Another black day in Jax reveals UGA as second-rate

One more is hunting a third BCS title; the other is trying to get bowl-eligible. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

One is hunting a third BCS title; the other isn't bowl-eligible. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Jacksonville — The game was a total loss, but the lesson imparted need not be. After yet another lost Saturday in Duval County, this much is beyond dispute: Georgia is no longer a major player in its division, let alone the nation.

Mark Richt began his somber media briefing by saying, “Well, here we are again.” And there they were, lopsided losers. It was 49-10 last season and 41-17 this time, and for all the good work Richt did in the early part of this decade, he and his program have been lapped by Urban Meyer. And Richt, once so clever and driven, seems to have run out of ideas.

He tried the color-scheme gimmick Saturday, presenting his players with black helmets after they’d warmed up in the usual red headgear. The upshot of this was to make Georgia look like an Arena league team and to cow the nation’s No. 1 team not one whit. After 11 1/2 minutes, the guys in the orange hats led the guys in the black hats 14-0.

“It’s not the helmet,” safety Reshad Jones said. “It’s what inside the helmet.”

Well, yes. With an extra week to prepare, Willie Martinez seemed even more witless than usual. As bad as the Gators’ first two touchdowns were, the third was an affront to everything Red and Black. Facing third-and-3 at the Georgia 23 with 1:32 left in the half, Florida ran a simple option. Tim Tebow faked a handoff and burst up the middle. He scored the touchdown that put him ahead of the hallowed Herschel Walker without being touched.

“They’re a good team,” said defensive end Justin Houston. “But it seemed like every time we made a bad play, they capitalized on it.”

In the first half Georgia had eight penalties. In the second it had four interceptions. If it was to have any chance against the Gators, it had to play a clean game. Instead it authored another in a series of messes.

If we’re to believe recruiting rankings, the gulf between Georgia and Florida shouldn’t be so pronounced. But Saturday was another installment of men against boys, and it called to mind the barb Steve Spurrier sunk into Ray Goff in this stadium 18 years ago: “Georgia gets all these players — I don’t know what happens to them.”

Players go to Florida and get, to invoke another Spurrier-ism, coached up. Players come to Georgia and are left to their own devices. Martinez is a substandard defensive coordinator, and no other position coach can be said to have done fabulous work. (Unless you count Kevin Butler, who isn’t a coach but who did sire the prodigious punter Drew Butler.)

Said Richt: “We’re 4-4 this season. I don’t think it’s an indictment of the program. I think it’s an indictment of where we are this year.”

Except Georgia has underachieved three times in the past four seasons, and as Richt himself noted Saturday: “There’s no guarantee of a bowl. The question is, will we play a game when we don’t do something that hinders us from being the best we can be?”

The Bulldogs have never lost more than four games under Richt, but they’ve never been 4-4 under this coach, either. Regarding possible changes, he said: “It’s not good to make decisions within minutes of an emotional game. You’ve got to settle your mind and settle your spirit, and then see where you are.”

As darkness fell on Halloween 2009, Georgia was again where it has been too often. The program that has all the resources was left to wonder why it has fallen so far behind Florida. And the ugly truth has never been more apparent: Florida might or might not have better players, but it absolutely has better coaches.

1,165 comments Add your comment

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2009
8:47 pm

We was moved by this story.

Troof

October 31st, 2009
8:47 pm

FIRE RICHT NOW if UGA wants to ever get our of the sad, pathetic slide they are in as a program.

GBO

October 31st, 2009
8:48 pm

Ouch I’m a Vol and hate the Dawgs but that was even painful for me to read.

Super Dog

October 31st, 2009
8:48 pm

KENTUCKY GAME

WHITE HELMETS

BLACK JERSEY

RED PAINTS

CANDY CAIN SOCKS

YoMama

October 31st, 2009
8:48 pm

Part of a head coache’s job is to hire competent assistants. If he doesn’t, he’s not doing his job. Enough said.

Troof

October 31st, 2009
8:49 pm

Didn’t the Blackout Beatdown from Bama teach Richt anything about these hokey motivational tricks? Can’t he motivate his team against one of his most bitter rivals without this crap?

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2009
8:49 pm

Was A.J. hurt bad? We was sure he hurt some ribs.

