Lessons learned (maybe)

A few random, three-days-after notes and observations –

Year2 had this to say about Georgia’s offensive game plan:

2. Should Georgia have gone to the pass earlier?

Well, hindsight is 20/20. It certainly looks that way now. But hold on for a sec.

The film of South Carolina’s opener indicated that Georgia should have use the run to set up the pass (exactly as Richt did) even before you get to the fact that the quarterback was a freshman going without his best receiver. Plus, Ealey did well on the first sustained Bulldog drive as I described above.

Giving Murray some more leash to toss it around was a great halftime adjustment, though given how things looked I wouldn’t be surprised if Richt decided before the game to make that change at that time. No one had seen Murray play in a real college football game yet. The Georgia staff made the right call this week, but they shouldn’t wait so long to air it out with Murray in the future.

It shouldn’t have come as any big surprise to us that Richt was going to be conservative with his inexperienced quarterback going into his first SEC contest.  Although I can’t help but wonder how many of the Georgia fans who were ready to anoint Mettenberger as the starter after the G-Day game were complaining about Bobo not calling Murray’s number enough on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Bacarri Rambo is upset about his play.

“I was loafing a lot,” the sophomore said. “I’ve just gotta do better, because I’ve got a lot of guys looking at me as a leader. I’ve gotta fix myself with that.”

Rambo didn’t stop there.

“From now on I’m going all-out,” Rambo said. “I’ve gotta give it all I got. I feel like I was holding something back. I left a lot of what I had in the locker room instead of taking it out there with me.”

Emerson notes that Rambo wanted to get that off his chest, so it sounds like he really was bothered by his effort.  The attitude’s a good place to start, of course, but that’s all it is until he takes it on the field for a whole game.

More importantly, the coaches found attitudes lacking as well.  And it sounds like we may be looking at some accountability and consequences:

… A caller on coach Mark Richt’s call-in show Monday night asked Richt about players being “timid” and “afraid to hit.”

“There were a couple of times where you’re right, I think timid is a very kind description of what happened,” Richt said. “There were a couple of times when we turned it down quite frankly.”

Gamble said defensive coordinator Todd Grantham told “all the younger guys in the two-deep that there’s still spots open (to replace) guys who are messing up.”

Richt said there indeed will be competition for positions this week and there will likely be more physical practices with the scout team.

“Just to work hard on the fundamentals of stepping on a guy’s toes and putting your face on him and wrapping up,” Richt said. “There’s going to be no diving on the ground at a guy, no going low on a guy. When I mean low, I’m talking about just diving at the knees and ankles and that kind of thing.”

I thought the disappointments we saw on the field the previous two seasons were more the fault of the coaches than the players.  It’s too early to be making any final judgments about this season, but I’m inclined to say that so far I’m not willing to draw the same conclusion.  The Arkansas game will tell us a lot about where this team is headed this year.


Filed under Georgia Football

36 responses to “Lessons learned (maybe)

  1. TennesseeDawg

    Bottom line is the Dawgs went into the game trying not to lose, which always results in a loss. Murray has a great future and is probably making less mistakes at this stage than Stafford. (so far)


  2. TennesseeDawg

    “I wish A.J. was playing.” — Arkansas senior cornerback Ramon Broadway, Dawgs247, 9/13/10
    Just seen that. What an idiot. He torched him last year and the fool wants more. I hope to God A.J. gets his suspension reduced now.


    • Turd Ferguson

      Yeah, I noticed that. And as I recall, Broadway was talkin’ a big game before last year, too. Something tells me he’s only saying this because he’s counting on A. J. not playing. Everyone can say they’d win a fight that never takes place.


  3. Spike

    “Loafing”? Are you kidding me? In an SEC road game? Say hello to the bench.


  4. Bulldog Bry

    Other than the loafing, I was just glad to see halftime adjustments made. We’ll see how it plays out, but I would imagine one day we’ll look back at Saturday and admit we lost to a better team. Still hurts, though.


  5. merk

    The bench inspires. If Grantham is running around telling guys to get off the practice field for the next play cause they aint cuttin it, then thats what I want to see. I want these guys to feel like pissing around on a play means bench time.


  6. JaxDawg

    I’ve seen this movie before. Time will tell if the ending is any different.


  7. Brandon

    What’s really funny is that Rambo was held up as an example of all that was good and holy last year. Remember: “He just executes. Period”. Now he’s catching hell, either the standard’s have gone up or a culture has built up on the team that the older you get the less hard you have to work. Either way, it sounds like the coaches are attacking it head on, which is good. As has been said before here and elsewhere, we were in the right position on Saturday we just didn’t make tackles. I still think Lattimore is very good and will make a lot of people fail to “wrap up” but being in position not to wrap up is refreshing, in the past we have seen massive amounts of yardage gained on us without an opposing player being touched. I’ve also seen a lot of people compare the tackling in this game to the 08′ Tech game, but hell in that game we gave up 45 points, to me it wasn’t even close, in this game we mainly couldn’t tackle one guy, in that Tech game we couldn’t tackle the flag boy.


