Will we miss Stafford less than we thought?

Normally, I could care less about NFL draft stories, even when they involve former Georgia players.  I wish ‘em the best, and the publicity helps the program, but the door has closed on the part of their careers that matters to me.  That being said, Michael Elkon’s got a thought provoking post up that’s the exception to my rule.

Michael’s starting point is with the ESPN projection of Matt Stafford’s career from Georgia to the NFL.  It’s not overly sanguine about his prospects.  One reason why I found particularly interesting.

… another easy way to control for system quarterbacks is to compare the quarterback to the previous starter at his school.

Stafford was directly preceded at Georgia by the recently retired David Greene; both spent their entire college careers under head coach Mark Richt in similar offensive systems. Stafford’s college numbers are actually worse than Greene’s, with the latter completing 59 percent of his passes and averaging 8.01 yards per attempt to Stafford’s 7.83. If Stafford was really a star in the making, wouldn’t he have put up better numbers, in the same system, than a guy who washed out of the NFL without taking a professional snap?

First off, I have to be a little skeptical of an analysis that overlooks D. J. Shockley’s senior season.  And I grow even more so when I breakdown the quarterback stats from the last seven seasons.  They look like this:

Year TD/Int. Comp. Pct. Rating YPA
2008 25/10 61.4 153.5 9.03
2007 19/10 55.7 128.9
2006 7/13 52.7 109
2005 24/5 55.8 148.3 8.35
2004 20/4 58.5 148.4 8.39
2003 13/11 60.3 128.5
2002 22/8 57.5 137.3

(By the way, if you told me that David Greene’s best season from a completion percentage standpoint would be the year he took snaps behind that sieve of an offensive line, I would have chuckled.)

Notice which season on that list is the best from a statistical standpoint?  To me, the compelling argument to make from seeing that chart is that Stafford would have been looking at a helluva season in 2009 if he’d have stayed in college.  (His bank account, on the other hand, not so much.)

Stafford’s got the highest completion percentage on the board, the largest number of TD passes, the best QB rating and the highest yards per passing attempt – all from his last season.  The closest seasons Greene and Shockley have to Matt’s ’08 numbers are their senior years.

Where Stafford falls short compared to the other two is in interceptions.  He never had a season where he threw less than ten.  Greene and Shockley, on the other hand, excelled in this area.  (Cut Greene some slack on the ’03 numbers, again considering what he had for a supporting cast during that season.)  And here’s where I think Elkon makes a valid point about Stafford.

… his technique is inconsistent, which causes him to have accuracy problems. The ESPN article nails the issue:

College quarterbacks don’t typically improve their accuracy in the NFL. If his decisions were at all suspect against SEC opponents, then it’s reasonable to wonder how he will react to professional defenses.If Stafford didn’t have consistent footwork as a junior in the SEC with two seasons of experience under his belt, then one has to wonder whether he’s really driven like a great athlete. In other words, he might be like you, me, and the vast majority of humanity in that he isn’t obsessed with mastering his craft to a microscopic level of detail. Wouldn’t it be fair to say that the reaction of most Georgia fans to Stafford at the end of his career was “he was good, but there was always something missing?”

I think that’s a fair observation.  Matt never completely trusted his offensive line to give him the time he needed – certainly understandable – and that affected his mechanics.  It’s another reason I would have liked to see him come back this year.  But that’s water under the bridge now.

By the way, I think that this focus on whether Knowshon has the ultimate speed to succeed at the next level is one of those forest-for-the-trees kind of things.  Moreno’s game has always been more about vision, balance and cutting back than about foot speed.

Besides, it seems like he’s been fast enough.

Michael draws a conclusion from this that I’m not sure I buy all that much.

If Football Outsiders is right about Knowshon Moreno being a suspect prospect because of his speed score and FO and ESPN are right about Stafford being overrated because of his accuracy issues, then isn’t the corollary that Georgia’s 2008 season wasn’t really that disappointing? We were excited all summer in large part because the Dawgs had bona fide stars at the offensive skill positions. What if we were just wrong about that strength? Isn’t the implication positive for UGA in 2009? And does this mean that my conclusion from the season that Richt is behind Saban and Meyer is faulty?

Whatever the problems were with Georgia’s 2008 season, I don’t think you can lay them at the feet of the offensive skill position players.  Georgia finished with the top rusher in the SEC, the top conference passer and two receivers in Green and Massaquoi that finished first and third in receiving yardage.  Whatever optimism I’ve got about the upcoming season stems from getting several key players back from injuries (particularly on the offensive line) and a sense that the whole program is more focused at this point than it was going into last season.  It’s not because Stafford and Moreno are gone.

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UPDATE: The SEC doesn’t keep individual stats from the 2001 season, so I had to do a little digging around to find David Greene’s numbers from his redshirt freshman year.  He threw for 2,789 yards on 192 of 324 passes (59.3%), with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.  His average yards per attempt that year were the best of his career (8.61).  I don’t know what that translates into as a passer rating, but I suspect it falls somewhere between his ’02 and ’03 ratings.

That’s the primary reason why Greene’s career numbers surpass Stafford’s.  There’s no comparison between Greene’s (redshirt) freshman performance and Stafford’s (true) freshman performance.  On the other hand, it would have been interesting to see the whole tale told if Matt had stayed in school for his senior year.  He may turn out to be a textbook example of why college quarterbacks that stay all four years turn out better on the next level than those who don’t.

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UPDATE #2: Here’s the link to the Football Outsiders QB breakdown.   All I’m gonna say is that any formula that ranks Josh Freeman as a better pro prospect than Matt Stafford based on their college careers is questionable on its face.

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76 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

76 responses to “Will we miss Stafford less than we thought?

  1. NebraskaDawg

    Stafford always struck me (rather right or wrong) as one that treated Georgia as the NFL minor leagues instead of wanting to lead Ga to a championship. Not much of a leader (which has been hinted at by players) either. I wish him the best but I believe he will be an NFL bust. I for one welcome Joe Cox. He seems a more blood and guts, win at all costs leader. Whatever our record is next year, at least it won’t be from Cox’s attitude or lack of desire.

  2. Irishdawg

    Stafford’s receivers dropped a lot of his passes during his career, which hurt his completion percentage and caused some of his interceptions. That needs to be considered.

    Stafford was streaky a lot; he had games where he looked terrible, but he also had games where he was unstoppable. He made throws I’ve never seen a previous Georgia QB make. Provided Detroit doesn’t get him killed his rookie year, I think he’ll be a fine NFL QB.

  3. kckd

    Stafford continually improved every year where as Greene sorta leveled off, (not saying that as a bad thing, cause he was obviously pretty good from the start). But if Stafford is going up in completion pct. three to four points every year or more, who is to say he ‘s not gonna continue to improve in the NFL.

    My guess is that most college guys don’t improve their completion pct. from freshman to junior seasons like he did either.

  4. A couple thoughts:

    1. If we agree that A.J. Green is the best receiver that Georgia has had in the Richt era, then Stafford did have one significant advantage over Greene and Shockley that could explain a slight advantage in yards per attempt and passer rating.

    2. I was OK with Barnwell omitting Shockley from the list of comparators because he only started for one year. Barnwell is trying to confine himself to large sample sizes, which is why he would compare Greene’s career to Stafford’s. He should point out, though, that Greene’s numbers came in years 2-5 in the program, while Stafford’s came in years 1-3.

    3. Georgia’s season was lost in the Alabama and Florida games. The offense was disappointing in both games. If Stafford and Moreno are both good, but not great players (and that seems to be the consensus among Draftniks), then we would expect their limitations to show up in games against top defenses. We would expect them to pile up great numbers against bad teams and struggle against good teams.

    4. One of Georgia’s major calling cards in recruiting going forward is going to be the fact that UGA runs a pro-style system, whereas certain recruiting rivals (read: Florida, Auburn, and [to a lesser extent] Georgia Tech) do not. I can’t make you like the Draft the way that I do, but you should recognize that what happens on Draft day is important for Georgia in recruiting.

    • Michael, you raise a lot of good points in rebuttal. Let me respond to some of them.

      I agree with you that AJ is the best receiver of the Richt era. That being said, it’s not like David Greene didn’t have a very good receiving corps to throw to in some of his seasons. I think Terrence Edwards is still the leading receiver in SEC history, Fred Gibson was a less consistent version of AJ and Reggie Brown has had a decent NFL career. Plus, there’s no comparison with regard to the tight ends Greene had to throw to and those Matt had. (And Leonard Pope was used as a middle to deep threat, too.) I tend to think that this all washes out.

      I get your point about the blow out games last year, but I think they affected Moreno’s numbers more, because he was removed as an offensive option once the scores grew lopsided. IIRC, Matt threw for almost 300 yards against the Gators (and that doesn’t include the return yardage from the interceptions!).

