Trust, continuity, complacency, etc.

Seth Emerson starts out this must-read piece with a little story that neatly summarizes where the mindset of much of the fan base is today, I suspect.

Four years ago, it was an insult. Scott Lakatos, then the newly hired Georgia secondary coach, taunted his players by yelling out the previous season’s record:

“Eight-and-five! Eight-and-FIVE!”

Four seasons later, the Georgia football program has finished its season … wait for it … eight and five.

Back at square one, in other words.

Now it’s true there are two trips to the SECCG in that four-year period. And while you can’t guarantee too much, I don’t think anyone would argue with the premise that a fully healthy 2013 Georgia team would have won more than eight games.  But it’s hard not to look at things like the passive philosophy behind the return units on special teams, the continuing failure to cobble together an offensive line that can perform consistently, let alone dominantly, and what at times seems close to an utter lack of improvement in the secondary without worrying that the program may be sliding to a point where the areas that are above-average to excellent – and they are there – can no longer carry things as far as we and Mark Richt would like.

Now that being said, I’m not in the same dark hole I was in during the 2009 season, when I simply lost faith in Richt’s ability to get Georgia football back on track.  He proved me wrong on that.  Whatever criticism you want to throw his way, and there is clearly some that is deserved, what you have to admit if you’re honest is that this year’s team never quit.  There were no blow outs.  Quite the contrary, almost all the losses were close and there were several dramatic comebacks along the way.  I don’t think a football team plays hard without believing in what the coaches are doing.  So in some important ways, Georgia football is in a better place than it was when Lakatos showed up.  And I’m still willing to give Mark Richt the benefit of the doubt today because he’s earned it.

But… Seth neatly sums up the sword’s edge that Richt’s balanced on now:

One man’s complacency is another man’s stability.

One man’s continuity is another man’s belief that stubbornness is winning out, that a leader is refusing to see that changes need to be made.

One man’s belief that no firings should happen is another man believing — or making, in Richt’s case — more subtle changes behind the scenes and not producing a scalp just to satisfy an angry Twitter and message board mob.

Is there an air of complacency? It’s hard to say. On some level, you can understand the fans who are incredulous that nothing would happen after an 8-5 season.

But you can also see Richt’s point of view: Rather than change coaches and schemes and terminology on a young defense, he’ll believe for one more year in that staff, a staff that can at least point to 2011 as evidence it can coach them up.

Shoot me if you like, but I see both sides to the argument.  I can see some areas where change would be welcome, but only if there’s a greater vision behind it than “we got to do something”.  Does Richt have that vision?  Beats me.

Even if he doesn’t, there’s still a place where he needs to start fixing things.  A commenter here mentioned “quality control” and I think that’s an apt description of where attention needs to be devoted.  Read these quotes that Weiszer collected, and you’ll realize a lot of folks associated with the program see the same problem:

“This team, we just had a lot of things go wrong and a lot of things go wrong at the worse time imaginable,” outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “If we could just fix the little things, it’s not all big things, it’s just the minor things that determines how you’re season will be. If everyone’s on the same page, those things like a muffed punt doesn’t happen or a mismatched coverage doesn’t happen. I feel like we have to work on our fundamentals this offseason and work on doing every little thing right.”

“Learn from your mistakes and know that the details matter,” Grantham said. “You’re not freshmen anymore and try to pay attention to the little things.”

“The difference is like this every year,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said holding his thumb and forefinger inches apart. “It’s hard to win any game, much less the championship. You’ve just got to keep knocking on the door.”

“I just told all the seniors that their watch begins now,” Richt said after the Gator Bowl loss. “Told the future seniors of 2014 that their job begins right this minute, starts with thinking of ways to get better, starts with doing everything on an individual basis to get better and find ways to get your teammates to get better, as well.”

I don’t sense that’s happy talk.  I think it’s recognition that this year’s team didn’t grow in the way it needed to.  Well and good, to an extent, but recognizing a problem exists isn’t the same thing as fixing it.  And while everyone should be held accountable, repair has to start with the coaching staff, if for no other reason than that some of the players haven’t learned from their mistakes.  That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily hopeless cases.  It just means that whatever the coaches tried this past season didn’t click with some of them.  A different path for some may be in order and there’s no reason to think that change can’t be effective, presuming it’s thoughtful.  If there are grounds for optimism, it’s that the coaches haven’t lost the trust of the players the way it seemed the staff did in ’09.

If there are grounds for pessimism, though, they lie with a staff that feels that things were close enough in 2013 that a little better health and a little more experience will be all it takes to break through in 2014.  The mystery we’ll have to wait to see solved is where Mark Richt stands on that spectrum.

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215 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

215 responses to “Trust, continuity, complacency, etc.

  1. Irishdawg

    Good points are made here, but I can’t help but think that it was youth and an absurd degree of injuries that derailed this season. We had almost no experience in the secondary, and the best freshman we had, Matthews, was hurt half the year. That takes a toll.

    Then, EVERY starting skill player sat at least one game with injury. How does a coaching staff prepare for that, voodoo? Up until LSU, Georgia’s offense looked like a German Panzer attack in 1940; afterwards, a German Panzer attack in 1945.

    But, the lingering problems with special teams and mental errors is troubling. However, I don’t think Richt is complacent; he’s revamped strength & conditioning for example, and he’s smart enough to see the problems.

    • The other Doug

      The defense can’t use injuries as an excuse. Sure they had a couple, but it was within the norm.

      • sUGArdaddy

        The defense was hurt just as much with injuries at safety. It was already our most inexperienced position. We knew we were starting a true freshman and sophomore who had never started a game. They played a handful of games together: South Carolina, North Texas, LSU, Auburn & Kentucky. We looked alright in those games, huh? We started Connor Norman in Clemson because of injury (to Moore), suspension (to JHC) and youth (Mauger wasn’t ready).

        It killed us all year. Matthews was hurt that week leading up to UT, and our secondary never looked the same. It was a mess, man. We had 4 true freshmen play in the 2 deep in the secondary. Bad formula for winning football.

        • The other Doug

          I get your point, but I wouldn’t blame injuries for our bad secondary. We failed to develop depth and the youngsters didn’t get better through out the year.

          • gotta disagree bud… injuries to a upper classman are different to losing the one good Freshman you had playing. We began the season too thin at those spots at when injuries occurred the new players weren’t jelled with the ones playing their 2nd, 3rd and 4th games. The defense is no different than the offense when it comes to cohesiveness. The 99 yard reception is a great example, Rambo, Blue, Davis et al would have trusted the front 7 to do their jobs and sat deep on the deep ball. The young kid wanted to jump in and tackle the running back; only problem… the running back didn’t have the ball. It’s all about trust and understanding not only your position but everyone elses as well. They just unfortunately never got to that point.

            Now, for me that begs the question… why did we leave ourselves in such a vulnerable position coming into this year? We didn’t have a sophmore or junior ready to step into the voided roles of Rambo and others. Why not? Wouldn’t a better prepared team? Isn’t roster management part of “the process”? Perhaps…

            • RocketDawg

              We were thin in the secondary due to “stick fingers” Marshall (now at Auburn) and his compatriots who got booted coupled with total misses on Corey Moore and Marc Deas at the Safety position.

        • Mauger seemed to be as ready in game 13 as he was in game 1. The injury to Matthews hurt as much as any injury on the team.

          • uglydawg

            A crippled offense does hurt the defense. When you’re offense is crippled, opposing coaches don’t mind gambling on 4th down, throwing the ball deep more, and even doing onside kicks because they know the you’re offense can’t make them pay if they fail. The defense stays on the field too long because the offense can’t sustain drives…it goes on and on, but the bottom line is that it’s shallow thinking to say the injuries on offense didn’t effect the defense.. An injury effects everyone on the team and the team as a whole.

            • uglydawg

              (‘scuse the mistakes in my typed grammer..)

            • I totally agree with you. My point was that #20 had the same problems at the end of the season that he had at the beginning. Matthews’ injury and JHC’s issues affected the safety rotation all season.

              • My point was that #20 had the same problems at the end of the season that he had at the beginning.

