don’t know exactly when the downward trend started but I think it started with coordinator changes. When Richt turned play calling over to Bobo and [Brian] VanGorder left for the Falcons, I think that is the point where we started sliding. Don’t you think it’s time to fire Bobo? Took too long to fire [Willie] Martinez and get Grantham. I understand loyalty to your friends/staff but don’t you agree sticking with Bobo is insane. Same could be said for Rodney Garner.

Bobo generally hasn’t been the problem this season. If there’s a negative trend through the recent seasons that you can point to on the offense, it’s been the continuing problems Georgia has had with its offensive line, and that’s not Bobo’s job. The Dogs have gone through three OL coaches in recent years with pretty much the same problem. Maybe it’s a recruiting issue, I don’t know. Besides the OL, the major problem responsible for most of the Dogs’ troubles this season has been the play of its talented, experienced but underperforming defense. Are you ready to fire Grantham as well?

I’ll answer more Junkyard Mail next week. Do you have something you want to discuss concerning the current football season or UGA athletics in general? Got a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? If so, send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

107 comments Add your comment

Ed

October 26th, 2012
2:43 pm

I think what rubs Georgia fans wrong about the “hey, 6-1 isn’t bad” attitude is that going into the season, it was hard to imagine Georgia being much worse than 6-1 at this point. 5-2 was a possibility if Missouri turned out to be really good (they’re awful), but that’s pretty close to a worst-case scenario.

Can any longtime Georgia fan remember easier schedules than what we’ve had the last two years? I can’t. You can’t play 6 stiffs (and barely beat two of them) and get killed by the one decent team you play and crow about being 6-1. If this team played some of the past Georgia schedules we’d probably be talking 4-3 or 3-4 at this point.

Macclenny_dawg

October 26th, 2012
2:46 pm

Bill,
I am tired of people saying look at Tennessee after Fulmer. Yea they have had it rough but look at Gaytors after Spurrier and look now after Meyer. We will always win 8 games each year just look at our talent. Yes firing Richt would be a gamble but I trust Mcgarity has learnt a lot from Foley @Florida!!! Plus I would no we weren’t settling for mediocore. This team continues to play to the level of competition and doesn’t never alow our backups any game experience!!! SICK OF RICHT!!!

Icedawg

October 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

Wish the DAWGS would play some old school football on both sides of the ball this weekend.

Icedawg

October 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

We will always win 8 games. No wonder, look at our schedule!

Dawg Dawg Dawg

October 26th, 2012
2:59 pm

Yes, Bill. I am ready to get Bobo, Grantham, Richt, everyone out of there and start all over. The Phil Fulmer argument you and others propose only shows you are afraid of change. What about the change Saban brought to ALA? Or Les Miles to LSU? I think, in the long run, Will Muschamp will prove to be a missed opportunity for UGA.

Don’t fear change.

Swamp Gator

October 26th, 2012
3:05 pm

Old Bull Gator lookin for some mutt to chew on!!!!, yelp, yelp!!!

joe jenkins

October 26th, 2012
3:11 pm

hey swamp gator your a loser dude……….so much riding on the game tomorrow…I think i have worried myself crazy already thinking about this game…….We all just have to accept the fact of whats going to happen is out of our control……GO DAWGS

Dawg Dawg Dawg

October 26th, 2012
3:25 pm

Dawggirl, you hear crickets because you pose a question that has been answered 1000 times on this and other blogs. So, to catch you up, over the past several seasons, the most popular answers have been:

Brian Kelly (but we missed that opportunity and now he has ND at #5 in the BCS)
Will Muschamp (but we missed that opportunity, too, and now he has UF at #2 in the BCS)
Chris Peterson (who beat UGA and Mark Richt last year with a WAC team)
Kirby Smart (former UGA and has been coaching under Saban for many seasons)
Chip Kelly (has a better chance winning a NC than Richt does with recent UGA recruiting classes)

Would you like more names?

