Upon further review: the play of the game

I find myself rather amazed by the fan base’s reaction to the series of plays which led to Georgia’s second score at 28-14 – you know, when Richt initially elected to punt when he was facing a fourth-and-seven inside Boise State territory and then decided to run a play when given a second opportunity after an offsides penalty reduced the down and distance to a much more manageable fourth-and-two.

At the game, there was noticeable disgruntlement over the decision to punt that vanished in the wake of the touchdown pass, but there’s been a lot of virtual bitching on message boards and comment sections about how Richt was bailed out by a lucky penalty.

What I’ve seen, though, is almost no discussion of the night’s key play, which occurred early in the second quarter.  The Dawgs were mounting their first successful drive of the night and were heading towards retaking the lead.  Faced with a fourth and short on BSU’s 26, Richt, the coach who was scorned the entire offseason for kicking an early field goal against Central Florida instead of going for it on fourth-and-one, passed on a sure Blair Walsh field goal and took his chances on picking up the first down.

Take it from there, Ben Dukes.

… Then comes the 4th and 1. I applaud Richt for having the WILL to go for it. That showed me that he’s out to win more than just put 3 points up. And the execution was pretty dadgum great, with one small exception. NOBODY TOUCHED THE PLAYSIDE OLB! There is no way on God’s Green Earth that the OLB isn’t blocked in the play design. Either Charles was supposed to chip him, or Anderson was, or Ogletree was supposed to take the first thing that showed. I have no idea. It was an obvious missed-assignment and it resulted in the killing of our best drive of the game.

Anybody doubt that play was flashing through Richt’s head when it was fourth-and-seven later?  I sure was thinking about it.  As it turned out, the penalty and the situation made it an easier call, but I wonder what he would have done if Georgia had been within a touchdown at the time.

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68 Comments

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68 responses to “Upon further review: the play of the game

  1. TennesseeDawg

    With the number of mental lapses and misses assignments, it makes you wonder exactly what do they do all day in practice for the last several months. Should we scale back the playbook so we can perfect a smaller number of plays or is this simply the coaches not covering the assignments with the players?

  2. Derek

    As they say: if you listen to the folks in the stands it won’t be long before you are sitting with them.

    • GeorgetownDawg

      It’s amazing how Richt has gone along with almost all the fan complaints of the past couple of years. No more directional kicking, no more Willie, a different S&C program, etc. The only thing left that the fans are screaming about is Bobo and Richt probably won’t be around to make a change there.

      • Dave

        It’s also amazing how the kicking game has improved. As has the defense in year one of Grantham. S&C is hard to quantify, but if you guys were OK with it, more power to you. I prefer….you know….better results with different personnel than crappy results with the status quo.

      • Merk

        Willie sucked, the S & C sucked, the kicking sucked. No one told Richt who to hire, just who to get rid of. He did that. The fan base was right all 3 times, the problem is that the DC we got may not be too much better then Willie. The S & C is had to tell, but they looked as slow and weak as they did last year. Except now we got to see a 30Lb heavier Samuel fall down after 2 yards.

        • GeorgetownDawg

          Although I didn’t state it very well, I agree with you that it appears that the fans were/are a step ahead of Richt.

  3. timphd

    Couldn’t agree more, that was the play of the game. One block and they likely get the first down and maybe get to the red zone on that play. Instead, someone (I think Charles) completely blew the assignment on the play and the linebacker crushed the run. Make that first down and maybe Bobo stays with some power running out of the I formation too. I didn’t want the field goal at that time. I agreed with Richt’s call. If only his team executed the play!

    • Ben

      I agreed with Richt’s call, too, and it looked like the blown assignment was all on Charles. He was in motion, and the LB moved to a stand-up end position, and Charles completely missed a block of any kind, which is odd since it was a designed running play. I almost thought he was running a shallow out and Murray would hit him in the flats with it; it wasn’t, though, it MIGHT have been the play of the game, as the Senator points out.