                I agree. Some quick observations about the secondary…

                Mauger didn’t improve, and neither did anybody else, from a coaching standpoint. At least not near enough.
                The communication was very poor, for a number of reasons. But better coaching helps that a lot, even in a new secondary. We didn’t have that.
                Matthews was horrible, and I mean upstairs, not his lower extremities. The play at Auburn remains inexcusably stupid. But throw that play out, and it’s still horrible. So Matthews was no possible answer this year.
                JHC at SS is better than the others, but nothing remarkable, probably because he isn’t that well coached.
                Moore is mostly clueless on the field. Everybody knows Swann struggled, even more than last year (how could that be?). If they are our two leaders that we’re now depending on …???
                Lots of bad things happened early on in Camp and September that are rarely discussed, but suffice to say the result never worked out.
                Poor communication was only part of the 99-yard play, which will now be shown over and over until the Gator Bowl ceases to exist, and then some, but still should never have happened, not even if it were early in the year. The rest of what happened on the play is just not thinking and poor fundamentals. And the assignments don’t get a whole lot simpler than that play. So we had to have 2 players not thinking, plus a boneheaded missed TD-saving tackle for that play to happen.
                And THAT is a result of bad coaching, my friends.

                It’s been clear now for two months that our secondary is poorly coached. I’ve suspected it for some time, since the first game of 2011. Our experience in 2011-12 covered it up some, even though those secondaries were never really solid, either.

                But there is no doubt about it now. Fundamentals are just plain poor, period. And the little things we can’t handle at all. It’s probably fair to say there are high school secondaries all over Georgia who are better coached than this.

                What we saw this year, even with true freshmen and injuries, cannot be defended.
                ~~~

                • PDawg5960

                  Mathews did nothing wrong or “stupid” on the Auburn play. He was running under the ball and was in position for a easy pick. JHC tipped the ball out of his hands and into the receivers hands. IveyLeaguer seems to be a good handle for you and your observations.

                  • IveyLeaguer

                    You’re right, thanks for the correction. I should have looked at it again instead of just being careless about it.

                    After watching the replay, I would point out that intercepting the ball is also a bad idea. And it does look like Mauger was allowing the ball to come to him with his palms up, rather than going up to meet the ball and knock it down. But that’s quibbling.

                    And, of course, this isn’t the first time JHC has shown himself to be a dumbass, so that should have rung a bell.

                    IveyLeaguer seems to be a good handle for you and your observations.

                    And thanks for the cheap shot. Really appreciate it.

        • adam

          Also worth noting that Shaq Wiggins was hurt in camp. So our best young corner missed a ton of practice and playing time early in the season. And that JHC practiced with the OLBs a lot last year. He was a rookie DB as well. The secondary was the biggest weakness on the team and suffered as many injuries as any other personnel grouping.

          Those issues were exacerbated by numerous recruiting misses and dismissals (Marshall, Sanders, Deas, Fluker, Kennar Johnson, Corey Moore, etc.).

        • No amount of injuries short of that plane crash that wiped out Marshall’s whole team justifies losing to Vandy.

  2. DawgPhan

    We tried to fix the DB situation through recruiting, but it just didnt happen. Injuries and transfers meant playing young guys that we didnt really want to play in the secondary.

    We need another bigger than allowed type class and I think that the dawn will have broken and the long dark night of under recruiting and poor numbers will be over with. I think that this season we finally got caught with all the recruiting numbers.

  3. Tom

    Here’s hoping Coach Richt and the staff work on their weaknesses as well.

  4. @gatriguy

    McGarrity supposedly took some of Richt’s obligations away so he could focus and get “on the cutting edge” of football. Does anyone feel that’s happened? Instead of the cutting edge, maybe Richt should spend more time working with our guys on basic situational football that every other team seems to have down pat. Expect another 4 loses next year, it’s where we’re at.

    • … on basic situational football that every other team seems to have down pat.

      Really? No other team in the country has screw ups?

      How much football do you watch, by the way, to be able to paint with such a broad brush?

      • @gatriguy

        Whatever Senator, I’m not getting hooked on this. If you can’t see that UGA repeatedly makes the types of mistakes that championship winning teams don’t make, then maybe you don’t WANT to see it.

        • It’s like sometimes I write these lengthy posts that nobody reads. You really think that’s my problem here?

          • IAmAGurleyMan

            We know that you see the mistakes. It’s your complete willingness to accept Richt’s desire not to make the changes that puzzles us.

            Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For some reason, you seem to think that Richt’s insanity will produce different results, and we don’t understand why you see it that way.

            • @gatriguy

              +1000 GurleyMan nailed it. There is a portion of the UGA fanbase (and I’m not necessarily lumping our dear Senator in here) that would continue to defend Richt even if we had a 2012 Auburn type year.

              • Russ

                And you know Richt is doing nothing differently how?

                Just because the result is the same doesn’t mean the process was the same. This 8-5 season in no way resembles 8-5 or 6-7 a few years back, at least to me. I still believe the coaches see the same mistakes we see and are making changes to correct them. Will the corrections work? I won’t know until next season. But I’m a Disney Dawg so I look for reasons to be optimistic.

                • IAmAGurleyMan

                  “And you know Richt is doing nothing differently how?”

                  Either he’s doing nothing differently, or he is doing something differently but it’s not working. Is there really a difference between those in terms of his ability to get it done?

                  And as for whether the changes work, do you really think that you will not come up with more rationalizations if we have another 8-5? We can hear it already. “Hudson Mason wasn’t Aaron Murray” “Richt’s an offensive guy, it’s not his fault the defense stinks.” “Gurley never got over that ankle injury.” “The refs screwed us again.” blah blah blah.

              • James Stephenson

                Richt would never have a 2012 Auburn Season. As bad as this year looked, we were in every game. Every game, even the ones we got down 20 points. How many teams, how many coaches could have kept this team together and fighting?

                • McTyre

                  Reality Check: 2010’s 6-7 WAS the equivalent of 2012 Auburn. 2010 starting lineup (24 including kickers) at the end of the 2010 season included 21 NFL draftees or UFA that made rosters: (Durham, King, Glenn, BJones, Boling, Charles, Murray, Chapas, Green, Walsh, AJones, Tyson, Dobbs, DGamble, Dent, Houston, commings, Rambo, Ogletree, Boykin, Butler). People prefer to bash Joe Cox for that year, but the bad running game, defense and ST put the entire season on his modestly talented shoulders. Parallels between 2010 and 2013 aren’t a stretch with respect to just how little the D and ST contributed to the season’s success. Fans and imbedded pundits like tony Barnhart need to unplug from The Matrix and understand that coaching is the primary reason for the lack of titles. I don’t want CMR fired, just to take steps – whatever they are – to field at least respectable D and ST units to make our offense a decisive factor in games rather than a unit bailing water for the rest of the team. Life after Murray (and Gurley) could easily be 6-7 if D and ST aren’t addressed. An OL that can block short yardage and at least compete with elite edge rushers is a luxury when you have galactically poor D and ST (save FG).

                  • McTyre

                    Duh, check that reference to Joe Cox. I lapsed into a 2009 post mortem, but stand by the remainder of my post regarding the 2010 season.

            • Dude, either you’re not getting what I write or you’re projecting your frustrations onto what I write.

              It’s not a matter of my willingness to accept things as they are. I don’t have any control over anything that happens at B-M. Anything. I’ll never call for any coach’s head because it’s a pointless exercise.

              I have lost faith before, as I mentioned. And said so. (And as I also mentioned, I was wrong in the case of Richt to do so.) But that’s as much as you’ll get out of me.

              It seems to me that if you’ve got problems with Richt’s substandard performance being tolerated by somebody, your frustration should be directed at GM.

              • IAmAGurleyMan

                I don’t disagree at all with your last statement, Senator. GM is very much at fault for tolerating the same mistakes over and over again and not demanding improvement and changes from Richt. Especially coming from Florida where he was used to seeing excellence in the football program. GM’s complacency is quite puzzling. If Richt is going to be stubborn, then his stubbornness should have cost him when the ugliness continues to rear its ugly head.

                • sUGArdaddy

                  When what ugliness? What AD fires Mark Richt? Sometimes I think people have lost their minds. Texas and UGA went down a slide at the same time in 2010, except they didn’t make a bowl. UGA recovered and went 10-2 and 11-1 in the next 2 regular season. UT never recovered, and I still think Mack had a choice at the end of the day.

                  What do people want McGarity to do? Do you want to go looking for a coach having just fired the coach that went 10-2, 11-1, and 8-4 with 2 division titles and catastrophic injuries in the 8-4 year? The candidates are going to ask, “So, what, exactly, are you expecting of me?” “Oh, we’d like you to win the SEC each year or at least get to Atlanta every year. And, you know, play good, sound fundamental football. If your tackle jumps offsides or your punt returner fumbles, that’s just inexcusable. That’s on you. BTW, you’re going to have the toughest suspension policies in the SEC, you don’t get to decide on those things. And we don’t oversign. And, no, you can’t have all those support staff or strength staff. Yes, we’re going to schedule Clemson, Arizona State, Okie State, Boise State, or Colorado AND Tech. No, you won’t get an indoor practice facility. Yes, I know everyone in the SEC West has one. Oh, and yeah, we’re gonna pay you about $2 million less than Kevin Sumlin, who managed to lose 6 ballgames in 2 years with the best player in college football since, well, a long time. You ready to sign the contract, Coach Smart?”

