Where do they go from here?

Their conference and division goals having gone up in smoke Saturday night, Mark Richt and his team still have much to play for.  For the players, there’s pride and confidence at stake.  For Richt, the rest of the season is a glorified job interview.  I’m not making any predictions, but it goes without saying that the program’s trajectory over the past three seasons isn’t sustainable.  This sort of commentary should sting:

“They’re not as good as they were five or six years ago,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. “Going into this year, some people picked them to win the East. I guess Georgia has got some problems. There are people in worse shape than we are, that’s for sure.”

I’m not one of the coaches and I certainly lack the close perspective Richt has in terms of evaluating his program today.  But even from where I sit, it’s not that hard to notice some obvious flaws which deserve immediate attention.

Offense. Okay, for several reasons we all know about, Mike Bobo hasn’t been able to play the offense he expected going into the season.  That, however, doesn’t excuse his apparent unwillingness to shape the offense around the cards he now finds himself dealt.

The best of those cards is his most consistent play maker.

photo via Richard Hamm/Athens Banner-Herald

A look at the conference passer stats this morning shows that Aaron Murray continues to hold his own among his SEC peers.  (Notice that he is the only quarterback on that list who isn’t a junior or senior.)  He also ranks fourth in the conference in total yardage; that ranking would be even higher but for the yardage lost to sacks.  In short, he’s been the kind of player the coaches hoped he’d become, ahead of schedule.  That’s a good thing.  It’s time for Bobo to design a game plan which reflects that.

He’s got some solid tools with which to do so.  With A.J. Green’s return this week, there is some true quality depth at wide receiver, as both Durham and King have gotten off to credible starts.

The irony here is that the conventional wisdom for defending Georgia’s offense in A.J. Green’s absence – load up the box, stuff the run and make Murray beat you – continues to work, not so much because the freshman quarterback has crumpled under the pressure, but because Bobo’s innate conservatism plays right into it.  There are any number of plays and formations that can take advantage of a blitzing defense.  I know that because I’ll see Bobo draw them up and call them to good effect.  But for some reason, he’s clearly reluctant to press his advantage throughout an entire game.

Is some of that due to concerns about Murray’s tendency on occasion to play like a redshirt freshman?  No doubt;  Murray’s lucky he wasn’t intercepted at least twice by the MSU defense with bad throws and he still has a tendency to lock into receivers.  But he’ll get better with time and experience.  He’d also be helped with an offense that lets him throw more quick passes and that runs out of more spread sets so that it’s easier for him to see the field.

Reconfiguring the offensive game planning should be Richt’s number one priority right now.

Defense. I’m surprised at the amount of negativity directed at the defensive staff.  For the most part, the defense has played about as expected, given the significant changes on staff and with the scheme, the one glaring exception being the poor tackling we saw throughout the South Carolina game.

The consistent problems I see here are more personnel related than anything else.  Lakatos wants a physical secondary.  That’s not what this bunch is capable of (Hamilton, in particular, has been a major disappointment in that department).  The linebacking play has been no worse than solid in terms of assignments, but there doesn’t seem to be enough bulk to stop the run on a consistent basis, and that’s reflected in the third down conversion stats:  teams with decent running games are converting third downs at better than a 50% clip against the Dawgs.

The real structural problem, though, is with the defensive line, which just isn’t big enough to cope with teams that are blocking it with six linemen/tight ends.  (The Gamecocks often used seven.)  Too small to demand double teams and not quick enough to get the penetration that Grantham seeks to disrupt running plays, the defensive tackles simply aren’t setting the table consistently to allow the linebackers to clean up the run.  The result is either that linebackers get taken out by a surge from the other team’s offensive line, or Grantham has to compensate by committing the safeties more to run support.  The defense has been victimized either way.

I don’t think there are many happy solutions here, because it’s more a personnel matter than anything else and there’s only so much the coaches can do with what they have to work with, but there’s one move I’d like to see them make and that’s to play Kwame Geathers more.  I understand the issues with his technique and I appreciate Garner’s approach to demanding improvement out of his charges, but despite only playing in two games (and sparingly in those), he’s third among all the defensive linemen in tackles and tied for first among them in tackles for loss.  He needs to be in the mix.

Special teams. Drew Butler hasn’t been the dominant force he was last year, but you have to think that gets sorted out sooner or later.  The problems here are the return teams.  Boykin doesn’t seem to be getting the blocking that he got last season and appears frustrated.  And there’s really nothing to say about Georgia’s punt return game because it’s almost non-existent:  little to no rush on the kicker, ineffective blocking against the other team’s coverage (at least in the SEC matchups) and heavy doses of Logan Gray.  They’re the friendliest bunch of guys in the conference.

Attitude/readiness. The punt return team’s passivity is symptomatic of what ails Richt’s program overall, the inability to play aggressively and confidently for a full sixty minutes.  You’ll see stretches where the team plays up to its potential, most thrillingly in the eight-minute stretch in the fourth quarter of the Arkansas game when they erased a two-touchdown deficit, but what you see far more of is some form of adversity hit – an Ealey fumble, a freak fourth down conversion by a punter who fumbled a snap – that immediately causes the players and/or coaches to stage a retreat either emotionally or strategically.  They keep losing games because they can’t sustain their edge.

