About special teams…

When your guiding philosophy is to risk nothing that would get in the way of the offense racking up points, what does that leave you with when the offense struggles?

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48 Comments

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48 responses to “About special teams…

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    Hell, we can’t even execute a long snap consistently, the risk reward equation is broken before the computer boots up.

    That said, it is clear somebody knows kickers when they see them, and the idea of one returner for all kicking seems to have graduated.

  2. Biggus Rickus

    Was special teams really a problem this game? They gave up one medium return and had a couple of decent punt returns. The kicker made his field goals. Coverage was mostly fine. There were no major blunders. The only real issue was Barber’s distance, which wasn’t THAT big a deal.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      That long snappuh thing there, affects distance.

    • gatorhater27

      The timeout we took when we weren’t lined up to return a punt in the first half, gaining us like 3 yards, was pretty mind boggling.

    • Macallanlover

      Perhaps this was meant to imply that we have too conservative of an approach to football in all phases because while our STs is not where we want them, or where they should be, but anyone observing this team and not laying it all on the defense is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic. I would like for all snaps to be perfect and our return men be dependable and elusive, and our kickers to nail every FG/KO/Punt but nothing, I mean nothing, can now overcome the colossal flop we have on our defense. Our defense is simply offensive.

      I said before we lost the majority of our stars that we should not be ranked in the Top 10 because of our defense. After losing those remaining players, and seeing the defense continuing to show zero signs of improvement (OK, maybe the run defense in the middle), I would not put us in the Top 25 and would fear many more teams than that in a bowl matchup. The Appy, GT, and maybe Kentucky games look winnable to me based on this defense, and that is because they cannot throw the ball. Sure, we could win others but anyone who has a decent QB and a couple of good receivers can own us, truly own us. I would throw it every single down because someone will be running free. I am always shocked when we get called for pass interference because we are rarely that close to a receiver unless it is a underthrow. We allow 10 yards of cushion on short/intermediate throws but get beat when they go deep, Damn, that is hard to do. And our LBs are totally lost in space. We contest very few pass plays, except when we get a strong pass rush.

      I don’t blame the players on this one because they could not have been this bad in HS and been recruited by several top schools. What have we done with that talent since they arrived on campus? I never call for a coaching change publicly but this is a Cat 5 storm that we have on the defensive side of the ball. And it didn’t just slip on us, giving CTG a couple of years to get his players into his system was fair, but what we have seen last year, and so far this year, is totally off the charts unacceptable and justifies a mid-season correction. Wilson may not be the best long-term hire for DC but he is the “next man up” in this case because of his background, ready availability, and success that his area of responsibility is having. Battle field promotion for Wilson, pay CTG off (we have the money, do something good with it), then assess the situation as the season unfolds about who to hire permanently. I am now concerned about recruits wanting to be a part of this defensive unit, or firestorm around the coach. Sorry, but I had to get this out of me. I hate becoming one of those internet fools publicly calling for immediate changes but this situation has become intolerable for me, and it wasn’t just the performance of yesterday….it has been building.

      • Biggus Rickus

        I’m totally with you. I was willing to see what would happen this year, figuring the defense couldn’t be much worse than a year ago. How naive I was. This is the worst Georgia defense in my lifetime.

        • Macallanlover

          Mine too, BR, worse than 1993, and all the Martinez years.. All we had to be was “adequate” this year since we were not dominant last year and our offense allowed us to be pretty danged good. I think we were near 40th in overall defense but we did have players that stepped up enough times to allow us stay in games and to have some hope that the defense would “bow up” on occasion with a stand or turnover. This year, with exception of two series of plays (goal line stand against SC, and final set of downs against LSU) I have see nothing, nada. Georgia football has to be better than that and I see no reason for optimism at this point indicating this will change. Our offense has been able to overcome that but the carnage in TN took away that possibility against quality opponents. We won the battle that day but lost the war.

