The season of going for it?

It’s entirely possible that, come September, I’ll have to admit I read way too much into the early returns from NSD, but at least right now it sounds very much as if the staff intends to buck tradition and play many more true freshmen than we’re accustomed to seeing.  Some of this comes across like Grantham’s identify-your-fifty-best-and-get-them-on-the-field approach (and we sure have heard a lot from Grantham in the past few days, haven’t we?).

But some of this sounds like a head coach who realizes he can’t be too complacent this coming season.  When have you heard – more to the point, when have you believed you would hear – something like this from Richt?

“We quite frankly didn’t have a great Plan B this year,” Richt said Sunday on WSB radio. “We just said we’re going for it. … The great majority of them came, so it was an awesome finish.”

We’ve come a long way from that early field goal in the Liberty Bowl, baby.

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55 Comments

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55 responses to “The season of going for it?

  1. Joe

    When CMR went for it on fourth down on our ~30 yd line Vs Clemson in 2002 he had brass ones. I loved it.

    Good to see them back because the fair catch specialist was the microcosm of the play it safe CMR (Although then there was the return the punt with 6 seconds to go on our own 4 against UF that was simply inexplicable!!)

    He had became schizophrenic, not calculating.
    This all seems much more go for it, without being crazy.

  2. heyberto

    With all the talk over the years of freshman have to learn schemes/plays/pass protection/etc., the question becomes – Has Richt decided to take the risks associated with playing freshman? I have to admit, I like the change in thinking just for the sake of shaking things up and showing a little swagger via faith in his young players… but the flip side is, what if he’s been right all of these years and it backfires on us? Hopefully these guys will be ready enough that they can be relatively mistake free out of the gate.

    A bit of a side note, but you have to wonder how King and Ealey are feeling about their jobs right now? I can’t say I’m real worried about it, particularly with the problems King has had.

    • A bit of a side note, but you have to wonder how King and Ealey are feeling about their jobs right now?

      There’s a definite case of message-sending going on with the running backs and Crowell’s signing.

      • Bryant Denny

        No worries. They have a four-year ride. :)

        • Normaltown Mike

          Sadly, with CMR, its often a 5 yr ride.

          CMR hasn’t got the memo that RB’s have the shortest shelf life of all positions in football. A wise man would recognize this and avoid redshirting a RB unless they were:
          – fat
          – injured
          – coming off a 3yr stint as a caddy

          In light of Malcolm bench riding and the awesomeness on display from King and Ealey against MSU, UC and USCe, CMR has still not yet reached this “aha” moment.

          • Even Malcome said he needed a redshirt last year and Ealey played as a true freshman, so I’m not sure I buy your point here.

            • Normaltown Mike

              If Malcome is good, do you think he’ll play 4 years of CFB?

              When the NFL is paying the kind of money that causes kids from Highland Park to jump early, what are the odds that a kid from SW Dekalb guts it out for 5 seasons in Athens?

              If he’s avg or worse, wouldn’t we be better off having him out the door sooner?

              Yes, Ealey played as a 20 yr old Freshman and the sooner he leaves, the better. If Michael Cooper had flunked twice, I’m sure he could’ve dominated A ball the way Ealey did. WE doesn’t play smart and he doesn’t have any particularly great skill.

              • When the NFL is paying the kind of money that causes kids from Highland Park to jump early, what are the odds that a kid from SW Dekalb guts it out for 5 seasons in Athens?

                That might be a real worry for me if I felt that Georgia wouldn’t recruit another decent tailback or two in the next four years.

                • Go Dawgs!

                  Basically, what this boils down to is that Normaltown Mike is part of the group who will never forgive Mark Richt for redshirting Knowshon Moreno. He’s the only argument anyone will ever bring up when they accuse Richt of redshirting running backs unnecessarily. And, they assume that KM would have had the exact same type of year in 2006 that he had in 2007, which is not something you can assume. Despite what players said about him in practice, there was still something about him that the coaches thought needed work on, evidently. Heck, maybe he would have gotten Stafford killed with an ole! block. Anyway, I wanted more than two years of Moreno, too, but these things happen.

