This is what drives me crazy.

Mark Richt, on the offensive game plan for South Carolina:

“We did a couple things differently in the [South Carolina] game because of the edge pass rushers. Really they have three good pass rushers there at South Carolina. You want to help your tackles out, so we did things a little differently there in pass protection, too, whether it was having a back helping or a tight end helping. We may have spent too much time and scheme on that, where we should have just done what we have been doing all year long and realize they may win one once or twice, but we were also going to win our share too. And just running the ball between the tackles — we probably should have stayed with that a little more than we did. But they made the plays early in the game and got the lead, and we probably just didn’t stick with that inside run game as much as we should.”  [Emphasis added.]

You come into the game ranked highly in every team offensive statistic that matters.  For the first time in the program’s history, a Georgia team scored more than 40 points in five straight games.  Clearly, something is working on offense, and at a high level, too.  Yet, because you freak out over whether your green offensive line can handle blocking South Carolina’s excellent defensive ends, you decide to rip up what’s been working and try something else.

If you don’t trust the coaches and players who’ve been making the calls and the plays all along, why should they trust themselves?

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83 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

83 responses to “This is what drives me crazy.

  1. Rick

    I don’t think there is any question they got flat out-schemed that night. However, once you are in a 21-0 hole (which happened in no small part to misfortune), it’s difficult to see how you can just stick with your normal game plan. That plan isn’t going to beat an evenly matched team by 3 TDs, so how can you expect to crawl out of a 3 TD hole with 3 quarters to go? You can do it against Vandy (like USCw did to a lucky Utah a week ago), but USC is too good.

    In fact, I think at that point you need to pretend you are Vandy and start bringing out the gimmicky plays and fake punts. I’m actually slightly disappointed the game wasn’t more of a blow out and that Murray didn’t end up with a few more interceptions. At least that would have meant we went for broke.

    • … so how can you expect to crawl out of a 3 TD hole with 3 quarters to go?

      Maybe I’m wrong, but that doesn’t seem like an insurmountable problem, especially if the defense gets some traction, as Georgia’s did in the second quarter.

      • Rick

        Yea, you are wrong, though I actually suspect most HCs would agree with you so what do I know?

        I think of it this way: you were already predicting a loss. How would you estimate our chances if we said ‘oh, and we’ll spot them 21 points and shorten the game by 15 minutes’.

        IMO, you only win such a game with luck, so you need to bump up the variance as high as you can get it. You are far more likely to get embarrassed by 50 or more points, but you are also far more likely to win the danged game.

        • William

          I think the Senator’s real point is that, maybe if you had stuck to what you had been doing offensively, and made them stop you, you also stood a better chance of getting traction. By game planning the way the team did, they came out scared $h!tless from the get-go. They never had a chance from that perspective. Maybe if you stick to what you know, and do extremely well, the onus is on USCe to stop you. Your players are more relaxed (to a degree) and are not trying to do something they have not been doing all year. Maybe one or two of those first offesnive series goes different then (of course, maybe not). Even so, if we had busted a decent run from Gurley immediately after Rambo gives away his INT for a TD, then maybe we punch them right back?

          • Rick

            And just to be clear, I don’t have any objection to that when the score is 0-0. I’m more objecting to Richt’s suspicion that ‘running between the tackles’ would have pulled them out of the giant hole with only 3 quarters left to play. It may well have gotten a better result than 35-7, but it’s very difficult to see winning that game with our conventional offense, even as impressive as it has been.

            • gastr1

              Rick, did you watch any of the games prior to SCe? Because it sounds like you think we’ve a grind-it-out offense.

              Granted we’d not played a defense that good as yet, but it with how many big plays we’d hit, a 30-yard run or pass– or three or four– would have been out of the question?

