To boldly go where Georgia has gone before…

With all due respect to Kyle and MaconDawg, for me, it’s not so much that Georgia has to take a bunch of bold risks this year to get its mojo back.  (Its mojo being the competitive swagger the program displayed on its 2002-5 run,  a confidence that it would be in every game it played in, in one form or fashion.)

All I’m looking for is a team – coaches and players – that won’t play scared.  Will improved conditioning help build confidence?  Probably, and it’s something to watch for on opening night.

But what I really want to see is a change in philosophy, tactically speaking, in a couple of areas that I’ve bitched about constantly over the past couple of seasons.  First, regardless of field position, field a punt returner who’s a threat to return a kick.  That doesn’t mean you outlaw the fair catch, or refuse to let a punt inside the five-yard line go by.  But it does mean you signal to the other team that more than those two options are in play and will have to be accounted for.

Second, on offense, don’t ever take your foot off the gas as long as the outcome of the game is in doubt.  If your quarterback is absolutely shredding, say, the Auburn and Georgia Tech secondaries, no matter how hard the little Vince Dooley inside of you is pushing to call a few inside running plays for balance, keep taking what the other guy can’t stop until he proves to you otherwise.  If the Mississippi State defensive coordinator is crashing his linebackers to sell out and stop the run with nine-man fronts, don’t make running Carlton Thomas between the tackles your first option, particularly after you see how ineffective a response that is to that defensive set.

There’s no guarantee that any of this translates into an eleven-win season.  But if Georgia’s going to get better for the long run, it has to start believing again that it’s capable of it.  And for that to happen, it has to play with the faith that every player and every coach can out-execute the opponent on every snap of the ball – yes, even when that’s running Thomas inside.

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45 Comments

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45 responses to “To boldly go where Georgia has gone before…

  1. heyberto

    I thought the title was some sort of GT reference. I hear Dragon Con is coming up soon.

  2. stick jackson

    I had contemplated surgery to have the little Vince Dooley inside of me removed, but my doctor said that now that can be treated with medication. No more VD for me!

  3. Jeff Sanchez

    “If your quarterback is absolutely shredding, say, the Auburn and Georgia Tech secondaries, no matter how hard the little Vince Dooley inside of you is pushing to call a few inside running plays for balance, keep taking what the other guy can’t stop until he proves to you otherwise”

    No, bad idea. Better to get cute and clever, like, say, put Brandon Smith in the Wilddawg when you’ve got the AUburn D on its heels.

    They’ll never see it coming!

    /Bobo’d

  4. vincent

    Amen! And nowhere is this focus and swagger more dreadfully needed than in jax. i am firmfully convinced that we should and could have won that game last year had we not psyched ourselves out. years previous? no but last year’s loss to me was 100 % mental.

    • Ben

      With the way the team stormed back in the second half, I agree with you. It seems, though, that as the clock was getting down, something/someone reminded our guys that we don’t win by the St. John’s River anymore. Too bad, too, because that would have been a great story to tell the grandkids…

      • Willie DAWG!

        I have always have felt that we have been mentaly challenge here in Jacksonville. There has been several times that we should have won in Jacksonville but we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot to loose the game. We are not getting beat we beat ourselves.

  5. 69Dawg

    I will be happy if we can just not soil our pants against our rivals. No more UT blow outs or UF well you know no more losses. I’m getting old and I would really like to see us back in a BCS game before I’m too old to attend.

  6. Irishdawg

    “Will improved conditioning help build confidence? ”

    I had a player tell me the new program will make the team mentally tougher, which is great. I hope it also bonds the team together; shared miseries are good for team building, ask any Army drill sergeant.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Ask that 1980 National Championship team that had to paint the practice wall and other extra curricular activities as punishment for the stolen pig and the following barbeque! ;-)

  7. JaxDawg

    We lost the FL game last year due to our Defense, and I expect that unit to be much improved this year. In fact, it will be among the league’s best, if not the best in rushing yards allowed and total D.

  8. baltimore dawg

    i’ve said it before, but i tend to take a dimmer view: i don’t always see evidence so much of a coaching staff that doesn’t trust its better instincts so much as i see evidence of a coaching staff that is unprepared and doesn’t quite know what it thinks.

  9. Skeptic Dawg

    The issues listed are coaching issues. Coaches that fail to have this team prepared. Coaches that fail to develop talent. Coaches that fail to recognize talent. Does CMR and staff have what it takes to make the changes needed to win? I do not believe they do, or will. CMR is not willing to put in the time and effort required to put and keep this program at the top of college football. Nor does he have the mentality to put his boot in a kids backside.

    • CMR is not willing to put in the time and effort required to put and keep this program at the top of college football.

      Seriously, how do you know this?

      • WH

        Absolutely the right question. No one knows. Unless you’re his boss, his wife, his close friend or one of his coaches or players, you cannot know what he’s willing to do.

      • Skeptic Dawg

        It is painfully evident that CMR and this staff are not putting in the time and effort required to be a winning program. Here are a few examples: PERSONNEL ISSUES (If they were taking time to evulate the talent, players would be placed in postitions to succeed.) INCONSISTENT GAME PERFORMANCE (This is the surest sign that a staff is not putting in the work. As Dawg fans, we all have seen far too many games where this team was either out coached or simply not ready to play.) PERSONAL TIME (I respect CMR as a person for his beliefs and missions. However, I do believe that both take away from his time as the HC at the University of Georgia. CMR has said that he feels a home-life/work-life balance is important to him. I do not believe Saban or Belichick (2 highly successful coaches on different levels) care about home/work balance. As a fan, I want my HC to be in the office and on the practice.

        • In other words, you’re guessing.