                  • Normaltown Mike

                    I’m holding CMR to HIS standard.

                    It was CMR that frequently said about himself “who’s the guy that redshirted him?” as a way to acknowledge the mistake.

                    Maybe 06 would’ve been the exact same. It was a transition yr with a new QB. The glaring problem is that in early 2007 coaches were clearly unsure of how good KM was. Stupidity and temerity led to a 16-12 loss to USC in week two. That KM guy? 104 yards on 14 carries. Too bad he came off the field in the redzone so Stafford could throw to Michael Moore (dropped) and Bruce Figgins (dropped).

                    So ’10 was a transitional year with a new QB. We could’ve got Malcome a few reps to find out if he’s the next Richard Samuel or the next Thomas Brown or even KM.

                    If Malcome is a real player, I’m sure he’ll be sticking around Athens to finish his Consumer Economics degree. Kids from SW Dekalb couldn’t be lured away by a fat contract in the NFL.

                    • Hackerdog

                      So, in your opinion, it was stupid of the coaches in the USC game to rely on a future #1 pick in the NFL draft instead of a future #12 pick? Do you have anything other than hindsight to base that opinion on?

                      You believe that we should have burned Malcome’s redshirt to find out what he could do. Does that mean you think burning Marlon Brown’s redshirt was the smart play? In hindsight (hey, I’ve got it too!), I think Brown may have benefited from a redshirt year.

              • hailtogeorgia

                What does Michael Cooper flunking twice have to do with anything? He dominated AAA ball the way Ealey dominated A ball.

                • Normaltown Mike

                  B/c Georgia fans hyped WE like he was “the next Herschel” ad nauseum.

                  It’s a lot easier to whip up on Jenkins Co. and Lincolnton when you are a year or two more mature than the other players.

                  WE has been instrumental in making plays that led to close losses (UK ’09, USC & ARK ’10) and a knucklehead off the field. The reason I bring up Cooper is I don’t recall CMR bending over backwards to keep an avg player around. WE is no better or worse than Cooper when all factors are considered.

                  And how has CMR treated WE? Soft suspension after WE lied to CMR, said he wouldn’t drive and then hit a parked car and fled. No apparent threat to PT by a new RB in Malcome .

                  • hailtogeorgia

                    Okay, I see the tie-in now, and that’s a good point (as to Richt trying to keep Ealey around and not really trying with Cooper).

                    As for Cooper, talk about a career that started out promising and went down the tubes. After the first game against Clemson, I could’ve sworn we’d found our next back.

                  • Dawgfan Will

                    Honestly, though, when was the last time UGA signed a back of any prominence and DIDN’T hype him as “the next Herschel”? It’s in the DNA of our fanbase.

                  • Dog in Fla

                    Waushaun has immunity based on his WE run the state performance in the 2009 Tech game. That immunity still protects him from things gone not so well like parking garage slaloms.

                    • Normaltown Mike

                      Granted, he got immunity off the Tech challenge, but certainly he used that up on the Parking Garage Obstacle Course.

                      At some point he MUST’VE won a hidden immunity idol.

                      How else to explain his continued appearances in games last season?

                      Unless CMR is secretly undermining the Coaches tribe and plans to join forces with the Offense tribe. Maybe Grantham now runs the Coaches tribe?

                    • Dog in Fla

                      Normaltown, my guess is that it’s either Caleb being MIA or has something to do with the Team Unity Council.

    • Turd Ferguson

      For the record, I’ve already heard rumors that both King and Ealey are considering transferring. Doubt it’s true, but then … wouldn’t really surprise me.

    • BenG

      If we do put these fresh faces out on the field, I have no doubt it will bite us at some point. My hope is they’re talented enough to make up for most of the inevitable mistakes.

