Midseason report card: Injuries, defense, special teams pull down grade

The 2013 Georgia Bulldogs get a mixed report at midterm. (Jason Getz / AJC)

The 2013 Georgia Bulldogs get a mixed report at midterm. (Jason Getz / AJC)

With six of the 12 regular season games in the books, it’s time to assess where Mark Richt’s 2013 Bulldogs stand at the midpoint of the season. Here’s what grades I’d assign if I were issuing their midterm report card …

Offense: B+

Actually, this should be two grades — pre-injuries and post-injuries. Before the Knoxville Massacre, I’d have given Mike Bobo’s offense an A-, with only the inconsistency on the offensive line keeping the Dawgs from an A or even A+. At that point, you were pretty sure Georgia could score almost at will on any defense in the country. But losing a bunch of playmakers has hurt, especially on third down and in the red zone. Plus, the OL is faltering again, which tends to make Aaron Murray nervous. And that usually means turnovers. So the post-injuries grade is a solid B.

Not a happy teacher-student conference between safety Quincy Mauger and Todd Grantham. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Not a happy teacher-student conference between safety Quincy Mauger and Todd Grantham. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Defense: D+

Breaking this grade down, I’d give the defensive line a B; the pass rush has improved tremendously since the light came on for the Rev. Ray Drew, and Georgia’s run defense has been pretty good. Linebacker play has been average, I’d say, which is a C. But the secondary, especially with Tray Matthews sidelined, has been flat-out terrible, especially the play of the safeties, earning an F. They’ve made third down a cross-your-fingers moment most of the time. In fact, with that bunch out on the field it’s hard to feel confident going up against any SEC offense.

Special teams: C+

Before the season, I never would have thought placekicking would have turned out to the strong suit of Georgia’s much-maligned special teams play so far, but Patrick Beless did stellar work filling for Marshall Morgan in the first two games (with a bad snap resulting in the only breakdown) and since his return Morgan has made some clutch (and long) field goals and been perfect on PATs. So I give that portion of the game an A-. Kickoffs have been less consistent, with not enough touchbacks and that one long return for a touchdown against North Texas. And Georgia hasn’t really developed its own return threat. That portion of the game merits a C. And then there’s the punting game. Before his concussion, Collin Barber was booming the ball, but bad snaps (again!) and poor protection produced a couple of blocks that gave points to the other side. Punt coverage has been pretty good, but Georgia still doesn’t really try to return punts. So overall punting gets a D, pulling down the average.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo tops the coaching grades. (Associated Press)

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo tops the coaching grades. (Associated Press)

Coaching: C+

Every Georgia fan’s former favorite whipping boy, Bobo, leads the pack at midterm with an A-. He still goes conservative with those third-down runs up the middle a little too often for my liking, but when he had his full arsenal of players he was calling games about as well as anybody in the country. I especially like that he’s rolled Murray out of the pocket more, and his mix of the short and long passing game is much better than in past seasons. Highly paid defensive coordinator Todd Grantham gets a D+. I realize he’s been hampered by inexperienced personnel, especially in the secondary, but his second-half adjustments have been lacking (I don’t buy his argument that he doesn’t want to stress out his green players with a change in schemes), the younger players have shown little progress, and his attitude (it’s never his fault) is poor. Since special teams coaching is a piecemeal effort at Georgia, overall I’d mark that as an incomplete, but the punting situation definitely merits a barely passing grade. And as head coach I’d give Richt a solid B so far this season. His team came out only a little flat for its only cupcake game so far and has played well against its highest ranked opponents.

Overall grade: B-

Numerically, this actually would come out closer to a C+, but I give the Dogs extra credit for wins over South Carolina and LSU.

That’s how I’d grade Georgia at this point. What do you think? Am I too hard on Grantham and his troops? Should the special teams grade be even lower? Feel free to offer your own report cards …

Go Dogs!

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

209 comments Add your comment

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
7:33 am

I post an article about the dedicated special teams coach and the stats on who has one and all and the only person to comment is a dogmatic head case that conveniently forgot to mention the pertinent points of the article.

Typical. Severe tunnel vision.

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
7:37 am

2 points that were mentioned and the nut job skipped :
1) “By my count, 20 teams have a dedicated special teams coach that aren’t in charge of another position.”

