It’s all in their minds.

And so we embark on what is surely the weirdest journey of Mark Richt’s tenure in Athens – a game against the hated in state rival that’s being overshadowed by what may happen afterwards.  The speculation and the wishful pessimism have been almost surreal, but it’s clear that the honeymoon for the coaching staff is over.

Me?  I guess I’m still a small picture guy about tonight’s game.  I go into every season with Florida and Georgia Tech as my two emotional bookends.  I love to see Georgia beat Florida more than any other school and I hate to see the Dawgs lose to the Jackets more than any other school.  Nothing’s changed on that front.

So what’s it gonna take to get everything spinning in its properly greased groove again?  Well, we all know about the turnover numbers.  And we all know that clock control is going to be the mantra for both teams.  (And, if anything, limiting the number of possessions is going to magnify the effect of any turnovers.)

But I think it really boils down to this quote from Paul Johnson:  “When they don’t beat themselves, they’re a really good football team.” Don’t snicker; he’s right.  Sandwiched between three quarters of disastrously played football in their last two games are five quarters when the Dawgs whipped up on two SEC opponents to the tune of 51-16.  The problem for tonight’s game is going to be if Paul Johnson believes that more strongly than the Georgia coaches and players do themselves.

This team of ours needs to come out and play four quarters of aggressive football.  I don’t mean aggressive in the sense of being reckless, but rather aggressive by playing confidently.  It’s not about gambling on a fake punt.  It’s about realizing that you’ve got the best kicker tandem in the country and playing to their strengths.  It’s not about late hits out-of-bounds or red face guards or fake energy.  It’s about playing to the level of your skills and realizing that you’ve got more than enough talent to win.  And more than anything, it’s not about playing in fear of the worst thing that could happen at a given moment or relaxing when it feels like you’ve gotten the upper hand.  It’s about playing mentally tough football for a complete sixty minutes.  Unfortunately, that’s an attitude that’s been missing for some time now.  And after the Kentucky collapse, you have to question whether this staff and these players have it within themselves to regroup emotionally.

So I’ll be down at BDS tonight, like most fans, I expect, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

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25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

25 responses to “It’s all in their minds.

  1. Section Z alum

    a squashing of the nerds would heal a few bruises, but i worry most about what’s over the horizon. richt was able to see all sorts of wonderful examples of coaching success at fsu, and build a coaching philosophy that heretofore has played out in practice. but building the tight-knit family culture in the program – great while things run well – sets one up for a magnified impact from coaching changes. and one thing richt didn’t get to see in practice at fsu (correct me if i’m wrong) is how to fire coaches and reconstruct parts of a staff. so not only would big coaching changes be an unfamiliar task, but one counter to richt’s philosophical impulses as well. so i worry.

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  3. NebraskaDawg

    I hate Tech (mainly their obnoixous fans). I’d be happy to give Martinez and Fabris a 5 year contract extension if it meant beating Tech’s ass tonight.

    • Ben Rockwell

      And for the remainder of those five year contracts, as well. I’m not down for just one win…

    • Dog in Fla

      NebraskaDawg, now widely suspected of having broken his solemn pledge earlier this season to never smoke weed with Willie again, is now talking like a Notre Dame Athletic Director wanting go give out five year contracts to Willie and Fabris if Georgia swats the jackets from North Electric Avenue tonight. Secret video taken last night reportedly shows ND with his posse dancing around like a ND Athletic Director at a strip club somewhere in the tenderloin of Omaha…

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Glum cliche time: “There’s a reason they play the games”

    Nebraska: A FIVE year extension for one game? Really?

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    Hell, Senator, it’s not just in the team’s minds, I have no idea what hat or shirt to wear; no idea whether to watch TV or listen to the radio or both, or put the radio out in the yard so’s I can soak up some cold.

    I’m confused, we’re confused, they are confused.

    Unfortunately, Tech is probably not confused.

    Hopefully, we can infect them a little.

    How can you go into a big game with no solid hat?