This isn’t something new.  And maybe this is just who Mark Richt is now, a head coach who worries far more about what bad things can happen instead of pressing the advantage his team often has.  I don’t know.  Maybe what I should hope for here is that he realizes he’s entered the “what have I got to lose?” phase of his career and pushes the talent on the field and on the staff accordingly.  Because if he can’t find his way back, I’m afraid he’s going to find out the answer to that question a lot sooner than any of us would have expected a few short years ago.

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92 Comments

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92 responses to “Where do they go from here?

  1. jim

    Good analysis of situation. Sure am glad the hot seat meme didn’t hold any water…

    • Normaltown Mike

      It didn’t.

      Find me any writer that had Georgia going 0-3 to start SEC play.

      What coach in this league (besides Saban and Meyer and any of the first year guys) could begin 0-3 and not be considered in trouble.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Good analysis, Senator. The only thing that I would add is that the punt return behavior appears to be an intentional decision based on trying not to get flagged and putting your team in a deep hole. It is hard to argue with a decision to not block and to fair catch given the flags for phantom blocks in the back we have seen the past 3 seasons on return plays.

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    Our inability to run the football consistently is at the root of almost all of our offensive woes.

    This offense simply does not work if you can’t run when you want to run.

    I don’t think you can point to just one thing….the O line for instance, and say, this is the reason we can’t run.

    But until we consistently arrive at 3rd down and two or three, we will continue to be moribund offensively. (and please don’t throw stats at me, it is pretty obvious from the defensive schemes we are seeing that nobody is convinced we can run the football)

    It is interesting to note how many of us chose to ignore the very pointed comments in pre-season that we were not loaded with talent to run the new defense.

    And now we seem to want to replace the offensive staff, too, so we can bring in another guy who does not have a complete tool bag to work with.

    Meanwhile, Greg McElroy is serving a two-week stint in the solitary confinement area of the Bama football complex. He will be released only for practice and games. McElroy’s “re-education” process has been used with some notable success with other errants.

    • Brandon

      You are right about running the football and the other comments.

    • The Realist

      You are right about the offense not being able to run limiting their effectiveness, but I would posit that the offense may want to throw to set up the run… particularly when they are facing 9 man fronts. I would also like to present for comment the idea that Bobo’s choice of formations may compound the inability to run the ball.

      Florida spreads teams out to run. Georgia compacts everyone into the box to run. One of these philosophies requires playmakers to make plays in space and has been pretty successful. One is reliant on sheer physical domination of the opponent and has, to date, been mindnumbingly awful. Discuss.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        While I am no football expert, my perception is that this offense is designed to run to throw.

        If you can’t do one, then……

        I am afraid the idea we can suddenly turn into some sort of spread monster is as unrealistic as expecting the defense to suddenly become a monster by changing philosophies.

        The bottom line is that we don’t have a world class running back…or at least one has not made his appearance yet. Which compounds the O line issues.

        And frankly, it may be as simple, or as complicated depending on your point of view, as that.

        If we had either one of Bama’s two world class running backs, I suspect you would be talking about other things.

        By the way, there is very little difference philosophically, between the offense we saw against Arkansas and ours.

        And Saturday you saw what happens when Arkansas can’t run the ball…close, but no cigar.

  3. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    Good post. I agree regarding the defensive line personnel. The question is, beyond playing Geathers more, how do we solve this problem for next year?

    We don’t have d-line who are going to get much bigger. We can try to recruit bigger guys, but are we then going to heavily play them as true freshman? Probably not. Do we go the JUCO route? This seems like the best answer. But we’re going to need to recruit several JUCO d-line players in order to be able to rotate and keep guys fresh. I’m a bit apprehensive about bringing in so many JUCOs for one position. We’ll also be recruiting for those JUCOs against other programs (such as GT and Bama) that also need big lineman for the 3-4 defense. So are we going to be able to find enough quality 3-4 defensive line JUCOs? My concern is that it will take until 2011 to have the type of lineman Grantham’s defense needs to be effective. Have to say I’m not really in the mood to wait two more years.

    • HamDawg11

      Mt. Cody was a juco transfer, right? Sounds logical to me, go get ‘em!

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Personally, I think Richt ought to take away the scholarships of all those guys who are trouble makers and/or are not hustling and find JUCO players to replace them. As much as I hate it we need to oversign and grayshirt like Bama to replace the players on the team that are not performing. Will Richt do it?

  4. Brandon

    Do you think maybe Murray’s numbers are so good partly BECAUSE Bobo hasn’t asked him to bite off more than he could chew? We’re 1-3, the only thing that could really make that much worse is if we had shattered our young QB’s confidence in the process by asking him to do too much. It’s not reasonable to expect a guy who’s played a handful of games to start carrying the team all by himself. Maybe some of our seemingly ill concieved plays like running into the teeth of a blitz are plays where it is expected that the QB can check at the line of scrimmage and get us into another better play. QB is an extremely important position, I am very high on Murray but it may be that his inexperience is hurting us worse than we realize, I remember Todd Blackledge repeatingly pointing out how the experienced David Greene checked out of bad plays at the line of scrimmage. If you’ve got a tape of the 2002 SEC championship game pop it in and you’ll see several cases of that there. I agree with you about the defense. The punt return team is definately a weird thing but the more I watch our team play I am not sure that the coaches are not right and Logan Gray actually IS the only guy on the team who can make a reasonable decision about whether to catch or let it fall, look how often some of our players have brought the ball out from six or seven yards deep in the endzone on kickoff returns the last two years only to be tackled around the 12 or 15. Like it or not we are just short on playmakers right now on both sides of the ball and it has been a bumpy ride with the new QB. Willy and Co. were our major coaching deficiencies, if they were still calling the shots the South Carolina and Arkansas games would have been blowout losses, 37-6 and 45-24 and the like.