Ga/Fl.Stillman dog

October 26th, 2012
3:34 pm

Ill say this time again. Your blog is a waiste of time and energy. CMR needs to go and so does half the staff. if the NEW AD can’t figure that out then he needs to go as well. If the defense doesnt play as they should and keep being out of place then fire CTG.. Accountability is needed Players and Coaches.. So yes fire them, for it obvious they are also being OUTCOACHED.

Strat Cat Dawg

October 26th, 2012
3:41 pm

The SC game was a perfect storm of disastrous plays in the first quarter. Perhaps we could have made adjustments had we not fallen so far behind so quickly. But that’s water under the dam. I’m happy we’re underdawgs and everyone thinks the Gators will crush us just by showing up. I hope they believe that. If we come in angry and focused, we just might turn the tables on them. It happened to SC against them. Why couldn’t it happen to them against us?

Ron

October 26th, 2012
3:48 pm

Everybody better get liquored-up…it’s gonna be BRUTAL watching this game!

Truthiness

October 26th, 2012
3:53 pm

Great article about Muschamp in this morning’s USA TODAY. It made much of the fact that a team reflects the demeanor of the coach. His emphasis on toughness, discipline, commitment to excellence, and competitiveness has turned the team around in short order. The players love him for it and accept his criticism as the desire to make them better players. I know CMR is a fine man and worthy of his admirers, but the question remains: Can a coach with his temperament bring out the level of excellence in his players and coaches that’s needed to create an elite team and program? Seems doubtful, but what we have may be as good as we should expect if his temperament is what the administration believes best reflects the qualities of the university.

Dog4Life

October 26th, 2012
3:54 pm

My main concern for this defensive issue is this: If we are this bad this year with our level of talent, how bad are we going to be next year w/o all this so-called first, second round NFL talent? Many assume, maybe correctly, that our defense will not be as good next year against a tougher schedule. I guess we will have to hope that our Offense can out score everyone.

kybodawg

October 26th, 2012
4:07 pm

brent peace will do the same as boise did last year nickle and dime us to death. we have no pass rush and we never cover the back side we always get suckered freshman jenkins stayed at home last week and made several good plays.

JRW7

October 26th, 2012
4:24 pm

Can CMR ever win the big game again? My hearts just not into it anymore. Go DAWGS!

fishook dawg

October 26th, 2012
4:27 pm

I believe the guy that said the players and coaches are satisfied by just getting by, is correct. As long as CMR wins 9-10 games a year reguardless of the strength of schedule, then that is good enough. I also believe CMR wishes that the recruiting was over for this year, because I think he is tired of doing it for all the years since he’s been here. If you don’t go all out in the recruiting trail, you get left behind. Speaking of CMR trying to coach the place kickers, why doesn’t he invite Kevin Butler to come by and see if he see’s anything that might make him a better kicker. I’m sure he would be willing to help.

Bill

October 26th, 2012
4:36 pm

Idiots, Idiots, Idiots. You are all idiots! Go Dawgs! Do not listen to (or read) these Idiots! There are actually fans who support the team.

dawggirl

October 26th, 2012
4:42 pm

It hadn’t been answered on THIS blog, otherwise I wouldn’t be asking.

Since you ruled the first two out, I’ll look at the other three:
Chris Peterson (who beat UGA and Mark Richt last year with a WAC team) – Hasn’t he repeatedly said he doesn’t want to leave Boise State? Other teams have offered and he hasn’t bit. I don’t see him wanting to come here. JMO.
Kirby Smart (former UGA and has been coaching under Saban for many seasons) – I thought he had flat out stated he did not want to come here, although I might be confusing that with DC.
Chip Kelly (has a better chance winning a NC than Richt does with recent UGA recruiting classes) – Why would he want to leave Oregon?