      I agree completely with your point about Draft Day, which is why I made reference to the publicity helping the program in my intro to the post. I probably should have stated that more clearly.

      I wasn’t arguing that Knowshon has breakaway speed, just that he has enough speed. The player he reminds me of a lot at this point with his skill package and in terms of leaving school early for the draft is Emmitt Smith.

  5. Irishdawg, while I think it’s clear that Matt’s getting something of a bum rap on the numbers, I don’t think he fared any worse with regard to receiver drops than his predecessors did.

  6. One other thing: Moreno is outrunning a linebacker in that clip. I don’t know that that shows that he has breakaway speed. G-d only knows where LSU’s safeties were on that play.

  7. The Realist

    I don’t really agree with your assessment, NebraskaDawg. Unfortunately for me, most of the Bulldawg Faithful seems to agree with you.

    Comparing Stafford and Greene is comparing grapes to raisins. Greene was a redshirt freshman when he started in 2001. Stafford was a wet-behind-the-ears freshman who was third-string, I mean second-string, I mean starter in the course of like two weeks.

    Greene’s 2001 stats:
    17/9 59.3% 143.33

    As far as maturity goes, Greene already had a leg up on Stafford right out of the gate with the redshirt year. What’s really interesting is if you compare Greene’s redshirt freshman year to Stafford sophomore year and Greene’s sophomore year with Stafford’s junior year:

    Greene (rFr) — 17/9 59.3% 143.33 (Georgia 8-4)
    Stafford (So) — 19/10 55.7% 128.9 (Georgia 11-2)

    Greene (rSo) — 22/8 57.5% 137.3 (Georgia 13-1)
    Stafford (Jr) — 25/10 61.4% 153.5 (Georgia 10-3)

    I draw a few interesting conclusions from this.

    1) Georgia had better years when both quarterbacks had less productive years.
    2) Redshirting a quarterback is a pretty good idea.

    In addition, Stafford’s offensive line situation in 2008 was far from ideal. It was a patchwork the entire year, and unless Moreno was in the backfield, he couldn’t always count on a blitz pickup. I can see how he would be a little uneasy in the pocket against SEC defenses… and he still had the best year a quarterback has had under Richt.

    And, finally, Stafford has had the misfortune of playing under the worst defenses in Mark Richt’s tenure. If T Davis & Sean Jones & Boss Bailey & Pollack & Odell had been manning the D-side of the ball this year, the results likely would have been a tad different.

    While the 2008 Bulldawgs may or may not have been a disappointment, what’s truly amazing is that the 2004 Bulldawgs were equally a disappointment, if not moreso, and David Greene shoulders exactly zero burden in the eyes of Georgia fans. Yet, Stafford is a goat this year and Greene is this mythical figure whose legacy far outweighs his accomplishments on the field. I love them both, and I have fond memories of each of their playing days ‘Tween the Hedges. But, I think I might be alone.

    • Yet, Stafford is a goat this year and Greene is this mythical figure whose legacy far outweighs his accomplishments on the field.

      You had me ’til there, Realist.

      I don’t see how you can refer to DG as a mythical figure who came up short on the field. If you were to compose a highlight reel in your mind of Georgia’s greatest plays over the last, say, forty years, how many of them would feature Greene in them? How many of them would feature any other player than perhaps Herschel more?

      As for ’04, there were two regular season losses. The offensive shortcomings in the UT game were more the result of stubbornness in the gameplan, the kicking game and a wide receiver’s failure to align himself properly in the end zone for what would have been a TD catch. And Greene still almost pulled out the game in the fourth quarter.

      The Auburn game that year, on the other hand, pretty much sucked all the way around.

  8. The Realist

    You could tell that A.J. didn’t know what he was doing or where he was supposed to line up for the first several games of the year. Any advantage AJ Green brings to the table is nothing compared to the advantage of playing against a Ron Zook-coached Florida team. I mean, seriously.

  9. Irishdawg

    Senator, I might be remembering the Greene/Shockley years more fondly, but drops killed us in 2006 and in our 2 losses in 07 (one or two drops cost us the SC game and maybe a title). Also, Greene had great tight ends for most of his career, while Stafford’s were either inconsistent or forgotten altogether (see 2008).

    “And, finally, Stafford has had the misfortune of playing under the worst defenses in Mark Richt’s tenure.”

    True. The 2008 Bulldogs have a defense anywhere close to that of 03 or 05, and Georgia is probably the defending national champion.

  10. Oneviewdawg

    Stats, shmats….there is only one measure that counts, and that’s team wins. If you accept, and you should, the qb is the leader of the team, then wins are all that matter. All that numbers stuff is just fodder for the NFL, and therefore meaningless to Georgia football.

    Yes, Greene seems to have had better defenses, but Stafford had demonstrably better offensive weapons.

    If you want an example of the QB as leader then look at Shock’s year.

    Until some Georgia QB changes this, there is only one great Georgia QB in the modern era, and that’s Buck.

    If you don’t understand why, I feel for you.

  11. Realist,

    I agree about your 2004 point. That year the schedule set up better, the defense was better, and the offensive skill players were comparable (Moreno is obviously better than the three-headed running back, but we were still fine there too).

    It is interesting that Greene takes none of the blame from that 2004 season despite subpar games against SCU, Marshall, Tennessee, and Auburn; yet Stafford takes all the blame for 2008. Expectation theory maybe. Or maybe since Greene already won an SEC title we cut him slack.

  12. It saddens me a little to see how eager so many people are to dump on Stafford for not being a “leader.” Was he the field general that David Greene was? Probably not, but let’s also remember that plenty of people (albeit mostly people outside the program, if memory serves) dinged Greene for being a good “game manager” but only so-so as a passer. And we all know what a backhanded compliment “good game manager” can be.

    Think of the problems that really killed Georgia this past season — a disaster area of injuries on the offensive line, constant shuffling on the D-line almost as soon as Jeff Owens went down, bad technique all around on the part of the defense down the stretch. To say that Georgia’s underperformance in ’08 speaks to a lack of “leadership” on Stafford’s part sort of implies that Stafford should’ve singlehandedly lifted the team above all that, and that’s a pretty big burden to be putting on one guy, even one who could end up being the #1 pick in the NFL draft.

    Had Stafford stuck around for his senior year, his statistics might have continued to improve at their previous rate — enough to maybe put Georgia right back in the national-title mix — and I doubt we’d even be having these kinds of conversations. I think when people claim frustration with his lack of “leadership,” the L-word they’re really meaning to use is “loyalty,” as if Georgia was supposed to be immune from underclass “defections” to the NFL. I mean, I was just as disappointed as anybody to hear he wouldn’t be sticking around, but we all know he had his reasons, and he would’ve been leaving a whole lot on the table to take who knows what behind door number three. Let’s just wish Stafford and Cox the best, and hope that the Ginger Avenger has a Shockley-in-’05-like season.

  13. The Realist

    Senator —

    The first highlights that come to mind from Mark Richt’s tenure that feature Greene? Two:

    1) Hobnailed Boot pass in ’01
    2) Moreno’s leaps vs. C Mich & ASU
    3) Boss Bailey’s blocked field goals
    4) Pollack’s interception in endzone vs. South Carolina
    5) Sean Jones’s fumble recovery for TD against Tennessee
    6) Michael Johnson’s catch on 4th down vs. Auburn
    7)Odell’s 99-yard interception return against Auburn
    8 ) Stafford to Massaquoi vs. Auburn during blackout
    9) Stafford to Massaquoi vs. Florida for 86 yards
    10) Moreno going for 186 vs. Florida
    11) Halfback pass to Tereshinski vs. Florida (for the sheer wtf factor)
    12) Billy Bennet’s six field goals vs. Georgia Tech
    13) Stafford to AJ vs. Kentucky
    14) Shockley’s 40-yard TD pass to Bailey off his back foot vs. Boise State

    And I haven’t even mentioned how Thomas Davis has permanently imprinted his fearsome visage on my brain. I suppose you could include total games, like LSU 2004, but then you are getting into total team territory. Stafford’s 2008 performance vs. Tech was one of his best performances, but most people overlook it because the defense imploded in the second half.

    It’s not that I don’t like Greene. I believe that he was a fantastic quarterback at Georgia. But look at the defensive images that come to my mind during his tenure. Greene is the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, but those defenses were unbelievably talented. More than anything, that’s what I’ll remember from his tenure at Georgia.

  14. Savannah_Dawg

    I have always thought that Stafford was simply looking toward the NFL, Moreno also, but not as much. As soon as that opportunity came, he’s gone. Did he know he was gone before the Florida game? Yes.

    There is a difference between guys from Wrightsville, Snellville, Valdosta, Savannah who grow up watching UGA and it is their dream to attend.

    Out of state players love Georgia also, no doubt, but what is more important? The NFL.