    None of this is pleasant and I’m not saying the coaches are above criticism but all of these guys on our staff have proven they can coach in the past and they haven’t forgotten how. It remains to be seen whether Grantham is a good DC at the college level but the early returns are that there has been some improvement and I am willing to give him a chance. It’s a long season and we can legitimately improve a lot by season’s end, anytime TENN, UF, AUB, and GT are left on the schedule you still have something to play for no matter what your record is, beating any of them is its own reward.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      I actually see some defensive players doing a very good job of adapting….Justin Houston is playing, for instance, pretty well, so are Gamble and Dent.

      and from what I see, the O line is opening cracks and seams a world class back would be hitting at full throttle. I don’t think Washaun and King are world class backs, but between the two of them they can move the sticks.

      To me the more difficult question is why we don’t have a world class running back?

      Do we know one when we see one?

      Barring a wholesale re-jiggering of the offense, and I doubt that can be done mid-stride, we are doomed to mediocrity on offense without that great back.

      Seems simple enough to me.

      • Puffdawg

        SJIII,

        I suspect there aren’t that many “world class” backs out there. Everybody wanted Caleb, including Bama, Florida, Auburn, et al. Hindsight in 20/20.

        Agree with you to the extent our RBs are not playing as well as we need them to for offense to go. OLine has been atrocious but backs are not breaking ANY tackles. Knowshon had a knack for turning a -3 yarder into a no gain. Of course if we would quit running Thomas between the tackles that might help a bit. He is a decent back but running him up the middle probably is optimal when the line is struggling.

        All that said I don’t thinnk we have to reinvent ourselves necessarily so much as to run some different things than we have been. As much as we like to complain about Bobo abusing screens in the past, it seems like we’ve abandoned that this year. When they put 8 in the box play after play and are getting a good pass rush, we already have plays to counteract that without reinventing ourselves.

        I am as deflated as the rest of you, but I still believe this team is not as far from being a good team as we think they are. We just need Bobo to wake up and realize what worked against Tech is not working right now and we need to adapt our approach to what’s working. Don’t remember who said it, but the other team stacking the box is beating us not because our team can’t handle it but because our offensive coaches refuse to change their gameplan.

  5. heyberto

    If 2006 hadn’t unfolded as it did, I might jump on the Coach Richt is in trouble meme.. but I just think if he has a strong finish, all will be ok in Dawg land. The difference in the two seasons being that Stafford seemed to look a lot worse than early than Murray has, and I think the overall team around Murray isn’t as strong as its 2006 counterparts. As for a hot seat, I’d say its Bobo that has to be wary, not Richt.

    Great breakdown on the D and I’ve been looking for that kind of analysis having played a few games. While they haven’t looked like the defense Grantham wants, they’re clearly doing their job. Our Offense just can’t give them breathing room. To me, the biggest dissapointment will be if Richt gets canned and his staff along with him, we wouldn’t get to watch Grantham’s defense develop as it should.

    So worse case, Richt has to fire some offensive coaches to save his job. The wild cards are McGarity – will he be as patient with the ‘rebuilding’ of the staff as Damon seemed to be.. and will arrests be the real undoing of Richt? I would say the first of those depends on fans/donors and the second Mark Richt seems to have answered with the kid’s dismissal yesterday. In my mind he’s sending the right message, on that front.

    • PatinDC

      Good analysis. I like your train of thought here.

      I do wonder how fans can dump on CTG after just a few games. It is clear to me that the D is actually better, not great. It turns out personnel makes a difference after all. Leads me to what does RG do that is so valuable that he is never discussed as an issue or someone on the hot seat. We always seem to have the wrong personnel every year. Why is that?

      Bobo is a complete mystery to me. This is practically the same team that scored 40 points a game last year. What happened? He does appear to me to be maddeningly inflexible and unable to adjust.

      The FLA game this weekend was an eye opener wasn’t it. Brantley, the next superstar, was benched for a true freshman and he went nuts on the scoring. Think Brantley is going to see more starts b/c he has been in the system? (not a rant against Murray. Goes back to last year w/Cox)

      My question is…Is CMR now Tubberville, Cooper or Fulmer? We can recover from the first two, but the last is a program killer. Ask TN.

      • heyberto

        While Murray has been solid, I’m not sold on him. Sure he’ll be the guy this year.. but we’ve got some great young QB talent coming in.. could he be unseated as the starting QB? If Chrisitain LeMay can come in strong, does he get the nod down the road (I’m sure he won’t immediately, but could he overtake Murray?) It will be interesting, for sure.

        • Mike

          WHAAAAT???? Not sold on Murray? What does he need to do for you? This guy is a stud.

          • Puffdawg

            Seriously, not sure where that came from. Probably the only positive of the season so far. Kid is a gamer and will go down as one of the all time UGA greats.