7576DAWG

October 26th, 2012
4:48 pm

If we go 10-2 I guarantee that Richt will probably try and get every coach a raise. What he will not admit is the reason was because of a very weak schedule and some of our big rivals are bringing in major changes. My concern is with the same coaches can Georgia do better than 8-4 or 9-3 next year when the schedule is harder. If we go 8-4 then we would have lost to the only ranked opponents again. I no longer think Bobo should only be Quarterback coach, I think after 6 years he has finally progress enough that I am okay with giving him another year as Coordinator to see if he can get even better , he has done a much better job this year . But, we can do better than Garner , Olivadotti , and Friend. All three are decent coaches and would thrive in a less competitive Conference but they are very weak at recruiting which is a huge part of them being successful. I haven’t followed Lakatos , Lilly and Ball very closely but I think we can expect better than we have been getting from all three. The key is to hire someone to coach one of the other positions when it comes open from getting rid of one or more of the above mentioned coaches but also be the Special Teams coach. I really hate the casual , don’t see any need for major changes attitude Richt has concerning Special Teams.
No changes are going to be made unless McGarity get’s involved because winning 8 or more games is enough for Richt. When McGarity was hired he said the main reasons he was coming to Georgia was to bring Championships with him. I hope he hasn’t dropped his standards and will expect and demand more from Richt. I like Richt a lot and I think he is good for Georgia but McGarity needs to keep reminding Richt that just being a nice guy and winning 8 games is not enough.

ARdawg

October 26th, 2012
4:50 pm

dawg girl

It’s really a moot point isn’t it? There is no opening thus, there can’t be anyone available to fill an opening that doesn’t exist. All the “who else” would we get apologists is bullkaka. When any potential opening happens, the list of interested potentials is developed then. Knowwhaddameen?

Va Dawg

October 26th, 2012
5:07 pm

Bill you ask the question of do we want to go down the same path as Tennessee has since they fired Phil Fulmer. My answer is no. But should we be satisfied with preenial 10-2 seasons and a trip to the the Outback Bowl or Capital One Bowl to play a Big Ten team every year? My answer to that is also no. Phil Fulmer got stale and his removal was ham-handed. Mark Richt is also stale. If we were to remove him I would hope that it would be handled better than Tennessee did with Fulmer. But should we be afraid to make a change because we fear we will be another Tennessee? We strive to be an elite program. We pay our coach an elite program salary and we should get an elite program coaching out of it and we are not. We should be playing for a national championship more often than once every 32 years. Elite programs do that you see. Unfortunately we are not an elite program no matter how much we tell ourselves we are. Being satisfied with 10-2 and the Outback Bowl because other programs would be is proof of that. If Richt can’t deliver that then we need to take the risk to try to get to that level. The status quo is not acceptable no matter how safe and comfortable that feels. Would Nick Saban be satisfied with where we are if he was our coach?

St Aug Dawg

October 26th, 2012
5:08 pm

Bill, technically everything on The Offense is Bobo’s job to manage…

STUDENT ATHLETE

October 26th, 2012
5:11 pm

Florida will get a pick or a fumble by Aaron Murray or one of the Gurshels before you can get settled in your seat. UGA’s offensive line gets crushed by the Florida Defensive Line. Standard UGA performance in a nationally televised game against a ranked opponent. Fla. 45 UGA 6.

St Aug Dawg

October 26th, 2012
6:10 pm

I agree….I wish I was more optimistic, just am convinced that our kids will be led to a big loss. I look forward to the days when this rivalry (if you can still call it one) will be fun for UGA fans again. I live 45 minutes from the stadium, but refuse to go to game until things turn around and we are consistantly competitive. I am 0-5 in my last 5 trips…in 2008, I was so fired up that I went up there and spent a fortune for 3 days prior to the game. That was a total ass whipping and I had a sick feeling walking out of that stadium in the 3rd Qtr and having to sit in traffic for 3 hours before getting the hell out of dodge. Nothing in the world is worse than losing to the damn Gators. I hope this year is not another 2008. C’mon, Dawgs! Man up and kick some Gator tail!

Hairy Dawg

October 26th, 2012
7:11 pm

If our guys win this game, then I’ll respect them the way I want to respect ‘em.

beanster

October 26th, 2012
8:05 pm

I do not believe UGA will win tomorrow. If they do, I will gladly eat my hat. Question is, will all you “positive” fans finally concede that our coach has lost his edge?

I want to beat UF. I really do. This coaching staff has done absolutely nothing to lead me to believe that it will happen. I hope I am wrong.

