Dogs’ loss to Nebraska saw the same old problems plus a new one

Artie Lynch caught six passes from Hutson Mason Wednesday, but dropped two crucial balls. (Associated Press)

Artie Lynch caught six passes from Hutson Mason Wednesday, but dropped two crucial balls. (Associated Press)

Playing in the rain on a chopped up field before a half-empty stadium, Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs looked during Wednesday’s game against Nebraska like a rusty team that hadn’t played in a month, and whose players didn’t seem too enthused about facing the same bowl opponent as last year.

What resulted was a smorgasbord of recurring problems that have plagued the Dogs all season — clueless pass coverage by the secondary, another catastrophic mistake on special teams (fumbled punt!), turnovers that gave the opponent a short field and quickly resulted in touchdowns, and spotty pass protection from an inconsistent offensive line that allowed Nebraska to put strong pressure on struggling former backup quarterback Hutson Mason much of the day.

That dismal mix of circumstances was exacerbated by offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s worst playcalling since the Vandy game. When you get only one touchdown out of six trips inside the red zone and completely whiff on two of them with the game on the line, it doesn’t matter that your offense racked up 416 yards and 22 first downs.

The most puzzling aspect of the game that Bobo called was again reminiscent of the loss in Nashville — where was the vertical passing game before the fourth quarter? For much of the day, Georgia rarely tried to challenge the Cornhuskers deep. It says a lot that tailback Todd Gurley finished as Georgia’s leading receiver for the day, catching mostly screen passes.

Gurley played hard in spite of obviously not feeling great Wednesday. Despite looking gimpy at times, he still made an obvious difference whenever he was in the game and provided most of Georgia’s offensive spark.

But in general it was one of the Dogs’ most lackluster days moving the ball.

A muddy Todd Gurley wasn't at full strength but still provided most of the spark for Georgia's offense. (Associated Press)

A muddy Todd Gurley wasn't at full strength but still provided most of the spark for Georgia's offense. (Associated Press)

On top of all that, a new new wrinkle appeared to bedevil Bobo’s offense that hadn’t really been much of a problem this year: dropped passes. Despite trailing for the entire game, the fourth quarter found the Dogs in a position to win the game, down by only 5 points, only to see a receiving corps that had made numerous clutch catches this year fall short. Tight end Artie Lynch, who otherwise had a fine day, dropped two crucial balls that he should have caught, and Rantavious Wooten, mostly a nonpresence in the game, dropped two more (one of which admittedly resulted from a hard hit).

While the offense had a subpar day, Todd Grantham’s defense, aside from the secondary, actually played well enough to win. Nebraska’s All-America back, Ameer Abdullah, did manage to run for 122 yards, but Georgia’s rushing defense was solid most of the day.

Unfortunately, as had happened a couple of times before this season, an opponent not known for its passing game feasted on blown assignments and missed tackles by Georgia’s defensive backs, who were spectacularly bad, giving up an NCAA-record touchdown pass from the Huskers’ own 6-inch line.

It all proved too much for the Bulldogs, who appeared to be the more talented — but less motivated — team in Wednesday’s Gator Bowl.

Sorry to say, it was that kind of season, though.

Feel free to share your own thoughts on Georgia’s season-ending loss.

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

805 comments Add your comment

RoweDog

January 1st, 2014
6:01 pm

I’d like to be the first to say I support CMR and would be proud to have my son play for him, Bobo, and Grantham.

Topper

January 1st, 2014
6:01 pm

Different day, same UGA.

I don’t care how many players are injured this year, there is no excuse to play this poorly. Perhaps Richt shouldn’t have cancelled practice to play kickball?? I’m sure they had some nice Chikfila and warm milk after the game.

As Mark Richt said: “Consistency is a good thing.”
With that, UGA can strive to be a consistent under-performer doing the least with the most.

george

January 1st, 2014
6:01 pm

not blaming this one on the refs? WOW I am shocked.