2)”Richt has split up special teams duties among his assistant coaches throughout his time as head coach.
“Sometimes if you give it to one guy everybody looks at it like, `That’s your job and I don’t have to worry about it,’” Richt said. “There’s a lot of different ways to skin it.”

3)”Many teams choose a tight ends, running backs or linebackers coach to be the special teams coordinator.

Boston College’s special teams coordinator also coaches the sam linebackers and the nickel package. Talk about varied roles.
“I can easily say John Lilly is the special teams coordinator because he’s the one that does coordinate who has certain meeting times, who has certain practice times and he makes sure we’re all on the same page,” Richt said of his tight ends coach. “I think it’s a matter of semantics half the time.”

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

October 18th, 2013
7:38 am

NC Dawg is determined to have a good defense. But kool-aid determination results in 33 years of preseason hopes.

AltamahaDawg

October 18th, 2013
7:45 am

I’m lost, NC. who are you referring too?

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
7:46 am

“and WHO can possible be the expert on: Kicking, blocking, catching, running, snapping………all at the same time”

I would say finding that person is more important than having a Tight Ends coach; having a TE’s coach as you would say is more silly than having a person with knowledge of how to fix kickers making sure snapping and blocking are taken care of and getting players in position

Dooley hired Bill Hartman as the specialty coach who gave us some great kickers;

Dooley knew the importance of special teams and if you listened to the post game show you will here Butler mention how Dooley made the guys practice it all the time

Our special teams have been an issue for years; yes we’ve had some good special teams place kickers and punters but we have had constant problems with miscues that continually goes unfixed

AltamahaDawg

October 18th, 2013
7:47 am

ah never mind, I scanned back

YES, he overlooked the entire point of the article.

AltamahaDawg

October 18th, 2013
7:49 am

So for you, its fire the tight end coach to open up that spot. ok.

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
7:55 am

As you can see the head case is counting on you to not visit the link and read for yourself. He uses this and deceptively inserts his own opinion knowing that most like will be what you see and read.

The whole point is out of 123 teams, only 20 have a DEDICATED special teams coach. Most do it the way that Georgia does it and Coach Richt CHOOSES to not name a single person as the Special Teams coordinator to avoid having other coaches drop the ball in that one person’s lap.

That one person would most likely be John Lilly is he were to do that.

The special teams problems are not because of lack of a dedicated special teams coach. The fraud that responded intentionally cherry picked the information that suited his POV. This is the epitome of deception and why you should take anything these dogmatic nut jobs say with a grain of salt.

You can guarantee that the “facts” they present are incomplete and heavily edited to support their POV only. Their is no objectivity in it at all. REALISM is not carefully editing facts to only support your position.

FRAUD.

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
7:56 am

I broke up point 2 into 2 and 3. BTW.

AltamahaDawg

October 18th, 2013
7:57 am

Well, I’d say having an excellence longsnapping history,(never had a problem before that I can remember) probably indicates that the system for that is NOT the issue. There might be a more logical variable, IMO.

rambodawg

October 18th, 2013
7:58 am

Everytime I see the UGA’s AD name I get mad all over again, talk about under qualified for a job. He gets a premier job and has no executive experience. I almost laugh when I see fans talk about a man with a whole lot less experience in sports in general calling the shots on who is hired and fired at one of the top grossing football program in America.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
7:58 am

NCDawg

I read your article and the article easily shows how Richt doesnt put any emphases on the importance of special teams when you continually hand it over to several coaches what does it tell you…….

oh here; “its your turn to clean the bathroom this week” is basically what has been happening

so if it really is Lilly heading up the special teams then Richt needs to make a change dont you think or are we going to make excuses

AltamahaDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:00 am

We’re going to have something like the last 3 SEC record holding kickers, so not sure we need somebody to “fix’ that either.

BTW, we already have a private kicking coach working with our current guy, so you think a “blocking” expert, can do better than a professional dedicated private tutor?

Pago Pago Dawg

October 18th, 2013
8:00 am

Vandy may not be a pushover. Don’t go to sleep on UK and App. State.
Remember a few years ago, App. State knocked off M Go Blue in The Big House.
But,when you have ten top ten recruiting classes in the last ten years…no problem. Or is it …coaching?

AltamahaDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:02 am

Or a “kicking’ coach can teach Quayvon Hicks how to block his man, (and not whiff) better than his position coach?

rambodawg

October 18th, 2013
8:03 am

Here’s a mind blowing stat concerning special teams. Blair Walsh is 45-48 as a NFL kicker (91%)

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:04 am

Altamaha – I won’t refer to this person directly any longer. I do not debate psych patients. It is a waste of time. BUT the blatant attempt to distort the contents of the article could not go unchallenged.

You of all people should know by now that he and a some others on here are so invested in their dogma that they twist anything and everything to suit their POV. It doesn’t matter to them that they mangle truth. It only matters that they perceive that they have won the debate. Truth be damned.

AltamahaDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:05 am

I am positive if you asked Richt, his coaches, his players, or anyone associated with the program, if YOUR vast knowledge of the situation qualifies you to say that they obviously put no emphasis on special teams, they would laugh you out of the room.

AltamahaDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:07 am

And you think Blair Walsh, is so good because he was trained so poorly at Georgia? he had one of the best college careers of anybody. You are not even making a point.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
8:09 am

I didnt overlook anything in the article

Richt says ““I can easily say John Lilly is the special teams coordinator because he’s the one that does coordinate who has certain meeting times, who has certain practice times and he makes sure we’re all on the same page,”

Instead of just saying John Lilly is the special teams coach; we get a long winded well because Lilly does the following things; “I can easily say Lilly is the special teams coach

So again the point is what is being done about the special teams continual miscues; NOTHING and thats the point

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
8:11 am

” I do not debate psych patients”

This coming from the guy who thinks Richt is winning the national title in the next 3 years

ok sure :roll:

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:14 am

LOL – Hartman was a volunteer assistant coach… you can’t even get that straight you twisted idiot.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
8:14 am

I never said anything about the punters and kickers

the point was the emphasis that Dooley had on special teams as a whole

yea we’ve had some of the nations best punters and kickers but the special teams miscues have been the issue

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 18th, 2013
8:16 am

Matt Eberflus – currently with Dallas Cowboys – past history DC for Missou Tigers, LB coach Browns played at Toledo and LB coach there.

*** eliminated for DC candidate – what has he won?

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 18th, 2013
8:17 am

Ellis Johnson would be an excellent candidate but he’s tied up with Aubarn now that they got him away from Spurrier.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
8:18 am

“Kickers make the difference

In 1974, Vince Dooley made a personnel decision that energized Georgia’s offensive game plan. In the process, he began a tradition that is . . . well, still alive and kicking nearly 30 years later.

Allan Leavitt (1973-76)

Rex Robinson (1977-80)

Kevin Butler (1981-84)

Steve Crumley (1985-88)

John Kasay (1987-90)
The personnel decision involved hiring former Georgia All-American Bill Hartman Jr. (BSC ‘37) to be the first kicking coach in UGA history—and one of the few specialty coaches in the entire country at that time. Dooley and Hartman agreed that if they could develop a placekicker who was a consistent scoring threat, the Dogs would attempt more field goals than they had in the past.

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:22 am

Ok… enough… I’m out of here. I will not get sucked into this any further. It is no longer entertaining when you have to restate a point several times to set straight deliberate distortions. It’s too much like politics.

I come here to be entertained and hopefully share thoughts with other Georgia Bulldog fans. I do not come here to spend my time undoing lies and distortions.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
8:24 am

Ok

Im still being entertained at the thought of us winning a national title the next 3 yrs

old dog

October 18th, 2013
8:28 am

The defense has “assumed the position”………i.e. the d-backs say “Lets see who catches the third down ball, then maybe we will tackle them.” It seems as though the D-scheme is not being taught that well, is too complicated, or a little of both. And (my pet peave) our beloved band plays that droning on the opponents third down that should be changed form “Worst third-down noise ever” to “Prelude to opponents getting a first down”, as they have certainly been successful at that lately. I am not a fan of the D we are running now at all….there has to be too much talent at ALL positions to sort of “hide” anyone. Our O, on the otherhand, is so short-handed that they are to be commended for being competative. Injuries are a part of the game, but never in my MANY years of watching UGA ball have I ever seen this big a number to so many key players.

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:28 am

“Hartman, a former player and assistant for the Bulldogs, had been in the insurance business full-time when Dooley asked him to return to the field as his voluntary kicking coach in the early 1970s. From that time forward, Georgia boasted some of the best kickers in history of the SEC: Allan Leavitt, Rex Robinson, Kevin Butler, John Kasay, Todd Peterson.

