First random thoughts about Auburn

Just a few things that popped into my head yesterday:

  • You guys want to fret about how Georgia’s defense handles the Auburn rushing attack, fine, be my guest.  This is worrying me a helluva lot more.
  • This may be the most dismaying stat of all to ponder, if you’re a Georgia fan.
  • “For a decade, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry has been decided in an old-fashioned kind of way. In each of the previous 10 years, the team that finished with the most rushing yards in the Auburn/Georgia game also went home a winner. A team hasn’t been beaten on the ground and won in the series since 2002, when Auburn had 199 rushing yards to Georgia’s 104 and the Bulldogs topped the Tigers 24-21 anyway.”
  • That being said, only one team has managed to outrush Georgia in a game this season – Vanderbilt on Oct. 19.
  • This, too“Georgia is averaging 7.5 yards per play on drives in which Gurley touches the ball. On drives in which he doesn’t touch the ball, it drops to 5.9 yards per play.”
  • On offense, Auburn is averaging about 15 yards per game more than Georgia and on defense, the Tigers are yielding around 27 yards per game more than the (much-maligned) Dawg defense is.
  • The strength of schedule gap isn’t small, but perhaps not as large as you might think, at least according to Sagarin.

***************************************************************************

UPDATE:  This is from today, but it’s too good not to add to the list.

If Todd Grantham’s defense can slow down Auburn’s running game and force Marshall to pass, Georgia’s chances of victory increase exponentially. Marshall has attempted 10 or more passes just six times this season and has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in only two of those games.

In case you’re wondering, those two games were against Mississippi and Mississippi State.

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92 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

92 responses to “First random thoughts about Auburn

  1. anon

    as a dawg fan i pray it doesn’t come down to coaching or which team is best prepared and able to make in-game adjustments

    • Slaw Dawg

      Why is that? With a couple of possible exceptions, if there’s one game that Georgia has been well prepared for in the Richt era, it’s this one. In fact, I give him a lot of credit, as someone without SEC roots, in understanding the significance of the rivalry. Ask Auburn fans which team was better coached in ’02, ’06, ’07, just as examples (and I’m leaving out the easy ones from the last 2 years). We even played them hard in ’10.

      That said, I think Malzahn is going to test our pass D. I certainly would. And if he has even moderate success there, we’re in a world of trouble.

    • sUGArdaddy

      Because Gus has proven he’s such a better coach than Richt? Because Auburn’s defense has proven to be so stellar? Gus beat us one year as OC with superman as his QB. The other 2 years we beat him with Joe Cox as our QB and then dismantled them in 2011. Superman is not playing for them on Saturday. Nick Marshall sure can run, but he has almost zero shot of being drafted. Don’t confuse the kid with Cam.

      In that 2010 game, Cam didn’t complete a single pass to convert a 3rd down. Soak that in. That’s because he’s 6’5″ and can fly. We couldn’t stop him. Do you think Marshall will be able to do that?

      You need to know that when you say things like that you reveal a couple of things:

      1. You are a troll and just fishing for an argument (You got one!).
      -OR-
      2. You have not studied the game of football much.
      -OR-
      3. You are 16 years old and never watched Ray Goff coach football.

      Auburn may very well beat us, but it will be because they played better that day. This league is full of good coaches who get paid lots of money to beat each other. Sometimes you get the other guy. Every coach makes mistakes in a game. Some are more egregious than others. Some get bailed out by a referee or a spectacular play by their team or spectacularly stupid play by the other.

      For you to suggest that Mark Richt and our staff can’t get teams prepared or make adjustments after he has single-handedly turned our program from an under-achieving laughing stock to a perennial contender in the last 13 years is beyond absurd. It’s stupid. This guy is 8-4 vs. Auburn, 9-4 vs. Tennessee, 11-1 vs. Tech, and 5-8 vs. Florida (when we were 3-10 the 13 years before he got there). He’s 2-4 vs. Saban, 4-4 vs. LSU, and 3-2 vs Bama. This has all been done at a program that refuses to spend money on ‘administrative staff’ in the football office, schedule’s the toughest out of conference games as anybody in the SEC, refuses to over-sign and ‘cut’ kids like our conference brethren, and has the strictest substance use suspension policy in college football. And you think some other coach is better?

      What you don’t understand is that Saban and the like wouldn’t take our job without drastic changes to our suspension policy, scheduling format, over-signing mindset, and spending habits. But I know you’ve got it all figured out about how our coach and staff are idiots.

      The bottom line is that with our self-imposed program limitations, Mark Richt has out-coached every joker in this league the last 13 years. We’re blessed to have a man that can compete at the highest level and do it with honor. Our kids will fight for the G and him on Saturday. And I’ll be in Sanford the next Saturday, win or lose. Get on the bus!

      Now, if you want to talk Grantham’s inadequacies, we can talk, but Mark Richt has done more for UGA football since that kid out of Johnson County. And he’s groomed a fine Offensive Coordinator in the process, just like Bobby did him.

      Okay, rant over.

      • Noonan

        Senator, can we enshrine this post as one of the all-time best on this blog? Thank you sUGArdaddy for taking the time to write this.

      • Russ

        Outstanding. And I agree with every word. Thank you.

