Georgia roundup

In lieu of a Tennessee Tech preview (seriously, should there be anything more to say than “don’t get hurt during the Dawg Walk”?), I thought I’d toss out a few unrelated items for your consideration.

Can you say “embattled”?  Good, I thought you could.

  • David Paschall explores the possibility that tomorrow’s crowd could be a bit disappointing.  It’s the player quotes that are of interest – on the one hand, they seem resigned to a drop in enthusiasm from the fans, on the other, there’s a little us-against-the-world mentality that sounds like it’s creeping in.
  • Van Halanger is the latest coach to respond to criticism.
  • It’s not the dreaded vote of confidence, but posts like this on sites like SI.com don’t make Richt look comfortable.

Turnovers:  Maybe Martinez does know what he’s talking about.

The AB-H takes a look at why Georgia is doing such a lousy job at forcing turnovers this season (only six, which ranks dead last in D-1).  To Martinez’ credit, instead of taking an existential approach to the situation, he does point to a specific problem area:

“It starts with pressure, for us, with what we do,” Martinez said. “You pressure the quarterback, make him make quick decisions. I think offenses are getting better and better in understanding the blitzes. The times we’ve been very successful, we’ve generated pressure with our front four. Not blitzing, just playing defense. We’ve got to put pressure otherways too.”

The stats bear that out, it seems.

The Bulldogs’ pass rush the past two seasons has dropped off from Martinez’s first three years as coordinator from 2005-07.

The Bulldogs ranked in the top 30 nationally in sacks each of those years with 35, 33 and 42 and produced 29, 30 and 26 turnovers. Georgia dipped last year to 23 sacks and had 16 forced turnovers.

Interestingly, cfbstats.com provides this info for 2004, VanGorder’s last year as defensive coordinator:  Georgia ranked 93rd nationally in forced turnovers, with 17.  (That, despite the fact that in Pollack’s final season, the Dawgs ranked 12th nationally in sacks.)

Mark Richt:  Blair Walsh owes his success to directional kicking.

This is from Marc Weiszer’s excellent post about the fine seasons Walsh and Butler are having:

Richt said Walsh is more receptive now to directional kicking.

“I think in the beginning he was a little curious about why in the beginning do we want the ball kicked in a certain spot with this hang time, but I think now he understands how important it was and he resigned himself to the fact that that’s what it takes to do it,” Richt said. “When there’s times when there is wind at your back, let it rip, knock it out if you feel it. If there’s wind in your back half the game, then there’s wind in your face half the game. You can’t just kick every one of them out of the end zone. Not many guys can do that. That’s why they moved it back to the 30. Now he understands the hang time issue, the ball placement issue and it’s paid really big dividends for our kickoff coverage team.”

Just for a little perspective, according to Weiszer, almost 30% of Walsh’s kickoffs are touchbacks.  Even with that, Georgia ranks a pathetic 107th nationally in kickoff coverage.  Why the disconnect?  Well, here’s one possibility, from TheDawgfather at the Dawg Run message board, who, after watching a replay of the 2004 Georgia-LSU game, offered this observation:

-We had all 4 starting defensive backs on the kickoff team (Minter,
Jennings, Blue, and Thomas Davis. David Pollack played on the kickoff
return team. We clearly put our best players on special teams back then.

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UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot to mention this, um, curious complaint from Buck Belue.

A portion of the Georgia fan base has performed poorly too. How do you leave early, when the LSU-GA game outcome hangs in the balance? What’s up with the showing up tardy? How lame is all that garbage that was left behind by tailgaters? Embarrassing. Have another 6-pack and scream about firing Martinez and Bobo some more. Or, how about just going back home and staying there?

If we all clean up after our tailgates, does that mean we can complain about the coaches?

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “Georgia roundup

  1. BeerMoney

    You know, Richt is starting to sound more and more like George W. Bush every day. You respect the man, but almost everything he says these days goes against logic, statistical data, good strategy, and common sense. As a Republican, I wanted to defend the president just as I want to defend Richt as a Dawg fan. But it reaches a point in all the lunacy spewed forth that you cannot defend the indefensible.

    Then again, I was never in the arena, so I don’t deserve to express my opinion since I don’t know what I am talking about.

  2. Rbubp

    It’s really maddening that Richt continues to blame this issue on Walsh, who leads the SEC in touchbacks, leads the world in FGs over 50 yards, and who clearly has the best leg of any kicker I’ve seen at Georgia since Kevin Butler. This guy has All-America potential. The statistical slippage that shows that the kick return team is really the problem has been out there all year in other places and lead me to believe–though it can’t possibly be true–that the coaches don’t actually do those kind of metrics to evaluate their own strategies.

    It’s one of those little things that makes you think that these guys are overwhelmed. I don’t want to believe it… but I also do not want to believe I know more about this than the coaches do.

  3. Rbubp

    As for the defense, well, duh. The DL is not good enough to play a cover 2, and our occasional blitzes are too predictable and easily picked up (or bootlegged around).

