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.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

826 comments Add your comment

Thebigwally

October 19th, 2013
7:25 pm

I’d still give Kirby Smart a shot. He’s been with Saban a long time. If he wasn’t a good coach, I seriously doubt Saban would have kept him around. He’s had to have learned from Saban – every aspect on how to win championships. Plus he knows the high school coaches in Georgia. It’s not like he would have to introduce himself to the coaches or recruits. All he has to do is walk into a recruits house and flash all those National Championship rings.

OconeeDogFan

October 19th, 2013
7:27 pm

The last two years the Dogs have played for the SECCG, so no the staff does not need to be replaced…with the possible exception of Grantham…..or at least Lakatos, as the secondary is atrocious. In his defense, however, six db’s that would be juniors now were signed, Swann and Mitchell among them with the 2011 signing class and only two are left, Swann and Moore. One just quarterbacked Auburn to a win over T A&M.. Had more of those guys guys come through and not gotten kicked out of school, the secondary would be more experienced….maybe even better on the field.
On a different note, looking ahead to next year…Hutson Mason will be essentially a freshman playing quarterback since we haven’t gotten him any snaps this year and he didn’t play last year. Joe Cox, whose team won 40 something straight in high school and was a much more accomplished qb, stats wise, than Mason during their respective high school years, had the same problem and he didn’t go two years between snaps.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 19th, 2013
7:27 pm

Eric C

No that ended after the 2005 SEC championship game;

its been all down hill from there

the few highlights we have achieved have been been due to the caliber of players we have been able to get

Eric C.

October 19th, 2013
7:27 pm

VaDawg, that was an add-on to my previous post when I declared we needed Mizzou would have to lose 3 games…they would need to lose twice in the following scenario I described.

Eric C.

October 19th, 2013
7:28 pm

Flat Tire, well…I believe that was the last time CMR called his own plays so I guess there is some agreement.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 19th, 2013
7:29 pm

Eric C

You cant be serious about hoping we go to the SEC championship game now?

Southern Wind

October 19th, 2013
7:29 pm

You know what is going to happen. Richt will get a strong warning at the end of the season that the Georgia community expects better. He’ll sacrifice a few coaches. Next year UGA will have a good but not championship season, for which all will be forgiven and Richt will get another contract extension. The year after that, things will be so-so again. How long can this go on?

carl

October 19th, 2013
7:30 pm

Murray is one of the best SEC qbs on paper! He just has not had the D to back him up! GAs D is really I mean really BAD ! NO CLUE whats going on .CMR has lost control Murray looks scared

Eric C.

October 19th, 2013
7:31 pm

I will say, Franklin is a heck of a coach…he will look you straight in the eye and tell you Vandy can kick your @$$, and then will proceed to do so like he did today…gotta give him credit.

Paul C

October 19th, 2013
7:34 pm

Another imaginary national championship lost to reality.

Eric C.

October 19th, 2013
7:35 pm

Flat Tire, it goes all against the way I feel right now…but it has happened before. Remember how we felt after SC beat us and the season started 0-2 in 2011? Remember how we felt when SC beat the Dawgs like a drum in Columbia? We are there now, and even more so perhaps, but I will never give up on a season until it is impossible. I’m not saying there aren’t issues…there are plenty, but I love the Dawgs and will follow them til the bitter end. We can worry about canning coaches and that sort of stuff at the end of the season…but I will always root for the Dawgs to win the SECCG no matter how impossible it looks.

Thebigwally

October 19th, 2013
7:35 pm

Shouldn’t be shocked by todays outcome. Richt and his merry bunch of lazy, overpaid coaches typically take off 3 or 4 games every year in which the team looks unprepared, uncoached, unmotivated, un-fill-in-the-blank, etc, etc.

Dr C

October 19th, 2013
7:36 pm

The non-penalty-penalty call on Wilson for a perfectly played defensive hit with his SHOULDER into the receiver’s body (not his head) after the ball reached the receiver was the worst call by a referee that I have ever seen in a college football game. It was simply a hard hit resulting in breaking up the pass…something once known as football. The TV announcer called it a perfect hit extremely well played by the linebacker and clearly within the rules…and yet the referee called it a penalty which gave Vandy a first down instead of turning the ball over. Georgia should have had the ball and a two touchdown lead and control of the game. Instead, Vandy was GIVEN a critical first down and kept the ball. Yes, if not for more mistakes, poor performance, poor coaching, and poor play calling by Georgia, Vandy still would have lost and I accept that, but that call by the official was THE defining “play” of the football game. What could or should a defensive player have done better? An hour later we watch a play in the Auburn/Texas A&M game in which a defensive player puts a jarring head to head hit on a receiver and nothing is called…same league officiating. Wake up Steve Shaw (Head of Officials) and call a meeting to put an end to this travesty NOW. It is ruining the integrity of the game played on the field in the SEC. There should never be a penalty when your officials review the play and see there was no penalty!

