5 reasons UGA might just have turned the corner

Here's Reason No. 3: A.J. goes airborne. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Here's Reason No. 3: A.J. goes awesomely airborne. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

1. Joe Cox is not Joe Tereshinski III. He gave a passing (no pun intended) performance against South Carolina. He made the necessary, if not necessarily artistic, throws. He kept his team moving against what was billed as a big-time defense. He made one egregious mistake — the Eric Norwood interception — but led his team to a vital field goal afterward. He did his job.

2. The men of Martinez made a stop. Actually, the Georgia defense made several. South Carolina didn’t score an offensive touchdown in the second half, and the difference between touchdowns and field goals — the Gamecocks had five –  was the difference between this being an Alabama-like blowout and a narrow victory.

3. A.J. Green is the greatest Georgia receiver ever. No amplification required.

4. Branden Smith can really run. Fastest Bulldog ever? Faster than Herschel? Faster than Goldberg? (Kidding.) Just get this freshman the darn ball!

5. The Bulldog spirit returned at full-throated growl. A lesser team would have rolled over twice — when Carolina jumped up 17-7 and after Norwood’s touchdown. But Georgia kept playing, and DeAngelo Tyson’s blocked extra point could be to this season what David Pollack’s sack-and-snatch was to 2002. OK, so that’s a stretch. But Pollack’s famous play saved an essential early game against the Gamecocks, and Tyson’s snuff did the same.

(Rebuttal time: Because this thing could still go either way, we offer 5 reasons Georgia could still be swimming upstream. And also 5 reasons Georgia will — repeat, will — win at Arkansas.)

183 comments Add your comment

Ostrich Racer

September 15th, 2009
1:49 am

1. Being a competent game manager is all we can ask of Joe Cox. He shook off the OSU experience nicely.
2. That’s two pretty good defensive games in a row, actually.
3. Yep.
4. Yep.
5. The fact that the team shook off all the negativity after OSU reflects well on the coaching staff. (The inconsistency of play doesn’t, but that’s a topic for the next blog.)

ShepDawg

September 15th, 2009
1:55 am

A win is a win but I am still not convinced. The defense as a group played well but our safties seemed to be out of postion ALOT. Too many times they bit on the play fakes. Willy is suppose to be one of the best secondary coaches. So it would seem that he would recognize this easily and have it corrected quickly. I have never played a down of football in pads in my life but I have seen great safety play before and it has been awhile since I have seen it in Red and Black.

Heath

September 15th, 2009
1:59 am

I think you mean Branden Smith can really run. But so can Reshad Jones.

Mark Bradley

September 15th, 2009
2:01 am

This is what happens when you write after midnight, Heath. You mix up Smith and Jones. Thanks for noticing. (And Brandon Jones is, I believe, a minor-league outfielder in the Braves’ chain.)

Perspective

September 15th, 2009
2:34 am

1) Joe Cox- Congrats to him for getting his head together, ignoring the critics, and playing a solid game. But when its all said and done is still an average qb and average won’t get it done at the upper tier of the SEC.

2) You’re lauding the Georgia defense. For Pete’s sake South Carolina’s offense still scored 30 pts.This is an offense that scored a mere 7 pts the week before against NC State. Does NC State have a worldbeater defense?

And they were a poor 3rd and goal pass from Garcia away from winning it. That errant 3rd down throw by Garcia was to a wr that was wide open. Georgia didn’t stop Carolina. Garcia stopped Carolina on that last series.

Also, the dawgs pass rush is nothing short of atrocious. You can’t win if you can’t pressure the qb.

When you look at Bama and Florida those guys have monsters constantly in the backfield sacking and hurrying the qb. The dogs defense hasn’t come close to that in 2 games and frankly I don’t even know if we got a sack last week.

I think we got Garcia one time maybe this week but that was probably about it. Even if we got him once or twice he had 51 attempts I think. With that many pass attempts we should get more than 1 or 2 sacks. This inability to get pressure will doom us later on.

3) You got something right with AJ.