          I thought our offense played with great heart yesterday, as did some of our defensive players, but we will face tougher tests in games to come. There has to be accountability and that accountability has to have consequences. It isn’t to say we haven’t got room for improvement in other areas but if the defense were just “adequate”, we would still be undefeated and optimistic that getting Gurley and Bennett back might make us viable for facing any opponent. I don’t have that dream any longer, I hope our young players still do. We will all hope for the unlikely, that is what fans do, but the steam has gone out of me and I am angry that someone poured water on what could have been a glorious fall of excitement and anticipation of what was to come in the coming weeks.

          • Derek

            Didn’t I see Vandy score 43 on homecoming in 1994? I understand its the next day and its all bitch, moan, waaaa, blame and attack, but surely the sand isn’t such an irritant to the vagagay today that we’ve forgotten Marion Campbell’s defenses. How about Kevin Ramsay’s? I mean I know there’s been some ugly but every decent team we’ve faced has had a senior qb with a lot of weapons at his disposal. In short, it hasn’t been Ben Leard putting up 45 in Sanford.

            Sorry to bring some perspective to the bitch-fest but worst ever defense is a bit much.

            • Biggus Rickus

              See Jeff Sanchez’s post below. I expect them to give up 30 to Vandy and force no turnovers, and that is not a good offense. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong, but I’ve seen nothing to date that makes me think they will.

              • Derek

                Stats are for losers as they say. If the 1994 unit had just played the first 6 games that we just played where would they be? Not 4-2 I can assure you.
                Boyd, Shaw, Franklin and Mett are all seniors and good ones. Senior qb’s put up numbers in this day and age. I think we’ll get a much better barometer on where they are in the second half of the season. Especially, if they can replace Corey Moore with anybody.

                • Biggus Rickus

                  You act as if the ’94 defense and the ’13 defense operate in vacuums where the offenses don’t matter. Georgia’s entirely one-dimensional offense would not have carried this team to a 4-2 record either. They’d likely be 1-5 right now.

        • Jeff Sanchez

          In yards and points given up, its literally on its way to being the worst in anyones. The worst in UGA history

      • Firing CTG now would send the message that there is actually some accountability in the program.

        But CMR won’t do that because he doesn’t run a meritocracy.

        He runs a federal government like bureaucracy where people have their job for life. And even when he’s forced to fire someone (Van Halanger) he figures out a way to promote them instead.

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    And, on another issue, If I was convinced Todd Grantham needed to go, which I am most certainly not, I think I might ask Vince for advice, we have not had great defense since he retired.

    Anyone who expected this offense to be as good as it had been with all the injuries is daydreaming. Especially at the wide positions have you ever known Bobo to hesitate to play younger players if they were better…nope.

    So, when the first teamers went down, the replacements simply were not as good, or they would have been playing in the first place. Wooten is the outlier because he was hurt, he clearly has the talent to start.

    In spite of all the injuries on offense, we got beat because we screwed up way more than they did and at crucial times in a game with a team that is pretty damn good.

    Everybody screwed up, it was a true team effort.

    But this season is far, far from over. If we get some of our weapons back, November could be very interesting.

    Cause I am pretty damn sure about one thing…despite the screwups, despite the humbling loss, this team has heart, and will and sinew and they don’t quit.

    • JRod1229

      I don’t think anyone doubts the resolve of this team.. just frustrating that once again the goals that were laid out in the preseason are no longer obtainable. Sucks.

      At this point I’d just love to see us win out, beat whoever in the SECCG and end the SEC run of championships ourselves.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        They may not doubt the resolve of the team, JRod, but I sure seem to get hints of doubt about some individual players from our good confrers here, which I find both ignorant and insulting, but hey, maybe I think too much of the players.

    • charlottedawg

      Resolve is a prerequisite for a championship team. I’m glad these kids have it in spades, but it’s not enough to overcome a complete lack of coaching and fundamentals on defense and horrible pass blocking in offense.

    • My god. Never ask Vince anything. He sucks.

      • Macallanlover

        I was thinking of writing a “Dear Erk” letter today but I don’t want to interupt what, I hope, is a blessed peace for him.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Mac, I have been trying to get an email address for Erk for years, I think they got it in the AD’s office, but they ain’t telling.