              • Rick

                Eh, perhaps not, but Richt sure seems to be wishing he’d stuck to a ‘grind it out’ offense. If that’s not what the offense is (and you’re right, we have hit an awful lot of big plays), maybe I agree after all. That makes a for a pretty boring comments section, though.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Falling behind 21 points a problem but not an insurmountable one. High scoring offenses can come back from that and more. Was 21 points going to win that game for SC? Before the game I would have thought not. We now know that it did because the UGA O disappeared. I agree, the UGA coaching staff should have “danced with who brung ‘em” instead of changing things. It’s not like the changes were working, too, so in mid-game they could have reverted but by then the SC D-line was pinning their ears back on every play.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          I’ve watched and listened to the Munson….” they score 27 straight points and we scored 28.” Somebody correct for the true score. Point being we played tentative and scared. “We have, as human beings, a story telling problem, we’re a bit to quick to come up with explanation for things we
          really don’t have an explanation for.” I don’t know why… but we didn’t come to win that game (uSC). We were there not as participants but as bystanders. It showed. Coach Richt and Coach Brown are at similar places. I hope Richt doesn’t go Bobby Bowden and hang on until it is too late to turn the ship. He is stubborn—–>>> Willie, Directional kicking , special teams.
          I appreciate your loyalty…. but if he doesn’t beat Muschamp…… Bobo can become someones qb coach and Richt can do the Power Hour. Just not on this watch.

  2. gastr1

    And here I thought Bobo hadn’t done anything to help out the “lack of execution” problem.

  3. William

    I think that by starting out already intimidated, you allowed them to dictate things before you stepped on the damn field. Respect them? Hell yes. But fear them to where you go away from who has been working? Especially in light of what LSU did to them?? It made me sick to watch that game because I kept picturing Gurley breaking up the gut and punishing the LB’s….except it wasnt him and we didn’t even try to play UGA football. We walked out of the tunnel scared and the players knew it.

    • We walked out of the tunnel scared and the players knew it.

      It was earlier than that – they practiced a game plan scared and the players knew it.

      • 69Dawg

        +100 This was a patented Mark Richt piss ourselves game much like almost every UF game of his career. UF will hit us in the mouth and we will turn the other check and they will knock us on our butts. Book it.

        • William

          I’m not booking $h!t!!! Are you kidding me? UF is solid, I’ll give you that. However, I think if we play how we were when Bobo was still considered “genius”, then UF may wear down before we do. Are you really scared of Driskel passing for over 150 on us? Even as bad as our D has been, I think we learned from USCe……..good RB and Mobile QB, require a certain gameplan. Pin your ears back and make them block everyone you decide to send (I know that is not realistic, but it sure seemed to work for USCe).

          • David

            If you don’t think Georgia is going to wet the bed against Florida than you haven’t been watching the same Georgia games I have. To make it worse, Richt will likely come up with some fake juice prior to the game and we’ll be in black or some nonsense.

          • Dog in Fla

            “then UF may wear down before we do.”

            So far this year, it’s UF that wears down the enemy in the second half

  4. William

    Senator, do you feel me on that one? Do you not think that they maybe over did the”build up the opponent” thing until the guys basically expected to get whipped every play? At least the defense remembered that “Hey, we can hit them before they get to the LOS”!

  5. Spike

    Even this running would not have helped that night. Sigh.

  6. Debby Balcer

    I think Clowney in Murray’s nightmares was a sign he over prepared by watching too much film.

    • William

      I don’t think you can pin too much on Murray for this. I mean, yeah he missed a throw or two, but he just knew he had no help on his blind side. To put it into a visual perspective, check back to the Senator’s pic of the flying Clowney. the RB is on the ground failing at his cut block, and where is Gates? Already back 5 yards or so, conceding way too much ground to a guy with freakish long arms. If he was in close when Clowney went airborn, then maybe he lands on his @$$ instead of his feet at full speed? The O-Line played terrified from the first snap.