  15. The Realist

    And, to clarify, Greene only came up short on the field compared to how many Georgia fans remember him. He is the winningest quarterback in NCAA history (at least in FBS, which is all that matters). But, to hear many Georgia fans talk about him, he was Dr. Manhattan, but better endowed. In their minds, no other Georgia quarterback will ever compare to Greene’s 1 SEC title, 2 SEC East titles, and a 1-3 record vs. Florida.

    I like to think I take a more pragmatic approach. He was a great quarterback — one that undoubtedly deserves to go down in Georgia lore for the direction the program took under his tutelage. But, comparatively, Shockley stacks up extremely well. Stafford stacks up pretty well. I’m hoping Joe Cox will stack up pretty well. I’m hoping future quarterbacks are able to surpass what he accomplished on the field. I’m just not so sure many Georgia fans fathom that possible.

  16. Hackerdog

    The Stafford/Cox talk makes me think of Tennessee in 97/98. Manning was probably their best QB ever, but didn’t get the national championship. Once he left and Tee Martin took over, the 98 national championship was attained. Anybody who wants to argue that Tee Martin was a better QB than Peyton Manning should remember to take your crazy pills.

    It’s possible that UGA will have a better year under Cox than they did under Stafford. It’s possible that the improvement will be attributable to Cox. But it’s more probable that the team as a whole will have improved despite Stafford & Moreno’s absence.

  17. Stafford never had a tight end. He didn’t have a redshirt year. He had to play as a true freshman (Greene didn’t). The OLs for his two main seasons were worse than three of Greene’s 4 OLs (2003 the lone exception).

    The “system QB” point here is silly.

  18. Batdawg

    Good post Doug, but about this:
    “I think when people claim frustration with his lack of “leadership,” the L-word they’re really meaning to use is “loyalty,” as if Georgia was supposed to be immune from underclass “defections” to the NFL. I mean, I was just as disappointed as anybody to hear he wouldn’t be sticking around, but we all know he had his reasons, and he would’ve been leaving a whole lot on the table to take who knows what behind door number three. ”

    I see where you’re coming from, but there were almost no UGA fans I spoke with or read online that had a problem with Moreno leaving, and really saw that as the best option for him. Why the difference? Is it just a QB / RB thing, or did UGA fans sense some kind of buy-in, pride or loyalty thing that excused Moreno but not Stafford?

  19. The Stafford/Cox talk makes me think of Tennessee in 97/98. Manning was probably their best QB ever, but didn’t get the national championship. Once he left and Tee Martin took over, the 98 national championship was attained. Anybody who wants to argue that Tee Martin was a better QB than Peyton Manning should remember to take your crazy pills.

    A comforting thought… but Tee Martin had a lot better team around him, Florida at home (a game won in OT) not in the Swamp as the year before, UF well off its Wuerffel/Anthony/Hilliard highs of a couple years before, etc.

    This isn’t to say Georgia can’t win the SECC in 2009. But there is a lot less working in Joe Cox’s favor than Tee Martin had. Mainly due to Florida basically returning an entire MNC team.

  20. I see where you’re coming from, but there were almost no UGA fans I spoke with or read online that had a problem with Moreno leaving, and really saw that as the best option for him. Why the difference? Is it just a QB / RB thing, or did UGA fans sense some kind of buy-in, pride or loyalty thing that excused Moreno but not Stafford?

    Because Moreno is poor and black and an RB with nothing left to improve as far as NFL standing goes. Sounds pretty silly (and out of place) for Joe Oconee Baseball Beard to be saying such a kid should stay. And even Joe knows that.

    Stafford though is white and “well off” and had more to improve upon. So Joe could chalk his leaving up to just being disloyal.

  21. The Realist

    Where’s Clint Stoerner when you need him? Probably dropping the ball somewhere.

  22. I like how this guy thinks he’s really uncovered the Holy Grail with the KM criticism. I could have told you that Knowshon doesn’t have great north/south speed. It’s east/west and cuts where he’s brutal on LBs. He’ll never be a primary back, but use him on screens, sweeps and pass blocking and he’ll be great.

    Hell, KM came by NFL Live the other week and, when asked what his greatest asset was, said “catching the ball.” I know Knowshon likes to screw with the media, but I think he was being serious.

  23. The Realist

    “Fast” Willie Parker’s longest runs each of the last two years were 34 yards in 2008 (210 carries) and 32 yards in 2007 (321 carries).

    The success of an NFL running back has less to do with his top-end speed (Reggie Bush) and more to do with the success of his offensive line (Emmitt Smith).

    The longest run from scrimmage in the NFL last year was from 6’0″ 260-lbs. Le’Ron McClain for Baltimore versus Dallas in Week 16. I’ll bet $1, Moreno can outrun McClain.

  24. Dog in Fla

    “Will we miss Stafford less than we thought?”

    After reading this thought provoking question, I wondered about what the answer could possibly be and thought the best way to get a definitive answer would be through interactive and scientific means.

    Needing some exercise and fresh air because some bartender must have put alcohol in my Coke last night, I rummaged around in my tool box, found my Mattel The Magic 8 Ball, pretended not only that it was a football but even more incredibly that I was a QB, fell out through the screen door onto the back porch, reared up on my hind two legs and threw The 8 Ball it as hard as I could to an imaginary AJ Green on a deep fly pattern.

    After it landed, I skipped out on what turned out for me to be a ten-yard Bataan Death March, picked up The Magic 8 Ball and it read, “Don’t Count on It!”

    Not understanding exactly what that answer meant, maybe because of being winded and having dry heaves, but still wanting not to give up on getting an answer that made sense, I reared up, threw again as hard as I could, walked out for another five-yards, picked up The Magic 8 Ball and it said, “My Reply is No!”

    I thought I saw some tiny print under the “My Reply is No!” answer but was not sure because I was about to pass out from going fifteen-yards, but think The Magic 8 Ball fine print said, “By the way Georgia fans, Joe is no Tee Martin but Joe is plenty good enough to kick Lane and Monte’s ass in Knoxville this season” or I could have just been dreaming.

  25. JDawg

    I was a big fan of DG,DS, and MS. MS played behind a really beat up line and produced. As much credit as Searles gets for the line, I feel MS deserves some of the credit too.

    I love that Cox is all fired up, but there was a reason he was on the bench or else Richt would have put him in the game. I hope Cox leads us to the MNC. He’s a good kid and will do his best. However, just because you have a lot of spirit doesn’t make you a knock out qb.

    He’ll have his chance to shine very soon and regardless of the outcome, I’m going to cheer my tail off for him just like I did the other QBs at UGA.

  26. Mike in Raligh

    I would also like to note that Stafford, due to a younger, often-shuffled offensive line was tossing a few more screens than Greene, to help take some of the heat off of opposing teams’ pass rush. And, while the system is probably similar, Richt was calling the plays for Greene and Shockley, while Bobo was likely calling them for 2 of Stafford’s 3 years at UGA.
    Stafford’s arm strength is what separates him from Greene. Shockley, if given more time under center could have been one of UGA’s greatest QBs, ever.

  27. Irishdawg

    “Is it just a QB / RB thing, or did UGA fans sense some kind of buy-in, pride or loyalty thing that excused Moreno but not Stafford?”

    I think it just hurts fans to lose both in the same year. Moreno was a pleasure to watch and is a good kid, but no one can fault a running back for leaving because of the injury potential. Losing Moreno would have been easier to take if Stafford came back, however, and Stafford really could have benefited from a senior season.

    Having said that, fans shouldn’t fault Stafford for coming out. The 2010 draft will have QBs like Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, and Jean Short Jesus, so it was a no-brainer for Stafford, and Georgia fans should admit that to themselves.

  28. dean

    I love that Cox is all fired up, but there was a reason he was on the bench or else Richt would have put him in the game.

    I’ve heard this a lot lately so I’m not trying to call anybody out but the reason he was on the bench was Stafford. There aren’t many schools I can think of where Stafford wouldn’t have played as a true freshman. Who’s to say he couldn’t have beaten out McCoy or Bradford if he had went to UT or UO, respectively. Speaking of McCoy and Bradford are we to assume their backups aren’t any good because they can’t take the starting spot?
    Shockly couldn’t take the starting spot from Greene either but his senior year turned out OK.

    I don’t know what Joe’s going to do this year but the reason he hasn’t gotten to play isn’t because he doesn’t deserve it. CMR said before last year he wanted to give Joe some playing time because he did deserve it. Unfortunately our defense didn’t allow us the luxury of playing the 2nd team much.

