About last night…

Two things of interest in the wake of the Mitchell and Rome commitments:

  1. It’s Coach Lakatos’ world and we’re just living in it. Georgia now has commitments from four cornerbacks, none of whom are shorter than 6’0″.  In a clear departure from Martinez’ recruiting philosophy, smurfs need not apply.  Yeah, they’ve still got to be coached, but it’ll be interesting to watch how the secondary develops over the next two or three seasons.
  2. Even if you’re a skeptic about the program, it was a positive development. Don’t kid yourself – recruiting is a tough sell for Coach Richt right now.  For him to go toe to toe with Saban and Smart, two tough recruiters who have a hotter program to pitch, and win is an indication to me that maybe, yes, there still is some fire in the belly.  If the greatest flaw in the program over the past few seasons has been attitude and accountability, that begins with the head man.  Georgia is in serious need of real, positive momentum and at this time of year, an engaged coach who can put together a top-flight recruiting class would make for a good place for that to start.  No, getting the Rome and Mitchell commitments doesn’t mean that the Dawgs are headed for 13-0 country this season, but it’s not like whiffing on them would have helped right the ship, either.
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74 responses to “About last night…

  1. hailtogeorgia

    Regarding number two, Senator, I think it may almost be more important for some of our own than it actually is to the high school players. Can you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth that would’ve occurred had we lost out on both Rome and Mitchell? Getting both of them kind of quells the whole “Richt can’t recruit the top guys” thing we’ve been hearing. Word is that Jenkins is a heavy Georgia lean (he understands how valuable he can be to the team, and been quoted as saying as much several times). Let’s keep it going.

    • I don’t want to read too much into that. It’s early, and Richt’s got a big ship to turn around. But all the people who’ve been bitching here and elsewhere that Richt’s simply going through the motions and doesn’t care anymore ought to give the man a little credit for the effort he’s putting in. Will it be a case of too little, too late? Quite possibly, yes. But it looks like he’s not going down without a fight.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Big boats take a long time to turn around, but once the move is started, momentum is a great help.

      • hailtogeorgia

        It is early, you’re right, but the best way to keep your job is to do your job, and this atleast gives some hope that Richt has the reputation of being a good recruiter for a reason. Hopefully now with the second year of a 3-4 and another year to get rid of the Willies, we can utilize some of this talent.

        Say what you will about Urban Meyer, but I think he taught Richt a thing or two. One thing I think Richt learned from Meyer is that the redshirt is an accessory, not a necessity. If the player can come in and help you immediately (even if that means displacing upperclassmen), then play him. Let’s be honest…in years prior to this past one, does anyone really think Alec Ogletree or Kenarious Gates would’ve seen starting roles? Do you think Derek Owens would’ve even seen the field? Richt’s back being against the wall can only help the situation, in my opinion. He’s at the point where he’s got nothing to lose, so hopefully that will serve us well.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Actually the ship is not going to be that hard to turn around. The Dawgs were close in every game they lost last season. The cause of the 6-7 season was, for the most part, the O-line and D-line being pushed around because they were out of shape. That has been identified and addressed. We’ll miss Green and Houston but capable players return on both sides of the ball, too. If the coaching staff will just not make knucklehead mistakes during games this could be a really good year as the schedule is quite favorable.

      • Stoopnagle

        Best players in the world are going to need their coach to get a little more ballsy with the decision-making. I don’t think Richt is going through motions – never have – but I do think he’s playing it way too safe on gameday.

        4th and INCHES! I can’t let it go. (mostly because I’ve seriously cut back on the booze intake since New Years)

      • W Cobb Dawg

        “people who’ve been bitching”?! “Richt deserves credit”?! Gee Senator, signing 2 homees from the State of Georgia sure made an impression. Seems our expectations have come down somewhat.

        • sUGArdaddy

          What did you want W Cobb Dawg, us to NOT get the commitments. Be happy. Great players still want to come to Athens. Richt’s gonna get his shot this year to right the ship. If you’re cheering for us to lose so he’ll get fired, go find another team.

          • W Cobb Dawg

            Okay, I get it. Group think. Shout down any opinion except the preferred response. Those of us who disagree Richt is a f-ing genious must enjoy when UGA looses. Sorry, I’m not drinking the CMR Koolaid. I’ve had 10 years worth of the juice and that’s more than enough.