      • PTC DAWG

        Well said

      • Sanford222view

        Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Dawgfan Will

        [standing ovation]

      • Macallanlover

        Destroyed the “troll” Sugar. You are a “finisher”, had him out with the first shot but kept pummeling him. Someone throw some dirt on the scumbag. This guy seems to be just a real bad UGA fan, not a rival flamer. We have several who seek to destroy, not improve with balanced, legit comments. We all want the best for UGA but some never acknowledge the bigger picture. I am afraid we lose CMR soon but he has taken us to a very good position in his 13 years and I am grateful for that…..sorry for what he has had to endure from the bottom dwellers. Great response.

      • RocketDawg

        My thoughts exactly!! Great post! You have single-handedly restored my faith in my Dawg bretheren (and sisteren). I am sick and tired of the trolls and ignorant fans ranting about how CMR isn’t a great coach. You don’t win 75% of your games in this league without being a great coach.

        • uglydawg

          A fine, fine piece of work sUGAr !! Great follow up,esp by Mac, ( “Someone throw dirt on the scumbag’”). These “drive-by” cheap shot artists can g-f themselves!

        • Ron

          That’s what they said down in Tallahassee prior to Jimbo’s arrival.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Sorry to wade back into the definition of “great” but to me it indicates that you have achieved at the highest level of said avocation. CMR simply has not done it yet, but as is evident he has only put in 13 years and still has time.

          • sUGArdaddy

            It’s all relative to whom you’re comparing them. Richt is on pace to be the best coach we’ve ever had. Luck didn’t afford us to play for a national title in 2002, but it was as good as any natty Florida or LSU has ever won. We’ve had some other chances here and there, but if that’s the only barometer, it’s hard to argue apples and apples because every year is different.

            I think the playoffs will be very good to Mark Richt because winning the SEC will almost certainly get you in the top 4. And I think we’ll do that a time or two in the next 4-7 years.

      • Debby Balcer

        +1000000

      • AG

        Going up to my roof with megaphone in one hand, this post in the other…

      • King Jericho

        If I ever see you downtown after a game, I’m buying you a beer. This puts the arguments I’ve had with many fans into a nice, succinct point of view. GREAT post.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        Hear hear! Nicely done, sir!

      • Charles

        *Golf clap.*

      • Moe Pritchett

        well, I guess we can dispense with any further comments that might degrade the good coachs resume. thank you sUGAdaddy for this fine and articulate dissertation on why we, as Bulldawg Nation, should support our coach.

      • Patindc

        I had a tear in my eye at the end. Thx for stating that so clearly.

        • sUGArdaddy

          Appreciate all the kind words, folks. I’m just sick of the complaining from our fanbase. League’s full of a bunch of good coaches, and we’ve got one of the best. The folks that want to get rid of a coach like that don’t realize how fast it can go down hill. Everybody wants to beat Saban, but nobody seems to be able to do it. That’s really what this is all about. Me? I want OUR GUY to beat Saban because I believe he can (he has).

          Please, Bo Wallace, give Aaron Murray one more chance in that Dome.

          • AthensHomerDawg

            I don’t “ENVY” any other team’s success. And I wouldn’t post their mantra here on a Dawg site. Yeah.. I question anyone’s pettigree if they do.

            GO DAWGS !

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Great post Sugar….and Homer, you can respect without envy….although it would be easy to confuse the two from afar.

      • IveyLeaguer

        ["For you to suggest that Mark Richt and our staff can’t get teams prepared or make adjustments after he has single-handedly turned our program from an under-achieving laughing stock to a perennial contender in the last 13 years is beyond absurd. It’s stupid.[/quote]

        I don’t take issue with your post. And if by preparation you mean game plans, scheme, preparing, the plans in practice, managing the game, etc., I certainly agree. Mark Richt does most things very well, at a high standard of excellence.

        Not only that, but he brings a lot to the table in terms of the person he is. I love the guy, and don’t want to lose him.

        But there’s one critical thing you left out, one critical thing that Mark Richt doesn’t have, and it’s the reason he keeps getting into hot water. It’s also the biggest single factor that prevents him from winning championships and placing himself among the all-time great college coaches .. and that is, he cannot produce a solid football team.

        He cannot produce a team that consistently plays to it’s talent level and doesn’t beat itself. For the same reason, he cannot manage a team, however talented, through an entire SEC schedule (with the exception of 2002, and maybe 2012 (if you consider the SC disaster a fluke).

        Not that you can win every game with a talented team .. nobody can. There are days that the ball will simply not bounce your way, and things will go against you. There are rare games, every decade or two, where you just uncharacteristically lose it, and beat yourself in an important game. Sometimes the other team is just better, and sometimes the other team is good, and it’s just their day.

        But that hasn’t been the thing that kept Richt and Georgia from winning big games and from residing and keeping company with the top of the SEC. Far from it.

        What has held Georgia back the last 8-10 years, and is current doing so, is Georgia’s inability to play solid football. Georgia is it’s own worst enemy, because most of the games we lose, it’s not the other team that beats us. It’s US that beats us. We beat ourselves.

        And that is, and has been, Richt’s nemesis. That is his thorn in the flesh. And the sad thing is, that is something that is possible to control.

        Not surprisingly, Bobby Bowden had the same problem. It’s just that Bowden had a far superior talent advantage due to great recruiting and a soft schedule. Against opponents who could generally match him talent-wise, he didn’t fare that well, because FSU tended to be undisciplined and sloppy, and they would often beat themselves in those games.

        That is the same thing that has happened to Richt, except he is in the SEC, where bottom-tier teams are good enough to beat you if you aren’t ready to play and/or you beat yourself. You simply can’t out-talent this League, the way FSU did over 25 years with Bowden (except for the last 6-8 years, when parity and his selfish refusal to retire finally caught up with him).