Relentless

October 19th, 2013
7:36 pm

The coaching and players were horrendous. Looks like the Keysone Cops are back at Georgia. The wheels have indeed run off…

1969 Graduate

October 19th, 2013
7:36 pm

Sad, but not surprising…

Does anybody see any game the rest of the year where our team playing like we played coached by a coaching staff like the one we have is likely to win? We play down to the competition! We blow off the fundamentals. We call predictable plays. We have no defense. We have terrible special teams.

Florida looks terrible, too, but they are likely to think beating us will save their season. Kentucky is horrible, but we can play down to their game, and play worse. With our defense, we’re likely to let Tech score 50 points!

Did anybody see what we’re up against with Auburn? Yeah, they should kill us big time. Their running game will keep our offense off the field, and their defense is better than ours, and better than our offense, too.

I don’t see any way we’ll avoid losing at least two more games. At least.

The only conclusion I can draw is that those who control UGA football, those above CMR, are satisfied with this sort of mediocrity. Sorry for that word choice. We are not mediocre. That’s an insult to mediocrity.

Sad. Not surprising…

My tradition is to proudly wear my UGA tee shirt the day after every game, win or lose. Tomorrow I will leave my UGA tee shirt in the drawer.

Vandy should be embarrassed to have beaten such a bad Georgia team.

Phil

October 19th, 2013
7:37 pm

Southern Wind,

It will go on like this for many years to come. McGarity is a buffoon and doesn’t demand more of Richt. He is perfectly content if Richt wins 7-9 games per year. And Richt can do that so he’s not going anywhere. Whether you love Richt or hate Richt, he’s not going anywhere.

mgdawg

October 19th, 2013
7:37 pm

The targeting calls were terrible, but was worst was the fact that although the second one was overturned you can’t overturn the penalty. Also, the explanation the announcers gave for drew’s not being overturned was ludicrous “because he didn’t slow up.” That’s not targeting, from the rule they put on the tv there is nothing about slowing up or not slowing up, it is where you hit them, we all know the intent wasn’t there because he was standing straight up. At worse it was a roughing the passer. The second targeting call turned the game around, I know UGA could’ve stopped them and scored still but that was the turning point. The rationalization of this will be fixed in the offseason is also getting old, when something is obviously broken why not fix it now. At the very least say if the replay official rules it wasn’t targeting then don’t assess the penalty. It’s pretty simple.

Special teams is awful. Either richt needs to hire a special teams coordinator or he needs to name himself special teams coordinator.

Defense I think is improving, but it should be more improved at this point then what it is. With all the talent on the field teams shouldn’t be routinely putting up 30+ points.

Offense I understand is missing a lot of key weapons. However, murray is supposed to be one of the best qb’s in the nation this year. He is rewriting the SEC record books, he should be able to put a team on his shoulders and carry them. I don’t know if they are even giving him that opportunity, the third down right before the bad snap to the punter for example, put the thing in his hands. He should be smart enough and good enough to either get three yards or get rid of the ball. Instead we give it to the 3-4 string freshman runningback, talk about conservative. In bobo’s defense, I kind of wonder if that was a richt call, or richt telling bobo lets try to run as much clock off as we can. Either way it was a horrible call. If UGA is going to lose, lets lose putting the ball in the hands of our best players. I think on offense right now that is murray.

Douglas

October 19th, 2013
7:38 pm

Come on guys…let’s not be so hard on the players — they came here to play for UGA. It is the coaching that sux — that is where the blame lies. Remember, other SEC schools including Bama recruited a lot of our players. So the players have talent — the coaching sux. Richt is a proud and arrogant Christian who will never admit what his weaknesses include. It’s call Pride Mark — Pride — that is what you are!

Eric C.

October 19th, 2013
7:38 pm

The Monger, haha, could you imagine the look on Grantham’s face if Franklin actually replaced CMR? Just funny to think about.

Thebigwally

October 19th, 2013
7:39 pm

A real head coaches conversation with Damian Swann “son, you are sitting on the side line from now on. You pretty much screw up several plays every game”. Mark Richt’s conversation with Damian Swann “good game, we’re going to try to get you more playing time, maybe even let you play some wide receiver”.

Eric C.

October 19th, 2013
7:42 pm

mgdawg, see my previous post…2nd call should have never happened. It did happen however and yes, very unfortunate to see a flag there. As for the first call, I completely agree!!!! That was total BS call!!!! How can you throw a player out over that?????

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 19th, 2013
7:42 pm

Phil

you are part of the “Society of the miserable”

its time you read the New york Times Best Seller “Energy Vampires” and have a more positive attitude

Charlotte Dawg

October 19th, 2013
7:43 pm

Today’s game really made me sick. Lack of fourtitude and football smarts has hurt are team.