  29. Wes

    This is completely unscientific, but a word re: the David Greene stuff on here:

    In the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, with the Dawgs down or tied or discouraged, Georgia fans never panicked with Greene under center. Everyone in Sanford had total confidence that he could and would win the game, no matter the odds. No one really felt that way with Stafford. He never pulled a win out of the fire: even against Alabama, one of the great Georgia moments of the past half-decade, he was only able to keep them from getting ahead. His throw in overtime was low pressure, first down on the 25. It was great, but it wasn’t heroic. Everyone remember Mickey Henderson as the Man of that particular Hour.

    I was 18 when Tennessee beat us in 04, and, for me, it was a truly tragic moment. Why? Right up until the final seconds of the last drive ticked away, I believed absolutely that we would win, that Greene would find a way. When he didn’t, I almost felt like crying. It was like watching your dad or your big brother lose a fight. I think Stafford was an excellent quarterback, but what kid can say they ever felt that way about him?

  30. The Realist

    Wes,

    For me, it wasn’t a question of whether or not Stafford could lead us from behind. He, in fact, did so numerous times. The question was whether or not the defense would hold onto a fourth quarter lead.

    Kentucky 2006 – Kentucky scores to go ahead. Stafford answers by going 3 of 4 for 55 yards, plus a 9-yard run to take the lead right back. Kentucky finishes with an 11-play, 70-yard drive to take the lead with 1:08 to play. Stafford throws a duck of a pass for a pick to end the game.

    Georgia Tech 2006 – 12-play, 64-yard drive for a TD off the vicious head fake to Massaquoi with 1:45 remaining.

    Virginia Tech 2006 – Went 6 of 12 for 108 yards and a TD in the second half after a miserable first half to come from behind an 18-point, second half deficit to win 31-24.

    Alabama 2007 – OT pass for the win… wait, he doesn’t get credit for this one? Even though, they were down by 3 in OT?

    Kentucky 2008 – Stafford hooked up with MoMass for 78 yards, then hit AJ in one of the best passes you’ll see a quarterback throw… think Joe Montana in the Cotton Bowl.

    Auburn 2008 – Stafford answers Auburn’s touchdown to start the 4th quarter with a 6 play, 60 yard drive where he went 3 of 4 for 33 yards and a TD.

    Georgia Tech 2008 – After a defensive implosion in the 3rd quarter turning a 16-point halftime lead into a 10-point fourth quarter deficit, Stafford goes 6 of 12 for 102 yards and a TD… after going 18 of 27 for 305 yards and 4 TD in the first three quarters. By the way, if you are a masochist, read this play-by-play.

  31. 69Dawg

    On the can Joe Cox do it question I give you Matt Cassel. He never started a game for USC but guess who just got the farm from Kansas City. Some great QBs never get to start. I’m old enough to remember Matt Robinson, he never started for UGA because he was behind Ray Goff but guess who spent a lot of years as an NFL QB and who was just a coach. Never count the backup out, he might just be as good or better than the guy who’s starting.

  32. Wes

    Just to be clear, I’m not disputing that Stafford was excellent, as I already said, but let me speak to some of your points, Realist.

    1)Kentucky 2006. Stafford throws int to lose game. Against Kentucky. Kentucky.

    2) Georgia Tech 2006. I have to give it to you, I forgot about this one. But, in what will become a theme throughout this post, I must re-iterate: Against Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech.

    3) Va. Tech in 2006. 6-12 for 108 yds and a TD is an exceedingly average performance. I don’t think Stafford was the hero of this game. I think Sean Glennon was the hero of this game.

    4) Alabama 07 I already talked about. No, he doesn’t get the same credit that :39 second left against TN in Neyland gets, or that 4th and 19 in Jordan-Hare gets. 1st and 10 from the 25, with no real danger of losing at that point, unless he throws a pick. (No real danger because, even though I know Coutu missed a long one earlier, he was pretty much money at that distance and closer.)

    5) Kentucky 2008. Great pass, great catch. But did you feel exhilaration or relief? I felt intense relief. Against Kentucky. Kentucky.

    6) Auburn 08. How many TDs did we score in that game? This can’t be blamed on the defense. And Auburn 08 was a pale, pale imitator of Auburn over the last few years. Against 08 Auburn. 08 Auburn. Beat by Mississippi State Auburn. 3-2 Auburn.

    7) Georgia Tech. I completely agree that it was not his fault we lost this game. He played an amazing game, the best he ever played, and the defense let him down. You’re right. But we lost. To Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech.

    Looking back over this, it seems like kind of a dick-ish post, but please don’t take it that way. I just stand by my initial post, and don’t think these games we either ended up losing or won against bad competition merit its reconsideration. One more time: I think Staff was really good, I’m just saying.

  33. Wes, just an FYI… Auburn beat Mississippi State in that epic 3-2 battle last year. I mean I don’t know how to interpret your comments here. Are you suggesting that anytime an average to mediocre team comes up against the Bulldogs under Matt Stafford it should automatically be a 50-0 blowout? How many teams did David Green led Bulldogs smoke? DJ Shockley, for that manner? I just don’t think your argument holds much water when you have unrealisitic expectations.

  34. The Realist

    1) Yes, it was against Kentucky. Stafford led a 4th quarter, come-from-behind drive as a true freshman making one of his first starts… that was the game where he got the huge bruise on his face from being battered the whole game. The defense let him down after he got them the lead. The pick was bad, but how many times do you expect a freshman quarterback to come through in the fourth quarter on the road? Once should have been enough.

    2) Georgia Tech has always played Georgia close (2002 excepted), so it’s not that much of a shock that this game was close. It was still a fourth quarter come-from-behind win by a true freshman making his fourth (or so) start.

    3) To be certain, that was an average offensive performance at best. But considering how poorly he performed in the first half, it showed his resilience in the second half to come back against a really tough Virginia Tech defense. There was not 400 yards of total offense in that game… combined.

    4) Whatever.

    5) That comeback was only necessary because the defense (or special teams or whatever Richt wants to blame) was atrocious. Georgia had already scored 35 points in the game. A come-from-behind 4th quarter drive should not have been necessary, but it was, and he came through.

    6) Auburn might not have been all that great in 2008, but Stafford answered the bell in the fourth quarter when he was needed. That was my point in bringing this game up.

    Do any of these compare to 2001 UT or 2002 Auburn? Certainly, not. But, it’s a matter of perspective.

    In 2001, what made the UT comeback so special is that no one had confidence in Greene. I was expecting Georgia to find a way to lose just like it always did. I gave up when Tennessee hit the screen pass for an ungodly amount of yards. I assumed Georgia would fold just like it always had. And then, it didn’t. It was amazing.

    In 2002, the comeback at Auburn was special because it clinched the SEC East title for the first time ever. Aside from these two obvious examples, when exactly did Greene lead the Georgia charge? 2002 Clemson was led by Shockley in the 4th quarter. Maybe 2002 Alabama… South Carolina 2004… Tennessee 2004 will haunt my dreams forever… mostly because Greene practically ducked on the last play of the game before heaving up an ill-fated pass into nothingness… that, and a wretched holding call on Leonard Pope on a kickoff return. UAB 2003 might count, but, it’s UAB. Really, Georgia was a frontrunner with David Greene at the helm. Georgia would take a lead, the defense would hold, and Georgia would win. It was a pretty simple formula back then. He had those two marquee comebacks, but other than that, it was slim pickings. In fact, he didn’t come through more often than he did. Florida 2003. LSU 2003. Florida 2002. Auburn 2001. Tennessee 2004.

    As I mentioned prior… Greene the legend > Greene the quarterback.

  35. Oneviewdawg

    Look, folks…Greene and Stafford and Shockley are great kids, I am thankful they all played as well as they did and we won the games we won.

    This thread is beginning to sound like Auburn fans trying to explain why beating Bama does not matter the way it once did.

    There is as far as I am concerned only one stat that matters for any QB…at Georgia, or anywhere else.

    “Did he lead his team to the National Championship?”

    Not to the SEC Championship, or the Big 12, or even to the big game…conference championships are nice, getting to the game is nice, but only nice.

    All this time taken to debate a pointless argument worries the hell out of me.

    I am beginning to wonder if we, as a Bulldawg Nation, have the mindset to finish the drill.

    Bye Matt, glad you came, sorry you are gone, but frankly your stats are boring me to tears.

    If you want heart, watch Joe T catch the pass against Florida.

    If you want the real deal, God help me, watch Tim Tebow, whose stats are miniscule compared to Greene or Stafford in all areas but one.

    Buck Belue completed one pass, that’s one, for seven yards or so in the game against Notre Dame, and he’s got one stat that nobody else in the modern era has…a National Championship, no pro career, not drafted for huge bucks, just one National Championship (and a miracle in Jacksonville)

    Call me jaded, call me cynical, call me old and foolish, but I want another one before I lose the ability to see the game, and I fear all this talk of “pro potential” is secondary to the task at hand.

    • If you want the real deal, God help me, watch Tim Tebow, whose stats are miniscule compared to Greene or Stafford in all areas but one.