      • Debby Balcer

        Don’t get me wrong I am not blaming Murray but I do think that if you think you are going to get slammed it hurts your confidence in your throws. He was under pressure all night. The Oline didn’t protect him or help the running backs by blocking. The mental part of the game is an intangible part.

      • Hackerdog

        I can pin plenty on Murray. Yes, the protection was bad. But his QB rating was a 59! Murray threw for 3.5 yards per attempt. Murray couldn’t accurately throw the ball on a simple throw to the sideline to let his receiver try to run after the catch. Murray was pretty damned wretched during that game.

    • Dog in Fla

      “Clowney in Murray’s nightmares was a sign” and here’s another one

      http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/277/2/1/pterodactyls_are_vermin_sign__by_caycowa-d4bv38i.png

  7. Gatriguy

    Blame Bobo all you want, but that conservative as Hell, WR screen loaded game plan had Richt written all over it. It’s the same one Richt took to Jacksonville from 2001-2006.

  8. Cojones

    Cheez! Talking about throwing a wet blanket over a terd. Richt’s words will not endear him to anyone in the fan base. How in hell can you elect to not go all out? Moreover, the damage to the team psyche is not known until we play Kentucky.

    Hope we just go balls out vs the cats and build to seething angry at Everbark Field.

    Has there been anything specific mentioned about Jarvis’s injury(s)?

    • William

      Agreed. I hope they come out pissed and lay half a hundred on UK. Show the rest of the world that they are at least fired up for UF. I don’t know if it will soothe too many in Dawg Nation, but it sure would show they have some fire to finish this season off.

      • G

        I just have a feeling I can predict the next two weeks. I see the Dawgs destroying Kentucky. That will setup another huge game against Florida and the same crap will happen. The coaches will hype the game, some fake juice will be given to the players, Murray will be on edge because of the hype, and a new and strange game plan will emerge. They will get behind first and it will fall apart. I have seen this all before, and I don’t feel good about it.

    • Dog in Fla

      “How in hell can you elect to not go all out?”

      Same way you fair catch all punts. That was easy

  9. Ginny

    Sadly, if Richt had come out and said he did not gameplan any differently for this game folks would have bitched about that too.

    • Only because they wouldn’t have believed him, Ginny. ;)

    • William

      He could have said that, but I think it was rather obvious they did. As crazy as some of us fans are (I’m looking at you @$$holes who egged Murray’s house!) I think the rational ones would have acknowledged that doing what you do and getting beat is more admirable (if you can say that about being stomped) than practicing and playing scared before the jump. If Merrit, Gates and Lynch couldn’t open up holes, then for sure lining up in the shotgun isn’t going to help matters. Although maybe I am not remembering correctly. It seemed LSU ran right at Clowney, and more often than not someone else chipped hard enough to knock him for a loop. Or the Tackle popped him enough to give the RB time to cut one way or the other.

    • Connor

      Good point. LSU broke out some plays, like that shuttle pass, that were clearly in response to Carolina’s strengths on D (edge rush). We don’t have the O-Line talent to line up and impose our will on other good teams. We can do it to bad teams, but not good teams. I don’t think Richt was crazy to think they needed to tweak the game-plan against Clowney and company from the one they ran against UT, Vandy, et al. I don’t think the changes were very effective, but strategically it was sound. If he’d come out and said “We thought our O-line could handle their D-line, like it has everyone else we’ve played this season” we all would have thought he was insane.

      • It’s not a matter of “We thought our O-line could handle their D-line”. It’s a matter of giving the linemen enough support to do their jobs. Georgia had great success going against Michigan State’s great line in the bowl game by using max protect schemes and throwing deep. We didn’t see any of that against USC.

        I’m curious what tweaks you thought were strategically sound. The only thing I saw was the quick toss to Gurley on the first play of the game. They never called it again.

        • shane#1

          I disremembers what big game “Bama was playing, but Bear was asked if he had any special plays for the game. Bear said, “when you get invited to the prom you dance with the one that brung you.” Seems that Bear and you are on the same page Senator.