Dkchap

October 31st, 2009
8:49 pm

I’m a life long Dawg fan but am embarrassed. We’re undisciplined, under-coached and full of thugs. I’m now at a loss for words…

He Hate Gator

October 31st, 2009
8:49 pm

He Hate Gator

October 31st, 2009
8:42 pm
The endzone/sideline celebration color scheme thing is getting stale. The black helmets were ugly….but the sad fact is, its CMR and this coaching staff that has become ugly and stale…what’s the record now under CMR against Fla, LSU, ALA, and Ten?..not to mention a probable second defeat in a row against Tech yet to come…a Halloween nightmare tonight….

timbo

October 31st, 2009
8:50 pm

fireMarkRicht.com

Super Dog

October 31st, 2009
8:50 pm

AUBURN GAME

BLACK HELMET

BLACK JERSEY

BLACK PANTS

RED SHOES

RED SOCKS

Bat Masterson

October 31st, 2009
8:50 pm

Except Georgia has underachieved three times in the past four seasons

Exaclty right

Troof

October 31st, 2009
8:50 pm

Buck up Dawg fans. The Papajohns.com Bowl is right around Christmas. Birmingham is nice that time of year!

Frank Lane

October 31st, 2009
8:51 pm

NO escaping the facts. Georgia is an unmitigated mess of a defense which looks uncoached and lost on the field. The offense is a little better, but we should be playing the folks who will we need next year, and that is probably not Logan Gray. This year is completely gone. Let’s start practicing for next year.

Bat Masterson

October 31st, 2009
8:51 pm

haha, exactly.

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2009
8:51 pm

When FSU was winning they was full of law breakers. A law breaker can be a game changer. Could steal the ball and everybody’d have to go home.

He Hate Gator

October 31st, 2009
8:51 pm

He Hate Gator

October 31st, 2009
8:42 pm
The endzone/sideline celebration color scheme thing is getting stale. The black helmets were ugly….but the sad truth is, its CMR and this coaching staff that has become ugly and stale…what’s the record now under CMR against Fla, LSU, ALA, and Ten?..not to mention a probable second defeat in a row against Tech yet to come…a Halloween nightmare….

Bangkapi Ajarn

October 31st, 2009
8:51 pm

is the bowl picture really a sure thing? They need 6 divionion 1 wins, as I recall. Ga. Tech and Auburn are iffy at this point. Is the creampuff next week a division 1 school? If so, they could well be 6-6 at the end of the year. Right on the edge of bowl eligibility.

Super Dog

October 31st, 2009
8:52 pm

GEORGIA TECH

WHITE HELMET

WHITE JERSEY

WHITE PANTS

WHITE SHOES

RED SOCKS

RED FACE MASK

Troof

October 31st, 2009
8:52 pm

Meyer OWNS Richt!

Be glad Tebow is gone this year Dawg lovers.

Hasn’t UF outscored UGA something like 90 – 27 in the last 2 games? OUCH!!

mtairyDawg

October 31st, 2009
8:52 pm

Tell it like it is brother!!!

He Hate Gator

October 31st, 2009
8:52 pm

The endzone/sideline celebration color scheme thing is getting stale. The black helmets were ugly….but the sad truth is, its CMR and this coaching staff that has become ugly and stale…what’s the record now under CMR against Fla, LSU, ALA, and Ten?..not to mention a probable second defeat in a row against Tech yet to come…a Halloween nightmare….

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2009
8:53 pm

Could try looking like Zorro next week. That would keep with the black helmets. Just need a mask.

Troof

October 31st, 2009
8:54 pm

Dawg fans, do you realize you have lost twice as many games so far this year that Saban and Bama has lost in the last 22 games?

Super Dog

October 31st, 2009
8:54 pm

BLACK FIELD

RED LINES

CANDY CAIN FIELD GOALS

Mike48

October 31st, 2009
8:54 pm

Marl Bradley bites the big one, but he, unfortunately, is absolutely correct here.

RICHT IS WEARING BLACK PANTIES!

October 31st, 2009
8:54 pm

FIRE RICHT’S SORRY UNDERACHIEVING AZZSE!

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2009
8:55 pm

Jerry Glanville. Go with the black look and bring in Jerry Glanville.

Mark Bradley

October 31st, 2009
8:55 pm

Georgia doesn’t think Green has broken ribs, but Richt couldn’t say for certain.

Bat Masterson

October 31st, 2009
8:56 pm

CANDY CAIN FIELD GOALs

or cane

TROTTINGHOME

October 31st, 2009
8:56 pm

I’m rooting for Georgia Tech and I will not settle for business as usual.

If there is no major changes at Georgia I will not buy anymore Bulldog products.

Up here around Chicago there would have been media outcry for someone’s head.

Not Disappointed!

October 31st, 2009
8:56 pm

Let’s all take a deep breath……………. “Now, I see CMR has been working on his tan. wow!

Seriously he needs to do something with Willie Martini!

