The doctor is in: What UGA must do to rise from mediocrity

Yes, but being 6-6 isn't cause for celebration. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Yes, but being 6-6 shouldn't ever be cause for celebration. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

This is the week, Mark Richt said late Saturday night, to recruit in earnest. And it’s true that one of the teams that played in Sanford Stadium on Saturday  needs a talent infusion, but it’s not Richt’s Bulldogs.

Georgia Tech has a clear idea of what it is but insufficient manpower to get it where it wants to go. Georgia has, and has long had, enough players — not that it couldn’t use more — but has come to lack direction. As these middling-by-definition teams head into December and then 2011, we address their respective needs. First, Georgia’s.

Step 1: Get stronger. It has long been suggested that Georgia’s conditioning program has gotten soft, and we saw striking evidence again Saturday night. Tech ruled the line of scrimmage. Dave Van Halanger, Georgia’s strength coach, had a hand in building SEC championship teams here — those were his offseason mat drills, transferred from Florida State, referenced in “Finish The Drill” — but the Bulldogs have come to look comparatively peaked. (And not just against Tech; Auburn scored touchdowns on six of its final seven possessions two weeks earlier.)

The issue: Van Halanger is Richt’s best friend. Willie Martinez might have been Richt’s college buddy, but it’s Van Halanger with whom Richt goes jogging. Richt waited long — too long — to sack Martinez as defensive coordinator, but finally he did it. He needs now to make an even more difficult personal decision and upgrade a position that has become substandard.

Step 2: Get edgier. An acronym born under Erk Russell is still written on the board before every Georgia game — GATA. (Loosely translated, “Get After Them Aggressively.”) The Bulldogs, however, have become slow burners. They didn’t take a lead against an SEC opponent until the season’s fourth conference game. They trailed Florida 21-7 in a game they might have won easily had they built a two-touchdown advantage. When they responded to Auburn’s opening touchdown with three of their own, the question asked itself: Why don’t do they do this more often?

As we say in hockey and figure skating, Georgia football has lost its edge. Some of this has to do with preparation, but not all. Which leads us to …

Step 3: Get an idea. Richt is a finesse coach. Georgia runs the ball as a counterpoint. Its staple running play over these 10 years has been the sprint draw, and a draw is by design a fake pass. There’s no reason for Richt to change what he believes and become Woody Hayes reincarnate, and that’s fine. Where Georgia errs is in seeking to be both finesse offense and power offense. Artificial concerns over “balance” need to be tossed in yonder trashcan.

When Georgia fans rage at Mike Bobo for “going conservative,” they have half a point. Running isn’t a bad conceptual idea, but Bobo/Richt seem to feature the run at moments when all running can do is slow Georgia. The top two teams in the BCS standings have gotten there by playing fast and attacking for four quarters. Time for the Bulldogs to join the fun.

Have a seat in the waiting room. Dr. Bradley’s Rx for Georgia Tech can be found here.

601 comments Add your comment

GTHorsie

November 29th, 2010
10:45 am

What will they need to do if Richt heads to Miami?

jarvis

November 29th, 2010
10:45 am

The OL stinks. Every year it’s touted as a strength, and every year it lets us down.

martin the calvinist

November 29th, 2010
10:46 am

martin the calvinist

November 29th, 2010
10:47 am

oh darn…only third

jarvis

November 29th, 2010
10:47 am

GTHorsie…we’d spend the money elsewhere. Think we could get Harbaugh for $3mm a year?

jarvis

November 29th, 2010
10:48 am

If you ain’t first, you’re last….last again.

martin the calvinist

November 29th, 2010
10:50 am

Seriously, we do need to get tougher and edgier, great points there Mark. Figuring out what type of offensive identity would be nice too, though I think it can vary year to year somewhat due to the talent. We should have been a pass first team this year from the get go. Our greatest assets this year was a good QB and good receivers and tight ends. Run to keep them honest. First things first is that we’ve got to get stronger! Period, if it means changing our methods or changing the coach or both. Do it immediately!

Champaign Dawg

November 29th, 2010
10:50 am

Agreed Jarvis. And I’m not sure OL weakness is just because of Strength & Conditioning. I honestly think Searels might be the biggest deficiency on the coaching staff. We are consistently weak on OL from beginning of games through to the end of games. Beginning of the season to the end. Just don’t seem to have much of a clue in the trenches.

Dawgs2010

November 29th, 2010
10:51 am

The best thing Richt can do to help the team is to go to Miami.

GTHorsie

November 29th, 2010
10:52 am

martin, I disagree about being a pass first team this year. With a freshman QB, and three good RBs, why not pound the ball? Then, when they pull the safety in to stop the run, use AJ.

Dr.P.