Enough of the pointing fingers Dawg fans. I love the Dawgs as much as anyone. I just want a competent leader. That doesn’t make me a bad fan. Just a person who wants the best for our team and refuses to settle for less. It’s put up or shut up time.

GO DAWGS!

Mobile Dawg

October 26th, 2012
8:35 pm

I too am sick of the Tennessee comparison Bill, it’s little league. We go down tomorrow without a fight, look like we typically do in a big game, unprepared, it has to be over for Richt. I’m not convinced there aren’t more losses on the schedule, Ole Miss, Auburn, even Tech.

To me this is Richt’s biggest stage and his opportunity to prove us naysayers wrong. If he wants to continue collecting his salary it’s time he earns it.

Smarticus

October 26th, 2012
9:13 pm

The challenge to most UGA fans who go to Jacksonville will be the long drive back after witinessing a world class beatdown at the hands of UF.

Perhaps they should ponder the wisdom of giving that idiot Richt an extension last year when they could not beat a winning team and their team has been in decline for at least five years.

Smarticus

October 26th, 2012
9:15 pm

Richt must know that this is probably his last gig… He should just drive to Tallahassessee instead of back to Athens. We don’t want him back in Athens ever. Even if we have to pay him additional millions in unearned income.

Smarticus

October 26th, 2012
9:30 pm

I am ready to fire the entire UGA coaching staff, no exceptions.

Start completely over, and hire a priest to exorcise McWhorter Hall.

Dawg_Central

October 26th, 2012
10:21 pm

@dawg fud………I bet the Vol fans would die to have fulmer back………name me one coach that UGA should hire over Mark Richt………national titles are hard as heck to win…….thats why they are prestigious…..steve spurrier only has 1……and he is an awesome coach…….but give me 1 name UGA should hire over mark richt???? Im curious…..

Dawg_Central

October 26th, 2012
10:26 pm

VA dawg……..mark richt has won 75% of his games playing in the SEC…..he has had 7 10 win season…..2 sec titles……5 sec east titles………7-4 in bowl games………..64-29 against sec teams…………..and is a class act….doesnt disgrace the program and doesnt act like an idiot on or off the field…….and you think he should be fired…..LMAO…..soooooo….who should UGA hire……give me 1 name better

Reality Dawg

October 27th, 2012
1:58 am

Dawg Central, read back through the posts, I listed four coaches who could do a better job than Richt.

ugalee

October 27th, 2012
3:50 am

The fla game is one of the most emotional rivalries in the country . We are going into this game w a coach that thinks barely beating ky is fine. I cant even remember when a Richt coached team even played w a pulse. The best thing for uga as a program at this point is to get blown out so that we can get this whole mess over with and move on before he embarrasses us anymore and destroys the program. He has lost all o f the fire he once had and its painful watching this staff go through the motions wi th the best talent in the country

chipper

October 27th, 2012
7:09 am

I don’t get the pundits or fans. Georgia can’t beat Florida any longer, even under the most favorable circumstances – and certainly not two years in a row. How is it that anyone can figure they have a snowball’s chance of beating a team that has an ultra-motivated coach with a team that has supreme tenacity and a desire to win against anyone they encounter on the field. Duh: Gators in a first-half blowout that will get worse in the fourth quarter when Mark Richt leaves for an early Sunday service.

The Gator

October 27th, 2012
8:02 am

Dawg Fans, all this negativity and you haven’t even lost yet? Don’t you realize that you are 6-1 with a very talented team? So what if Vegas finally likes the Gators to win. They favored the Gators’ opponents three times this season; the spread means nothing.

Yes, the Gators should probably win by 20 on paper. But this IS a rivalry game and you DO have a talented team. There are two dirty little secrets this season: (1) Your offensive line is not very good; and (2) Your expectations were set by strong performances against lesser opponents. But still, this is a true rivalry game.

Nobody wants to hear it, but the Fulmer firing experience at Tennessee is a very real trap for Georgia. Richt is a very good coach; he just isn’t a great coach. Not too many schools have the good luck to fire a John Cooper and hire Jim Tressel; or fire Tressel and end up with Urban Meyer.

