You can’t blame Bobo for everything.

David Ching goes masochist on us with this piece about Georgia’s special team woes last season and Mark Richt’s sudden laser beam focus on fixing the problem.

“My guess is we’ll have more live kicking reps in the fall than we’ve had in a while,” Richt predicted of the Bulldogs’ open preseason camp in August. “Some of that is because we’re going to be breaking in a new punter and a new kicker. They need to be under pressure as much as possible and it’s hard to create that pressure unless you’re doing some live situations.

“But we also just need to see for our own eyes can a guy make a tackle out in the open. Drills are great, but when it gets down to it, you have to have that sensation of being able to corral a guy out there when you’re covering a punt or covering a kick. You need to have your punts rushed full speed to make sure there’s no problems.”

“We were just wanting everybody to understand that everybody and anybody could end up on special teams — a starter, a second-teamer, whatever it is. We need all hands on deck like I’ve been saying,” Richt said at the end of spring practice.

“So the drill work that we worked on we think will give us an idea to understand who to start out on these units, who’s second team on these units and then also hopefully it gave them some experience doing the things that they’ll have to do to get the job done.”

This from the man who had no problem trotting Logan Gray out there to field punts and play on the kickoff coverage team.  Better late than never, I suppose, because last year’s special teams play epically sucked, a point which Ching miserably details.  Although I do have to disagree with him about one thing.  He’s wrong about the low point of the year.  Yeah, the timing of the Mathieu punt returns was brutal, but at least they were delivered by a guy who was if not the best at that in the conference, at least very close to it.

On the other hand, there’s very little excuse for letting this happen:

All I could think while watching that play unfold in front of me was how goddamned long it took.  Just awful, awful special teams play, which was inexcusable for a team with Georgia’s resources.  So, by all means, throw the kitchen sink at the problem this offseason.  If 2011 is a benchmark, that might mean the difference between a couple of wins and losses in 2012.


Filed under Georgia Football

38 responses to “You can’t blame Bobo for everything.

  1. bulldogbry

    Why, why why did you post that video? I was having such a good morning. Oh, well……….NEVER FORGET!!!!!

  2. TennesseeDawg

    If they want surprise drug testing they should have tested the entire punt return team after that play. Looked like the entire group was chillaxing while the play developed.

  3. BCDawg97

    My only fear is that the laser like focus takes away attention from something else. Not that the special teams don’t need fixing but it seems like the team focuses to fix an issue each offseason, leaving other areas of strength alone and those “strengths” end up being a weakness in the upcoming season. I hope this is the season everything comes together, but gawd, I hope they have the same laser focus on the offense and defense too. This can be a special season if everyone works hard and doesn’t try to skate by on the schedule and last years success.

  4. Heathbar09

    I still blame Bobo.

  5. Anon

    The speed of that fake punt reminded me of the time I watched George Godsey run a 18 second 40 yard dash.

  6. Go Dawgs!

    I was thinking the exact same thing as that play unfolded… how is this taking so long and how is this slow SOB getting so close to our end zone? I kept looking around him for a Georgia player to come in and finally make the play, but one never came. It was a little bit like watching the world while doped up on cold medicine… I knew what was going on, but I couldn’t make sense of why or how and all I really wanted to do was go home and go to bed.

    • gastr1

      The guy he jukes on the sideline…don’t know who it was…THAT guy really blew it on this play. If you don’t make the tackle you HAVE TO turn the runner into the middle of the defense so someone else can make it.

      Terrible is right.

  7. paul

    I agree. That was the low point. Surely it was the slowest touchdown ever scored. Do they keep stats on how long a scoring play lasts? If they do, this one has to be at or near the top of the list. Perhaps Cal’s kickoff return that wound its way through the Stanford band took longer. I can’t think of anything else that comes close.

  8. Bevo

    These problems are nothing new. Having Warren Belin around shored up the kickoff coverage problems temporarily, but we’ve had ST issues for a while now. Hopefully this “laser beam focus” is what it takes to make a difference.

    Don’t forget, we almost lost the Vandy and Florida games because of bad ST play as well.

    • AlphaDawg

      Thanks for the Urine in the Cheerios this morning. I totally agree with the exception being KO returns. It still befuddles the hell out of me that we had Boykin for the last 4 years and we had coaches that thought Logan Gray(sp?) was the better option. I get angry just thinking we were the only team in the nation that essentially gave up returning punts by having a fair catch specialist. After the FG in the bowl game it appears that Richt does indeed reward players with PT/attempts at the detriment of the team. It just pisses me off.

      • Bevo

        I hear you. I’m not sure how to excuse or even explain the oversight.

        I guess the coaches were focused on other things…

    • Joel

      Don’t forget that Vandy and FL had some of the worst offensive play calling in recent memory by Bobo, too. I remember sitting in shock after those two wins…not feeling like we had won. We kept punting and I kept closing my eyes in fear of a big return against us or that eventually their offenses would get lucky against us.

