A bad day all-round for Georgia’s Bulldogs

Aaron Murray was just one of numerous Bulldogs who had a bad day Saturday against Vandy. (Associaed Press)

Aaron Murray was just one of numerous Bulldogs who had a bad day Saturday against Vandy. (Associaed Press)

The wheels officially came off a once-promising season for Georgia Saturday in Nashville on a day when the Bulldogs failed in just about every facet of the game.

You know the old saw about it being “a team loss”? This is one game where that isn’t just a way of deflecting blame from one or two players. Just about everyone on both sides of the ball plus the coaching staff was to blame in this devastating loss, which probably eliminated Georgia from any chance for another SEC East title.

Running down the Dogs’ sorry performance against the Commodores, we find a familiar litany of problems:

  • Three more special teams meltdowns — including a allowing a fake field goal to turn into a touchdown, a turnover on a fumbled punt reception, and yet another bad snap that went over the punter’s head — led to Vandy points.
  • Damian Swann had another mostly terrible day, getting burned on long passes and, worst of all, mishandling the fumbled punt. He did have one pass breakup late in the game, but in general the junior cornerback has become a liability whenever he’s on the field.
  • With the Vandy defense exerting constant pressure, the offensive line and Aaron Murray both played poorly, with the Dogs basically having no downfield passing game (the longest Georgia pass play for the day went 17 yards and that was on a screen), receivers dropping too many of Murray’s short passes when they weren’t off-target, and Georgia forced to rely in the end on a freshman back who had a key fumble for the second week in a row.
  • Reverting to the worst excesses of the days when fans were calling for his head, Mike Bobo went all ultra-conservative, culminating in one of his worst third-down calls ever with yet another run up the middle stuffed when the game was on the line. (Georgia was a miserable four out of 14 on third down Saturday.)
  • Once again, the defense couldn’t handle an offense being run by a backup quarterback. Vandy scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
  • On this day the even the officiating went badly against Georgia, with two questionable targeting calls, one of which saw Ray Drew, the Dogs’ best defensive player, ejected from the game in the first half.
  • And in an already injury-plagued season, the final play of the game, which resulted in an interception, saw one of Georgia’s few remaining pass-catching threats, Chris Conley, left crumpled on the field.

Am I forgetting anything that went wrong? Probably. It was that terrible a day for the Bulldogs.

What went right? Well, freshman Shaq Wiggins, who shows signs of being a future star, made a great play by successfully anticipating a screen pass and making an interception in the Vandy backfield that he returned for a touchdown.

And that’s about it for highlights.

So what we end up with is a season that saw two big wins over Top 10 teams and talk of a possible shot at the national championship disintegrating amid too many injuries, a vulnerable young defense that hasn’t gotten any better, and continued ineptitude on special teams.

Looks like Georgia and Florida, which lost to sudden juggernaut Missouri Saturday, might be playing for a berth in the Chick-fil-A Bowl two weeks from now in Jacksonville.

Got something you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

826 comments Add your comment

todd44dawg

October 20th, 2013
11:33 am

Richt needs to fire Grantham and divide salary by two and hire special teamd coach. Richt’s loyalty will cost him one day.

SadDawgFan

October 20th, 2013
11:34 am

If you think losing to Vandy hurts…… Just watch what the loss does to future DAWG RECRUITING !!!

No one wants to play for a loser and these games are killing the Dawgs FUTURE!

drsouls

October 20th, 2013
11:38 am

Oh…dear John… a good coach and team, who recruits such a high level of talent never runs out of players….more excuses with the injuries…. you plan, practice, develop and coach to this ‘in the big leagues’…but, therein lies the problem….UGA is NOT in the big leagues…

SanAntoDawg

October 20th, 2013
11:38 am

I don’t think firing Richt is the answer either, but why wont he fire the OC or DC for under-performing? Texas D was embarrassed earlier this year and they fired manny Diaz the next day. Why? Because their D wasnt playing up to Texas standards. Guess our standard is to let every team see how many points they can score on us. Maybe next year some NFL teams can feign interest again and we can give that loser CTG ( I’m giving him the “CHOKE” sign right now), a raise and an extension.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 20th, 2013
11:42 am

The object is to get a “W” – not to run up the score. The Dawgs had the game well in hand until the special teams, once again, reared it’s ugly head. I don’t know how much a special teams coach can help Damien Swann catch a ball. He knows HOW to do it – but he didn’t. I don’t how much a special teams coach can help Frix or Theus with hiking the ball – when they have done it correctly hundreds of times (if not thousands) in practice. The pressure got to them, it was wet …. I know that no one can be harder on them than they are on themselves. YOU whiners & crybabies on here don’t help things any – just adds to their pressure.