                  Look, I’m not saying that another coach can’t win at UGA, too. Of course they can. Lots of good and great coaches out there. Kirby Smart might be the next Saban or Meyer. But, no AD in America would get rid of Richt after the run he’s had. There are no guarantees. UT went through Dooley and UF is going through Muschamp. You don’t always get the next great one. Bama will be hard pressed to find the next guy. You might strike gold. What I do know is that Richt will have us competitive, burns to win, and loves UGA. I also know that the changes we’ve made in S & C and recruiting are evident. We have more and better talent and better looking guys than we did 3 years ago, plain and simple. It’s like the Senator says, none of us have control over BM. However, if we did, we’d most likely see the same things. I’ve got a guy that runs a clean program and wins over 70% of his games and we’ve been to the Dome a lot in 13 years after not going at all the first 10 years of the SECCG era. And I’m going to fire him? No AD makes that call. If we go 7-5 next year, it’s time to talk, but I find the idea of GM making demands or calling for heads to be ludicrous talk.

                  • LC

                    That was really, really good. I always try to scroll thru the comments/rants and that is as grounded of one as I’ve ever seen.
                    I’m in the same spot: without the rash of injuries & inexperience in areas, I think this is a different year entirely. That’s obvious. What’s still glaring is the lapses on defense, etc. (no need to go over them all again).
                    If we’re “healthy” next season and the kids that got all the playing time this year are still screwing up like they’ve never played before, it is indeed time to talk.

                  • gastr1

                    +1. Thank you for that breath of sanity.

                  • Gravidy

                    Your second paragraph is dead on the money. You get a virtual standing ovation from me, sir.

                  • Rebar

                    infinity Sugardaddy

                  • DGD

                    Nominated as the best post of the 2014 off season. Everything else is bloviation.

            • joe

              LOL! So 2011 and 2012 seasons never happened?

              sigh.

          • AusDawg85

            You really should cut down on the length of your posts…they just get in the way of our ranting. :-)

      • Normaltown Mike

        You don’t see Bama missing field goals, losing players to injury or making last second poor coaching decisions!

  5. Juan

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…

    This football program has two major flaws: lack of discipline and poor fundamentals.

    Not coincidentally, the 2 most important aspects of solid O-line play and a strong defense.

    These flaws stem from the top. It is really no longer up for debate.

    • uglydawg

      So Juan…who appointed you as moderator that can close a debate? GFY.
      We’ll debate it as long as we care to.

  6. Bulldawg165

    I just wish people would understand that the defense in 2011 was more due to us playing, literally, the 8 worst offenses in the conference more than it was us having a dominant defense: http://www.cfbstats.com/2011/leader/911/team/offense/split07/category09/sort01.html

    I’m still in the camp that the absolute ceiling for the defense, when we have boat loads of experience, talent and ALL of the breaks go our way, is finishing in the top 25% of the league at BEST, and we will still probably yield at least one TD/game more than whoever is in first in defense that year (in other words – we will never be close to having the best D in the SEC). Most years I expect us to be in the bottom half for scoring defense, though, and I don’t think will be fixed for as long as CTG is DC.

    Until that changes and we get good enough on special teams to break even, we’re going to be left hoping the offense can overcome everything and that’s only going to take us so far. If everything goes our way like it did in 2012 we can have a good shot at making something happen, but when the offense sputters for whatever reason like it did this year, we’re looking squarely at another 8-5 season.

    • Good comments – if we can be in top 4-5 in scoring defense, we have a chance to be special. The problem this year was this defense wasn’t very good at all (duh) and they got put into a lot of sudden change situations that they didn’t handle well at all.

      • Excluding Jarvis Jones, I think this year’s defensive front 7 were better than 2012’s. That’s right, I said it. In 2012 we couldn’t stop anybody from running, including the dismal Tennessee and Kentucky teams. This year, I felt we could stop anybody (for 3 plays). However, the secondary is a disaster. A dearth of experienced talent accounts for something, but absolutely poor fundamentals, missed assignments and confusion throughout the season point to the position coach. I think Grantham is smart enough to fix the defense, but I’ve become Lakatos intolerant (see what I did there).

        The offensive line is a little more puzzling. As offenses have moved to speed over power, so have defenses. In return, offenses can no longer be power without speed. I think we saw some of that this year in Georgia’s and Alabama’s OL problems. The speed rush is a problem. Perhaps the ideal tackle is no longer a Gates or Theus type, but more of a Zach DeBell type; more speed less power.

      • uglydawg

        “The problem this year was this defense wasn’t very good at all (duh).”..Duh indeed. I thought the problem was mostly because of injuries on the offense.

        • The offense prior to the injuries covered the youth, inexperience, and talent gap in the secondary. This defense got marginally better from Clemson to Nebraska but also benefited from a front-end loaded schedule. The offense post-Tennessee did everything it could to cover for defensive and special teams problems.

          • adam

            The offense fell apart after all the injuries. A few moments of brilliance (1st quarter against Florida, late in the game against Auburn, for example) and a few moments of total incompetence (Nebraska, 2nd half against Florida until the last drive, Vandy). The turnovers and special teams mistakes after Tennessee (and some before) made a young, struggling defense look even worse.

      • Going into the season there were a lot of comments concerning the youth of the D and the potential of the O having to carry them while they developed. Worked until we lost so many skilled players. When we were whole we were a team that could score some points. Injuries and stupid suspensions bit as we barely got the season started. Minus the acl and the hammy and the suspensions we are 10 points better against Clemson. My cousin who is a big Sooner and lives in Oklahoma commented to me in a Christmas card. “If I come visit you in Athens I’m bringing my own water. Yours is tainted. Weakens knee ligaments.”

  7. Ed Kilgore

    Great evocation of the conflicted feelings most of us have (other than, of course, the people who think we just need to fire everybody, abolish academic requirements and substance abuse rules, and bring in Attila the Hun for however many horses and virgins he demands). On the one hand, how do you “coach up” your outstanding, hard-working tight end not to make mistakes that (arguably) cost two games? But on the other hand, why is Georgia the only team in Christendom that has given up on punt returns and kickoffs into the end zone?

    Predicting next year is just impossible. I betcha Phil Steele has the Dawgs in the Top Five, since the talent’s still there, a huge number of starters return, the schedule lays out nicely, and (according to Steele’s formula) injuries and turnover margin are likely to improve. But no one should expect an iota of triumphalism from the fan base, and there will be many angry comment-thread arguments in the off-season. Ugh.

    • Bulldawg165

      “other than, of course, the people who think we just need to fire everybody, abolish academic requirements and substance abuse rules, and bring in Attila the Hun for however many horses and virgins he demands”

      Nice straw man.

      • There are plenty of comments you can find at GTP (or at the message boards) that are in line with each opinion Ed cited there.

        I’m not saying those folks represent a majority, or even a significant minority, but they definitely do exist.

        • Bulldawg165

          I’m sure they exist, but the rate at which some people continuously bring them up is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like they can’t handle the fact that a reasonable person would disagree with them so they have to project that crap on their dissenters.

          • Methinks you’re being overly sensitive. Go back and read the rest of Ed’s post. He’s not denying there are legitimate concerns.

            • Bulldawg165

              I probably am being overly sensitive about it because I’m tired of people pretending that 0.01% of our fanbase is actually 50%.

              I ignored the rest of his post after I read that, though.

              • The other Doug

                The Atilla the Hun part is funny. It’s that simple.

              • uglydawg

                Calling a point that was superbly made a “strawman” is your own strawman, 165. Georgia was decimated by injuries. That’s logic, but some of the people on here can’t process logic because they’re ______(fill in the blank…and if the shoe fits, wear it),

                • Bulldawg165

                  where was my straw man? And our defense wasn’t decimated by injuries…

                  • mp

                    Semantics. Our defensive secondary was decimated by players not playing. Wilkerson was out for the year. Matthews was injured almost all the way through camp and most of the season. JHC was suspended twice. Even Connor Norman was injured. Adding these absences to the least experienced section of the defense, is there any doubt why the secondary was the poorest unit?

                    • gastr1

                      Of course it was two of the secondary’s starters that made one of the dumbest plays in history to snatch a defeat from the jaws of history–when they were on the field it didn’t look a lot better. That’s why it’s easy to blame the offense troubles on injuries but not allow that excuse for the secondary.