4) Branden Smith. Yep. The kid is a burner but calm down. One great play doesn’t make the kid Percy Harvin. After all isn’t Smith the same kid that fumbled and bumbled the ball resulting directly in 7 gamecock points.

5) True enough. The dawgs never gave up much to their credit.

BravesAreDone

September 15th, 2009
2:39 am

Not sure how any of you are saying the defense has played pretty well. This is a South Carolina team that scored 7 that’s right SEVEN points the previous week. Willie Martinez needs to go or eventually he will be Richt’s downfall.

Mark, I don’t know the number, but you probably do. I read somewhere that Martinez’s defense has given up more than 30 points I believe was the number like 4 times as much as Van Gorder’s defenses did when he was here. You know if that’s about right?

Perspective

September 15th, 2009
2:40 am

First post got eaten so let me try this again.

1) Joe Cox- Congrats to him for getting his head together, ignoring the critics, and playing a solid game. But when its all said and done is still an average qb and average won’t get it done at the upper tier of the SEC.

2) You’re lauding the Georgia defense. For Pete’s sake South Carolina’s offense still scored 30 pts.This is an offense that scored a mere 7 pts the week before against NC State. Does NC State have a worldbeater defense?

And they were a poor 3rd and goal pass from Garcia away from winning it. That errant 3rd down throw by Garcia was to a wr that was wide open. Georgia didn’t stop Carolina. Garcia stopped Carolina on that last series.

Also, the dawgs pass rush is nothing short of atrocious. You can’t win if you can’t pressure the qb.

When you look at Bama and Florida those guys have monsters constantly in the backfield sacking and hurrying the qb. The dogs defense hasn’t come close to that in 2 games and frankly I don’t even
know if we got more than possibly 1 or 2 sacks against Garcia in 51 attempts.

3) Branden Smith- Great speed but don’t get overly excited. The kid also fumbled and bumbled away 7 pts. He aint no Percy Harvin by any means.

4) AJ- Yep

5) To their credit the dawgs never gave up. But who the heck would give up anyway in the 1st qtr when its only 17-7. Nobody gives up that easy.

BJohnDawg

September 15th, 2009
5:32 am

Big Dawg fan…but here are the issues.

1) No pressure from Defensive line( same as last year)
2) Inconsistent special teams ( same as last year)
3) Undiscipline players with too many penalties( same as last year)
4) Inconsistent kick coverage( part of 2, and same as last year)
5) Questionable play calling on offense and defense( same as last year)
6) Poor Coaching…why poor coaching you ask? Because Georgia has the same problems as LAST YEAR. They have had a year to better the team in these areas, yet in some areas it seems to be worse. Great coaches eliminate poor areas of team play through coaching. Example: That pooch kickoff did not work last year, but they still are doing it this year, and it still is not working.If they dont fix issues, in most programs, they ( coaches) are gone. Not in this program, and that is part of the problem.

Against SC….the TE was open in the middle all night long.
Did the DC make the adjustment to change that? NO. This was a horrible offense moving the ball on the Dawgs like they were USC( the west coast version), Florida, Texas…..take your pick. One can only wonder what will have when Florida has the ball against this defense. They have the offense that can put it in the endzone, the offense S. Carolina lacked.

As a long time Dawg fan, I dont expect to win every game. Would love it, but reality is that does not happen. But I want the team to fix its mistakes and the areas it is lacking in and to fight and to be competitive every game. I really dont think that is too much to ask for from a coaching staff.

69 Dawg

September 15th, 2009
5:47 am

FIRE WILLIE NOW!!!!! I absolutely hate it when our D comes out on the field. We’ll fold up like a cheap lawn chair when we play some big time offenses. How many points can one Florida team score against Willie’s D? Bring VG back from the Falcons!!!!!!

kurula

September 15th, 2009
6:07 am

still too many points on the board against the defense. too much give in the secondary. the middle of the field is constantly wide open. the pass rush is virtually non-existent. there seems to be very little discipline. the talent level is way too high for me to believe this isn’t a coaching problem.

WTH

September 15th, 2009
6:32 am

Are you serious? VG would go back to the college level with a lower salary, dealing with recruiting, delusional fans, etc.

