Chemistry set

David Hale blogged yesterday about Georgia’s mindset in the post-Stafford/Moreno era and provided this quote from Mark Richt:

So as the Bulldogs move into the third week of voluntary summer workouts, Richt said there’s a distinctly different mentality among the players without Stafford and Moreno aboard.

“They’ve really decided that they have to come together as a team and work their tail off and get after it,” Richt said. “You can’t sit there and rely on a Stafford or a Moreno to carry the team.”

There’s certainly something to that criticism.  But let’s not forget that the 2007 squad did a nice job of surfing the wave that those same two (particularly Moreno) created en route to a seven game winning streak to finish out the season.  Some years things mesh better than in others.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Chemistry set

  1. Richt-Flair

    At least we’ll know early if this team has meshed or not. 08 felt like we were trying to rekindle the 07 magic with the dancing and flashy play, but with none of the fire and desperation that followed the 07 UT loss. Meanwhile Florida and Alabama not only meshed as teams, they got after people. Hoping for some of that in 09 for us — was encouraged by the D’s play against Michigan State.

  2. Darryl Strawberry

    I’m about as sick of this “we are coming together as a team” talk as i was of the #1 preseason ranking talk last year.

    To me, all this team stuff is continued excuse making for the debacle of last year.

    Richt needs to MAN UP and take responsibility for last year and quit blaming it on the players. He and the coached FAILED miserably.

    I want to hear about improving our defense, pass rush, TO margin, etc and less about Stafford / Moreno and coming together as a team.

    • Left to Right

      Agreed. There has been a certain passive-aggresive blame shift by both players and coaches for the problems of last year. Honestly, what would last year have been like without Stafford and Moreno? Would we have even had a winning record? I hope we are not about to find out this fall.

      • Turd Ferguson

        How could the players be “shifting the blame” when they’re the ones admitting that they allowed themselves to become complacent last season, relying on Moreno and Stafford to win games by themselves? (Sure, some comments have implied that it was Stafford and Moreno’s fault, but I’ve read many others that’ve admitted that it was a complacency issue on their own part.)

        And why not think that, by making comments like this, Richt is just saying whatever it is that he’s hearing the players saying about themselves? Are people no longer allowed to acknowledge and learn from their own and others’ mistakes?

        Yes, we need a pass-rush. And yes, we need to work on turnovers and penalties. But again, if the players themselves are attributing much of these issues to their own complacency, and expressing a desire to correct for that in 2009, what is wrong with that?

        I’m seriously baffled by the responses above.

  3. Darryl Strawberry

    *He and the coaches

  4. DirkDawggler

    Must.Sack.their.QuArTerBAck. Often.

  5. sUGArdaddy

    You’re right, TF. Richt has repeatedly said he dropped the ball in the way he prepared the team throughout the season, and it led to us being soft. What else does he have to do? It was just what Richt said: Disappointing, but when 10-3 is disappointing it says something about your program. What in the world are the guys supposed to say? You can’t win w/ some fans. It’s obvious this team (coaches and players) realize that they got complacent, relied too heavily on stars, lost attention to detail, and lost physicality…and they’re trying to correct those. We do that, and we’ll be a whole lot better.

  6. Spence

    I’m tired of people suggesting the offense struggled last year or that somehow the superstars detracted. The offense did just fine and in any other year we’d kill to have that production.

    I’m also tired of people talking about injuries hurting the team. With the exception of Jeff Owens, the defense did not suffer any injuries that were not replaceable (Gamble filled in just fine, thank you very much Mr. Defensive Player of the Week). And every team has to deal with one injury per year, especially on Defense. Last year was a coaching problem, and that problem wasn’t on the offensive side.

    So for all the people who blame injuries, or who say there were too many superstars, or blah, blah, blah, please recognize that the problem with the Dawgs last year was a) the relatively injury free defense b) special teams and c) not the offense.