                • Our problems were on the OL, and defensively. Remind me again of all those injuries that decimated the two units.

            • Some people make jokes Senator, and we have quite a few fans that a) can’t see any humor, or b) as 615 says have a very strange way of discussing any legitimate disagreements they may have about our current coaching situations.

              • We also have fans who make their minds up about other folks’ arguments without reading them in their entirety. ;)

                • When you put it that way, maybe all those South Carolinians and Aubies and such have a point, and our fans really are the worst. Present company excluded, of course.

                  • I don’t think we’re the worst. Just typical.

                    • I was joking, because like I’d assume with you, I’m not intelligent enough about all the other fanbases to see who’s the best and who’s the worst. I can see why you’d call us typical, but there are certainly times when I can see exactly why some rival fanbases say what they do about some of our fans, and the discussions our fanbase sometimes has.

                • Bulldawg165

                  I didn’t make up my mind about his argument, I just called him out on the ridiculous projection of 0.001% of our fanbase to all of his dissenters ;)

                  • uglydawg

                    Mr. Sanchez, Saban is sitting on a two game losing streak..the first on to Auburn. Let him lose to Auburn again next year and you’ll clearly see who’s fanbase is the worst (when it comes to being reasonable).

                    • that’s a different discussion. Although the Senator linking the Bama girl vs Sooner section video, when thrown on top of Updyke and the fan dangling his testicles on an LSU fan, etc, certainly makes them a top contender for the crown.

    • joe

      Oh but its because of our schedule we did well…it couldn’t be that we were the better team…

      I hear you and agree. The Georgia fan base has to be the most cynical, pessimistic, no joy fan base in college football.

      On the other hand, the Nebraska fans I met were simply good folks to be around. They enjoy their team, win or lose.

  8. SWGADAWG

    I might be fatalistic or some other word I don’t understand, but it seems to me that a team that was a fingernail from a National Championship a year ago and one ankle from a possible shot this year (I am refering to the Gurley ankle that has clearly never healed, yet he has still been great) is not a team that has thiese major coaching problems I keep reading about. I didn’t mention the ACL and MCL outbreak or the assorted hamstrings which by the way were also blamed on the coaches by some..lol. Nor the luckiest play I’ve ever seen (which my Auburn friends tell me was the plan from Malzahn all along). Might I also add one of the worst targeting calls ever that cost us a game. Does that all come from poor coaching? It might but I don’t see it. We were one b lown assignment by a Bama player which resulted in a tip of a pass from a MNC. Personally, I think a little better recruiting (don’t lose whole classes) and a little older team will lead us to the sucess we want. Of course, the Bama board is full of guys calling for coaches heads because they are “trending” down….lol. Just my thoughts…
    Go Dawgs!

    • Irishdawg

      Look, despite rookie mistakes, a leaky defense, and abysmal luck, this team was what, 20 points total from being 12-1? With the schedule we had? There was good coaching going on somewhere.

      Look at the Falcons this year. Talented team that had a freakish number of injuries, and they imploded. And that’s a quality coaching staff they have in Atlanta. I’m not excusing the numerous fundamental mistakes I saw this year, but it’s galactically obtuse to lay all blame at Mark Richt’s feet.

      • Bulldawg165

        “this team was what, 20 points total from being 12-1? ”

        Just playing devil’s advocate here but that sword cuts both ways. We beat LSU by 3 and had two overtime victories against Tech and Tennessee. By your same logic we’re just as close to being 5-7.

        • Both arguments are fair. We could have ended up 5-7 as easily as 11-1. I said on January 2, 2013 that this team could be as talented as the 2012 but have a worse record due to the schedule although I admit I thought the floor was 9-3.

          Injuries, special teams, secondary youth and injuries, and some very untimely officiating put us where we are. Some of that goes to some coaching decisions, some to poor execution of the game plan (the 99-yard play doesn’t happen if #20 is where he’s supposed to be on the hash instead the middle of the field), and some to downright bad luck (when Penn Wagers was in Auburn, I knew we were in trouble).

          Do I think that means it’s time for Coach Richt to start his career as a missionary? No, but he definitely needs to make sure he corrects the things needing correction.

          • “Failure is not fatal…but failure not to change might be.” Out of all the woes we experienced this year the continued problems with special team gafs bothers me the most. I’m not ignoring the on side kick success and the great fg kicking. But it just seems to bite us in the ass every game. Other than that I’m pretty confident we can turn the short comings around. It will take a while for me not to pucker up when we get a team in 3rd and long though. Just sayin’

        • sUGArdaddy

          It’s a thin line both ways. Every season is. Even games decided by 10-14 points usually have one play that would have changed everything. We didn’t make enough of those.

        • Irishdawg

          Which also shows a remarkable amount of mental toughness. We derped away a comfortable lead in Knoxville, yet scored to tie it up as the game ended. Tech had a TWENTY point lead against our back up QB and a defense missing 2 starters, yet we won it. Auburn had us whipped, yet we would have won that except for a freak Hail Mary. This team has scrappers and fighters, and they don’t quit, which is admirable.

        • RocketDawg

          I am sure with your football expertise that you have heard the term “a game of inches”. Every team is one or two plays from a dramatically different record. Auburn without the two miracle plays against us and Bama and the last second scoring play against Miss St is 8-4 and playing in the Outback Bowl.

          This isn’t an 8-5 team and you are a fool if you honestly believe that. Every team makes mistakes, there are penalties and blown coverages in every single game. If you watched the Sugar Bowl last night you could see that the great and powerful Saban’s team did the SAME THINGS that our team did (at least on defense). The special teams mistakes we had this year weren’t from a schematic standpoint but from execution. The coaches can’t catch punts, snap FG’s or punts, or catch snaps. If we were giving up huge yardage on KO returns or had multiple punts returned for TD’s I would be concerned.

          Things aren’t as good as some people think nor are they as bad as some people make them out to be. I personally think that we are a lot closer to the 2012 version than we are to the 2010 version.

          • The other Doug

            Dude. The coaches have obviously failed to teach the kids fundamentals like how to catch a punt.

      • Despite rookie mistakes and leaky defense?

        LOL

        Just despite that?

        How about: DESPITE LOSING A FEW GAMES WE WERE NATIONAL CHAMPS!

  9. Normaltown Mike

    I’m heartened a bit that CMR is willing to “manage” his rosters ever so slightly.

    I don’t want to turn into Bama/LSU/USC, but we’ve got to start cycling more guys in/out of the program if we’re going to compete.

    • Not to beat a dead horse, but considering how few seniors we are losing, and have no juniors leaving early, it’s crazy that we have room to sign 22 players. At least, that’s the number that’s been floating out there for a while, and that was before the two transfers were announced, so maybe we can even sign 24 now, with no oversigning or grayshirts needed. And that’s after signing 30+ last year. I do think the reality of this year’s depth chart, especially in our secondary, was very eye opening for Richt. I agree with you that I hope CMR is willing to engage a little more in the “roster management” side of things than in the past. Not to the point of getting shady, but you can definitely do more than what we’ve typically done, without crossing ethical boundaries.

      The bad thing is we’re probably still two years away from really being where we should be as a roster. If we still have 30 or so players from last year’s class, and then let’s say we sign 22 this year, that’s 61% of your 85 scholarship players going into next year that are in their 1st or 2nd year in the program (if we are able to sign more than 22, that percentage goes up). I don’t know how that stacks up against some of our rivals, and you’re always going to have a higher number of 1st & 2nd year guys as classes get weeded out over time, but that seems awfully high. I’d think you’d want to be more in the 50% 1st & 2nd year guys, and 50% 3rd-5th year guys. I have no comparisons to back that up, just going off my own impressions.

      That being said, I still maintain a fairly healthy dose of optimism for next year. This was a great post by the Senator though. We’re all gonna be really pumped after the Clemson game next year, or the reality of another “here we go again” season is going to quickly settle in. I choose to be optimistic, but the reality side of me says it’s 50/50 on which way we go.

  10. Scorpio Jones, III

    Since my brother-in-law is a Boomer I watched OU games right often.

    The difference between, for instance, the OU defense vs. Texas and the OU defense vs Bama is simply astonishing to me.

    Yes, the Stoopses had a long time to get ready, yes Bama is not very fancy on offense and there is a lot of familiarity between the two coaching staffs, but to see that kind of improvement in five weeks is…well…astonishing.

    The Boomers made Bama look like…ah…Georgia?

    I don’t know where I fall on the continuity vs. complacency curve, but I hope all our defensive coaches watched the Sugar Bowl and got very, very uncomfortable.

