Well, damn… and well, damn!

It looks like the Georgia quarterbacks have been unleashed on the media this week.  There are all sorts of quotes from Cox, Mettenberger and Murray (where’s Logan Gray?) popping up.

The stunner – unfortunately, in a negative way – comes from Mettenberger, who, though a freshman, spent a considerable amount of time around the team last year and had this to say comparing the mindset of last year’s squad to his current teammates:

Mettenberger on what has surprised him so far…
“Last year I was around a lot, and the leadership wasn’t too great last year. I’ve been here three weeks and I can already tell that the leadership and the seniors, they want to win a championship again. They want an SEC championship. They want a spot to play for the national title. So far, the leadership has been outstanding in my opinion.”

Wow.  Add to that David Hale’s editorial comment…

(NOTE #2: For those of you who are on the “We’re better off with guys who aren’t overly concerned with their NFL futures” bandwagon, pay close attention to the last quote from Mettenberger. It’s extremely telling. And so you know the context, Mettenberger said he was on campus at least 25 times last season, showing up as early as 5 a.m. to be around for practices, etc.)

… and I’m simply floored.  And curious as to how much of this the coaches observed.  And if the coaches were aware of it, what, if anything, they tried to do to right the ship.  And how frustrated they became over it.  And… well, you get the idea.

I’m not really sure there’s much you can do about something like this, especially once you’re into the season.  Nor is it fair to say this is a problem unique to Georgia.  Hearken back to the quote from Urban Meyer prior to last season, in which he claimed to know that his ’07 team wasn’t going to be as successful because of selfishness and a lack of maturity, for evidence of that.

On the other side of the coin, maybe there is something to that old saw about addition by subtraction.  One thing’s for sure, if Joe Cox doesn’t succeed this year, it won’t be because he isn’t prepared.

… The two freshmen and sophomore quarterback Logan Gray bring their thick playbooks to position meetings and have pen and paper at the ready, trying to learn the numerous intricacies of the Bulldogs’ offense.

Cox needs no such materials.

“Joe just walks in with nothing. He knows everything like the back of his hand,” Mettenberger said.

“He doesn’t need anything,” Murray laughed. “He’s telling us what to write in our notebooks.”

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Well, damn… and well, damn!

  1. peacedog

    I’m with you – that sort of malaise/complacency/lack of urgency (pick any and all descriptors that suits) is not easily combated. And there are degrees. Nobody in their right mind would suggest that last season’s team and players didn’t want to win. But wanting to win is not enough to perform at the very highest levels.

    I’m not sure I can say I’m readily behind the idea that we’ll get addition by subtraction this coming all. I think it’s starting to look like we will get a few things we were missing, though, and that could go a long way.

  2. kckd

    Matthew may not have been a great vocal leader. He and Knowshon may have been overly concerned with their NFL draft status. But it sure didn’t show on the field. Again, Stafford had a year you could put up there with any other great year any other great UGA QB has had statistically speaking. He won two games on late drives and would have likely won a third against Tech had our defense gotten the ball back. Maybe he was suppose to run over to the defense and get in their ears, but I rarely see QBs do that at any level. They lead their offense and the defense has their own leaders.

    These kids are much closer than I am to the situation. But it sounds like we might simply be hungry again and embarrassed about a 39 point loss to our biggest rival and what was supposed to be a great game. Would things really be no different than before if MS and KM had come back?

  3. NM

    Everybody talks about the games Stafford “won” but nobody talks about the games he lost, or contributed mightily to losing, due to turnovers and such. Statistics are worthless, except for the one called the loss column.

    That’s why I’d rather have Joe Cox. Maybe it’s my personal biases, maybe it’s because I’ll always remember what he supposedly said in the huddle right before HE won the Colorado game, but I’m genuinely excited about Joe Cox at QB. He’s been waiting, he wants it, he has talent (he led a dominant HS team, and one report said “it’s not a stretch to say he could be the most ready to play in college of all of the quarterbacks” at the Elite 11 camp for the top 11 QBs in the country), and I think he’ll deliver. The only thing that concerns me is the running game, but certainly out of our half-dozen top tier RB recruits, one of them has to pan out!

