Bulldogs watched BCS title game with envious eyes

Yesterday afternoon, about six hours before Alabama and LSU kicked off in the BCS Championship Game, I asked Georgia coach Mark Richt if he thought this time a year from now his 2012 team could be on that stage.

It wasn’t a ludicrous question, considering this year’s team led one of the participants for two quarters of the SEC championship. Nine starters return from the defense that did not allow LSU a first down and only 12 total yards in the first half of that contest.

Richt was, of course, predictably measured in his answer.

What do think the possibilities are for Georgia Bulldogs next season?

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“As always, we want to compete in such a way and prepare in such a way that we’ve got a chance to win every time we go out there,” Richt said. “The goals aren’t going to change. We want to win the East. If you win the East and you win the SEC, you’ve got a shot at the next one. So, you know, that’s not going to change for us.”

If there was any lesson in last night’s game, won by the Crimson Tide 21-0 in New Orleans, it’s that defense still rules the day in college football. By all indications, Georgia is going to have that covered next season.

Meanwhile, the schedule certainly has broken the Bulldogs’ way. Due to realignment as a result of conference expansion, the SEC dropped Alabama from Georgia’s schedule and replaced it with new member Missouri. Now I don’t know much about the Tigers beyond the fact they lose 12 senior starters before next season. But you have to believe opening the SEC slate in Columbia, Mo., has to be better than playing the defending national champion Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa in October.

But the Bulldogs have several areas of concern to shore up, some of which might not be possible to sew up in a year. Georgia’s three best offensive linemen must be replaced, plus its starting fullback. The running game vanished at the end of the season. Tight end Orson Charles may be in the NFL next fall. Your record-setting punter and kicker are definitely gone. A special teams overhaul is in order besides.

Anybody who thinks Georgia is resting on its laurels of this past season hasn’t been listening to Richt.

“I think we came a long way this year,” he said of the 10-4 season. “I’m proud of the effort; I’m proud of the progress. But we’re still on a journey to do even greater things and that’s going to be the goal.”

Having gone on a 10-game run and having LSU on the ropes for the better part of 30 minutes, then watching their SEC brethren duke it out last night has to provide incentive.

“I would hope the guys would see it that way,” Richt said. “But every year has its new challenges and it’s going to be a new team. I knew that the day we walked out of the stadium after the Outback Bowl, that team right there was gone and they were never going to be together again. It’s going to be a new team next year and a new dynamic and a new leadership and chemistry and unity and all that kind of stuff. It’s going to get built again because everything is brand new. We’re just going to have the thought in mind of trying to get better on a daily basis and getting into position to compete at the highest level.”

The 2012 team had its first meeting as a group Sunday night at 8 p.m. at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. At that time, Richt assigned mentors to the younger players, appointed leaders and, finally, verbalized the goals and expectations for the upcoming season, which for them starts with offseason workouts in three weeks.

“I thought it was received real well,” Richt said. “It got serious at the end when we started talking about our future. I thought everybody responded well.”

South Carolina is, of course, saying the same things as Georgia today. Florida certainly won’t stay down long. Meanwhile, Alabama must replace eight senior starters, LSU nine, and who knows how many underclassmen may make the jump?

Staying on top is tough. The SEC hasn’t had a repeat champion in 14 years. But the league has produced the national champion now six years straight.

Who will it be next year?

298 comments Add your comment

old dog

January 10th, 2012
10:03 am

o-line o-line-o-line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BMDPD

January 10th, 2012
10:05 am

Eighty-ninth!!!

newnan dawg

January 10th, 2012
10:05 am

Contractor

January 10th, 2012
10:13 am

You’re only the best if you can beat the best. We need a kicker before we compete for anything. It is a shame we were forced to drop Alabama, because I think our team needs a tough test like that to see just how good we think we are. Missouri will not toughen our team up like an Alabama in Tuscaloosa would.

Dedoh

January 10th, 2012
10:13 am

I agree with old dog. More depth on the o-line and more d-linemen.

bitter dawgs fan

January 10th, 2012
10:18 am

the only bright spot——grantham;s “D”——the other side of the ball—–too be determines

———————@chip towers—ask richt if he and why he sticks by a QB who

——————————–plays horrible against the best compition????why not mason

Dap01

January 10th, 2012
10:18 am

Bobo and CMR should watch ANY other team to learn about running the football.

