Once more, with feeling

Hey, it’s déjà vu all over again!

Mark Richt spent the week leading up to the final regular season home game against Kentucky answering questions related to the performance of his defense and those who coach it.

“I’ll say this: It’s definitely good policy for me, and it’s not the answer you want, but my main focus is Kentucky,” the Georgia coach said. “That’s where I gotta keep my mind. That’s where I have to focus on.”

That was in 2009 when Georgia’s defense was coached by embattled coordinator Willie Martinez, who was fired after the regular season.

I accept the inexperience factor to some extent, and it’s apparent that Grantham hasn’t lost his charges the way Martinez did, but, still, if I’m Richt, I’d be getting a little tired of having to recycle my material, so to speak.

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “Once more, with feeling

  1. LorenzoDawg

    And hopefully, Richt will do the same to Grantham as he did to Willie. Deja Todd.

  2. TennesseeDawg

    Nothing would be more UGA than to end this season and not a single coaching change is made and nothing but excuses for this year’s performance. My gut feeling is telling me this is where we are headed.

  3. Haywood Jablome

    Déjà vu could be said for other re-occurring problems in the program also. Special teams, inconsistent to just plain poor OL play, undisciplined behavior on and off the field in general all have reared their ugly head for years. Sorry if I have lost faith that the continued decline on the defensive side will be addressed this off-season.

  4. heyberto

    I’m hearing he’s gone at the end of the season, not that I have a great connection or anything.. and it’s not really inside information as it is insight as to how Richt thinks. He thinks Richt will make that call after the season. That’s not a guarantee, but apparently, this guy knows how he thinks. It’s going to be interesting to see if it’s true. I seldom trust when I hear stuff like this, but he’s got a 50/50 chance of being right I guess.

    I hate coaching changes.. they’re disruptive in many respects. But if it has to be done, it has to be done. I want us to be the kind of defense Grantham described… we just don’t seem to be getting there.

  5. Keese

    Senator is this your vague way of saying you want Grantham fired? What’s your position here?

    • Generally, I don’t call for coaches’ heads.

      I plead guilty to a case of Grantham fatigue, though.

      • Keese

        Seems like your turning point could’ve been Nash’s article?

        As for me I say he’s got til the end of next year to turn around. Fans are overreacting to all the pups mistakes

        • My turning point, if you want to call it that, was the first half of the Auburn game.

          • Mightn’t a better performance from the offense have changed your opinion on the defense in the first half though? One or two decent drives early in the game could have gone a long way towards settling down the defense. Certainly Grantham deserves blame for coming out flat on D, but when you get rattled early, and your O keeps forcing you right back out on the field, it’s hard to recover.

            I think the biggest disappointment for me in the first half was that once we did finally get some life out of the offense, the D also seemed to get their legs underneath them until that “simultaneous possession” call on the fumble. I’m far from the first person to mention it here, but anytime our D has any adversity, they seem to immediately fold, and that’s exactly what happened, any life they had gotten to them was immediately gone. If that call went our way, I think it’s a totally different game, and the D would have stiffened a little earlier. But back to my main point, while the offense was clearly the hero of the 4th quarter, they didn’t do much to help their young, rattled defense early in the game. Just a couple of drives that ate up a few minutes and maybe flipped the field could have helped the D tremendously.

            (I get that this sword can cut both ways – a couple of early stops by the D could have gonen a long way toward sparking the offense, but between the two units of this year’s team, the O should bear more of the burden, IMO).

            • adam

              The D got a big stop forcing a field goal and then blocking the FG. Then the offense got the ball back down 20-7 with a chance to go into the half down 20-14 and getting the ball back after halftime. Instead, we threw a pick. And then the defense fell apart again and gave up a TD.

              I think that young defense handle adversity very poorly. Young guys get frustrated and they don’t have that “mental toughness” that coaches are always yapping on about.

              The defense was struggling mightily to start the game though. Corey Moore had a pretty bad game. Though, I’m not sure anyone had a worse game than John Theus.