    • What’s really funny is that Rambo was held up as an example of all that was good and holy last year. Remember: “He just executes. Period”. Now he’s catching hell, either the standard’s have gone up or a culture has built up on the team that the older you get the less hard you have to work.

      Is there a third possibility – namely, that after the concussion Rambo’s still a little gun-shy about contact?


  8. Turd Ferguson

    Here’s a prediction: We’ll experience another disappointment or two between now and mid-October, with either the offense or defense (or both) just coming out flat and costing us the game. And then, all the sudden, things will start clicking, we’ll upset either Florida or Auburn (or both), and finish 3rd-5th in the SEC.

    And then it’ll happen again in 2011. And again in 2012. And …

    I’m not nearly as devastated by the loss to SC as some others apparently were. I’m more worried about the bigger-picture narrative repeating itself over and over again. Sure hope I’m wrong.


  9. GoonerDawg

    I just don’t understand how a team, with the year it had in 2009, can come out as flat and uninspired as UGA did against Carolina.

    For me, it simply reinforces that something is fundamentally wrong with the program itself.

    This is a big picture problem. Primarily, becuase it isn’t the first or second time it has happened.


    • Look at the bright side: the last time a Georgia team came out flat against a non-top ten team, it got waxed. At least this time they somehow managed to keep it a one-score game until the very end.

      I’ve said all along it’s going to take time to change the mindset in Athens.


      • GoonerDawg

        I understand that these things take time. But I’m concerned that it even happened, and that it took so long to realize that ther mindset needed to be changed.

        It doesn’t take long to get left behind in the SEC. I get the impression that CMR makes changes at a glacial pace, and that might not be fast enough to be a championship program.

        I don’t know – I’m discouraged about things in Athens.


        • Richt changed the defensive staff after last season’s end. Are you saying that if he doesn’t fire a defensive coach or two after last Saturday’s game, he’s moving “at a glacial pace”?

          Look, he stayed with Willie and Fabris at least one season too long. Knock him for that. But he ought to get more of the benefit of the doubt going forward than one lousy game.


          • GoonerDawg

            Of course I’m not saying that. Why the hyperbole?

            Further, why do so mnay people get mad, actually mad, at those of us that question what’s going on in Athens.

            Objectively speaking, there are reasons to wonder. 12-8 in the last 20 games, 10-11 in the last 21 SEC East games. That’s mediocre.

            Over the last several years, we’ve seen CMR field teams that regularly get pushed around, are undisciplined, and fundamentally unsound.

            These aren’t new things, and the improvement, if any, certainly hasn’t been profound.

            How much time does it or should it take to fix the problems?


            • Of course I’m not saying that. Why the hyperbole?

              … These aren’t new things, and the improvement, if any, certainly hasn’t been profound.

              You honestly don’t see any disconnect between those two statements, do you…

              How many college programs over, say, the last twenty years can you cite that have profoundly improved the problems in their programs in the space of two games? And how in your opinion did they accomplish that?

              As for your last question – more than two games. I’ve said from the beginning that I expected Georgia to be vulnerable early on because of the changes.


              • GoonerDawg

                I understand. I’ll clarify my thoughts. A lot of the problems plaguing this program, in my opinion, extend beyond the 2009 season.

                If you’ll recall, prior to the 2009 season, there was lots of talk about improving the defense, returning to the fundamentals, etc., etc. Noen of that really happened, and we greeted with that kind of talk again this offseason only coupled with a new defensive staff.

                I’m actually encouraged by the defensive changes, but discouraged by the overall attitude problems that still seem prevalent. I don’t understand why those still need more time to fix.


                • Because as my wife so often tells me, when it comes to men folk, the strongest force in the universe is inertia. 😉


                • Hackerdog

                  You’re comparing the statements and actions of one set of coaches with the statements and actions of a different set of coaches.

                  Holding Grantham responsible for the failure of Martinez’s defenses is silly.

                  If you need a real world example, you could look at golf. Over time, you develop a poor swing. Then, you go to a coach to learn better technique. After two lessons, you are not ready for the PGA.


    • Vinings Dog

      I agree 100%. It seemed to me that the Dogs were flat – why, I have no idea. The expressions on their faces were not good. There seemed to be no confidence or fire and I was alarmed by that.

