Richt: ‘I think we’re a team that is on the rise, but we’ll see’

After losing two games to highly ranked opponents, then winning one over an out-manned opponent, Georgia now enters the grind of its SEC schedule.

Saturday’s game at Ole Miss will start a stretch of four SEC games in four weeks for the Bulldogs, all but one of them on the road.

It should be a revealing patch of schedule.

“The thing I like is, we’re a team that is getting better as we go,” UGA coach Mark Richt said Sunday evening.  “We do have a lot of room to grow yet. The last couple of performances, minus the huge mistakes, four or five plays that really got us [against South Carolina], I felt we were making a lot of progress. As you watch tape, it’s still pretty obvious we’ve got some youth and inexperience that still needs to improve.

“Overall, I think we’re a team that is on the rise, but we’ll see,” Richt said. “We’re going to play that first SEC game away from home and get a better feel for what kind of progress we have really made.”

That game is  at 12:21 p.m. Saturday in Oxford, Miss., against an Ole Miss team that has the same record as Georgia (1-2 overall, 0-1 SEC) but is coming off a particularly dismal defeat.

While Georgia reveled in a 59-0 victory over Coastal Carolina in Athens, Ole Miss suffered through a 30-7 loss at Vanderbilt -– the Rebels’ ninth loss in their past 10 SEC games and the Commodores’ largest margin of victory over an SEC opponent in 40 years.

Ole Miss’ starting quarterback, Zack Stoudt, was poorly protected by his offensive line and threw five interceptions. The Rebels’ defense allowed Vanderbilt to rush for 281 yards.

For Georgia, the trip to Ole Miss is followed by league games at home against Mississippi State on Oct. 1, at Tennessee on Oct. 8 and at Vanderbilt on Oct. 15. Then, following an open date, the Bulldogs face Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 29.

“There’s a sense of urgency in that if we want to stay in this Eastern Division race we’ve got to win,” Richt said. “Right now we’ve lost control of our destiny in this thing [because of the loss to South Carolina], but there are so many more games to played. Our goal is just to win our first Southeastern Conference game this year, period; that’s all we’re worried about right this minute.”

His players’ confidence seems high despite the losses to Boise State and South Carolina.

“I think we’re ready to get back into SEC play and get going again,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “We have a lot of guys playing great football right now, and we think we can play with anyone.”

The confidence, Murray suggested, stems not so much from the rout of Coastal Carolina, an FCS opponent, but from the 45-42 loss to South Carolina the week before and the Bulldogs’ belief they would have won handily if not for three turnovers and a fake punt.

To succeed in SEC play, Georgia will need to minimize turnovers and, according to Richt, improve defensively inside its 20-yard line.

“The one area where we’ve just got to get better as we get into more of the Southeastern Conference play is red-zone defense,” Richt said. “We just have not done a great job there yet, but that’s going to be a point of emphasis to see if we can force some field goals instead of some touchdowns when people do happen to get in there.”

Except for the continuing absence of starting inside linebackers Christian Robinson and Alec Ogletree with foot injuries, the Bulldogs appear to be relatively healthy.

Richt said Sunday that he hopes backup tailback Richard Samuel, who sat out the Coastal Carolina game with a heel injury, will be able to play this week. Richt also expects wide receiver Marlon Brown and offensive guard Kenarious Gates to return from ankle injuries and possibly defensive end DeAngelo Tyson from a strained back.

400 comments Add your comment

bwell

September 18th, 2011
8:12 pm

Our beloved DAWGS! will not lose anymore this yr. With the youth that is playing and if Murray come back next yr we are a top 5 team for next yr and we will run the table rest of this yr and next! Go Dawgs!

Stevo

September 18th, 2011
8:12 pm

Im in Oxford as a student, and I’ll be cheering loud and proud for UGA. Shouldn’t even be close; Ole Miss is awful.
Go Dawgs!

layinlow

September 18th, 2011
8:12 pm

first! I’m not a believer.

layinlow

September 18th, 2011
8:12 pm

YungDawg87

September 18th, 2011
8:12 pm

THATS RIGHT!!!