    • aristoggle

      As Dan Akroyd, playing Jimmy, Carter said …

      Try taking some vitamin B-complex, some Vitamin-C complex, if you have a beer, go ahead and drink it. Just remember you’re a living organism on this plant; you’re very safe.

      Relax, stay inside and listen to some music, okay? Do you have any Allman Brothers?

      Then … let’s GATA!!!

    • melodygodawgs

      Dust off the old Georgia/Tech song and sing it to yourself–first, almost like a prayer, and then building in intensity until you are so hyped you are nearly screaming it.

      (To the tune of the “Ramblin’ Wreck” ditty)

      I’m glad that I’m for Georgia
      And not for Georgia Tech.
      I’m glad that I’m a Bulldawg
      And not a Ramblin’ Wreck.
      ‘Cause Georgia’s so much better
      As you can plainly tell.
      I’m glad that I’m for Georgia
      And Tech can go to Hell!

      You’ll know which hat to wear. You’ll have confidence in our team. You’ll know that the Dawgs will persevere and overcome. I feel a victory coming. GATA! Go Dawgs!

  6. scott

    i’m sitting at starbucks on 10st, filling up with nerds as I type. These folks make me puke. GO DAWGS!

  7. bullydawgy

    Russ is named for Erk Russell!! Go Russ! GATA!!

  8. Chuck

    Pretty sure CMR has not lost at the Joke by Coke. So there’s that incentive. Who knows? Clearly, we have the talent; the only issue is whether we will apply it. But at least there’s some reason for CMR to want to have them play four full quarters.

  9. Here’s to hoping our good host is pleasantly surprised tonight at the Joke by the Coke.

    GO DAWGS!

  10. Dog in Fla

    Global War on Marks and Martinez (GWOM’s) Crisis of the Day (COD) Piece (extended pre-game version of what it’s like when our coaches talk amongst themselves)

    “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble-seat”

    High noon, Inner-city Atlanta, 28 November 2009

    Head Coach Mark calls the convocation of coaches pre-game baloney sandwich luncheon meeting to order and tells them CPJ is going to try to jam the wishbone down their throat again but reminds his coaches that CPJ also says, “When they [us] don’t beat themselves [ourselves], they’re [we're] a really good [not bad] football team,” and can I get an Amen to that. After a chorus of Amens to that, Head Coach Mark reminds them that a very few someones on the outside of The Program think that if we get steamrollered again like we did third quarter last year that those very few someones will once again demand that all the coaches, and not just Willie, get a haircut and get a real job…

    That could also be the philosophy of Damon who is being philosophical about it by not thinking about it. Damon is of the old-school where am I, how should I discover it and what should I do school of thought originated by some whacked-out self-centred ‘Philosophy: Who Needs It?’ woman from way back when…

    http://fare.tunes.org/liberty/library/pwni.html

    Mark tells his krewe, “Remember, tonight we explode not implode. If any of you can’t remember what that’s like to explode and not implode and I know I can’t, here’s a little reminder…”

    http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/most-colossal-nuclear-explosions-captured-camera/17875

    In his closing remarks, Head coach Mark says one more thing, “Don’t give up more than 400 rushing, don’t get more than 125 in penalties, recover a fumble by the other side for a change, get one interception, don’t give up more than four turnovers ourselves and boom goes the dynomite, we’ve got this one in the bag. Remember, Jon’s going to do a Bobby Dodd the odds are good but the goods are odd pre-game locker inspection and stand-by for heavy rolls if he finds any jelly doughnuts. Now GATA but only if you want to.”

  11. Aaaaaaaaaaaannnd… order is restored to the Universe.

  12. NRBQ

    Is this where we enter comments on the game tonight?

    Wow, did this game play into our hands?

    I heart CMR. I might sex-up Washaun.

  13. Chris Marsdawg

    I’m a ramblin’ wreck from Georgia Tech
    and a hell of a mid-level IT specialist!

    Try playing in a real conference before you start thinking you’re a great football program.

  14. Mayor of Dawtown

    Best game we’ve played all year, particularly the offensive line. D was good, too.