It is possible that UGA would be undefeated now if it were not for special teams “gaffes” as Bill King calls it. While it may not help – hiring a special teams coach that works only with special teams and is supposed to be among the best it won’t hurt. Richt needs to change his philosophy and change his mind about this. Saban calls this coach “a special assistant” and that is how he gets around the rules regulating how many coaches you can have. NCAA has not seen a problem with it – so do it!

I stand with my Dawgs – the players that give their all on and off the field. I support the Dawgs/

short memories

October 20th, 2013
11:42 am

and did Texas let their fear keep them from firing their d coach. No and what happened – they beat Oklahoma . It worked for them. How is hanging on to mediocrity working for Georgia?

todd44dawg

October 20th, 2013
11:46 am

maybe we stop playin real football.Start pplayin flag football because obviously the refs made at least two terrible calls

JB at home

October 20th, 2013
11:51 am

If any assit. coach get fired at UGA , it will be McGarity’s call. Richt will not fire anyone. McGarity fired ( or made Richt) fire Martinez. Eveyone knows we were very lucky to beat Tennessee. Don’t know if we could beat them again………………..But in all fairness, give us all our skill players back, we are undefeated and ranked in the top 7 or 8. Still with a lousy defense, but cruising. Richt lack of head coaching talent reared it’s ugly head yesterday. I have always been one to believe what success he’s had is due to pure talent in Athens vs coaching….and that’s a fact.

SanAntoDawg

October 20th, 2013
11:51 am

LOVE MY DAWGS!

Desert Fox

October 20th, 2013
11:52 am

SanAntoDawg

October 20th, 2013
11:26 am

Noteworthy comment. Throw in that sideline lateral pass to the WR. when he’s lucky, he’ll have a blocker in front of him. If there’s a blocker there are 3 defenders covering them because they know its coming. Its never worked even against lesser opponents, yet, Bozo and CMR continue to do it. GA is so vanilla on offense they might as well give their opponents the play book especially w/all the injuries on O. Vandy stoned GA on the front line, yet, Bozo remained conservative when he should have rolled AM out or gone outside more. we lost to vandy due to poor coaching, ST play, and the refusal to do some things differently. The fumbles should not have occurred and one killed the last drive. Yet, one thing will remain constant. they’ll do the same crapola again and again. Sad.

JB at home

October 20th, 2013
11:57 am

Well, it’s official, Dawgs out of top 25 thank goodness. No expectations on this bunch right now is best.

JB at home

October 20th, 2013
11:58 am

Ole Miss beat LSU with five starters out last night being reported. Difference. They wanted it.

JB at home

October 20th, 2013
11:58 am

Out on defense that is

JB at home

October 20th, 2013
12:01 pm

Desert Fox………….My favorite Bobo call is the delay draw. It’s the play where Murray holds the ball out for like 2 seconds while staring ahead, giving the defense time to all get in the backfield, then hands the ball to the RB, who is tackled at once for a 3 yard loss. A real favorite.

JB at home

October 20th, 2013
12:03 pm

On a serious note, let’s hope the return of Bennett and Gurley for Florida help.

SanAntoDawg

October 20th, 2013
12:11 pm

Speaking of Gurley, and player safety, the NCAA needs to look into making the tackle that took him out a personal foul, I’ve seen that same tackle in so many games that ends up in the same kind of injury.

SanAntoDawg

October 20th, 2013
12:12 pm

The wrap up the body and throw your weight into the back of their legs tackle.

warhawk

October 20th, 2013
12:13 pm

FSU winning…and UGA losing….it has been a good weekend. Now if the Bucs can beat the Falcons it will be a Great weekend.

UGA just needs to learn how to recruit in their own back-yard. Great recruits are going out of State (to Bama, ‘Noles, Clemson, USC, and etc). The #1 Recruit in the country next year (Hyatt), is looking at both FSU and Clemson.

Go ‘Noles and Bucs

Vandy Alum

October 20th, 2013
12:14 pm

Look at it this way people: The stars all aligned for Vandy yesterday. The refs shot UGA in the foot, then some alarming special-teams play administered a ‘coup de grace.’ That happens sometimes. But ironically, at the end of the day, the Vandy win most likely will hurt the Dores’ program more than the Dawgs’. UGA has the resources and fan base to right its ship when it starts to list. James Franklin got the signature win he needed in an otherwise unimpressive season to keep him on the radar screens of major-program ADs. My guess is he’ll be gone at the end of this season if offered a great opportunity. At that point, Vandy likely will take two steps back. That’s the frustrating thing about Vandy football—we lose even when we win.