Proud-Dawg

January 10th, 2012
10:19 am

I think UGA wins the SEC East. Beyond that, who knows. We tend to let games get away, SC, LSU and Michigan State. Until this teams lives up to it’s mantra “Finish the Drill” we need to check our expectations.

Of Georgia’s losses since 2003, 62% have been decided by seven points or less. That is the highest percentage of close losses in the SEC. Alabama’s is second.

We aren’t “Finishing the Drill”

MattDawg

January 10th, 2012
10:20 am

Its our turn. Richt is long overdue. I think Lady Luck is gonna smile on us and have the ball bounce right for us in 2012!

MDAWG24

January 10th, 2012
10:20 am

We shall see….

bitter dawgs fan

January 10th, 2012
10:21 am

on the bright spot——-bamma, lsuuu, georgia, south carolina—-4 best defences in the nation

——————sec rules—————-south did rise again

No No to Bobo

January 10th, 2012
10:21 am

How’s a draw sound on 3rd and 15?

BankerDawg

January 10th, 2012
10:24 am

There is a philisophical problem in Athens. That’s what shoud have been glaring to all the GA players that watched the BCSCG. Richt and Bobo play not to lose rather then play to destroy. This is not going to change as long as Richt and Bobo are calling plays. If you look at Richt’s most succesful years there were four main components that offset his philisophical mindest: 1). We had a nasty defense, 2). We had QB’s (Greene and Shockley) who did not turn the ball over and had high football IQ’s, 3). We had running backs that could break tackles and who were true every down backs (lumpkin etc), 4). we had an O-line that could pass protect and opne holes.

We should have 2 out of the 4 next year, maybe three. Our defense will be nasty. With Keith Marshall ( and possibly Davis or Gurly) and Crowell, we should have a productive running game that produces 100 yrds a game, which is all we need. The problems are going to be the patch-work O line (again) and our beloved QB. The Oline has been a problem for years. Hopefully we can keep folks healthy and Friend will figure out a way to get things done. Thats leds me to Murray. Yes the kid has talent. We’ve all seen it. The problem is his propernsity to turn the ball over in big games and let teams back in the game. Look at Michigan State. If I’m on the defense there is no way that I keep killing myself when my QB is letting them back in the game with pick 6’s and turnovers to give them a short field. This is a problem. I don;t think it’s all Murray’s fault. Again, Bobo and Richt try to make him a pocket passer and that is not what he was in HS. He is a scrambler and plays best wehn he moves the pocket. He’s to short to stand behind a 6′6″ lineman and defender and see the entire field. Thats why he stares down recievers and thats why he panicks when the pass isnt there. You would think they would tell him ” hey Murray, its ok to throw the ball away son”. Davud Green did it all the time. I cannot remember the last pass Murray threw away so he didnt take a sack which would have prevented turnovers from picks and fumbles too.

Its a philisophical problem. The one takeway should be how Saban had prepared McCaron versus Bob and Richt preparing Murray for big games. McCarron is no better then Murray, but that kid was ready to play football last night and led his team to a national championship. Thats what great coaches do. Good coaches beat 10 busted teams and slap each other on the back about it.

bitter dawgs fan

January 10th, 2012
10:24 am

any dawg fans that did not see jordan commit to uga, must see————–jordan mom said

—————-bamma nation—-aka—harvey van dyke (aka) tide roll—-very scary place to be. haha

DawginLex

January 10th, 2012
10:25 am

bitter

You epitomize the saying:

The most popular player in the stadium is the backup QB.

Mason went 4-11 versus LSU and looked lousy.

Is that what you want?

I want Murray, Lemay and Mason to all play next year in a platoon system until one emerges as clutch.

M'boro Dawg

January 10th, 2012
10:27 am

Be able to adapt the game plan when something is not working. That’s something UGA has struggled with, especially the offense.

GTBob

January 10th, 2012
10:27 am

It wasn’t a ludicrous question, considering this year’s team led one of the participants for two quarters of the SEC championship.

So playing tough for one half against a championship teams means your team has a chance the next year? I don’t ever want to hear the moral victories argument from UGA fans ever again. Celebrating a half of a football game has to be the bottom of the barrel.