Ucello

January 1st, 2014
6:06 pm

UGA is lucky to win 8 or 9 games a year, and they won’t win more until they make some major changes. They are quite frankly not a very good football team, and they play down to the level of their opponent every week (luckily they play up to their opponents as well). They have “serious” coaching issues. OC and DC are average at best. Bobo couldn’t get the offense clicking the entire game and has little imagination. Georgia’s DB’s did not play well but they haven’t played well all season. They recruit 3-Star players and sell them to fanbase as 5-Star recruits. HCMR has started losing all big name players in state has for the last 3-years. The other SEC teams were challenged today but managed to find a way to win, while UGA only seems to find a way to lose.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

January 1st, 2014
6:06 pm

poor field conditions is why we lost

GASPORTS

January 1st, 2014
6:07 pm

I have been saying it since Richt took this team over, that there is NO discipline on this team and it really showed today. I mean, how…HOW, after the Auburn game does something like the 6inch line happen???? Seriously…somebody tell me HOW???!

Dropping passes, half-blocking, a QB that holds the ball too long and Bobo the Clown calling plays also contributed to the loss as well. But, a 99 yard touchdown pass over a safety that bounced off the guy after he caught the ball? Wow!

Some of that falls on coaching as well. I was trying to look at the bright side of things after this past season and beating LSU, GT and Spurrier was overshadowed by Vandy, Clemson and Auburn was the poor coaching and players today.

Those defensive backs will continue blowing assignments next year as well.

dawgfan

January 1st, 2014
6:11 pm

That kind of season? Try that kind of the past 8 years.

Only someone who has been living in a cave the past half decade would be in any way surprised by this game.

Continuity is a good thing

Macclenny_dawg

January 1st, 2014
6:12 pm

The great motivator Richt is a steady force driving the energy bus!!! Did anybody expect anything different from this team. I did I expected us to squeak out a win. But this time talent couldn’t overcome bad coaching. We know what we got in Gurly why didn’t we see what Mason could do. Time for a change in Athens.

dentaldawg

January 1st, 2014
6:13 pm

I only wonder how much longer the bulldawg faithful will support this mediocrity.

dawgfan

January 1st, 2014
6:13 pm

Nebraska also played in the rain on a chopped up field and had not played a game in a month. Somehow they managed to overcome such insurmountable odds and beat Mark Richt, a “leader of men.”

We are a joke.

LoyaltotheG

January 1st, 2014
6:15 pm

Fitting ending to a disappointing season. I know making excuses is in our DNA as Dawg fans, but I’m tired of going through that exercise. Gurley not feeling great and looking gimpy….dear God man, what’s new? When is the guy gonna not be “gimpy”? He’s a big, muscled up dude with talent, but the injury stuff is a common theme. UGA is a good program that’s surrounded by some great ones who’ve reached the pinnacle. I suspect we’ll win 8 again next year. Just a cloud of mediocrity hanging over this program.

monty

January 1st, 2014
6:18 pm

Sloppy play from some key players. Mason looked befuddled on most pass plays, either waiting for the receiver to get wide open not wanting to make a mistake(tentative) or else the receivers were covered like blankets. Not sure which. Not a great day for the SEC offensive coach of the year. Yikes! Seem like you ought to have a few plays on offense that befuddles the D. DIdn’t see anything like that. THeir D-backs in our hip pocket all day. Offensive line just blows on most run plays. Pass protection is marginally better, believe it or not. It became evident today, just how good Murray is. He saved our bacon many times. I hope Richt opens up the QB race this season, not feel loyal to MAson.JUst an opinion but he doesn’t seem like anything special(just average). Could very well be wrong.

CHDawg

January 1st, 2014
6:19 pm

You hit the nail on the head, Bill. I watched some of the LSU and SC games and it was almost hard to believe we beat those teams. Dropped passes. Missed blocks. Ints. Messed up special teams. Injuries. Those were all unexpected this year and most were preventable. The secondary was just young and we need more talent back there. I am sure some of the guys will get much better over the next few years after time in the gym and more experience. The season went as most Dawg fans predicted, though. We had one of the best UGA offenses in history and one of the youngest defenses. Unfortunately the injuries started on offense in the Clemson game and it was downhill after that. I think the coaches have forgotten what life without Murray was like. Ultimately, we finished with almost as much experience on the D because there were so many injuries to position players on O. On the coaching, I also agree. Even if you incomplete, the long passes keep the defense honest. The TV announcers said Nebraska’s coaches didn’t think we were *capable* of throwing long. We have to at least try. They just played the run and short passes and it worked pretty well. I guess Coach Bobo agreed because he didn’t go up the field until the end of the game.

