This is merely a general observation I wanted to share.
As I walked out after that debacle of a game in Jacksonville, I could hear Georgia fans’ litany of complaints: the refs, Blair Walsh, Matt Stafford, Mike Bobo, etc. But that’s not what was on my mind then. What I was thinking about was the 2003 SECCG – more specifically, what I felt like when I walked out of that game.
If you’ll recall, that was the first game that Georgia lost by more than two touchdowns under Richt. I had seen Georgia lose games that Richt coached, some downright disappointing, but up to that point I had never seen Georgia unable to control a game, not always in terms of winning necessarily, but at least to keep it close by scratching and clawing and doing whatever it took. That includes the 2001 Florida-Georgia game, where Florida was clearly the more talented and explosive team, but simply couldn’t shake the Dawgs off.
But that didn’t happen that night in Atlanta. And I remembered feeling a sense of shock that a Georgia team could wind up being uncompetitive to that extent.
I’ve noticed a pattern emerge in the regular season, starting with the 2006 Tennessee game. There comes a game or two every year where there’s a half in which Georgia simply disappears, where there’s no focus or discipline from the kids on the field, where the coaches don’t seem to have a game plan or any direction over the players. You can point to those moments as easily as I can; the second half of the aforementioned Tennessee game, the Tennessee and Vandy first halves of 2007, this year’s first half against Alabama and the second half of Saturday’s game all come to mind.
The symptoms may vary somewhat from game to game, but the illness is the same. And it’s recurring. And I don’t know how a program that wants to consider itself among the elite can keep doing this consistently and yet feel it belongs.
Don’t get me wrong. No program wins every game it plays. And every school plays an incomprehensibly lousy game now and then. But I’m truly hard pressed to think of another national power that completely disappears on an embarrassingly regular basis as this team seems to have gotten into the habit of doing as of late. Maybe I’m wrong, or being unduly pessimistic, but that’s how I feel right now.
The worst thing about Saturday’s game wasn’t that Georgia crapped the bed because it was playing Florida (sorry, Gator fans, but that’s the truth). It’s the simple realization that that’s what Georgia does these days. And so, while I was unhappy and more than a little upset when I walked out after the game ended Saturday night, I noticed there was one feeling I was missing. I wasn’t shocked.