If the cream rose to the top Saturday in the SEC, what is Georgia?

Remember when this team had some swagger way back ... three weeks ago? (Associated Press)

Remember when this team had some swagger way back ... three weeks ago? (Associated Press)

A few more thoughts and observations in the wake of Georgia’s demoralizing loss to Vandy …

Wow, what a crazy Saturday in SEC football.

Missouri over Florida might not really have been that big a surprise, considering the surge the former has made and the weakened state of the latter. And because of how close the Vols came to knocking off Georgia, their win over the Gamecocks wasn’t that big a shocker, especially with Connor Shaw going out injured (again). But despite the offensive uptick Gus Malzahn has given Auburn, the Tigers winning that defenseless shootout with the Aggies was unexpected (and attributable, at least in part, to Johnny Autograph’s banged-up shoulder). And I know Ole Miss has done well in recruiting, but knocking off the Mad Hatter’s Bayou Bengals was another big surprise, even with LSU’s less than imposing defense.

Still, the booby prize has to go to Georgia: Even with all their injuries, the Dogs still had to get awfully creative in finding new and progressively more unlikely ways to engineer a loss to the Commodores.

The best line I heard about it was from my brother Tim, who said that if it was Cream-Rises-to-the-Top Saturday, then the Dawgs must be the clabber in the churn.

I’ll pause while the younger fans look that up …

Meanwhile, Mark Richt correctly noted that “when you’re winning everybody wants to say how good you are. And when you start losing everybody’s going to have an opinion on that, too.”

Opinions, I’ve got ’em, just like you do. But, also like you, I’m sure, the way Saturday’s loss to Vandy transpired raised a whole lot of questions.

Chief among them would be directed to Mike Bobo: Dude, what were you thinking?

OK, admittedly Bobo’s arsenal has been drastically reduced by a catastrophic rash of injuries since that euphoric day of the LSU win (can that be only three weeks ago?) when the Dawgs’ offense seemed unstoppable.

But until the loss of Chris Conley on the last play against the Dores, Bobo was still directing the same offensive lineup that executed his brilliantly called final regulation time drive of the Tennessee game when Aaron Murray brought Georgia racing down the field (as he’s done so many times before) to tie it up and send it to overtime.

Against Vandy, Aaron Murray seemed uncomfortable in the pocket and fixated on his No. 1 receiver. (Associated Press)

Against Vandy, Aaron Murray seemed uncomfortable in the pocket and fixated on his No. 1 receiver. (Associated Press)

So what happened in Nashville? Why the ultra conservative playcalling with longshot runs up the middle with a freshman back on third down and an almost complete abandonment of the downfield passing game?

Afterward, Bobo, noting that “we just struggled to do anything with any consistency all day long,” concluded that “execution was the main thing,” adding that “a couple third downs there we had some guys [open] and were late getting the ball to them in the zone, and their zone pressures. We just didn’t execute third-down calls.”

However, most of those incomplete balls weren’t designed to stretch the field and loosen up the Vandy defense, which was pressuring Murray heavily with its blitzes and playing a tight zone unhindered by Georgia’s lack of a killer running game. Too often what Murray was throwing were desperation short darts, often thrown into the turf to avoid a sack.

Are we supposed to believe that Conley and Rantavious Wooten and Reggie Davis simply couldn’t get open against Vandy’s previously less-than-imposing secondary? Said Murray: “They didn’t do anything [surprising defensively], we just didn’t make the plays.”

OK, I’m sure part of it was a result of this being another game where the play of Georgia’s veteran but still not very good offensive line had Murray feeling uncomfortable in the pocket and fixating on his now No. 1 receiver, Conley — which Vandy recognized. It also no doubt made it necessary for the tight ends to be used more in pass protection rather than as receivers.

Still, why didn’t Bobo roll Murray out more (he’s much more of a playmaker when he does) and launch a few downfield strikes?

I wish I knew. …

The ultimate irony of the Damian Swann fumble of a punt reception Saturday was that he was back there, instead of Reggie Davis who had earlier made a decent return of a Vandy punt, because Georgia was in what it calls “punt safe” coverage. That’s a philosophy that came to the fore a couple of seasons ago after the Dogs repeatedly kept getting burned on fake punts. (Special team miscues are nothing new with Richt teams.) So, instead of setting up a return, you keep most of your regular defenders in, and in that case Swann is the one designated to make the fair catch.