        • The Realist

          So far, Aaron Murray has been the only playmaker on the offense. I’m not sure what “Murray” you have been watching.

          • Russ

            He meant Murray Feldstein, the team tailor. I noticed a few uniforms weren’t fitting quite as nicely as they have in the past.

          • heyberto

            Mike, Puffdog, Realist.. because he’s been the most consistent, doesn’t mean he’s been great. He’s staring down receivers before he throws to them. He’s either under or overthrowing his receivers most of the time. He’s taking a long time to get rid of the ball, and most of his throws just don’t have that zip on the ball that you see out of most qbs in the league. I was hoping that some of that would have been handled by now. So far he has looked most impressive on his scrambles. He has demonstrated a level head and great intangibles. Are these things that will get better and improve as time goes on? I would think so, but we all thought Joe Cox had those attributes too. I’m just saying that a lot has to improve. The O line disaster we have isn’t helping him develop much confidence, for sure… so I’m not trying to start a disagreement or even say you’re wrong.. I’m saying I don’t know yet and he has to start looking better.

            • Puffdawg

              Respect your opinion and don’t disagree with all of it, although I think his zip is plenty adequate and probably on par with better QBs in the league.

              This “debate” really goes hand in hand with my complaint above about Bobo not adapting. Murray is best on the move, yet we continue to leave him in the pocket. As Richt said we are doing the same thing we did back in 2002-2005, yet we have a completely different style of QB now. AM has the ability to hit guys on the run, and when the play isn’t there he can turn it into a positive play. But when he sits back in the pocket he seems a bit hesitant (and maybe even skittish). It is clear he prefers to be on the move during a play. Why not play to that?

  6. Anon

    Rather than putting forks in my eyes yesterday evening, I decided to watch some of the replay on CSS, and I saw something that summed up our entire mentality of playing to not have something bad happen, rather than just playing.

    There was one of our punt returns when we, of course, had Logan camped out back inside the 20.

    Our “rush” made initial contact with their line, stood straight up, and did absolutely nothing. They stood and watched as 8 State players raced past them to surround Logan for his fair catch.

    Keep in mind the ball is barely in the air when we stop playing.

    What if it had been a crappy line drive that was returnable? What if it had been snapped over the punter’s head?

    The only play we were preparing for was a fair catch.

    • PatinDC

      I saw that too. What a downer. I would like to go the rest of the season without another fair catch. I don’t care what kind of crappy field position we get. The fair catchs set a tone of not caring IMHO.

    • NCT

      “Our ‘rush’ made initial contact with their line, stood straight up, and did absolutely nothing.”

      That was every single punt, wasn’t it? I understand (I think) not plowing through to the point of risking a penalty with the punter, but don’t just stand there! At least *look* busy. And I’m not altogether sure they waited for the ball to be in the air. It appeared to me that they quit whatever it was they were doing (clearly, not going for the ball) while the ball was en route to the punter. I don’t want to read too much into this, but it’s hard not to see it as symptomatic of a more pervasive problem.

      The phrase “Finish the drill” comes to mind.

    • G

      Might explain why the ARK punter made that first down.

  7. Russman

    Senator,
    Offensively speaking, I think we are seeing the same game plan/ play calling as last year. Everyone thought Joe Cox was inept-It appears clearer that he too was mired in an antiquated system that sets up our players for failure. Whether Richt’s or Bobo’s offense- it is old and stale!! All opponents have all of the film they need to defend our offense. It does not appear that AJ Green will make much difference. As for Murray- he has been solid and shows he has what it takes.

  8. SCDawg

    The attitude/readiness analysis is spot on. Remember Mikey Henderson, Thomas Flowers, Prince Miller? Every year they seemed to return at least two for TD’s, and the punt return squad won us a game or two. Plus we’ve always been good at blocking kicks under Richt.

    I don’t understand why we have guys standing around on the punt return team and not trying to set up a return or block the kick. You can do either and still protect against the fake.

    We are not very aggressive and we play with no confidence right now on defense, offense, and special teams. Richt said in 2007 that the team was scared and it was a reflection of him. After he let them play a little bit we ran off a string of victories that almost got us a shot at the MNC. That won’t happen this year, and wearing black or charging the end zone is not going to do any good, but things can get better if the coaches stop coaching scared and the team stops playing scared. We literally have nothing to lose right now.

  9. Siskey

    If it were only this season I would feel better about the team. I am upset at the erosion of the team these past four seasons. While I understand that teams have to rebuild it is disheartening to be stuck in a permanent rebuilding situation. We have two quartebacks on scholarship and while Coach Richt could not have foreseen the events that led to Mettenberger’s dismissal it is still ultimately his responsibility to have players that can help us win.
    I am not sure what is the appropriate course for the team. I have been a fan of Richt and up until now have felt that he would be able to get it done for us. However I no longer have as much confidence in him. I believe that we should be at least the equal of Florida, Alabama and the other teams in our league that compete on a national level. We have not been their equal for awhile now and the events of this season are a great example of how far we have fallen.
    I am hopeful that we can turn this around and finish the season with 9 straight wins. Then this difficult patch will be looked back at as when we figured out what it took to compete in the SEC of Saban and Meyer.

  10. Normaltown Mike

    When CMR confidently said someone needed to “knock the lid off” our program back in 01 or 02, I smiled in anticipation of a guy that would build on Donnan’s talented foundation and take us to national prominence. He did.