    • We had a great defense under VanGorder (since Vince retired). In 52 games under Brian VanGorder, Georgia yielded 30-plus points only in the 2003 SEC championship game against an LSU team that would win the BCS title. Except for that LSU game, UGA never gave up more than 24 points in a loss. The average score of a Georgia loss in four seasons under VanGorder was 21-12.

      In four seasons under VanGorder, Georgia ranked among the nation’s top 5 in total defense twice and scoring defense three times. We led the SEC in scoring defense three times. The only year BVG’s defense did not finish in the top 10 was 2001, his first year (the D finished 17th nationally – a dramatic improvement from 2000).

      Beginning in 2006, Georgia had to score big to win, and that’s a tough way to travel. Forty-two points weren’t enough to beat Georgia Tech in 2007, and 41 wouldn’t have been enough to beat Alabama or 49 sufficient to beat Florida. In two of the biggest victories of the Willie Martinez era, Georgia beat Florida 42-30 in 2007 and LSU 52-38 in 2008..The Bulldogs used to win because their defense served as a safety net. They now work without that net.

  4. Connor

    If our best strategy is to generate more special teams points when the offense falters we’re pretty much screwed. The defense must get better for this team to have a chance. As long as the other team is scoring 30+ every single game, we’re going to struggle.

  5. Ruteger

    What am I missing in the coaching strategy of sending McGowan out to fair catch but not going after the block like we did late in the game and have done many times over the years? If we’re gonna go conservative, let’s REALLy go conservative and leave the other 10 guys off the field so we don’t cause a defensive delay of game or don’t jump offsides.

  6. Juan

    I have been reading this blog since you first started it and I have to say your posts over the last couple weeks have been out of character. You used to be a realist that showed a deeper understanding of the sport. Recently you seem to be all about whining and complaining (Amarlo’s penalty didnt cost us the game. That post was childish.).

    Any person who follows college football and especially the Dawgs should’ve seen what happened yesterday coming from a mile a way.

  7. TennesseeDawg

    Georgia is now 105th in the nation in scoring defense (33.7 ppg)

  8. JAX

    A couple of random thoughts about the defense and special teams, and some of these relate to Urban Meyer’s stint at Florida and that is due to me living in Jacksonville at the time.

    1. Meyer made a living off of stressing exceptional special teams play. As most of you all know, to play on a Meyer ST is an honor, therefore his ST’s become a weapon and a catalyst to winning games, not a liability that must be mitigated such as we have in Athens.

    2. I remember when Mark Richt had very good special teams. We had returners that could take it to the house and often made big plays on ST’s. The confidence that came from that unit often flowed through the rest of the team.

    3. Remember that special teams are the third leg of a football team. Without effective ST’s, a team is hamstrung from the start. Why on earth would a rational coach ever allow that to be the case?

    4. I recall when we beat Florida in ’07, a year after they won a National Title with a decent offense and a tremendous defense, the excuse out of Gainesville was that they lost so much talent from the ’06 team and were starting alot of young, inexperienced guys. Remember MoMass’ TD pass from Stafford in the first qtr of ’07, he got behind the DB which was very unusual for Florida’s D.

    5. However, by 2008 those young guys had matured into an incredible D that absolutely dominated Stafford, et al. Do you recall Joe Haden’s INT that nearly went for 6 and completely shifted the momentum? Shit, I still have nightmares about it. Charlie Strong took the lumps and had molded them into a seriously good D. Do you really think that our staff can replicate that progress in 2014? I sure don’t.

    6. And finally, there were many CFB prognosticators that felt Georgia’s Defense would actually IMPROVE from last year. The reason they said was due to the belief that they couldn’t actually be any WORSE, even with all the departures to the NFL. They believed that this unit, despite the youth and inexperience, would play better as a unit. What a crock of shit.

    See you all in Jacksonville.