        • Connor

          I don’t think any of them were effective. I’m not defending them on that point. I just think that changing the game-plan from what worked against our earlier opponents given the disparity in defensive line talent between those teams and USCe was a good call. What they changed it to? That was an unmitigated disaster. I think it was the right concept, poorly implemented.

          • Patrick

            I think that is part of the problem. We are Georgia. They are South Carolina. I respect that a certain amount of game-planning is necessary, but why are our coaches assuming that our OL can’t handle their DL? Because we’re young? Thank goodness nobody told Marshall that he couldn’t outrun the speed of an SEC defense.
            And frankly, if our coaches have reached a point where they think we have a glaring personnel weakness compared to ANY opponent, that’s a recruiting problem.

        • todd

          This^^^^. I can give a pass to a coach that thinks their LT and a chipping rb can handle Clowney. Scheme comes in now by andding a TE or going to max protect. I saw LSU pull the quick toss play.
          Did anybody wonder why Georgia goes to Jacksonville to get Theus(and his cooti-shp brother), but can’t pull Vadal Alexander from Buford? LSU had a freshman guard aand tackle on the oline.
          I am slowing coming around to the fact that the 3-4 is not a good idea in college. 4-3 is easier to recruit and execute if you recruit stud DE and then place them according to what their bodies due once they are in college.

        • NRBQ

          Bingo, Senator.

          I’ve maintained internet silence since that ghastly night, but I opined repeatedly that success would depend on getting the ball to the TB’s on the edge (especially Gurley). Short handoffs up-the-gut have failed most times all year, with a few Marshall exceptions. Those 30-50-70 yard blasts came mostly off-tackle or wider.

          Win the coin-flip, give them the ball for a TD drive, turn it over, and you’re 14 down at 4 minutes in. That ain’t the time to try and out-man their line. Unfortunately, Miles knew something Richt didn’t. Clowney is weak against the run. They took it right at him all night. Notice he got some bench time late?

  10. PTC DAWG

    Makes no sense to me. Dance with who brung ya…

  11. Bulldog Joe

    “We did a couple things differently…”
    “Really they have three good pass rushers…”
    “so we did things a little differently there in pass protection…”
    “We may have spent too much time and scheme on that…”
    “realize they may win one once or twice…”
    “we probably should have stayed with that a little more…”
    “we probably just didn’t stick with that inside run game…”

    No definitive statements here. Everything is half-way or relative.

    No confidence coming from the head coach. No knock the lid off.

    The malaise starts at the top.

    • cube

      I feel like he’s like Ed Masterson (Bill Pullman) in the movie “Wyatt Earp”.

      “affable…very affable”

  12. I’m equally as frustrated by the fact that if you did gameplan away from your strengths to stop their pass rush, it better work. Cause I saw freshmen runningbacks trying to help stop the best player in the country and Gates on an island, and Lord Lord Lord it didn’t work. Point being, if I’m going to cheat on my beautiful wife with a stripper, a) it better be the hottest stripper around and b) I better get more than a half-ass left-handed handjob.

    I love my wife and would never cheat on her. Just an example.

  13. If that was the best they could come up with as “help” on Clowney after a week of tweaking the offense solely to address that issue…

    • Dog in Fla

      Maybe this staff needs some new blood. I recall way back when (last season or the one before) after you threatened/asked/thought of becoming running backs coach things got better. Maybe you should do it again. We need all the help we can get :)

  14. AusDawg85

    A coach talking to reporters is not going to be an insightful conversation. But taking all the answer on the whole, CMR seems to just be accepting “a loss” (rather than dwell on the kind of loss it was) and move on to the next task at hand. Not that he needs to re-live the game with the team (or reporters and fans), but there does not seem to be a change in sense of urgency either.