CHDawg

January 10th, 2012
10:29 am

UGA has many of the pieces in place for a great 2012; however, the offensive line is the big question mark. When you look at our stats for 2011, we were awful in allowing sacks and tackles for loss–just terrible. Yet, our offense put up pretty good numbers. I suspect that our position players are much better than most realize, and if they had a great line protecting them, we could have a top ten offense. Combine that with the great D, and UGA would rule. Obviously, if we can produce such bad stats with two very high draft picks on this year’s line, it doesn’t bode well for our 2012 line. But, hopefully they can work miracles on the line and pick up some great recruits. The D is ready to win a championship now. Go Dawgs.

Get me Rex Kramer

January 10th, 2012
10:29 am

Not with Richt as the head coach.

SumterDawg

January 10th, 2012
10:29 am

As I watched the Bama/LSU game I was amazed at the blocking of the offensive line, the running power of the ball carrier and the refusal to go down at the first hit. This is coaching. As a coach you have to have HIGH expectations of your players, those who do not meet those expectations do not play until they do. The coaching staff at Georgia seems to accept average. There is no blending to create a unit. Coaching at Georgia has created an atmosphere of under achievement. This will continue until Coach Richt changes coaching staff or he is replaced.

chilidawg

January 10th, 2012
10:31 am

We will go undefeated and win the SEC. Then, according to the Mayans, the world will end on December 21 before we get to play for the BCS Championship.

BankerDawg

January 10th, 2012
10:35 am

DawginLex – you’r right. Open it up. One, it tkaes all the pressure off of Murray. Two, the skill sets of these QB’s are all different. Defenses have only had to prepare for 1 QB (Murray). Bring in LeMay and you’ve got another dynamic to throw at them. It couldn’t hurt, but it definitely may help.

okfornow

January 10th, 2012
10:35 am

Yeah – with UGA’s cream-puff schedule next season they should win the East. Of course, UGA didn’t have the b*lls to stick with playing Alabama next season – dropped them from their schedule like a hot potato (and don’t tell me that was JUST the doing’s of SEC – UGA wanted NO PART in playing AL).
So yes – UGA should win the East – because the rest of the competition in the East (and UGA schedule) sucks – but then we will see what happens when the dogs play a real team – they will lose again.

frank

January 10th, 2012
10:37 am

Not if he plays ‘Nice guy football’..
thats not good enough yo ugotta be a mean sob. Remember 2008 when we would go backwards in the polls because we didnt win by enough? thats on the coach.
CAnt run the roster like its a pop warner team getting everyone touches and making too much of seniority.

Chris

January 10th, 2012
10:38 am

Last night you saw Alabama’s two front lines rule the game. Their secondary was never tested. Georgia needs more strength and depth on both O and D lines.

DawginLex

January 10th, 2012
10:40 am

okfornow

you are delusional if you believe that UGA’s AD has that much power to tell the SEC “WE don’t want to play Bama.”

The SEC office did the schedule but if it makes you feel better to spew garbage, go for it sport.

Tobias Funke

January 10th, 2012
10:41 am

Depth, depth, and more depth! The next two to four years look very strong. Protect the ball (Aaron), run the ball well, and play good defense. Do that and you are looking at an undefeated season heading into the SEC cg.

Go Dawgs!

Support these young men, dawg fans!

BankerDawg

January 10th, 2012
10:42 am

I am a Dawg fan till death, but how are we all assuming we win the East again next year? We barely got there this year with a cream-puff schedule and now we are all assuming that we are going to run through the East again? We’ve never won the East outright. Do any of you relaize that. Even in the years we won the SECCG we had to have help to get there. Richt and Company are ok with that too. Thats the problem. We are building a good team. In fact, no one is going to want to play us in a year or two. But we will never be dominant (Alabama last night) under this type of coaching mentality.

GDAWG65

January 10th, 2012
10:42 am

With Richt and Bobo there’s no chance of ever making it to the BCS championship.

DawginLex

January 10th, 2012
10:42 am

okfornow

“The rest of the SEC East sucks”

South Carolina won 11 games and Spurrier has openly stated he wants to win 12 next year. Florida’s defense returns everyone and if they hire Brent Peace from BSU, their offense will be very good.

Again, another uninformed post by you spewing anti UGA garbage.

