“We’ve just gotta take care of the ball.”

People, I hate to keep harping on this, but when it comes to ugly wins, what you see as a bug is a ginormous feature to Mark Richt.

“You do tend to want to help them by chewing as much clock as possible,” Richt said. “If the other team is having trouble scoring, you don’t want to take a whole lot of risks offensively that would allow them to score defensively … That certainly is not what you want to do when your defense is playing well. ”

The better the defense gets, the more lackluster Georgia’s second halves will get.  Don’t blame Bobo.  Blame Grantham.

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40 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

40 responses to ““We’ve just gotta take care of the ball.”

  1. heyberto

    As long as we don’t blow a lead… I don’t mind one bit.

    • Go Dawgs!

      I’m on record as saying that I hate getting completely vanilla in the second half of games (the three-and-out at the end of the UT game was deeply frustrating), but after seeing the defense once again rise to the occasion throughout the UT game… fine. As long as we don’t blow it and keep winning (and don’t have another 4th and 56), I’m perfectly OK with doing it ugly.

    • Bevo

      I agree with you, heyberto. Though my take is a little different. As long as our offense remains unstable, I don’t mind the approach one bit. Our offense tends to give up points and deadly turnovers. South Carolina reminded us of that.

      Remember, this is the same offense that — since Boise State — is giving almost the same number of points up per game as the defense. (!!) That’s incomprehensible. Just absurd. It isn’t quite as bad when you consider the defense has not given up much…but still. Very telling.

      Until they prove they can take care of the ball or you fall behind and get desperate, why would you put this offense in riskier situations than you have to?

    • Brandon

      That’s been a lot of the great coaches’ philosophy. It works as long as you have a great defense. It beats the hell out of having to score on nearly every drive to win.

  2. Nate

    Seriously, if we win every game 3-0, I’ll be perfectly ok with that.

  3. Lawdawg

    I understand and agree with the approach here. My only reservation is when we turn on the autopilot–fourth quarter with a 14 point lead is one thing, 3rd quarter and <14 is another, IMO. In the latter situation, any fluke/lucky/poor play can result in a two possession game becoming one possession with a lot of time on the clock. I think third quarter conservatism should not be the same as that of the fourth quarter. Hopefully Richt and Bobo will find the balance when the situation arises.

  4. Slaw Dawg

    Personally, my idea of how to protect a lead in the 3d Quarter is well exemplified by the 2003 UT game. All 3 TDs on the ground, as I recall, and I think 2 following turnovers–O and D playing together like a symphony. After you rain some hellfire and damnation down on a team for the entire 3d Q, providing a little salvation in the 4th is okay with me. On the other hand, let’s not forget another UT game as an example of the opposite: 2006–up 24-14 at the half and 27-24 at the end of 3, only to give up 27 in the 4th. A 10 point lead ain’t much in this league.

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    The 2002 Sugar Bowl was the template. The second half was Musa Smith, Musa Smith, and more Musa Smith. Three or four first downs, 5 minutes gone, punt, repeat.

  6. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I don’t blame anybody. I am happy when the Dawgs win.

  7. Irwin Fletcher

    You get the feeling that Richt was secretly happy about all the time those holding calls were taking up.

    Classic Richt. Think about the early Richt years. The SEC championship against Arkansas. The Sugar Bowl against FSU.

    Just look at that 4th Quarter play calling up by 10 and then 13.
    http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/2002-2003/uga14.htm#GAME.DRV

    The other classic is the 2003 Bama game. Up 37-10 at half…didn’t score another point, gave up two TD’s on turnovers and we still never got aggressive. Just grind, grind, grind.

    I hate watching it, but it still feels familiar. Like a blanket.

    • SCDawg

      Look at the names on that 2002 defense. I see 18 guys who made tackles, and I think 14 of them went to the NFL.

    • Will (The Other One)

      Plus by the 4th quarter we’d knocked not one but 2 Bama QBs out of the game. No real threat there.

  8. ScooBoo

    Fire Grantham !!!!!!!!1!!!

  9. Nate Dawg

    I think this becomes a bigger problem as the competition gets better. And by that I mean fla who we never beat and the barn who can score twice at the drop of a hat.
    But a win’s a win and I don’t care how we arrive there. But you can see the avenue for criticism if we don’t.

  10. Castleberry

    Have our offense and special teams allowed more points in the SEC than the Bama or LSU defense? If not, it’s close.

    I’d play it safe too.

  11. SCDawg

    Or credit Grantham, whichever you prefer. Personally, while I’d love to be winning games 54-3, I never thought we were in trouble against Ole Miss or MSU. Once the 3rd quarter ended, I felt awfully comfortable against Tenn. I will take it.

  12. UGAfoo (formerly JBJ)

    I disagree with his philosophy if you are already beating a team and you have a good defense, why not continue to run your offense. I’m not saying go out there and no-huddle, but why not continue to run plays that take advantage of the weakness in the defense.

    This flies in the face of what was said right after the BSU game. There we were told our goal is to run more plays to create more scoring opportunities. I guess that is only against good teams. For the bad ones, we are fine with trying to run out the clock for 1.5 quarters. Essentially letting the other team gain momentum as we flounder on offense.