    • Skeeter

      Yeah, and as I recall he initially lines up right in front of the uncovered Boise player and then shifts. So, it’s not like he didn’t see him. He had to have been staring right at him, as if he thought “oops, wrong guy.” Like Ben, I thought he was going to run out and take a pass but instead he joined in to help block another guy who was more than covered.

      The whole play was just indicative of the game.

  4. Macallanlover

    I was baffled at why he didn’t kick the FG in a tight game at that point. I had seen no reason to think we could run the ball in an obvious situation, we hadn’t blocked anyone backwards all night. I am sure the moronic outcry against the FG against UCF in the bowl game was a contributor. You hate to think fans (especially our negatories) can influence a coach but several months of hearing disgruntlement from people who you want to please can do that.

    Not sure what drove him to elect to receive the opening kickoff but I feel sure he wasn’t following the discussion here last week where some suggested he do so to “make a statement” (you mean like Boykin which some also thought was cool?) There are some valid reasons to not defer on occasion, but trying to show you are a mach dude isn’t one. I think the very worst time to take the ball is when your players are “amped up”, perhaps over amped. Excessive adrenaline on offense leads to early movement and over throws while excesive adrenaline on defense leads to taking someones head off. We never recovered from the poor field position.

    • Stoopnagle

      I take exception to the idea that going for it in the Liberty Bowl is moronic. I think if you can’t see why it isn’t and/or how it was a completely different dynamic than Saturday’s game, means you’re not paying close enough attention. Which is surprising, because you’re usually a bit more spot on.

      • Merk

        Some people think going for it means you have balls. It really just means you have faith in ur D and O. I have 0 faith in them now. The Dream Teamers that played looked as refined as the crappy juniors and seniors we had out there.
        LSU can go for it on first down b/c they have a D that always has a good chance of getting the ball back on a turnover or forcing a 3 n out. We aint got crap. In fact most the time the other team beats us in ToP, yardage, and pts.

      • Macallanlover

        Actually, going for it in the Liberty Bowl would have been the better decision because not making it would have left UCF pinned inside the 5. I think it was the result of what happened on 3rd and 1, and the 12 previous games conclusively proving we could not drive ANY defensive front back, even 1-AA teams. So I agree it was different, but I am speaking to the eight months worth of posts since saying this proved CMR was an idiot, coward, and lousy coach based on that decision. Dooley would certainly have made the same FG call and, imo, they are the two best UGA coaches in my lifetime.

        “Moronic” wasn’t questioning the decision in December, it was the on-going conclusion that was reached with that play as a rallying cry. It probably isn’t the best coice of adjectives, but it does reflect the macho man attitude of several here who are Monday Morning geniuses. Going for it after a long drive wasn’t a terrible decision, but neither was taking the FG, early lead, and getting something out of it. Saturday night’s decision was bad to me because we had been getting whipped at the LOS all night, and a 3 at that point looked pretty significant.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I think CMR should have gone for it in the Liberty Bowl but kicked the 3 pointer on Saturday against Boise. Different situations entirely. We could have taken the lead by 3 at that point in the Boise game and I think that the second quarter would have played out differently. Certainly, we could have run a dive play to set up a field goal in the third quarter and gotten an easy 3 points instead of trying a predictable pass play, Murray getting sacked and ending up with a 53 yard try which Walsh missed. That additional 6 points (the first field goal plus the one I was just talking about) would have put UGA behind by only 8 (a one possession game) at that point. The closer score would have certainly made the Boise D have to be less free-wheeling on the pass rush for the rest of the game.

    • Dave

      We can’t run for a yard against boise st. and UCF and ths guy thinks field goals are the answer – never minding the statistical support in favor of going for it as well as the fact that players like it as well from a mental standpoint…..This pretty much sums it up for that side of the argument. It’s weak in every sense of the word. Mentally, physically, intellectually —- weak.

      • WTF difference does that make if the execution sucks?

        • Dave

          Good execution with poor game management a BCS champion does not make (Les Miles’s gigantic testicles excluded – although he’s so crazy he may have torn the fabric of the college football continuum). As it is we have poor execution on top of poor in-game decisions resulting in lossed to UCF and blowouts to Boise. Oh and losses to anyone ranked.