    • hailtogeorgia

      Frankly, I’m tired of King. He’s had several suspensions, and the academic suspension for the Liberty Bowl just really sent me spinning. I like Ealey and don’t understand a lot of the hate on him here, but I’ve just about had it with Caleb.

  3. Bryant Denny

    That all sounds good, especially a week after signing day. You can probably get away with playing Jenkins (JUCO) and IC (TB), but when you start depending heavily on freshmen on defense or on the OL, you have trouble.

  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    Other than Jenkins, who is hardly a freshman, Drew and POSSIBLY Crowell, the likelihood of most of the signing class seeing significant playing time, other than on special teams, is pretty slim.

    If this turns out not to be true, then our newly revamped strength and conditioning program has a miracle or two up its sleeve.

    I like the idea of the Richt’s statement, but the physical realities are a very different thing…I think.

    • Right now, in addition to the guys you mention, I think they get Rome on the field and I also think at least one of the DBs plays (they clearly want more size in the defensive backfield). Wouldn’t be surprised if Malcolm Mitchell plays, either.

      The only group I feel confident saying all will redshirt are the offensive linemen.

      • Reptillicide

        Agreed, none of the OL recruits will see the field in 2011, but beyond that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the other guys get PT. Jenkins, Crowell and Drew are guys I’m confident will see plenty of PT, and I think Rome, Mitchell, Turene, Wilson and Moore may get on the field as well.

    • Turd Ferguson

      If Orson Charles sees increased time in the slot, and with Figgins moving to FB, Rome will see play time at TE. Depending upon the development of Marlon Brown, Mitchell could turn out to be our second best WR. And Swann and Marshall will both see time at CB. In fact, barring an injury, I can just about promise that Nick Marshall will see time on both sides of the ball. If Bobo doesn’t design a couple run-pass option packages for Nick Marshall, he’s an idiot. Imagine Branden Smith (though not quite as fast) with a cannon for an arm. Marshall’s a weapon.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Marshall is one of the two or three best high school athletes I have ever seen…and you are probably right about Mitchell and Drew, now that I think about it….Hey! I hope they all play if they are ready, and I guess that’s the main message coming out of Athens….no automatic redshirts.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Just an observation but we should not get carried away by the Newbergians saying somebody is ready to play now….none of them, even a former Tech qb knows how a kid will adjust to the game speed, etc.

  5. “No Plan B” . . . I like that. It’s a good philosophy, and it’s pretty much true for Richt personally.

    • Of course, “No Plan B” pretty much sums up the first month of last season once A.J. had been suspended, too.

      In all seriousness, though, what we’ve been hearing out of Athens lately indicates a coaching staff that’s realized it can’t win by playing it safe or operating at 50% speed. For a while there in the mid-’00s, Richt had the luxury of being able to play it pretty safe and still roll up 10 wins without having to try too hard, but Saban, Meyer, Petrino and (ugh) Chizik, among others, have rendered that strategy a non-starter. Still don’t know how (or if) this is all going to translate into on-the-field results, but it does seem like things are starting to sink in a little more than they were when Richt was issuing those vague, noncommittal “We’re going to take a hard look at what we’re doing” sound bites following embarrassing losses.

      • Howl&Woof

        I think “what you are hearing lately” indicates that CMR is pissed about the performance of last years team…especially the running backs and OL. I am sure that he would privately admit that he, and the other coaches should have known about the apparent lack of dedication before the season went to Hell.

        I think that McGarity has wisely delivered the message that “it ain’t what you expect, it’s what you inspect.” As a result Richt is getting back to a more hands-on, micro management approach. It worked for recruiting and I hope it will work this coming season. Our players need to learn accountability…like Thomas Brown said, “I’m here to push them to be successful or make them quit.” Amen.

  6. Stoopnagle

    I’ll believe it when I see it. (The going for it, that is – pretty sure IC is going to play).

  7. bigeasydawg

    I just pray we don’t go back to the three headed running back system.