November 29th, 2010
10:54 am

The elephant in the room is Richt. All things will flow from geting rid of him

Dawg H8R

November 29th, 2010
10:55 am

First,you can change your name jawja to South Carolina or Auburn or Alabama! Then get a REAL coach.I’ve been trying “notify” dawgnation of the FACT that Richt is a holdover from the disgusting phase in Miami Hurricane history. He knows first hand about being DIRTY and only intimidating people with MORE TALENT and thuggish behavior on/off the field!

But dawgnation is JADED. Full of themselves from a party they had way back in 1980! Either you can produce good kids, or you can recruit dirtbags while allowing “legacy” kids to get degrees while the rest of them go pro, or go home to sell dope!

You guys should devote yourselves to coaching and not winning at all costs.

Go Gamecocks! 24-21.

Kenny Chesney

November 29th, 2010
10:56 am

Lets hire paul johnson, that will show the nerds! You know he had rather be coaching UGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dannyboy

November 29th, 2010
10:56 am

Mark…where did you go to medical football school? Online medical diploma?

5150 P.O.A.D.

November 29th, 2010
10:56 am

Keep UGA just like it is.

ATL Fan

November 29th, 2010
10:58 am

Maybe Georgia should look at the Falcons program. Ball control and time of possession will help make the defense better.

5150 P.O.A.D.

November 29th, 2010
10:59 am

Mark Bradley is the Dr. UGA needs. Mark Bradley is being the Proctologist the UGA program needs.

jp

November 29th, 2010
10:59 am

I think if we’re to become elite than we’ve gotta get stronger. Remember Richt at FSU had great talent on skill positions with speed and athleticism but those FSU teams were also good along the lines and had great linebackers. That’s where UGA has fallen off in recruiting. It seems that all the OLine we recruit are 3 stars. We need some 5 star OL, DL and LBs’.

I'm just sayin'

November 29th, 2010
11:00 am

Strength and edgy? Works for me.

norman

November 29th, 2010
11:00 am

Bradley- Didn’t Richt say Sunday that he didn’t forsee any changes in his staff? So Van Hanleger is staying, so nothing is going to change in that area.

((((((42-34)))))))

November 29th, 2010
11:00 am

Enter your comments here

Bobo

November 29th, 2010
11:00 am

GTHorsie….rejoyce.

THIS JUST IN...

November 29th, 2010
11:00 am

((((((42-34)))))))

NC Dawg

November 29th, 2010
11:01 am

“Finish The Drill” have, unfortunately, simply become words on a wall. It’s time to act it out again!

Beachdawg

November 29th, 2010
11:01 am

Not saying CMR shouldn’t go, but expect a down year or two with the change in scheme…look @ defense…Grantham’s scheme probably WILL work with some players that FIT the scheme and the current ones catch on…So the same would be for the offensive scheme.
Florida’s down…Texas is down…Lotta top ten teams are down…Richt stays 1 more year…

freddy

November 29th, 2010
11:02 am

34-35 and Merrry Christmas we give you 7 to cover.

joe

November 29th, 2010
11:03 am

As long as this current coaching staff is in Athens, mediocrity will rule the roost. Next season won’t be much better, and may be worse. USC will be predicted to win the east, with UT second. UF and UGA will battle for 3rd with KY and Vandy bringing up the rear.

SWGADAWG

November 29th, 2010
11:03 am

I love it……Richt is the problem. But PJ is a genius. And Paul Hewitt is a great coach……

The Ole Ball Coach

November 29th, 2010
11:04 am

Techs coach is such a genius that he lost….. LOL

long-time dawg

November 29th, 2010
11:04 am

Stop concentrating on skill positions and sign some agile and hostile OL. Then, get someone that can coach ‘em up.

jarvis

November 29th, 2010
11:05 am

On the bright side, at least we don’t fully have a loser’s mentality yet. We’re unhappy about the way we played in a win.

You think if Tech beats us in that ugly game their fans would be bemoaning the matter in which they won? No. Of course not.

By the way, Tech fans should be embarassed by their lack of support. Almost no Gold in Athens on Saturday.

Herschel Talker

November 29th, 2010
11:06 am

“What UGA must do to rise from mediocrity”

FIRE MARK RICHT

Bill

November 29th, 2010
11:07 am

Agree Dr. Bradley….UGA plays at 60 to 70% ability. Richt needs to kick some A@@..he’s to nice!

Hope you and family had great Thanksgiving.

Dooley

November 29th, 2010
11:07 am

First, keep practicing harder. Tackle to the ground in the spring and preseason and during season. Amazing that the fumbles stopped when runners got tackled in practice. Second do not redshirt freshmen for seniors. Richt is loyal to a fault. If he had played Murray last year we wouldn’t have lost 4 games in a row this year. Richt is the only coach I know that would have red shirted Herschel and let Carnie Norris carry the load. Redshirting Murray was as big or bigger mistake than redshirting Moreno.