          • Ben

            I’m pretty sure Les Miles is in a class by himself, and he can no longer be called “crazy”. Les Miles is a damn fine coach who wins wherever he is, and when he doesn’t win he makes adjustments as needed. Let’s cut the “crazy” talk and talk about him as a guy who puts his players into position to win and trusts them to do it.

            • Skeeter

              +1 Ben. My respect for Les continues to grow. The only crazy I can see is the few LSU folks who want to run him off.

            • Dave

              I didn’t say he wasn’t a good coach — but good game management? Come on…go watch last year’s Tennessee game. Hell, watch any close game with LSU. Remember his call to spike it? I’m not saying he’s not good. I AM saying he is possibly the only coach I’ve ever seen consistently overcome his own bad game management skills.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                The horseshoe will fall out of Miles’ ass sooner or later. When the worm turns it will be ugly.

            • Merk

              U clearly did not watch any of the Oregon-LSU game. LSU beat the crap outta Oregon. The D was slaughtering them. The O sucked for the most part for LSU and they still scored over 30 pts. Miles may have a crappy O and crappy QBs but who cares when you are always in the hunt until game 10 or 11 of the year. Not out of the hunt like UGA the last few years by game 5.

  5. CB

    I wonder what play Les Miles would have called.

  6. Matt R

    Orson blew it. Why did he spread out wide in a short run situation? If Orson was there just screw up the momentum, that play would ‘probably’ have worked.

    • Merk

      Also see that on a run play that should have been Crowell. Samuel had made a long run of 3 yrs at that pt. He was getting no push.

  7. Dave

    So why are the players “blowing it”? Last I checked, it was the coaches job to make sure players carry out their assignments. Funny how Saban’s players rarely “blow it”. Four years, nothing has changes, and still people are defending him. I was on Richt’s bandwagon until the bowl game last year, which is to say, longer than many. This year is simply more of the same.

  8. The Life of Reilly

    Just because UGA screwed up their first 4th down attempt doesn’t relieve Richt for originally choosing to punt the second time around. The two situations were entirely different.

    • Dave

      Totally agree. We were down by three touchdowns in the 2nd half and on the 40 going in……And we’re seriously going to punt????

    • Right. Because it was a lock that Georgia was going to execute a fourth-and-seven call perfectly.

      • The Life of Reilly

        If Georgia didn’t even try to execute that fourth and seven, the defeat would have been a fait accompli.

        • The defense was stopping BSU more than the offense was succeeding.

          • Dave

            So what Senator? We lose 28-7 instead? What the hell do we have to GAIN by punting? 20 yards? So we’re risking 20 yards of fields position when we’re down 28 to freakin 7. That’s the mentality here??? At that point punting looks more like holding down the margin of loss instead of going for the win…..And your statement about defense vs. offense works for the first half, but certainly didn’t look like it after the last two possessions Boise had before that decision

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              We could have pinned Boise inside the 5 and the D might have caused a fumble on the next series. At least it would have flipped the field. I am with the Senator on this.

          • The Life of Reilly

            In the first half. In the second half, it was clear that BSU’s offense had found their rhythm and the UGA defense after a valiant effort in the first half ran out of steam and strength of will. The UGA defense did great in the first half but they gave up in the 2nd. I believe this is because they had no faith in the UGA offense after that pitiful 1st half performance.

            • Dave

              All true, but I think it was superior halftime adjustments by Boise….they found a weakness and exploited it and kept exploiting it….novel concept.

            • Cojones

              The D is responsible for it’s own actions. Staying on the field was a D problem. If they play D well, they don’t stay on the field long.Get it? Our O had it’s problems and are held to that playing responsibility. It’s assinine to pile D responsibilities onto the O. Both coaches were let down by players. The coaches didn’t cause players to slip, jump offsides, block the wrong man, miss the block, no”shiver” to receivers at line of scrimmage, failure to cover zone, etc. Coaches can’t play and they leave everything to the players when they hit the field. On the field, the QB has responsibility for management of offense. A coach can’t snap the ball nor throw the pass. Murray didn’t do too well in the Dome, but we know he has done it before thereby making him capable.