  11. sUGArdaddy

    I would probably be considered a Disney Dawg, but I figure it’s more of a realist. Frankly, and there’s no way for this not to sound snide, I think the problem is that a lot of people care deeply about football but just don’t know that much about it. To think that there is some kind of ceiling with Richt is absurd. Surely someone else can win at UGA, too, but Kirby Smart might be the next Will Muschamp, too. Richt knows how to win and wants to badly. To think that he doesn’t see the problems is ridiculous. You think if he could figure out the punt returns he wouldn’t? He puts Reggie back that after Rhett bobbles one and, boom, a fumble. For all we know Reggie is more money in practice that McGowan. I don’t know why we can’t get that right, and I’ll be Richt spent all season trying to figure it out. But he switched punters and snappers mid-season for similar problems. We shuffled returners all year and no one produced when the lights were on.

    Discipline? You really know little about football if you think we aren’t disciplined. Watch some bowl games. Everyone jumps off-sides and, despite what the media would have you believe, even AJ McCarron throws bad picks and fumbles. Yeldon is nearly good for a fumble a game and he plays for Mr. “I don’t let my players make mistakes.” When the skirmish broke out on Wednesday Nebraska had 20 players on the field and 4 coaches. Our entire team and staff stayed on the sideline because we have discipline. We actually suspend players and kick kids off the team.

    I’m not sure about Grantham and Lakatos, but I’ll bet Mark Richt knows these stats:

    TOTAL DEFENSE G Rush Pass Plys Yards Avg TD Yds/G

    Alabama…………. 8 988 1467 480 2455 5.1 15 306.9
    Florida…………. 8 1051 1418 485 2469 5.1 15 308.6
    South Carolina…… 8 1340 1434 504 2774 5.5 22 346.8
    Missouri………… 8 966 2065 593 3031 5.1 17 378.9
    Georgia…………. 8 1283 1832 548 3115 5.7 30 389.4
    LSU…………….. 8 1362 1833 558 3195 5.7 23 399.4
    Vanderbilt………. 8 1325 1888 596 3213 5.4 29 401.6
    Mississippi State… 8 1292 1939 542 3231 6.0 27 403.9
    Tennessee……….. 8 1887 1451 549 3338 6.1 30 417.2
    10.Ole Miss………… 8 1572 1808 583 3380 5.8 26 422.5
    11.Auburn………….. 8 1470 2195 585 3665 6.3 27 458.1
    12.Kentucky………… 8 1662 2066 552 3728 6.8 38 466.0
    13.Arkansas………… 8 1771 2031 554 3802 6.9 38 475.2
    14.Texas A&M……….. 8 1890 2103 600 3993 6.7 38 499.1

    That’s the conference only games total defense stats for the season. It’s a good indicator of how you fare because while some teams played Tech, Clemson, and North Texas in non-conference games, other teams played Wake Forest 4 times. With all the bad defense we saw (and it seemed like the worst I’ve ever seen), we finished 5th. That’s in the top third, Bulldawg165. Auburn finished 11th and is playing on Monday night. It’s hard for me to fathom. Bama finished 1st in D and 2nd in O…and didn’t play in the SECCG. The line is razor thin, and I’d imagine Richt sees that more clearly than us. We had a chance to win every game with an anemic defense (that wasn’t as bad as we thought, comparatively), catastrophic injuries, crazy special teams plays, freshmen DBs, and forcing virtually no turnovers. We weren’t gashed all season. We couldn’t stop teams on 3rd down and couldn’t come up with a few timely turnovers.

    I think the question to ask with a lot of our frustration is a legitimate question: Of the things that frustrated us this year, how many really came down to strategic coaching? A bobbled FG snap in Clemson, Gates and Artie completely whiffing on Michael Sam vs. Mizzou, Douglas fumbling before the half vs. Mizzou, dropping a punt snap and a punt in Nashville, not jumping over the blockers in Auburn or not knocking the ball down, catching the ball in the Gator. Are the coaches supposed to gather the team and say, “Hey guys, if the ball is coming to you, whether it’s a pass, snap or kick, we’re for you catching rather than dropping it. Catching it is always better. Except for you Josh and Tray. You guys don’t catch it. You guys knock it down.” We had ONE bad KO return against us all year (North Texas). Our punt coverage was pretty stellar. Kids made mistakes, man. To think that Richt and Co. aren’t trying to figure out for 8 months who they can put out there that won’t make mistakes is asinine.

    I don’t know if we’ll win it all next year, but the sky is not falling. We had a brutal schedule vs. a top 10 non-conference foe and 2 of the best 3 teams in the West. We lost to #2 on the most miraculous play I’ve ever witnessed in person. It was frustrating. Despite the youth and injuries, we still had a chance in every game. It didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Wins mask your problems (as in, Alabama can’t handle the speed rush nor the no huddle offense). Auburn can’t defend anything and can’t throw. If JHC knocks down a pass and Bama can make FGs then the line on the Plains is, “We had the best offense we can ever imagine having and we only managed 9-3. We’ll never got 11-1 or 12-0 with a defense THAT bad. And we needed a miracle to beat Miss. St. We could be 8-4.” Do you honestly think Auburn would have beaten Clemson the first game of the year? Watkins would have had 300 receiving yards. People can’t see the forest for the trees sometimes. We didn’t make a few plays and it made all the difference in us being really happy versus being bummed. We’ve got as good a coach as any. He doesn’t always make me happy, but I’d imagine Bama fans aren’t real happy with Mr. Perfection today either.

    • Great work, sUGArdaddy. I think these are the sentiments of a realistic look at the state of the program.

      • uglydawg

        I agree eethomaswfnc…sUGArdaddy did a lot of work. But logic will not move those who are ruled by anger and emotion.

    • Good post, and well thought out. Like Bluto said, it’s easy to see both sides of the argument. But you laid out the “Disney” side of the argument as well as I’ve seen.

      One kinda irrelevant point, I just thought of it because you mentioned that McCarron makes mistakes too (and obviously he does, as last night showed). But when they showed the stat that he never had more than 2 interceptions in a game, that blew me away. I know they don’t throw the ball nearly as much as some teams, but to play as many games as he has and never have a 3 pick game, that’s pretty amazing. Not trying to say he walks on water or anything, but that one particular thing is a really impressive stat.

      • Irishdawg

        It helps that he plays behind a herd of mastodon O lineman.

      • sUGArdaddy

        I’d be interested to see how many Aaron had. And if he had any, how many came his freshman season, while AJ was busy holding a clipboard.

        If Aaron was at Bama, they’d be unstoppable. If AJ was in Athens, we’d have been enjoying Memphis and Nashville the last few years in December.

        • uglydawg

          If AM had Alabama’s line, he would have won the H.

        • I definitely remember that Murray had 3 against UF last year (2012), all in the first half. Can’t remember any others off the top of my head.

          • Just found the stats. Murray had 3 total games with 3 interceptions:

            2010 – UF (though only 2 were in regulation)

            2011 – Mississippi State, though we used to play defense back then, and despite throwing 3 picks, we still won 24-10.

            2012 – UF again, though we also won this one.

            It’s hard to play that many games and not have a few where you have at least 3 picks. I’d take Murray over McCarron any day of the week, but just that one particular stat for McCarron really impressed me.

      • Russ

        The other McCarron stat that floored me is that he was the first with consecutive 3000 yd passing seasons at Alabama (and just barely). That surprised me.

      • roterhalsdawg

        The stat that blew me away came during the Rose Bowl when they said Stanford had two offensive line holding penalties all season. Anybody else hear that, good grief is that even possible?

    • RocketDawg

      Outstanding post. I think you hit the nail on the head with the “passion vs knowledge” statement. Just because you love football and watch a lot of it doesn’t make you an expert. I seriously doubt that a majority of people on here could correctly diagram a play or read the difference between Cover 2 and Cover 3 pre snap. That doesn’t mean they are any less of a fan but it does lead to some flawed arguments over scheme and execution.

    • Charles

      Hall. Of. Fame.

    • Ginny

      +1,000

      Thank you for summing up my thoughts perfectly in a single post. I was too lazy to do so myself.

    • Bulldawg165

      I’m not interested in reading your entire post, but I see you focused on yards per game and not POINTS per game, which is much more important. Against conference opponents, we were 11th: http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split07/category09/sort01.html

      And before you go whining about special teams or turnovers or blah blah blah, please realize that we would have had to have given up 55 points less to even fall in the top 5.

