Defensive about the defense

I understand where Richt is coming from when he has this to say:

“People don’t get it. People think they know, but they don’t. I’d love to say that if people really knew football, they’d know we’d been blitzing, they’d know we’d been playing zone, playing cover one, playing robber, fire zone. If they really knew football, they wouldn’t be saying the things they say, but they don’t.”

He’s right about that.  Besides, his team is in line for another ten-plus win season and a top ten finish.  That’s not exactly chopped liver – most folks who were fans of the program in the mid-90′s would have willingly sacrificed an appendage for those kinds of consistent results.

Buuuuut… it’s hard to deny that some of the frustration is deserved.  Read the player quotes after the UK game.  There are a ton of comments about poor communication and bad execution.  Ten games into the season, should that still be happening?  And given that it is, why is it happening?  And why are the coaches still seemingly trying to figure out why it’s happening?

So, when Richt goes on to say that “…We’ll always go back and look at things we’ve got to do better, whether it’s a coaching decision or player execution. That’s just how we handle it…”, that’s great as far as it goes.  But looking at a problem and doing something effective to correct it aren’t the same things, sad to say.

I think it’s fair to say at this point that this team will go as far in ’08 as the offense can take it.  Whatever is wrong on the defensive side of the ball seems to be so deeply ingrained that it’s very unlikely that it can be stopped and turned around in three games (although there will be some time to prepare for the bowl game).

Which leads me to the one intruiging quote from the teleconference:

“It’s the same basic defensive scheme we’ve had since we got here. It’s not like there’s some kind of philosophical issue. The philosophy of our defense hasn’t changed hardly at all in eight years. But we haven’t been in this spot in the past.”  [Emphasis added.]

What spot is that?  I will say it’s good that Richt thinks he’s at a point where there’s a big enough problem that it needs special consideration from the coaching staff, but I suspect for a lot of people the question in the back of their minds right now is what took you so long?

I also suspect that this is going to make for more of an interesting off season than we may have expected, even if much of it is kept out of the media.

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UPDATE: Maybe this is what Richt means by “this spot”.

… Kentucky, Florida and LSU each tallied 38 or more points in the last three weeks.

You have to go back more than a century to find the last time that happened against Georgia. All the way back to 1900 in losses to Clemson, 39-5, North Carolina, 55-0, and Auburn, 44-0.

You can talk about youth.  You can talk about injuries.  You can talk about the schedule.  But you have to figure that over the course of a century, none of those factors are exactly new to this year.  In other words, that’s a pretty shocking stat.  Put it this way:  even Kevin Ramsey never managed that hat trick.

Now loyalty to staff and staff stability are commendable things in a football program.  But Mark Richt isn’t a stupid man.  I have to believe that he knows what happens to a head coach at Georgia whose teams can’t play defense.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Defensive about the defense

  1. We (I certainly didn’t) think that Richt would so easily give up playcalling when it just wasn’t working out, but he did anyway. And it all started with just little hints about the subject.

  2. Christian

    First off, as alluded to by many people/pundits, there are lots of reasons we’ve suffered this year on D: youth, injuries, talent, penalties, turnovers, the schedule, special teams and I don’t want to discount these points at all.

    Also, I don’t think firing CWM is a good idea….well look, he’s not going to fire CWM so we need to get past this.

    But, just like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography in 1964 that he wasn’t exactly sure how to define it “but I’d know it when I see it” – I’m not a college football coach, nor do I know anything beyond the basics of the cover two defense – but I know crappy defense when I see it. And last week, even more than LSU or Florida, was crap. We made the KY freshman QB look like lil’ Joe Hamilton in his prime out there.

    Everyone on the defensive side of the ball (coaches and players) needs to re-evaluate what we’re doing to prepare and motivate this unit and begin providing more support for the offense.

    Auburn can take the sting off their season by defeating us this weekend and guess what – they’ve got a strong running game with a mobile QB and some WR’s who can make plays.

    And don’t think that Paul Johnson can’t become a hero at GT by beating us in Athens with his flexbone offense that plays right into our weaknesses.

    Here’s giving out hope that they can patch things up enough to get us through December and onto a January 1st Bowl Game-

    Go Dawgs!!

  3. HVL Dawg

    Our defenses have made ALL our opposing quarterbacks look like Heisman candidates. Even Smelley had his way with us.

    Let’s just imagine for a second that CMR is thoroughly disgusted with about three of his coaches right now. We’ve known him for quite a while now, how do you think he would articulate that in a presser? He’s no Tommy Tubberville.

    We all are expecting something to make the defense better. Maybe if we paid CMR a tiny base salary and large bonuses for…………wins?

    P.S. I think Dawg fans should be working hard lobbying for a good bowl. IF we win out, I I know that isn’t a given, that would mean only losses to the two teams that are interchangeable for the MNC game.

  4. sober dawg

    Maybe Stacy Searels can work some of his voodoo magic on the defensive side of the ball, too.

  5. P.S. I think Dawg fans should be working hard lobbying for a good bowl.

    Because the SEC is two teams…then Georgia……….then LSU……………………………and then South Carolina, the bowl situation is essentially set in stone. We’re Capital One bound. Only way that changes is if some crazy stuff happens and the SEC doesn’t get the well-deserved two teams into the BCS.

    And by the way, don’t look now, but South Carolina is set up for a NYD bowl. SEC gets two into the BCS, Georgia goes to Orlando, LSU goes to the Cotton, and lookee here- someone’s gotta go to the Outback Bowl.

  6. HVL Dawg

    Gotch D.N.

    UGA vs Ohio State

    That would be a game worth watching.

    Of course we have to TCB against Auburn and Tech. If we don’t….Shreveport can be pretty cold in December.

  7. Christian

    HVL Dawg – been to Shreveport/Bossier City in December (1992 vs. Arkansas), it is great fun…….excuse me while I now throw up in my mouth.

    Go Dawgs!!

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