              It would be refreshing to hear players take responsibility for not getting the job done, but part of that belongs to the opponent who doesn’t let you play to your capabilities. Boise played as we were supposed to play.

              The anti coach rants used asr an excuse to fire them is ludicrous. You can give them hell and expect more from the players next game, but you can’t pour play knowledge into the player’s heads, you can’t force athletic play and you can’t calm nerves of players by bitchin until a coach is replaced. The AD is responsible, not you and you won’t see any activity until the end of this playing season. As a fan, your job is to follow the team and cheer like hell to let’em know that we all are in it together, win, lose or fall on your face trying. Your desires about who will coach show how naive you are about hiring and firing and who’s responsibility it is. Complain all you want, but calling for personnel’s jobs is shortsighted and idiotic at this or any other time.

              • Turd Ferguson

                I’m certainly not calling for any coach’s head yet, but to say that it’s “shortsighted and idiotic” to do so at ANY time is just, well, shortsighted and idiotic. If Georgia goes winless this season, it’s not idiotic to suggest that Richt be replaced. Nor would that make me any less of a fan than you. In fact, if you DIDN’T agree that Richt should be replaced in such a circumstance, I’d think you were completely incapable of processing actual thoughts. So ease up with the righteous indignation, super-fan. Yes, the players need to execute. But to act as if there are never appropriate grounds for laying some blame at the feet of the coaching staff is just absurd.

                And last I checked, this is the comments section on a fucking sports blog. In case you’re new to this, people come here share opinions, blow off steam, and the like. Not all of us have been “in the arena” for nearly as many decades as you clearly have, but that doesn’t give you the right to announce to everyone what their jobs are as fans. I swear, if there’s anything more annoying than fans who call for coaches’ heads at the drop of a hat, it’s the pompous asshole who thinks he invented fanhood.

                • Cojones

                  My rant was about the crucifiction being planned now , not after the votes are in at the end of the season. You bet, I’ll take a swing at trash talking unreasonably about a coach you personally dislike. To me it only demonstrates that your ego is writing checks about someone else’s job that your influence can’t cash. It doesn’t add to any fan appreciation on this FAN blog to undermine staff after a disappointing first game. If my overkill is taken any way at all , it’s to match the level of overkill that I read from some. It’s insane and buttheaded to degrade a coach who has support from the AD and President who are not going to replace anyone before this season is over. To do so would indicate a team insensitivity because these players have to have confidence in the coach that’s telling them how to go and play the game. What good will come of such public statements that players can read, but due to age and life experiences may hot be able to process as “fan ire”, but instead process it as you write,i.e; your coach is the reason you lost, not your level of play. Why would they get any level of confidence in what they do if they don’t believe in their coach and that he is not the person to lead them?

                • Keese

                  1 He didn’t invent fanhood, he invented leather.

              • Anon

                Wow, the view from your sanctimonious pedestal must be great.

      • Keese

        No mentioning that there HAD to be some disconnect with Bobo and Richt on the draw play on 3rd down to set up 4th down? Still scratching my head with that..

        A friend of mine posed this question which got me to thinking. When was the last time we walked out of a game saying/thinking/feeling that our coach(es) have out maneuvered another coach on the field? It’s been a long time. Yes I agree, lack of player execution has a lot to do with it, but that ultimately falls on the coaches having the kids prepared. Are the gameplans getting too complex to have enough preparation time within the 20-hour rule? Maybe. But that applies to the other team as well. But fwiw, I just don’t see our coaches out-smarting or adjusting appropriately to other coaches. And when they do, it’s painfully obvious and thwarted (Bobo). If it’s a matter of knowing our teams limitations and playing around them that’s one thing, but when we keep doing the same shit over and over again that’s not working, that’s is what’s maddening to me.

  9. Skeeter

    Was the turning point (to the extent there was one) when Ogletree came out? It’s all hard to recall now that I’m sober.