            • Dawgwalker07

              So I guess the first 5 years tasted pretty bad to be bitching about all 10 years eh?

            • Dawgfan Will

              Nobody expects you to drink the Kool-aid, but for Pete’s sake, when something goes right (as it did Thursday night), give the griping a break.

        • Dawgfan Will

          Will you ever say anything good about Mark Richt again?

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        I’m probably late on this thread, but I think the fact that these players are from Valdosta matters, aside from Mettenberger jokes. Georgia normally has that town locked up. If we’d lost one or both recruits I’d would have been a big problem.

  2. ScoutDawg

    Let us not be positive fellas or we will be labeled the dreaded Disney Dawgs.

  3. Jim

    Agree Senator – nothing bad about some good momentum going into the home stretch of recruiting.

    That said, a big part of the problem in athens the last few years seems to have been a lack of ability to develop players once they are on campus – not recruit them. With the exception of last year’s class all were highly ranked classes (as much as we all know it doesn’t matter, you’ve got to measure it somehow). And by development, I mean more than just coaching on the field, but academics and discipline as well.

    I think everything we’re seeing out of richt is a day late and a dollar short, but I won’t complain if he does manage to leave the cupboard stacked for the new staff. Hopefully “year 2″ under the new staff (I guess that would be the ’13 season?) will be productive as it has for some other good programs the last decade or so (richt, meyer, saban, stoops, etc)

  4. Boz

    I’m hoping that these two commitments lay the groundwork for the visitor(s) coming in this weekend, none more important that Crowell. In the world of 6-7, any good news is, well, good. And recruiting some new studs should increase competition, which doesn’t hurt either.

  5. paul

    Good to have some positive news to talk about for a change. We’ve had little of that in recent months.

  6. DawgnAub

    As for #1, MM’s been recruited as a reciever to UGA, and a good one he can be. In the Valdosta/Lowndes game, he was easily the best player on the field, no disrespect to Rome, but he was. This mo may also help with other SGa talent, not merely Drew from Thomasville. Lowndes has a linebacker who’ll be a senior next year who is an athletic beast. In his heart he is a Ga lean at the moment but definitely not a done deal. All the attention the coaches, especially Bobo’s frequency, have shown in the past 4 months to the Valdosta area can only help.

    • As I understand it, Mitchell was recruited for either side of the ball.

      • PatinDC

        Champ part deux? Hope so.

      • Carolinadawg

        The AJC article makes it sound like he wants to play wr:

        “The 6-foot-1, 190-pound athlete was originally recruited as a lock-down cornerback. But his prolific production in new coach Rance Gillespie’s more open attack…swayed both Alabama and Georgia to offer him as an offensive player.”

  7. Vincent

    I’ll echo others’ sentiment that this may be too little too late but it is a small step in the right direction and for that I’m definitely happy. Like I’ve said before I’m at the point where i’m skeptical that Richt can turn it around but I’m really really hoping he does.

    Hope this lays the ground work for the others. We really need jenkins and Drew, i’d argue even more than Crowell.

    • Regular Guy

      You seen our RB’s lately? :)

      Seriously though, i get your point, but if they really turn out to be the real deal, I think you’d have to say all 3 of those guys are pretty equally vital. Missing on any of the 3 would be a big loss.

  8. JeromefromDecatur

    I’m all for positive moments like last night.

    And I’m all for recruiting great talent to Athens and seeing great players make great plays. But recruiting has never been a problem at UGA. Never. See Goff, Ray.

    It’s interesting to listen to some Georgia fans bemoan the lack of talent and the need to sign the “Dream Team.” When I think Dream Team, I keep seeing Stafford at QB, Knowshown at RB, Mo Mass and AJ flanked wide…

    As you said, attitude and accountability are what’s been missing most. Both the measure of both is not taken in the third week of January or early February.

    • Normaltown Mike

      invoking our current talent and Ray Goff’s team actually disproves your point.

      Goff and CMR (of late) have attracted some impressive skill positions but the remainder of the team has been sorely lacking in talent.