  4. Richt-Flair

    I think that picture posted after the LSU game where we were flagged on the last kickoff pretty much sums up our kickoff covereage problems. Walsh is NOT the problem.

  5. The Realist

    I heart Drew Butler. That is all.

  6. The Realist

    If all the fans just went home and stayed there, the football team would cease to function. What a good idea, Buck.

  7. Farsider

    I’m sure that Belue really upset the dozens of people who regularly listen to his drive-time radio show.

    I occasionally listen to him and its the old story—his view is that people who didn’t play the game have no right to criticize anything. Ivory tower Buck has probably never had to pay to get into a sports event in his life.

  8. anonymous

    Buck Belue is a clown. Good for him in 1980, but as a pundit, he fails miserably.

  9. Dog in Fla

    Global War on Marks and Martinez (GWOM) Crisis of the Day (COD) Piece, “At Least We Can Kick”, 6 November 2009

    Zero Dark Thirty, Liberty at Do Long!

    Mark (played by Captain Willard) takes his rag tag squad of assistants and senior players up river for a little R&R at the Do Long bridge over the Oconee just to get his crew out of the withering media crossfire it put itself in when it screwed the pooch big-time in Jacksonville last Saturday. Who knew we couldn’t beat a 15 point spread? Mark brought along some redshirt freshmen to walk point just in case. Mark knows that taking them to Ramsey for a swim picnic always works at least for the day. But unfortunately, being outside the Butts-Mehre defense perimeter opened Mark and his men up to even more attack on what he thought was just going to be some ordinary overnight liberty.

    His men were just about out of ammo when he sent Van Halenger to walk point after the Randy Cross snipered that our boys didn’t even fill out their unis. Country Joe and his fish from San Francisco had earlier bitched about us being weak this week which seems to the attack du jour against us for queering the deal so far this season. Mark had given some ancient history lessons earlier this week such as we didn’t do squat until he got here so why don’t you just STFU for a change except that Mark doesn’t talk like that. You just had to try real hard to decipher it from the code Mark speaks in.

    He’s not real direct like someone like Crazy Lane. Mark is thinking about putting Searls in charge of media relations but won’t make a decision until after the season and that includes if we are lucky the Bowl f/k/a the Poulan Weedeater Bowl in Shreveport. Stacy, having been in the sh!t and cut his fangs under Saban in Red Stick City, not only knows Louisiana but knows just exactly how to treat the media, which is not quite as diplomatic as the version of STFU that Mark uses.

    By coincidence, Easom somehow momentarily has special teams out of the crossfire. Our men kicking field goals and punting have kicked ass and taken names so far this season. No one knows whether that’s because of Easom but most likely it’s because Butler and Walsh have tuned him the heck out, are just reading Rex Robinson’s blog and booming it.

    In any event, the R&R at the bridge was taped and this special preview of the coaching staff and seniors having fun is being offered up as pre-game big-screen pre-game entertainment to draw some warm bodies to the Tennessee What game this Saturday morning. Watch as Mark asks ‘Who’s the commanding officer here?” (4:41) and “Do you know who’s in command here? (6:28).

  10. Macallanlover

    I think many of the complaints about the complainers are more about the “style”, or lack thereof, that is particularly grating to us. Essentially everyone is disappointed and has concerns about one, or several, areas of the football team/staff. But the hysterical, mean-spirited manner so many of these critics use to express themselves is out of line.

    I am as heated and passionate about UGA football, politics, etc. as anyone you will ever meet but in “real life” situations humans just don’t act this way unless they are disturbed. The overly hysterical reactions lead to extreme comments that undermine the efectiveness of whatever viewpoint they are trying to express. UGA football needs improvement, and those needs are in more than one area, but the damned sky is not falling, and the world is not coming to an end (at least because of UGA football.) I feel our fans are in much more need of improvement/change than anything I see on the field of play. Our football team is disappointing, the way our fanbase has become unraveled is a complete joke. For that reason alone Buck is right to call UGA fans out, and more should do so. There is a way to have constructive, rational criticsm but what we have is a destructive approach that will be divisive and set us back.

    Those who think calling Richt out in the media, call-in shows, and on the internet should realize mid-season isn’t the time for the demands of who will be retained, and who will be retained. We are in the middle of a season despite the fact that many fans have already put up the white flag. We currently have zero recruits who have signed with UGA for 2010, a program under full assault on all fronts could be viewed as unattractive, don’t you think? This is why many are offended by those who feel they must shout how bad the state of UGA football is from not just the rooftops, but into the homes of anyone with a radio, TV, internet, or newspaper subscription. The football team will recover from this down year much quicker than the fall the fans have taken. We have reached an all-time low, the football program is no where near that, not even close.

    • We have reached an all-time low…

      You must not have been around for the Donnan years. ;)

      • dean

        Or the Goff years. Or the last few Dooley years. Yes there were actually fans saying it was time for Dooley to step down. We just didn’t have the internet to make the vitriol toward the coaches as prominent as it is now.