I understand the strategy, but as Richt and the Bulldogs noted frequently after Saturday’s game, the execution was lacking. Let’s just hope the next time Georgia goes into “punt safe,” Swann isn’t the one whose hands they’re depending on to make the catch. …

Punter Collin Barber tries in vain to field yet another errant snap. (Associated Press)

Punter Collin Barber tries in vain to field yet another errant snap. (Associated Press)

On the other side of the punting game, I asked rhetorically last week whether there was anyone on the Georgia team who can consistently deliver a decent long snap to the punter. I can’t recall a season when as many snaps have been too low or too high. Obviously, nothing done in the past week fixed the problem.

Here’s a thought: There’s an off week coming up. Maybe an open team competition to see whether long-snapping is a hidden talent of someone else on the team, besides the two we currently have doing it, is in order. …

As for the new NCAA targeting rule, which was ineptly enforced in a heavyhanded manner Saturday by the SEC officiating crew and replay official in Nashville (as opposed to some other SEC games being played elsewhere), the bottom line is this:

The original intent of the rule was to prevent defenders from launching themselves helmet first into the heads of vulnerable (or “defenseless,” as they call it) players. I’m sure part of the motivation was player welfare, but a bigger part was nervousness over possible future litigation involving concussions, as the NFL is seeing. And what makes the NFL nervous makes the NCAA nervous. This was an attempt to send a message to players and more importantly play courtroom CYA.

The resulting rule, however was hurriedly enacted, not very well thought out, and was poorly written. Having the 15-yard penalty still apply even if the replay official concludes that it wasn’t targeting (meaning the player can stay in the game) makes no sense at all.

Richt seems to believe that particular element of the rule will be revisited after the season, and I’m sure there will be some discussion about revising it.

Unfortunately, I’m not at all confident that what will come out of those discussions will be any easier to enforce or understand. We are talking about the NCAA, after all …

JUNKYARD MAIL CALL

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

539 comments Add your comment

Augie Doggie

October 21st, 2013
7:04 pm

The problem is not Richt. It’s with delusional dawg fans who think we are some kind of “elite” program. Our run of success has come to an end. We must realistically lower our expectations and be happy to get 7-8 wins in most years. It will be difficult to beat UT,Miz,A@M, AU,Ole Miss, Vandy, not to mention Bama. We should just be content to be a highly ranked party school.

BULLDAWG BILL

October 21st, 2013
7:16 pm

FIRE MARK RICHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NCDawg

October 21st, 2013
7:22 pm

Bulldawg35
October 21st, 2013
6:45 pm

Making a change because you can’t imagine that the change would be worse than what you have now. That is what I am saying. It isn’t the politics of fear either as the guy above you said.

I’ve experienced it. I quit a job that I didn’t like and took another that was different and found out very quickly that it was worse than my old job. I did that twice when I was younger before I learned.

Ever wondered if under a more animated coach if it might be worse? If we had a hot head ( like Coach Boom ) We might have lost to UT too. A “W” is a “W”, it doesn’t matter how you win. So don’t pull the “we almost” line ok? We could be 3-4 easily with the fricking injuries.

How is it that SC lost to UT? Spurrier is great coach isn’t he? UT offense sux doesn’t it? Clowney and company SHOULD have destroyed them. But they lost. Yeah no excuse for losing to Vandy… What about losing to UT?

But we have more talent? Going into this weekend everybody was laying odds on SC to be the East champs. Oh they looked so good, so complete, so well coached against Arkansas and Georgia well they have all those injuries. SC is the team to beat in the East.

They lost in regulation. They didn’t have their top remaining RB and 2 WRs go down either. We won. They lost. But Spurrier is a GREAT coach and Coach Richt is not.