    • Dave

      As the Senator has pointed out twice now, you could argue it was WAAAY before that where we got in a position where 1 injury leaves a walk-on anchoring the inside. I personally think the turning point was halftime, where the better coaches made good use of that 20 minutes and came out with a very sound game plan that ripped us apart slowly and methodically.

      • PatinDC

        It has been a long time since I have seen a UGA team come out after half and take charge of a game. This is a disturbing trend to watch. I now feel if we are not up a lot by half we are toast.

        • Cojones

          The posts get dumber and dumber. Senator, I’m sure I’d be near the bottom, but can’t you establish an IQ level on here? A qualifying question or two would do.

          Ex: What constitutes a trend? You could post several choices complete with graphs.
          Ex: From the list of numbers, what number is the average? The median?
          How sophisticated must one’s statistics knowledge be to formulate and plot a trend?

          Not fancy, but at least it would cut down on the out liars.

  10. bulldawgy

    Cojones,
    Your 1:41 post is spot on. GO DAWGS!

    • Cojones

      Thanks, but Turd has a point as well. If my words came out as a contest of fandom, then I should ameliorate them because that’s the opposite of my blog meaning. I generally respect everyone’s writings and Turd’s is no exception. My point was not well taken and he replied in kind as he perceived my words. I have replied as well and gave my reasoning.

      Sanctimonious? Probably. We thank you for the “Amen!”.

  11. If Richt cannot fire Bobo now, Richt should at least SUSPEND Bobo from OC duties for the rest of the season and just remain a QB coach where he may be good. Richt should resume OC duties starting with SC. This will give us a clue if Richt still has what it takes. This team may be shaky even with Ole Miss or we may looking at a 3-4 loss team after Miss. State if this coaches remain delusional.

    • Normaltown Mike

      The problem with that statement is that CMR never “had it” as an OC. His “approach” to “offense” is predicated on 11 guys simultaneously executing as planned and beating the defenders b/c they are (1) athletically inferior or (2) made a mistake in their execution.

      At our best (02-05) games were extremely close and our defense or ST were the determining factors in success. At our worst (09 – present) our offense either sputters due to our own errors or is largely ineffective against upper caliber opponent (any team from the SEC, any good team from a marginal conference).

      I’m sorry but that dog won’t hunt. I hate seasons like these but we know where it’s heading.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I’m not as sure as you seem to be. I want to at least see what happens against the Dicks…er…Cocks.

  12. Merk

    Actually we should all be very scared now. For one reason:
    Carlton Thomas is back next game. That means Bobo will split carries b/t Thomas, Samuel, and Crowell. Even though Crowell is better back at running of the 3, he will claim b/c of pass protection. Thus Crowell will be held back more. They need to just pile it on the kid. Let him learn by fire. I bet missing that block will teach him a lot more then any practice play ever will. When you see the outcome and see the players reaction to your missed play it sticks with you. When you miss the guy in practice they just say go again. No biggie, just go again.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I’m not sure I agree with everything you said but, yes, Crowell needs to be the featured back. Practice blocking a lot this week Isiah.

  13. MenloDawg

    Without reading any of the prior comments to see if anybody has mentioned it…

    I thought the key sequence (maybe not a single play) was after we intercepted the ball down in the redzone with 5:32 left in the 2nd. The game tied 7-7 with Boise having a slight edge in momentum.

    It was clear the no huddle wasn’t effective.
    It was clear our D was exhausted from picking up the offense’s slack and Boise was starting to find the cracks.
    It was clear our best or 2nd best defensive player was already injured.
    It was clear that if we sustained a drive, ran the clock down, and either scored or flipped field position, then we could could grab some momentum.
    It was clear that they received the ball to start the second half.
    It was clear that if we did NOT sustain a drive, then they’d get the ball back with a chance to really take advantage of the game.

    What do we do?

    A. Run no huddle and eat a whopping 1:15 off the clock.
    B. Chunk a pitifully underthrown ball on a 25 yd fly route when it was 3rd and 3. Granted, Murray had pressure in his face. With that said, we have the best TE in the country and a fleet footed QB (play action run/pass option anybody? did we even try this the entire night?).
    C. Throw a pick and give them the ball back on our side of the field right after our D came up with a huge TO.