      We were also second to last for turnovers forced: http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/offense/split07/category12/sort03.html

      We were also 9th in red zone defense: http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/leader/911/team/defense/split07/category27/sort01.html

      But sure, we gave up fewer yards than some of those teams so we clearly had the better defense, right ;)

      • Bulldawg165

        This reply was for you, by the way, sugar tits

        • sUGArdaddy

          You’re a kind one, 165. I’m up for debate, but you want to turn it into name calling. That’s cool. I looked at the points and noticed that discrepency. It means we were about middle of the road all together, which is better than I expected. The turnovers are the main reason for that. We couldn’t get a turnover. Think of last year how many INTs or fumbles we got in our own endzone or near our goal line. We just couldn’t do that this year, partly luck and mostly being out of position.

          The point is we didn’t get gashed. When you’re 5th in yardage and 11th in points, something is wrong.

          I’m not sure about Grantham, but I don’t know the answers. I also saw Kirby and Saban give up 45 points in a bowl to a team with a RSFr who I believe started his first game. Can you promise me we get Narduzzi if we implode the D staff? I’d be elated, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I just think it’s foolish to think a defense that returns 21 of 22 in the two deep won’t get dramatically better the next year. We’ll also look better not playing Tajh, Connor, Mett, and Franklin. I’ll bet Mark Richt sees the same thing. I’m also convinced none of us see or hear behind the scenes. I think some fans think Mark is sitting back thinking, “Boy, all those exciting finishes and 3rd down conversions sure were fun, weren’t they?” I think he’s thinking, “I’m not living through that again. We’re going to fix it.”

          • Bulldawg165

            You called me out by name, so I responded. Some people might take that name as a compliment ;)

            I don’t doubt that CMR is trying to fix the issues that hurt us, I was simply pointing out facts about our defense. It erks me when people say “we were in X place in yards per game so we’re good!” because ypg is only part of the story.

        • RandallPinkFloyd

          They grow this stuff out in Colorado that will relax you. You should go there and try it. You are an angry human being.

          • RandallPinkFloyd

            That was directed at @165. Not for you, SugarDaddy… I’m assuming you prefer that name over the one 165 created for you ;).

            • I thought the same thing– that was kinda of rude. SugarDaddy’s post was very good. I admire his knowledge of football and command of the keyboard. 165 is kinda childish. Reminds me of.. Hijo. ;-)

              • Bulldawg165

                He called me out in the middle of a post that was so long I wouldn’t have even seen it if I didn’t ctrl F for “165” to look for responses to my comments. Besides, you act like I called him a curse word or something. It was a pretty playful name. If his feelings are hurt then I will apologize but I think you’re being dramatic.

                • I think you are being “sensitive” again. Apologize to SugarDaddy and let’s call it a day.

                • sUGArdaddy

                  No worries. I’m a dad, which means I’m not allowed to have feelings.

                  I’m with Senator. After Boise, I was in a deep, dark place. Everything seemed wrong. I just don’t feel that way. I’ve seen every Richt loss in person. A lot of fight in these kids. Also a lot of youth. That was the story. Brutal schedule, injuries, youth, some D coaches that didn’t adjust. 2009 Tennessee was a problem. Colorado was a problem. We were nowhere near that this year.

                  • Ginny

                    I feel the same. Colorado and Tennessee left me pretty hopeless. I’ll be honest, I was at a really low point after the 2008 Florida blowout. We should never lose to our biggest rival in that fashion. If there’s anything Mark Richt has taught me since then it’s that he can turn it around. The wins in a row against the Gators has certainly helped, dumpster fire or not.

                    • Bulldawg165

                      One of the biggest “coulda woulda shouldas” I feel about this season (besides the Auburn tipped pass, of course) is Arthur Lynch dropping/fumbling that screen pass. I firmly believe that had he caught that ball we would have been well on our way to doing to them what they did to us in 2008. MAN that would’ve been sweet.

          • Bulldawg165

            Not angry, just erked ;)

    • Debby Balcer

      Thank you for saying what I feel much better than I ever could.

  12. Mean Machine

    You all made some nice points, but I’m going the other way on this season. We were three (damn-near miraculous) last-second victories away from being 5-8. And that’s if you don’t include the stops against South Carolina and Florida. We are in a deep, dark place right now.

    • If we only won 5, we wouldn’t have finished with 8 losses because the season would have been over. What solutions do you propose to pull us out of the deep, dark place? Sorry, there are some flaws, but this is nothing like January 1, 2011 after we did finish with a losing record for the first time since Donnan’s first year in Athens.

    • sUGArdaddy

      Indeed, it’s razor thin, but that’s every team. Auburn was a gnats hair from being 8-4, but went 11-1. What we had was a ridiculous september schedule and a team that was just good enough to go 3-1. Do you honestly think that team with gurley, marshall, jsw, and bennett loses to Vandy? I don’t think we lost to Mizzou either, and I don’t think it’s that close. And Tennessee would have been over by halftime. It was what it was, but it’s not a dark place.

      The guy that made the 2 plays to seal the deal vs. the two best teams we beat tore his ACL in knoxville. No coincidence that we struggled to go deep the rest of the season. Ifs and buts. We were what we were. You play the cards you’re dealt and move on. Here’s the healthy ACLs and an easier schedule.

    • uglydawg

      Then Auburn’s in a deep, dark place. They were three (or more) last-second victories away from being in the Gator Bowl.
      The way some of you think is amazing..and not in a good way.

  13. Scott W.

    Think about this. What if some get their old wish and Mike Bobo is offered a job and takes it and then CTG is offered and also takes it. This is the worst possible scenario, who in their right mind takes either of these jobs with everything expected and no time to prepare? I for one hope Bobo stays and I wish CTG had ran the Saints into the ground this year. No question that the defense is in disarray. Anytime coverage busts the players are trying to blame whomever missed their assignment, on the field, before the other team scores their eminent touchdown. I think CTG expects too much of these kids, they have other things on their plate than just football. It is also eerie that the Falcons seem to be stuck in the “lets give them one more year cycle”. We’re on a break football, RIGHT AFTER THE SUPER BOWL.

  14. Mean Machine

    I realize that, chief. I’m simply pointing out that we would’ve had three less victories.

    • I understand that. I just don’t think this program is anywhere near the place it was after the Game That Shall Not Be Named in Memphis.

      • Mean Machine

        I agree with that assessment. And I’m not one of the fan base “calling for heads.” I’m just one of the ones that’s having serious trouble finding a silver lining on this season.

        • I hear you. The only silver lining I see is the skill people we will have on offense and the returning guys up front on defense. Hopefully, the secondary grows up and Mason and the line get better in the off-season.

        • Dawgfan Will

          If it hadn’t been for the injuries, I might have been there with you. When Marshall went down and Gurley was out for way more games than I expected, I ratcheted down my expectations severely. I still had hope because we were in every game we played right to the end, but my hope was tempered by the reality of those injuries.

    • Turd Ferguson

      Yes, but as eethomaswfnc so clearly explained, if you don’t know exactly how to fix each and every problem, you’re simply not allowed to be critical. Those are the rules around here.

      • I didn’t say that you couldn’t be critical. Just say why you think we’re in dark place and what solutions you have to the issues identified. There’s no snark there. It’s about a conversation.

      • RocketDawg

        This is with any facet of life, if you want to point out problems then you need to have a solution that isn’t “fire everybody and hire Saban, Gruden, etc”

        • Turd Ferguson

          No, you don’t. When my computer is unresponsive, I don’t have to be an IT guy to be able to rightly say, “Well, something’s wrong with this thing.” When my neighbors are constantly screaming at each other so loudly that we can actually hear it in our house, I don’t have to be a marriage counselor to be able to rightly say, “Well, something’s wrong with their relationship.” And when a football program with the sort of talent, resources, facilities, and coaches’ salaries that Georgia has still can’t figure out what to do with a fucking punt, I don’t have to know a single thing about the game of football to be able to rightly say, “Well, something’s wrong here.”

          Nine times out of ten, when someone asks, “Well, what solutions do you propose?” he really just wants change the topic away from the program’s problems and to whatever he thinks of the first guy’s proposed solutions.

          • D.N. Nation

            “When my computer is unresponsive, I don’t have to be an IT guy to be able to rightly say, ‘Well, something’s wrong with this thing.'”

            Except here’s what some in the Dawgosphere perpetually work with: “My computer is unresponsive. I’ll hit it with a bat, then set it on fire. That’ll get results.”

            • @gatriguy

              What computer am I going to get that can do better than the one I have? My neighbors got rid of their old computer and the one they got wasn’t better. I think I should stay with the computer I know because I don’t believe I’m competent enough to do research and make a good decision on a new computer.

