Two choices

It wouldn’t be hard for this Georgia team to feel a little sorry for itself this morning.  Brutal injuries are already causing plenty of folks to reevaluate the rest of the regular season schedule (and isn’t it a little weird how this year’s Missouri game has flipped the narrative from last year’s?).  But I don’t see these guys wallowing in misery.  I don’t think Richt will let them.

Richt was asked Sunday about the offense carrying the defense in several games this season.

“I don’t think that,” he said. “We’re one team. We’re Georgia. We know that regardless of the situation or the score, we’re expecting our defense to get stops. Whatever it takes to win is all that we’re worried about right now.”

“Worried about” is the right attitude.  This team can’t take anything for granted from the defense, with the shaky way it’s played through the first five games, or its special teams play, which has been anything but.  What we know it has for sure is a quarterback who may be on the most remarkable run I’ve seen from a Georgia player at that position, and, perhaps even more remarkably, an offensive line that has been better than expected for the most part.

Add to that what we hope – that the depth from recruiting at running back isn’t a mirage and that Coach Ball seems to be capable of manufacturing new receiving talent on a weekly basis – and maybe, just maybe, there’s enough to eke by, at least for a while until some of the walking wounded can get back on the field.  It would be nice if some of that edge might scare the underperforming units straight into becoming steady contributors.  Or at least avoid being steady detractors, as it’s really doubtful special teams can continue to leave seven to ten points on the table week in and week out without the team paying a price for that.

Richt faces a similar juggling act to the one he managed in 2003.  Maybe even tougher.  It’ll be interesting to see what he does with it.

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81 Comments

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81 responses to “Two choices

  1. SouthGaDawg

    You play and coach football week by week. Those coaches and players (if they are doing what the are suppossed to) are looking at Mizzou film and practicing for Mizzou. Right now, who cares about UF or GT. Play one week at a time with the Jimmies and Joes we have on roster. That is all we can do. Sometimes when injuries occur, the other players rise above their what they think they can do. These guys were prepped in the weight room and trained over the summer for these moments. It is up to these coaches to coache them into the right position and motivate them to kick some tiger @ss. Finish the drill.

  2. I told my brother in law yesterday that this team seems to have the most fighting spirit in them since the 2007 team. Even the defense, for all their letdowns, still comes back and fights on every down. There’s no doubt this team is not as good as they were 48 hours ago, but I don’t expect that fighting spirit to go away. We’ll just have to see how far that (and Murray) can carry us!

    I know we opened as comfortable favorites, but I’m fully expecting another heart-stopper this weekend.

  3. fetch

    Keep Calm and Gurley On!

  4. No surprise that CMR won’t talk openly about the problems with the defense. My bigger concern is if he is addressing it internally.

    JJ Green and BD can handle the RB duties, but I am very worried about our WR corp. Conley, Woot, and Davis are all looking good. Rhett has dropped some balls this year. I guess we will see what Tibbs and Towns can do.

    Murray continues to deliver every week. Two wins against top 10 teams and a huge drive to bring us back a hostile crowd at UT. I really hope he gets a chance a redemption this year in the dome.

    • IveyLeaguer

      Since the play that injured him, I’ve counted Bennett out for the season. So you’ve broken it down very well, IMHO. Unfortunately, I don’t have much faith in Tibbs or Towns.

      So we’re down to 3 scholarship players we feel we can count on, with nothing much behind them. That isn’t enough to be successful. So McGowan will have to step up now.

      I doubt anyone else is ready. But whoever’s left has a great opportunity.
      ~~~

    • Will (the other one)

      I’m hoping Rumph’s hamstring gets a lot better this week.

  5. AthensHomerDawg

    Jonathon Rumph. Strap it on and lace ‘em tight. You’re up.

  6. fuelk2

    The staff is going to have to coach its ass off this week if we’re to get a win. This might be just as big of a challenge as we have faced all season given the circumstances.

    • Ginny

      I was thinking the same thing. Should be interesting.

    • Spence

      Glad it’s at home

      • 202dawg

        Amen, brother

      • Will (the other one)

        I’d be more glad if it weren’t at noon. I mean I hope the crowd can be as full and loud and into as the SCar and LSU games, but a noon kickoff with a full student section? That’s asking a lot of 18-22 year-olds.

        • hosayf

          So, due to a weird work schedule, this was the first (and likely only) Georgia game I got to watch. Is the student section really not filling up? I graduated in 08, and it was always full. Of course we left early if we were curb-stomping a team like Western Carolina, but still, that’s sad. The crowd was in it in a big way for UT. It reminded me a lot of how Auburn 05 felt.