  7. Dawg93

    Spence – relatively injury-free year on defense? These players had injuries that kept them off the field for some amount of time (in some cases for the whole season and others that came back still had lingering injury issues that hampered them):

    Marcus Washington
    Charles White
    Akeem Hebron
    Rod Battle
    Jeremy Lomax
    Quintin Banks
    Jeff Owens
    Darius Dewberry
    Christian Robinson
    Kade Weston
    Dannell Ellerbe

    Look, I don’t disagree that we had issues outside of injuries, but to act as if we were relatively healthy on defense is just ignoring the facts. Bottomline is that injuries depleted not only our frontline guys but also much of our depth, which Richt has said caused him to lighten up on the tackling drills the team did during the season. And you could see the results of that by our declining performance the last half of the season on defense. Then look at the bowl game after Richt and the coaches went “old school” for bowl practices . . . the defense was MUCH better.

  8. Spence

    You make a fair point. But… I think if you look at that list you’ll see pretty clearly that Owens and Dannell are the only 2 starters on that list that missed any significant time. And Dannell had a great back-up come in for him. It’s not till I get the DE’s that I see any other starters, but I can’t even tell you if those guys are going to start this year. I could be wrong, and please feel free to point out specifically where you think I’m wrong.

    Now where we disagree is whether the defense was so depleted as to justify the coaches’ decisions and the poor performance. I just don’t think Bear Bryant would ever cancel contact drills because of injuries, nor would Erk. So my original point was that the coaching staff blew it on defense, and your post vindicates that. Richt seems to think, in hindsight, that they made a mistake in the way they coached. Now maybe you’ll attribute that to injuries, but I think the blame should be laid on the defensive coaching staff and CMR.

    Basically I think Willie is a pansy and I don’t ever want to see him jump into a player’s arms again after that player makes a good play. I bet the players’ girlfriends act less like schoolgirls than he does. You’re the coach – act like you’re not surprised when your players perform well.

    Go Dawgs.

  9. Dawg93

    Spence – I don’t disagree that Richt and his staff blew it by scaling back the contact in practices. He’s admitted as much, said he’ll never do it again and even backed it up by cranking up the “violence” in bowl practices. You saw the results in the bowl game. What else are you looking for besides Willie not jumping into a player’s arms? Frankly the fact that it bugs you that much makes you sound more pansy than the act itself. Seriously – who cares? Did you never watch BVG on the sidelines? The dude jumped around like a girl and gave his players both thumbs-up (like the Fonz) after they forced a punt from the other team. Maybe it’s just me, but calling a guy who played DB at Miami in the early/mid 80s a “pansy” seems a bit over the top.

    As for the injuries – just b/c a guy isn’t a starter doesn’t mean his injury doesn’t have some effect on the team. If he’s buried down the depth chart, that’s one thing. But every guy I listed, except maybe Robinson, was going to be counted on for playing time in 2008. Those guys are not just counted on to help keep our starters fresh, they’re also good for keeping starters on their toes and fighting to keep their job each week. You also rob the coaches’ ability to pull a starter if they’re playing like a crap (hello Reshad Jones).

  10. Spence

    Brian Van Gorder chewed razors and farted death. If a player made a good play, he’d give them a quick thumbs up and return to thinking about how to maim a kitten. Why was he thinking about hurting kittens? Because they’re weak, and the weak must be punished. But never, ever, did he display the unauthoritarian-like cheerleader-in-heat qualities that Willie exudes so often.

    Please don’t ever compare Willie “Tinkerbell” Martinez to BVG again.

  11. Mike In Valdosta

    Frankly, I would love to have both Mareno and Stafford back for this year. It is very convenient to “blame” guys no longer on the roster.

    Oh yeah, Willie, you got to start wrapping up on all those tackles you missed last season. Van Gorder would have made the play.

  12. Spence

    You also ask “What else are you looking for besides Willie not jumping into a player’s arms?”