Gabe

September 15th, 2009
6:35 am

I have been reading many of the blogs since Saturday night and one scary fact that no is mentioning is that we looked so confused too often on offense and defense about which players are even supposed to be on the field. We had to use 4 of our 6 timeouts because we either only had 10 players on the field or not the right 11. This has to point to the coaching staff not having their players ready on the sidelines. As much as I hate to say it, it ultimately points to Richt.

timbo

September 15th, 2009
6:43 am

I like what you’re saying Mark, however, 1.Defense still is missing a lot of tackles. 2. No depth at rb behind Richard Samuel. 3. No depth on the defensive line. 4. DBs are too small in the red zone. 5. Teams doesn’t have enough game film on Joe Cox to expose his flaws.

Coog

September 15th, 2009
6:56 am

Defense (Martinez) couldn’t keep a slow TE from catching passes (chuck him at the line); SC QB had a pass blocked by the shortest guy on the field. That’s not the defense coming up with a big play, it’s a very low pass.

Douglas

September 15th, 2009
7:03 am

We have great defensive players but lousy defensive coaching. Martinez is not the only problem — I have not been impressed with our LB’s coach either — look at all the great LB’s we have recruited — yet Rennie is the only standout. They never covered anything underneath. When Van Gorder was here, we always had great LB play.

Ed-Covington

September 15th, 2009
7:11 am

Let’s see: dawg fans want to want to replace the HC, OC, DC, STC, QB, RB, DL, DBs, AD & Univ. Pres. What is there left for you to be a fan of?

F-105 Thunderchief

September 15th, 2009
7:11 am

I think if people will enjoy watching these really talented young players develop, they will like this season. A lot. If the Bulldog Nation (and, I don’t know how representative the rabid kooks on these blogs are) will have reasonable expectations and support their team all will be well. The team will win SEC championships, have a reasonable shot at the top spot nationally quite often. In short, they will have a very good program, competitive with anybody in the SEC, probably stronger than the Dooley years, which people seemed to be happy with.

Ed-Covington

September 15th, 2009
7:12 am

Add the LBC.

Bill

September 15th, 2009
7:15 am

So you eked out another close one against the Gamecocks. Good for you. I’d be more concerned that Spurrier has found his QB at last. That has been one of the major problems at SC. Don’t get too excited about Lattimore’s viist either. He is a “cock lock”. Let’s see you beat Spurrier then with that lousy defensive coach you have.

MiltonDawg

September 15th, 2009
7:15 am

Agreed MB- each week they are making improvements. We had no depth @ LB/DE last game- causing that TE for SC to go wild. If can minimize turnovers (which helped their offense) & reduce the penalites (same): UGA is headed in the right direction. I’m looking forward to seeing Houston this wknd at DE. Let Samuel run the ball more

sharecropper

September 15th, 2009
7:15 am

Well, next give me five reasons why the AJC continues to ignore the team up the street, a pretty good one, that is playing Miami this week, also a pretty good team. I try not to be paranoid but I simply don’t get it. Does UGA treat your writers better? Better seats? Better food? Better drink? Else I don’t know how it can be argued that Ga. vs. Arkansas is a better game than Tech vs. Miami. Just because we might be paranoid doesn’t mean the AJC is not out to get us.

SatchelBuzz

September 15th, 2009
7:20 am

Hey,….those Houston Cougars sure looked mighty good whipping Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Guess they’ve turned a corner as well,…C-USA Champs maybe???

Owned.

THWG!!

Lilburn Dawg

September 15th, 2009
7:25 am

Hate to say it, Mark, but your next post of the 5 reasons we are still swimming upstream will be the one that is more reality based. If Boykin hadn’t made that long runback the whole length of the field for a touchdown, we’d be sucking eggs right now. And as wonderful as that was to see, we can’t count on such uncommon plays (which happen once in a blue moon) to pull out a win for us.

And what is your take on the kid from ECI? Do you think we’ll see him in any games soon? I’d like to at least see what he’s like.

