Vandy week: the state of their union

This should be, in normal times, a sleepy little week as Georgia prepares to travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt.  After all, the Dawgs have won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two schools.  But given that we’ve officially got a Program in Crisis (cue the YouTube clip)…

… it’s anything but.

It’s worth looking around to see if there are any small bits and pieces, any minor developments, any offhand comments that might be telling about where things are headed, at least in the short run.

One emerging meme:  it’s 2006 all over again, baby.  Eh, maybe.  Certainly it is in terms of writing off the SEC East, but nine wins is looking like a helluva stretch right now, even more so than then.  And you tell me what Mark Richt sounds like when he says something like this:

“It’s hard to measure a team’s ability to withstand pressure,” Richt said. “I think a lot of teams fold under that kind of pressure. A lot of coaching staffs fold under that kind of pressure and we never did. We were very resilient. We were very persistent. We stayed the course. We didn’t make a bunch of wholesale changes, whether it was the players, coaches or anything like that. We just kept grinding, we kept banging away. You just never know how close you are to success until you live it out.”

He sounds like a guy who’s wishing and hoping the next six games are going to put him in a place where he doesn’t have to make any hard decisions.  Good luck with that, Coach.

I will say this for Richt – it looks like some needed personnel changes are being implemented, in a low key sort of way.

Richt said redshirt freshman Baccari Rambo will see an increase in his playing time at safety, establishing a three-man rotation with Bryan Evans and Reshad Jones.

Freshman Branden Smith should see more work at corner, too, spelling senior Prince Miller.

Richt said his two freshman receivers, Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten had earned more playing time, too, following Brown’s first significant action of the season last week.

The sooner, the better would seem to be what the defensive stats would suggest.

“To get every rep is not good for anybody in my opinion,” Richt said. “I think there needs to be a time when you are not on the field every single down.”

He didn’t mention that a unit consisting mainly of Jones, Miller, Evans and Boykin has surrendered 249 passing yards per game this season, good enough for 11th best in the SEC and 97th in the FBS.

In moderate playing time, Rambo has accounted for two of Georgia’s four interceptions this season. In more intermittent time, Smith has two pass breakups, the same amount as Miller.

And it’s a good week to make the move.

The Georgia secondary would presumably have an easy task this week, going against Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith and a Commodore passing attack that averages a league-worst 146.7 yards per game. That’s good enough for 114th-nationwide, just below a Georgia Tech team that has thrown the ball only 75 times all season.

Of course, as Tyler Estep reminds us…

But as the Bulldogs showed against previously-maligned Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton, nothing’s a given for the Georgia secondary this season.

True dat.

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UPDATE: David Hale talks with some of the defensive players about what they think the issues are affecting their recent performance.  I found this quote from Rennie Curran interesting:

“That’s another thing that comes from watching film,” Curran said specifically of defending the play-action. “It’s eye progression and being disciplined. There are certain keys that give away that play-action, and those keys, you only know them if you study film, watch tendencies and know down and distance. Play-action is all about discipline in where your eyes go and knowing what you’re seeing.”

Reading between the lines – not just that quote, but several others – there seems to be a question about the level of dedication some players are putting in.  I’m not saying whether that’s fair or not, but it certainly sounds like it’s there.

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UPDATE #2: Michael Elkon asks a musical question.  I know what Mark Richt’s answer would be.

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UPDATE #3: Hoo boy.  Now there’s word of a players only meeting.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

10 responses to “Vandy week: the state of their union

  1. NebraskaDawg

    Early prediction: Bobo and Martinez are both back next year.

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  2. pup

    Our program is looking alot like gator program before SOS. I was there. Might have to make whole sell changes . Damon GATA!!!!

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  3. 69Dawg

    What is worst for a team, keep the coordinators but reshuffle the staff or fire the coordinators and promote from within? We are screwed either way. If I thought the Coordinators were the sole or even the main problem then fire them but this thing runs throughout the staff. At some point in the last 3 years the staff got complacent as no turnover staff will. The fire went out of the staff and the team picked up on it. Therefore, I would only fire the coordinators, if I thought I could get topnotch replacements. An experienced OC and a fire breathing DC then I would let them either keep or fire the other staff members. You can’t pull a T. Tubberville and hire new coordinators and have the old staff screw them. We all saw that that ended badly. The HC would of course have the final say on who’s fired and hired.

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  4. Dawg N Suds

    The problem is Coach Richt.

    This is a discipline issue starting from the top.

    In other successful programs, if you don’t put forth the required effort in preparation, you are punished and you don’t play.

    We see the same players starting on defense and offense each week.

    Coach Donnan finally got it and benched Quincy and Sanks, but it was too late for him.

    Is it too late for Coach Richt?

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    • rbubp

      I don’t by any stretch think it’s too late for Richt, but it sounds like “senior leadership” again. Let me guess who doesn’t look at film–Geno, Prince Miller, maybe Byran Evans, all the LBs other than Rennie? A lot of those are older players who are apparently just not setting a good tone.

      Prince Miller looks completely inept. Brandon Boykin, for all his skills in returning kickoffs, looks similarly lost, though he has two more years to figure it out.

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  5. Dog in Fla

    “UPDATE #2: Michael Elkon asks a musical question. I know what Mark Richt’s answer would be.”

    Excellent selections!

    While it’s good to know what our coaching staff is up to, what we all think they should be up to and the series of u tubes that fit them best, sometimes it would be nice to think about us. Not very often, but every now and then.

    Best guess would be that our coaching staff does not drink EtOH because it’s probably an unwritten rule unless it was temporarily lifted on an emergency basis post-Lane. This one’s for those of us who do try to keep from getting extemely trashed or hammered through this year’s rebuilding season so we can get to next year’s rebuilding season…

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  6. Russ

    No senior leadership (i.e. no one watching the film or putting in the necessary work) just points back to no accountability in the program. The assistants aren’t worried about their performance, and apparently some of the players aren’t either.

    We need someone that will chew some ass when they screw up. I don’t need histrionics, but I do want a coach that will get the players attention when they mess up.

    Dancing on the sidelines while we nearly pissed away the ASU game was apparently an accurate indicator of where this team is right now.

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  7. scott

    When asked about what he sees as being different from when he played for UGA, David Pollack commented this week on his radio show about the apparent inability of our defense to make reads. Pollack said there was always an emphasis on reading the offensive formations to determine whether its a run or pass. He said that the RB’s normally give it away, and of course the players also need to take into account the down and distance. Pollack did not think our players are accurately making reads, or they are not even trying–just taking each play as it comes.

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