      What happened to the days of us blocking punts and field goals? I remember when I would get excited on ST waiting on the “big hit”, forced fumble or the blocked punt for either a score or great field position.

  9. rbcdawg

    With the exception of the play of Butler and Walsh, ST has been bad for several years. It’s about time.

  10. X-Dawg

    Luckily, my bladder was in full operating mode when that happened. It was disconcerting to find out what happend when I got back to my seat, but at least I didn’t have to see it live.

  11. Macallanlover

    For all the horrendous turnovers that killed us that game, the fake punt and the “nitpicky” call against us on the onside kick were real game changers. I have always questioned the amount of time we spend on special teams work (saw that allocation a few years ago and assume it hasn’t changed much.) Still think CMR should take over that responsibility since it is unlikely we can afford to have ST coach slot. It would signal to the team how serious this part of the game is, and no one could question him about players he wanted from the offensive and defensive units.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1. Beamer does ST himself at VT and it has become the strength of that team. This problem will not go away until someone is responsible for all ST play and that someone needs to be CMR.

  12. it’s coaching…coaching… coaching…coaching…coaching..

    here endeth the epistle

  13. President Skroob

    So if we can’t blame Bobo for anything, can we blame Richt? Or will that also eventually result in a sarcastic meme on this blog?

    • Since when does “you can’t blame Bobo for everything” mean the same thing as “you can’t blame Bobo for anything”?

    • In this regard, one may site lack of adequate preparedness on the person or persons in charge of running the drill.

      I mean absolutely no sarcasm here. Some practice with a hired gun might make a difference. Turning on a dime while chasing a speeding bullet is no easy feat. When I was in high school many years ago, the football and basketball coaches sent players to a local ballet studio to do intense close footwork drills. The lady in the studio with a baton was not a coach.

      • BetaDog

        A by-product of that was that 7 players met good-looking ballerinas and ended up getting laid. Unfortunately 2 others quit the team and joined the ballet company. They then came out of the closet and were were last seen marching in support of gay marriage.

  14. Cojones

    Yuk! Watching that and remembering all the stupidity that day makes one feel like you’ve taken a bath in someone else’s bath water. Yuk!

  15. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    After watching this again, maybe CMR should designate a fake punt returner so the team can practice this for the upcoming season … thinking Kwame Gathers would be a good choice

  16. IveyLeaguer

    No, you can’t blame Bobo for everything. And should Georgia ever produce a consistent offense under his watch, you won’t be able to blame Bobo for ANYTHING.

  17. IveyLeaguer

    I must say, it’s always good to see Richt crack the whip and demand good execution. I’ll bet ST will be much better.

    I wish he would demand, not just good execution, but perfection .. from all of his units. Chances are, it would make us a champion.

    • MinnesotaDawg

      Yep. The “good enough” standard is not, in fact, good enough to beat the best teams in our conference these days.

      • shane#1

        UGA special teams were good in 2009, other than that year they have been lousy for four years. “Good enough” would be a tremendous improvement! Blame Bobo and Willie and Joe Cox for 2008 if you will, but the special teams were spotting the other team the ball around their 40. It was like handing them 2 first downs and saying “now Willie, don’t let’em score!'”

        • MinnesotaDawg

          I meant “good enough” as it’s been applied to the entire Georgia football program for some time. Of course, as you note, the special teams has often not met even that standard.

  18. Rich Rodriguez

    Nice play.

  19. Will Trane

    Now how many seconds did it take from snap to goal line. Not fast, but not slow. Speed was not in play, but execution was outstanding by Carolina. Watch how they set and seal the running lane with blocks. The speed was very good at the point of attack. Do not think Carolina ever thought they’d get a TD but a first down for sure. And with their offense that was what they were looking for. Georgia players set opposite the play were still running down field with coverage and heads turned from play. And the players with a chance to stop it took bad angles to the run. I’d put most of the play on both players and coaches. If I was on the coverage team, I’d been pissed and embarrassed. What lost that game was QB play and lack of a running game.

  20. The special team members in that SCe game will say, “BOBO made us do it”. LOL

  21. Bulldog Joe

    If the TD returns by Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and Florida had beaten us last year, something would have been done about it. Otherwise, it will be same ole.

    Sorry about being a Bulldog Joe here, but this team is coached like a pee-wee team, using special teams as an opportunity to make some of the parents and guardians happy instead of using special teams to gain advantage on an opponent.

  22. Cojones

    Senator, didn’t Logan play because he was antsy for action and asked to play anywhere as long as he could get some action while waiting his turn? He was a good runner. He had good hands. He even played WR a couple of times. He was a good athlete wasting on the sideline. He was given judgement to run, but was put in most times when the opponent’s kicking team was covering high kicks that could be fumbled. He served a good purpose when in there because other good returners weren’t handling the ball and because Richt had faith in the O scoring if they just had the ball in their hands.