      • Macallanlover

        Of course I was, and the Dooley years as well. Of course we didn’t have much sports radio then, and no internet. At least the complaining was done in coffee shops and was between Dawg fans, not the whole world. Within family, much can be said that shouldn’t be aired publicly. I think that is the worst part to me. Living outside Georgia, I can tell you we are laughed at, not as a program, as a group of fans. And I cannot argue that we are classy anymore, that has definitely gone away. I think our success has made us worse losers.

    • PNWDawg

      Great comments. We often hear or complain that the football team needs to show some emotion, play a complete game, etc. And I think those are fair comments to make. I also think as fans we need to step up and show unwavering support for our team. There’s nothing wrong with the fans helping to motivate the team. I am appalled when I tune in to watch the game I see so many empty seats at kickoff. I brought my wife out here from Washington to the Ole Miss game in 2007 and one of her comments that stood out was, “Why is it so quiet here with all these people?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from the television commentators as well. Sure, if the game is going well the crowd is as rabid as anywhere. But the first sign of trouble we sit down and pour more bourbon in our coke for an afternoon nap. Ever wonder why our road record is so much better? It seems like Sanford Stadium should be so much more intimidating than it is.

  11. Dog in Fla

    “If we all clean up after our tailgates, does that mean we can complain about the coaches?”

    “Hell, yeah!” says Push the Talking Trash while he’s being admired by Alice in Wonderland and one of our future DB recruits who is rumored to be favoring the Gators now…

    http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/disney/images/d/d7/Aliceandpush_edited.jpg

  12. D.N. Nation

    Um, Buck…

    What’s up with the showing up tardy?

    I haven’t been following Georgia football as long as many people around these parts, but the students (especially, natch, in the frat sections) moseying on in a minute or so after kickoff has always been ubiquitous. It is what it is.

    Additionally, the northeast corner of the upper deck, where many visitors sit, always takes forever to fill up. Blame LSU and Auburn and UT, etc.

  13. In reply to Buck, what about those of us that have not left a Georgia loss before the end of the game since we’ve been going to games? Are we allowed to complain? Because I know I’ve never been late, nor have I left through such magnificent performances such as Alabama ’08, Florida ’08 and Ga. Tech ’08, along with this year’s wonderful losses. I also saw Tennessee ’04 (heartbreaking), West Virgina ’05 (man that sucked in the dome), and Vanderbilt ’06. I also have never left a tailgating site with garbage. My friends and I leave 2 hours early usually so that we have plenty of time to both clean up our site and get to the stadium.

    I think, using his logic, I should be free to complain all I want.

    • Dog in Fla

      Yes, you can!

      And exceptionally nice predicting ability by you on seeing this freaking weird one coming:

      “Thursday, October 01, 2009
      DARTH HELMET STRIKES?
      “I don’t think we’d do a black jersey or black helmet, we wouldn’t do a blackout of any kind unless we got the fans into it,” Richt said. “I don’t think it’s worth doing a blackout without it.”

      Holy shit, does anybody else see BLACK HELMET there? That’d be freaking weird.”

  14. Bobafet7

    Hey Buck, your starting to sound like that ass Kincaide

  15. Hobnail_Boot

    Belue is an embarrassment.

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  17. B Man

    PNWDawg, you touched on something that my friends and I have thought about for years. For as big as Georgia’s stadium has become, it can be the most quiet 92,000 people I’ve ever seen or heard. Yes, when things go well, we cheer loudly. But at nearly the first sign of trouble (and I’m guilty as well), we get very, very quiet.

    I’m not sure what it is, perhaps we are a state of worriers. Perhaps Dooley and Munson conditioned us to be that way (oh man, here they come, and they’re so Big and Fast). Whatever it is, it’s palpable (and the Braves are the baseball equivalent, in my opinion).

    That being said and taking my fair share of blame as a fan, Buck can step the freak off (and I say that about one of my childhood heroes). His blind homerism is as transparent as a windshield. If I were his employer, I’d be pissed because he has absolutely no objectivity regarding the UGA football program. At 4-4, he defends everyone. He’d be defending them if they were 2-6, which they could easily be. And if only people who have played in the arena (be it college football, MLB, NBA hoops) are allowed to criticize, well then 680 the Fan would be out of business.

  18. 69Dawg

    I think our Strength coach is a little confused. Being able to lift great amounts of weight does not make you a great football player it makes you a Power Lifter. OLineman need strong backs and strong legs and OT’s need long arms. Does Coach Van have a lift that will lengthen their arms?

    I just rewatched the 09 ASU game and if I was Coach Searles I would have been embarrassed. Our OL was stoned by ASU multiple times and it wasn’t strength we were lacking it was heart and technique. ASU got low on the line and their LBs fired in to stop the run. We are not a very good team top to bottom.