Thoughts from the 35: Georgia-LSU

Let’s get the easy part out of the way first, shall we?  Yeah, the excessive celebration penalties – all three of them – were jokes.

Here’s the NCAA rule, per Wikipedia:

College football, governed by the NCAA also penalizes excessive celebrations with a 15 yard penalty. NCAA Football Rule 9-2, Article 1(a)(1)(d) prohibits “Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves)”…

And that is in fact what the officiating crew cited, per the AJ-C, as to why the penalty was thrown on A.J. Green after his touchdown reception briefly gave Georgia back the lead.

The officiating crew said, in a statement provided by the SEC later Saturday night, that “following a brief team celebration, Green made a gesture to the crowd calling attention to himself,” thus drawing the flag.

I can see how the officiating crew might have gotten confused there.  Because every damned person in Sanford Stadium was paying attention to A.J. at that moment.

There are two things worth saying about it.  First, it was a remarkably stupid call, egregious enough that it’s worth calling into question whether in fact the SEC officiating office really does have something against Mark Richt because of the Celebration in 2007.  But second, and contrary to the general sentiment I heard walking out of the stadium last night, in and of itself, it didn’t cost Georgia the game.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for that.

THE GOOD

  • Georgia may have found itself a consistent pass rush, ladies and gentlemen.  Six sacks, led by Justin Houston’s two, more than doubled the team’s output for the entire season.  The opening series of the third quarter was the most dominant effort we’ve seen from the defense all year.
  • Washaun Ealey.  Yes, he provided a needed spark when he was inserted in the second half.  He’s a north-south runner who appears to realize that one key to being a good running back is to avoid tacklers.  Based on that, it’s clear he deserves more playing time, but his game seems awfully raw.  I like Cox’ quote about him, though:  “And I was just like ‘Man, let him run, he knows how to run.’”
  • A.J. Green.  I’m out of superlatives.  What sucked the most about the penalty was that the catch was so good and so clutch, he deserved to do anything he wanted to in the aftermath.
  • Drew Butler averaged  over 49 yards a punt yesterday.  The remarkable part of that performance was that his long was 53 yards.  That’s consistency.
  • Pass protection was pretty good.  Cox looked comfortable most of the game and had time to throw.

THE BAD

  • Run blocking was nonexistent.  All that talk in the preseason about how this was going to be one of the great offensive lines in the country this year to this point is just that – talk.  And don’t tell me about Sturdivant’s injury; there are still plenty of other kids with supposed talent and experience available to play.  They just aren’t getting the job done.
  • Run defense was inconsistent.  LSU’s overall rushing numbers – 45 rushes for 156 yards, a 3.5 ypc clip – don’t look too bad, except that (1) they include the negative yardage from the six sacks and (2) LSU rushing numbers were terrible coming into this game.  Charles Scott looked like the beast I feared, but I was surprised at how much push the Tigers’ offensive line got against Georgia’s defensive front, the second straight week that’s happened.  This, too, is an underperforming bunch.  Overall, tackling remains an iffy proposition at best.
  • First half offensive production:  49 total yards and one – one! – stinking first down won’t get you very far against a Sun Belt Conference opponent, let alone LSU.  Georgia was fortunate indeed to be down by only six at halftime.

THE UGLY

  • Mike Bobo’s playcalling continues to be both bizarre and frustrating to the extreme.  How can you justify giving Samuel and King even twelve carries when it was painfully obvious that neither could do anything?  And once more, he continues to insert Branden Smith into the game at seemingly random moments and make utterly predictable playcalls that are easily defended, like the horrible reverse to Wooten that resulted in a ten yard loss and sucked all the energy out of the stadium that the defense had just generated.  He seemed intimidated by an LSU defense that up until yesterday wasn’t worthy of that much respect.  And yet the TD pass to Chapas was a brilliant call and when he had no choice but to get aggressive, his charges rewarded him with a touchdown drive that regained the lead at 13-12.  The bottom line here is that if a Mississippi State squad that is as devoid of talent as any team in the conference was able to put up 26 points on LSU, a Georgia team with the best offensive player on the field yesterday should have been able to clear twenty.  And that would have been enough for the win.  It’s a popular sport to take shots at Martinez, but at this point some of our attention needs to start going in Bobo’s direction.  There was no excuse for looking that anemic on offense yesterday.
  • Special teams, outside of Drew Butler, were a gaping black hole, a pus-oozing wound, a… well, you get the idea.  I probably need to come up with a worse category than ugly to place them in.  At least Mike Bobo had a couple of redeeming moments in the game.  I can’t think of any for the special teams.  Walsh’s first miss of the season was brutal and couldn’t have come at a more critical time.  The game plays out very differently if he makes that kick.  Georgia didn’t have a single punt return yard and in fact played as if the concept of returning punts didn’t exist – a remarkable abdication from a team that finished fourth in the country in punt return yards last year.  And it’s time to quit obsessing over directional kickoffs and focus instead on the appalling lack of fundamentals on both the kickoff coverage and the kickoff return teams.  I don’t know what’s happened to the players that blocked so brilliantly in the South Carolina game, but neither Boykin nor Smith had much room to run.  And it looked like the Red Sea parting on both of Holliday’s returns (44.5 yards per return), especially the second, back breaking 41 yarder – away from the side that Georgia illegally overloaded.  If Fabris is looking for a challenge, perhaps getting players to stay in their lanes and thus be in position to limit returns would be an excellent one to take up.

Needless to say, most of the blame for the loss yesterday falls on the coaching staff, in my opinion.  LSU is a good, talented team that didn’t back down in the face of adversity, but it was vulnerable.  The Dawgs played most of the game way too submissively in too many areas and it cost them in the end.

