Disappointed Dogs insist there will be no letdown against Nebraska

ATHENS -- There are few things more unpredictable than the emotional state of a football team heading into a bowl game. But there are reasons for Georgia to be on guard against a letdown in the Capital One Bowl.

The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) are coming off a game in which they literally finished five yards shy from playing for a national championship. The SEC Championship ended with Chris Conley sitting with the ball on the 5-yard line in the Georgia Dome and Georgia unable to stop the clock. Time ticked away in a 32-28 loss to No. 2 Alabama.

Not only did the Bulldogs come up short in their bid for the national championship. They lost consideration for a BCS bowl. So now they head to a non-BCS bowl to face a 10-3 Nebraska team coming off a 70-31 loss as a double-digit favorite.

Add to that a looming threat of distraction. Twelve UGA defensive starters are expected to be moving on, nine due to exhausted eligibility and three others due to soaring NFL stock. Even junior quarterback Aaron Murray admits that he’s “definitely going to think about” the NFL draft. Perhaps having an eye on the future is understandable.

Final exams over, the Bulldogs reassembled Wednesday for their first of 15 bowl practices. Coach Mark Richt, speaking at the team’s Capital One Bowl Media Day, said he isn’t entirely sure yet where his team’s collective head is. But he believes they’ll be engaged and motivated in time for the Jan. 1 game in Orlando.

  • “There are still things that are worth playing for,” Richt said, before enumerating them.
  • “ Number one we get to play another football game. I think our guys enjoy playing football, so I think that in itself is going to be enough motivation.
  • “I think landing where we landed as far as the Capital One Bowl, being in Orlando in a warm weather climate, knowing we were going to play on Jan. 1 against an outstanding football team – I think all those things have been positive.
  • “I will be challenging our leadership to finish better than we did a year ago and to solidify the job that they’ve done, because I think they’ve done an outstanding job to this point. I think they need to put an exclamation point on it or at least finish strong in a manner worthy of the way they led the entire offseason from January until now. That will be a big part of it.”
  • “I’ll be talking a lot to the younger guys – the guys who know they are going to be coming back – to honor (the seniors) with the way they play.”

There is evidence of Georgia’s not being terribly motivated for bowl games in the recent past. It could be argued the Bulldogs were not intensely interested — or at least lost interest about halfway through — in last year’s triple-overtime loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. And Georgia definitely wanted to be elsewhere in the 2010 Liberty Bowl, when the Bulldogs lost 10-6 to a extremely motivated Central Florida team. The Bulldogs were similarly disinterested in the 2001 Music City Bowl, which ended in a 20-16 loss to Boston College.

But Georgia players insist there will be no hangover of disappointment.

“Me, personally, I just want to win a bowl game,” Murray said with a laugh. “I haven’t won one as a starter, so I know I’m going to be working extremely hard to win this game. And this senior class has just meant so much for this program, for bringing us back to where Georgia needs to be. I know myself and all the other underclassmen want to send them off on the right note.”

Said senior linebacker Christian Robinson: “Yeah, we were five yards away from being somewhere else. But let’s not show that we’re not worthy of it by not finishing.”

The 2012 Bulldogs have a chance to become just the third team in school history to win 12 or more games. The 1980 national championship team went 12-0 and the 2002 team finished 13-1 after a Sugar Bowl win over Florida State.

“Jarvis (Jones) and John (Jenkins) said after the (SEC Championship) game, ‘This feeling we have now, we need to take that out on Nebraska,’” freshman linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “I know the young guys and all the other guys on the team don’t want the seniors going out with a loss in a bowl game after going 11-2. We want to finish the season strong and finish the drill.”

MORE ON GEORGIA FOOTBALL

197 comments Add your comment

Joe Dawg

December 13th, 2012
8:51 am

Who cares; it wouldnt surprise me if they went out and lost by 50. I know my mind wouldnt be in this game. 5 yards from a national championship. i will be surprised if they win this one.

mike on lake hartwell

December 13th, 2012
8:51 am

G A T A DAWGS

G-Dawg

December 13th, 2012
8:58 am

Rather have some of those young backups get some playing time.

Jim

December 13th, 2012
9:09 am

Lose this one and can’t win a Bowl game will be added to Richt and Murray’s resume.