What is wrong with this picture? Just wonderin…

ShowMeYurTD's

October 21st, 2013
7:29 pm

Petrino to replace CMR? It could happen. At least he would recruit a QB taller than midget Murray. Murray is no drew breas so don’t say it. You heard it hear first

Bulldawg35

October 21st, 2013
7:31 pm

Ncdawg

I see your point…but my mind is made up…..because we have the worst special teams in the nation. ST use to be Richt’s strong point when we had john fabris. Fab fizzled out…..now we have John Lilly and he stinks too. This just proves to me that Richt has lost his mojo and is to stubborn to change! We will never win the sec again with Richt as head coach….he is burned out and has lost his passion for the game.

NCDawg

October 21st, 2013
7:33 pm

Of course no one will admit that that is a valid point because you are all smelling the blood and no amount of reason will hold you back from the kill. How sad is that?

Bulldawg35

October 21st, 2013
7:39 pm

Ncdawg…

I said it was a valid point. But in my opinion it’s time……cleaning house is the only way to go….I guess you didn’t think we would find a good head coach after donnan was fired either???

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 21st, 2013
7:47 pm

NCDawg

So Richt shouldnt make changes when the defense has been abysmal since 2004; the special teams a consistent problem; an O-line that has been nothing but a disappointment every year since 2005 and the offense inconsistent as well

DogCatcher01

October 21st, 2013
7:54 pm

Well ol Grantham is gone at the end of the year dogs but Richt is staying. Nothing will change really

Mobile Dawg

October 21st, 2013
8:57 pm

NC Dawg, life is full of risk and reward. I quit two jobs to pursue my dreams of starting my own business. I now control not only my schedule which is great, I control my own destiny within the boundries set by the good lord.

I laugh when I hear the fearful bemoan making a change. If you do your homework, plan and prepare well, good things will happen. My philosophy in life and a good saying also, “whenever one door closes, another is there to open” it’s up to you to go through it.

BankerDawg

October 21st, 2013
8:57 pm

NCDawg – let’s agree that Richt is a good guy. Let’s agree that he elevated our program early in his tenure and led us to two SEC championships. Here’s the thing. Richt “let go” around 2005/2006. The guy has gotten very wealthy as the head coach at UGA and was able to circle himself with his closest friends (Martinez). Somewhere along the way he thought he had done what Bobby Bowden had done. But, he was sorely mistaken. GA peaked around the 2005 SECCG. With the talent that has come through our program we have grossly underachieved. Why? Well, we are always deficient in our Oline, running game, DB’s, LB’s…there’s always a weak link. Richt has never 1). Played above our potential, 2). Recruited to the point that we are 2 to 3 deep.

After all of that, I look at the Captain of this ship and who he has picked as his luetenants. Bobo and Grantham are not game day coaches. I’m sorry, it’s the truth. It’s evident in their play calling and in game adjustments, or lack theroff. So there in lies our problem. Richt has proven that he will not fire someone without all hell breaking loose from the boosters and fan base. His argument is that it disrupts the team and hurts recruiting. Well, that brings us to present day. For GA to get back on track we need to replace our coordinators. Richts not going to do it. Therefore, we’re going to have to send him packing too. It’s not ideal, but it is defenitely necessary.

I don’t believe we will suffer like TN or Florida. When Spurrier left for the NFL FLA went through Zook and then landed with Meyer. We all know how that turned out. Why was e successful? Dan Mullen, Charlie Strong etc. Its not just about the HC, it’s the whole system. Malzahn was the brain child at Auburn, everyone knew it and now look at them. I think Smart would immediately make an impact by installing a higher standard and demanding it as Saban does. Will we need to burn through a few guys? I don’t know. But he would do what it took and not think twice. I can’t say that about Richt.

short memories

October 21st, 2013
9:11 pm

Bum Phillips who died at the age of 90 on friday said

“You fail all the time, but you are not a failure until you blame someone else”

Mark Richt blames everyone but himself.

Mark Richt is a failure

Josh M.

October 21st, 2013
9:59 pm

@ short memories,

You are exactly right. Great comment.

I am starting a “Hire Charlie Strong” campaign.

Fire Richt and his staff.

SnakeHunterDawg

October 21st, 2013
10:09 pm

Cut a snake off at its head and it dies. ..Not fire a DC a 2nd time.

eldawg

October 21st, 2013
10:12 pm

Flat,

Thank you for pointing out the contrast between Les Miles and Mark Richt in their post game comments. One represented character and leadership and the other did not.