When the NCAA eliminated positions like Hartman’s in 1992, Dooley was frantic to come up with a solution. Finally, he decided to ask Hartman to become a graduate assistant coach.”

He was never a paid member of the staff. The NCAA eliminated volunteer assistants in 1992.

More distorted “facts” Thanks for making my point for me.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 18th, 2013
8:28 am

DC coordinator candidates list: additions are being accepted at this time – send your recommendation
#1 Van Gorder – submitted by Flat Tire
#2 Bud Foster – submitted by BS35 (and Mark Richt as he was Richt’s 1st choice)
#3 Dick Bumpas – submitted by Flat Tire (TCU’s current DC for 10 years)

NCDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:28 am

Gone… tired of liars.

rambodawg

October 18th, 2013
8:30 am

Blair Walsh was 21-35 on FG his senior yr at UGA, that was pathetic

McDawg

October 18th, 2013
8:33 am

saw the Mizzou game for the 1st time last night –and had i been watching live i would have thought the dawgs would pull it out

JJ Green is a stud and B. Douglas is a guy you want on your roster

Blake Tibbs needs to see the field more

and i just can’t believe they can’t come up with a scheme where the safeties know what the hel lthey are doing

stop trying to disguise coverage only people it fools is the defense

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
8:35 am

what point did you make

My point was Dooley believed in special teams and went out and did something about it; Richt doesnt and continues to not think it is

so what point did you make

Bulldawg35

October 18th, 2013
8:37 am

Our next best shot at winning the east will be 2016. Because we will be starting over with 2 new qb’s for the couple of years….it’s pretty sad Murray ends up in the peach bowl for his senior year….I know I’m sad for him!

Bulldawg35

October 18th, 2013
8:42 am

JHC was told by our new rookie db’s in the NFL…that the play book at UGA is more complicated than the NFL play book…..that’s not good at all. This confirmed all of my suspicions as to why we are over thinking and not reacting quick enough….oh well just something else Grantham can add to his resume.

Bulldawg35

October 18th, 2013
8:46 am

Ncdawg would probably pay 500 bucks to take ride in Richt’s ford f- 150! Haha.

Bulldawg35

October 18th, 2013
8:50 am

I think we should just fire Grantham right now….and promote Chris Wilson to interim DC. See how he does with it….before we hire somebody else.

dawgfan

October 18th, 2013
8:51 am

It’s a mistake getting bogged down in details with the Kool Aiders. That’s all they want to talk about because they have nothing to say about the big picture. No championship if any kind in 8 years despite Top 10 recruiting classes and top NFL draft picks and a record shattering QB.

It just doesn’t add up. Somebody isn’t doing their job. Who could it be Kool Aiders? I know. Let’s blame the cheerleaders.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 18th, 2013
8:52 am

Cecil Flo – submitted by Flat Tire – declined for the list

With Titans coached DB’s that were 29th against the pass
26th against the run

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
8:53 am

you would think by now someone would see the 3-4 isnt going to work and would make changes

dawgfan

October 18th, 2013
8:55 am

One would think. But I’m sure Richt has a perfectly rational explanation or it that Altamaha will fill us in on shortly.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
9:02 am

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 18th, 2013
9:03 am

John Marshall – DC candidate submitted by Flat Tire – declined

born 1945 – just to near retirement at 68 years old
great player in the NFL

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
9:03 am

when in doubt

a great go to excuse is player execution

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
9:05 am

Flo

Go ahead and add Muschamp seeing he probably wont be at FL at the end of next season

dawgfan

October 18th, 2013
9:10 am

Since when do you have to have a replacement lined up before you fire a coach? When has this ever happened in the history of college football Floriduh? Our defense sucks under Grantham. He isn’t getting it done. We have very little to lose by firing him. That’s the whole freaking point. What planet are you on? There must be vast oceans of Kool Aid there.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 18th, 2013
9:14 am

dawgfan

a lot of our fanbase enjoy paying these high salaries for no results

I mentioned hiring a High school coach; you will either get the same results cause it cant get any worse or it will get better and you save money

dawgfan

October 18th, 2013
9:18 am

Halfway through the season and we’re still DEAD LAST in the SEC in points given up but the Kool Aiders ask “who could do better?” Oh gee I don’t know. Howabout a freaking tree stump?

They act like we’re Kentucky or somebody.