After watching Auburn today, they are for real and are going to kick our tail.

Georgia has been blessed the past few years with the easiest SEC schedule and Auburn and Tenn teams who have been horrible.

Unfortunately, Auburn and UT are on a meteorick rise and we are on the decline. I see us losing 6 games this year and the coming years are going to be rough as Murray will be gone and he is the only one that has held this team together.

Murray single handedly won the LSU and UT games for us…. games we probably should have lost too (How would it feel to be 2-5?).

We need to be thankful for being 4-3, however, I am afraid that our defence will make Floridas offence look like the Oregon Ducks. And Floridas defence will totally shut down what offence we have left.

Very sick tonight and worry that we are going to loose major recruits who come to UGA as stars only to be coached down to a fizzling sparkle with dissapointing games and seasons.

Maybe I will feel better in two weeks, but we will see.

MobileDawg

October 19th, 2013
7:44 pm

If so Phil, it’s a sad day. I’ve lost my enthusiasm “again” honestly I expect more from Georgia.

TEXAS DAWG

October 19th, 2013
7:44 pm

Who says the DAWGS aren’t improving? Swann showed us he has learned a new way of costing us points. Just adding to his talent set.

Phil

October 19th, 2013
7:46 pm

Flat Tire,

Were you doing your best Richt impersonation? lol

hit a single

October 19th, 2013
7:47 pm

The part that really bothered me is that I thought we quite. I know we had bad calls, but I just didn’t see any consistant fight in the Dawgs, the players or the coaches. We need alot more of a business like approach and not some of the things I have seen like the players dancing on the sidelines in the past. You dance when the fat lady has sung!

Thebigwally

October 19th, 2013
7:49 pm

I’m not afraid of Auburns high powered offense. We have the defensive genius Todd Grantham. He came from the NFL you know……………………Oh who am I fooling, Auburn is going to hang 60 on us.

OconeeDogFan

October 19th, 2013
7:49 pm

Y’all think Saban is the brains behind Bama’s defense? Have you ever been to a Bama practice? Ever watched Smart coach the players on the sidelines during a game while Saban stands, as HC do,
on the sideline watching the game? I have, on both counts.
If you don’t think Kirby coaches Bama’s defense, there is no adjective to describe the amount of idiocy you possess.

Rand

October 19th, 2013
7:52 pm

Time for Grantham to go. The defense has shown no improvement, is one of the worst in the nation, yet he’s one of the highest paid DCs. Even last year with seven NFL players, they gave up way too many yards and points. And Damian Swann, the only returning starter, has regressed. Time to cut your losses and start looking McGarity.

StantheMan

October 19th, 2013
7:54 pm

Charlotte Dawg,

You are right, this poor coaching and TERRIBLE strength and training program at UGA is a football wasteland where 4 and 5 star recruits go to die. As see why kids are choosing UT and Auburn as they have young passionate intelligent coaching staffs with a bright future….. Ours is pathetic and we have a poor excuse for coaches at UGA.

CMR is a coach who has lost his fire, lost his passion, and is just going to stay there an collect a paycheck as long as he can.

Grantham is just the opposite, all fire, screaming and cussing at the kids out of control, but no substance or intelligence. Many of the defensive players can’t stand him and none of them respect him?

Bobo…no comment.

Special Teams Coach…. Who dat?

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 19th, 2013
7:55 pm

Mobile

Your thoughts on the offensive play calling?

bubba4dawgs

October 19th, 2013
7:55 pm

Hey Coach Richt! I say Hey Coach Richt! Are you listening? Don’t you think the DAWGS need a Special Teams Coach now? I thought you were going to take that responsibility! Well, if you did, you definitely missed something. Damian smamian, get his candy ass off the field! There’s gotta be a freshman ready and chompin at the bits to get in there. That man is worthless! Another bad snap from center to Barber? Holy Cow! Do they practice? Well, I’m here to tell you there’s going to be more losses for this season! Auburn looked mighty good against Texas A&M and although Florida faltered against Missou, they will be ready for the DAWGS! Same ole mistakes time and time again!!

StantheMan

October 19th, 2013
7:57 pm

Oh…. I took my “G” off the front of my truck tonight. If the UGA AD is not going to support this team, but changing the coaches. I am not going to either.

SanAntoDawg

October 19th, 2013
7:58 pm

Didn’t it look like the ref was already about to throw the flag he was holding before Drew even got to their QB? Also the ref on the second targeting call was two feet from the play, looking right at it, and didn’t throw his flag. Then one comes flying in twenty seconds late from a ref that wasn’t even on the screen, he was so far away the flag barely made it on TV. If its not targeting then why is it still a penalty? That was a crucial fourth down stop that let them back in the game because of a horrible call.