      As far as Rambo is concerned, there was one pass play over the middle where Bob Davie called him out for not continuing towards the receiver. The concussion play against Auburn came to mind.

      Georgia seemed to play tentatively, but I do not think the 3-4 scheme had anything to do with it. I look forward to Grantham getting his players on defense. No way a Saban team three years into his tenure plays timidly.


  10. baltimore dawg

    the team has forgotten how to win, plain and simple. a sleepwalking uga team is going to win 6 games a year no matter what, but you can’t expect to win much against the better teams in this league that way (and our sec record recently probably bears that out).

    if the coaches have turned the ship around, it’ll still take a while for players to become accustomed to the culture that existed in the first half of the 2000s (i.e., long before they got there).

    i just hope that a genuine re-boot is really taking place.


    • I second that!

      I agree. We consistently come out and appear unprepared to do battle, both in our game plans and our execution. We are constantly plagued by mental errors, lack of focus, and even effort as our own players admit. The biggest difference I see between our teams the last few years and those of Bama and Florida is that we completely lack mental discipline. Saban and Meyer know how to prepare their players to win. They perform much closer to their potential than our players. I’m tired of watching Richt stand on the sidelines doing nothing. The offense has been terribly inconsistent since he became the “CEO”. I would like to see him take charge of the offense and the team. If he does not, I am willing to take a chance on a coach that gets more out of his players. How much would take Chris Peterson to head to Athens?


  11. Great Post. I agree with you, Senator.


  12. Brad

    I for one am glad to see Rambo’s Tebow-esque speech. Now let’s see a similar result.


  13. 69Dawg

    At least Rambo who had 12 tackles thinks he was not performing at his peak. I have said it before, it was the front 7 not the DB’s that were bad in this game. When your DB’s are making 50% of the tackles you are in trouble even in high school. Of course the fact that we lost 3 NFL DT’s and changed to a scheme that our DL coach knew nothing about until CTG was hired, that in the minds of most, should be no excuse. We had only spring and fall to completely change our scheme and our mind set. I think the scheme has changed I think taking a bunch of 18-22 year olds and turning them into a rabid D when all they have been taught for the last ? years was to lay low and read and react, is a big task. We have had a D scheme for the last few years that depended on one man attacking Rennie, the rest just watched him work.


  14. W Cobb Dawg

    Senator said: “I thought the disappointments we saw on the field the previous two seasons were more the fault of the coaches than the players.”

    Of course it’s the coaches. The coaches evaluate and recruit the players. Once on campus, they tell players when to practice, what to practice, how to execute, etc. With the exception of significant injuries, if a program declines it’s due to poor coaching or poor recruiting, or a combination of the two. Or if you prefer a positive approach – if a program improves it’s due to good coaching or good recruiting, or a combination of the two.


    • ChicagoDawg

      I agree with a broader premise that good coaching is a huge contributing factor, but I am not signing up for completely deterministic worldview (I suspect you are not suggesting it either). Sure, the result will ultimately fall on the coach, as it should. But if the outcome was purely based on the coach, then the best coach would always win. Taking it to the logical extreme, the best coach (whomever that might be — Saban, Meyer, et al) would be undefeated and win the NC year after year after year.

      The point is that success and failure are a mix of a lot of factors….coaches, players, circumstances (i.e. injuries, academics, off-field influences, etc.,). No offensive play has ever been designed to end with anything other than a TD (other than the victory formation at the end of a game). Every defensive scheme is meant to for 3 plays and a punt. So, if that is the case, then should players not carry some burden of responsibility for outcomes? I am not breaking any new ground here with a revelation, but sometimes we want to ascribe the blame on a specific thing (i.e. the coach) because it is concrete and gratifying to some extent vs. the more abstract (we have multiple “things” that need to be resolved or improved).


  15. Dawgy

    Get more physical with the “Scout Team”? How about lining up #1 on #1! Let’s see if our defense can bump tackle King and Ealey. Let’s see if our OL can run block our #1 defense. Beating up on the scout team doesn’t tell me anything.


  16. thewhiteshark

    I suspect we’ll see more intensity this week. Does make me wonder if, for fear of injury, we practice too soft. Bobby Dodd was a great coach and had some great teams but Bear Bryant always felt that he could line up and physically whip Dodd’s teams because they were playing volleyball while Bear’s kids were getting after each other.

    I really do think Grantham will get this stuff fixed. The defense made some adjustments and gave us a chance in the second half. Saw some things I didn’t like on Saturday but there were some brights spots and things to build on.


  17. Will Trane

    When CMR changes his OC they will start to win not only in the SECED but overall. The OC is consistenly shut down by top DCs. But you do not always have to have an light O to win so long as your special teams are solid. This season going in you should want your special teams to be first rate along with your O teams because you are transitioning your D.