    What I didn’t expect was that he would take the lid off and turn the bucket upside down dumping the content all over the wet surf like my daughter makin’ a sand castle at San Destin. WTF?

    In game gaffes haven’t improved one iota since ’01. Talent has been on a downward spiral since the peak of ’00-02.

    IMHO this team has regressed to 93-94 levels of mediocrity. Let’s remember Goff’s low point:
    -abysmal O-line: check
    -dismal D-line: check
    -undersized and slow 2ndry: check
    -inconsistent RB: check
    -confused coaching: check

    Throw in the few positives
    -excellent skill positions: check
    -talented QB: check
    -one (ONE!) great D player (then Godfrey, now Houston): check

    and the picture is complete.

    I hope I’m wrong but this bunch looks mediocre from stem to stern.

    • Mel

      i agree for the most part; however, our OL was above decent in the Goff years…the one standout. Wayne McDuffie gave us some stout OLs. That was about it.

      • Normaltown Mike

        he was a good coach. I guess I was thinking of ’94 which was an injury plagued unit (I seem to recall?). The 94 Tennessee game was like watching a Joe Gibbs Redskins team play Social Circle.

  11. Go Dawgs!

    You ever hear that old phrase “nothing ventured, nothing gained”? Well, it was written about what’s left of the University of Georgia’s football team. There will never be any doubt that the better athletes in Starkville were wearing red helmets on Saturday night, but the more aggressive and hungry coaches and players were doubtlessly wearing maroon.

    When was the last time you saw UGA attempt a punt return when the opponent was punting anywhere near midfield? I bet it was before 2007. Think back to the biggest wins of the Mark Richt era. How many of them had huge, game-changing plays made either by the kickoff return team or the punt return unit (heaven forbid they trot out a punt block team)? Georgia’s coaches have looked at their offense, they’ve seen the fact that the ‘Dawgs can’t finish off long drives, and they’ve said “SCREW IT, we’re going to just let you give us the ball on the 10 yard line anyway, because if we try to return the ball, something bad may happen!” Bad like what, Coach, losing the damn game? Because that’s happening.

    I don’t care what happens in Boulder. All that I want is to go an entire football game without seeing any of this 2nd-and-Bobo or 3rd-and-Bobo crap where he trots out some ridiculous formation that nobody’s ever seen before that he just drew up on a napkin while sitting up for the 4 AM feeding, or where he trots in the “Dead Dog” package when Aaron’s moving the team, or where he calls three straight runs up the middle with Carlton Thomas. Ooops! We just crossed the 30 yard line! Let’s start trying some wacky stuff! How about we motion Marlon Brown into the backfield so he can play fullback! Really, Coach? I’ve got a better idea. HOW ABOUT WE USE ONE OF THESE ALLEGEDLY ALL-WORLD FULLBACKS TO PLAY FULLBACK?! Either in practices or games, what has Marlon Brown EVER done to make you think that he can block my grandmother? If you had any illusion that he could pull off that feat, it should have been destroyed by that nice piece of downfield blocking that wiped out Kris Durham’s touchdown (seriously, Marlon, you owe Durham a steak). While we’re on the subject of fullbacks, hey, Fred Munzenmaier, you’re never going to make a man miss. You’re not Reggie Bush. You’re a great fullback, so act like one. Instead of stutter stepping at the end of a run, why not keep running and deliver a hit and try to finish your runs?

    This football team lacks guts. Look no further than the fact that Washaun Ealey didn’t bother meeting with the media after the game. He was too busy getting “evaluated by the trainers”. If he was hurt so badly that he had to immediately get evaluation after the game, then he never should have re-entered the game after getting blown up at the goal line. But if he wasn’t, and if he was just using that excuse to not face the music, then that’s gutless. Of course, that just seems to be modus operandi for University of Georgia football these days. Maybe after we land in Colorado, we can get Tim Tebow to hop over from Broncos training camp and get him to give a motivational speech or something to our coaches and players. It would be nice for the guys to be in contact with someone with a drive and will to win again.

    • PatinDC

      “or where he trots in the “Dead Dog” package when Aaron’s moving the team,”

      Thanks for the laugh. Perfect for Bobo’s scheming these days. Graveyard humor is all we have left.

    • Puffdawg

      “When was the last time you saw UGA attempt a punt return when the opponent was punting anywhere near midfield? I bet it was before 2007. ”

      2008 Alabama – Prince Miller took one 90 to the house… after we were already out of it.

        • Go Dawgs!

          A good point. I blocked a lot of that night out. But that just reinforces why it frustrates me, and a lot of other fans, to see the Fair Catch Team run out there now. Look what happened when Georgia sacked up and tried to return a punt deep in their own end of the field against one of the best teams in the country: they scored a touchdown.

  12. Doug

    Here’s a question about something I wish I’d been paying more attention to this year: How frequently (if at all) have we been running 2-TE sets?

    I’m inferring from various comments made by Bobo that the tight ends haven’t been used as much because we constantly need them to pitch in on pass protection. OK, but we’ve got a TE corps as deep as anyone out there — Aron White (who was on the preseason watch list for the Mackey Award), Orson Charles, Arthur Lynch, even Bruce Figgins, a name that already seems like a blast from the past. Charles gets one or two looks a game, White’s disappeared since the ULL game, and I can’t recall Figgins or Lynch having taken the field even once. What is our plan for these guys? Bobo is treating them like action figures that he can’t take out of their boxes because then they won’t be worth as much on eBay.