CBDAWG

October 21st, 2013
10:14 pm

Bill: You do a great service as our FAN of the Dawgs by your great articles! Apologies for shutting this one down though.

Unnecessary for me to write 43 lines like BULLDAWG35…NCDAWG, etc…and the weirdo who’s already getting giddy over Hutson.

We need a Head Coach that his sole desire is National Championships!

dgUGA

October 21st, 2013
10:27 pm

Agree!…But he’s a good Christian man!

Hairy Dawg

October 21st, 2013
10:30 pm

The head a this problem is the pointy heads Adams and now Morehead. You think Coach Richt want to keep stinkys instead of being Christian and casting out those that not exposing talents. Pointy heads put in rules that limit roster manegement so we cant cut boys that turns out stinky and keep mens and recruits that can play. Bammer does that by medicaling them or run out a program when player winds up stinky. That allows Bammer to have more good player while after first string Adams and now Morehead made us keep stinkys.

Then when we have injuries we dont have depths like Bammer. Over 4 years Bammer sign 30 to 40 more players than Dawgs cause there Pres want to win football. Coach Richt not allowed sign and roster manege like Bammer cause of pointy head rules that Adams started and Morehead keep doing. The only way it fixed if we give Coach Richt support to get McG stand up pointy heads and tells that Dawgs own Athens not pointy heads. But we got get unaminous first to make Morehead understand damage he doing to Dawgs by continuing Adams rules that Bammer dont have. And that what we got do to fix it.

CBDAWG

October 21st, 2013
10:38 pm

Mere excuses Hairy! We sign all the players we want…studs many are! Look at last yrs D roster plus this yrs O roster! Adams is gone and he had zero to do w coaching or recruiting! Do we not have awesome athletes? Yes…studs. We lack a HC that HAS the the FIRE or ACUMEN for a Championship.

Skokie Dog

October 21st, 2013
10:46 pm

NC: I don’t think anyone here hates you or sees you as an enemy. We just think that your devotion to the current overpaid and underachieving U.Ga. coaching staff is misguided. Yes, the team is hampered by injuries this year, but they’re also handicapped by the coaching staff’s inability to help them perform at a higher level that would justify the players’ ratings when they signed to play for the ‘Dogs. We’re not seeing progress, and you’re not seeing the same problems that we believe are holding this program back.

Brent and Kirk

October 21st, 2013
10:46 pm

Lack of talent(notwithstanding crucial injuries) at this point is the least of Georgia’s problems.

It’s the fact that Mark Richt has had 13 yrs to win a Natl. Championship and has underachieved and does not have the FIRE for winning one as has Saban and Miles.

houston dawg

October 21st, 2013
11:07 pm

IT’S COACHING…..FIRE THE CLOWNS

Hairy Dawg

October 21st, 2013
11:07 pm

And what happening when one we signed as great HS player wind up stinky against college talent or not apply himself to practice and train for Dawgs. We have to be stuck with that bum as 3rd or 4th on depth chart cause Adams and now Morehead sorry rules. Bammer dont do that. They cuts them that ends up stinky and that give Bammer depth at 3rd or 4th levels to get through injuries that destroy Dawgs season. Dawgs get stuck like Braves with Dan Uggla but it Adams rules and not big contract that cause Coach Richt have to keep someone that cant hit no more at big league level. Well Bammer coach not have them limits. He just cuts the stinky player by kicking out school or put him on medical replaced list. Some look great in HS tape and measures but then not good in SEC or not working hard enough training to serve Dawgs. But Adams rules prevent Coach Richt from replacing thems that turns out bad. Morehead got to fix Adams rules.

Hairy Dawg

October 21st, 2013
11:15 pm

And even threat to kick off team and pull scholly for player with more talent or that work harder and sacrifices for Dawgs is enough help motivate more players for Bammer. But Adams and pointy heads done takes away that way for Coach Richt to motivate of cutting those players that is stinky and not talented enough to contributes.

CBDAWG

October 21st, 2013
11:36 pm

Sniffing another Richt apologist.