  15. SWGADAWG

    is our fanbase as some say…50% ready for heads??? I went to UGA and have a group of friends who also attended UGA and we were football/basketball nuts. See the guys there when the gates open…that was us. In that group (many who give$$$$ to UGA) …a couple want Granthams head, one still hates Bobo and the other 20 or so support the coaches though we are and always have been a bit skeptical of all the Grantham is great stuff. We also all know that some of the problems stem from sources inside the University. I think this comes from the Jan Kemp thing that had effects even into the Donnan reign that kept players out of UGA. We always suspect the University President has it’s hands in the program So the people I know who went to UGA with me are not satified, but still hurting from the season and looking for improvement with time. Of my casual UGA fans about 50% know everything, about 50% want Grantham fired, 45% want Bobo fired, and are 30% want Richt gone. I don’t think it’s 50-50 .

  16. NoAxeToGrind

    Aw, yes! Hope springs eternal with the Georgia….or should I say Richt….crowd. Good luck in 2014. Besides, haven’t we heard all this before?

    • RandallPinkFloyd

      Good luck in 2014? I love fans like you that hope for your team to fail. Go cheer on the team in Gainesville, FL. There is plenty of failure to go around at that program.

      • NoAxeToGrind

        I love fans like you who are mental and I don’t give a damn about FL. You wouldn’t be a Richt Homer, by chance, would you? If so, you people should lighten up.

  17. Spike

    I’m as bummed out as all of you all are, too. But I see a silver lining(s). We beat the Cocks and the Ole Ball Sack. We beat LSU. We beat the damned Gators for the third year in a row. We beat Tech. We had a warrior of a QB. We’ve got talent coming back. Keep the Faith.

  18. Pingback: The Senator Gets It | The Grit Tree

  19. Big Al

    It’s like I teach my daughters during math homework; if you can’t add and subtract, multiply and divide, you are not going to make it in algebra class. That said, why after four years are we still “installing complex defensive schemes” when we can’t even TACKLE? Our DB’s aren’t even in the same area code as the opponents WR’s and we they do get over there, it appears as if they are looking for some type of flag system hanging off the guy’s belt. Blows my mind. If CMR would just “install” my old high school (Union County) defensive scheme of “just tackle the guy with the ball”, we’d be in the SECC year after year.

  20. Scottie

    Won 4 games by a td or less, so could have easily been 4-8.

    LSU, TN, FL, won by only a field goal.

    Barely beat a 4-8 Florida team.

    Beat GT by a td.

    This was not a good team.

  21. 69Dawg

    Well it’s nice to know somebody still GAS. I think a lot of fans have just given up ever having another Championship. It’s just a game played by 18-22 year olds and while they play the game other 18-22 year olds are in harms way half a world away. I guess what I’m trying to say is lets get a little perspective. Football is just entertainment, we should remember that.

  22. Slaw Dawg

    Senator, your post is as cogent a capsulation of the conflicting thoughts so many of us have that there’s little to add. We want our team to succeed and we want Coach Richt to succeed. It would not only vindicate our program, it would vindicate a certain way of developing a program (with integrity, right focus on academics) that many of us think is good for college football (not for one moment, BTW, do I think UGA is the only such program, but it does distinguish us from a number of our conference brethren).

    But I do have a couple of troubling thoughts to add. I saw less of a speed differential in the Gator Bowl than I expected–that is, our players, especially in the secondary, didn’t seem appreciably faster than theirs. Maybe that’s a matter of the B1G catching up, but I thought I saw the same issue with speed (or lack of same) in other games this season. Brings back bad memories of Goff/Donnan years in which UF and UT were so much faster and quicker to the ball than UGA. Speed isn’t fixable in the same way that some of our other problems are.

    I also worry that a large portion of our fan base, or what should be our fan base, may be checking out. Part of it may be that rising academic standards at UGA are changing the student body profile. Part of it may be frustration among older fans at the re-emergence of the lid on the program. It was great to see the fan support in the stands for much of this season–but it’s clear that the Gator was a “Just Don’t GAS” experience for many Dawgfans, and some of the comments lead me to believe that may carry over. Hope not!

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about speed. Weather conditions and Conley and Gurley being less than 100% impacted that.

      Let’s put it this way: they were plenty fast enough the first time the two teams met.

      • Joe Schmoe

        The field was a joke during the game. Might as well have played on the beach with all the damn sand that was out there.

  23. Alcoholic Genius

    . . . too tired to type . . ..

  24. Hunkering Hank

    Why do they have to wait until they’re seniors to feel responsible for the team and to make changes to get better? It’s that type of comment from Richt that just solidifies in my mind that he’s missing the point. I realize it’s out of context, etc…

    • 69Dawg

      I think that’s just coach speak. Aaron was a leader as soon as the team saw he could play. If the coaches really have to worry about the “Senior Leadership” then the coaches are over paid. Short of the Seniors beating the Sh*t out of a player who is a goof off, there’s nothing they can do that the coaches can’t. Senior experience is always needed but Senior Leadership is overrated.

  25. joe

    One thing I would like to point out re:Lakatos is that the secondary played very well the last 3 seasons and this is a totally new secondary he was breaking in this year. I think too many fail to realize that a raw (albeit talented) DB starting in the SEC against seasoned WR’s and QB’s is going to have issues.
    Now I am sure someone will say…”well the offenses we played weren’t good passing teams”…the NFL disagrees as many of our DB’s are now on NFL rosters…Brandon Boykin anyone?

  26. uglydawg

    It occured to me…we all want the same thing. We all love the Dawgs..so any one of you that I’ve offended with any snarkiness..I apologize.
    I believe we’ll be pleased this time next year. I believe. I believe…I bel

    • jdawg

      Yes…”we all want the same thing.” AND we got it this year. Richt beat the hated Spurrier! I think we all can agree on that one!

  27. Will Trane

    My take. 5 losses. 2 back to back just after the injuries hit the O. Both to 2 good teams. Can see the coaches transitioning during that period Come close to losing at UT but their mistake saved us. Then drop a game in hand to Auburn on a deep pass. On the road against Nebraska and a deep pass buries us.

  28. Will Trane

    continue. 4 of the 5 were on the road against teams who ended the season with winning records and all in bowls post 13. But watching Bama last evening this thought just kept coming to mind. Bama you look and play like us. Stop the mistakes and take control. Bama with all those stars and coaches.

  29. Will Trane

    continue. All those players at Bama with big game experience, played like we do in big games. OU, had an edge other than preparation, game plan, and coaches. They had a 2 players who had written all over them this attitude…we are not going to lose and we are going to leave it all on the field.

  30. Will Trane

    At times Murray was that guy. He was that guy in the SECGC, UT, AU, and in other places. But no one else on offense moved with him. No one on defense even came close. We have not had that guy on defense since when. Thought Jarvis Jones would be. Nope.Failed in SECCG. JH-C could b e that guy.

  31. A10Penny

    If, if, if. If Gurley didn’t hurt his ankle. If ACLs didn’t pop all over the place. Etc.

    But “IF” cuts both ways. What if we didn’t have the most prolific QB in SEC history? Or that he hadn’t returned for his senior year? The greatest UGA RB since 34? The most resilient team I’ve ever seen?

    We can’t reasonably expect to ever have a combo as good as Murray and Gurley again. I’m not saying it won’t happen…but man have we been lucky the last couple years.

    What we can reasonably expect: if the defense has loads of experienced-NFL talent, it will be ok. And if it has a lot of in-experienced NFL talent, it will be ok. That is not good enough…not with the talent and resources UGA has.

    • A10Penny

      Let me add this before any rebuttal. I thought the defense played it’s best game of the year, and they’re not the reason we lost. But how long has it been since we’ve won because of them? MSU had about 10 of those wins this year.

  32. Why do fans have to be the ones “calling for heads?”

    The biggest problem with Richt has never been his coaching, recruiting, or ability to make his players care/try hard. His problem has always been refusing to fire coaches who underperform.

    Willie.
    Van Halanger.
    Bobo.
    CTG.
    Friend.
    etc.

    For example, I would be fine with Richt saying this:

    “I have decided to keep the entire staff for 2014, but if we aren’t lights out then we’re going to make a lot of replacements.”

    Other great coaches say stuff like that all the time. “If XXXXX can’t get it done then we’ll find someone who can.”

    Put some feet to the fire.

    Hold some people accountable for christ sakes.

    • C’mon, Muck. You can hold coaches accountable without doing so publicly. The only reason to go public is to mollify disgruntled fans like yourself.

      • Do you really think he holds them accountable privately?

        It sure as hell doesn’t seem like it.