  7. Russ

    Well at least the injuries aren’t on the defensive side. They need all the help they can get.

    • Will (the other one)

      Do we know if Mathews and/or Norman will be back?

      • The Lone Stranger

        Matthews is expected back; Norman I’d rather not involve in discussions of playing time. Of course he couldn’t be more out of touch than Mauger was Sat.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Bless him, Mauger’s a freshman put in a difficult position by injuries to other players. Cut him some slack. See the posts above on how CTG’s schemes are too complicated and the kids don’t know what to do.

  8. DawgPhan

    I do feel like everyone is fighting hard on every play. That is all I can ask for. We got caught in a trap and fought our way out. that place was loud on saturday and everyone there wanted it really bad once it got close in the 2nd half. Dawgs found a way. Green stepped up big time and has earned some more reps. Douglas still looks for contact. WR are a strength. Need defense to continue to get better.

    • HahiraDawg

      We need Samford to be LOUD too. At home makes me believe we’ll win by 14.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Hope we are Loud and Proud with a good dose of Southern Hospitality thrown in. I don’t think I’ve met a nice fan base. Last year after about the 20th “Good to see you.” and “Glad you made the trip.” comment, I was beginning to wonder if they were up to something. ;-)

        • Debby Balcer

          +1 to both comments cheering for your team and making the stadium hostile for the other team while being hospitable to their fans are not mutually exclusive. Show them our best side while we take care of business in the arena.

  9. uglydawg

    I’ve got a lilttle different take on things. This team went to the edge of the cliff and looked down and didn’t like what they saw. They now know how hard they have to work and play to keep winning. The defense knows that they have not delivered… Georgia still has better than serviceable running backs and receivers. JJ may very well be an up and coming great one…(Next year we should be seeing “The Four Horsemen” again!
    Georgia has a great, great QB in Murray and the team has confidence in his leadership. CMR and Bobo are both seasoned planners and game coaches. Tennessee played Georgia close because of some of the most horrible officiating I have seen. We had THE stop to change the game and a bullshit call gave Tennessee life with a fourth and one. Yeah, the defense didn’t get many stops, but when you’re playing a desperate team that is perpetually in the four down mode, it’s tough. As Blutarsky said…Butchie had no reason not to gamble…no one was expecting him to win it anyway. Tennessee had 90,000 howling hillbillys, the refs, and Vern and Danielson all on their side. They had a phoney touchdown…that should have been ruled incomplete on the field so there wouldn’t be enough “evidence” to overturn it. Georgia gave them a touchdown on the blocked punt…and Georgia missed another 3 points by the width of the post….It was the perfect storm and these young Dawgs survived. And now they are a very very seasoned team. I think the dividends are going to be huge…esp. for the next few years.
    If you get a chance, look at the clip on the AJC about Georgia’s 2014 recruiting class. Georgia is very good..will get better and will stay that way for a long time.
    If you get a chance, look at the clip on the AJ

    • The real question is when are we going to see improvement from this defense? Some think this is as good as it gets. I am still hoping this unit can improve and maybe we can see flashes of the second half of 2011. But I’m not holding my breath.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I really hate to burst your bubble Twistie but this is the 6th game of the season coming up. They are as good as they are gonna get this year.

        • I am plugging my ears while saying “lalalalalalal” I can’t hear you Mayor.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Not so fast there..I’ve been warned about arguing with lawyers. By none other than my own consigliere. I think he said “you don’t have the shoes for it”. Knowing how I like borrowing from movie lines. I avoid dancing Bluto around. Too much respect for him. That and I’m over matched (in his arena). Hijo on the other hand I ain’t skeered of. lol. At any rate. Kentucky was the 7th game ….. last year prior to the D steppin’ up. Florida was the 8th game. Well there ya go. This team has a lot of heart. If we were in a poker game…
          “I’ll see your heart and raise you mine.” Go big or go home. I’m banking on a big improvement between now and Florida.

          On another note with respect to all the CTG discord. When the wheels were presumedly coming off at uT, Fulmer fired Chavis, Sanders and Cutcliff left. Fast forward. Pumpkin King is at home with his box of Dunkin’ DoNuts. Chavis is at LSU, Sanders is at FSU and Cutcliff is at Duke. They all seem to be doing well . Tennessee is a mess. Fan base is too.
          I’m glad we didn’t get on that firing merry go round. But I think we skirted the edges a bit. TOO close for comfort.