Reason

January 1st, 2014
6:20 pm

It’s seriously as though some of you have no understanding of the game of football. You don’t get why we wanted to run the ball and not challenge the Huskers secondary on deep balls? Could it be due to the fact that 1) Nebraska has, statistically, one of the best secondaries in the nation, and 2) Todd Gurley is the best player on the field. That’s not rocket science. Our secondary was, is and always will be trash in this configuration and with this coordinator. Bobo is the best offensive coordinator Georgia has ever seen. The fact that he’s still drawing criticism after every loss is beyond me. Same goes for CMR. He is the best coach Georgia has ever seen, yet somehow every loss is on his shoulders solely.

The field conditions accounted for a good bit of the mistakes on the field from the Dawgs today (fumbled punt, critical dropped passes). It’s unbelievable that idiots are still calling for Richt’s and Bobo’s jobs when they have to know at this point that neither will be going anywhere unless it’s of their own volition. “I don’t care how many players were injured…” Ignorance. Saying that means you expect the same result from a lesser team as you do from the team at full strength. That’s asinine. You people make my blood boil.

sc_dawg

January 1st, 2014
6:22 pm

Anyone give me logical reason to keep anyone on this coaching staff including Richt ??

Macclenny_dawg

January 1st, 2014
6:26 pm

Reason,
Now if we could get this coaching staffs blood boil maybe we could win!!!

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

January 1st, 2014
6:31 pm

Nebraska was playing crowd noise on the loud speakers, is why we lost today

Ucello

January 1st, 2014
6:32 pm

Guy’s “good coaching” brings in the field conditions, refereeing, etc into the game plan on the fly .DC flat blew call when no “Tampa 2″ safeties over top, player ego cost game vs Aub., Pound ball player would have knocked ball to ground, also should have “wrapped” on bomb instead of going for “big hit”.These players are not very well coached, If you don’t see it now, you’ll never see it .Changes need to be made.I would like a chance for Nat Cham, this coaching staff can not achieve that goal, now or ever….

monty

January 1st, 2014
6:34 pm

As long as CMR and company are coaching we can expect more 8-9 win season(not a bad thing) if consistetly winning 8,9,10 wins per season is all you desire. Just never going to run the table. Face it, there are 4-5 coaches better than CMR in the SEC, He’s not a bad coach, I like his character, we recruit well every year. On talent alone we should be a 8-9 win team every year. But NC’s take more of something CMR and present Co. just don’t have. Maybe a SEC team will win the next 10 NC games, I don’t know, but if they did, would any serious wager be made that UGA would win even one of them? Not from me. Not on this coaching staff.

RelentlessPursuit

January 1st, 2014
6:36 pm

Nothing this team does should surprise any Georgia fan. More of the same, but worse.

CHDawg

January 1st, 2014
6:36 pm

Reason, we did pretty well throwing long on the Husker secondary twelve months ago. Coaches have to take what the opposing coaches give them. We also did well today when we tried. Sticking with your plan regardless of what the other team is doing yields the results we saw today. Good coaches make adjustments.

Reason

January 1st, 2014
6:37 pm

Never mind that Georgia was just a few feet away from beating a vastly superior Alabama team on its way to a National Championship just a year ago. No, “this coaching staff can not achieve that goal [winning a National Championship], now or ever…”

Ignorance upon ignorance.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

January 1st, 2014
6:37 pm

Nebraska has better players is why we lost today

DawgVoiceofReason

January 1st, 2014
6:39 pm

The problem is that the same mistakes keep happening over and over with this team. Who is in charge? The coaches. Who makes many of the mistakes? The players on the field and in some cases the coaches in their decisions and strategy and motivation. Who recruits and then coaches the players? The coaches. Who needs to be held accountable? The coaches, as the ones in charge, and the players for their individual mistakes. Ultimately, it has to fall on the coaches. But there are some who want to blame the fans for complaining or deflect blame from the coaches and say it’s all on the players. The bottom line is our coaches in general, and Todd Grantham most clearly are not getting the most out of the players we have. Something has to give. To me it is obvious that Grantham needs to be replaced. While I like Coach Richt and want him to succeed, it is becoming more and more obvious that he is not up to the challenge. He needs to fix the problems ASAP.

Mutley

January 1st, 2014
6:42 pm

Another “What if game.” Continuity is a good thing.