Beyond that, I remain puzzled by a number of personnel decisions that have been allowed to continue, despite the evidence we’ve seen on the field week after week.  All in all, it’s a team that is less than the sum of its parts.

It’s far too early to dismiss this team, of course, if for no other reason than that I remain convinced that Georgia is loaded from a talent standpoint.  But somewhere along the line, you’ve got to let your best players play, you’ve got to put them in position to excel and you’ve got to find a way to make them something more than the least fundamentally sound team in the SEC.  Until that happens, it’s looking like these Dawgs are headed to a lesser bowl game this year.

***********************************************************************

UPDATE: I can’t think of anything to add to this David Hale observation.

– Walking out of the locker room after the game, I happened to look over and see Mike Bobo and Willie Martinez sitting next to each other on some chairs near the coaches’ office. Usually the two duck out pretty quickly during the interview session, but this time, they stuck around the whole time. Bobo had his head buried in his hands. Martinez had his fist tucked up under his chin, staring off into space. The two looked absolutely dejected. It was among the most visibly shaken I’ve seen two grown men outside of a funeral that I can remember. I think that image really summed things up better than anything else I could write.

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109 Comments

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109 responses to “Thoughts from the 35: Georgia-LSU

  1. GumpDawg

    D-line did much better against the pass but the amount of push the LSU line got against our line on a rush’s playside was embarrasing. It was only because of how long some of their options took to develop that our lbs could get out their to make the play.

    BUT WHAT IS PATHETIC IS OUR SPECIAL TEAMS!!!!!!!!!! We have gotten absolutely NO rush on any punt this year and if it seems we are doing that in order to block and set up a return then why is LG back there fair catching it????!!!!! If he’s back there, let’s at least bring the house! As for kick-off coverage, I thought it painfully just that that particular group/philosophy/lack of execution COST THE GAME.
    Sure we should have/could have done something more on O in the first half, but regardless…OUR D PLAYED AWESOME…except for one run play at the end.

  2. No two ways around it, Richt is getting his pants pulled down by better coaches. If anyone who watched that first half couldn’t see which team was CLEARLY better prepared, then they either 1) reside in the Richt household, 2) spend too much time genuflecting before their Richt shrine at home, or 3) are just freaking stupid.

    I think Richt is a good man whose teams play hard for him. But he is now a second tier coach in the SEC. That’s hard to say and harder to admit, but unless we want to revisit the 1997-2000 UGA years, we better be honest about it.

    He acts as if he truly doesn’t understand the importance of field position. Richt needs to name himself Special Teams coach TODAY. There is NO excuse in our kickoff coverage. Someone should be held accountable IMMEDIATELY. If he isn’t going to hold anyone accountable over special teams, then he needs to be held accountable himself.

    • Section Z alum

      the reason i disagree that rich is 2nd tier is that the man admits mistakes and tries to learn from them. mostly….

    • simpl_matter

      Second tier? Really?!?!

      Must be the crack talking, no sane person looks at what Richt has DONE and is continuing to DO at UGA and says that. It’s disgraceful and disrespectful.

      Do you blame Richt for losing Stafford, Moreno, and Allen? Anyone doubt we’d be 5-0 right now with them? I guarantee our turnovers would be down and our defense would have at least a dozen less plays in each of the previous games. We are a young team playing with heart and making mistakes.

      We have a top 3 recuiting class right now and are plucking top players out of Florida, what second-tier program in the nation is doing that???

      I remember the post-Dooley era very clearly, we are very fortunate to have a man like CMR at the helm. He would have no problem finding the next coaching position, we would have a BIG problem filling his shoes!

      • Well, let’s do the math. There are 12 teams in the SEC. That divides nicely into 3 tiers of 4 teams. First tier: Florida, LSU, Alabama, and right now I’d say Auburn. Second tier: Ole Miss, UGA, UT, USC. Third tier: Vandy, UK, MSU, Arkansas.

        But Richt did win the SEC coming up on 5 years ago, so I must be an idiot.

        • JL

          So, since Auburn has won a few games against a pretty weak schedule, Chizik is now in the top tier of coaches in the Conference. Really? I mean REALLY??? The guy has won a grand total of 2 SEC games. He beat Mississippi State and a UT team headed for its second straight sub 500 season. Really???

          • Well, we’ll just see after we play UT. Deal?

            • JL

              Hold that, we’ll talk when Chizik’s winning percentage as a head coach gets within 150 points of CMR’s winning percentage as a head coach.

              If Chizik wins the next 13 games, he’ll be at .548. If Richt loses the next 13 games, he’ll be at .697. We’ll talk about it when that happens.

  3. GumpDawg

    above that “just” is for “justice”…and yesterday it would be just to fire Fabris from special teams and get someone, anyone, better.

  4. Frank

    Yesterday we got kissed, then kicked, then kissed again, then kicked again, then sucker-punched in the gut and heart and were left in a ditch to die.

    Blame to go around? Sure.

    But, the ref’s sucker-punch did us in.

    We can thank the NCAA rules committee for that idiocy, just as much as the ref who threw the flag.

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    Contrary to previous games, the defense played well in the 1st thru 3rd quarters then weakened. It looked like they were worn down & tired on LSU’s 4th quarter drive and on the winning touchdown drive.

  6. Good post Senator. I think you covered everything.

    We need new coaches at OC, DC, and special teams.

    I can’t say much more. I’m still too bummed out.

  7. I live in Louisiana, am from Oklahoma, and i love college football.
    I don’t care where you are from as a fan, the excessive celebration penalty is stoooopid, regardless where you are from.
    It has a place, but realy need to be looked at and revised, I don’t like it in the NFL either, if you score, your fans are happy, the scorer is happy, you celebrate. Taunting is the only penalty that should be in place, and only if it is blatant.