Hairy Dawg

October 21st, 2013
11:46 pm

I sniffing another one trying to hide Adams rules as cause of depth problems and deflect onto Coach Richt. That allows admin to keep from exposed that they causing Dawgs to not play by same rules as Bammer when Dawgs could own Bammer without no Adams rules.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 21st, 2013
11:58 pm

TROLL ALERT…. TROLL ALERT…. TROLL ALERT…… blah …… blah ….. blah….. blah….. blah

**** whine, cry, gnash your teeth – it won’t matter ’cause I guarantee Richt will be back in 2014 and most likely Grantham will too. You are like spoiled kids throwing a tantrum ’cause you aren’t getting your way. SPOILED BRATS!

I support the DAWGS – as a TRUE DAWG fan. You fair weather cry babies make me sick!

You prissies need to go on home – mama is calling you. GET a job – get a life – get lost!

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 22nd, 2013
12:12 am

The defense has it’s problems – no doubt but the defense did not lose this game… turnovers by the special teams, phantom penalties by the refs lost this game. The special teams could arguably get the blame for losing all three games.

The Reptiles got blown out by the Mizz-who’s? Spud Spurrier got his dreams crushed by the Vowels. Ole Miss upset LSU. And Vandy upset an injury plagued UGA.

7576DAWG

October 22nd, 2013
3:44 am

The only good thing about having lost 3 games is , if we win out and end up 9-3 we will not be rated higher than 13TH to 15TH. Because of this then Richt and Company need to concentrate on having us ready for next year. The biggest problem will be getting a new QB ready for SEC play. Georgia will be loaded next year and the Defense will be a year older and more experienced . Marshall and Gurley will be doing their thing. Marshall Morgan will continue his great play. Georgia main concentration should be getting a Quarterback ready. Mason and Ramsey need to get a lot of playing time in the last 7 games. If Park comes in early he needs to be given a chance to win the position. He should not be eliminated just because he is a Freshman , especially after what Florida States Freshman QB has done this year.

dawgfan

October 22nd, 2013
5:01 am

The “defense will be a year older and more experienced” argument really worked out well in 2012 didn’t it?

Please pass whatever it is you are smoking.

dawgfan

October 22nd, 2013
5:24 am

Just read where Alabama is dealing with a rash of injuries on defense. I wonder if they are going to cry like little girls about how “heartbreaking” it is or just get back to work and play football. Judging by their recent trophy collection, I’ll go with the latter.

NoAxeToGrind

October 22nd, 2013
5:31 am

You want to get rid of Richt? Quit attending the games. Empty seats will get rid of him. They did Fullmer.

dawgfan

October 22nd, 2013
5:34 am

If we lose to Florida I won’t watch another game until Richt is gone.

You have my word on that.

Bulldawg35

October 22nd, 2013
7:07 am

I can’t believe Richt thinks we still have a shot at the east….hahaha. We are basically 3 games behind mizzou….,,hahahaha. Plus we have a poor o- line…..we really missed out on Tunsil! He hasn’t allowed a sack all year for the rebels….

Bulldawg35

October 22nd, 2013
7:09 am

No axe

That’s a good idea……I tell u what…I’m not going to another game till Richt is gone.

old dog

October 22nd, 2013
7:28 am

Our D couldn’t stop a 3 year old in a Barbie car. Grantham may know the x’s and o’s, but he is not getting it across, does not have the athletes for his system, or all of the above. We wait on folks to catch the ball, then say “Hey, who is gonna tackle him?” The offense has suffered injuries that woul hurt anyone. Losing your top two backs and now four receivers would devestate any team, including ‘Bama, folks. However, the D needed to step up and help out, as did the special teams. Neither did so, and our D makes Texas A and M’s D look like the Kansas City Chief’s D. I do not have the answer, but the poor play of the D and special teams is inexcusable. If you do not have the personnel to run a particular D, you change it. And even if you do not have the most talent, everyone from the starters down should know their assignments. It is obvious they do not, and this goes to coaching.

Bulldawg35

October 22nd, 2013
7:35 am

The whole dang team stinks…..since the injuries….bobo and Richt don’t have a clue what to do. That proves right there…that it’s poor coaching…because without some of talent we are horrible. No identity on offense now….their has been no identity on the defense for the whole year.