    So he’s either being Cool Hand Luke, or a guy very secure in his contract, or….a guy who doesn’t worry about the future (that’s a polite way of saying “doesn’t give a shit”). And that kind of worries me.

  15. Scorpio Jones, III

    I spec the coaching staff read a lot of the comments here and thought they might should outa take some of them and put them in the game plan…, that’s what I got from Richt’s soliloquy .

    • Bevo

      The sad next step to the sarcasm here is … well, actually, why not? Couldn’t be much worse than what we saw against S Carolina.

  16. Bryant Denny

    Down 21-0 – regardless of the game plan, you need somebody to step up and make a play. That speaks to leadership. You make one play and it may be what causes the choking process to start.

  17. Russ

    Seems to me when the Ol’ Ball Sack remakes his offense to win a game, everyone talks about how he “out schemed/coached” the other side. Much like how everyone talks about Meyer doing that back in 2005 to Georgia. When you win, you’re a genius regardless of whether you changed or not.

    Richt tried something different, it failed spectacularly, and we’re all here bitching about it.

    • Will (the other one)

      I think the 2005 Cocktail party was less about how “genius” it was for Urbs to use a fullback, and more about Shockley being injured.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      NOT bitching about trying something different. I am unhappy with the getting bitch slapped by 21 points in the first quarter in the attempt. Be cool, be different, hell wear camo…. but do not embarrass yourself. Please.

    • Whoa, hoss.

      Spurrier changed because (1) he couldn’t find a quarterback to run the Fun ‘n’ Gun in Columbia and (2) he’s got a talent in Lattimore that he can build an offense around. In other words, he ditched what wasn’t working and adapted to his strengths. That’s what a good coordinator does.

      Richt did the opposite. He abandoned what had been working because he was concerned that Carolina’s DEs couldn’t be handled by his o-line.

      Apples and oranges…

      • Sanford222view

        Which is why I am dumbfounded that Spurrier gave Lattimore so few carries against LSU.

        • Hackerdog

          In Spurrier’s defense, Lattimore averaged 2.7 ypc. So, it wasn’t like he got away from what was working. On the other hand, Shaw wasn’t exactly lighting it up.

      • ZachDawg

        I think the other glaring difference is Steve Spurrier is Steve Spurrier. As much as I hate him, he has done more with the talent he has than Richt would with the same talent. Instead, we have superior talent that gets coached down while USC has lesser talent getting coached up. As much as I hate spurrier, there’s certainly something to be said for his cockiness (pun intended).

  18. Bevo

    I’ve seen this movie before (the one Senator B posted about).

    Opening Day, and we’re kicking off the season in the Georgia Dome. Georgia in Power Ranger uniforms. The team from Idaho comes all the way to Atlanta and absolutely dominates us. I repeat: A football team from Idaho came to Atlanta for a super hype season-opener, Richt was coaching for his job at the time, and this team from Idaho absolutely dominated the Georgia Bulldogs.

    Offensively we were completely out of sync with false starts and three-and-outs. We had no answer for Boise’s defense. Only big play in the entire first half was Boykin’s 80-yard run. Crowell went 60 yards on 15 carries on the day. Murray was sacked 6 times and went 16 of 29 for 236 yards (much of that in garbage time).

    At first Georgia’s defense is able to stop the bleeding, but eventually they wear down and the game is a blowout. We looked completely unprepared.

    Well, in fact, we were completely unprepared to play Boise St.

    Part of the reason: We were working on a new no-huddle offense.

    Why are we tinkering around with our offensive system right before we play strong, well-coached defenses? Can we really blame players for not executing when they’re asked to pull that off?

  19. Skeptic Dawg

    Good lord. This guy can not get out of his own way. Is he driving the boat, or swimming to catch up with it? At this piont, I am not sure which is worse. This team will play uninspired football Saturday in Lexington and pull out a win, only to get crushed in Jax in two weeks. Same old Richt, same old results. Hello hammer…this is nail. Welcome to current day Georgia football. Thanks Coach.