        And the way he clings to coaches way beyond their spoilage date seems to indicate that.

        He basically has to be forced to fire them.

        And when he was forced to “fire” VanHalanger, instead he gave him a promotion to a cush office job.

        That kind of management kills organizations.

        When people see so many other folks keeping their jobs despite shit performance, it is demotivates them. It makes them think nothing matters, performance doesn’t matter.

    • A10Penny

      This reminds me of something in the news lately…how long do you keep a coach who isn’t getting it done on the staff (head coach or otherwise)? A lot of noise has been made about the Browns firing Rob Chudzinski after only one year. I value stability (especially when you have a coach like Richt), but Chudzinski is not Richt.

      If the Browns had hired a Parcells, or Belicheck (again), or some other home run as HC, I’d agree with all the pundits I’ve heard bashing the Browns. But we’re not close enough to judge the situation, so let’s just say that it was clear to management Chud wasn’t the right person for the job. If that’s the case, he has to go. Management’s responsibility is to the owner, the players, the TEAM… and not to the coach (especially since he’s still getting paid). And waiting a couple years just so you can be loyal and “stable” (while underachieving) doesn’t make any sense.

      Just my $0.02.

  33. patricklhodges

    Mack Brown and CMR have the same number of wins since 2007. (Including 4 bowl wins) The difference is that Texas as 3 conference championships and a National Championship. Oh yeah, Texas also showed Mack Brown the door — you have to WIN @ Texas. CMR tells us that he and ALL the coaches are coming back in 2014. Complacency is the enemy of progress.

    • AusDawg85

      I believe Texas has 2 conference championships, not 3 in Mack’s career. Since 2001(CMR’s first year), Texas has just 5 more victories than UGA. In that same timeframe, Brown has 5 division titles, Richt has 6 plus a tie. Mack’s BCS Championship came in 2005 aided by Heisman winner Vince Young. Richt does not have a MNC nor Heisman winner at UGA as head coach (but as OC at FSU, Richt has two MNC’s and two Heisman winning QB’s). Brown is 9 years older than Richt.

      Both have served their employers with class, dignity, and revitalized programs that were suffering. One has now been forced out after failing to meet expectations 4 years in a row. The other is the subject of arm-chair psychoanalysis, ridicule and a belief by many in the team’s fan base that there is an easy and obvious solution to replacing him with guaranteed better results, culminating in a MNC, despite a complete inability of anyone to name such said candidate. Incredibly, Mack Brown is one of a limited few with such credentials, yet no one is calling for his hire.

      Brown was 54 when he won the MNC. Richt will be 54 this year.

      • @gatriguy

        This is such horseshit. There are and have been plenty of possible canidates named. The problem is that half of the fanbase is so terrified about what happened at Tennessee that they’re content losing 4 games a year rather than admitting that maybe after 13 years, we know what we have and where the ceiling is.

        If you are perfectly happy with Richt, that’s fine. But don’t fall back on “there are no qualified replacements” because that’s just not true. There is no way with the resources and talent available at Georgia that Richt is the only coach that can win there.

        • A10Penny

          There are plenty of guys who COULD do better then CMR. But is Charlie Strong, for example, worth the risk? As a HC, He has only proved that he can win (actually tie for the win of) a crappy conference two of three years with a potential overall #1 @ QB. I believe there are only a few that would definitely do better.

          How about we focus on the low-hanging fruit: over-sign just a little, keep pushing the SEC for a uniform-punishment policy, hire more non-coaching staff to keep up with the Joneses on research & scouting, give Bobo a raise, and dump CTG.

          • @gatriguy

            Dollars to donuts not ONE of your suggestions happens. Maybe Bobi leverages a raise, but that’s it. It’s been 13 years, it is what it is. Richt has shown a poor ability to diagnose and solve systemic problems within the program until they reach a point where his hand is forced. Why would we expect anything different going forward?

            • A10Penny

              I agree with you, and don’t expect anything different going forward. I think our solution might be different…if I were the AD, Richt stays but Grantham is gone. And if there’s a great special teams coach (not just a warm body), I tell Richt to make room for them.

              • You might as well fire Richt as to do that.

                • A10Penny

                  Are you saying that because you don’t think McGarity & Richt have a relationship where the AD can tell the HC it’s time to change coordinators?

                  I think Richt has earned a lot of autonomy, but not complete…and particularly not when it comes to the DC since we’ve whiffed twice in a row.

                  • An AD who dictates personnel moves to a head coach with a 13-year tenure is telling that coach it’s time to move on. It’s one thing for an AD to question staffing and challenge a head coach to justify it. It’s another to pull the trigger on who stays and goes.

                    No head coach outside of Saban should expect complete autonomy, but staffing is the bright line you don’t cross unless the head coach is in a very weak spot and you don’t care if he remains. Seeing as Richt would get any number of serious job offers if he were to entertain the thought of leaving Athens, he’s not in that position.

                    • A10Penny

                      You certainly don’t want an AD under-cutting Richt publicly. It all has to be discussed privately, and Richt convinced to do the right thing for the program.

                      If Richt drew a line in the sand to protect an under-performing DC or position? I’d probably keep him on. But structurally, if you have a great – but too loyal – HC, you need an AD with the power to make tough calls. Tough to do when the HC is making more than the AD, so we’re stuck for another year.

        • AusDawg85

          The implication that because many feel he is as qualified as any other available coach to lead this team is somehow settling for mediocrity is the real horseshit. Last season alone defies your prognostication that we’ll go 8 – 4 from now on. Our record this season is what it is, and if you think it was all Mark Richt’s fault, have at it.

          There are definitely other coaches who could do well at UGA and sometimes change for change’s sake can improve things. Getting Richt to replace Donnan is one arguable example. But your 50% of the fan base club more likely believes 3 things than live in “fear” of the UT situation:

          Mark Richt is AS qualified to be our HC as anyone else right now
          Richt may well be coming into his coaching prime as evidenced by the careers of other highly successful coaches…at Georgia and elsewhere.
          Support based on the first two points is NOT acceptance of mediocrity, but a well-reasoned and passionate desire to see this program succeed at the highest level.

          So try bringing something more to this dialogue than fabricated statistics and false psychoanalytical insights into the “fan’s” mindset.

          • One more time: the issue isn’t whether there are better coaches out there. It’s whether anybody at B-M has the ability to locate, attract and hire a better coach. And if you don’t think the jury is out on that one, you haven’t been following the program that closely.

            • AusDawg85

              I’m not disagreeing with this, although I think if the Georgia job opens because Richt leaves on his own terms, we’d probably get a quality replacement. Sexton would see to it! :-). But if we fire Richt, a “dumpster fire” atmosphere could negatively impact the decision making process…both internally and externally.

              What I resent is the constant drumbeat that I’m accepting of mediocrity, less of a fan, whatever…just because I’m not convinced Richt’s time has passed. I’m willing to support him on the basis that I think he may be actually coming into his prime. Plus, I just don’t see “the guy” I wish we would go get. If he exists, I’m mercenary enough about the business of professional college football to say we should go after him.

              • Really, how many home run hires outside of Richt can you point to over the last twenty years?

                I don’t understand why that simple question doesn’t sober every person contemplating a change. And, no, that’s not the same thing as saying don’t make a change ever.

                • AusDawg85

                  If “Homerun” = MNC then you’re limited to talking about Saban, Miles, Brown, Corch, etc. I wouldn’t put Carroll, Tressel, or Coker in that group unless we want to omit ethics.

                  I don’t think you can hire a MNC, but you can find a quality HC and then all the rest of the pieces have to fall in place in a magical year to have a shot at the MNC. Spurrier is an interesting example…homerun for Florida, and a quality hire for USCar but not a homerun there. Chizik strikes me as the opposite…not really a quality hire, but hit the homerun.

                  I’m not pessimistic that UGA could make a quality hire…we did with Richt…but it’s foolish to think ANY hire is going to deliver a MNC. Quite a few commentators on here don’t agree with that statement.

                  Funny thing…if a Richt left tomorrow, I honestly think Mack Brown has got one more good 4 – 6 year run left in him and would fit in well in Athens.

            • A10Penny

              I’m totally on board with you here. If Pete Carroll wanted to get back into the college ranks and came knocking at B-M, I’d be tempted to fire Richt. But I wouldn’t be for Gruden or Mora, or 95% of the “hot” coaching names out there. Richt is too damn good a coach to take a risk on anyone other than a slam dunk.

              But do you think we could attract a better DC? I’m not saying we’d get Kirby to do a lateral move. But at this point, I’m willing to take a chance on a Michigan State’s graduate assistant (kidding).