Bulldawg35

October 22nd, 2013
7:48 am

Hairy dawg

After those 2 post….I think you need to find something else to do…..I couldn’t understand all of that mindless drivel..haha

NCDawg

October 22nd, 2013
8:02 am

Another morning SOSDD… just damn people. Why don’t just go carry some torches and pitchforks over to Athens and burn them out! What is different about what you say here than the “kill the monster!” mentality? Tell me… because you are all swept up in hysterical rants over how bad a coach Mark Richt is. Just substitute Frankenstein dammit.

Why don’t nut jobs take a week off to cool down during the off week. Maybe then you might be able to think a bit more clearly. I know some of you are lost causes but jeez… you’re embarrassing.

Again I ask… is it an excuse or a REASON if you fall down after having your leg cut off? Do you have enough freaking sense to see the difference?

And don’t blast me for “attacking other fans”. Good gawd people, what do you think you do whenever anyone posts something YOU don’t agree with. “Kool aid” and “delusion” come to mind?

What is happening in these blogs is a text book definition of HYSTERIA. Name one time hysteria ever bred any change that is useful much less good. Good luck… you won’t be able to.

CHILL!

eldawg

October 22nd, 2013
8:09 am

NCDawg, you are narcissistic psychopath.

ARdawg

October 22nd, 2013
8:39 am

NCDawg
The Boo Birds gather with the war “fire his ass” chants after wins. After two straight losses they are amplified. Nothing new there. But, losing to Vandy, VANDY! their chants grow some legs and have a degree of validation.

Any coach can coach 4-5 star studs, it takes a special coach to coach up the 2-3 stars in dire circumstances such as decimating injuries. Other teams have that coach, we don’t. I’m as loyal as the next guy and I’m not looking for blood but, some accountability would be a refreshing change from what we have now

Dawg Fud

October 22nd, 2013
8:45 am

NCDawg…wake up my friend. Get your head out of the sand.

Richt simply does not have it. I would lose no sleep at night letting him go – he has been compensated handsomely by UGA.

Charlie Strong and Kirby Smart should be on the short list.

old dog

October 22nd, 2013
9:03 am

People say we are loaded for next year; we are. However, without special teams help and a defense that is serious about playing SEC football it will be all-for-naught. We will start out whoopin’ folks, then find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The o is what it is…..devestated by an inordinate amount of injuries. The D is somewhat of an enigma……but like an older fellow told me one time “Son, I ain’t sure what the answer is, but what we doin’ win’ workin’!” Our D-scheme has become a third-down bonanza for the opponents!

old dog

October 22nd, 2013
9:15 am

Thats “ain’t” workin’……………typo!

Mobile Dawg

October 22nd, 2013
9:19 am

Quiet this morning. First anger, then bargain and negotiate, and finally acceptance for where we are! We are a ship without a rudder IMO. What’s a Dawg to do?

JB

October 22nd, 2013
9:56 am

Reading the Florida message boards this AM it hit me. We lost to an Average Vandy team, With a lead, With a SEC record setting 4th year senior QB, against their back up QB, with our coach in year 13, recruiting in one the hottest hot bed states for high school talent there is, against a coach who is in a state that almost NO talent, with very high academic standards. That is pitiful.

DawginLex

October 22nd, 2013
10:05 am

Defense is getting better but CTG is in Richt’s doghouse. He won’t be back

Murray=Not the problem

2012=UGA #1 in explosive plays over 30 yards
2013=UGA #74 in same

Injuries have killed this team.

Murray deserved a better fate but it was not meant to happen.

Richt ain’t going anywhere.

JB

October 22nd, 2013
10:06 am

Vandy has a roster full of Georgia boys that we passed on….yet they won. Wonder what the difference is ?

DawginLex

October 22nd, 2013
10:07 am

NoAxeToGrind

October 22nd, 2013
5:31 am

You want to get rid of Richt? Quit attending the games. Empty seats will get rid of him. They did Fullmer.
*************************************************************

and that has worked out real well…………………

dawgfan

October 22nd, 2013
10:14 am

Yeah, let’s diss Tennessee because they didn’t at all take us in to overtime and almost beat us. Your arrogance is laughable. We just lost to freaking Vandy.

Da Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt DawginLex.