Greg

November 29th, 2010
11:08 am

GATA = GET AFTER THEIR A$$E$

Dirty Dawg

November 29th, 2010
11:09 am

You really delight in this crap don’t you Bradley. Tell me if you’re so damn smart why ain’t you doin’ better in your life. From what I hear you don’t have any real friends and whatever passed for a loving family has either left you or about to….and don’t get me started about what I heard you did in that airport bathroom…let’s see, that ought to get the rumors rolling and questions asked about who this guy Bradley really is or whether or not he needs to be run off…I mean what does he do on those canoe trips down the Cahoolawassee?

See Bradley, all you’ve got to do is throw the naysayers – who are likely Georgia-haters in disguise, or people that just happen to have some UGA stickers on their trucks but never darkened the doors, and certainly never has walked through the Arches legitimately – a little meat and they’ll run with it for you.

Hershel

November 29th, 2010
11:09 am

Bring in Hershel Walker as the new coach!!!

Bring in Hershel Walker as the new coach!!!

Bring in Hershel Walker as the new coach!!!

Bring in Hershel Walker as the new coach!!!

Bring in Hershel Walker as the new coach!!!

Bring in Hershel Walker as the new coach!!!

Mike Bobo

November 29th, 2010
11:10 am

We have to run the ball so that I can call a play action pass.

Ward

November 29th, 2010
11:11 am

The only way we accomplish any of those things is by saying “bye” to Mark Richt. His loyalty, to a fault, to his staff will be this program’s un-doing if you will… We have to get break up the entire staff and get new blood in here for a new message to sink in to these players heads… That are not scared of anyone on this staff, nor do they respect the men leading them at all. (I know this for a fact) There are so many issues on the team that we do not hear of in public that should we make them known everyone would be very concerned that Mark Richt has lost control of his team… If Mark Bradley wanted to do some investigating, he could find numerous occasions of players breaking curfew the evening before games and being found at the FIJI house and other various places… From a pure staff standpoint, there is zero chemistry and it is known that there is a lot of friction between certain coaches and this needs to stop with the man up top… I have never felt worse about a UGA team than I do right now. As an alumni, I am very depressed and see little hope for next year… Based on schedule, next year would be the best year to break in a new coach and system… PLEASE leave Mark Richt and let us move on from the last 2 years of mediocrity.

Mobile Dawg

November 29th, 2010
11:11 am

Dr.? We need a trauma unit ! !

GT fan

November 29th, 2010
11:12 am

SWDawg…Paul Hewitt sucks big time but GT unlike UGA can’t afford to pay the S– off $7 million. we didn’t get any stimules money like some schools I know.

Jim

November 29th, 2010
11:12 am

The caption writer for the photo has mastered the art of missing the point. Nobody was celebrating Georgia’s disappointing season, but rather th evitory over a state rival. Georgia won again, 9 out of 10.

Bullfrawg

November 29th, 2010
11:13 am

What amazes me is those that continue to think offensive production is the issue. This team just broke some sort of record for consecutive 30+ point games didn’t it? How on earth can the offense be the problem with us scoring the points we are? The defense is the issue. CMR addressed that already. Either you give the man time to correct or you don’t, but blaming the husband for his wife’s transgressions never made sense to me.

MAKO

November 29th, 2010
11:14 am

MB….I think you’ve covered some of the issues, but maybe, just maybe Richt needs to decide what he wants to accomplish as a coach. Does he want to be the best in the SEC or not, or is he content to win a average of 8 or 9 games a season. Which is it?
Next, it would help if he recruited Georgia as hard as he does Florida.
Then try hiring the best position teaching coaches, not just friends or somebody who is available (maybe he oughta try hiring the opposing position coaches who’s players kick his position coaches players butts). And last, but not least; you’ve got to get bigger, stronger and faster as individuls and as a team to compete week in and week out in the SEC.

Mobile Dawg

November 29th, 2010
11:15 am

Trauma, AJ Green runs out of bounds three yards short of a first down, what do we do about that?

Dr. Phil

November 29th, 2010
11:15 am

I wish the Home for the Severely mentally Challenged would keep some of these droolers off the computer.

Mobile Dawg

November 29th, 2010
11:16 am

Dr., our receiver doesn’t field the opening kickoff. What do we do about that?

NINE AND ONE!

November 29th, 2010
11:16 am

Bradley, you love to beat a dead horse! Why don’t you go over and start a cooking blog because it’s obvious you don’t know a thing about football!

DUMBO

November 29th, 2010
11:17 am

5150 P.O.A.D…..craphead you’re back…how’d you like the 42-34…bet you wet yourself on the PAT wiff….Go Dawgs, piss on the Jackets!!!!!

Countermeasure

November 29th, 2010
11:17 am

How many points per game does the offense have to score to get you fools to shut up about the O line and the coaching?