    • Its tough to imagine a Bobby Bowden disciple being so frightened of special teams play. Richt’s wishes that part of the game would just go away and our philosophy is now “do no harm” with regard to special teams. I was watching a replay of our 2001 win over UT. Damien Gary punished Tennessee repeatedly on punt returns. Those days are long gone.

  9. SouthGaDawg

    My only beef with our special teams (yes, I know there are multiple problems) is our kick returners attempting returns from the endzone. WHY??? Take the ball on the 25 – it is a gift. Why attempt a return that gets you to the 18 with the chance of a penalty or injury. I watched multiple games Saturday evening and every team either took a knee – hell, one team would not even attempt to catch the ball – they just let it bounce and the ref immediately blew the whistle. Take the ball on the 25. I don’t understand…

  10. Will Trane

    Can not go on the road with this punt team. How many times have they kicked out inside the endzone or close to it. Barber kicks 2 for a 33 yard average. Every punt has to be picked up off the dirt. Do you know what that does to your blocking, kick rythm, and coverage. You kill it all. Can not give teams a short field to operate on with this young of a D.

  11. Will Trane

    I have a question for CMR and the AD. How many games could we have pocketed a win if our kick and punt returns were better. Get a full time assignment on it. It is hurting the whole team. Plus the O has to come off the 25 with a first down everytime on those series of downs.

  12. Will Trane

    Are not pissed at the schedule we were dealt this year. Coupled with the type and number of injuries. Injuries are huge. Think not ask UF, and now Mizzou about their QBs. MIzzou now faces what CMR and Co faced this week re a game plan and a roster to execute it!

  13. Will Trane

    The Senator is a smart, loyal fan and supporter. Great site. But I would like for him to look into and think about the QB position under the current situation, schedule, injuries, rankings, and next year. What would an opposing staff and team do it Hutson Mason trotted out there with another qB on a play or two.

  14. mg4life0331

    When we scored to be down by 2, did anyone else expect the good return by them when it was a high kick in the corner about the 5 yard line? I sure did. Good job guys with that directional kicking. That whole loft thing? How many times do the other teams kick the damn ball a few feet above the heads of the returners to go out the back. Why in gods name does it have to balloon up in the air like a damn lob wedge.

  15. Dog in Fla

    Is it too soon for a GWOT (Global War on Todd)? I didn’t think so

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless D
    Episode VI in this season’s continuing series of, “Do you think my methods are unsound”

    Butts Mehre Defense Complex
    Lazy Sunday Brunch
    1235 hours, 13 October 2013

    When we last encountered Todd before the Pinkel Massacre, Todd had nuanced, “That’s the big thing: You’ve got to finish people off. To do that, it takes some dueling. That’s where we are. We’ve got to learn to finish people off.”

    Having been finished off and seeing that the Committee approach with no one identified as Special Teams Coach in the target zone takes the heat off, before this week’s James Franklin adventure Todd holds a meeting to simplify signals for his gang by using crayons before somebody decides to finish him off again in Nashville

  16. Will Trane

    Is any QB other than Murray going to get some PT this season. Not good for next season. Saturday was day I would have given Mason some PT. Granted injuries, MIzzou zone coverage + D line, altered playbook may have contributed, but Murray can not have that many mistakes in one game.

  17. Will Trane

    young D holds mizzou 10 points below their average, and your offense gives them 14 points re 4 turnovers.

  18. Will Trane

    CMR and Bobo ask your QB for how many starts what ball security is, again?

  19. Will Trane

    How many QBs do the Dawgs have on the roster and scholarship. We know 2 former are playing in the SEC this season…check out their record. One only threw 17 times rather than a record setting 42 in a game, but we understand they used “hammer and nails” to get that win. Is their a QB in our futrue.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Most believe Brice Ramsey is a deadeye tossing the pill and fairly sharp in football IQ. I imagine he will battle Mason tooth and nail to start next season.

  20. PatinDC

    Wow. This one brought is all back.
    Fire Mark Richt
    He can’t coach the big one
    I saw it coming Fire the D coordinator (who would you get?)
    ST’s suck. Hire a coach
    and for the win….
    Put in Hutson Mason.