The sun did rise this morning. I went outside and checked to be sure.
The quotes from the coaches and players in the aftermath of yesterday’s debacle were fairly predictable, and, yes, to some extent, not inaccurate. Yes, kids need to step up and make plays. On offense, Stafford is inconsistent – by the way, throwing the long ball is only good for shaking up a defense when it’s a legitimate threat – his receiving corps can’t seem to have the same guys making plays from week to week, there is virtually a complete absence of defensive takeaways this season and the defense hasn’t registered a sack in a while.
But it’s time to quit using youth as an excuse, for a number of reasons. First off, the Tennessee game was the sixth game of the season. I don’t expect young guys to turn into conference all stars in that time frame, but surely it’s not unreasonable to expect steady progress from them. Secondly, there are lots of other teams in the SEC that are relying on, and getting good performances from, kids that are just as inexperienced as Georgia’s. Third, and more worrisome, some of the ineffectiveness we saw yesterday isn’t something that’s just happening with this bunch. Missed assignments on both sides of the ball, linebackers that can’t line up correctly and poor tackling are all things that have plagued the Dawgs for longer than just this season and have been exhibited by players with more experience than these kids.
And while I don’t expect this kind of laundry to be aired publicly, somebody has to take a hard look at why Georgia played the same defensive scheme against the same offensive set up that shredded it in Athens last year, with essentially the same results. And that’s after an Ole Miss game that exposed the same problems for significant periods of play the week before – with their head coach saying publicly on his show that his staff had caught some weaknesses in Georgia’s ability to defend against spread receiver, single running back offensive formations. When you get called out in public like that and don’t respond, that’s either due to fear, stubbornness or lack of creativity. None of which are attractive attributes for a defensive coaching staff.
That’s all I’ve got to say at this point. It’s time to move on to the next game. Richt is right that these guys need to focus on beating Vanderbilt. It’s sad, though, that something like that needs to be said seriously at this point in the program’s history.