        A well-coached team doesn’t beat itself. And that is fundamental #1 in the SEC, if you want to win anything, and it’s obvious Richt has either overlooked it or has never learned it.

        Solid teams don’t compile mistakes in a game like Georgia does. All 3 of our losses this year were games where we lost because we beat ourselves. Not because of injuries, a young defense, or anything else. Those are excuses. Nothing more.

        It’s a plain and simple fact, and the film doesn’t lie.

        That said, no team plays perfect football or even close to it. All teams turn the ball over. All teams make mistakes. But not very many if they want to be a champion and consistently compete for championships.

        Until Richt figures that out, and figures out how to get that done, nothing else he does is going to make a difference.
        ~~~

        • sUGArdaddy

          Ivey, we see things differently, that’s for sure.

          I’m assuming you don’t watch a lot of football. We should be like all those other teams that never lose a game like Oregon, Stanford, and, wait, what? You mean they lost?

          That Stanford team that man-handled a very good Oregon team went to Utah and lost. It happens — to everyone. If you can’t see that, you’ll never see it.

          We’ve got a great coach. We probably won’t get one much better. We win a lot of games. We play hard. One year we’ll put it all together and the breaks will come our way. Just say it — you want to be Bama. I don’t. I’m happy being Georgia. But, be warned, Bama loses games, too.

          • IveyLeaguer

            ["I’m assuming you don’t watch a lot of football. We should be like all those other teams that never lose a game like Oregon, Stanford, and, wait, what? You mean they lost?
            That Stanford team that man-handled a very good Oregon team went to Utah and lost. It happens — to everyone. If you can’t see that, you’ll never see it.
            We’ve got a great coach ... We win a lot of games. We play hard. One year we’ll put it all together and the breaks will come our way. Just say it — you want to be Bama. I don’t. I’m happy being Georgia. But, be warned, Bama loses games, too."]

            With all respect, you couldn’t be more wrong about me and what I know about football. But that isn’t important.

            You should re-read my previous post and think about it. It covers your response entirely, except the part about wanting “to be Bama”. About that, nothing could be further from the truth.

            I want to be Georgia. Because there is something about Georgia that gives it an edge, over Alabama or anybody else, IMO. Maybe it’s just good coaching. Whatever it is, that edge cannot exist as long as the team can’t figure how how not to beat itself.

            In Vince Dooley’s words, “The first step in learning how to win, is learning how not to beat yourself.” I’ve been around football a long time, and I know this is a coaching fundamental that cannot be omitted or overlooked. Certainly not in the SEC.

            What I do want, and what many Georgia people want, is for Georgia to return to the kind of football that makes up the most of its tradition .. physical, smart and disciplined.

            Those kind of teams rarely lose because they beat themselves. When they lose because their opponent beats them. That is what Georgia did under Dooley. That is what Alabama is now doing.

            Richt can do that, too, and escalate his career and his program to the highest level. But first he has to figure out how to field a team that has learned how not to beat themselves.
            ~~~

            • sUGArdaddy

              In 1987, up by 4 late in Death Valley, I watched us call a QB sweep backed up deep in our own territory that was tackled for a safety. We proceeded to free kick to Clemson, which drove the field and kicked a FG to win.

              We also had 9 — NIIIIIIIIIIINE — turnovers in Clemson in ’81 (a few by the Goal Line Stalker) that cost us an undefeated season and shot at back to back National Championships.

              I also remember us opening the season in ’88 with a big win over UT, then losing inexplicably in Lexington 16-10, a loss that would end up costing us a share of the SEC title in Coach Dooley’s last season, and that was a pretty doggone good team with Hampton and Worley.

              I guess I just don’t get what you want besides perfection, which no one can pull off. LSU has 3 losses this year. Every team fumbles punts. NFL QB’s throw picks. It just happens.

              Do we want to get better? Of course. But no program is going to not beat itself sometimes…because they’re college kids.

              Richt’s winning percentage is .742. Dooley’s was .715. You want to return to Coach Dooley’s way? I mean, I love Coach Dooley, but I’ll take winning more games. I guess I just don’t understand what “physical, smart and disciplined” looks like. I know it doesn’t look like what we looked like 2008-2009, but what I’ve seen the last few years is totally different. My Lord, in September this was my favorite UGA team ever because of their heart. Sometimes you have some bad luck and sometimes you just get beat. I’ll give you an example of thoughts running through a player’s head:

              Ramik Wilson
              “Be physical, dislodge the ball from this receiver.”
              “Be smart, make sure it’s not late.”
              “Be disciplined, remember what I’ve been coached about using my shoulder and going for the mid-section instead of up high.”
              “Did it just like I was coached.”
              “What? Targeting?”

              • IveyLeaguer

                ["In 1987, up by 4 late in Death Valley, I watched us call a QB sweep backed up deep in our own territory that was tackled for a safety. We proceeded to free kick to Clemson, which drove the field and kicked a FG to win.
                We also had 9 — NIIIIIIIIIIINE — turnovers in Clemson in ’81 (a few by the Goal Line Stalker) that cost us an undefeated season and shot at back to back National Championships.
                I also remember us opening the season in ’88 with a big win over UT, then losing inexplicably in Lexington 16-10, a loss that would end up costing us a share of the SEC title in Coach Dooley’s last season, and that was a pretty doggone good team with Hampton and Worley."]