    • Macallanlover

      Exactly, taunting and choreographed demonstrations are the ONLY issues that should be addressed as “unsportsmanlike”. AJ wasn’t even close to that! Any “excessive celebration” penalty should be a delay of game IF it delays the game. Celebrating is what SHOULD be done when something good happens….especially at a critical point!

      I support having an unsportsmanlike rule in CFB, but this was a basterdization of the rule and it’s intent. SEC officials, since Gaston was first hired, have been the worst group in all of CFB, and they continue under his successor. I have seen no other conference allow such a narrow interpretation of this rule. This crew needs to be disciplined, they unquestionably changed the outcome of this game. That would have been a sad result regardless of what teams were involved.

  8. Chris

    Week after week there seems to be only two constants with this team:

    1. AJ is quite possibly the greatest college football player in the country.

    2. Coaching is the problem with the team. It seems to shift week to week if it is the o or d.

    Lastly, I think even if it hurts us a little more this season it is time to move on from Cox and get some of the other qbs some real game time exp.

    • Doc

      I agree with what said. I don’t necessarily think we need to move on from Cox, but geez the other qbs do need to get some real game time or we will be in a similar situation next year.

  9. Section Z alum

    henceforth, after any player scores he must immediately apologize to the other team for embarrassing them, and also send a note of apology to the opposing coach’s mother.

    for those who missed the brilliant analysis of gary danielson, some of his better observations:
    - “1st year coordinator willie martinez”
    - with the score 6-0, “georgia is hanging by a thread”

    am i right that aj wasn’t in the game for the first 2 plays?

    bobo – please get medication. or else i’ll need it by season’s end.

    and – charlie weiss looks like a fat lazy slob when he rocks the sideline in a sweatshirt.

    • Kumatan

      Did anyone else notice, during the 4th-quarter broadcast team hyperventilation about how being QB for Georgia is the ONLY thing Joe Cox has EVER wanted to do, the unfortunate/funny comment about Joe Cox’s parents? CBS cut to a shot of both parents sitting in the stands, and Danielson (I think) intones, “Here are Buster and Dierdre Cox cheering their son on. That’s Buster on the left.”

      I don’t know about others, but I had no problem distinguishing which was Buster and which was Dierdre without this comment…

  10. Smitty

    The bad: Trying to return a INT from 8 yards deep in the end zone and making it to the 2 yard line. The BS unsportsmanlike penalties on Charles and Green. Running the sweep to the short side of the field over and over. Fair catching every punt.

    The good: Ealey coming in the game was a good call for Richt. King and Samuels are average as grits at best and this should hopefully light a fire under them. AJ Green is the best player in the country. We would not have a win without thim.

  11. baltimore dawg

    nice post–you expressed my thoughts almost exactly.

    it’s true that the ref’s horseshit call didn’t cause dowtin to miss the tackle on what should have been a short gain, but give up holliday’s return and scott’s run off an unpenalized kickoff and you’re still in shape to force a field goal.

    i would have been less inclined to believe that sec officials really were such small, bitter, pissants about uf 2007 if this crew had *not* made the same call on lsu for their kickoff after the td. that was the most obvious sort of ass-covering i’ve observed in college football officiating.

  12. Joe B.

    Bobo will be Richt’s Randy Sanders.

    Richt is going to have to make the tough decision to fire his friend at the end of the season.

    We have a one-armed man driving a Ferrari right now and it is painful to watch. I know that Bobo thinks being married to Vince’s niece will keep him here forever, but not when he continues to be so terrible at his job.

    Is Bobo Patrick Nix bad? No, but we have the best player in the country and a wealth of skill players, who are simply not able to realize their full potential.

    Ealey looked phenomenal on his first two runs, brought the crowd alive. Then we piss away the prosperity of Ealey’s runs by running the same play again. Why not play-action over the top after you have got LSU worried about the run for the first time all day?

    We have to remember that Bobo did learn under Jim Donnan, who never saw a tunnel screen, ill-timed reverse or toss sweep to the short side of the field that he did not love.

    Look at the other OC’s in the SEC. These are big-time guys with voluminous resumes of success at various places. Hired guns, professionals, craftsmen. We have Randy Sanders.

  13. Frank

    LSU did to us what everyone else this year has done. Focus on stuffing the run and make Joe Cox beat you. You cannot just run on first down and put a QB like Cox in 2nd or 3rd and 10. Despite his game against Arkansas defensive coordinators are not afraid of Joe. Bobo’s play calling (as noted by many) is too predictable. Bobo’s play calling suggests that he doesn’t fully trust Cox and if that is true it’s time to take our lumps and let Gray and Murray play.

    The excessive celebration penalty against both teams was ridiculous — as was the one against Orson Charles. Damon Evans needs to have a sit down with the league office. If they’re going to be consistent then Tebow ought to have 3 or 4 of these called on him per game.

    • Oh, come now. Saint Tebow can doeth no wrong in the eyes of the officials. I was one of the few Georgia fans that stayed in the stadium last year to the bitter end and watched them not call taunting on him for gator chomping us during timeouts. That was the sign to me that no matter how far he went, they’d never call it on him. He was out on the field during time outs just running around taunting the fans. Clearly classless.

  14. NebraskaDawg

    Nothing is going to change because Richt is going to stick with his guys. There is no accountability for the assisstants. At least we can compete for the NRC trophy every year. (National Recruiting Championship)

    • I’m starting to doubt the validity of these recruiting rankings, since this talent has a way of not showing up on the field.