    Result?

    They go up 14-7 with :48 left in the 2nd, leaving us no chance to score before halftime…then they proceed to receive the kickoff and march down the field on their first possession of the 2nd half to take a commanding 21-7.

    Game was never competitive again after the brutal no huddle/interception sequence.

    This offensive personnel reminds me of the ’07 O (except we are DRASTICALLY better at TE), but we instituted disturbingly different play calling in this game. No play action inside screen back to Crowell like we did with Knowshon and an inexperienced OL against OkSt and SC? No I formation student body pitch to the left or right with Crowell like we REPEATEDLY did with Knowshon and an inexperienced OL? Very few bubble screens on the outside to calm Murray/the WRs down when they were CLEARLY struggling? Maybe an I formation with Orson flexed in the slot along side TKing and MMitchell?

    Jesus Christ, we were inept on offensive Saturday. Yes, I know a terrible OL can make a good OC look bad…but I also know that a terrible OC that insists on exploiting his own team’s weaknesses makes an OL look bad too.

    With that said, I thought the run defense played pretty well against a legit back and can easily prevent Lattimore from notching 180 yds again this year. Over 100 for him this coming Saturday? Probably, especially if the offense maintains its juggernaut status. But Spurrier better hope he has over 100 or SC is walking out of Athens with a loss, leaving SC fans disappointed and UGA fans really confused.

  14. MenloDawg

    Sorry for the rant, but did Bobo not learn anything from the 2007 game against SC that cost us the East title and a chance to win the MNC? Why throw the ball 44 times to the likes of Tripp Chandler, Tony Wilson, Mikey Henderson, and a young Kris Durham when it’s clearly not working? Why give Thomas Brown almost as many touches as Knowshon?

    Running Richard Samuel from the shotgun? Driving the no huddle into the ground with our lack of success with it? Crowell only getting 15 touches even though he was our most potent offensive player outside of Orson Charles for the majority of the night?

    Just stick with what looks like MIGHT have some success and roll with it.

  15. Irwin Fletcher

    I can’t disagree about the 4th and 1 play but for my money, the 3rd and 3 inside our own territory was the play that killed us. Despite being terrible on offense, we are tied 7-7 thanks to what will surely be the only INT Moore will throw for several weeks. So we trot out the worst blocking back on our team so we can try a sideline fly route with 4 minutes to go in the half rather than running a bubble screen or another running play and at worst turning it over to our AA punter to flip the field? It was lunacy. It was the single most disheartening moment of the game for me b/c it struck me that who ever was calling plays had no concept of the game situation. You have to keep the clock running. You have to keep the D off the field, if possible. And for goodness sake, you can not take a turnover.

    Tied at 7. D playing well. Momentum in our favor. Boise getting the ball back in the 2nd half. Just run the ball or use a screen and see if you can pick up a first down rather than going for a 25 yard pass without max protect.

    You have a guy like Butler so you can use him when needed. He was averaging a net of 43 yards a punt…not his best, but say you run the ball and get stopped short of the 3 yards…they probably don’t start their drive until 3:45 and are somewhere inside their own 30. UGH….just disheartening.

  16. Sick but Still Faithful

    I’ve come to admit something that I’ve ignored or just refused to believe for a long time. We’ve had what, seven “good” seasons in the last 30 years? We are the perennial number 3 in the SEC East. To say anything different is nothing more than wishful thinking. We’ve had some bright spots along the way, and I love those sesons, but if we are to win the SEC any time soon it will take a miracle.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      No. Just better coaching.

    • Sicker But Still faithful

      I regrettably agree with your analysis about the SEC East. Two sobering questions: (1) Since 5 SEC teams have won the BCSNC since its inception in 1998 specifically Tennessee, Florida (twice), LSU (twice), Bama and Auburn, where exactly does UGA fit into the scheme of things in the SEC as a whole over that span? (2) If we start losing to South Carolina on a regular basis and UT makes a comeback (which it will sooner or later) then where exactly does that put UGA in the SEC East?