                The ’81 game in Clemson is a good example of that rare game I talked about, that just happens, for no known reason. We certainly beat ourselves that day, Buck threw 5 picks and he was as solid as QB’s get. That loss cost us a NC, most likely. The loss to Kentucky in ’88 was an example where everything went wrong, IIRC. Maybe we beat ourselves, I can’t recall for sure.

                ["I guess I just don’t get what you want besides perfection, which no one can pull off. LSU has 3 losses this year. Every team fumbles punts. NFL QB’s throw picks. It just happens.
                Do we want to get better? Of course. But no program is going to not beat itself sometimes…because they’re college kids."]

                For some reason, you aren’t getting it. I’ve been saying that, and more along that line, consistently in this thread. Go back and look.

                ["Richt’s winning percentage is .742. Dooley’s was .715. You want to return to Coach Dooley’s way? I mean, I love Coach Dooley, but I’ll take winning more games. I guess I just don’t understand what “physical, smart and disciplined” looks like. I know it doesn’t look like what we looked like 2008-2009, but what I’ve seen the last few years is totally different."]

                The most recent example in Georgia history is 2002. We were also solid in 2003. It began to slip away a little in 2004, a little more in 2005, then began to snowball in 2006. We haven’t had a solid year since.

                And yes, I want to return to Coach Dooley’s way. His way of playing the game, that is. He never had the talent level, compared to his competitors, that Richt has enjoyed. Maybe that was his fault, but when he had the talent, he always got the most out of it and almost always won a championship. And when he didn’t have all that much talent, which was most of the time, he usually overacheived.

                The thing is, you could come up with perhaps a handful of more examples where Dooley’s team beat themselves. It happens. But OVER 25 YEARS. There are dozens of examples where Richt’s team did it, all in the last 5 or 6 years. I mean, you haven’t noticed that? We’re known for it. Other coaches talk about it, off the record. We have a national reputation for it, for crying out loud.

                Overachievement, as compared to underachievement. Playing consistently to your talent level, instead of rarely doing that and never knowing what you’re going to get. Looking the other guy in the eye and forcing him to blink, instead of consistently self-destructing and beating yourself.

                Yeah, I miss that kind of a fundamentally solid team. That brand of football. And I miss it badly.

                ["My Lord, in September this was my favorite UGA team ever because of their heart. Sometimes you have some bad luck and sometimes you just get beat. "]

                That is not what has happened this year. We lost all 3 games this year because we beat ourselves. Period. The film doesn’t lie. Not once did the other team beat us. It is not a matter of players. Generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with our players. It’s a coaching problem.

                LSU has been beaten twice this year, by us and by Alabama. The Ole Miss loss is probably on them, but I didn’t see it. Again, the film doesn’t lie.

                ["The thing is, you could come up with perhaps a handful of more examples where Dooley's team beat themselves."]I couldn’t say what goes on in the mind of our players. But I know very well what goes on in the mind of a good playmaker before, during, and after a game.

                Again, it’s not the players.
                ~~~

                • The thing is, you could come up with perhaps a handful of more examples where Dooley’s team beat themselves.

                  Or you could just point to the ’79 season.

                  “Dozens” of examples in the last five years of Richt’s teams beating themselves? At best, that averages out to more than four losses per year. They’ve lost a total of 21 games in the last five years, so far. You seem to be making the argument that every loss Georgia has suffered in that time has been at its own hand. Which means that if Georgia wasn’t beating itself, it would be on the greatest undefeated run in college football history.

                  • sUGArdaddy

                    Exactly. I just want to know ‘who’ is the example that we should follow. What team is the one we should mirror, because I watch a lot of football and see other teams doing the same thing. I see Stanford losing at Utah, LSU losing at Ole Miss, South Carolina losing at Tennessee, and FSU losing at NC State or Maryland (repeatedly!)

                    I think you’re looking at our past through rose colored glasses. If you’re saying that you want to be less talented but play harder and win less games because you’ll feel better leaving the stadium at how we played, I’ll take being more talented and less disciplined and win more games, a few of them sloppy.

                    Tell me the team right now that is doing what you’re talking about so we can emulate it, because I don’t see a team that doesn’t make dumb mistakes and do stupid stuff from time to time, even mighty Bama.

                    Darren Sproles muffed a punt Sunday night. I’ll bet he’s returned 4 times as many punts as Damian Swann. Is that coaching or a person just muffing a punt. Coaches can certainly create a culture of discipline and focus, but to suggest that Richt doesn’t do that is short-sighted. And to suggest that coaching can stop a kid from muffing a punt when he’s been returning punts since he was playing pee-wee football is ridiculous.

                    And those 2002 and 2003 teams you speak of? They got more late hits and personal fouls than any in the Richt era because we were talented, mean, dirty, and nasty. And I liked us that way.

                    • IveyLeaguer

                      ["I see Stanford losing at Utah, LSU losing at Ole Miss, South Carolina losing at Tennessee, and FSU losing at NC State or Maryland (repeatedly!)"]

                      I give up. I’ve answered these, covered them already. You’ll have to go back and look.

                      ["If you’re saying that you want to be less talented but play harder and win less games because you’ll feel better leaving the stadium at how we played"]

                      Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve already responded to you directly when you raised that idea before. Even then, that came from YOU. I never even implied anything like that, nor would I. It’s too ridiculous.

                      As already made clear, I want us to play to our talent level, whatever that is. Do you want that, or are you happy underachieving and being a mid-evel SEC team?