SanAntoDawg

October 20th, 2013
12:19 pm

Hey Vandy Alum can we have your coach?

Joe 12-Pack

October 20th, 2013
12:24 pm

Mark Richt is not without fault here. It all began after the LSU game when he acted like they just won the Super Bowl. He should’ve reigned in that celebration and focused on the task at hand which includes not becoming complacent.
If you saw his post-game presser, he still has not learned. It was all excuse making and cliches.

Vandy Alum

October 20th, 2013
12:31 pm

The answer is, “Probably. Make him an offer he’d be foolish to refuse.” Big-time athletics curiously seems to have some sort of special exemption from contract law (and tortious interference), so his contractual obligations to Vanderbilt shouldn’t be a major obstacle.

dawgfan

October 20th, 2013
1:07 pm

Many big money donors want to see Richt go. He’s not a big time football coach. He doesn’t have the stones to match up with the big boys of the SEC. If you like Outback Bowls, embarassing losses to Vandy, and no championships he’s your guy. For those of us that want more the excuses are grading on our nerves. There are many more of us than you realize.

Your boy is going down Kool Aiders. You can’t say he wasn’t given his chances.

Nemoque

October 20th, 2013
1:08 pm

UGA has had more talent than any other SEC team, maybe more than any team in the NCAA, but it has accomplished nothing with it. Murray’s team has no NC’s and no SEC championships. UGA won the East when it was way down from its previous years. This has inflated UGA’s winning record. The bottom line is that UGA has way underachieved under Richt.

NCDawg

October 20th, 2013
1:12 pm

Ok – so here are some questions for you know it alls:

1) Who’s fault is it when a QB throws a pass and it is flat out dropped?
2) Name 1 team that could lose that much firepower and NOT struggle?
3) For those of you OOOing and AHHHing over Auburn’s offense – who is the WORST defense in the SEC? HINT: it isn’t Georgia.
4) Who has the most fair weather, disloyal fans in the NCAA?
5) Do you think Gus Malzahn or Kevin Sumlin could get any more out of our offense as crippled up as it is? Do you really? Do you remember Auburn 2011? Well…do you?

Look, I don’t like losing. Period. But you people go off the deep end EVERY TIME we lose. Other fan bases sit back and LAUGH at YOU because you are so fickle.

Before the season, you make ludicrous assertions, placing expectations for the season WAY out of proportions. Then the FIRST time ANYTHING goes wrong YOU scream for the coach’s head. It doesn’t even have to be a loss.

It’s disgusting. It is embarrassing for those of us that are TRUE Bulldog fans. I’ll be a loyal Bulldog until the day I die. I will NEVER pull for MY Bulldogs to lose just so the head coach will get fired. I’ve been there..I endured the Goff years… and they were way worse than this.

Guess what? No excuses, we should have won. BUT there are logical reasons for the way it happened. Did you read Murray’s comments after the game. He said it flat out. We didn’t make the plays. And that is that.

Eric C.

October 20th, 2013
1:13 pm

MobileDawg, re: 816 pm Well, I’ve only been following them in die-hard fashion for 34 years…so maybe in 10 years I’ll feel the same way. For now, for the guys who are pouring their heart and soul into the success of the team, I will continue to pull hard and hope that better personnel decisions are made in the off-season. Don’t get me wrong, I am not happy with decisions that allowed the ST to get to the point they are at, and am incredibly disappointed with the way things have turned out overall. I was sick after the MO loss, and speechless after the Vandy loss, but for the sake of the players and recruits, don’t throw in the towel yet and support your team!

Eric C.

October 20th, 2013
1:15 pm

NCDawg, Amen!!!

ALB-dawg

October 20th, 2013
1:15 pm

dawgfan, “many big money donors?” Really? You hanging out with the big money donors? Are you a big money donor? How much? Do you really think that the Pres. and AD are gonna let a couple of rich wind bags run this school? Look at how that worked out for AU.

ALB-dawg

October 20th, 2013
1:18 pm

I sincerely believe the refs were looking to burn Ray Drew after the questionable hit on Franklin in the Mizzou game. How else could you explain him being called for targeting when he hit the guy with his arms? Should have been roughing the passer, 15 yds, Drew remains in the game. The call on Ramik was utter nonsense… a late flag at that.

Fishdawg

October 20th, 2013
1:22 pm

NCDAWG it’s about playing up to our potential and fixing the same old problems game after game. it’s about doing the little things right. it’s not bout winning or losing. it’s about excellence in execution and a slow and steady improvement game after game. it’s not about winning every game, Awbarn is improving with every game. UGA is not on defense or special teams.