      • I would agree with you, Will, if that talent didn’t have a habit of showing up on the Florida field, or the Ohio State field, or the USC field. When you get the #3 recruiting class in the country, and nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5 all result in disciplined, reliably-solid football teams, you have to look somewhere other than Rivals and Scout.com for the reason the talent isn’t showing up on the field.

        • JasonC

          There was an interesting article a while back on the downfall of Miami. It stated that Miami got caught up in the amount of stars a recruit had instead of the kid, his ability and his character, i.e. “Oh, he has five stars so he must be the player we need.” They had to reconsider how they were doing recruiting because they were relying too much on the services and not enough on their own coaches evaluation.

          I am not making that claim about UGA, but it definitely isn’t an exact science. And sometimes, you have a player with a ton of talent that either isn’t motivated or has behavioral issues that will hinder his full potential being unleashed.

  15. Paul

    I agree with most of the post, but this jumped out at me:
    “Walsh’s first miss of the season was brutal and couldn’t have come at a more critical time. The game plays out very differently if he makes that kick.”

    You’re right, it would have played out differently, but probably not as you’re insinuating. I believe that Richt kicks the FG if we’re down 6-3, instead of the play action to Chapas on the 1 while down 6-0. That FG makes it 6-6 and we never hold a lead in the game, ceteris paribus.

    Also, giving them 20 free yards [celebration and illegal procedure] to start their final drive was backbreaking. I believe they started near our 40. If they’re at their own 40 instead, LSU are a lot less willing to run the ball as the first option.

    *Side note, how would I make the “quoted” section appear indented in WordPress?

    • I don’t mean that you can just add three points to Georgia’s total and call it a day.

      That field goal means Georgia plays for – and LSU has to defend – a field goal to tie instead of a touchdown to take the lead. With that tight a game, it was huge.

      As for the indent, the last icon in the toolbar is called a “kitchen sink” icon. Click on it to drop another toolbar which has the ident icon on it.

      • Paul

        Did we not just say the same thing? I said UGA would play for a FG in the hypothetical, you said UGA would play for a FG in the hypothetical.

        Now, would Bobo have cowered in a hole if he knew he only needed 3? Perhaps. But we’ll never know. I just think the missed FG isn’t as big of an issue on the outcome of the game, because as you say, “you can’t just add 3 points to the score.”

        I’m also an idiot and can’t find the WordPress toolbar you’re referring to. I’ve looked in both Firefox and IE.

        • Yeah we did. I was responding to your “not as you’re insinuating” comment.

          In WordPress, don’t you see a toolbar when you’re composing or editing a post? What do you click on to bold or to make a passage a quote?

          • Paul

            I was referring to quoting people in the comments section, not on a post in my own blog.

            I ended up looking at the page source, so we’ll see in a second if I get an epic HTML fail.

    • JasonC

      I agree that the penalty, while not the ultimate cause of the loss, played a huge factor. If I remember correctly, LSU started inside our 40- maybe the 37-38. That was probably because of the additional 5 yards because our poorly-coached KO team was out of alignment. If you move them back 20 yards (15+5 for both senseless penalties), then they are around their 40 and running is less of an option. The announcers said LSU started with the ball at the outer reaches of their kicker’s range, so conservative runs were all they needed. If they needed 20 more yards to get there, that would probably have meant more passing.

  16. Smitty

    Are these excessive celebration penalties occuring in all the games throughout the country or am I missing them???

  17. drunk dawg

    No mention of Cox’s play? At all? At one point he went around 15 throws without an accurate throw that wasn’t to the fullback. A few of the most obvious play call headscratchers (runs on 3rd and more than 5) were because Cox was showing horrific accuracy.

    I feel like an ass for criticizing Cox as he is a good kid and loves UGA. But lets face it, we can only go as far as he takes us. I think the lack of success this year will be traced directly back to the fact we will likely have the worst full-year starter at QB since Mark Richt took over at UGA.

    • I thought JC was a mixed bag yesterday. He had his rough spots, but he played well in the second half.

      You want to blame Bobo’s abysmal playcalling on Cox? Knock yourself out, but if Bobo arranged his calls in reaction to player ineffectiveness, he’d have had Cox take a knee three straight plays during some of those second quarter series.

  18. Frank

    Anybody have emails for the league office? I went to the SEC website and couldn’t find them.

  19. Mid80sDawg

    Had to stay home and watch this one on TV because of illness. A few points:

    1) The defense played much better, and good enough to win. Martinez was prepared. Only two “Holy Crap how can they let that happen” moments. One busted pass coverage in the first quarter, and the TD run at the end of the game.
    Caveat: LSU had three guards go down and out
    of the game with stomach problems.
    They were playing a freshman tackle at
    guard in the second half. Perhaps this
    is why our pass rush seemed improved.
    2) For all the criticism of Bobo, Gary Danielson made a huge point in the first half. There was a smattering of boos on head scratching 3rd down calls, Danielson stated that Bobo could not trust his QB’s accuracy, and had to go with safer dump off and gimmicky calls and hope that the players could make a play. Vern asked Danielson if it was possible to coach QB “accuracy”, he replied, “No, it is something you have to have”.
    3) Cox’s first half performance was the worst since Tereshinski had to start before Stafford was ready. Give him credit for improvement in the second half, though AJ Green deserves an assist.
    4) Outside of Butler’s punts, our specials teams look like “out-athleted” high school teams, you know we don’t have a chance as soon as the ball is in play. This has got to improve, it is killing us.

  20. NRBQ

    Second possession of the day, on third from the UGA five, Bobo made a great call that put A.J. behind the entire D at the fifty. All the QB needed to do was float it out there for a 95-yard TD. Cox’s line drive was 2 yards too long.

    I felt, right then, that we were in for a gut-wrenching, puke-inducing night.

    The celebration call was icing on the shit layer-cake.