Ace

September 18th, 2011
8:16 pm

Absolutely nothing has changed, the last 2 teams had better players and see what they did.

Coochie Man

September 18th, 2011
8:19 pm

I’m a believer!! True alums back their alma mater and its teams, particularly in the heat of a season. If not, go pull for Tech, or Florida, or Auburn, or Clemson for all I care there are a lot of Georgia haters there so a UGA hater will fit right in. Once a Dog, always a Dog, how sweet it is!

NewnanDawg

September 18th, 2011
8:19 pm

Realistically UGA shouldn’t lose another game. We’ll beat MSU, but Tennessee and Florida(as usual) are trap games and GT showed a lot on saturday

HickoryDawg

September 18th, 2011
8:20 pm

Dawgs will beat the grove out of Ole Miss. Can’t wait to whip UT in Knoxville too

AugustaDawg

September 18th, 2011
8:29 pm

Malcolm Mitchell = Flash

RealistDawg

September 18th, 2011
8:33 pm

Aaron Murry = Frodo

Greta

September 18th, 2011
8:37 pm

Thow shalt tenure Mark Richt. He is Holy. If thou dost not, thou shall not win a sec title ever. And spend eternity with Steve Spurrier running a fake punt for a TD up your arse.

Tenure Mark now.

JDawg1785

September 18th, 2011
8:46 pm

Best of luck in Oxford, Dawgs! Let’s get this thing going!

Dawgs on Fire

September 18th, 2011
8:49 pm

With that huge blowout win the Dawgs are back—mark it down! GA can easily run the table–who can beat them? Miss State, Tennessee? Forget it—they don’t have anything. Fla can be beaten—their offense isn’t that good. Crowell will rule on O for the Dawgs. Ga will go 10-2!!!!

sign up

September 18th, 2011
8:54 pm

UGA Alumnus

September 18th, 2011
8:54 pm

Remember Bulldog Nation, the only thing we have control of regarding UGA athletics is the quality of our fandom.

We need to focus on being high class, supportive fans and try to lift our boys with our support; win, lose, or draw.

Go Dawgs!

UGA Alumnus

September 18th, 2011
9:01 pm

I was born and raised a die-hard Auburn fan. My great grandfather owned a barber shop on Toomer’s Corner. My family is from there.

But I was born and raised in Georgia and graduated from UGA. I still pull for Auburn but I’m a die-hard Dawg cause that’s my school and I love the University of Georgia, love Athens, and love the Dawgs!

We need to step up the quality of our fandom. We are generally regarded as one of the worst fan bases in the country (and that’s not a new thing).

Let’s go Bulldog Nation. It’s time we become first class fans and support our boys through thick and thin.

Go Dawgs!!!

WhopperDawg

September 18th, 2011
9:10 pm

Pleease be ferwarned I can certa kinda reed orr wright. Geeoo Dawgzz!

WhopperDawg

September 18th, 2011
9:10 pm

Keep your trolls in line!

bitter hershaldontavius--cesar---walker

September 18th, 2011
9:17 pm

get ready for a beat down which may get nutt fired————hopefully carvell too———hahahah

Ckgator

September 18th, 2011
9:20 pm

You people are unbelievable. Georgia loses to two highly talented, ranked teams and you want Richt’s head on a stake. Then you beat COASTAL CAROLINA and the “Georgia will run the table” talk begins.

Do Georgia fans even have a fundamental understanding of the game?

Xenophon

September 18th, 2011
9:32 pm

The sooner Richt leaves Athens, the sooner we’ll see a turnaround. He either wins at least nine games this season or he’s gone. We’ve had enough.

Alphare

September 18th, 2011
9:33 pm

It’s 100% between FL and USC. UGA/TN/KY has no chance. From what I saw last night between FL and TN, FL is back. The only problem against FL is LSU and BAMA.