JB at home

January 1st, 2014
6:43 pm

Left for a while to watch Stanford play. It’s refreshing. Well well coached. Crisp. Organized. Energetic.
Nothing I saw in Red today.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

January 1st, 2014
6:46 pm

it was the refs

Snoop Dawg

January 1st, 2014
6:46 pm

Another season for Richt, another three million dollars.

Who cares?

Snoop Dawg

January 1st, 2014
6:48 pm

Reason is incoherent. How many Growlers has he polished off today?

Macclenny_dawg

January 1st, 2014
6:48 pm

If you are happy with what you get with Richt, I understand losers love company. If you’re not I suggest to let your voice be heard not just on here but in a email to Mcgarity. Time for a change!!!

Reason

January 1st, 2014
6:49 pm

I’d hate to see the untouchable Vince Dooley try to survive the Georgia fan mob mentality today. In Vince Dooley’s first 13 years at Georgia, he had 28 fewer wins than CMR had in his first 13, just one more conference title (in an admittedly weaker field than the SEC we know today, and the same number of National Championships (zero). Had someone named Herschel not come along, he may have never sniffed another title, National or otherwise. Yet somehow, Vince Dooley is revered as a legend, and Mark Richt ridiculed as the bumbling coach that couldn’t.

DawgVoiceofReason

January 1st, 2014
6:49 pm

Mason played well enough to win, if his receivers had held on to the ball or if the defense had not given up the longest play from scrimmage in NCAA history. That said, he looked not nearly as experienced or competent as Aaron Murray. But that should not have been expected. I’m a little concerned with some of the mistakes he made but still optimistic about his senior season.

JB at home

January 1st, 2014
6:49 pm

Bill, if the players were not excited about the game today, where do we place that blame? Other teams win with injuries and suspended players. Why can’t we run block with an experienced line. Why can’t we get within 10 yards of a receiver.? Did you here the announcer say when Green ran the kick off back to mid field, it was the first such return of the year. Special teams are horrible. Defense has moments, but can’t stop most offenses.I’m exhausted.

ColDawg

January 1st, 2014
6:50 pm

There must be some coaching staff changes (Friend, Lakatos, Grantham are the chief parties that need to be employed elsewhere). If not, be prepared for another letdown in the fall. We have too much talent to go 8-5 even with numerous injuries. Alas, our players are not getting mentored or developed. Talent must be coached. We let this game slide away just like Vandy and Auburn. Excuses are only good for so long…

Birdhair

January 1st, 2014
6:51 pm

I really like mark richt. I think he’s a great person, spokesperson, and family man. He does well with the media and is a good representative of the university. His Overall winning percentage is excellent and he’s done very well in the SEC.

But we haven’t won an SEC championship since 2005. We do need to keep in mind that its extremely difficult to win the best conference in the country. We were five yards away from winning a national title last season. The coaches buckled down except for the loss to South Carolina.

Personally, I’m disgusted with the outcome of this season. I feel bad for Murray. He came back to win and the coaches let him down. There is clearly a demand for excellence and accountability missing in this program. I’d like to see more transparency with richt in the coaching staff. CMR gets paid millions to coach and I think it would be in everyone’s best interest if he outlined the problems with the program publicly and told us how he plans to fix them. Grantham should explain why we only had freshmen in the secondary and tell us why that wont happen again.

These coaches need to get on the same page and have constant discussions about how this program is going to improve. It’s time to demand excellence again in all facets including offseason training and discipline. It was frustrating to watch a duke team with very little talent play with so much heart and discipline. Why can’t we do that? If we fail again next season we fans need to make our voices heard

dawgsBG

January 1st, 2014
6:52 pm

UGA was in the redzone 5 or 6 times and did not score.

They were close to winning last year against AL, but guess what? They lost. And that’s the closest they’ll be to winning a championship under these coaches. If you are happy with mediocrity, then keep defending them I guess. But if you really want to see UGA become great, they need to start thinking about some personnel changes asap.

JB at home

January 1st, 2014
6:53 pm

Reason…………….. you need to look at the last 5 years closely. Wins, points, yards given up, three and outs, Blue chippers leavibg the state, special team stats, Bowl losses and on and on. It has been graphed on here before. The program is in decline. It’s not a personal attack. It’s actual data form stats that’s NOT GOOD. The program is in decline.