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2009
8:56 pm

Clusters could have been sportswriters but when we was little they was a sportswriter that lived in our neighborhood and Mama wouldn’t let us go outside when he was home.

Super Dog

October 31st, 2009
8:56 pm

RED FIELD

BLACK HEDGES

CANDY CAIN ENZONE

ALL RED UNIFORMS

Troof

October 31st, 2009
8:56 pm

Will Dawg fans be putting ‘For Sale’ signs on Richt’s lawn when they lose to Tech this year?

Bama is coming into Georgia and taking recruits.

10RC is coming from the hills and trying to take recruits.

When will it stop Dawg fans? Your program is headed down a slippery slope.

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2009
8:57 pm

Beat writer, not a columnist.

bigdaddyj

October 31st, 2009
8:58 pm

Tope ten recruits every year and we are going backwards. Offense line stinks. A senior QB that is just simply not a division one QB Defense is so bad I don’t know where to stat. Special teams that if we didn’t have All America kickers would be even worse. The penalties are staggering. Time for Richt to clean house emtirely. If he isn’t willing to do so than it is time for him to go. Cutcliff gets more done at Duke with division 2 type talent than we do with top ten recruits. Kelly has Cincinnati in the top five with middle of the line recruits. No passion or fire from the team. Something smells bad with this program and it isn’t the St. Johns river next to the stadium.

Stockdog

October 31st, 2009
8:58 pm

Willie Martinez needs to fall on his sword and resign at the end of the season. Richt doesn’t need to hire from within and a hire a good defensive coordinator from a good program like Dick Bumpas from TCU. We need to get solid players and not the flashy players and coach them up. CMR is still a good coach and the offense isn’t as bad as one would think. We need a real SEC caliber QB. Our offensive line is only C+ as well.

The bottom line is that we are a second tier program until we improve the defense. In the 9 years that Richt has coached this game he has had the better team 5 times and is 2 and 3. In all three losses, we were in the game because the defense kept us in it. So, improve the defense, and you improve the program

RICHT IS WEARING BLACK PANTIES!

October 31st, 2009
8:58 pm

Not Disappointed! WHEN RICHT IS FIRED….AND HE WILL BE FIRED, I HOPE HE TAKES YOUR SORRY ASZE WITH HIM!

jack

October 31st, 2009
8:58 pm

I don’t think it’s an indictment of the program. I think it’s an indictment of where we are this year.”

WTF???

Chris

October 31st, 2009
8:58 pm

Have to agree with you Mark. Good article. Richt has to make changes starting with Martinez. If he isn’t willing then we need to move on to another coach. We have too many good players to be pounded this often.

Sonny Clusters

October 31st, 2009
8:59 pm

Maybe A.J. was just embarrassed.

Dawg Tired

October 31st, 2009
8:59 pm

Mark – You’re preaching to the choir. I’m wondering if any one else is listening? Changes obviously have to be made. The question that must be asked now is how high up?

Vanderbilt is next

October 31st, 2009
8:59 pm

The Gators have yet to give up more than 20 points in one game this season. If they continue that trend they will not lose a game this year. 8 Games = 8 Touchdowns Allowed, 75 Points Allowed………….by the defense.

sunny purdue

October 31st, 2009
9:00 pm

Was this a bye week or a bye bye week. Buh Bye leghumpers.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I SEE PIZZA’S FALLING FROM THE SKY

PaulC

October 31st, 2009
9:00 pm

You forgot one other thing, Mark. Tennessee has lapped Georgia in less than a year of Lane Kiffin’s tenure. And its obvious. But hey, Kiffin’s an idiot, right? Right? Too funny. Go Vols!!!

Ripped Again

October 31st, 2009
9:00 pm

I’m going burn my GA gear !

Bride of ChuckyKnapp

October 31st, 2009
9:00 pm

Hire Tubberville.

DIXIEDAWG

October 31st, 2009
9:00 pm

Did anybody really expect a better outcome? Black helmets? Give me a break. Dancing because you scored a touchdown even though you are still losing? These kids don’t know how to play football or act with class. I’m extremely dissappointed with everything about this team. How can a program fall so far so fast?

Mike

October 31st, 2009
9:00 pm

The defense is the difference. Mark Richt’s run was sparked on the shoulders of a defense that was rock solid. It was the biggest difference between Richt and Donnan. You cant be an elite program without an elite defense. UGA had that until last year. Offensively, UGA is doing OK for a team that lost as much as they did going into this year.

Blame Richt if he does nothing about it, but right now, Martinez is where the blame lies. The UGA defense has been horrible the last two years and has no real excuses for it.