    • Go Dawgs!

      +1.

      I just keep going back to what we used to do (and, Richt says we’re still doing a lot of the things we used to do when we were winning titles, and it makes me laugh) and looking at what we’re doing now. One glaring difference is special teams, another is tight ends. What was one of the biggest weapons we used when we were winning titles, and even in 2007 when we were finishing strong? The tight end position. These guys we have now are great players. They may not be Ben Watson, but they’re great players. They’re being wasted, just like Stafford, just like Knowshon.

      • HamDawg11

        How was Stafford wasted?

        • Go Dawgs!

          You’re right, I forgot the Sugar Bowl that he beat Hawaii in. Other than that, he brought us a Chick-fil-A Bowl trophy and a win in the Capital One Bowl. We had one of the best if not THE best quarterback in the country, and the only game he played in the Georgia Dome wasn’t for all the marbles, it was for all the chicken nuggets. Stafford’s talents were wasted. Sorry. Give that backfield to Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Dan Mullen, or even the great Lane Kiffin. I bet you’re going to end up with some rings.

  13. Tom Steadman

    Overall, a fairly apt analysis. I’d have to add, though, that it didn’t seem to be poor tackling that allowed MSU to run the ball down our throats the entire second half; on most of those runs up the middle, no tackler was even in sight. Our d-linemen were getting overpowered, pure and simple. In some instances, they were shoved nearly out of camera view.

  14. Mel

    Our S&C program is ABYSMAL! Antiquated comes to mind… mat drills may have been the “thing” back in the late 80s and early 90s at FSU when you’re playing ACC powerhouses like Duke and Wake Forest, but it is not working for 21st Century SEC play!!!!!!!

  15. HamDawg11

    I didn’t want to believe missing AJ would be that big of a deal and cost us more than maybe 1 game, but I was wrong. With him 100% for our first 4 games, I think we’re 3-1 at worst. I would’ve never thought we’d be 1-3 without him, but he really is that good.

    Take a look around the conference: Bama probably loses to Arky without Ingram. SC is not even in the game with Auburn if Jeffery’s out, and we probably beat ‘em as well. Auburn loses to MSU, Clemson, and SC without Newton. How many games does Arky win without Mallett?

    Simply put, take any team’s best player away and they’re not the same team. We get ours back this week and we’ve got nothing to lose. Yeah, it sucks to be playing for nothing tangible, but I would hate to play a team like us the rest of the year. Remember ’06 @ #5 Auburn? This team could easily get on a roll if they chose to play with passion and intensity and the coaches let the players play.

    I don’t know about y’all, but I’m still pulling for my Dawgs!

    • PatinDC

      IMHO AJ should be redshirted the rest of the year.

      I really don’t want to see him play. Sure we will lose him in the draft, but that would happen anyway. It will cost him some money to lose the year, but hey that’s life. He will still be a millionare.

      • PatinDC

        To follow up on that…how much would it suck to get AJ back and win out the rest of the games? (miracle I know)

        The most expensive jersey ever.

        • Puffdawg

          From where I sit, definitely would not suck! But I catch your drift.

          • Dawgfan17

            At this point I would love to be sitting at the end of the season winning every game that AJ is back for and complaining about what IF he had played the first 4 instead of looking back and wondering why we lost a lot more than those three. For now I’ll take a win when I fly out to CO to cheer them on, hopefully I’ll have something to cheer for.

    • scdawg

      Sure take Ingram out. They will bring in another stud running back. Watch their offensive line work. I tell you what, watch Florida. They will show you what “rebuilding” looks like.

      Face it folks, Georgia looks like a Tommy Bowden coached Clemson.
      I read a scary quote somewhere about Richt telling a kid that he saw his films on rivals or scout. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! The very same thing happened to Larry Coker. They became so damn lazy that they just went to the “high profile” guys or ones that have been offered by all the other schools.

      I knew Georgia was going to get beat when I saw them come out of the tunnel. It was a walk not even a trot. Did you see Miss. St. players eyes? They looked like they were on coke.

      This is not a youth ministry. It is a high stakes profitable football program. Do you think Meyer or Saban ride horses or do high dives in the summer with their teams? Medical hardship scholarships are being used at Alabama as the “cut list”. You can say it is cheating, but Saban is living on the edge and that is why he is playing for crystal footballs.

      I have 3 children under the age of 5. Bobo has 5 kids under the age of 5 or 6. Look, there is NO WAY he can do the job that he needs to be doing with a young family like that.

      The problems in Athens aren’t fixable with this coaching staff. It is a culture that can’t be changed without changing the staff. If you don’t agree, where is the bottom to you?

  16. Regarding special teams, one reason Boykin may not be having the success he was having in the past is that this is the first season a 3-man wedge is banned. Not saying that’s absolutely the reason, but I would be interested to see if return numbers across the country have been affected.

    • Go Dawgs!

      Another big reason is that the University of Georgia uses WALK-ONS for special teams duty, while the rest of the SEC has jumped into the future and followed the Frank Beamer model of putting their best players on special teams.