BamaDawg

September 18th, 2011
9:36 pm

Support our Dawgs no matter what!! GO DAWGS!!!

itiswhatitis

September 18th, 2011
9:37 pm

UGA will be O.K. the rest of the season. Auburn can be had, ol miss is well ol miss. Tenn. looks like crap. The Gators can cause some problems. But if the dogs get it together and DON”T TURN OVER THE DAMN BALL. they can whip the “green, slimy, lizards”. The gator team has the biggest bunch of smart mouth taunting idiots I have ever seen. They deserve to get their BUTTS KICKED. Dogs love gator meat.

JB

September 18th, 2011
9:41 pm

Florida’s biggest worry before us…Can Rainey touch the ball 60-70 times between Bama and LSU and survive?

itiswhatitis

September 18th, 2011
9:43 pm

And OH I forgot. There is NO WAY that bunch of yellow bees can whip the dogs. Ga. always knocks the FECES out of them. I don’t care what kind of offense they come up with. ” look at them run, look at them pitch the ball, look at them FUMBLE. Look at them being carried off the field.

Hwy 400

September 18th, 2011
9:47 pm

Rumor is that Richt will have his contracted extended in a couple of weeks. Reasoning is: 1. Stability with new contract is attractive to recruits. 2. Adams and AD love the way Richt represents the University. 3. Richt still has one of the top winning percentages of any active coach and 2 SEC championships as well as a third appearance and several top ten finishes. No way Richt is fired. 4. All programs go through difficulty. 5. WE have a young team. Next couple of years should be off the chart. It is so funny to hear the Fire CMR voices. It will be so fun to laugh at all of the Richt haters when his contract is extended in a couple of weeks.

Tom, Resident Georgia Fan

September 18th, 2011
9:51 pm

Florida is a ghost of itself. UT made it look good. Both UT and UF are dreadful.

Tampa Dawg

September 18th, 2011
9:59 pm

Not a Rainey fan anyway. Hope Bama takes him out or simply put him behind bars.

Judge Dawg

September 18th, 2011
10:00 pm

The young talent is out standing and the game was well played. 74 guys contirbuted. This was all that could hae been asked for. Every dawg fan would have taken the effort and score before the game. The rest of you can go back to your blog and get off this one.

Russ, but not THAT Russ

September 18th, 2011
10:00 pm

If the dream team freshmen can all pass their remedial studies, they should do all right.

And hold the arrests to a minimum. That’s a biggy. How many Ealeys and Kings are in this bunch?

Tampa Dawg

September 18th, 2011
10:02 pm

Hwy 400, I humbly agree with you on all comments!

kybodawg

September 18th, 2011
10:06 pm

the only thing against fla is ala and lsu and usc and ga and the fact we only have two guys on offense and we just gave up 23 to a tn. team that was without there play maker and a qb who looked like a skinny joe cox but other than that WERE BACK. oh and one other thing we havent left the state of fla yet.

Ned in Dalton

September 18th, 2011
10:07 pm

“Do Georgia fans even have a fundamental understanding of the game?”

You’re talking about people with IQs of well under 100.

You’re talking about people who work in fast food restaurants or worse.

You’re talking about people who live in mobile home parks.

You’re talking about people who drink way too much booze… and Kool-Aid.

Does that answer your question?

just a fan

September 18th, 2011
10:11 pm

I don’t think they make an announcement about an extension until after the florduh game just MHO

JRW7

September 18th, 2011
10:13 pm

UGA IS NOT GOING TO EXTEND CMR’S CONTRACT! NO WAY!!!

JR

September 18th, 2011
10:14 pm

I think of all the delusional posts I have seen the last couple of weeks, I think that Hwy 400 has to be at or near the top of the list. It is my belief that Richt would have to win 8 of the 9 remaining games, with one of those wins coming against Florida to even keep his job until next year.

jrmdvm1

September 18th, 2011
10:18 pm

I like winning as much as anyone, but winning is not what makes me proud to be a Dawg. I am proudest as a Dawg when any of our teams play their best, win or lose. Giving their best and never quitting is what I want from our teams. If they are knocked down, just always get back up. Play hard as a team, and give it your all. I wasn’t seeing that last year from the football team, but I do see it this year from these players. Win or lose, when I see that kind of attitude and effort, I am proud to be a Dawg.