      The Goff team’s that stunk the joint up had a pitiful lack of talent on D. Specifically 93-95 we had one stud that I recall (Godfrey) and a lot of guys that ought to start at Ole Miss (that’s not a compliment).

      Similarly, this year’s D had one stud (Houston), a really good DB and a promising young S. Beyond that, our starters on D could play for Ole Miss and that’s about it.

      Last year we had Rennie Curran playing two sizes greater than his ability and bless him for that. But if he was at Georgia for the better part of the preceding decade, he would’ve been a backup.

      Nick Saban, Urban Meyer or Pop Warner himself would not have made Demarcus Dobbs, CJ Byrd, Prince Miller, Brandon Miller, Rod Battle, Ricardo Crawford, Akeem Hebron, Akeem Dent, Marcus Dowtin, Jeremy Lomax, Bryan Evans, Bacari Rambo, Marcus Washington or Darryle Gamble one bit better.

      • Sanford222View

        Byrd, P. Miller, B. Miller, Hebron, and Evans were all highly touted as recruits. All four star (FWTW) recruits. B. Miller and Hebron were five star by some services. Even Battle and Dent were four star by some services.

        • Normaltown Mike

          Which proves that Jamie Newberg and the other fairies that write for those services don’t know shit about talent evaluation. The tail wags the dog in that Rivals asks an athlete “who is recruiting you?” and based on that they find a reason to call a player a “Can’t Miss” or a “Five Star.

          When Tom Dimitroff becomes a writer for Rivals, wake me up.

          The more disturbing fact is that Rodney Garner and/or CMR have failed so frequently at talent evaluation. S&C was not the problem with any of those guys. Offering 16 & 17yr olds after an impressive summer camp has proven to be a failed technique.

          • Sanford222View

            So I guess all the other top schools in the south who also offered these same players were wrong too? UGA just some how managed to sign all the ones that didn’t pan out?

            I see it as not deploying talent correctly and/or not developing talent by the coaches. I agree the recruiting rankings should be taken with a grain of salt but I find it hard to believe that Florida, FSU, Bama, Auburn, etc. also failed to evaluate these players correctly.

            • Normaltown Mike

              Georgia HS player named Dent signs with Georgia and he’s a 4 star.

              Georgia HS player named Brinkley signs with Sakerlina and he’s a …..3 star.

              I don’t see how it’s Van Halenger’s fault that Dent and Hebron (the “Parade All American” from that hotbed of prep football Maryland!) failed to develop. Neither one could hold the jock of those Brinkley boys (from Thompson no less).

              Even better, we went to NC to get a 3 star DL that was considering Ap State, UNC & Wake. IMHO, if you’re going to take a chance, it better be on a local kid (Caleb Miller?).

              We gave a scholarship to a kicker from California based on a video tape. We offered a long snapper this year (we used to recruit those guys as walkons from area sports stores).

              The whole evaluation process is FUBAR over there. CMR should’ve sent chocolates to Donnan for stocking so much talent back in the day.

              • Sanford222View

                I was referring to Byrd, P. Miller, B. Miller, Hebron, Evans, Battle and Dent. I wasn’t saying every kid offered has been a supposed superstar. Every school has examples of kids that aren’t highly ranked that are offered. For every example you mane you can go with other way with the likes of Pollack, Tim Jennings, Quentin Moses, Marcus Howard, Odel Thurman, Chester Adams, etc. who were lower rated prospects who ended up going pro.

                Since 2002 UGA has had the third highest average finish in recruiting behind USC and UF. Georgia is getting talent over all. The development of that talent has been lacking lately.

      • hailtogeorgia

        I’ll agree on all of those names except for Dent and Rambo. Why the hate on Dent?

        • Normaltown Mike

          I don’t hate him. He’s a nice contributor. Just like Chris Clemons, Tony Taylor, Jarvis Jackson were all nice players. A nice player ought to start as Jr or Sr next to a great player. Akeem fits this mold. He should not be our leading tackler.

          If we’re going to hitch our program to guys that plays their way into a starting role and a late rounder in the NFL as a 5th yr senior, we’re no better than Ole Miss.

      • Bourbon Dawgwalker

        I will take exception with Brandon Miller. He would have been great if he had played d-end for 4 years. Instead, we decided to make him the world’s largest and slowest outside linebacker at a time when the spread was beginning to conquer college football. Another coach would have gotten more out of him.