    Tell me what the game plan was going into SC with regard to S and O teams. SC had a plan. That plan was let us see if we can establish some inside running to take away the outside rush and commit their DBs. SC has a QB that is not only inconsistent from game to game but within a game. He is good but you have to control him with a plan and plays. Like I said in a prior post once they saw they had the LOS and the inside zone rush work they stayed with. Hell, SOS admitted it. Look at the game chart.

    What SOS did was adjust. They saw their running game was working and move to it to shorten the game, keep the D on the field and wear them down, control the clock, etc. Our OC never adjusts. Running Ealey as in a “wild formation” confirmed we had no plan. Think back to the uniforms in the Florida game. Do you see something here, yet. Well alot of us have and still do.

    Now answer this for me all you 8 in the box mindset guys. Did we stop their runs. Yes and no. We kept down their points. We had oppotunties even with all our short roster and lack of play.

    We lost because we only put 2 FGs on the board and ran 47 plays. Now tell me what in the hell was the game plan going in. Here it is. Let’s see if this works. No, well let’s try this. SC’s D showed they were unsure what sets UGA would be in, but they knew they would face a less potent passing game, but they felt UGA could run. And that is what we should have do. With our Ts and TEs we should have been able to get to the outside on a consistent basis. Look back at the film and let me know if you saw Ealey do that.

    Right out of the gate UGA should have gone with the power running and a mixed passing sets. Run two TEs, run traps, inside the red zone put your 3rd TE in motion and either let him block and go out. Your #1 TB never plays due to injury, your #2 has a first game, and your #1 FB goes out. You do no think your Gs are up to speed, and you go to SC without a plan to fully employee your TEs and FB re blocking. Give me a break down of the game plan and let us chart it up.

    Discipline, as well as O production, is a huge issue on this team. If you do not want to play, tell your position coach and sit. Do not hurt the team. If you want to play around, tell your coach so he can replace you with a scholarship for someone who does. Either get into the game or get off the roster. But there are some guys that can and that will play. Give them a solid game plan.


  18. Will Trane

    The players did not lose the game to SC. Some coaches did.

    Consider these remarks.

    About A J Green not being available because of NCAA violations. CMR…it is what it is.
    What about “comme il faut” or as it must be. Most of us figured there was more than just an alleged trip to sunny Florida. The georgraphy must have screwed up everyone’s thinking. Agent in NC and NCAA says he never would repsond to inquires. Now Mr. Green how did he physically get your jersey? Have you been made aware that you can not sell your game jersey from a second level bowl game? Now Mr. Hawkins are you a street vendor or an agent for players before the NFL? Are you registered to do business in the State of Georgia? Are you self employed and file income taxes with regard to your hobby or your profession? Would the State of Georgia AG be interested in your conduct other than UGA or the NCAA? This is perhaps an isolated situation and the NCAA must be insane to think you are an agent…maybe we’ve seen your conduct elsewhere.

    Coach it looked like the players were “timid” and “afraid to hit”. CMR…there were a couple of times where you’re right, I think timid is a very kind description of what happened. There were a couple of times when we turned it down quite frankly.
    When and where those couple of times? First or second half. Were they observed from the sidelines during the game or after watching film and discussions with position coaches. Were they addressed at half time. After all we could have adjusted that like so many other things (like a game plan). Which side of the ball? Must have been the O guards…they got called out. Now which one of those guys on the D had the most missed tackles and took off a play or two. Must have been seen from the side line by the coaches. Perhaps not…we are trying to find a game plan and who can suit up.

    SC had a plan and made adjustments in the game. How do you know? Well, they had one player that had almost as many offensive plays as the entire Dawg offense had for the game. Yeah if I’m on the D side I might get a little fatigued, miss a few tackles, or take a play off.

    In the first game of the season how much penetration did you see of the offensive line. Not as many as the missed tackles in the SC game, but close.

    Coming out of the 2009 season, how many positions were somewhat set? How many of those positions have lost a roster player due to discipline for even a game this season (suspension). Who factors in re the first three SEC games. Are you going to change your O schemes because of this and opposing Ds might do.

    In 2010 you think you have to be fundamentally sound, have a solid running game with the right sets for the opposition, and a very solid special teams (other than FGs and punting…like KOs in the endzone, positive return yardage, keeping the field of play in our favor) because your D is changing and you have an inexperienced but quality QB.

    It is what it is, or comme il faut.


    • It’s not the players’ fault… yet the first example you provide is Green’s foolish decision to sell a jersey in violation of NCAA guidelines. How could the coaches have prevented that from happening if they didn’t know about it?