And there is another problem. In the current SEC, you face some structural problems because Alabama and Florida will continue to suck the regional air out of recruiting with the current on-the-field performance, and Spurrier has become a problem by walling off South Carolina.

Somebody pointed out in these comments yesterday or the day before (previous post) that Georgia has had the most SEC players drafted by the NFL since 2001. That struck me as odd, so I went and did a little research. turns out it’s true but it’s a bit misleading.

A few interesting observations:

(1) While Georgia has had the most players drafted, they trail Alabama, Florida and LSU in number of currently active NFL players.
(2) The Bulldogs have not had any single season during at least the past decade when they had the MOST players drafted of any SEC school. The significance of this fact is particularly evident when you look at the numbers drafted from Alabama and Florida in the drafts immediately following their national championship seasons. The totals exceed Georgia’s best single year totals. Georgia’s biggest draft year, not incidentally, followed its 2002 SEC Championship season.
(3) Florida holds the longest streak in the SEC for consecutive years with at least one player drafted: every year since 1952.

So, does Richt under-perform with the talent he has? Would the Dawgs be better if he were more intense and more hard-nosed. Almost certainly yes to both questions. But when you look beneath the superficial talent numbers to the details within, every season has its own unique realities.

And the fundamental reality is this: Having great talent isn’t enough if other teams have even more talent. Even if a rival SEC team has only one more draftable player in a given average year, that means they may have four or five more draftable players on their roster at any given time. This situation fairly describes a Georgia / Florida roster comparison right now. South Carolina proved last week that having two superstars isn’t enough. And Georgia proved it a couple years ago with Matthew Stafford and A.J. Green. Georgia’s greatest season in the modern era (1980) was characterized by freakish good luck in talent (Herschel Walker, Buck Belue, Lindsay Scott, et al).

So bottom line: What really matters in the current era is DEPTH of talent. And to win that battle, it’s tough to compete with the biggest school in the most populous Southeastern state (Florida), or the best head football coach in the NCAA at the most storied program (Alabama).

banders1

October 27th, 2012
8:12 am

Yes, I’m ready to fire Grantham as well.

banders1

October 27th, 2012
8:14 am

Love how Bill reminds us of Fulmer and Tenn, as if that’s the only program that replaced a long time coach. That’s only one example. The state of Georgia puts the 4th most amount of players in the NFL. We have the talent – now we just need the coaching. The kids aren’t getting that from the current coaching staff.

NCDawg

October 27th, 2012
8:45 am

IF and I say IF, the Dawgs lose today… we should can the whole staff and bring in Kirby Smart. I think he has the experience and the temperament to run a big program. He has studied under and been a large part of Saban’s success at Bama. He is a Dawg and I think he would jump at a chance to coach at his Alma mater.
That said I am willing to wait until the game is decided today to throw myself totally on the fire CMR bandwagon. Today is a referendum on the state of the Georgia football program. Right the ship or else. It’s all very simple. And no I am not afraid to make the change if we lose. We can get a top notch coach in here and win in a hurry.

Dog4Life

October 27th, 2012
8:52 am

I don’t know Altamaha–Bama fired Curry or perkins (?) because he could not beat Auburn. His record was not bad–in fact it was comparable to CMRs. Remember it is not always about Wins and Losses, but rather who one has those wins and losses against–who one loses too is more important at times than how many losses one has (a 6 and 7 season is bad, but if we had beat fla it would at least have been palatable). Moreover, if one cannot beat their main division rivals and then begin to lose to others that once one was dominant over–well that adds another factor to the equation. Losing to Fla on a regular basis, now SC and no wins against quality opponents forces one to rethink the scheme, the plan, and the current agenda–sometimes one must change CEOs just to get the company growing again. It is incumbent upon this staff to produce a quality product and the fact remains, we as fans are at present time getting short changed on our return of investment. I graduated UGA twice, am a season ticket holder in football and basketball, I give money on a regular basis, and am not quick with the change in mid-stream mentality, but how long does one stay the course before change becomes inevitable, but at such a late date with more consequences than if change had been implemented sooner. You are correct, we do not want a Tenn, but i think all would agree, we would accept a Bama. But, if we win today in a solid fashion, then at least for the moment all will be forgiven. Sorry, but that is the lot of a fickle fan base–everyone loves a winner and everyone grouses about losing. (Nature of the beast)!! Good Luck everyone GOOO DAAWWGGSS!!!!