                      ["Tell me the team right now that is doing what you’re talking about so we can emulate it, because I don’t see a team that doesn’t make dumb mistakes and do stupid stuff from time to time, even mighty Bama."]

                      I already addressed this too. Maybe more than once. You’ll have to go back and read it again. And it’s another bad premise on your part, if you think we should copy another program.

                      ["Darren Sproles muffed a punt Sunday night. I’ll bet he’s returned 4 times as many punts as Damian Swann. Is that coaching or a person just muffing a punt. Coaches can certainly create a culture of discipline and focus, but to suggest that Richt doesn’t do that is short-sighted. And to suggest that coaching can stop a kid from muffing a punt when he’s been returning punts since he was playing pee-wee football is ridiculous."]

                      That’s a fair question, and though I’ve covered it already in a general way, I’ll try to elaborate. As for Swann, it’s not about one play, or two. To explain in writing would be a whole chapter of a book. It’s something you just see (and it helps if you’ve done it yourself). But it was obvious, even last year, that he didn’t have what it takes to be punt returner. He just wasn’t someone who could be trusted to handle that. Mitchell is another example.

                      Sometimes a player will improve his skills in the offseason, develop the judgment and timing, etc., maybe even improve his instinct. But that doesn’t happen often, in my experience. I was hoping that might happen to Mitchell.

                      But it was obvious from the get-go this year that Swann still didn’t have it. So whoever made that decision made a mistake. It’s complicated, but we could have had someone else ready to go much earlier, IMO.

                      Back to the first part of your question. There is no such thing as a perfect game. All players make mistakes, even veteran players. But not very many if they going to win anything. How many times have you heard coaches and ex-players say, talking about a good matchup, “the team who makes the fewest mistakes will probably win”?

                      That’s not just a cliche. Georgia’s primary problem is that it makes more mistakes, of all kinds, than it’s opponents, far too often. We do it consistently. It has become our trademark, and everybody knows it.

                      So, it’s rather simpleton, but this modern comparison will nevertheless illustrate the point: Both Richt and Saban strive to create a culture of discipline and focus. All coaches do, at least in this League. But some coaches are better than others in getting that done, getting the desired outcome from their players.

                      Saban’s teams are the most solid right now, because his standard is higher, and he refuses to compromise. Anything less that doing it right is not acceptable. Period. Now that is nothing unique. Many successful SEC coaches have held that same standard and fielded similar teams (though maybe not as talented) … Neyland, Bryant, Vaught, Jordan, Dooley, and some others.

                      Richt’s standard is considerably lower than that, IMO. The play on the field simply reflects it, and I’m talking much more than just turnovers and obvious mistakes.

                      It’s hard to say any more than that and be fair, without being at either place and seeing what goes on, both on and off the field. But you can safely make certain broad conclusions by watching the film.

                      Being solid does not have the priority among coaches that it used to have. There’s not as much attention and emphasis placed on it today. But that’s a mistake. The game has changed, but it’ll never change enough to negate that ancient and fundamental priciple of the game.

                      So coaches don’t give it as much attention today, which I suspect is one of the primary reasons Alabama is so dominant. You don’t have to out-talent Alabama in order to beat them. We proved that last year. But you do have to be SOLID. Because they aren’t going to beat themselves. That is nothing new. It has nothing to do with Saban, because it has been the standard and tradition of good SEC teams since 1933.

                      ["I just want to know ‘who’ is the example that we should follow."]

                      You don’t follow or copy any team. We are Georgia, and that’s always been as good as it ever gets. The closest example of a solid team with talent, though, would be Alabama. Their offense and defense are the most similar to ours, probably of anybody in the country. If we had been even close to being as solid as they have been, our record would be much better than it is. Would it have been enough to win an SECC or a NC? I don’t know. Maybe.

                      But having good SEC talent and playing solid ball will get you in the mix. You force your opponent to not make mistakes. That puts a lot of pressure on him and makes it tough, even for good teams. You rarely, and I mean RARELY, lose to teams you are supposed to beat.

                      We got a couple of shots recently because of favorable schedules and some help from fellow competitors, and we were almost good enough one time. It shows what we can be when we put it all together. And the way you do that is to be fundamentally sound, and not beat yourself. Because that will get you through the schedule, so you consistently get to play in those kinds of games.

                      We have good coaching. We have a great offensive system, the best in the country, IMO. Richt is a very good coach. As I said before, he does so many things at the highest level. But it’s this one thing he lacks.

                      And unless and until he gets a handle on that, nothing is going to change. And we will continue to underachieve.
                      ~~~

                  • IveyLeaguer

                    My bad on that one. I meant to say a dozen or so, and without going back and checking the record I’d say that’s about right.

                    I don’t think the 5 losses of the ’79 season were games where we beat ourselves. As I recall, we were missing some key pieces that year. I remember losing the first 3 games because we couldn’t run the ball at all.
                    Even with those shortcomings, we did go 5-1 in the SEC.

                    The other two were bad losses to Virginia 31-0, and to Auburn, 33-13. If we beat ourselves that year, that’s where it would be. I recall the horror of those two games, but can’t recall off the top how we lost them.

                    I think Virginia may have been a preparation issue (not ready to play), and if so, that certainly counts as beating yourself, even if it’s not as direct a way of doing it.