JB

September 15th, 2009
7:36 am

Lucky to beat Carolina. Giving up 35+ points to a offense challenged Carolina Team gives me pause. What will happen when we play a real offense. I could prep a team to move the ball on us. The TE and the 10-15 yard underneath passing game is there for the taking. R. Jones #9 plays 35 yards off the line. WTF. Everyone in the Stadium knew Carolina WOULD BE ABLE to drive the length of the field when they got the ball back at the end. Everyone can. Vandy, Kentucky……anyone….IT’S SCHEME, NOT ATHLETES…………..

Mac

September 15th, 2009
7:36 am

Bulldog fans on AJC blogs = fretting, complaining fiends

Chillax. It’s gonna be alright.

Yellowdog

September 15th, 2009
7:37 am

I used to get an adrenaline rush when the mighty Georgia defense took the field. Now I have a sick feeling in my stomach and agonize about how long the other team will cram it down our pathetic throats. It makes me want to puke and scream…”Why the hell is Martinez getting a paycheck for that pathetic crap he calls a defense.?” No offense to the players; there aren’t the problem. The responsibility rests on the slumped shoulders of that useless idiot.

The American Dream

September 15th, 2009
7:37 am

Wow what a great piece of garbage Mark. I can smell this writing all the way from the backroom of my trailer down in Peachtree City. My beloved Dawgs are about as back as my former wrestling partners Terry Funk and Tully Blanchard. I predict that there are at least five teams on the Dawg’s schedule that could whip em in a cage match–Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech, Midnight Express, and Arizona State. Go Dawgs! Peace in Christ Mark Richt! Oh and may God bless the USA, the state of Georgia, the wonderful Sonny “The Masked Warrior” Perdue, and all the lovely folks who supported the American Dream over the years.

leland

September 15th, 2009
7:41 am

Dear Mr. MB–today’s CYSC is pretty hard. Let me know if you have any trouble with it. Your pal, Leland

Vick=Dog killing thug

September 15th, 2009
7:44 am

I hate to join the bashers but I used to enjoy it when the dawgs were on Defense. Loved to see the big hits and the enemy QB on his butt…. Now I consider giving up a field goal to be a good defensive series. What happened ????

dawgfan1911

September 15th, 2009
7:49 am

This team has many flaws, but who actually think that this team will compete for the SEC championship? I say let the young players play, find some better coaches, especially on the defensive side of the ball and be a little more creative on offense. Branden Smith is a stud!!! Get him in the wild cat and let him be creative. Houston comes back this weekend so maybe we will get a better pass rush, but I am startled as to why we dont have better DEs???

JB

September 15th, 2009
7:50 am

Sharecropper………………………I know you will lay wood on me for this, but Tech after ONE year with Johnson ( a good year by the way) has not created a Buzz ( no pun intended) with the state, or region or nationally. Another couple of years of 9-10 wins or so and it will…….It’s like a politician, Tech needs to build back up that name recognition. Not many people care about Tech’s football program other than their fans. We at Georgia have the opposite problem. We can draw a crowd and a large TV audience but we are are losing that.
You hardly hear ANY National press say anything positive about the Dawgs. Underachievers. WE will likely soon be where you have lived the last few years, out of the top 25.and with that, playing at 12:30 on regional TV as you have been. Not bashing, just the way it is…..and has been. Also, the press loves new story lines….Johnson, Kiffen, The guy at Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas…………………..After last year failures and two beat downs on National TV, We are old news……up to US to change that………HBTD………

Connie Lingous

September 15th, 2009
7:51 am

Good column, Mark.

My comment yesterday got lost, so hopefully you’ll see it this time – DeAngelo Tyson is a DT, not a DE, as you identified him twice yesterday. DT all the way.

[...] Mark Bradley fo the AJC gives five reasons why Georgia may have turned the corner. [...]

FBR

September 15th, 2009
7:54 am

I agree with yellowdog. 37 points from Carolina, poor tackling, penalties everywhere, poor decisions made by players, horrendous defensive ends play~~~a ragtag, disoriented football team. Poorly coached?