      Say what? Tebow’s passing stats from ’07 and ’08 more than match up with Greene’s and Stafford’s. Throw in his rushing stats and it’s no contest.

    • dean

      No disrespect but it was Hershel (along with a few others) that led the ’80 squad to a NC. Belue did not put the team on his shoulders and carry them across the finish line. Buck’s a DGD and always will be but really….

  36. Macallanlover

    Oneviewdawg let me oblige you, you are a jaded, cynical, old fool. (Not really, I don’t know you.)
    I had hoped you had sobered up since your first post when you said Buck was a great QB, and the only great one of the modern era at UGA. Quite simply Buck was one of the 5 worst QBs of the past 30-40 years at Georgia.

    There has never been a NC in Division 1 football, so being “awarded” one doesn’t buy him any chips. UGA is tied with all other teams in that regard. We may have had four or five that could have won it all if given the chance. That is similar to Ohio State, Michigan, USC, and many others, who claim several “faux”titles. We will never know.

    For my money the best QB I have seen at UGA was DJ Shockley, and he is the only one that is batting a 1000 at winning the SEC title. I cannot think of another UGA QB that would have won the title in 2005. Just an opinion.

    As to the other discussion, I think Joe Cox brings as many plusses to the table as we lost with Stafford. We will miss certain throws MS could make, but gain a lot on hitting open receivers that were badly missed the past two years. It is almost impossible to compare different QBs who played under different circumstances, with different teams, against differetn opponents, but I am comfortable with Cox leading next year’s team.

    I believe MS would have benefited from another year, but UGA will be fine without him. Time to move on, Stafford has made his decision and he left without even an SEC East title. That isn’t the only criteria we should judge QBs by, but I am in the camp of not missing MS as much as many here. I wish him well in the future, but I will continue following UGA football closely and pay minimal attention to anything happening in the NFL until CFB is over.

  37. Oneviewdawg

    Dear Macallanlover,

    Obviously I did not make my point clearly. I don’t care what your criteria are for rating Buck Belue the way you do.

    He was the QB on the only national championship team Georgia has had since leather helmets went into the trophy cases.

    We do, however, agree on at least one point. DJ, had it not been for one of Houston Nutt’s typically out of control defensive players, might have led us to the promised land. Had he not been hurt so often, the discussion of David Greene would be moot.

    I don’t think anyone could touch his ability to drive a team down the field.

    Worst in 30 years? Belue had one of the highest completion percentages of any Georgia QB ever, and yes, he did have other weapons, but Worst? Come now.

    • HackerDog

      Another vote from the Tee Martin was a better QB than Peyton Manning camp. Please remember to take your crazy pills Oneview.

      Alternatively, Trent Dilfer was a better NFL QB than Dan Marino, or Fran Tarkenton, or Dan Fouts. Nuts.

  38. NebraskaDawg

    Wow, what’s the record for the most comments on a single post? This is the most since I been lurking around this board.

    • Wow, what’s the record for the most comments on a single post? This is the most since I been lurking around this board.

      Nebraska, I’ll put it this way: this is the longest GTP comment thread for any post that hasn’t involved swapping insults with fans from other schools. ;)

  39. The Realist

    I almost forgot about Georgia Tech 2004, Senator. That game was completely miserable. That was the Reggie Ball spike on 3rd down, I do believe (Long Live Reggie Ball!). Towards the end, I was begging for Greene to come back in. Greene came in, completed two passes in three attempts on a 10 play, 40 yard drive in the fourth quarter, but mostly handed it off to Thomas Brown. In retrospect, I don’t understand why Georgia passed the ball a bajillion times in the driving wind/rain with Shockley, only to hand it off when Green came back in. What I remember about David Greene in particular was that his presence calmed down an offense that had no identity or confidence whatsoever. Shockley appeared to be completely rattled after starting off pretty well. But, to quote a fellow commenter, 6 of 12 for 80 yards and a TD is an exceedingly average performance. I’ll give him a break on this one… get it?… but I have to wonder what the heck happened to Shockley. Methinks that was some bad coaching, bad playcalling, bad something… but whatever it was, Greene’s return righted the ship enough to win the game, and that is all that matters.

  40. shadrach

    Looking at the “strong likelihood of success” grouping tells you all you need to know about that “statisical” analysis. That’s about as accurate as Granny Clampett’s weather beetle. That’s the kind of stuff that make folks with even a cursory knowledge of stats analysis cringe.

    Stafford, like every single player eligible for the draft, has their strengths and weaknesses and it’s a crap shoot to see if they can make it in the league. Staff says it’s been his dream to play in the league, he’s gonna get his chance.

  41. NRBQ

    Macallanlover:

    Buck was one of the 5 worst UGA q-backs of the last 20-40 years?

    Your opinions are well-presented and generally, I think, pretty spot on.

    But, methinks you may be a younger fan than some of us who appreciatethe Senator’s site.

    Belue was the only Dawg quarterback to EVER win consecutive SECC’s. I don’t think those were “awarded.”

    27-3 as a starter, 9th best in CFB history.

    All-SEC as a junior and senior.

    SEC Athlete of the Year in ’82.

    Ranks 6th in career efficiency ratings at UGA.

    Threw fewer Int’s than Zeir and the same # as Greene (given: they threw more passes).

    Completed 61% of passes in ’81.

    Generally, SEC football in his era was about pounding the ball, using the TE.

    Did I look up his stats? Sure, but I remember watching many of his games.

    By any measure, Belue was a Damn Good Dog if there ever was one. He also played baseball and batted .356 for his 4-year career.

    Please revisit the Tech game, ’78.

  42. Macallanlover

    Guilty NRBQ, I engaged in hyperbole in responding to the characterization of Buck as “great”. Belue was/is a DGD, but at a school with little history of great QBs, he wouldn’t make my top group. (He would have been 4th best on last year’s team, imo.) Yes, the record is impressive but we all know there was an overriding factor that reduced the significance of the QB’s role on that team. I would agree he was a more valuable baseball player than a QB. Shouldn’t have run him down to counter an overstated point

    I suspect I am above the average age of a reader of this site. Earlier this year I became eligible for the Senior tees at my golf course….but have yet to move up!

  43. Thomas Brown

    Who said we would miss Matthew Stafford MORE ?

    You ?

    I never said we would miss Stafford.

    He’s not ready for the NFL. We coached him well ? Really ? He has good footwork ? He demonstrated team leadersship ? Really ?

    18 fumbles and 33 interceptions in 39 games played with only 51 TD passes.

    All we ever heard every practice was lip service by Mike Bobo that Stafford had to value the football more.

    And, what did he do ?

    Go ahead, you can say it.

    The worst year in UGA Football in the Coach Richt Era was said to be 2006, the true freshman season of TALENTED Matthew Stafford. We barely ended up ranked at all in the Final AP Poll Top 25.

    He last season ?

    I submit it was worse. We played 3 good teams, teams that deserved to be and were in the Final AP Poll Top 25. He Lost to all 3.

    In all 3, he was no where to be found.

    In all 3, he NEVER handed the football off to Knowshon Moreno.

    In all 3, as he did in his 39 games, instead HE RAN the damn football 4 times or more, every game for 39 consecutive games.

    He is a horrid runner. And, he fumbles.

    In all 3 against Bama, Tech and Florida he allowed runs of 31, 29 and 49-3.

    That doesn’t happen because of a bad defense.

    Not 31 straight points

    Not 29 consecutive points.

    Not 49-3.

    It takes huge errors on Matthew Stafford’s part alone as he was the only QB in those games.

    Number 1 pick B.S.

    • The Realist

      This is the worst analysis of last season that I’ve ever read.

      1) Stafford threw for 407 & 5 TD’s in one of those 3 losses.

      2) When the kickoff return is fumbled, the defense can score a couple of times in a row without the quarterback stepping onto the field to stop runs.

      3) “He NEVER handed the football off to Knowshon.” When you are down by three touchdowns, the running game seems to take a back seat. And, the playcalls come from a coach. That’s a coach problem, not a quarterback problem.

      4) He was a fairly effective runner. Again, though, that’s a coach problem, not a quarterback problem. If the coach doesn’t want him to run with it, then why call the zone read play to begin with?

      5) The Florida game — the entire team quit that day. That was a disgrace of epic proportions. Stafford had a horrible day, but so did everyone else.

      What about 2007? Any critiques there? Was that year not up to snuff?

    • The Realist

      And, you’ve got to be kidding me with that 2006 stuff. That’s just not bringing your A game. A true freshman, no matter how talented, is not going to be a super star at the first snap. Was Tereshinski a better option?