Bulldog_greg

January 1st, 2014
6:53 pm

I agree totally with you Bill. Plus, the clock management down the stretch was embarrassing. That falls on CMR. We were playing not to lose again, instead of playing to win. Reminded me so much of the Vandy game and Liberty Bowl. Mason must not be the answer next year, because Bobo would not let him throw the ball down the field or he couldn’t make good decisions on who was open? I hope they open up the QB race and give Park and Ramsey a shot. I can’t stomach another 8 win season with a 5th year Senior calling the shots. He knows the offense, but can’t execute. Reminded me of Joe Cox today and they wear the same number.

DawgVoiceofReason

January 1st, 2014
6:54 pm

Rason,

The competition IS fierce in the SEC now and expectations ARE high and the external pressure is even MORE intense that it was back “in the day”. If Richt is going to achieve what Vince Dooley did (beyond winning percentage), he is going to need to step up HIS game. Otherwise, he will be known as the coach who got us back into the SEC championship picture but never won it all and faded at the end. I want him to at least match what Dooley achieved.

Ucello

January 1st, 2014
6:55 pm

Reason- If our defense of CMR is that we ALMOST won a game last year against Alabama, a game in which we were completely dominated on defense and were lucky to be in a position to win, that’s not a good sign of where our standards are for Georgia football.

Big Duge

January 1st, 2014
6:55 pm

A football team takes on a coach”s personalty CMR is soft and he team”s are soft. They don”t play hard for 60 minutes, they only play hard in the fourth quarter when they are losing.

DawgVoiceofReason

January 1st, 2014
6:55 pm

[sorry, Reason] You would think I could at least spell that part of my own handle. LOL.

dawggirl

January 1st, 2014
6:56 pm

I think we relied on the running game too much, and not nearly enough in the passing game. I don’t care if Hutson Mason isn’t comfortable. Freaking GET comfortable. This is your team now, and all the Aaron Murray haters can kiss off.

CHDawg

January 1st, 2014
6:56 pm

Reason, some of the posters just pitch a fit when they don’t get their way. I don’t think too many serious and intelligent UGA fans think canning Richt is a good idea. Some of these guys wanted to get rid of Murray after every loss and I am sure they would have fired Dooley when he had a losing season just before the NC in ‘80. Analyzing the mistakes doesn’t equal wanting to dump a great head coach like Richt. If Richt had lost like Saban did to Auburn, they would have been writing letters and emails for his head. In any organization you will have emotional people who shoot first and start thinking the next day.

Bulldog_greg

January 1st, 2014
6:56 pm

Grantham or the secondary coach need to go, but CMR has stated no changes will be made. How can a bunch of under classmen get worse? They played better earlier in the year. Swann has digressed badly. Still don’t understand why Langley has been in the dog house since week 4. He can’t be any worse than Wiggins. Secondary is a disaster.

JB at home

January 1st, 2014
6:57 pm

Most programs field a team like this in year one or two of a NEW coach ( See Tenn & Arkansas). This was year 13. Loyalty is a BIG problem for Richt. DC, DB,OL coach’s NEED replacing. Won’t happen. The QB job ought to OPEN next fall. Richt will NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN.

Jon Heisman

January 1st, 2014
6:59 pm

No posts on how uga will win next year’s MNC yet? Or how next year’s team should start ranked in the top 4? I guess the delusional fan base does not read the AJC boards.

JB at home

January 1st, 2014
7:02 pm

I will say we are about to go in to the best time of year to be A DAWG. Recruiting and signing day and Richt PR machine for next year.. Hope and hype , we are always top 10.

TheItalianDawg

January 1st, 2014
7:03 pm

the worse job by the coaches this season! terrible product on he field. I hope GA southern hires Bobo. the play calling was terrible. The OL coach should be fired. a special team coach is a must. Im very pessimistic about the future of Georgia football. The coaches should be a shame of themselves

Eddie in acworth

January 1st, 2014
7:04 pm

We all know the definition of insanity. But we are all guilty of it watching this program and expecting different and better results. Nothing will ever change in this program until a change at top is made.

How many of you would take going 0fer in sec like au did last yr only to go to the nc the next yr? Malzahn gets it done. Richt, while a super guy, will never take this program to nc status.

@reason yes we almost beat al last yr. Almost. But who was that who made the call not to spike the ball? Coaches. We need new ones.