  17. Scott W.

    I don’t understand not wanting AJ back unless you’re out for blood and want CMR to be fired.

  18. NC Dawg

    The only negativity I’d direct at the defensive staff would be to question why you’d run schemes that you don’t possibly have the power athletes with which to succeed. If the down linemen are getting out-muscled, shouldn’t one naturally adjust somehow?

  19. the Coondawg

    I gotta an idea….
    Take the Geico commercial with R. Lee Ermy. Dub a voice representing Bobo at the start of the commercial saying “and thats why not being able to develop an offensive gameplan makes me sad”.
    Then Ermy takes over..”you know what makes me sad….YOU DO!”
    you get the point.

  20. ChicagoDawg

    I am almost to the point where I am ready for change, for change’s sake. The promise of coaching changes is almost always over stated and the difficulty and disruption is almost always under estimated. At this point, I can’t say with certainty who I would go after (who is a realistic possibility), much less whether they would be an improvement and how long it might take. However, I am almost ready to just roll the dice for the short term psychological benefit if nothing else. Nonetheless, I would chararterize my condition as one of ambivalence.

    Obviously, there is a split among the base, which started as a crack in ’08. However, the pitchfork and torch mob has grown dramatically in that time. Sadly, CMR is racing toward that place, if he is not already there, where it is nearly impossible to arrest the wave of sentiment that says — times up. Any improvements he makes will be discounted and every possible mistake will be over exaggerated and will align to people’s self fulfilling prophecies. There are seemingly so many areas that are in need of radical change that he will run out of time before he gets the across the board improvement needed — if he is even capable.

  21. scdawg

    As anybody thought that maybe Stafford, Moreno, and MoMass could have been hiding the flaws in Georgia’s offense? How did Joe T and Joe Cox happen at Georgia? Who is responsible for not pushing Aaron Murray to play last year? Ever wonder why there are so many green jerseys at practice? You think Ron Courson is overly cautious? You think Tennessee and Dooley gets his first SEC win against Georgia? What are the stats for going 3 and out on opening drives? What are the stats for making somebody go 3 and out on opening drives? Do you ever watch other teams in the SEC and ask the question why our athletes don’t look like that? or why can’t Georgia run that? Have you said Jakar “HITMAN” Hamilton, yeah right? HAs Rambo been the same to you since the concussion? When was the last bigtime hit a Georgia defender put on somebody? When was the last timeGeorgia beat somebody they shouldn’t? Do you think Georgia is soft? What are the pros and cons about this program (unbiased)? What does Georgia do good? If you were a high profile recruit, would you think you would get coached up at Georgia and have realistic shots of playing for national championships?

    Answer these questions honestly and you will have your answer as to what needs to be done in Athens.

    • PatinDC

      “You think Tennessee and Dooley gets his first SEC win against Georgia?”

      Yes I do and it will suck worse than last year.

    • merk

      Yeap…Ur completely right.

      Hamilton is crap. He has done nothing beyond catch an Int from a crap school. Oh he does get Facemask penalties like a champ though.
      Rambo is still playing scared and seems to have borrowed Bryan Evans shoes cause he keeps getting burned.
      The last time we beat someone we should not have beat was prob in 06/07.

      • With regard to BR, I don’t think it’s so much about him playing scared – he hasn’t been afraid to stick his nose in there in run support – as it is that he’s not comfortable in pass coverage. He bites on play action and misdirection way too much.

    • BMan

      “When was the last time Georgia beat somebody they shouldn’t?”

      Do girlfriends count?

    • truck

      You sure ask a lot of questions for someone from South Carolina.

      (Sorry, an old SNL reference.)

  22. Spike

    Vance Cuff sucks.

  23. RandallPinkFloyd

    Great analysis and your opinion of Richt pretty much sums up my thoughts. Sadly, I think it’s too little, too late. He’s turned a blind eye and I don’t think there’s any way to get this thing back. I hope I’m wrong.

    • hayduke

      Did anyone see the Ford F-150 commercial with Saban and Richt? As I remember it (and was a little tipsy at the time), Saban come on screen and proceeds to real off SPECIFIC qualities that make a good football team and a truck. Richt comes on says “you gotta finish the drill” and then something about a tent. My jaw dropped and my wife who cares little about football, said “Wow, the Georgia coach doesn’t seem very smart.” I’ve looked for the commercial online, but haven’t found it, and I would really like to see it again, because I’ve gotten it stuck in my mind as a metaphor for what’s going on with the program.
      Over-generalizing by using tired meaningless cliches is just lazy, and serves to cover up the fact that you probably don’t know what your talking about. Our players are a work in progress, and they need specific and detailed instructions on how to play their positions. I think this is the disconnect we are witnessing now. Instead of “coaching up” and properly preparing these players, they are getting “Finish the drill” and “You gotta want it”.
      I’m not drawing Richt’s intelligence into question here, but I don’t like the Bowden-esque “coach as CEO” organization, and I think it does allow for lazy coaching from the CEO. I’m willing to give Richt the benefit of the doubt if he regains control of the offense for the rest of the season. Here’s your chance to shine Mark, take charge and turn things around, that’s what a good coach would do.