  44. kckd

    A few thoughts on all of this:

    1. Many of the same people who wanna throw Stafford under the bus because he didn’t win the SEC and want to hold Greene up as a much better “leader” because he did, will also be the first to say “if Zeier had played on the teams Stafford did his teams would have fared better”. I fail to see how you couldn’t use the same argument for Matt and David Greene. Stafford had no control over his defense. David and the offense sputtered more than a few times in big games, but still had a chance to win late due to the defense keeping them in the game. What does a QB have to do with that? He can make a play at the end if he’s got the opportunity, but he does not play on the other side of the ball.

    2. 2006 was by far the worst year of dropped passes I’ve ever seen. For all the crap people give Fred and Terrence, the truth is we remember their drops because they came in big games at crucial times. But they didn’t have that many. If anyone has the best of Munson: The Mark Richt years, go back and count how many unbelievable catches Fred made. And all due respect to David, but several of them were not great throws at all, Fred simply adjusted and made catches while falling down on his back. Two huge ones against Bama and Auburn. Until this year, Stafford never had a receiver like that. Greene had one all four years, though he was injured quite a bit. He also had our biggest producing WR to this point his first two years in Edwards and a solid NFL WR in Reggie Brown his last two years. Anyone crying because David didn’t have WR like MS is just not looking at the facts.

    3. With regard to the td/int ratio, I like to look at it more in terms of how many more TDs thrown vs. how many picks thrown.

    Stafford was plus 15 his junior year.
    Greene was plus 16 his senior year.
    DJ was plus 19 his senior year.

    Consider that Stafford was playing with OL that started two true freshman OL and a RS freshman much of the time and that looks pretty good to me.

    • Many of the same people who wanna throw Stafford under the bus because he didn’t win the SEC and want to hold Greene up as a much better “leader” because he did, will also be the first to say “if Zeier had played on the teams Stafford did his teams would have fared better”.

      If Zeier couldn’t win the SEC East with the surrounding cast he had in 1992, I don’t see how he would have done any better than Stafford did in 2008.

      • kckd

        I agree, but my point is it’s just a futile comparison we’ll never know the answer to. Zeier’s best years were his last two even though the defense was pathetic and he had little running game to back him up.

        Matt’s defenses were pretty good his first two years, maybe better than David Greene’s first year. But I’d take any of the defenses DG had from 2002-2004 over 2006-2008. Again I ask, what did DG have to do with those defenses?

        Did Matthew perform well late in games when we needed him to given the chance?

        The answer is a resounding yes on that one. GT 2006, VT 2006, Bama 2007, UK 2008.

        And unlike David, in two of those games, he had to make that play because the defense actually botched what should’ve been a win earlier.

        • And unlike David, in two of those games, he had to make that play because the defense actually botched what should’ve been a win earlier.

          Hobnail Boot?

          • kckd

            Was referring to the years I classified as the great defense years.

            Defense was good in 2001, but not great.

            Hobnail boot would be the only game you could make that claim about. It kills me when I see some Dawgs give MS a hard time about losing to Tech. If before the game if you’d told anyone he’d throw for over 400 yards, 5 tds and against one int that was a pick six, who would not have taken that?

            I shouldn’t because he will have much more money than I ever dreamed of, but I feel sorry for Stafford. He will never be appreciated for how great he was. If not for him, we might have been looking at a 6-6 type year.

  45. NRBQ

    The reason we were barely ranked at the end of 2006?

    It was less Stafford’s play than Knowshon sitting on the bench wearing a red shirt.

    • Coutu’s injury didn’t help matters.

    • Thomas Brown

      2006 ? Now, we want to make excuses for 2006 ? Good Lord. UGA was on the brink of being an Elite Football Program. Not a Top 10 team, but better – Elite. Considered up there at the very tippy top.

      2006 : Stafford :
      8 of 19 & 3 picks vs. USC 0 TD. 0-18.
      8 of 16 0 TD Joe Cox Colorado 14-13.
      7 of 18 0 TD Ole Miss 14-9.
      interception vs. vols in Loss. 0 TD.
      Vandy did nothing 0 TD 22-24.
      Ms St 3 interceptions 27-24.
      2 interceptions 0 TD costing FL 14-21.
      3 interceptions 1 TD cost KY 20-24.
      good game against Auburn.
      good game against Tech.
      good game 1 TD 1 interception VaTech

      Arguably a great defense in 2006 and 2007, and yet Matthew Stafford had horrid years 2006, 2007 and I argue his worst season his last season, 2008.

      2006 and 2007 despite the very good defenses, were pitiful years for UGA’s Offense because of Matthew Stafford. He was a no show. No where to be found for huge stretches in games in his career. He will not play in 2009 in the NFL, because he is not ready. No leadership. Absent long stretches of way too many games. Led UGA to the 2 worst years in The Coach Richt Era, 2006 and his last season 2008.

      And, I did not think David Greene was all that great a QB. He was quite a good leader. He did not try to take games over as an Interview for 3 years for the NFL. He let the defenses win those games. He did not throw interceptions. He did fumble, but he knew he fumbled and gave it to guys like Musa instead. We won those games. We had better years. We ended up Number 3 in the Final AP Poll and several times Number 7. Matthew Stafford ? Number 23 and Number 13 and 2. And, he was not the reason we ended up Number 13 nor Number 2, but was the reason for Number 23. He had a lackluster 3 years and never was considered a top quarterback. At least David Greene made an All-SEC team. So, did DJ Shockley. Hell, Matthew Stafford is the worst QB Coach Richt has had with his 3 Quarterbacks these 8 years.

      Even the other poster pointed that out trying to defend Matthew Stafford, that Stafford was clearly the worst QB Coach Richt has had any year so far.

      I would rank them like this :

      (1) DJ Shockley.
      (2) David Greene.
      (3) Matthew Stafford.

      And, I fully expect to put Joe Cox in there after David Greene and before Matthew Stafford. He might even go up behind DJ Shockley. But, he already is a better QB than Matthew Stafford was at UGA.

      • HackerDog

        No offense, Thomas Brown, but your entire post was moronic. Name one elite team, what you claim UGA 2006 should have been, with a true freshman starting QB. I certainly don’t think that a true freshman QB should be expected to lead a team to elite status. Certainly not in a division with the eventual national champions.

        And saying that 2008 was Stafford’s worst year just takes the idiocy up a notch. I guess I can concede some of your point. I mean, why couldn’t Stafford get out there and block for Moreno, or handle kickoff duties, or maybe rush the opposing team’s QB? Nah, sorry, that whole line of reasoning is just stupid.

  46. Thomas Brown

    1) Stafford threw for 407 & 5 TD’s in one of those 3 losses.
    REPLY : You are discussing the Georgia Tech game here. Why do you discuss 407 yards passing and 5 TD and LEAVE OFF HIS PICK-6 ? Did he or did he not throw an interception for 6 points ? What did we LOSE BY ? 3 points ? This was 1 of Matthew Stafford’s 33 interceptions (also had 18 fumbles) in his 39 games. I’m not making excuses for Richard Samuel’s fumble on the kickoff, as they both were critical in our LOSS by 3 points. We are not in here discussing Richard Samuel, who now is out of practice for the Spring because of 1 of 25 injuries keeping players out this Spring. We are discussing Matthew Stafford. Stafford also in the Georgia Tech game handed the football off to Knowshon Moreno 17 times. That’s it. 17 carries with arguable the Best UGA Running Back in a long long long long time. We were playing an offense which was quite potent. How do you keep their offense off the field ? Throw the football 39 times and hand the football off to Knowshon Moreno 17 times ? This is what you imply.

    2) When the kickoff return is fumbled, the defense can score a couple of times in a row without the quarterback stepping onto the field to stop runs.
    REPLY: Runs ? Now, we are talking about what a Quarterback can do to stop runs by the only 3 ranked teams in the Final AP Poll we played besides Michigan State who beat no one in the Final AP Poll Top 25 either and therefore had no business being ranked Number 23 in the Final AP Poll. Stafford gave up runs against us in those 3 games of 29, 31 and 46-3. The way you do stop runs is to have TEAM LEADERSHIP from your QB and have them take the ball into the end zone, an issue with Matthew Stafford ALL 3 YEARS of his 3-Year NFL interview here. Not throwing 33 interceptions in 39 games played by Stafford, is one 1 to prevent runs. Another is not have 18 fumbles in 39 games as Stafford did.

    3) “He NEVER handed the football off to Knowshon.” When you are down by three touchdowns, the running game seems to take a back seat. And, the playcalls come from a coach. That’s a coach problem, not a quarterback problem.
    REPLY:B.S. Matthew Stafford was GIVEN the opportunity to change EVERY CALL at the line of scrimmage. Likely, as not, he called his own number in his 3-year NFL interview here. You brag of his 407 yards vs. Tech passing (AND LEAVE OUT THE PICK 6 WHICH COST US THE GAME.) and blame the coaches for Matthew Stafford not handing the football to Knowshon Moreno. Why, then, sir, did Matthew Stafford run the football 4 times against Georgia Tech ? 4 Stafford 17 Moreno. That’s B.S. Moreno 97 yards and Stafford ? Minus 14.