    • Meanwhile, the Okalhomas & LSUs of the world are skull-f***ing their (top ranked) opponents on offense and defense. what’s wrong with having our cake and eating it too?

      • Will (The Other One)

        I think if our offense comes together we could…but I can’t blame the coaches for being a tad nervous when the last time the offense topped 40 points on an SEC team, it also handed 28 points over in turnovers.

    • Anon

      The same BS coachspeak. We should be used to it by now.

  13. I think McGarrity is also frustrated about those vanilla 4th quarter when he sort of hinted about finishing well. Manny may think he is referring to the end of the season, but I think he may also be referring to this late game planned malaise.

  14. Back in 1992, Alabama fans spent all season bitching and moaning about how boring their offense was, too. By the time January rolled around, I seem to recall them making their peace with it.

    • Bevo

      There are some weaknesses in the analogy, but I see what you’re getting at.

      I wish we were bitching about how boring our offense is. Our offense, in reality, is just very bad: Ex 1: Our offense did not get a first down against Boise State for an entire half. Any team in the country that does that against Boise State will lose. Ex 2: If you count the fumble on our own 6 yard line, which I do, our offense outscored South Carolina’s offense in points against Georgia!

      We have not been a boring ball control offense. We have been a turnover, cut-your-own-wrists offense.

      Does the defense afford us the luxury of playing it safer with our liabilities on offense? Sure. But it takes a legit run game that grinds out first downs and an offense that does not turn the ball over the run the 1992 Bama version of the ball control offense.

      We may be getting there, but we damn sure didn’t have that stick in the bag when we played our first two games.

  15. Haywood Jablome

    Watching a second half of a game in which UGA leads will be like watching the four corners offense during it’s prime. Effective but hardly easy on the eyes…

    • Dog in Fla

      I always get a bad feeling when we go into four corners to bleed the clock

    • Cojones

      Yeah, but instead of throwing down 4 beers nervously and not being aware of it, I easily can just let 1 slide down in the 4th. It helps me to ambulate after the game and to keep the cut marks off my knees.

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Why don’t you just roll the wheel chair to the fridge for a refill and change the channel to the next game, old timer? ;-)

        • Cojones

          My crutches get in the way (true, unfortunately). I’m rehabing from deteriorating arthritis of the left knee and hip. It’s working. Need a wakeup from boring exercises? Try pain. Can’t even compare to ‘Tree recovering from a broken foot in 4 weeks. Or a groin injury like Boo or a hammy like Mitchell or……

          Sometimes , without even knowing it, we get more than playing enjoyment from this team. Unknowingly, they keep you optimistic when they can work so hard to recover and get back in the game. When you id your recovery with their outlook as they are going through misery, it indeed becomes easier to deal with. Each time one comes back into the game, I get significantly better. When you get down to it , we all are a bunch of ole Dawgs.

          Trained my Black and Tan, Fannie Mae, to fetch’em from the fridge. She gripped too hard one day and ever since, when I request a beer, I get a wet spot on the kitchen floor, an empty beer can and the refrigerator door is left open. And she farts, snores and chases ‘coons in her sleep all night. I now drink tequila from the bottle during 4th qtr.

  16. AusDawg85

    In the closing stretch, we’re going to be in a situation where the offense is going to have to march down the field and score late to win. Given Blair Walsh’s misses, Isiah’s tiredness, hit & miss receivers and Aaron’s inaccuracy, I’m not so sure we’re ready to win that type of game. We either need to get on the scoreboard more early, or keep working the offense no matter how strong the D is looking.

    • Cojones

      Not sure how often all our problems will work in tandem, but am optimistic that won’t happen. Doesn’t anyone remember all the points put on the board just to stay in games when the D gave them up faster than we could make them? That gave me faith in Bobo being able to score those points when really needed. Many times time ran out before he could score enough for us to win the game.

  17. S.E. Dawg

    If you’re going to milk the clock you’ve got to at least get a few first downs.

  18. 69Dawg

    Our problem is we only have one side of the equation working. The D is having to play a lot of downs because Mark is afraid and yes he is afraid of our O. We all remember Quincy and the 5 TO’s at SC but I don’t think in my 40 years watching have I ever seen so many points given up by our O and ST as in this years SC game. I am at the point I am afraid when the O takes the field. If the Oline does not have a remarkable turn around so that we can actually drive the ball and score in the 2nd half, we will lose to UF AU and GT. Not because the D can’t play but because their Offenses score points fast and we can’t sit on a two TD lead. MSU game was an example where the D set the O up with two turnovers and we came away with 3 points in the 2nd half.

  19. Cosmic Dawg From The Mothership

    If your offense is scoring points and widening the gap between your score and their score, you should continue to do whatever it was you were already doing and continue to score points until the outcome is all but statistically assured. Insanity is beating a team 20-3 for two quarters and thinking the best way to play the 3rd quarter is to do something different than what created that margin to begin with. I get the point of running out the clock, but at a much later point or at a much larger margin than we have been.