    • Skeptic Dawg's Better Half Relative

      Given that you have already given up on the Dawgs (“only to get crushed in Jax in two weeks”), I think you should have to give up bourbon/whiskey/whisky/your liquor of choice for the rest of the season, too. Come on Skeptic, you need to start listening to George Michael more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu3VTngm1F0

  20. Macallanlover

    I would have thought after a week of acting like fools and blaming/firing everyone you can name you folks would have run out of venom. (That doesn’t apply to those of you who have an agenda and play the same record over and over, year after year.) As Ginny pointed out above, some bitched because we didn’t change to the correct scheme, others bitch because we changed at all. But SOS is a genius because he adapted to what his talent was, then adapted away from that in Red Stick last Saturday but he remains a genius.

    Sometimes you die of old age, it isn’t because of anything specific, but in our culture blame has to always be assigned (she went to NYC one time and drank 24 ounce cokes, or once dated a boy in HS who smoked in his car, or her mother had wine at dinner when she was pregnant with her, etc., etc. We got beat in SC because they were sky high and our OL was as weak against their physicality as we feared they might be at the beginning of the season, and our defense played as soft as they have all season. Period. We got beat at the LOS, it wasn’t Bobo, Richt, or Murray. I don’t know a single team in America that would not have been beaten in Columbia on October 6. Does that mean they are invincible? Of course not, but that night they were hitting on all cylinders and exploited our talen weaknesses. It doesn’t take much analysis, watch the film, SC penetrated every play and was in our backfield.

    Time to get past that and stop the name calling, and blame. We have a damned good team, not as solid throughout the lineup as we would like but capable of winning out. Some of you are willing to roll over and put the white flag up before Florida takes the field but I think we roll Kentucky this week and show up in Jacksonville with at at least a 50/50 chance of beating their asses. It would help if our fans would get behind the team, staff, and program and stop with the autopsy. This team/staff is a helluva lot better than many of the “fans” here who profess to love this program.

    • Cojones

      We are addressing a late comment that resurrected fans in a Lazarus-like fashion by their own coach’s words. I find that it further demoralized me to find out we were as moribund as it appeared early in the game. I didn’t need Richt to say we actually planned it!

      I have blogged earlier to get ready for the rest of the season and rally with the troops. Just didn’t expect to see such comments right after getting the bonfire going.

  21. The DAWGS beat Ky Sat night, and we DAWG fans get all hyped up again thinking we now, can beat the Gators, but, but,wait a minute, not so fast now, CMR is still our coach, CMR can’t win the big game anymore, so, I was just dreaming again, Gators win the SEC E!

  22. As much as I hate CSS, he sure out coached CMR!

  23. BuzMan

    What I take out of this is:
    We were so concerned with what they do well, we stopped doing what we do well.
    That’s no way to play football. I fine with attacking their weaknesses but not at he expense of our strengths.

  24. Dubyadee

    I have to admit. I said before the game that, in order to win, we would need to run some screens, max protect a good bit, spread it out, mix in some short routes, vary time and depth in the pocket, and also go right at them in the middle. That’s what we tried to do, and it failed epically.

    I happen to think we would not have won running the offense that we had run most of the season, but it couldn’t have been worse than what happened in Columbia. We spent the week trying to teach a inexperienced, young offensive line (and freshman running backs) how to run new schemes. The result was that they became timid and slow, and forgot how to do the things they were previously competent with.

    That, and AM had by far the worst game of his career. He couldn’t complete the simplest of passes, locked in on his receivers, and did a poor job reading the defense before and after the snap.

    • Cojones

      Dub, you are in my book as a good person for admitting your game plan after the fact. Wish more of the critics would take your road so that we could pay attention to what is blogged and see how the MM QBing looks in restrospection to your own plays. You are the only one that I’ve seen with the guts to take responsibility right along with the team. Good Dawg!

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