  21. Mayor of Dawgtown

    At the outset let me say that I agree with almost everything that has been posted and I share everyone’s frustration at what occurred at the LSU-UGA game yesterday. That said, I want to discuss what I feel is a more insidious aspect beyond bad play calling, missed tackles and errant passes. It appears that someone/something in a position to influence calls made by referees has it in for the University of Georgia football program. Things like what happened yesterday keep happening on a regular basis. Maybe it is as simple as some have suggested-that the refs are pissed off about the 2007 celebration incident at the GA-FL game. A friend of mine who is a longtime Dawg watcher believes it pre-dates that , however. Either way something has to be done to end this practice of the referees stealing the game from UGA. Millions of $ are spent by fans and viewers of SEC football. They deserve an honest product, an honest game decided on the field by the participants. If what really is going on is refs influencing the outcomes of UGA games, there are a variety of reasons why it could be happening. First, they could be in the pocket of gamblers. Second, they could betting on the outcome of the game themselves. Third, as mentioned, they could be pissed off at UGA about the 2007 incident. I don’t care what the reason is. If calls are being made for reasons other than an honest appraisal of what happened athletically on the field and that causes a different outcome in the game, that is the definition of “fixing” a game. That is illegal. (Don’t tell me it cannot happen. Last year the NBA caught at least one ref shaving points because he had money bet on games.) This has gone on way too long. A serious investigation needs to be conducted by a governmental entity of some kind into, not just what happened yesterday, but the whole pattern of bad calls that seems to be occurring. Some may say “its only a game” and ” let’s not overreact.” Well we have been doing nothing and look where it has lead. Kids are not stupid (although a lot of adults are). If good ballplayers figure out that when they make a great play at UGA the will be penalized, instead of applauded, that their team will lose the game because the victory will be stolen from them and that a guy on the other team will be the “hero” instead–they will stop coming to UGA and will go somewhere else to play where they don’t have to face stuff like that. Make no mistake about it. If this problem does not get straightened out–and quickly– there could be consequences in recruiting that will have a long lasting impact. I welcome everyone’s thoughts on the matter.

    • On the Bright Side

      of the scenarios you raised, the one where the refs carry a grudge from the 2007 incident seems most plausible. if so, perhaps another apology from richt, not to uf or meyer for disrepsecting the gators, but to college football fans for disrespecting the game, might go a long way towards helping uga avoid this sort of treatment, which i agree is overly harsh.

      • D.N. Nation

        Penn Wagers got his revenge that very same game, when he refused to blow the whistle and allowed Stafford to be hit with a cheap shot. He put one of our best players at risk of bodily harm. That should have been enough.

        …to get him fined and fired, as well, but that’s another story.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        My point is that whether someone purposely making bad calls to influence the outcome of games is doing it because of revenge, or because he hates a team, or because he loves the opponent, or for money–no matter what the reason–such conduct is against the law. It is criminal misconduct for which the perp should have to do jail time. The place to start the investigation is with the honest refs. They know what is going on (either actual knowledge or have figured it out) and I guarantee some of them do NOT approve. Maybe they would be reluctant to squeal, but they sure as hell will not lie under oath in front of a grand jury and risk prosecution for perjury to cover up for the perp or perps.

    • I guess my problem with “the refs are out to get us” is that, for the first time all season, we had an entire quarter without a penalty. In fact, I can’t recall any penalties against us in the first half.

      Yes, there was a swarm in the second half, and yes, the celebration penalty was ridiculous and a killer. But celebration penalties are given all over the country if things seem “out of control,” and that includes crazy crowd noise. Does that make any sense? Of course not. Does it mean the rule should be changed? Absolutely. But it isn’t out of step with the bizarre history of that penalty. The only truly weird one was the Charles penalty, because you never see that called in the middle of the field, but one weird call per game is actually above the mean in the SEC, sad to say.

      For me, the game came down to two kick returns. Each team received one penalty-laden kick at the end of the game that should have given them great field position and allowed them to win the game. LSU got a great return and finished it with a TD. UGA got a useless return and turned the ball over after looking confused for three plays. Game, set, match.

  22. D.N. Nation

    It’s a butterfly in South America, but anyone else think that the game would have turned out completely different if Boykin just takes the knee on the INT? Felt like we were behind the 8 ball the entire first half after that…time of possession and field position felt like those billion-turnover quarters we’ve had, even though we were protecting the ball.

    Anyway. Sh*t happens. UT and Vandy are demonstratively inferior opponents; let’s say we beat them like such, eh?

  23. Dboy

    Horrible call by the officials. I defy anyone to look throught every TD we have scored this year and not find excessive celebration by those moron refs standards. Between the R Jones passer roughing at Ok St, the no TD for green and no call push of the ref in Az St, added to the excessive celebrations yesterday that put LSU in great position to win. I think the NCAA and SEC
    should be contaced by Damon Evans for an official explanation. If anyone has Evans, SEC, NCAA contact info please pass it along. I don’t mind losing if we are fairly beaten, but this is getting ridiculous! Everyone please look up the final play in OT of the Notre Dame game… Long pass and two ND defenders led with the helment and looked like the gave the WR a concussion. Clearly a penalty by any rule interpretation… No flag. ND wins… Please some consistency NCAA!!!!!!