sogadog

October 27th, 2012
8:59 am

The decline in toughness and play of the O line began with the loss of Neil Callaway. Dawg fans overlook how big a loss Callaway was. He is a hard nosed football coach and I would like to see him return to UGA as the offensive coordinator with Bobo coaching QBs.

Depressed Dawg

October 27th, 2012
9:02 am

I really don’t know which makes me more mad; the fact that most people out there are picking florida (many of whom think the will win by at least 2 touchdowns), or the fact that I agree with them. It’s a different team here guys. We have heart, but no balls. When we get hit in the mouth, we fall over and die. Florida wins by 17 and UGA looses the recruiting battle for another four years.

PigIron

October 27th, 2012
9:11 am

@AltamahaDawg
October 26th, 2012
1:00 pm

“But IMO. NONE of those schools you mentioned, Florida, Alabama, Clemson, ND, SC, would fire Mark Richt after this year.”

Not true. Alabama fired Curry after a 10 win season. Tennessee didn’t fire Fulmer for having losing seasons, but for having low turnout at home games. If your program isn’t moving forward, then it’s moving backward. There is no “coast” mode in the SEC.

Dog4Life

October 27th, 2012
9:19 am

Very good post The gator. I also did some fact checking and I agree with your analysis. I also went a little further back looking just at W/L nothing more (incldng bowl games) Since 1980 up to 2010 (when I compiled the data) UGA has a winning record against LSU, Bama, SC, not so good against Fla and Tenn–but overall leads both series. In fact UGA has more Ws than any other SEC team since 1980 except Fla (their winning percentage since 1992 is awesome). In that interim, we have 1 NC, 5 SECC and a better than average bowl record. The point is that as Gator pointed out this is a good program always loaded with comparable — sometime better or a little less than better than other programs–with a more consistent winning percentage except Fla–but it is the recent W/Ls and percentages that worry fans–hopefully all this is cyclical and it will come back around. The numbers actually startled me I didn’t expect so much consistency but when one looks at other programs they too suffer through ups and downs–the big RUB is the NCs. Good Luck everyone.

PigIron

October 27th, 2012
9:26 am

@Dog4Life

You’re right. Every team has it’s ups and downs.

The salient question is whether this current “up” period for Georgia meets expectations.

RHall55

October 27th, 2012
10:04 am

Florida will show UGA’s weaknesses on their Caoching staff….Bobo, Garner, Friend…to the lack of fire from Richt…to the lack of S&C of Tereshinski….to the lack of Player Development of VanHalenger….very liitle signature wins from this group in the last (5) years!!!

Ludowici

October 27th, 2012
11:05 am

if fla wins again, mcgarity needs to get this game moved to athens—I’m tired of ga losing down in jacksonville–fla has all the advantages being an hour from the game. Ga players have to travel for hours to get to the game. If fla doesn’t like it, too bad.

Ft.Worth dawg

October 27th, 2012
12:32 pm

How many times will Bobo run the ball up the middle today?
Let’s all keep count!

Eric C.

October 27th, 2012
12:58 pm

“…And that’s a heck of a lot better than many programs will experience this season.”

How many times do we have to hear this???

When do we hear, “…the talent is a heck of a lot better than many programs and there is not much excuse for consistently under-performing.”

Dog4Life

October 27th, 2012
1:48 pm

PigIron, that is the question isn’t it? and I have no answer. I am trying to remain cautiously optimistic if at all possible. Just received bad news, actually watched replay on ESPN–Marcus Lattimore looks to have torn his ACL/MCL again on the same knee (nothing confirmed at present–just speculation). I hate it for the kid and his family.