                    Also, we were +15 in TO’s for the year. That’s not a mark of a fundamentally unsound team, and likely explains how we beat LSU and Florida, and only lost one SEC game (though the Auburn loss was really harsh, since a win would have given us a share of the SEC crown, even with those missing pieces), and goes to the gritty style of football I’m referring to.

                    So my bad for not typing my thought correctly. It’s pretty obvious “dozens” was impossible. But that typo doesn’t make me wrong. I’ve painted with a broad brush and know that I’m right. Not because I’m anything. But as I’ve said, the film doesn’t lie.

                    Off the top, in just the last 3 seasons (2011-present), there are SIX games where we beat ourselves. And you can make a legitimate case for 2 more, as those games cut both ways (LSU 2011 and SC 2012).

                    Without laying it out all the way back, let me ask you. How many games have we lost, in the last 5 years (or 8 years if you wish) to teams that just beat us? How many of those teams just had better players than we did?
                    ~~~

                    • sUGArdaddy

                      I guess we’ll just disagree. Many of the men you describe as fielding these mysterious “solid” teams have lower winning percentages than Richt.

                      Vaught (.722)
                      Dooley (.715)
                      Jordan (.675)

                      Neyland, Saban, and Bryant are the standard, but Richt is better than those other three.

                      My whole point is just what you said: Bama is the closest thing right now. But they still beat themselves sometimes, and more than once a decade. Lately, it’s been once a year. They were better than all 3 of those teams they lost to in 2010, better than LSU in 2011, and better than A&M in 2012, but they lost, and they made a bunch of stupis mistakes and coaching blunders in all those losses.

                      But the problem I have with your argument is that using Bama as the standard of what solid looks like is apples and oranges because:

                      -When you oversign you create more competition and release kids that didn’t pan out, meaning the injuries don’t have as big of an impact on you.
                      -When you spend more on administrative staff you have more time and people to evaluate talent, meaning you’re less likely to miss and have more people pouring into the recruiting process.
                      -When you schedule tough out of conference games you run the risk of injuries, but more importantly force your kids to play more high impact plays and quarters, meaning they’re less fresh in the conference games that matter.
                      -When you actually suspend kids you force back-ups into starting roles and 3rd teamers onto special teams. This is compounded by the fact that we’re often opening with stiffer competition than others, and our depth might not be as talented as a team like Bama’s because when we promise a kid a scholly for 4 years we mean it.

                      Whatever it is that you describe as ‘solid’ is hard to pull off with those limitations. Apparently, we play up to our talent better than Dooley, Vaught or Jordan. The problem with your assessment is that you assume you know the talent level, when we just don’t. Mack Brown at Florida was all-world coming out of high school. We wanted him. Everyone did. It’s not that muschamp can’t coach him. The kid just can’t play. We all thought he could. He can’t. To say we’re not playing to our talent is to say that our players could be better than they are, and while every team has kids that can improve, I just don’t see that wholesale problem that you do.

                    • IveyLeaguer

                      Nah, you still have wrong conclusions there, IMO. Best I can tell, you’re just not getting my message, and we’ll never be on the same page. No problem, we’re still Georgia fans.

                      I will say that facilities, staff, and all that helps Georgia compete, and I’m for all that stuff. I think we should do more, provide more for the football program, since we can afford it. No competitor should have a built-in advantage, even though we might do things differently.

                      But all that has nothing to do with producing a solid football team. Good high school coaches, with bare facilities, can do that. Money is not a factor in the principle of not beating yourself.

                      And you’re dead wrong about Georgia consistently playing to it’s talent level. It simply hasn’t happened. As I said, we’re known for sloppy play around the country. However, the few times we have achieved that – SC & LSU 2013, Alabama & Vandy 2012 to mention some recent ones – the results have been excellent.

                      No, you can’t do that every game. You can’t be on an emotional high every week. You can’t even be on a sharp edge every week, where you play your very best ball. But a solid team will still play well enough most Saturdays to win. Even if they don’t, a solid team still will not beat themselves, which allows them to win almost all of those games as well.

                      So, thanks for the cordial discussion, I appreciate that, even though in the end we still we see things differently.
                      ~~~

                    • Macallanlover

                      While I am closer to sugar’s position on this, Ivy’s is also a solid case if you don’t go to the extremes as stated. So I guess I am somewhere in between, agreeing we can tighten some things up but not willing to blame those losses singularly on lack of preparation. Some were just bad execution or critical mistakes by athletes, those happen in every sport, and on every team. But I certainly appreciate the discourse and civility displayed above. Well done gentlemen, that would have been pleasant in a pub with libations flowing and not disturb the booth immediately adjacent.

                    • IveyLeaguer

                      Thanks, man. We ARE well-prepared in many ways (especially the last two years), more than I’ve mentioned here, and that was a handful.

                      I guess maybe it’s fair to say the discipline that produces a solid team is something broader than just weekly preparation, though it certainly includes that. It’s a year-round thing as well.

                      But thanks for the comment.
                      ~~~

      • Kyle

        Great post. Far better than the article.

  2. DawgPhan

    Can we throw the records out the window in this one?

    • tess

      I always throw the records out the window with Auburn. The only stat that ever worries me is when we play at home, because each team has a tendency to win in the other’s stadium. (We’re 15-10-2 there; we’re 11-17-0 at home.)

      We’re tied over 116 years of playing one another, and we hold the lead in points by 77 points, almost all of those gained in the last two years. Every season is new, yes, but history matters. We tend to win there. We’ve played them before when they were ranked and we felt like a mess (by the way, we almost always “feel” like we’re a mess), and we pulled it together and kicked their butts . I’m not talking moral victories; I’m talking about the hard W that goes into the book and writes our story with this school.