    4) He was a fairly effective runner. Again, though, that’s a coach problem, not a quarterback problem. If the coach doesn’t want him to run with it, then why call the zone read play to begin with?
    REPLY: I already answered that. It was Matthew Stafford who called his own number at the line of scrimmage. You know nothing of UGA Football to sit there and state that Matthew Stafford did not check off at the line on every play all 3 seasons.
    5) The Florida game — the entire team quit that day. That was a disgrace of epic proportions. Stafford had a horrible day, but so did everyone else.
    REPLY: Stafford had a horrible day, I would say too. And, that is my point. Only when we benched Stafford in favor of Joe Cox did we score a TD.

    What about 2007? Any critiques there? Was that year not up to snuff?
    REPLY: Stafford, with Knowshon Moreno on the team 2007, called his own number checking off the line for a run by Matthew Stafford – as you point out – 39 times for minus 18 yards. Pretty effective runner ? B.S. Knowshon Moreno was a pretty effective runner. Matthew Stafford FUMBLED THE FOOTBALL 18 TIMES in his 141 rushes. 13 percent of his carries, he fumbled. And, that is pretty effective running ? B.S. He threw 51 Touchdown Passes and 33 Interceptions. That’s 64 percent of the time Stafford threw a TD, he also threw an Interception. We scored 12 points against South Carolina and LOST. 12 points. Stafford had an interception. Duh, like when didn’t he ? Stafford handed the football to Knowshon Moreno 14 times. That’s it. 14 times. Stafford handed the football to Moreno 13 times against the vols, and we LOST that game too. Instead, Stafford threw the football 33 times including guess what ? Another interception. We had the NCAA Number 83 Passing Offense in 2007. Did you know that ? Number 83. http://web1.ncaa.org/football/exec/rankingSummary?year=2007&org=257 Number 74 Total Offense and Number 14 Total Defense in 2007 and you come running in here asking me about 2007 and Matthew Stafford great ? Get a grip. I guess you like being Number 83 in the NCAA of 119 teams in Passing Offense with Matthew Stafford 2007 ? Look, he threw double digit interceptions all 3 years and fumbled the football all 3 years. He didn’t throw TD passes. He threw an interception every game for 39 games and fumbled the football every other game for 39 games.

    And, sir, we had the TWO WORST SEASONS in the Coach Richt Era, as a direct damn result 2006 and 2008.

    • HackerDog

      Again with the idiocy.

      1) So a QB rating of 186 just ain’t good enough for you? Hell, if he had parted the Red Sea I think you’d still be bitching.

      2) It’s unclear what your ranting here is about. Certainly Stafford had nothing to do with a fumbled kickoff return. But our red zone woes had a great deal to do with our inexperienced MASH unit of an offensive line. It’s hard to blow teams off the ball when you’re depending on freshmen linemen who have played 3 different positions.

      3) Do you realize that Bobo is the OC? Not Stafford? I’ll admit that Stafford may have changed a few runs to passes. Maybe that had to do with the fact that he was kicking ass and taking names? When my QB is amassing 407 yards and 5 TDs, I do not want him handing it off. It’s just common sense.

      4) You know nothing of UGA football to think that the coaches would sit back and allow Stafford to check to the wrong plays at the LOS. His authority would have been revoked. The fact that that didn’t happen means the coaches were satisfied with his pre-snap judgment.

      I assume that the rest of the wall of text was just as logically incomprehensible as the first part, so I won’t respond except to say, just damn.

  47. Thomas Brown

    186 Quarterback Rating ? Why do you lie and make up lies to support a preconceived notion you hold that Matthew Stafford is going to be missed more than we thought ?

    The whole point is that Matthew Stafford’s Quarterback Rating has SUCKED.

    EVERY YEAR, it sucked.

    Matthew Stafford had no damn QUARTERBACK RATING OF NO DAMN 186 in 2006, 2007 nor 2008.

    153 this year. Did you think Matthew Stafford was great this year ? I know you do not as you already admit he played like crap in the Alabama LOSS, you reluctantly admit I guess that he did throw the PICK 6 for the TD that cost us the Georgia Tech LOSS too, and that he was a NO SHOW AS WELL in the LOSS to Florida this year. I think you would probably admit that 14-7 over South Carolina was not very good and that 17-13 over Auburn was stellar either, right ? 186. B.S.

    128 Matthew Stafford Quarterback Rating 2007. I presume you think having the Number 83 Passing Offense in the NCAA 2007 is what ? Great ? A QB Rating of 186 ?

    108 Matthew Stafford Quarterback Rating 2006.

    If Matthew Stafford would have had some season with a Quarterback Rating of 186, there would be no complaints from anyone. But, the fact of the matter is that he took long huge stretches of games, off. Gone. No where to be found. Game after game after game after game. And, that is why for his career, Matthew Stafford’s Quarterback Rating, sir, is 129.

    And, yeah. I have a problem with a Quarterback Rating for his career of 129. You should too.

    186. Make out a guy with a 129 as a 186 Quarterback. Liar.

    • Thomas, please watch the personal insults. Disagreements are fine. Calling other posters liars isn’t. Thanks.

    • Hackerdog

      I was referring to the 2008 GA Tech game, which you blame on Stafford. He had a rating of 186 in that game. That’s pretty damned spectacular if you ask anybody with a brain.

      And even a 154 for the year is pretty damn good (#15) in the country. And Most of those were QBs playing in the spread. I think Stafford is #2 among QBs in a pro-style offense. And the #1 guy (Sanchez) wasn’t playing behind a line composed of one-armed freshmen.

      I think Stafford could heal the sick and raise the dead and you would still bitch because he wasn’t handling kickoffs and playing defense.

      Get a grip.

  48. Thomas Brown

    “And saying that 2008 was Stafford’s worst year just takes the idiocy up a notch.”

    “Nah, sorry, that whole line of reasoning is just stupid.”

    WHERE IN THE LIVING HELL IS YOUR PICKING UPON THESE TYPES WORDS I REPLY TO ?

    We LOST to our archrival Georgia Tech in that game, and he totally was no where to be found for a long huge stretch in the game, starting with when we should have been ahead by 3 Touchdowns and ending with our LOSS to the Nerds.

    Instead of being ahead by 3 Touchdowns, early in the game, we LET GEORGIA TECH TIE THE GAME UP. This was the PICK 6. Matthew Stafford threw the football, as he was want to do here 33 times intercepted, and it was a throw directly to Georgia Tech – who promptly took the ball in after catching his pass for the Touchdown.

    Then, the score was tied.

    We should have Won that game.

    Instead, as with EVERYTHING ELSE in the Matthew Stafford 3-Year NFL Interview at UGA, we added to the horrid years of 2006 and his final year 2008, a Loss for the 1st time since Coach Richt was hired by Vincent J. Dooley to our archrival Georgia Tech.

    And, promptly you come running in here telling me this was Matthew Stafford’s Greatest Game EVER.

    A LOSS to our Archrival, Georgia Tech, previously not accomplished by any Quarterback in the Coach Richt Era.

    He also ran the football 4 times and gave it to Knowshon Moreno 17 times only.

  49. Thomas Brown

    Matthew Stafford did NOT stick around for 5 years like every other quarterback, and like you would hope for your quarterback.

    While he was here, he did not accomplish what they said he would accomplish while here.

    129 is his Quarterback Rating for his UGA career.

    His best game ?

    The ONLY LOSS to Georgia Tech since Vince Dooley hired Coach Richt December 20, 2000, and he threw the pivotal turning point in the game Interception – his 33rd in 39 games.

    I find this hard to believe that this is his best game.

    And, harder yet for a proponent of Matthew Stafford to be in here defending him discussing NOTHING BUT HIS Quarterback Rating : which was 129 for his career here.

    A career marked by truly the worst quarterback performance by a Bulldog Quarterback in the history of the game 2006-2007.

    A second year 2007-2008 in which he led us to an NCAA Passing Offense of Number 83 in the nation.

    And, a 3rd and final year in which he was no where to be found for huge stretches of games against the only 3 Final AP Poll Top 25 teams we played who beat another Top 25 Final AP Poll team.

    Stretches which saw as we watched in horror, mad as hell at his performances in all 3 games marked by 29 consecutive points by Georgia Tech, 31 consecutive by Alabama and 49-3 to Florida.

    No SEC Championships.

    No SEC East Championships.

    Ranked Number 1 in the nation to be the buffoon of college football losing to every team we played who ended Ranked in the Final AP Poll Top 25 who beat another Final AP Poll Top 25 team.

    When, when, he came here, the program was instead on the verge of being Not Top 25, Not Top 10, but Elite Football Program.