MobileDawg

October 19th, 2013
7:58 pm

I would rather see the whole staff go. CTG isn’t the reason our OL is swiss cheese, not the reason our special teams fail. Never been a Richt guy, I tried to give him a chance but he just doesn’t deserve to be HC at UGA any longer.

He either isn’t smart enough to realize as many of you have suggested, we need to give players some experience just to help prepare them for next year, or he’s to damn arrogant. I opt for the second, he’s one arrogant man.

Don Joel

October 19th, 2013
7:58 pm

Enter your comments here

Thebigwally

October 19th, 2013
7:59 pm

I just hope at this point, they don’t put us in another low level bowl game so that Central Florida can embarrass us again.

SanAntoDawg

October 19th, 2013
7:59 pm

Clemson’s getting man handeled

William

October 19th, 2013
8:00 pm

Time to bench Murray and put the new QB on the field for some snaps..
Gonna go 1-4 and lose to Tech either way.

StantheMan

October 19th, 2013
8:01 pm

When I say, TERRIBLE strength and conditioning…. I mean the kind that is causing our kids to have season and career ending injuries, and this is the big issue for recruits. “John” in the UGA athletic S&T program, fired my neighbor’s brother because he was wanting to bring new techniques used by the best schools.

UGA S&C is stuck in the same philosophies used back in the 60’s and they are too stubborn to change.

carl

October 19th, 2013
8:01 pm

Time for CMR to MAN UP and Finish the drill! FIRE CMG

OconeeDogFan

October 19th, 2013
8:01 pm

And….did you really expect Ga to lose Mitchell, Bennett, Scott-Wesley, Gurley, and Marshall ( I know I’m missing some) and not falter offensively? 22 starters, 85 scholarships, you think we should be 7 or 8 deep at WR with 4 & 5 star athletes?? The math doesn’t add up.
Playing in the SECCG the last two years should be proof that the program hasn’t fallen off of the table. I suppose, though, that the awful grass up in Knoxville that clearly gave way causing Scott-Wesley’s knee to buckle the wrong way, and the low hit that blew out Marshall’s’ knee, and Quayvon hicks’ leg injury along with Gurley having his leg twisted were all due to Richts poor coaching.
Admittedly, I do wonder how Bama never seems to have the injury bug bite them in waves, though.
My concern now is the complete lack of any kind of experience we will have at qb next year. Mason, who hasn’t played in two years, will be the starter going into camp. Oy Vey!

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 19th, 2013
8:03 pm

Mobile

We have a great opportunity now to give everyone on the bench some serious playing time

but

I probably would guess the coaching staff would rather have the starters out there to hopefully pad some stats (if they are even able to) to justify to the kool-aid brig-aid that things are looking better for next year

Jonk

October 19th, 2013
8:03 pm

I guess Cmr must trust so much to let number 22 fumble that ball again like last week…so we can lose again….bench his flat behind let senior running back players play …dum calling on offense again…3 and out? in 4th quarter, playing defense mode…well what did you see? I understand we wanna win if they just play aggressive all day long instead of trying to run the clock down on them well it aint gonna happen when you have your special aid team trying to give the game away..and your offense try to play 3 and out…oh well it is the team thing we lost as a team so …fix it until season is over….it is not over until it is over …everybody wants to win…Uga haters just go right ahead lick the dawg balls…lol.and be happy that we lost today….

Festus

October 19th, 2013
8:04 pm

Mark Richt isn’t going to be fired for a number of reasons. First, he owns Georgia Tech. If you include his time at Florida State he is 32 and 1 against Tech. Second, who would replace him? Lane Kippen? All the really great coaches already have jobs. Richt is The Dean of SEC coaches. He ain’t great. But he’s better than what available.

OconeeDogFan

October 19th, 2013
8:04 pm

Stan, nice move taking the G off of your truck. That’s what real fans do, jump on and off the bandwagon. Put yourself a big Bammer ‘A’ on your heap and keep it, ya jumper.

ALB-dawg

October 19th, 2013
8:06 pm

We need a taller punter.

Kyle

October 19th, 2013
8:06 pm

Watching Clemson play FSU. Interesting to see a team play Clemson that has an Offense and a Defense. FSU up 17-0.

Hint…. hint…. UGA and McGarrity. Fire Grantham!

DawginAugusta

October 19th, 2013
8:06 pm

Embarrassed not necessarily at the loss, but the coaching and effort, or lack thereof. Unlike Bama where perfection is demanded, UGA doesn’t even get PROPER coaching. There is perfect coaching, then there is proper coaching. Unfortunately UGA has neither. Richt says everyone wants to say something when things go bad…you don’t think? That is the problem…no one wants to do anything about what is going on with this program. And you wonder why Georgia’s top high school players go to Bama, FSU, Clemson, etc. McGarity please do something about this!!!!!