      And we have a story with Auburn. That’s why the games mean so much. They were on our first season schedule, so long ago that Georgia Tech students came out in red & black to cheer for us because they didn’t even have a team. When Alabama A&M, became Alabama Polytechnic, then became Auburn U, they didn’t claim all football before then didn’t count (ahemFLORIDAahem). Our schools share some common traits, our football programs have come up together, and yet we are antipodal in the SEC.

      And that’s why we always have a chance against Auburn. If our unranked 2006 Dawgs could walk into Jordan-Hare and beat #5 Auburn, then we can certainly do it again this week. Yes, I always worry before a game (Thank you, Larry!). But we always, ALWAYS have a chance with Auburn.

      • Dog in Fla

        “If our unranked 2006 Dawgs could walk into Jordan-Hare and beat #5 Auburn, then we can certainly do it again this week.”

        Exactly.

  3. Bulldawg165

    Since the 2010 game I honestly think there isn’t any other team I would hate to lose to more than Auburn. With that said, I honestly don’t know what to expect with this game. They have the tools to completely blow us out of the water if we don’t show up, but I also think that we have the tools to win if we play lights out.

    I’m scared of special teams, of course, but I’m also scared of how well our OLBs can set the edge against their rushing attack. The 4th and 1 play against Tennessee keeps replaying in my head.

  4. I think the Auburn offense is the perfect remedy for the UGA defense. They are not well-suited to take advantage of what UGA has had trouble stopping. I expect to see a lot of underneath, crossing stuff, trying to isolate a WR on Wilson or Herrera, but virtually no downfield threat. UGA has to figure out a way to stop those routes because that will be Auburn’s only passing threat. If Auburn cannot run the ball down their throats, they will need a few special teams plays or turnovers to score.

    On the other side of the ball, I think Auburn’s pass rush will give UGA fits. Their D-ends will harass Murray, they’ll drop into a shell coverage, and they’ll force Murray to be patient and hit 5 yard passes all the way down the field. That’s what Vanderbilt did with success. That’s what App State did with success in the first half. That’s what Auburn will do as well. UGA needs Gurley to be 100%, and to get 20-25 carries. If that happens, they can force Auburn to tighten down to stop the run, opening up the play action downfield that the UGA offense is predicated on. If that doesn’t happen, Murray will have to be perfect, throwing into tight windows amid heavy pressure up front. I don’t think that scenario ends well for UGA.

    With a 100% Gurley, I think Georgia wins. With the 50% Gurley that has played sparingly the last two weeks, I don’t think they do. I really, really hope he is close to 100%.

    • I expect to see a lot of underneath, crossing stuff, trying to isolate a WR on Wilson or Herrera, but virtually no downfield threat. UGA has to figure out a way to stop those routes…

      If they didn’t figure it out for ASU, I’m not optimistic they figure it out for Auburn.

      • PTC DAWG

        ASU got nothing inside the 30′s.

      • Bright Idea

        Auburn’s window dressing, motion, fakes, formations, etc. worry me with our defense’s penchant for confusion.

      • My hope is that without a vertical threat, they bring a safety down to put some pressure on the crossing routes and assist in the run game. But, I don’t disagree with your assessment.

        • Will (the other one)

          Sammie Coates and his ridiculous per catch average say “hi” about that whole lack of vertical threat issue.
          But: I was afraid of Solomon Patton getting loose for a big one vs. our secondary and that never happened, so maybe our secondary is learning, finally.

      • uglydawg

        ASU’s qb was masterful in hitting those..he threw extremly accurate darts…I don’t think Auburn can match his success. They hate to throw the ball….there’s a reason for it…the run the ball so well…but you know they would be at least a little more balanced if they felt comfy throwing it..but they don’t. Stop the run first is the usual order…esp this week.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      He will be 100%…next year.

      • WF dawg

        That’s right. If I had to guess, he looked about 75% on Saturday and about 60% on that last drive against UF. 85-90% would make me happy for this week.

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    “Special teams is key,” running back Tre Mason said. “It’s key. You need special teams. It’s very important, and you can’t forget about that aspect of the game. That aspect can also win games.”

    And damn sure lose them, too.

    • godawg

      +1

      How come Tre Mason knows this and our coaching staff apparently does not? Seems like they coach ST just to not lose (unsuccessfully) and don’t realize that it has the potential to turn games in the Dawg’s favor…(sigh)

  6. Sanford222view

    I am going to put a positive spin on the Red Zone Defense stat by focusing on how well the Dogs fared against the #3 and #4 ranked teams on that list. Murray and Co. did pretty well against the other Tigers and Gators.

  7. Scorpio Jones, III

    My Awbun buddy Uncle Roscoe says he is pretty sure Marshall is still bothered by a shoulder injury earlier in the season…can’t control the deep ball….could be true, could be sandbaggery.

  8. Russ

    Well I feel a little better. Didn’t realize they were so inept at passing.

  9. I really feel its all about stopping the run and forcing the bandit to beat UGA with his arm. If the defense holds up to stopping the run, I REALLY like UGA chances. Especially since a lot of the weapons are coming back on-line for Georgia.