    Elite Football Programs do not have Quarterbacks with career 129 Quarterback Ratings.

    They don’t have quarterbacks who throw 51 touchdown passes and tally 18 fumbles and 33 interceptions to completely offset the entire career performance.

    They do not lose to EVERY TEAM in the Final AP Poll Top 25 who beat another Final AP Poll Top 25 team, and call that a great year.

    They do not say that he is a great runner or even adequate with 18 fumbles, 13 percent of his carries at UGA of nearly 150 carries.

    When he had Knowshon Moreno to hand the damn football to.

    Everything was the fault instead of every other coach, fan and player for UGA – nothing was Matthew Stafford’s fault. Nothing.

    Defending this performance in his career here, or the Georgia Tech Loss defended with excuses for why he allowed Tech to score 29 unanswered consecutive points against us, won’t really do anything for the program he left in shambles behind in Athens.

  50. Hackerdog

    Thomas Brown, I’m simply pointing out that the 08 Tech game was a fairly brilliant game by Stafford, resulting in a 186 QB rating. Since a basic grasp of reality obviously escapes you, I’ll go ahead and inform you that 186 is good. It’s really, really good.

    I’ll grant you that we lost the game, but I’ll let you in on another fact that seems to escape you. Football is a team game. There is an offense, a defense, and special teams. So you can have one player play brilliantly, but the team can still lose the game.

    I know this is a lot of information for you to absorb at once, so I’ll leave off here. Hopefully, you can learn something new and stop blaming Stafford for the failures of the defense, special teams, and coaching. If not, at least you won’t sound any dumber than you currently do.

  51. Oneviewdawg

    Dear Folks,

    Its really swell Stafford had a great game against Tech. (Although I would argue it was hardly brilliant, despite all the yardage.)

    Simply super. However, as hacker notes, and thank you for this information, football is a team game.

    Stafford’s team lost the game. This is the ONLY!!! stat that matters. Only losers talk about stats.

    The idea this thread has gone on for what?…three days? is astonishing to me.

    What this tells me is that Stafford got way too much attention from at least this part of the fan base. Part of this comes from media, who find it much easier to focus on the quarterback because they have some vague idea why he is important to the team.

    And part of this comes from our offensive design which is said to be a “pro-style” offense…which makes the quarterback appear to be more important than he actually is.

    And, maybe most important, you don’t have to know anything about the game to focus on the quarterback…he throws, they catch, or not.

    College football is the most complicated game in the sports world. Even guys who coach it for a living have to look at tape over and over again to get an idea of what went wrong, and right on one play, so there is nothing to be ashamed about if we don’t have the time to devote to thoroughly analyzing one player’s performance.

    Clearly this bunch here lacks both the long view of Georgia football, and a certain football savoir faire.

    Please, lets not descend to the level of Tech and Wake Forrest talking about stats when we lost the game.

    Unless, of course as is your perfect right, you believe the quarterback’s performance is more important than winning the game…in which case, suck that Macallan and rave on.

    • Hackerdog

      I wouldn’t argue that the QB’s performance is more important than the team winning the game. But you have to be willfully ignorant to ignore the team aspect of the game in evaluating QB play.

      Evaluating QB play by only using the team’s record will lead one to conclude that Tee Martin was a better college QB than Peyton Manning, or that Trent Dilfer was a better NFL QB than Dan Marino. And that’s crazy.

  52. Thomas Brown

    Goodbye to Matthew Stafford. He is gone. He interviewed for the NFL here 3 years and left the program. At the time he entered here, UGA was nearly an Elite Football Program.

    Now that he is gone, the program has suffered both the 2006-2007 season (which clearly was a horrid season for Matthew Stafford personally with a QUARTERBACK RATING of 108 for the season.) and 2008-2009 which although this TEAM was ranked Number 1 to begin with consensus Number 1 he, Matthew Stafford, disappeared for long stretches in the games against the only 3 Top 25 Final AP Poll teams we played who beat another Final AP Poll Top 25 team. And, as for the 2007-2008 Season, Matthew Stafford led his team to a Number 83 NCAA Passing Offense that season.

    Not one game, or a part of a game.

    As the knock on him goes, he disappeared for long stretches of many games.

    He is said herein to be a “fairly effective runner” yet on 141 carries (4 per game for his 39 games) he fumbled the football thirteen (13) percent of his own carries. He had exactly 213 yards on 141 carries. He scored 6 touchdowns running. And, fumbled the football 18 times, averaging a measly 1.5 yards per carry with his 18 fumbles.

    In Passing, he led UGA to 5 touchdowns in the only game discussed in this thread for him, but threw a PICK SIX that took what should have been a 3 TD lead and allowed Georgia Tech to tie the game, and ultimately beat us by 3.

    Otherwise, in Passing, it is said in this thread that 2007 was his best year – yet, in 2007, UGA was in fact the Number 83 NCAA Passing Offense. That is great ? Hardly.

    We are discussing not his TALENT, but what he in fact accomplished here in his 3 years.

    NOTHING.

    He accomplished NOTHING, just as he accomplished NOTHING in the Georgia Tech LOSS.

    With his final season’s performance of disappearing once again for long stretches of the 3 games against teams who were in the Final AP Poll Top 25 and who beat other Final AP Poll Top 25 teams, he was embarrassed by Georgia Tech’s 29 consecutive points, Alabama’s 31 consecutive points, and by Florida’s 49-3 consecutive points. Had UGA started the season where we will now that he is gone at Number 17 in the Polls, there is no way UGA would have ended up ranked in the Final AP Poll Top 25 this past season. That’s great ? Hardly.

    108 QUARTERBACK RATING 2006.

    128 QUARTERBACK RATING 2007.

    153 QUARTERBACK RATING 2008.

    129 QUARTERBACK RATING UGA Career from 2006 to 2008 inclusive all 39 games.

    He tallied a grand sum of 18 fumbles and 33 interceptions to his 51 Touchdown Passes.

    He LOST to Georgia Tech he should not have, a feat previously not accomplished by any previous Coach Richt Quarterback. He disappeared for a long stretch allowing Tech 29 consecutive points. This as a result of mainly his PICK 6 to COST US THE GAME. His position Coach, Mike Bobo, in every interview before he left said that Matthew Stafford had to value the football more.

    DUH.

    He LOST to Alabama he should not have, also disappearing for 31 consecutive points. This is not accomplished by a Defense, when he certainly had the football every other possession, did he not ?

    He LOST to Florida 49-3 before he was benched for Joe Cox. This clearly was an inept offense disappearing for long stretches of many games.

    Yet, Matthew Stafford got his 4 carries a game. He called audible at the line of scrimmage to these plays and failed to audible out of them even though he had Knowshon Moreno to hand the football to, and instead in these 3 games gave the ball to Knowshon but 17 carries to his 4.

    The year before in 2007, he LOST to South Carolina scoring 12 points total and to Tennessee scoring 14 points total. He also tallied 20 against Vandie whom he LOST to the previous year.

    He beat Ole Miss 14-9. He beat Colorado 14-13*. He LOST to Florida 14-21. He LOST to Kentucky 20-24. He beat Tech 15-12.

    He was given LACKLUSTER BOWL GAMES to play in, as a direct result of the fact that he did NOT win The SEC Championship ANY YEAR.

    Did NOT win the SEC East Championship even, ANY year.

    He took a football program which before he got here was Top 7 or Top 10 to Top 3, and for 2006 was NOT RANKED except in the Final AP Poll at Number 23 and in 2008 his final season, had NO BUSINESS BEING RANKED in the Final AP Poll Top 25 at all, had the HYPE not had him Number 1 to start with.

    He accomplished NOTHING.

    Especially against Tech.

    He was NOT a great quarterback here. Far from it. He was no where to be found for long stretches of many of his games here – like Georgia Tech, for example.

    Not once, did Matthew Stafford make All America.

    Not once, did Matthew Stafford even make All-SEC.

    Yet, I wake up, come in here and he was just brilliant.

  53. Oneviewdawg

    Hacker,

    IF, IF, IF…underline If, you subscribe to the idea that TEAM goals are the only goals worth attaining, and I hope I have made it plain that I do subscribe to that idea, then yes, Tee was a better quarterback than Peyton, and since I live in Vol country, I have had this discussion before.

    When I was writing sports copy, stats were mighty damn important.

    Since I don’t do that anymore, I can only keep up with one statistic…team wins and team losses.

    I guess what’s going on here is a mini version of the dreaded “Herschel Withdrawal” which I suffered from mightily for a long time…and, honestly, may still suffer from.

    Wins is all I care about, but I am not saying Stafford was not a good QB, or that we won’t miss him.

    That’s my one view.

    Peace, Out.

  54. Thomas Brown

    You will never convince Hackerdog, and Bluto will defend his nasty posts and him.