Eric C.

October 20th, 2013
1:25 pm

ALB-dawg, I’m not sure if it was retaliation, but I will say I haven’t seen a call so bad since Eric Gregg’s strike zone in the 97 NLCS Marlins vs Braves when Livan Hernandez had like 20 something strikeouts. How they could decide to uphold the ejection, we’ll never know.

NCDawg

October 20th, 2013
1:29 pm

So here is my suggestion to you folks that want want Coach Richt fired. Those of you that are season ticket holders and contributing alumni, write McGarity and threaten to pull your support. If there really are as many disgruntled fans as YOU say there are, then that should be plenty enough leverage to FORCE a change.

Then have the audacity (guts?) to suggest who would be acceptable as a replacement. Offer to double your pledge to show you mean business.

IF and I mean IF, the change is actually made then I will throw my wholehearted support behind the new guy. No quibbling. And then we will see what happens.

The first year will be a drop off similar to 2009. Can you endure that without squawking like electrocuted chickens? How about when the recruiting tanks that first year because all the kids (and their families) that were on board with Coach Richt and his staff will scatter?

I assume you will want an exciting spread type offense as well. How long will it take to recruit the proper players to that system? Do you think we can luck out and get a Johnny Manziel to run that offense?

Ok, if you are willing to endure that then I’ll stay aboard for the ride. But I will fall out of my chair laughing when YOU people are screaming at McGarity for giving you what you demanded… because I GUARANTEE it will happen.

And I will still be a loyal Bulldog no matter what.

Chew on that fools… because that is what would happen.

dawgfan

October 20th, 2013
1:32 pm

It was VANDY for God’s sake!!!! You Kool Aiders are beyond pathetic with your excuses. We should be able to beat Vandy with our freaking 4th string, especially when they weren’t at full strength themselves. This was their first SEC win o the season. It was their first win over a ranked team since 2008. And you’re going to come on here like a bunch of sore losers and make excuses? Unfreakingbelievable.

Please take you and your half azzed coach elsewhere. I want a serious football program at UGA, not a big joke that has to make excuses for a loss to Vandy.

RiffRaff

October 20th, 2013
1:35 pm

I thought the whole “targeting thing” was to protect QB’s from taking cheap shots like Murray took in the SECCG last year. Both of the plays it was called on did not seem that intentional. It’s football for crying out loud!!!

NCDawg

October 20th, 2013
1:36 pm

Out… I’ve said my piece and I will not engage in pseudo debate with people that are clearly not in their right minds.

Bulldawg35

October 20th, 2013
1:36 pm

Flo- rii- duh

Haha! You have to score more than 27 points on the road to win…sorry but this isn’t the late 90’s! Haha! All of you Richt apologist are what’s wrong with this program….this year feels like 2010 all over again…..we lost the turnover battle that year and we are losing it again….I think we finish 6-7!

I love mediocrity

October 20th, 2013
1:38 pm

What are the excuses going to be if UGA loses to Florida

Florida has just as many injuries

What will be the excuse kool-aid didn’t have enough sugar ;)

dawgfan

October 20th, 2013
1:39 pm

Here the Kool Aiders go with their misinformation about what a gamble it would be to fire Richt. Saban goes 12-2 his second season at Alabama. Meyer wins a national title his second year at Florida. Gus Malzahn has Auburn looking like a top 10 team in his first year. The list goes on and on. This crap about how firing Richt would set us back years is just a flat out lie. Kirby Smart could beat Vandy in his freaking sleep. Give me a freaking break. The Kool Aiders just can’t get it through their thick skulls that Richt is not a great coach and hasn’t been for quite some time. We have nothing to lose by firing him.

slydawg

October 20th, 2013
1:40 pm

FIRE MARK RICHT!!!! STOP PUTTING TAPE ON A LEAKY DAM. FIRE MARK RICHT ASAP. Then you can rid yourself of all the sorry assistant coaches and coordinators. Clearly, BoBo has been allowed to “learn” on the job, his first job ever, with national championship caliber athletes. This is Richt’s first HC job. By keeping him, you justify his methods. He clearly sees nothing wrong with his approach. Stop blaming the players for being unprepared all of the time. The “lack of effort” comes from Richt’s demeanor. He truly doesn’t care whether he wins or loses. Really. His QB, Murray is always cheery after loses and bad interceptions. NO SENSE OF URGENCY.