          • uglydawg

            And AHD…the defense stepped it up a level against Bama..considering. There’s no reason that a team can’t continue to improve throughout the whole season. There is no magic cut-off date for improvement.

          • AusDawg85

            Yes, this young D has only been in 5 games and it’s been like hitting the beaches of Normandy. Hopefully CTG gets all Patton, slaps Conner Norman and these guys start rolling.

    • Gene Simmons

      These are all excellent points, especially the BS foot stomping penatly. I watched the 2nd half on replay last night and UT was the benefactor of several GENEROUS spots as well. If we don’t get that stupid penalty and if THEY don’t get those spots, we win going away. They are not as good as they looked and we are certainly not as bad. YES ST is a MAJOR concern and Barber needs to hurry up his kicks. We also need to learn how to set up to protect him. For all of the anxiety we are feeling, I believe that ST should be the most immediately fixable part of our game.
      Bring on Mizzou, and GO DAWGS!

      • DawgPhan

        Penalties and spots are part of the game. What is not is giving up 3 4th downs at the end of the game when a stop ices it. Even worse is when you give up 30+ yards on that forth down because you lost contain on the edge.

        If the D gets one of those stops the game is over.

        • That’s the thing, isn’t it? Georgia doesn’t need for its defense to be shut down. It just needs for its defense to win a few more series at crunch time.

          • DawgPhan

            Yep…and during that string of 4th down conversions, all I could think is that CTG just got worked by someone better than him with players not as good as his.

          • DawgPhan

            All we really need from the defense is to make sure we are within 7 points and have 2 minutes and the football. They barely accomplished that this weekend.

            • MurphDawg

              Heck, on Tennessee’s last drive, I was hoping that they would go ahead and score and not drag it out. I never believed for a second that we would get a stop based on the rest of the game. I wanted enough time once the ball was back in Murray’s hands.

              Just one stop in there would have been nice. Way too many 3rd down conversions and especially fourth down conversions.

          • Will (the other one)

            Or actually get some INTs. Not certain, but we’ve been amazingly bad/unlucky at not getting picks (as in the number of pass break-ups we’ve had traditionally would result in at least 2-3 INTs, vs. 0.)

    • Cosmic Dawg

      “…the defense didn’t get many stops, but when you’re playing a desperate team that is perpetually in the four down mode, it’s tough…”

      Forgive me, but by this logic every team should play behind so they’ll be desperate, which will give them an advantage. Now our offense is scoring too much, which is making the other offense dangerous?

      It’s just too many excuses. Every team plays away games. The announcers were not on TN’s side AT ALL. All they did was talk about Georgia. Officiating, bs penalties, whatever. Teams that make it happen on defense don’t have to manufacture reasons.

      Poor ol’ Todd Grantham. Poor ol’ Dawgs defense. Ever’ body’s against us, they’re all up in our grill trying to score and whatnot, and we’re just tryin’ to get along. Is that what we want our defense to be known for? Needing sympathy?!

  10. hassan

    JJ Green goes from a freshman trying to make a roster spot on defense to a major contributor and possibly the starting back vs. Mizzou. Great story!

    • The Lone Stranger

      Guy was making neat cuts and dropping the hammer on some unprepared Vol-folk! Plus, he appears capable of catching stuff out of the backfield.

      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        Get a little better at pass blocking and he’s the real deal.

        • Spence

          I didn’t see him miss any blocks.

          • 202dawg

            It only takes one…

          • Just Chuck (The Other One)

            Not sure I said he did. However, I hope you would agree that pass blocking is like lots of things, it’s not either – or, it’s a matter of degree. It’s picking up your guy quickly, it’s staying on your feet in front of him, it’s pushing him away from the quarterback. He’s OK. He’ll get lots better with increased playing time.

  11. Scorpio Jones, III

    Yo…Rudyard, pardon the paraphrase at the end…

    IF you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

    GATA!!!!!!!!!

  12. Maybe this is off topic a bit but I feel compelled to post it. Watching Keith Marshall’s injury was heartbreaking. The kid looked so crushed afterwards when CBS kept running the replay and then flashing back to Marshall on the sidelines. I’ll admit that I couldn’t stand to watch the replay of it. I hate it for him (and us) … and just when he had the chance to really show his stuff, the rug was ripped out from under him. The injuries to Scott-Wesley and Bennett didn’t immediately appear to be as bad but will definitely be additional heavy blows to our title fight. I’ll try to remain positive, but I truly hate it for these guys.

    • Slaw Dawg

      Was thinking the same thing during the game. This was Marshall’s big chance to prove he could live up to the billing, and he was on his way to doing just that. Really hate it for him, and hope he’s 100% next year. He’ll need to be, as there’ll be tougher competition at the #2 TB spot than perhaps we’ve ever seen.