    • Julie

      You forgot about the horrible no call on the face mask on Caleb King in the ASU game. Of course, we got called for it on their running back yesterday after we were ahead. In fact, all of our penalties occurred when we were either ahead or, with one score, be ahead. I’m with Kevin Butler on this. There is a conspiracy. I would love to see stats since the 2007 Florida game of not only our penalties, but the incidence of penalties on our opponents. I would be shocked if the data didn’t show that our opponents were flagged less frequently when they played us than when they played the rest of the schedule. On another note, I think we have found our tailback, and the D played lights out for almost the entire game. If anything, this one was on the refs, Bobo, and Fabris.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      You left out the placement of the ball by the ref in the Okie State game after the Dawg D had stopped them on 4th down near the UGA goal line. The ref pushed the ball forward to give Okie State a first down when the ball carrier clearly had not made it that far. The TV guys even said so themselves although more sweetly: “Gosh, that was an awfully favorable spot for Oklahoma State, wasn’t it?” If you add up all the bad calls in the Okie State game and take away the points from them I got the Dawgs winning that game 17-10, worst case 10-10 and into OT.

  24. Chuck

    Senator,

    You are, as usual, correct in saying that the blown calls on the unsportsmanlike conduct did not cost us the game. You can always say that because we very clearly did not play an otherwise flawless game; few teams do. Still, it was crucial: LSU had just been scored upon, with about a minute left, and had it appeared that they just had the wind taken out of their sails. The penalty put the wind back, and it was no doubt a game changer. Yes, we could have played better earlier and not been in that position. Cox could have been a little more accurate (especially in the first half), Bobo could have called a better game, they could have run Ealey out there or Gray (again, the first half might have been more interesting), but the officials should not make a call like that at that point in the game without a little something that the CBS crew could say, “There, that was it”, but they were as dumbfounded as anyone wearing red. It was a horrible, horrible call.

    I am a big fan of Joe Cox in general, but I also think it might be a good idea to actually plan a series (not one play) for Gray, let Joe know ahead of time, and more or less have that series happen when Joe seems out of sync. Joe couldn’t seem to find his touch and it would have been useful to give him a break so as not to just fight through it with a lot of 3 and outs.

    As the season unfolds, I do think we are a talented team, and certainly a better team talent wise than we have shown. But we lack something. Whatever “IT” is, we don’t seem to have it. But I still enjoy watching them fight through adversity and occasionally rising above it, even if the adversity is of our own making. I thought before the season began we had a shot to be undefeated, but would likely be no worse than 5-1 with a couple of “signature” wins. We aren’t, and now I worry that we may not beat UT. I am scared crapless that we will lose to Auburn. Chizi’k hire isn’t looking so bad just now.

  25. dawg forever

    I thought both of the excessive celebration penalties were ridiculous. For the past several years, I have wonder why Florida can do the Gator chomp on the field. That is taunting plain and simple. As for our OC, Bobo needs to quit running the zone read. When Cox is in everybody knows that is not going to run it. When Grey and Smith are in everybody knows that that will keep it. The plays is designed for people who have a QB that can run and Back that can run. Our play calling has no rhyme or reason, if something is working keep going to it util they stop. That is what every other team has done to our defense this year. When JC audibles, it so obvious what play we are running. Fabris needs to be fired, if he wants a challenge, try to keep the other team from having a 20+ return on every kick. Even without the excessive celebration penalties, they returned the ball 40+ yards. There is no excuse for our special teams play. Anybody know what our record is under Richt when we miss at least one field goal?

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      The “excessive celebration” call on LSU was a make-up call made when the game,as a practical matter, was over.

  26. NebraskaDawg

    TIME FOR LOGAN GREY! (and maybe Murray)Not because of Cox but because he needs expierence for next year.

    • I agree, simply because it’s been shown that in every season where a Richt-coached Georgia team starts a QB that hasn’t played at least three games’ worth of downs, Georgia loses at least three games (2001; 2006; 2009 – I’m chalking up the Florida loss now, sadly).

      That may not sound like much, but at least those years were spaced such that we could say they were “rebuilding years.” If we have that same kind of year next year, it will almost certainly mean FIVE YEARS without winning the SEC East, much less the SEC Championship. Such droughts are the way a program loses momentum, and then loses its coach.

      Of course, it’s not automatic with other programs that when they introduce a new QB to the mix, they are relegated to a lesser bowl game. I think Richt is a great head coach, and I want him to retire here. But he won’t be a legendary coach until he realizes that holding his coaches accountable for results isn’t being harsh or uncharitable — it’s what anyone should expect of their boss, and of their program’s CEO. We’re not asking for folks to be fired upon their first disappointment — we’re working on several years of evidence here, and occasional flashes of brilliance should not blind us or Coach Richt to the consistently underachieving (and declining) body of work.

      • Not to be Deby Downer, but if you think we’re beating Tech with a game like that, you’re crazy.

        • Yeah, that too. In fact, each of those other years, we lost four games, so that would be consistent with the trend. Problem is, I don’t know whether last night’s low turnover, low penalty, poorly governed team will show up against Tech, or the high turnover, high penalty, high octane team will. Either way, I think we lose, but how can you fix the team when they fail in so many different ways, week-to-week?

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Point of correction–in 2007 the Dawgs tied for the SEC East championship but did not get to play in the SEC Championship Game because the tiebreaker went against them. Also, if KY or Vandy make field goals at the end of their games with TN, UGA is SEC East Champ outright.

  27. 69Dawg

    As long as the SEC sees no problem with a head of officials who played for a yearly in state revile of UGA we are screwed. Gaston, a Tech grad and former Tech player hand picked his successor another Tech grad and former player. Think Foley would put up with a head of SEC officials that had played for FSU? These refs could screw UGA at midfield and the SEC ref office would defend them.

    Bobo is the Peter Principle at work, he has clearly reached his level of incompetence.

  28. Sparrow

    To echo what’s been said before, it really is perplexing why we aren’t even giving reps to any of our other QBs. Keep Joe as the starter all season, that’s fine, but can’t we give some game-time experience to the guys who will do it next year.