At least you are consistent

Contractor

January 10th, 2012
10:43 am

I’m personally tired of all this moral victory and we played an awesome half of football against a championship caliber team. All delusional fans just need to go into hibernation for a while. That doesn’t amount to a pile of you know what. Georgia needs a killer instinct, and to want to win, not sit on a 2 point lead against top competition and continue to rely on a senior kicker that has let us down time after time. Nick Saban would be absolutely sick to his stomach if he came to Athens. And that is why we will not win anything of note until we change the mindset and want to of everyone in the program. Can some of y’all that claim the National Championship every Spring for Georgia not see the difference in those Florida, LSU, Auburn, and Alabama teams that continue to win championships, and the team we send out on the field every Fall weekend? We have the athletes, but we have to change some coaching and mental mindsets.

RedandBlackDAWG

January 10th, 2012
10:44 am

I think we will have the RB’s area covered pretty well next year as I think we will end up with either Davis, Gurney or both. Combine those two with Crowell,and Marshall and you have one strong unit. If Malcome comes along for the ride, all the better. Keep throwing fast, fresh runners at the opponent and your passing game will be a lot easier to perform with. We will most likely lose Mason at QB, but I think LeMay is ready to step up into the number 2, and we do have that option type QB signing on as well, so I think we will be in good shape there as well. Murray will have to manage the ball a little better.
The OL has a lot of wide bodies and having the number one offensive tackle coming to school this fall, will surely help. Experience level will be down but I think we will be OK there. The first couple of games after Buffalo might be a little rough, but I still think UGA can pull them out.
Special teams will have to improve on coverage and returns, and we do have new kickers so that has to be a major area to work a lot with. We have two FB’s already so I expect we will be OK there. We didn’t utilize Figgins nearly enough last year, so they need to be used more this year. Let them tote the rock some, instead of always just blocking.
My biggest concern is that Bobo will not properly utilize the personnel he has and we will remain too predictable and conservative like we were this year. CMR and Bobo need to sit down and work on some plays for the playbook, that will allow the offense to be more wide open, and dangerous every play they have the ball. Utilize the speed we have on both passing and running.
I think we will have a top 5 defense again, but I hope the Offense can do it’s job this year, and not have the defense be on the field so much. We of course will have more depth on defense but let’s hope the offense doesn’t throw away opportunities and the defense has to use a lot of depth, just because we are tired.

GO DAWGS and GATA

7576DAWG

January 10th, 2012
10:44 am

BankerDawg
I totally agree. If Murray can’t run the ball without turning the ball over then his type of skill’s are worthless. Murray is a scrambler and if nobody is open he run’s the ball. In his senior year of high school he gained nearly 1000 yard’s. If we can’t take advantage of his strength’s then Georgia need’s to find another Quarterback.

Erk

January 10th, 2012
10:45 am

SumterDawg I agree. Our coaching staff does seem to be complacent with average & it’s all about expectation level. Saban demands perfection and you can’t argue with his results. Bama had their first and only penalty with about 2 minutes left when they knew they would very soon be national champions, but Saban’s reaction to the meaningless penalty said it all. You have to demand perfection regardless of the situation if you want to win consistently at that level. Our defense is solid but Bobo & the offense does not hold up their end against quality opponents. We’ve got to be able to run the ball, period. We haven’t been able to do it for 3 years.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

January 10th, 2012
10:46 am

Jenkins Mom like Crowell’s will watch her son play for the Music City Bowl and the Outback Bowl in his 4 years at UGA. She has no class and that shows but then again what did you expect. At least do something before you run your mouth Mrs Jenkins!

Bazooka Joe

January 10th, 2012
10:46 am

okfor now – actually it is Bama’s fault that UGA and Bama dont play next year (whining and crying about Auburn needing to stay in the west).
Nobody is afraid of bama…. trust me.

monty

January 10th, 2012
10:47 am

Banker Dawg

Good points. Our weakness is that we are a passing team that really only wants to run the ball just enough to set up the passing attack, where teams like Bama and LSU run 1st and pass when necessary (Last night’s Bama passing on 1st down the exception). GA’s commitment to the pass 1st philosophy(I believe) produces a softer (more finesse), less in shape O-Line, that can run block at times, but realy isn’t totally commited to it or even in the right frame of mine for it with any regularity. How else do you get a veteran, huge O-line that can’t open any running lanes with regularity against top opponents? 2 of our 3 graduating O-line guys will play on Sunday but we couldn’t run worth a spit against the good teams. All in the philosophy.