  24. Will Trane

    Carolina and Miss State attacked Georgia in the middle running the ball. They did that because they had the physical players to make it happen against a 3-4 scheme that currently lacks the personnel along the front line. If you are a recruit interested in playing in that scheme you will get PT at UGA. Pencil yourself in. Auburns Cam Newton is 6’6 250, MSU’s Relf is 6’4″ 240 and they operate in the spread [think of Tebow]. UGA did not stick to a full 3-4 at times. Getting blown down the LOS too much. Why do Bama want Dareus back so quick on their D…NG size and a leverage is huge on the LOS against the spread to shut down the inside and let your LBs and CBs to use the sideline [like an extra defender]and shut down the run bu forcing it outside.

    Georgia can stop the inside rush by forcing teams out of it if their offense becomes more productive…like score some points. That forces a weak passing QBs like GarciaRelf, and Newton into more of a passing game [not their strength]. When you pass 3 things happen, and two are bad or not productive.

    Georgia does not have all the players they need on the D side at present. If they recruit smart they will.

    No offense so far has put that many points up in total or at certain points in the game where you can bring personnel and set into play to win.

    Need a full roster. An ILB went down due to weekend arrest. They are short there, using a SR converted FB to sub. Used 17 players against MSU. That is not enough in the SEC in heat on the road. CMR left his O on the field at the 21 because he has to save his D for Colorado and hope his O can get untracked before then. The game was lost…an extra 7 did not matter except for those who want to use a stat against the D.

    The RBs, TEs, & WRs have to become more productive in finishing plays and putting the ball in the end zone. Not defending Bobo, but on 2 of the first 3 possession they moved the ball 80 yds+ and only got 3 points. Now you open MSU to use their 6’4″ QB against an outmanned D line. Even when MSU went up by 4 if the Dawgs score on their next possession and they should have except for a holding call on a WO from Penn Wagers & Co [how many calls from refs in past 3 yrs have cost Georgia pts at critical times]. Watched the replay and saw T Couch draw the little yellow line where Thomas ran 14 yds. How big of a running lane does the O line have to make. On the farm you could have put a whole herd of cows in that much grass. Did you see where Thomas begin to make his cut. Too deep and too slow. Like said before, see 3 HS RBs that would have taken that play to the house. Yeah that is running blind.

  25. Joe

    Things could really be worse:

    Segway Company Owner Rides Scooter Off Cliff; Dies
    [ Via: MSNBC ] A British businessman, who bought the Segway company less than a year ago, died after riding one of the scooters off a cliff and into a river near his Yorkshire estate. Jim Heselden acquired the Segway company from its U.S. inventor Dean Kamen in December 2009. According to the British media, Heselden, 62, plunged into the River Wharfe while riding a rugged country version of the two-wheeled transporter on Sunday. “Police were called at 11.40 a.m. yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above,” a spokesman told The Daily Mail.

  26. time for a change

    A backup qb and a first yr guy get kicked off team.The 2 he might need a.j. and w.e. only got suspended. There is where CMR problems are.Winning the “fulmer cup” and playing this way should seal their fate.

  27. Dog in Fla

    Coachspeak Translation –

    When Dan says:

    (1) “I don’t know that they’re hurting,” Mullen said Sunday. “They have a young team, obviously, and their star receiver [A.J. Green] didn’t play in the game last night. They have a young quarterback that is very, very talented that is developing right now.

    “I promise you this, there are not all kinds of teams across the country lining up saying ‘Let’s get Georgia on the schedule.’ I just think it shows the depth of our conference top to bottom.”

    What Dan really means is:

    (2) Greg, call me.

  28. Once again, send CMR a copy of Sun Tzu.
    Do what you can with what you have, don’t make what you have try to do what you want regardless of strengths and weaknesses.

    this goes both ways, with potential weapons being underutilized (punt returning) as much as people are being sent into the wrong situation where they cant execute (bobo running into a loaded box)

  29. PA Dawg

    AJ will make the difference. The Dawgs will win the next 9 games. There will be a three way tie for the SEC East: USC, UF, and UGA all with 3 losses. The top BCS ranked team will then represent in Atlanta. UF has to lose to AL, LSU, and UGA. USC has to lose to UF and one more.

    Sounds like a complete long shot; but it could happen.

    GO DAWGS!!!

  30. W Cobb Dawg

    I recall Bobby Bowden recounting the story of CMR’s first date with Kathryn. After the date, she told Bowden she had to slap CMR. Bowden asked if CMR had acted fresh. She responded, ‘no, I had to wake him up’.

    Somebody needs to slap CMR and wake him up from this nightmare season. He’s obviously sleeping on the job.

  31. Vious

    This idea that we have SO MUCH talent but just not using it should make everyone laugh

    Fact is, we have talent but it is absolutely nowhere close to what our fans think

    We lack severely at several spots and in other spots we have good but nowhere near great players

    It is a HUGE dropoff

  32. shane#1

    Senator, I agree with you on going more spread on the O. As you know I posted the same on your blog a couple of days ago. I want to see those hybred TEs split out more often and Murray roll out more. The kid can throw on the run if they run shorter pass routes. Both White and Charles can run, lets get them one on one with a LB or Safety and see what happens. The defense needs to improve, but UGA isn’t scoring enough points to win against even mid-level SEC teams. As to the punt teams, if you have a guy with good hands back there that knows when to fair catch and when to let the ball bounce for goodness sakes go all out punt block!