    Here’s my conspiratorial thought for the day: If Richt plays a different QB and we see better play than we are getting from Cox, Richt will have no choice but to bench Cox, perhaps for good. And if Richt benches Cox, maybe that sends a negative message to every talented recruit considering UGA who will have to wait for playing time. Or maybe Cox has some dirt on Richt we don’t know about. Whatever it is, I don’t like it.

    Secondly, I’m in total agreement with the frustration directed towards Bobo. His playcalling is both random and predictable and inadequate. That said, how do we explain the USC and Arkansas games? Is that talent overcoming the chosen plays? Luck? It’s just hard to square that many touchdowns with complete ineptitude on the part of the OC. I’m not saying it can’t be done, I just can’t figure it out.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      How can something be “random and predictable” at the same time?

      • Sparrow

        That exactly my point. There’s no method to his madness (ie. it’s random), yet no one is fooled by his calls (predictable). It’s the worst of both worlds.

  29. Russell

    It is time for the coaching staff to have a John the Baptist experience.They are in the wilderness. They have been told they must repent. Now it’s time to dunk ‘em. They need to get right.

  30. Frank

    Dear DawgNation:

    If you truly want to voice your opinion regarding the ridiculous NCAA Football Rule 9-2 Article 1(a)(1)(d), email Michael Adams, Chair of the NCAA Executive Committee at presuga@uga.edu.

    Have him forward your email to the following individuals on the NCAA Board of Directors:

    Charlotte Jones
    Napoleon Brandford III
    Robert J. Brown
    Marvin P. Bush
    Kenneth I. Chenault
    Anita L. DeFrantz
    Karl Eller
    Thomas J. Fitzpatrick
    Bradford E. Freeman
    John W. Harris
    Stephen J. Heyer Founding
    Calvin Hill
    Robert Holland, Jr.
    James L. Isch
    Gregory W. Jones
    William M. Lewis, Jr.
    Peyton Manning
    J. Timothy McGinley
    Leslie Moonves
    James T. Morris
    Charles L. Overby
    Christi M. Pedra
    Mercer Reynolds III
    Jerry D. Semler
    William J. Shaw
    Fredrick W. Smith
    David L. Sokol
    George M. Steinbrenner
    Thomas C. Stewart
    Christine J. Toretti
    Donna F. Tuttle
    Ronald H. Walker
    Gary Wilson
    Robert L. Wood

    The NCAA website does not list email addresses for the President or Board of Directors—that I could find.

    Email Michael Adams. Hopefully, he will forward to the names listed above.

    Nothing gets done unless voices are heard where it really counts, my friends.

  31. Smitty

    Not that it mattered in this game but why is our second string QB on Kickoff Coverage team? I’ll hang up and listen.

  32. Smitty

    And when we took the lead and went to kickoff for the last time that kickoff formation looked like something I’ve seen out in the yard with the kids playing. I understand some of the disorganization may have been to throw off LSU’s blocking assignments but it looked like we just ran out there like a bunch of chickens with their head’s cut off. I was sitting near that end zone so believe me I got a good look at it.

    Anyone else see LSU’s tackle have a false start that was not called on their second to last series. Our DE was pointing and Richt was all over the ref for it during the play. The play which we went on to have a flagrant 15 yard facemask no less.

  33. Dog in Fla

    “egregious enough that it’s worth calling into question whether in fact the SEC officiating office really does have something against Mark Richt because of the Celebration in 2007.”

    That’s been an absolute given.

    The last one was so horribly bad that at least the rest of the country now realizes what we all know:

    Since the ‘o7 Florida game, it has been a usual and standard practice that the SEC refs have been, and still are, ****ing over Georgia every chance they get.

    It’s not like Mark killed anybody but I guess the SEC refs think he just showed them up and to them that’s the same thing.

    The idea that the makeup call evens things out is absolute bull****. That may work sometimes on balls and strikes in baseball. It didn’t work yesterday.

    Because it’s nationwide bad publicity against the so-called best football conference in the galaxy, maybe Mike Slive will look up from counting all the CBS-ESPN SEC TV money because people are going to stop watching games that are so fixed that they make pro wrestling look good, pay some attention and do something about it so the games are decided by the players, not the insurance salesmen and other part-timers who half-ass ref these games.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      A makeup call is not for the purpose of making things be fair. A makeup call is for the purpose of evening up stats so that when the victim complains the ref can point to the makeup call and say, “See, I called it both ways.” It is self protection to the ref and it proves premeditation, that the first bad call was not accidental.

  34. mhpdawg

    I thought the play calling on O & D was solid and good enough to win this game. Not perfect, but good enough.
    The D played pretty well… minus the last drive. But the circumstances forced us to change our coverage in that situation to try to drive them back before a field-goal attempt. After watching the tape, I guess the illustrious SEC officials have decided they are no longer calling blatant instances of holding in the last minute of games. Check it out… Rennie was tackled on the C. Scott TD play.
    It is hard to call plays on offense when seemingly nobody can block, throw, run, or catch (except for A.J.). The bottom line is… we didn’t execute the plays we called yesterday. You can blame that on the coaches if you would like.

  35. PNWDawg

    I agree with the thoughts of getting Logan Gray some rep time (other than the wildcat). But I was rather impressed with how Cox pulled himself together and had a good second half. That says a lot there. I would caution everyone about getting too excited about Ealey. How’s his pass protection and ability to catch the screeen? Were we not saying Caleb was looking pretty good (outside of the fumble) just a week ago? I think as a fanbase we have a tendency to look to what’s “new”. I think our struggle with the running game is mostly due to terrible play by our o-line. Were they really that good last year or was Moreno just that good? I think anyone outside of (hand over your heart) Herschel would struggle to put up yards with the complete absence of blocking from the big guys. And special teams? Are they riding the short bus to the game? Has anyone on our staff thought to ask Fabris any basic questions to see if he’s fit to coach? I.e. What year is it? Where are you? What sport do you ‘coach’?