Kevkev

September 15th, 2009
7:59 am

BravesAreDone….YES the BRAVES are done!! I was at the game Saturday night and I too agree with you and the fact that Willie MUST GO. If Richt wants to stick around UGA he needs to do what needed to be done at the end of last season and let Willie go. Or too they will BOTH be gone.

We are way to talanted and athletic on defense to give up that much offense to SC….Spurrier trained or not. That game should have been over in the first half. And gosh, lets not make an adjustment and cover the tight end…who I am pretty sure had a career game against us.

Mark, what does our defense need to do in your opinion?

Paddy

September 15th, 2009
8:00 am

After 2 games and I hope my mind changes on this; We are a good team just not a real good team.

George P. Burdell

September 15th, 2009
8:02 am

A win is a win. Over-used cliche, but oh so true. Good job Dawgs.

With that said. Go Jackets!

Joe Fan

September 15th, 2009
8:03 am

Yeah, the dogs turned a corner but it leads down a dark alley. If UGA wins 3-4 games this year they will be fortunate.

gary

September 15th, 2009
8:07 am

The defense is horrible, in the old days we bent but did not break. We were able to get to the QB when we had to. We can’t seem to do anything on defense. 90% of the time our Linebackers and Defensive backs are out of position or getting beat. OH how I wish for Eddie Weaver, Bill Goldberg, Terry Hoage, and Champ Bailey!!

Clay

September 15th, 2009
8:09 am

I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Shouldn’t be too much longer now…

TommyGator

September 15th, 2009
8:10 am

Mark, good points!

1. Cox looked like a different QB this week. His arm strength was considerably better than against Okie State.

2. D was better, and against an improved SC attack.

3. You may be right, but that’s a VERY short list!

4. Yes. Ask any Gator: Speed Kills.

5. The bark was back. No quit on this night.

I’m looking forward to your rebuttal….

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

September 15th, 2009
8:12 am

1. maybe
2. maybe
3. maybe
4. maybe
5. maybe
Response by Brett Frave

Spike

September 15th, 2009
8:16 am

#6 Orson Charles.

sportsfan

September 15th, 2009
8:18 am

1) Don’t worry about Cox…he’s best available
2) What defense…over 400 yards total offense for SC and over 30
points.
3) Green is best receiver in SEC.
4) Don’t blame linebackers for not stopping SC tight end…who else in
SEC is gonna stop a 6′5″ 280 lb. tight end that runs 4.5 sec 40 yd.
dash.
5) Last play of game was not as great a defensive play as a stupid play
by SC QB….RB was open had he looked left or he could have run for
a first down had he not passed. Either way…games over.

William

September 15th, 2009
8:41 am

Hey it is not WILLIE MARTINEZ FAULT! The offense just has to score 45 points or more a game. Willie is a good old soul! Just ask Mark Richt! Willie is trying as hard as he can. It is the offense that scores. Poor Willie is getting a bad rap because mediocre offenses score 37 or more points. I say give him a raise! Add more years to his contract! Willie is a good old soul.

j

September 15th, 2009
8:41 am

Bradley,

You are an idiot! South Carolina is horrible and Georgia is just as bad. I can’t believe you still have a job here. Good thing your Dawgs didn’t play Houston. That would have been an @$$ whoppin! UGAY is done for the season!

fan

September 15th, 2009
8:42 am

those washington high boys got speed b. smith and r. jones it time to step up your turn jones and keep it going smith

CWM

September 15th, 2009
8:43 am

The coaches need to do a better job hiding the calls from the sidelines. Especially the defense.

Kevkev

September 15th, 2009
8:44 am

SPORTS FAN….lets see… apparently NC STATE stopped that 6′5″ 280 lb tight end. And thats an ACC defense where none of the players in the ACC can even SPELL defense.

And Joe Cox is NOT the best available QB at UGA…

lefty fielder

September 15th, 2009
8:45 am

JOE COX . . . if you’re reading this . . . way to kick a$$ this past weekend in a game that will always be close, no matter what the talent levels are on each team. I hereby dub thee “BIG RED.” I am one blogger who is behind you and the dogs 100%.