        • Todd

          Last night was awesome. Rome may be great, but I think Mitchell is playmaker. I hope he is used right.

          @Hailtogeorgia…Rambo? Really?
          CJ Byrd is from around home. Even the HS coaches didn’t see all the fuss. Honestly, he should have played WR.
          @ Bourbon Dawgwalker… I am with you on Branden Miller. I think that he could have been a really good DE.
          The thing that baffles me about some recruits like Prince Miller, Carlton Thomas, Tyson Browning, is what are the coaches thinking when they offer? Did they honestly think he was going to be a SEC rb? Or a guy they put in the slot to get in space, and if so…why aren’t they ptting them there?

          Bottom line to me though, and I have been down on Richt’s coaching abilities ( personnel and time managment) , but he and his staff did a fantastic job. Face it. Georgia is a hard sell right now.

  9. H-Town Dawg

    Dream Team, baby. DREAM TEAM!

  10. D.N. Nation

    Out of curiosity, how is the Mark Bradley Plan (i.e., “Tech’ll just get better players, they totally will!”) going?

  11. DawgPhan

    So far I have see the typical “I love being positive, but…” and “even if we get Crowell, he probably sucks”, and the ever present “too little, too late.”

    Hope springs eternal in these parts.

    It’s never too late. You can always turn it around, and we won something yesterday, no doubt about that.

    For all the talk of CMR’s lack of interest or unwillingness to change, there have been tons of staff changes in the last 2 years, we are back to getting top in state talent..We are looking at locking down the best talent in the state this year, something everyone always crows about. Lakatos is bringing in taller corners, something everyone crows about. Changes in the S&C program, something everyone crows about. OL coach is out, something everyone crows about.

    They have got to make some smart moves to close out this off season, but in the last 2 years nearly every single sticking point with the negative nellies has been addressed….and instead of feeling good about it, we get “too little, too late” and “stocking the cupboard for the next guy”…good grief.

    • adam

      this is a great comment.

      i’m getting pretty tired of all the people complaining. it has to be exhausting to be so negative about the program all the time. i wish more people would just be excited and hopeful. coach richt is doing his best to improve it and i’m 100% pulling for him.

  12. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Kudos to Coach Richt and staff. This was a great bit of positive momentum that we need going into the spring. By all accounts, these are good, accountable young men with tremendous athletic talent.

    It seems that every surprise we have gotten surrounding the program for the last couple of years has been bad, so to get Mitchell was pretty exciting.

    If we can close the recruiting period with Drew, Jenkins and Crowell, it will be a nice couple of weeks. Now let’s add an OL coach with a successful track record and some fresh ideas. Hopefully this is a harbinger of things to come over the next few years.

  13. The point about what Meyer taught the SEC bears amplification. Three or four properly utilized megawatt recruits or jucos can be the difference. Think about what Harvin, Tebow and Nelson meant to the ’06 Gators. Or what Cody, Julio, Ingram and Richardson meant to the ’08-’09 Tide. Or what Newton, Dyer and Fairley meant to ’10 Auburn.

    In each case, there were three or four guys whose presence on the roster coincided with a seismic shift in each team’s football fortunes. ’05 Florida, ’07 Alabama and ’09 Auburn were nobodies. One year later, they were monsters.

    Offensively, what each was willing to do was simplify things to where they could get production out of a raw talent without him having to absorb an NFL playbook. (Cody and Fairly, of course, were set free to go play Godzilla vs. an OL’s Tokyo.)

    So you can make hay with this class in Year 1. What I don’t want to hear is how Crowell, if we get him, is a great ballcarrier but his pass protection needs help. A statement like that would be more evidence that Richt continues to stagnate while the game passes him by.

    • Bryant Denny

      +1

      The trick is, you have to make something happen with them once they get there. (Everybody, not just Richt.)

      If the play calling is goofy or if the OL has trouble, it probably won’t matter how good Crowell is.

      Related to Cody and Fairley…Cody was born to play NT in 3-4, just a perfect fit…Fairley is a freakish talent, probably in any system.