Kirk

December 13th, 2012
9:14 am

Go Dawgs! Lets face it, it’ll be a great game, especially if we get a win! Since we’re not playing for the Championship game, it’s better that its a game we’re expected to win!

dawgfan

December 13th, 2012
9:15 am

Your characterization of last year’s Michigan State game is off the mark. They were a legit top 10 team and proved to be the better team because we could not block their massive defensive front and our defense got worn down from being on the field all day long. It had nothing to do with some psychobabble crap about a “letdown” or losing interest. People have always acted like we lost to Duke or something in that game. It kills me. And we’re going back to 2001 to make a point Chip? Come on man. You’re better than this.

I think they’ll be fine. It doesn’t mean anything to anyone outside of UGA circles, but this season will be remembered if they finish 12-2 and in the top 5. Another 11-3 season and all this crap about being “5 yards from a national championship” will be all but forgotten. Its a big deal.

Thanks.

Vampire Bill

December 13th, 2012
9:22 am

Bothers me a little that there is even a question of a letdown?

The Central Scrutinizer

December 13th, 2012
9:24 am

Well, I hope that the team takes what JJX2 said to heart and “take this feeling out on Nebraska”. I’d love to see them just blow them out like they did Tech. I remember that Sun Bowl back in ‘69 and it sucked! Pay ‘em back and GATA!

Matthews Dawg

December 13th, 2012
9:25 am

Jim, what a hater! That’s right Coach Richt hasn’t won a bowl game! Do some research or go back to the GT site and worry about being 6-8. CMR is in the top 3 coaches at UGA period. When we/he wins it all, he jumps to #1 over Coach Dooley. Go find another team to hate on. The Dawgs will be ready, because we finally have some mature leaders on the field. Go Dawgs!!

Spanky

December 13th, 2012
9:28 am

Hey Joe, I care!! Real Dawg fans care!! Yes, 5 yards from the big one, but it didn’t happen…So? That’s the way is sometimes. Get over it!! Unless you coulda suited up and played some downs, all you can do is support ‘em , otherwise Shut the f up!! I am so fricken’ tired of whiney-azz babies,..crying over something they can’t control!! Please take the word dawg off your moniker…ur not worthy!

Talladawg

December 13th, 2012
9:34 am

They have every motivation: to show that they deserved that last 5 yards, to show that they can win a bowl game with talent when motivation is difficult, to show that UGA is back to relavence. True competitors compete to win, every time. True competitors do not quit just because they are not going to win some championship. True competitors play their best and WIN because the want it, whether no one is watching or everyone is watching. GATA DAWGS!!!

SimpleDawg

December 13th, 2012
9:37 am

Lose to a team that gave up 70 points to Wisconsin……? Really…?

That would be embarrassing.

Talladawg

December 13th, 2012
9:38 am

OH yeah, the other motivation: they are playing Nebraska! It is not like we are playing Wake, or Kent St or No Ill.

Joe Dawg

December 13th, 2012
9:41 am

Oh what a big man you are spanky; talking like that behind a keyboard. If your tired of hearing fans complain you may want to find another team to support. Because fans are going to be complaining about teams forever. And Yea Mark Richt failed again. Truth hurts doesnt it. Now why dont you take your balls out of Mark Richts wallet and shut the fck up!!!!!

FLA DAWG

December 13th, 2012
9:45 am

If Richt loses to Nebraska he’ll be 1 for 4 vs ranked teams this season and 2 – 11 against ranked teams since 2008.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for an HC nor a figure who inspires great play in big games.

Joe Dawg

December 13th, 2012
9:47 am

Carefull FLA DAWG; these dawg homers will lynch you for saying anything critical of the messiah Mark Richt.

Steve

December 13th, 2012
9:47 am

GTBob where are ya??? It’s a new UGA blog! The highlight of your day!

Who Me?

December 13th, 2012
9:49 am

Knowing it’s early in the season, why no stories on the pathetic mens Basketball team? Whither Mark Fox? what’s up with the lame recruiting? This program is nowhere closer to achieving it’s goals today than it was when Mark Fox was hired. Anybody care?

blah

December 13th, 2012
9:49 am

Agree with Spanky. This is a class of DGDs and they made us all proud this year. All the negativity needs to take a hike. These guys played hard and went toe to toe with Bama and beat Florida (arguably the best team in the country). It is great to be a Georgia Bulldawg! GATA!

Joey

December 13th, 2012
9:53 am

Vampire Bill, I agree – we’ve seen this team NOT motivated, or prepared, or invested more than once this season, though they absolutely have been since UF.

It’s just a little troublesome that we have constantly wonder about their level of motivation.

Anyway, beat Nebraska and 12-2 is a good season. Coulda been great.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda . . .

Joe Dawg

December 13th, 2012
9:54 am

Sorry guys, recess at the local grade school isn’t till noon so I have to play on here until then. Hoping to meet a cute one today though!

Come on man

December 13th, 2012
9:55 am

Joe Dawg, i have an extra ticket, why dont you go with me. You need an attitude adjustment.

Joe Dawg

December 13th, 2012
9:56 am

Blah; your proud of losing the SEC championship game? (the problem and the difference between the Alabama and Georgia Fanbases)

Steve

December 13th, 2012
10:03 am

Who’s your team little Joe Dawg?

Talladawg

December 13th, 2012
10:10 am

Joe Dawg, you are proof of a societal problem: entitlement. If it is not a championship, it is not good enough for you. Except for the SC game, I have been extremely proud of the Dawgs. Yes, I was VERY disappointed in what almost was in the SEC championship game, but I was VERY proud of the team’s effort.

Jim

December 13th, 2012
10:11 am

Matthews Dawg, boy did I touch a nerve. I’m not a dawg hater I was just stating a fact. I know Richt is 7-4 in bowl games but Murray is 0-2 against teams Georgia were not supposed to lose to. So you tell me why the people who already say Murray can not win the big games would not add he can’t win a bowl game either. Myself I look forward to the Nebraska game. I think it will be a great matchup that the Dawgs can win. I hope people don’t take Nebraska lightly because of the blowout by Wis. I see that game alot like our game against South Carolina. For some unknown reason neither Nebraska or Georgia showed up in those games. I believe if we played South Carolina today we could blow them out. Nebraska and Wis played during the regular season and Nebraska won by 3 points. We need to bring our A game to this bowl because the whipping Nebraska took will not sit well for them and they will be looking for someone to take it out on. Would you have wanted to be in that locker room after that game. For Coach Richt I think he is a very good coach and a great man. I would not trade him for Saban or Meyer.

Steve

December 13th, 2012
10:11 am

I guess he left early for the playground.

hfc95

December 13th, 2012
10:18 am

My biggest concern with UGA football is our strength of schedule. Until we play actual play top 40 teams for our 4 non conference games we will continue to be 9-3 range because we play a lollipop that takes away our mindset then we go play a SEC school at their place and its a 180 degree turn in competition. We need to play the best teams every week so we are consistent with our focus and energy. You can’t give yourself an easy schedule like we did this year and think it will be EASY to run the table and walk into a national championship. We need to schedule these non-conf games all around the country in different climates to have our team experience all elements of football across the USA. This does two things, gives UGA more national exposure and will be a great learning experience in how to deal with different climates.
example: we played 8 home games and 4 away games. we need to be 6 and 6 or 7 home and 5 away.
playing 2 home games to 1 away game is just babying our players, we dont want to nurture, we want nature to mold our team.

ugab

December 13th, 2012
10:19 am

This will be a good test for CMR. It has been a while since Uga has won a bowl game. We need a bowl win after the Alabama loss. Goo Dawgs!!! Let’s take it all out on Nebraska. Stay in shape!!!!!Let’s not have another WV bowl game!!!!!!Tired, Fat, and Lazy.

FLA DAWG

December 13th, 2012
10:19 am

Joe Dawg,

To hell with the Koolaide Drinking Richt / Bobo / Grantham Lovers.

This year the stars were lined up for The Dawgs. Despite a loss to SC The Dawgs pulled themselves up (the players did it themselves in my opinion after the D was “called out”) and we got a second shot at The Big Dance.

Bama is not what it was a year or two ago. The D blewout because the O couldn’t control the ball for any decent number of first downs and that’s why we lost. The O line was just awful. The clock management (or lack thereof) by Richt at the end of the game was unforgiveable. We might have won the damn game otherwise – despite our often inability to convert on third down.

I think we’d have beaten ND but who knows?
It’ll be interesting to watch The BCS Title Game.
I’m still picking Bama but not with extreme confidence.

ugab

December 13th, 2012
10:20 am

Nebraska is going to run the ball. Ga’s D needs to stop the run. Bama had a field day.

Dawgs1

December 13th, 2012
10:20 am

Dawgs need a bowl win ! If they don’t win all will say see they didn’t deserve to be rated so high.
Besides our bowl record is starting to look like we don’t deserve to go anywhere at end of season
Hate to hear an excuse starting again ” the reason we lost is because we were dissapointed we were not in NC game”.