NewbombTurk

September 18th, 2011
10:19 pm

Georgia Tech is ranked in the top 25.
Play a tough schedule like Georgia, and you’re belittled.
Beat up on marshmallows like Tech and you’re rewarded.
I don’t get it.

Dawghater

September 18th, 2011
10:26 pm

And the worst team in the SEC is – Ole Miss! Ga fans will be chanting SEC champs after this game right behind the Vandy fans!

STRAIGHT TO THE FACT

September 18th, 2011
10:27 pm

Ned in DALTON YOU ARE FULL OF IT !!!!!!. You probably do not have a trailer much less a house. You might even rent. It is one thing not be a dog fan. But there are several lawyers,doctors and executives that are fans of georgia. You are one to be talking about IQS.

Dawghater

September 18th, 2011
10:29 pm

Hey Newbomb – coastal Carolina is a cream puff! Keep crying. Navy played better against SC than UGA did! Want some whine with that cheese! Or for Ga fans Bud with that Spam!

wdm

September 18th, 2011
10:32 pm

I like the Dawgs. I want them to do good and win. As much as I want them to win because they represent our state, I want them to win to shut up the never was, never has been, nor never will be Mark Bradley and his equally as inferior cohort, the absolute most unathletic person in America, Schultz (his first name doesn’t even matter). These two douchebags want Ga to lose so the can write articles calling for Richt to be fired and get the fans in a firing frenzy. These two guys are idiots and you always need to remember when reading their articles they are not UGA fans.

Dbalcer

September 18th, 2011
10:32 pm

Go DAWGS. It is great to be a DAWG once a DAWG always a DAWG!!!

Preston

September 18th, 2011
10:33 pm

UGA will get better each week this season but Richt will need to beat UF to keep his job. If they don’t already have that game circled, somethings wrong.

Preston

September 18th, 2011
10:39 pm

Hwy 400, I love the guy and wish things were different but if they extend his contract after losing 9 of the last 10 vs ranked opponents, then UGA is announcing to the world that mediocrity is acceptable. UGA is smack in the middle of the best recruiting in the country, and they land a LOT of them. The problem is within that coaching staff and that responsibility falls squarely on the head coach. Love Richt but I just believe he’s taken the program as high as he’s gonna take it and I’m ready to get someone who will dedicate himself to competing for national championships. We have the talent, we just need the right coach.

Book Maker

September 18th, 2011
10:40 pm

For Georgia, the trip to Ole Miss is followed by league games at home against Mississippi State on Oct. 1, at Tennessee on Oct. 8 and at Vanderbilt on Oct. 15. Following an open date, the Bulldogs face Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 29.

Lets look at the odds for each game for UGA to win:

Ole Miss- 65% win
Miss. St- 51% win
Tennessee 51% win
Vandy 60 % win
Florida 35% win

Just looking at the numbers UGA should go 5-1 in the conference for remaining games to end up at 5-2 in the conference and 9-3 overall. Anything less should be considered a failure. Just the facts.

Just a note to our conference brothers at Auburn, did any of you catch AD Jacobs comments last week about the “ongoing” investigation and how Cam Newton started and now the NCAA is looking at multiple sports and looking for “institutional control”. Does not sound good for our Auburn brothers.

Tyrone Shulaces

September 18th, 2011
11:01 pm

I am an alumnus, CPA, and a 2x UGA dad, and I can help my family’s team however I choose. Go Dawgs. Sic em woof woof woof.

Now get Chucky, Derek, Peterson, or Cowher.

fla overrated!

September 18th, 2011
11:02 pm

Florida has 2 good players: rainey and demps. UGA’s 3-4 D can shut them down and Ga can finally beat florida!