      BD

    • 69Dawg

      +1 If the scheme is too complicated change the damn scheme. If the RB can’t block then don’t put him in a position to have to. Look at the idiotic RB blocking when Thomas is in. He is a midget and the best you can hope for is that the LB or DE trip over him on the way to killing Aaron. You want somebody in the back field to block a DL or LB get a full back.

      • Bryant Denny

        Reminds me of how Shaun Alexander was handled early on. You find yourself rooting for a hangnail or something so the stud can play.

    • H-Town Dawg

      +1

      Great observation. Even one special player can make all the difference. I’m very excited about the way this class of recruits is shapping up. If we get Crowell, Jenkins and Drew then this will be a really excellent class. This group will fill immediate needs and long-term needs. There are stars and there are sleepers with all kinds of upside to them. And it’s obvious that these guys are sold on the idea that they will be the ones to turn things around. That’s a powerful incentive. The more they view this as “their team” the more they’ll fight to make it thrive.

    • Dawgfan Will

      +1

      Someone on a blog asked if Crowell had run out of the I before, or if he primarily ran from shotgun. If the latter is the case, then I say minimize the I-formation and let him and Murray go crazy. You can work the I back in over the course of the year for 2012. Adapt, for the love of God.

  14. Bad M

    Problem is most fans (and prognosticators) think one football season means anything going into the next. Look at most predictions and they are usually within a game or two of the last year. The reality is, in college football, one down year can get some young guys a lot of experience. But once you do well, a lot will leave. At least in the competitive divisions. How many people had Alabama repeating last year? Florida the year before. Even though they both had their QB’s coming back. Georgia Fans need to stop with the Doom and Gloom every year. All it does is hurt the program.

    • dawgdayafternoon

      Agreed. All the negativity eventually builds into a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts. It started after 10-3, and has snowballed since. It lowers team morale, and could possibly chase away potential recruits. I am behind Richt and our staff 100% until if and when something changes.

      Go Dawgs.

  15. Bryant Denny

    From a Bama fan’s perspective…

    1) Rome not a surprise.

    2) Really wanted Mitchell and more disappointed about this one.

    3) Can’t be too shocked when kids choose to stay in-state and play for the the state university.

    4) Maybe Smart thinks he wins either way with how things worked out. :)

    Have a good day,

    BD

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      You a darn troublemaker. I know zactly what you are thinking you red hat snarkophobe.

      • Bryant Denny

        Busted :)

        • DawgnAub

          1) agreed
          2) he is the steal, he’s quite the athlete
          3) the real truth
          4) Maybe other dawgs will disagree with me, but I hope you are completely wrong on this, don’t want him, didn’t before, especially don’t now

  16. Slaw Dawg

    You have to love the commitment to GEORGIA that these guys, and others such as Dantzler, have shown. Passion for UGA isn’t everything, as we saw with Joe Cox, but when an H. Ward, Pollack or Shockley has it, it can be a beautiful (and even 4 year!) thing. And maybe necessary to really matter beyond the recruiting ratings. For example, I’d much rather have Rome in than out, but I hope he doesn’t have high playing expectations next year. Multiple skill position “gets” boost recruiting ratings–but if Mettenberger were still at UGA, would it have actually made the team better? How much better are we really with Murray, Mason and soon LeMay all at QB, even if it does boost the Rivals rating? Remember Hybl and Barnes? The great thing about the passion, if it’s there, is maybe we get that wonderful final year as we did with DJ!

    • Sanford222View

      Would you prefer to have walk ons as back-up QB’s? You can’t only recruit a position every three years. What if Georgia had only recruited Mettenberger and not Murray. Where would the team have been last year?

      You have to recruit depth and every 4 and 5 star recruit doesn’t turn out to be a star in college. Barnes didn’t play and transfered because he wasn’t good enough to beat out the competition at his position. You have to at least bring in top talent at each position every other year especially at QB and RB.

      • Slaw Dawg

        I don’t disagree with any of that. My point is simply that having that passion makes it more likely that the recruit will be willing to wait, if necessary, for playing time. My secondary point is, I admit, cautionary: two 5 star QB recruits may up the Rivals rating, but may not ultimately be as valuable on the field as, say, a 5 star QB and a 5 star OT. I’ll take either scenario, but prefer the latter.