Lobosolo

January 10th, 2012
10:47 am

Love to get on these blogs and see what you self-appointed experts and possessors of esp blather on about… where exactly does your acumen come from? Ever coached on the college level? High school? Middle school? Beyond that, ever play past 3rd string on ANY team? Being a fan and rooting for your team is about the most any of you could reasonably aspire to… the rest of you sound like the idiots with fat bellies that hang out in sports bars… I mean, really…

DawginLex

January 10th, 2012
10:48 am

no class is bashing a kid’s mother on a AJC blog

Matthews Dawg

January 10th, 2012
10:49 am

Sumter…to a degree I agree with you. But, we need backs that have HEART! That refuse to go down and can break a tackle when hit behind the line. Also, we have to block better on running plays! Players have to make plays and execute! If they don’t do that, then the HC and OC look like idiots in their play calling. Not taking up “much” for Bobo, but if we execute, the plays would be better at times! Go Dwags!

DawginLex

January 10th, 2012
10:49 am

Lobo

then don’t read our crap and leave

BankerDawg

January 10th, 2012
10:53 am

7576DAWG – thats my point exactly. We learned that having the wrong guy under center (Joe Cox or Tereshinski) can be a killer. I blame Murray for bad decisons but not for the style of offense. If we used him more like a Colt McCoy he would have allot more success. Instead he stands in the pocket and makes horrible decisons (Soph) when the game is on the line. Mettenburger was the Tyler Wilson/Tyler Bray typical SEC QB. Bobo keeps getting these short spread/option guys that don;t bode weel in our system.

monty

January 10th, 2012
10:54 am

LOBO

So really you’re just a voyeur, then. Get your jollies my man. Sounds like you’ve had a little experience with fat men in bars.

BankerDawg

January 10th, 2012
11:01 am

Monty – that’s what stand out to me. We all know Bobo is in over his head. For those of you that need an example, Alabama had a TE line up as FB last night as they were calling audibles. I’ve never seen that before.

monty

January 10th, 2012
11:02 am

I think Murray is a good enough QB to win us a NC, better than Bama’s or LSU for that matter. The point is don’t place it all on Murray, give him a ground attack, make teams respect the run 1st and the play action will give receivers alot of 1 on 1 coverage. Give us a O-line that can protect him for more than 3 seconds. LSU respected Bama’s running attack so much that they were totally caught off guard by the naked bootleg and passes to the tight ends. Our defense was very good, but not near as good as Bama’s. I want a running game where 3rd and 1 or 2 we don’t have to pass because we know the run won’t get it.

Dreaming in Dawgland!

January 10th, 2012
11:03 am

Wait till next year.

monty

January 10th, 2012
11:05 am

BAMA or Fla about to get the O.C. for Boise St…. great, we get BoBo.

Dawg Man

January 10th, 2012
11:05 am

I dont see how we missed it this year—UGA is the ” Greatest ” Football team !!!!! We have the best coaches and players—how did we miss it ???? Bet the next 6 National Championship trophies are hanging in Athens !!!! Heard 3 teams are going to forfeit rather than let the dawgs embarrase them !!!!! Bet Saban is so happy that he dosent have to face us next year Where will next years Championship game be played ?? Going to order my tickets now—see you there Dawgs !!! Murray for Heisman!!

red hill

January 10th, 2012
11:09 am

Seriously?? Mark Richt will never coach a team in the BCS game. It took years for him to finally fix the Martinez issue. We have a pretty solid defense now but Richt will not commit to the run and minimize offensive mistakes to help the defense. Special teams has been a travesty for years and will be the same next year (unless drastic steps are taken). Really? The confetti hasn’t even been picked up from the dome floor and some UGA fan is posing this question? I attended UGA and support the Dawgs. I hope they win every game but it ain’t gonna happen. This kind of stuff is why UGA fans are constantly called “delusional”. Man, I wish I had some of what you are smoking.

Dawg_Mike

January 10th, 2012
11:10 am

Not so fast my friends- Unless we get a killer instinct we are far far away from the NC game.
I looked at the physical type of D play from AL and while we have it too, we dont SUSTAIN it. Need another solid off season of training.