  13. JRW7

    The reality of it all is we almost got beat by a team with players only half as good as our players, you can talk about the injuries and use that as an excuse, but something’s wrong with our coaching staff at UGA, we always seem to have an excuse for these close games with average teams!

    • sUGArdaddy

      Thanks for your encouragement JRW7!. You’re entitled to your opinion, but you’ve revealed deep cuts into your knowledge and fandom. By the 4th quarter, Tennessee had the better skill players due to injuries, save for one position. That one position made all the difference. #11 is playing his tail off and the team is following suit. We had every reason to fold on Saturday. Every reason. No one panicked. We made plays in the face of extraordinary circumstances because we have a very talented coach who is calm in the face of pressure and a veteran QB who is very sure of himself. The team feeds off both of those. We threw key passes to players that shouldn’t have been on the field in the final drive, including the game tying TD.

      Sometimes I wonder if fans like you have ever actually watched a football game. Ohio St. is wildly more talented than NW, but needed a crummy spot and a blocked punt to win the game. Clemson needed some help from the refs to beat a bad NC State team a couple of Thursdays ago. It’s just football. The other team is trying hard and coaching hard, too. Those coaches get paid to beat you.

      The thing that kills me about fans like you is you really think coaches go into a game worrying about a spread or winning pretty. They don’t. They are thinking, “win the game.” And that comes down to “win the next play.” No coach likes a barn burner, but they expect most of them to be that way because they have colleagues on the other sideline that they know and they know what they’re doing.

      The fact that you can’t appreciate that Aaron Murray did the impossible on Saturday, that we’ve beaten UT 4 years in a row (hardly imaginable in the 90s), and won in front of 100,000 hillbillies with our JV team out there and you want to complain about how it was too close reveals nothing about this team, it reveals a lack of understanding of the basics of the game. Tennessee didn’t care that they weren’t ranked. They saw a wounded dog in their own backyard and attacked the way a proud program does, and we didn’t flinch because we are led by an amazing coach and a fantastic QB.

      Good Lord. Sorry, Senator. I promised my way down I-75 Saturday night that I was going to punch anyone that said another negative thing about Murray or Richt’s grit and value to our program square in the face. That’s the best I could muster online. I’m sure I’ve come across as a know-it-all, but I’m sick of it. If you think there’s a problem with Richt and his staff and how we prepare and play, you don’t know much about football. That team came out on fire Saturday and played that way until catastrophe struck. It’s hard to believe we kept it together (mentally) to win.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      The reality is that there is some truth to the old mantra that any team can win on any given Saturday…
      Seems to me, I recall an undefeated and eventual national champion Alabama (with twice the talent) hosting a modest and eventual 7-6 Volunteers football team,at home,limping back to their dressing room with a modest two point victory margin.

    • Winning as an excuse. I hate when that happens.

    • D.N. Nation

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Oregon_Ducks_football_team

      Injuries can kill a team. That’s not excuse-making.

  14. W Cobb Dawg

    Agree the players are fighting hard. I’m somewhat surprised the D players don’t express frustration openly. The frantic hand waving and not getting set on a lot of plays. Just watching drives me nuts. Must be very disconcerting for the players. They can see other defenses don’t operate this way.

    Wonder what practices are like – do they hold everything up til the D players are set and finished waving in signals?

  15. charlottedawg

    The poor play of the D, special teams, and the injuries on offense are legitimate long term concerns, but the thing we have to keep in mind is that teams especially young college football teams change over the course of a year. I’m a believer that most seasons especially championship seasons have turning points and defining moments, it’s usually when the team is pushed to the brink and how they respond. It was Vandy in ’07, Kentucky last year, USC in 2011, the list goes on and on. As dangerous as Missouri looks this morning we could very well look back at the Tennessee game as the game that got us going.

  16. Peteydawg

    The word on 790 is Gurley has ligament damage…. And they are deciding if he is just gonna play hurt all year or get surgery now

    • sUGArdaddy

      Then that means coach richt is a liar, because he said otherwise last week after the MRI.

    • Cojones

      The definition of a sprain is stretched and/or torn ligaments. Is 790 saying it’s beyond a sprain or are they unaware of what a sprained ankle involves?

  17. Skeeter

    If only there was a position where a lineman-sized dude could catch a pass…

  18. Coastal Dawg

    Lynch dropped a few early and once JSW and Bennett went down he and Conley drew double teams. I don’t think we max protected.