        • Sanford222View

          I agree with you there. I misunderstood the point of your first post. Unfortunately because of various circumstances Georgia has been forced to focus on one or two positions of need in certain years. If you get a stud at one position or lose countless lineman due to shoulder injuries you get years when an recruiting class can’t be balanced by position because we are forced to try and fill holes in depth.

  17. Russ

    Nice to get some good news. I’m still a little skeptical on Mitchell’s commitment until he signs. A lot of these kids get excited about something, say one thing, and then ultimately do another. So, until he signs, I’ll reserve my excitement. Still, it’s nice that the coaches are doing a good job selling the program.

    • Bryant Denny

      Do you think UF was really in until the end or was that “just havin’ a little fun with the Gators?”

      • hailtogeorgia

        I think he was just having fun. I’m pretty sure he knew the crowd was going to be largely Georgia and Alabama folks and he just wanted to lighten things up a bit and keep people sweating.

  18. Brad

    I hope this helps get things turned around for us. I can already picture a Tom Rinaldi piece about the Dream Team. Start the soft piano music…

  19. JaxDawg

    One or two players can indeed elevate the play of the entire team. I’ve always felt that Knowshon was that person for us in 2007/2008 – his energy and enthusiasm was absolutely contagious. Problem for us was that we didn’t have a Knowshon on D. Newton and Fairley the cheap hitting thug were those kind of guys on both sides of the ball – which is a rare combinations. Kinda like Tebow and Spikes for UF.

  20. crapsandwich

    Senator I sure am glad you didn’t add something like, “I don’t think Richt has done a good job, I think he has done a GREAT job”. You might have been taking the first available Texas Blog job for that one.

  21. uglydawg

    I’ve been saying it…Things are getting better in Athens.
    I remember Munson once saying “I hear they’re building a monster over in Auburn”, and he was referring to the class with “the big train” and “the little train”.
    Coming soon…. a monster in Athens..

  22. Dawg3fan4

    One thing missed about recruiting taller db’s. This will pay bigger dividends now that UF is going away from the spread offense where smaller faster guys made up the majority of their wr’s. Lots of SEC teams now have bigger wr’s and I expect UF will probably go more that way with the change in offenses. USC, AL, AR and LSU all had big wr’s last year that could take advantage of smaller db’s. Smaller guys can get it done at db, Tim Jennings is doing quite well in the NFL, but against guys like AJ, Julio, Jeffrey and Greg Childs a few extra inches and a bigger body to fight them at the line is a huge plus. Hopefully a second year away from the habits that Martinez taught our secondary will make a big difference this year.

  23. redcoat dawg 80

    Several points: CMR is a very good coach – if he has a weakness it is the inability to remove coaches that are underperforming in a timely manner.

    Bobo is a good QB coach, but at best an average OC: With our facilities/money/fanabase, can anyone really argue that we can’t hire a better OC than Bobo? Put him back as QB coach and let CMR call the plays if nothing else. He makes 9000.00 a day – let him do what he was hired to do – create the FSU offense at UGA. 4th and inches after drivingt 92 yards in the Who Cares Bowl against UCF and we opt for a field goal? REALLY?????

    Recruiting is an overhyped game created to give jobs to ex football jocks: Remember when King, Ealey and Marlon Brown were the next great thing?

    8 – 5 is a down year / 6 – 7 is a complete meltdown: Yeah, we were CLOSE but a few of those games there was NO REASON to lose. Of course, it would have helped if at any given point this year we could have fielded the whole team at one time instead of seeing key players on the sidelines on suspension over dumb stuff.

    Do we have a chance this year to rebound? Yes – IF CMR puts the BEST players on the field instead of the senior players. IF we play to win and not to lose.

    No matter what happens I will love the Dawgs but we are not in a good place right now and it’s hard to see why we got here – Martinez should have been dumped 4 years ago – Halanger was a good coach whose time had passed – Bobo needs to coach QB’s, not run the offense. CMR needs to realize that for 3.2 million a year he needs to run this football program and produce a competitive team year in and year out – if he has other priorities (no matter how noble) that take up his time, he should be man enough to admit what Meyer did : that he just can’t make that commitment anymore and move on. Hoping for a good year but then again I was hoping fore one last year. Something has got to give this year – I hope CMR pulls it off – I’d like for him to stay.