Steve

December 13th, 2012
10:20 am

Bama 31 ND 17

Alphare

December 13th, 2012
10:21 am

“they literally finished five yards shy from playing for a national championship”

Here you go again, 5-yard short of national championship.

Well, if that BAMA player had his hands 2 inches closer, you wouldn’t have this talk, would you? 2 inches is whole lot shorter than your 5-yard shortage. Don’t you agree?

Steve

December 13th, 2012
10:23 am

Dawgs1, UGA has the 4th most bowl wins in the history of college football. They have been to the 5th most games. Yes, they have lost two in a row but they will turn it around. At least we are not like Tech who has lost 7 straight bowl games. I honestly don’t understand why they still have a football program.

hfc95

December 13th, 2012
10:24 am

We need to play a big 10 school in december so we know how to deal with the cold, we need to play a pac 10 team early in the year to deal with time change, we need to schedule teams that can make the top 25 instead of playing Ga Southern. We need to bring in a big school to gain national exposure and make UGA marketable and easily accessed by High school players all around the country, basically we need to play schools every year from different parts of the country, this will grow our fanbase and make UGA an elite level school that a kid from Oregon would want to come to or a guy from wisconsin would want to play down here. Yes we are in the SEC and that is a great recruiting tool but when anybody talks SEC big time players they say Alabama, Fla or LSU and usually leave out UGA.

hfc95

December 13th, 2012
10:26 am

big time schools* they say Bama, Fla or LSU

FLA DAWG

December 13th, 2012
10:29 am

Steve,

The fact that you have to sink so low as to compare our postseason performance against that of GT is embarrassing.

Let’s just hope we can perform as well as we did against Michigan – err no, I mean UCF – err no, I mean WVA- err, no…………well, you know what I mean.

I think The Dawgs will put it together long enough to beat Nebraska but recent history doesn’t show Richt as an inspiring postseason coach.

slydog

December 13th, 2012
10:30 am

No let down? The NFL is calling almost the entire defense. These kats, or should I say dawgs, are not going to play hard enough to risk injury. It’s just human nature. Maybe Murray, because he still has something to prove.

Steve

December 13th, 2012
10:34 am

FLA DAWG how did I compare? I simply was saying that it could be worse and we could be like Tech, which would be terrible. UGA will beat Nebraska.

FLA DAWG

December 13th, 2012
10:35 am

Sounded like a comparison but fair enough. My apology.

[...] webmaster@technorati.com wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Steve

December 13th, 2012
10:42 am

There you are GTBob! I knew you would come through! I know you can’t resist a new UGA blog. Gosh what a loser.

JB

December 13th, 2012
10:43 am

Gonna be tough. Thoughts of what could of been and The NFL will play a role. The only thing that might make a difference is the NFL scouts WILL be there taking notes.

GTBob

December 13th, 2012
10:44 am

There you are GTBob! I knew you would come through! I know you can’t resist a new UGA blog. Gosh what a loser.

Yeah, sorry im a bit late. I missed the Aaron Murray is going to the NFL blog also which is a shame. I could have had some good laughs on that one. Who knew that college QB’s were in a hurry to be drafted in the later rounds and cut after a year or two.

Steve

December 13th, 2012
10:47 am

Yea, Aaron Murray is a LOSER! I mean why on Earth should he just think about the NFL draft? Such a stupid move on his part! I mean GTBob you know a heck of a lot more than a great coach like Tony Dungy right? Every day on these blogs you show more and more how little you actually know and understand about college football. Regardless, Murray will be back.

[...] webmaster@technorati.com wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

FLA DAWG

December 13th, 2012
10:52 am

Vegas has UGA winning by 10.
If the spread were closer (and by Jan 1 it may be) I’d throw the game to Nebraska.

The boys should be able to put enough together to beat The Huskers…………..on the other hand there was that UCF Game……………what was the spread on that one?

old dog

December 13th, 2012
10:52 am

As always, I am a dawg through and through. However, even though we almost pulled it out, we did not do too great a job up front. The o-line has improved…but was not quite in the top-tier level. As for a let-down in the bowl loss last year, if anyone watched the game, M-State’s D-line popped us in the mouth. I hope (and think) that our-o-line can and will get better. Yeah, Gurly had some yards on ‘Bama, but (especially in the second half) ‘Bama showed us what a big-time line can do. We put forth a great effort in the SEC title game and came up short. Hopefully our o-line will step up next year and mature….we are losing some D-studs; hard to get a good read on next year.

[...] webmaster@technorati.com wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]