Bulldawg35

October 20th, 2013
1:41 pm

Richt needs to pack his bags……I really want him gone this time! It’s time to start all over!!!

slydawg

October 20th, 2013
1:42 pm

Kirby Smart, Charlie Strong, or James Franklin. You’ll keep all of your recruits and improve on what’s already in cupboard. NUFF SAID!!!

NCDawg

October 20th, 2013
1:48 pm

LMFAO! You people are the ones drinking the kool aid! Oh my god what idiots… absolute fools.

slydawg

October 20th, 2013
1:49 pm

@NCDawg

Thanks for regurgitating what I wrote on here years ago and annually ever since. Richt only has a limited time to win it all or at least appear able to beat championship contenders. The kool-aiders will come around eventually. Until then, I’m not worried. I am an alum, I contribute. This is the first year I have never given any money or bought season tickets in 13 years. If there is no head coaching change in 24 months or less, the next step will be to never watch or root for this team/program until Richt is either gone or he dies. Simple as that!!!! I’m out

I love mediocrity

October 20th, 2013
1:50 pm

It’s good to know Georgia fans love losing

I would hate to see them at their full potential

slydawg

October 20th, 2013
1:52 pm

And you can have your cheery Richt kool aid back, no welcome. Every program in the SEC has either made a change or gone in a new direction. GEORGIA IS THE ONLY WHO HAS NOT!!! Drink less kool aid so you can pay attention and concentrate. No one will buy and drive a Mercedes when it drives like a Chevy. What’s the point of that?

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

October 20th, 2013
1:53 pm

If you morons would get off your high horse and sign more players AND stop trying to get the rest of the SEC to play by your stupid rules, you’d have more players to sub in after injuries. UGA, holding the SEC back since 1980.

I love mediocrity

October 20th, 2013
1:53 pm

NCdawg. Is a great fan

It’s good to know UGA has 93,000 more just like him

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

October 20th, 2013
1:57 pm

NC Dawg might be a coach. His knowledge of the game is INCREDIBLE.

I love mediocrity

October 20th, 2013
2:00 pm

UGA represents the SEC very well

In Outback and Chik-fil-a bowls

Keep up the good work Georgia. ;)

UGA Season Ticket Holder Since 1986

October 20th, 2013
2:01 pm

NCDawg – Welcome Back. I do have to disagree with you on one minor point. (I know aht you meant though) The trolls on this site don’t only want to fire everybody when we lose, they want to fire everybody when we WIN. ” We didn’t win by enough.” “That was a mediocre win.” ” That was an ugly win.” “I’d rather not win if we’re going to win like that, then we could have fired the coaches and everybody associated with the program” “What’s gonna happen when we play LSU if we just barely beat South Carolina?” “”We wouldn’t have won SC if we didn’t get lucky with a goal line stand.” Why does Richt act emotional?” “Why doesn’t Richt act emotional?” “Preacher Man Richt is an idiot” “McGarity is a buffoon and needs to go “although he was a genius at Florida)”"Preacher Man Richt shouldn’t do Ford commercials?” “Why doesn’t Richt do Ford commercials like the other coaches do?” “Preacher man Richt should stop being concerned about character building and focus only on winning.” (Yeah try to sell that one sitting in a living room with mom and dad, ‘we’re going to gray shirt your son but at least our program will win.”).. “Get rid of Van Gorder, he’s an idiot! Fire Martinez! we can’t get worse than him! Fire Grantham, he’s worse than Martinez! Get Van Gorder, he’s a genius!”

I just watched the game again (as I do every Sunday). This allows me to make OBSERVATIONS (not excuses, but rather observations). OBSERVATIONS: Georgia was in complete and utter domination of that game until the fumbled punt. Then on the ensuing series, the much maligned defense comes up with the biggest play of the game on 4 and 4 and are told that tackling like you’ve been taught since you were six years old now is not only bad but might get you ejected, Vandy gets a first down from a truly stupid rule (we’re going to say he did nothing wrong but still penalize you (insanity!), then we kick a three for a 13 point lead instead of going for it (that was a mistake (not an excuse, a mistake) then (admittedly) Bobo does go ultra-conservative, then we drop the punt snap, then we fumble, then the defense makes a big stand and gets the ball back (3 and out), then with 20 seconds to go, we still have chance to win the game and can’t get it done.

Georgia’s biggest problem might just be that Atlanta is the biggest media market in the SEC and UGA is the “home team” in that market and gets NFL-style crazy scrutiny. That’s not me making excuses, Tim Brando said that on the radio on Friday (but I agree with him). He actually said that the trolls among the Georgia fans are Georgia’s worst enemy because of all the “garbage” that they “continually spew” (look it up).