          • Rick

            Just curious, senator: If that bizarre play doesn’t happen at the end of the Auburn game, and any number of a dozen things doesn’t happen to lose the vandy game (either targeting penalty, douglas fumble, punt block, etc), then we’re looking at good odds on a return to the SEC championship and maybe more. In that scenario, are we even talking about Grantham, or are we just thinking ‘young, mediocre defense, they better turn it around next year when Murray’s gone’?

            It just seems like our desire to fire coaches is entirely driven by wins and losses vs. more accurate (and at least unit specific, for christ’s sake) performance indicators. If we’re unhappy with the W/Ls, then we just pick the biggest target and say ‘fire him’.

            • That is both an excellent and fair question. And I think your take on that scenario is largely correct. (Of course, if the Dawg defense got smoked by ‘Bama in the SECCG, that might be subject to change.)

              But let’s be honest – if the defense were merely competent this year, don’t you think Georgia would be looking at a SECCG three-peat anyway?

              • adam

                I think that if Todd Gurley doesn’t get hurt, then we would be in the SECCG again. If he never misses a snap due to injury (this season, I mean), I think we could be undefeated.

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                “(Of course, if the Dawg defense got smoked by ‘Bama in the SECCG, that might be subject to change.)”

                You mean the way a better, more exprienced Dawg defense got smoked last year?
                And 350 yards rushing, to me is a smoke although YMMV.

                And the obvious answer to your question above is yes, but the defense does appear to be merely competent.

      • I find myself having a lot of the same feelings I had at the end of 2008 with Willie. At that point I wasn’t 100% convinced he HAD to go……..I definitely had “Martinez fatigue”, but I could see how there was a chance he could turn things back around, and wasn’t upset when he was given one more year. But there was this nagging feeling in the back of my mind during all that time, that yeah there was a chance he could turn it around, but realistically it wasn’t going to happen. That’s the feeling I keep getting about Grantham right now…….I won’t be devastated if he is retained, but my gut tells me we would just be delaying the inevitable for a year.

        Of course, I was 100% sure that Richt would never turn the program back around after the Boise St game in the dome, so what do I know?

  6. sUGArdaddy

    The argument that the offense could have performed better and changed our view of the D is ridiculous and misses the point. The problem is we’re incabable of winning a big time team 20-10. Florida scored 20 versus us for goodness sakes. Bama came out a little flat in Starkville but won 20-7. Do we honestly think we could win an sec road game 20-7?

    That puts so much pressure on the O. Now, we structure our team differently. We have a much better O than bama. But, the point is that in a game like Auburn, you’d like to be down 17-10 at half when things are developing slow for the O, but we’re incapable of that. We need to have 20 points at halftime in a big game or we’re in trouble, and that’s bad news in the sec.

    • I don’t disagree with any of your points. And I don’t blame anyone who is ready for Grantham to leave. Was just curious to me that the turning point for the Senator wasn’t until the first half of auburn, when the whole team put on a clinic in craptacular football, not just the defense. But no I don’t argue with any of your points above.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Not that I disagree with the over all point, but it very well could have been 17-10 at the half if not for the simultaneous possession call.

  7. If we’re contemplating changes here, don’t you think we have to consider a new offensive line coach as well? Oh yes, the OL: Better known as the “Achilles Heel” of the Mark Richt era.

    • adam

      To me, this is our #1 biggest weakness.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        If you look around…especially to the West…at other O lines, it would appear Adam makes a crucial point.

        I get that Bama outrecruits us….especially on the offensive line, but they also outrecruit Auburn on the offensive line, and probably everybody else in the known world.

        Hell, Tech’s offensive line is more consistent than ours.

        • adam

          I also know that the LSU line is consistently good because Les Miles was an offensive lineman (a guard I believe).

          I’ve noticed that a lot of teams benefit from their HC’s position knowledge.

          LSU’s OL, our QBs, Bama’s DBs, Florida’s DBs, etc.

        • Will (the other one)

          But all the guys for the NATS have to do is fall down at guys, so that’s not quite the same bar to raise there.

  8. JRW7

    Every sec game we won, our offense had to out score them, CTG defense gives up a lot of points. We could do better!