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  5. Mettenberger’s comment confirms my worst fears of the 08 team. I believe in college it is paramount for ALL the senior leaders to be on the same page and dragging the younkers along with them. These kids are so young when they get here, and despite oozing talent they still need guidance and good peer relationships to be able to perform in the greatest conference of all college football. The TEAM is everything here and all the players should bow to that in order to excell. Otherwise, well, we’ll always have 08. BTW, I love Staff and Know, and will always consider them DGD’s. Not blaming them or pointing fingers here, just putting in my 2 centavos.

  6. Dog in Fla

    If Mettenberger’s comment “about the leadership wasn’t too great last year” is really correct (and I don’t think it is), you are right in wondering why didn’t our coaches notice, or if they did, why didn’t they, or could they even, do something about it?

    The lack of leadership line is an easy excuse to use after players are gone. It indirectly blames the departed players, but not by name or to their face, of course.

    Was it because Stafford didn’t ream out his receivers when they dropped a catchable pass? Was it because Moreno didn’t bark at everyone who missed a block? Had they reamed or barked, would Stafford or Moreno exhibited better leadership skills? No.

    Should they have gotten into the face of our defense when our offense wasn’t the cause of the defensive problems, e.g., 1st half Alabama, 3rd quarter Tech? Would they have been better leaders then? No. Nobody can complain that they didn’t play hard. Nobody can recall them complaining about their teammates not playing hard and smart.

    Stafford or Moreno didn’t complain about the disappearance of what are called special teams skills on other teams or our ability to lead the league in personal fouls, but they could have. It’s part of our coaching staffs’ job to ensure better execution by all players and not expect the higher profile players to demand it from others. Stafford and Moreno did it by example.

    It’s neither right nor accurate for anyone to indirectly blame them for lack of leadership after they’re gone. Had they stayed this would be our year – again.

    No one can legitimately blame the loss of any game on Stafford or Moreno. They do get credit for a lot of wins, however. Without those two and A.J., we would have been lucky to have even been bowl eligible.

    From what I saw, they were not only great football players, they were among the best ever to have played at Georgia. It may be a while until we are lucky enough to enjoy watching others who are as good as they were. I hope that time comes sooner rather than later.

  7. Bryan Carver Dawg97

    If we take the argument that by saying now there was no leadership somehow reflects on specific departed players even if not by name, then Asher Allen (and possibly Reshad) is to be lumped in with Staff and Know. Now we can blame those two (and maybe even Jeff Owens since he didn’t play at all) for the defensive issues. There – now, there is blame for both sides.

    My point is this, I don’t think Mett is calling out anyone in particular. People that are commenting in these blogs (over at Georgia Sports too) are the ones calling out Staff and Know. I’m telling you, this is the AJC mentality of blogging. Mett is calling out the team and its attitude in general, the lack of edge as the Senator would say. They were trying to get by on the buildup from the end of 07, the preseason hype and ultimately on talent alone.

  8. kckd

    I agree Bryan. I think there were leadership issues, but it can’t be pinned on one person like so many have wanted to do with Stafford.

    If we won’t to blame Stafford for the poor play against UF, (his only bad performance in a loss as far as I’m concerned) Why was no one chewing Greene’s rear about the UF loss in 2002? That wasn’t a great game he had that night either.

    I’ve never felt negative towards Greene for a few bad performances and I refuse to do the same with Stafford. I am optimistic about Cox, but before everyone believes he’s our saviour, remember he had been a turnover machine in a couple of the spring games he played. And those were designed to let the offense move the ball some.

  9. Aligator

    that was stafford for you …

  10. kckd

    Ali, would you please be so kind to let us know who the hell you’re talking to and what the hell you’re talking about before you post your drivel.

  11. If only Stafford had circumcised a few little kids, made a teary apology, or yelled pointlessly at his defense, THEN he would have been a leader. Leadership, just like success, has to come from the lines of scrimmage–not the skill players. Youth and injuries wiped that out, nothing Stafford or Moreno could have done about that.

  12. Irishdawg

    “Stafford or Moreno didn’t complain about the disappearance of what are called special teams skills on other teams or our ability to lead the league in personal fouls, but they could have.”

    Damn right. Neither guy complained, nor did they make excuses, which I consider a sign of leadership. Our Tiger Beat media may consider crying and cheerleading the only way to be a leader, but I don’t. Moreno led by doing his job and inspiring the offense to follow suit, and he didn’t whine about injuries or missed blocks.

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