    Um… please see the third quarter of the worst game of the season. Or perhaps you’d like to check out the point total from the cocktail party. That game vs. Kentucky was sure impressive. Before they played us UK scored less than a Tech grad at… well… anywhere. Or lest we forget about the wonderful game w/ Bama.

    But you’re right, there’s nothing else to ask for other than some minute changes in his sideline persona.

    • Dawg93

      Well at least you brought the discussion back to football. Can’t disagree with any of the above, except that I think we played a lot better against UF (on defense) than you give them credit for. Not much you can do when your offense has turnovers, you miss FG’s, and your HC decides to on-side kick when it’s only 7-3 in the 1st half.

      Outside of that, I agree, we need to get a helluva lot better on defense and it starts with CWM.

      • Spence

        Amen brother. And your point about UF is well taken. However, I just wish that once in a while the D would bow up and force a field goal when the O put them in a tough spot. The Thomas Davis Dawgs used to do that all the time (some of those 2003, 04 offensive teams were flat out bad sometimes).

        I actually think we’re making the same point, i.e. that the coaching staff let us down. And I think you make a very good point in that the coaches couldn’t yank anyone for tackling with their feelings and not wrapping up. I don’t know that was entirely true, and at some point maybe we should have just pointed into the stands and said “Spence, suit up, you’re in for Reshad.” I feel like a tough DC would be able to make those tough choices. But as a whole you make great points.

        My angle on this debate though, which is pretty durn inflammatory, is that the defense was just soft, and it was soft because the leader of the D is soft (and because CMR lets him be soft… they used to be roommates at the U). Willie is a d-backs coach who likes to rely on coverage and not pressure. Other than the Tech game I really don’t remember a ton of missed tackles but rather seem to recall players being out of position (Brandon Miller style) all over the place and absolutely no pressure on the quarterback. Third-and-long meant we’d rush 3 and I can’t tell you how many friends I scared (by yelling profanity that would make Sam Kenisson blush… if he weren’t dead) when the other team inevitably completed a pass after 5 seconds of time.

        I truly believe that great Defensive co-ordinators expect the moon from their guys and have to act with a certain amount of blood-dripping-from-the-mouth-of-a-rabid-dog killer instinct. Just don’t see that from CWM, but would love to be proven wrong. I also never played football and probably don’t have a clue what I’m talking about.

        Go Dawgs.

        • Dawg93

          I agree 100% with everything you said, except that I still believe CWM can get it done. However, I can absolutely see why fans like yourself would feel otherwise. He either turns it around this year or he needs to go, simple as that.

          I only played football a few yrs, all before the 9th grade, so I’m probably as clueless as you are.

          Enjoyed the discussion, except for the maiming of kittens, of course. Or did you say “Kiffins”? I take it back if you did.

          • Spence

            Ha. I don’t hurt kittens, but then again I don’t have the mettle to be a DC in the SEC.

            I hope you’re right about this year. I also hope that if CWM lets us down again this year (which, sadly, I’m expecting) that CMR doesn’t let CWM pull him down too. CMR is a great coach and I’d hate to see over-reaching blind loyalty make the fan base turn on CMR.

            We can talk all we want about Joe Cox and Caleb King, but to me next year is really about whether CWM can make the D work. Bobo and CMR know how to put a good offense together, but if we don’t have a good D (led by a good DC), we’ll never win a National Championship. It’s just that simple. You could bring Knowshon, Staff, hell… even Herschel back and we can’t win with a crap D, especially given the way UF puts up points these days. Regardless, 2009 is about whether the D can get back on track and will decide either CWM’s future or the Dawgs’ future.

            Best of luck, sir.

            Go Dawgs!

            • Dawg93

              Couldn’t agree more about the defense. We get back to playing Junkyard Dawg defense and we really just need our offense to be “solid” and also keep turnovers to a minimum. I think with this O-line, the sheer number of RBs we have, a solid QB like Cox and a threat at WR like Green . . . we should be pretty good on offense.

              I too am concerned about Richt’s loyalty to CWM if things don’t get better on that side of the ball. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.