  8. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    It’s frustrating to think the head coach of UGA, who’s being paid $3M a year, has suddenly figured out he’s been too complacent. This wouldn’t be the first time Richt has had a problem with thinking he’s got everything down pat only to suffer disappointing results (2004 and 2008 come to mind).

    Oh well, I guess better late (again) to try and ramp back up rather than never.

  9. Bright Idea

    I think we may see some of the freshmen show up midseason rather than redshirting. In the past it seems if they did not play by game 2 or 3 the redshirt became automatic, except for Ealey.

  10. Still think Jenkins, Drew, & maybe 1 ILB will be the only newcomers that crash the 2 deep roster for the defense.
    The Dawgs look pretty solid to me at all positions but the OL. The new S&C program, spring practice, & the competition from the freshmen will clarify some of that. If the OL comes through, the Dawgs may be better than expected in 2011. I like what I see at every other position.

  11. 69Dawg

    Listening to UGA fans is like watching “Ground Hog Day”, every year it’s the same thing. No matter how bad last year was something is going to get us better. Hope springs eternal in Athens Georgia every spring only to be crushed every late October in Jacksonville. I’ll believe it when I see it on the field, no more of this over exuberance.

    • Bin

      Hope springs eternal in every college town at this time of year. What’s your point?

    • DawgPhan

      I know..I would much rather go through the long off season thinking the upcoming season is going to suck instead of hoping that we get better. What a bunch of jerks all happy and optimistic.

  12. DawgPhan

    Besides, you missed the point of Groundhog Day. It is a movie about perfecting each day. About man’s enduring spirit and ability to find a place for improvement. Or if you watch 30 Rock, Reganing…try it..it’s a lot of fun.

  13. Will Trane

    Plan A. Plan B. Did they even have a game plan last season. I do not think I saw one in a game. So I’m not sure what plans a or b are?
    For sure it is hard to have any plan when you never have a roster of players. Difficult to develop a plan of any kind during practice when you are not sure the player you had yesterday will be here today, much less of Saturday. That was their plan.
    And I thought Searels was a good O line coach. Well until I kept seeing the rushing numbers drop off the cliff. But at times I thought that was part due to the OC.
    They will have some competition at RB next year. Perhaps we will see a set by the Dawgs like the Packers used…two FB split…but then they only ran the ball less than a dozen times. But if I had to bet if they will run the ball in 2011, yeah they will run next year. Do not think CMR likes to be on the 3 yard line on 3rd down and not converting. If I was the old running game coordinator and O line coach, I would have gotten a message…if this is Austin.

  14. Sep

    Our biggest problem last year was ng and we seem to have plugged that problem. LB will be fixed with Samuel, Jones and Drew. DB are plentiful and talented.

    RB’s and WR’s are my concerns. I know our offensive line has been mediocre but they have talent and will be okay. What about the skill guys? Other than our starting QB.

    We need a freshman RB and WR to come in and help IMHO. And we need a good FB which may be there.

  15. Texas_Dawg

    Birmingham News broke the news yesterday that Alabama is the only public college in the state (and probably the only one in the country) that redacts scholarship numbers, for every single sport, from requested documents:

    According to Saban, those of us on the outside of the Alabama program can’t criticize him for oversigning because we don’t know the exact number of players he has on scholarship from year to year.

    Funny thing about that. Why don’t we know? Alabama won’t tell us, even though we ask every year.

    Birmingham News colleague Jon Solomon requests a copy of the annual NCAA revenue and expense report from every Division I athletics department in the state. One of the categories on that report is number of student-athletes on scholarship in each varsity sport.

    Every Division I public school in this state provides us a copy of those reports. Only Alabama blacks out the scholarship numbers for every sport.

    No comment, Senator?

    Nothing to see here I guess…

  16. baddawg

    Honestly I knock WE for being a brat and lazy, but the run this state game ands the UK game this year shows his real potential. I was hoping crowell would come in and push these guys to there potential. Transferring is a cop out. I want some battling for position!