          • Skeptic Dawg

            If there were no issues with this current staff, we would not have seen the decline of this program over the past few years. Regardless of my opinions, the proof will come this fall as to whether or not CMR has pulled this wreck out of the ditch.

            • Who said there were no issues? I’m just questioning where you’re getting the “Richt doesn’t work enough” vibe.

              • We at least agree on one issue. Do you not believe the 3 examples I gave earlier qualify? Personnel Issues, Inconsistent Game Performance, and Personal Time Away. Of the 3, which one do you think I am off base with?

                • Spence

                  You have no evidence to suggest that any of those program issues are linked to your speculation that CMR does not spend enough time on football. Going on a 5 day mission trip does not a program topple.

                  It is rumored tht at UF Spurrier played 1-2 rounds of golf a day.

        • Tenn_Dawg

          I just stated basically the same thing in a post below. Balance is important to Richt because he faith requires it. Some of these other guys are 100% full bore football. Can Richt be successful with a balanced life? Sure but he is at a disadvantage.

          • DawgPhan

            Saban is 100% football. None of these guys are. Pretty sure that Saban has been fairly active in Tuscaloosa after the tornadoes. Should he have been watching game film or dropping off bottles of water…let me guess we was watching game film and dropping off water.

            They all take down time. They all get away from the game. To suggest that Richt is a lesser coach because he goes on a mission trip once a year or he takes the kids to camp sunshine is silly.

            • DawgPhan

              argh…isn’t

              • DawgPhan

                there is no greater interwebs vindication that seeing your favorite blog, link to another blog espousing your views from the comments section from the day before.

                many drinks to the good senator and happy 4th to all.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Not sure I can agree whether CMR puts in the appropriate amount of time. Like Brother Bluto says, we just don’t know. But I agree with Skeptic Dawg. The coaching needs improvement. Any coach who goes 6-7 at UGA – with 2010’s mild schedule – is doing a poor job. The results speak for themselves. No need to check the timecard.

  10. I buy the argument that Richt has gotten more conservative as he’s gotten older, but I wonder if maybe his trust in the defense has had more to do with it. When he was more of a risk-taker, he had a defense that he knew could bail him out if the risk backfired. If the D can earn the same level of trust that we had under BVG, then maybe Richt will open things up a little more again. And once that happens, the players start believing, which makes the coaches believe more in the players, which makes the players believe more…..it becomes a positive feedback cycle.

  11. The Life of Reilly

    Richt is famous for being a man of faith. Too bad he doesn’t have any faith in his team.

    • /MDWM

      How anybody ever makes a connection between Richt’s faith and his failures on the football field are beyond me Worst straw man argument that has persisted all these years.

      • Merk

        It’s because that is the only thing they have on Richt. Used to be that Richt would not let go of friends…then he started firing people. Now all they have to hate on Richt about is that he has faith in something other then football. That and they are trolls looking for response.

      • Tenn_Dawg

        I do think there is some correlation there. The bible tells us that you can not serve two masters. Between recruiting, staying on top of the lastest football trends, keeping up with 100+ teenagers/young adults, keeping up with the NCAA rule book, watching film of your team, gameplanning, etc…..big-time college football is a master in the sense that it is a 24/7 job. I honestly believe that Richt struggles with the balance because he is a true family man of strong faith. I think he really does care about things that affect others and genuinely wants to make things better. I really admire him for his beliefs and the principles he lives his life by but I do think those things hinder him somewhat. I am a Christian and I struggle with the same things. Do I work too much? Am I spending enough time in the Word? Am I spending enough quality time with my spouse and children? If I am having struggles finding balance I am sure that Richt is as well.

        Most of the people who are considered the best in their field are usually self-centered and are willing to do about anything to be the best. There are exceptions to that statement but I honestly think it is true. In the football world for every Tony Dungy and Tom Osborne there are the Sabans, Meyers, Billiceks, Parcells, Rex Ryan, etc.

        So I would say yes it is hard to do. Not impossible but very difficult. I am pulling for the guy hard though because I do admire him and his beliefs.

    • heyberto

      Do you believe the teams in recent years had earned Richt’s faith? They sure didn’t earn mine.

  12. DawgPhan

    I will bet dollars to doughnuts that CMR has spent more time working on UGA football in the last decade than anyone on this board…regardless of how he spends his vacation time or sundays.

  13. Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

    Yeah, even Georgia Tech figured that one out.

    They didn’t all of a sudden try passing against us when they saw we couldn’t stop their run.

    In fact, they did a much better job stopping their run than we did.

    • D.N. Nation

      To be fair, Carlton Thomas between the tackles has a better chance of success than any Tech QB throwing the ball to anyone.

      • Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

        To be fair, running Larry Munson between the tackles has a better chance of success than any Tech QB throwing the ball to anyone.

  14. AMEN AND HALLELUJAH BROTHER!

  15. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Senator, I agree with everything you said in this post. I would add–let’s get away from making bonehead calls and decisions during the game, too. Like kicking a field goal when its 4th and 1 foot from the 2; like calling a draw in an obvious running situation when everybody in the stadium knows you’re not going to pass because you are setting up for a field goal; like calling a slow developing pass play that requires a back to block a DE when the game is on the line. Each one of these decisions cost the Dawgs a victory in a close game last season. If those 3 decisions are made differently the Dawgs have a 9-4 season last year even with all the problems they went though. The foregoing are a few of the reasons I jumped off the CMR bandwagon last year, not the play of the team.

  16. TimRankine

    ‘Swagger’ is for losers

  17. Mark Richt himself admitted that he has not spent much time in football due to his other activities as Head Coach while under the Red underwear fellow, and that is why McGarrity is giving him less of those extra responsibilities this year. It is therefore a really pivotal year for his coaching career at Georgia.

  18. Stoopnagle

    1000 times YES!