  36. JaxDawg

    This team is so discombobulated that I don’t know where to start.

    Is it the result of:
    (1) first-year (senior) QB that’s not all that good?
    (2) an extremely young team playing many important positions?
    (3) An OC and DC that are in over their heads?
    (4) Coaches clinging to methods that time is beginning to show are wrong?
    (5) UGA VIII (whichever this one is) being to laid back?
    (6) A head coach being to damn laid back?

    We’re young, inexperienced in many key areas, and it’s showing game after game. I try to make excuses for last year – injuries, leadership, etc – but I could never settle on one or four logical reasons. Sometimes teams just don’t work out. Whatever. But the more THIS team plays, the more I believe we’re simply a (very) young team quarterbacked by an inexperienced Senior.

    A friend asked me if Richt’s job was in trouble (which seems ludicrous really) – I said no – but, if the next two years reveal the same shortcomings and frustrating mistakes as the last 2 then yes, we might give that guy up in Cincy a call (if someone else doesn’t first). I’d like to see what he and his staff could do with this talent.

    Sure – we all overanalyze this crap. So I’ll stick to my hypothesis and just say we’re young, dumb, full of c*m, and are making underclassman mistakes.

    The problem is that while we think appropriate coaching cures all ills, the fact is that only a few AJ Greens and Eric Berrys come around in a decade. And even AJ can make a “mistake”.

    I’ll continue to be patient, but not for infinity.

    BTW – my Dad thinks all our problems can be traced to Richt being too nice. Back in 2005 he also said Florida made a great hire with Meyer and that “that sonofabitch scares me. He’s ruthless”. Maybe there’s something to the old man’s wisdom.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Let Mr. Ruthless play Tebow in the LSU game and suppose Tebow takes another head shot. If Tebow turns up dead or a veg we’ll see what being ruthless gets him. Condemnation from everyone in the media, hatred from his own players and the biggest lawsuit against the University of Florida in history. Play him Coach Ruthless–I dare you!

      • JaxDawg

        I agree with you re: Tebow. TT shoudn’t have been playing that late in the KY game anyway.

        But don’t discount what Meyer has done and his “ruthlessness”, style, whatever has won 2 national championships in 3 years and is headed for a THIRD.

        Sure, the old man is wrong sometimes but not about Meyer, and maybe not about Richt.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        P.S. Plus, no parent in his/her right mind would ever allow his/her kid to go to Florida or any other school where CUM was coaching after that. PLEASE Urban, play Tebow.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I remember another coach that Florida had who was successful in winning games and was totally ruthless. His name was Charlie Pell. With a little luck CUM might just end up the same way.

      • Ty Webb

        Would CUM then end up Houston Nutt’s nickname of the Quarterback Killer?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Nutt’s moniker should more properly be QB F–kerUpper. CUM would definitely qualify for QB Killer in that scenario.

    • Nebraska

      We got sick of a 10-game winner, too.

    • D.N. Nation

      “But the more THIS team plays, the more I believe we’re simply a (very) young team quarterbacked by an inexperienced Senior.”

      Which we are, playing a difficult schedule.

      Take a look at that 2010 slate. This team would be undefeated against it through 5 games. So will next year’s. And you’ll be wow, Richt’s finally coaching again.

  37. J

    Was there even a flag thrown?? I did not see one from the stands, and the CBS commentators also stated that they did not see a flag.

    Also, can anybody say with the straight face that if it had been Tim Tebow, instead of A.J. Green, that a flag would have been thrown? Tebow makes about 20-25 caveman-like gestures to the crowd per game.

    P.S. due to time constraints, I have withheld the typical groveling disclaimer about what a great guy Tebow is, which seems to be a requirement before throwing any criticism his way.

  38. Hobnail_Boot

    …and yet we still control our own SEC destiny.

    Let’s kick UT’s teeth in.

    • SilverDawgFrank

      Indeed, Hobnail.

      UT’s teeth are false, to boot.

      And Kiffy is short in the tooth, long in the mouth.

  39. Ken

    Am I the only one who felt like punching the TV screen every time King ran up the middle for no gain? It was like an even crappier version of Groundhog Day every time Joe handed him the ball.

  40. SilverDawgFrank

    It’s 5:45 Monday morning, Senator.

    The DawgNation is in a state, big-time. For good reason.

    And you. You! Are you still in bed? Sleeping during a crisis? Have you no shame? Have you no coffee in the house? Don’t you feel bad now? Guilty? Feeling like Nixon in a helicopter?

    Good.

  41. Bryant Denny

    The most ridiculous penalty I have ever seen.

    If the official felt the need to call a penalty, why not call it on Cox? He’s the guy streaking down the field holding up a finger on each hand saying he’s #1.

    Good grief.

    I wouldn’t have called a penalty on him if he was doing back flips over to the sideline after that catch – and I’m a Bama fan.

  42. Seriously, LSU won this game because Trindon Holiday took the kickoff from his own 17 and returned it into Georgia territory. You want win? Cover the Kickoff? Kick it away, oh ya, and Play Defense. Your LB got ran over on Charles Scott’s 33 yard Touchdown!

    After our 15 yard celebration penalty, we wanted to win, SO WE COVERED THE DAMN KICKOFF!!!!!!!!!!

    Everybody, Every Team has been screwed by the Refs before, but I DO NOT BELIVE THIS CALL IS THE SOLE REASON WHY GEORGIA LOST THIS FOOTBALL GAME.