You know you’ve hit the off-season doldrums when you’ve got a good old-fashioned pissing match erupting… over Jim Donnan.
I’m just as bored as the next guy, so let me add two more thoughts to the debate.
First, what really did Donnan in wasn’t his occasionally prickly personality, the record against Tech, hitching his wagon to Quincy’s star or the inevitable let down after the now infamous “I’ve been waiting” comment before the 200o season. It was, instead, the same sin that Ray Goff committed – not hiring a first rate defensive coordinator. That’s why I’ll always see the 1999 Auburn game as Donnan’s Waterloo. And why I’ll always believe that hiring VanGorder was the smartest thing Mark Richt ever did.
Second, I’ll never be able to dismiss Donnan as completely as Kyle does, simply because he directed one of the iconic games of the Georgia football program.
56-49, bitches. Thanks for that, Coach.
7 responses to “Summer means fun.”
Senator, you are dead on here, in my humble opinion.
If Ray Goff had hired a defensive coordinator who did his job as well as Wayne McDuffie ran the offense, he might still be the coach at UGA. Likewise, Coach Donnan couldn’t find a guy who ran a solid defense. Kevin Ramsey? Ack. JD might have deserved to get canned just for THAT choice.
I also agree that Coach Richt made an inspired choice when he brought in Brian VanGorder. Whatever one may think about BVG’s wanderlust, the guy was a top notch DC. All the old coaches say you win with defense; I figure they must be right. Once Erk left, UGA’s D under Coach Dooley was never the same. You think Erk’s D would have blown a game like Bill Lewis did against Pitt in the Sugar Bowl? Or like Bill Lewis did against Alabama on Labor Day? Or like Bill Lewis did by giving up the bomb to Greg Garrity against Penn St. in the Sugar Bowl? Not that I’m bitter about those losses.
(this isn’t a backhanded slap at Willie Martinez.)
I suspect you are right about Donnan’s demise, and frankly Ray’s, too.
Although I thought Joe Kines was not a bad DC.
And when I read 81’s observation about Bill Lewis I had to go upstairs for the Zantac…of course I am not bitter either….Godalmighty we could have…..
Donnan, in spite of his prickly reputation, which comes mostly from sportswriters, was always very cordial when I was around him, he just never got comfortable, the way Coach Richt has, with the non-football part of his job.
Great football mind, though…reckon he could figure out how to stop a certain triple option team?
Donnan had a very low tolerance for dumb questions, especially right after a game, when the dumb questions are about all you get.
Nobody talks about this much, but at least some of his problem was getting caught up in the Vince vs. Adams shootout at the OK stadium.
Donnan’s teams were inconsistent. I remember once driving to Knoxville early, watching the team get off the bus and going straight back to the car and back home. (They got the living hell beat out of them…at least I did not have to suffer some Vol goon explaining that to me.)
They looked beat getting off the bus…Richt’s teams don’t show that stuff…course I have not been to Jacksonville in a while.
I always thought Ray’s last game in the Peach Bowl was a microcosm of his tenure. A hellatious comeback and then one mistake on special teams gets you beat.
Ray is a good dawg and a good guy…does things for members of the Georgia family very few folks know anything about…it is good to see him back in Athens from time to time….Coach Richt was heavily involved in making that happen.
Donnan did not understand why that mattered then, although he does now.
Joe Kines reminds me of the NFL-Retread Syndrome where once you are in, you are in for good. That guy has bounced around from place to place coaching ‘almost good defenses’ for years.
Coach Donnan was almost the right guy at exactly the right time. He speaks well of Georgia, and he’s smart enough to stay in Athens.
He’s fine by me.
Marion Campbell as DC? – sorry Ray- you’re a good dawg, but you’re fired.
“Almost” is correct. We could have done better than Donnan, heck, he was our second choice.
The GA job just wasn’t held in very high regard in the mid-90’s, although any astute follower of the game would have known we were a sleeping giant.
Donnan just never got us to the “giant” part.
If you go by the Ronald Reagan metric of “are you better off now than you were four years ago,” I don’t know how you can’t give Donnan some due. The 1999 Auburn game in Athens and 2000 in Columbia were bad, but ’94 Vandy and the ’95 Florida humiliation in Athens — frankly, I’m amazed the program survived Goff’s post-1992 seasons.
Decent coach and good for us in the sense that he did enough with the program to open Richt’s eyes to what a sleeping giant we were. I doubt seriously that we had anywhere near the luster in 1995 that we had in 2000.