  10. 83-7 the last two seasons, The Barners will get our A game, if not for one reason and one reason alone ‘Rodney Garner”

  11. Will Trane

    Auburn is not worried about Georgia. Their only game remaining is with Saban’s Tide. Can the Dawgs control the blocking on the line and stop the inside zone read. UT was clueless, but then again that was some former Dawg D coaches. Can Bobo move the ball on Ellis Johnson’s D? Get behind early andwe are in trouble.

    • RocketDawg

      Thank you Mr ButtHurt for that ray of wisdom and sunshine

    • WF dawg

      Auburn has to beat *both* UGA and Bama to win the west. If they drop UGA and beat Bama (assuming no other Bama conference losses), Bama still plays for the SECC. So, they’re not going to overlook us.

    • D.N. Nation

      Hey, remember last year when you said that Muschamp had primed Florida’s program to be a national championship contender? Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

  12. AusDawg85

    Somebody please call Pat Dye and ask for his opinion. We need to be sure the OL gets the “man up” message one more time. Just like our other victories, this is going to be determined by our OL play. They seem to have the spark for Gurley, and that even tends to help with pass protection because of the PA threat. We need an opening Q like down in Jax, and closing drive like Jax and SCar to put this away.

    And it would be REALLY NICE to not F*** Up the 2nd and 3rd Q’s for a change!

    • Macallanlover

      The highs and lows of the OL this season have been odd this season. It isn’t unusual to see fluctuations with the skill players and what they do but OL performance may vary opponent to opponent on all teams but rarely from a rating of 8+ to 3 like we have seen from UGA’s line play. They were horrible against Clemson, most responsible for the L in that game, yet able to dominate SC and Florida when needed. I don’t think they have ever been excellent, but they have shown the ability to be what we need occasionally. Don’t understand it but they need to be in top form Saturday. If they are, the time that gives Murray, and the slight holes for the RB may be all we need to bring back the cheater’s scalps. How sweet would that be?

  13. uglydawg

    I keep thinking about that stupid fake punt Georgia ran against ASU. That had to be for a reason…there’s no way you run that against ASU if it’s your best fake punt play…..I believe it’s a set-up…of course, I doubt Auburn’s coaches will not see through it…but it does give them something to think about instead of going after a block…(That’s it!)…
    Also…Think about being the AU defense and trying to prepare against one of the finest passing/ recieveing corps ever to grace the field…now think about Gurley and the running game…think about AM on the bootleg keeper.
    Think about the things you can’t think about because you havent’ seen them yet. Yeah…AU’s going to get some yards, but GOOD GRIEF…Georgia’s bringing some offense with them too!

  14. uglydawg

    And one hell of a field goal kicker!

    • Ed Kilgore

      Yeah, but I’m with the Senator: the punt/kick coverage issues that still seem to be afflicting the Dawgs could be a big problem against The Barn. Another chronic problem, “outside contain” on a mobile QB, is worth some intensive attention this week, too.

      Really enjoy the idea of the Dawgs ruining the Iron Bowl as a SECC play-in game. And a win would give us at least one more week of being in the SEC East running as well, & maybe put some pressure on Mizzou as it plays Ole Miss in Oxford.

  15. Todd

    I keep seeing Marshall keep it and go around the corner where Leonard Floyd just got trapped inside ….again.

    • William

      Maybe we’ll see Wilson running across to track him though if Floyyd…….sorry, when Floyys gets trapped inside again.

  16. RevDawg

    Trying to decide if Stanford vs Oregon should give me any needed optimism.

  17. W Cobb Dawg

    Look for a huge game by our D line – now that they’re all out of Garner’s doghouse.

  18. Will Trane

    Can the Dawgs D limit Tigers to 30 – 36 rushing attempts and a long field on drives? Can they limit them to 6 – 6.5 avg rush per attempt. Then maybe they can hold them under 250 yards and maybe 3 rushing TDs. What can not happen is for the Offensive to turn the ball over a single time and have those periods of 3 adn out.

    • adam

      Making Auburn drive the length of the field is up to our offense and special teams. And it’s something they haven’t done well in recent games.

  19. Will Trane

    Will Friend’s O line control Rodney Garner’s front 4, and allow Murray to have time to get the ball out in passing lanes. Can bet Rodney Garner will be pumped up against Dawgs and TG.

  20. Will Trane

    We know CBS gets to officially film the game. But who will be the officiating crew for the game? Should we expect any targeting calls again in light of the fact we have averaged one per game in the last 3 games. Puzzling why we have not seen any against the oft-injuired Dawgs. Plus how much does AU’s tackles hold in a game?

  21. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Teams like Auburn, coming out of nowhere to a Top 10 ranking, are like surfers on a big wave. This week, they hit the rocks. Too many press clippings, too much talk about the Iron Bowl, too many players who have already forgotten how thin the line between 2-6 and 8-1 can be.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Yeah, I remember a team that came out of nowhere to a top 10 ranking, had to have a miracle on Duval Street to win the national championship with a little help from the Nerds.

      And the counter point is that too many players remember how thin the line between 2-6 and 9-1 (not 8-1) is.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        A lot of college teams don’t handle success well, especially the ones that stumble into it after some difficult seasons. It’s not an absolute, but it’s been a reliable rule of thumb over the years. Do Auburn players still remember last year in ways that keep them hungry in their game preparations? I’m sure they would say they do, but I would also not be surprised if, deep down, they were maybe taking this game for granted.

        Just my opinion.

  22. Bulldog Joe

    We’re second to last in the nation in creating turnovers.

    If you factor in the number of turnovers where we gave the ball right back, we’re dead last in the nation.

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