Mark Richt has lost control of losing control.

Mock me if you want for this, but I’m firmly convinced that the biggest deal about Saturday’s win is that Mark Richt has finally pushed the Georgia-Florida series into a new era.  Sure, it may have taken him twelve years and four Gator coaches to get ‘er done, but when it comes to this, late is definitely better than never.

I had hoped the 2007 win was the harbinger of change, but it turned out to be a mirage.  This time, it feels like there’s far more meat on the bones.  Here’s why:

  • The math.  For the first time since Steve Spurrier set foot in Gainesville, the Dawgs have won two games in a row.  It’s almost impossible to underestimate the significance of that.  A single win here or there can be chalked up to random fate; two suggests at worst that the programs are on level footing.  So does the fact that the teams are even over the last six meetings.
  • The manner of victory.  It’s the second straight year that Georgia controlled the fourth quarter.  Maybe that didn’t mean so much in 2011 when the Gators were banged up and trying to find their footing, but this season, we were told second-half dominance was a Gator strength.  The Dawgs took their best shot and gave it right back.  That’s how you plant the seed of doubt.
  • The fan base psychology.  If you haven’t done so already, go read some of the Gator message boards.  It will sound awfully familiar.  I don’t think it will be hard to guess the number one topic Muschamp will be addressing this offseason at meetings with the fans.

I agree with Michael Elkon that Florida’s recent dominance in this series wasn’t all about Georgia’s psyche.  There have been a number of seasons over the past two decades when the Gators clearly had the superior team.  But there have also been a few when they didn’t and still walked out with the win.  Plenty of folks expected 2012 to be one of those.  That didn’t happen and Georgia’s world has changed a bit as a result.

83 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

83 responses to “Mark Richt has lost control of losing control.

  1. timphd

    I have read a bit of the Alligator Army blog. The angst is beautiful. The game thread was hilarious, with all the talk of how the refs were giving the game to GA (did they notice the 14 penalties for 135 yards on GA?) to how it was all the “soft schedule”. Didn’t mention that GA shut down their offense, just that Driskell is a dope who “can’t win the big game” and a little grumbling about Muschamp already, especially the “he is losing the players with his constant screaming at them” meme. Beating FU two straight is a thing of beauty. So much for the record since the 90′s, it’s now 2 and 0! Great to be a Georgia Bulldawg!

  2. We are going to have the best recruiting year ever after this. Jarvis Jones, I love you.

  3. Dawgfan Will

    Two words: Hell. Yes.

  4. NC Dawg

    Strange as it may still sound, UGA wins out and …..

  5. Turd Ferguson

    For as long as I’ve followed this series, I think I’m just too cynical to jump on the “new era” train just yet. I’m certainly happy with the past two games. But everyone said this in ’07, and then Florida responded with two of the most severe ass-kickings since the Spurrier days.

    Hope you’re right, though.

    • Irwin R Fletcher

      Dawgs are 3-3 over last 6 and 4-5 over last 9 with the difference being an OT loss(or a DJ Shockley injury depending on your vantage point). 4-4-1 tells me that this isn’t a flash in the pan. Florida was Spurrier’s program…Urban just pimped it for a few years….neither Spurrier nor Meyer is coming back.

      Go back to Richt’s second season in 2002…there have been 11 games, only 4 have been decided by more than 7….UGA is 2-2 in those games.

      This is a week to feel good and bury some of the skepticism.

      • Turd Ferguson

        “This is a week to feel good …”

        Oh, I’m certainly not struggling to feel good about Saturday’s win. That’s for damn sure. This was merely a response to the “new era” suggestion.

        Almost *everyone* was saying the same thing in ’07. And then Florida promptly put us back in our place. This is why the whole “3-3 over the last 6″ line is a bit misleading. I think the ’08 and ’09 games more than adequately revealed that the ’07 game was more of a fluke than the introduction of some sort of “new era.” (And to his credit, the Senator acknowledged this.)

        So at this point, any “new era” claims can only rest on the last couple games. And again, I think the past three decades of this series ought to inspire a bit more hesitation than to shout “new era” after only 2 wins.

        Am I happy? Absolutely. It was an awesome weekend. Happiness and realism are not mutually exclusive.

        • HobnailedBoots

          The difference being that ’07 was a single win…. not two in a row. We haven’t won two in a row since 1989. It is, by definition, the end of an era.

          • SouthGa Dawg

            Two in a row is HUGE.

          • Will (the other one)

            Also, that 2007 Gator team had a very young D, and returned almost everyone of consequence on O. The 2012 squad loses almost every major playmaker on D, plus quite a few offensive linemen.

        • Puffdawg

          Turd, I can see your point, but we didn’t have a two game win streak in 2007. We do in 2012. HUGE HUGE HUGE difference. Those 2008 and 2009 Gator teams were all timers. Sometimes that happens in series. Even if that doesn’t sell you, maybe this will:

          Over the last seven games – four of which included probably the best player ever to suit up for the Gators and include the best four year run in their school’s history – the series is 4-3 in their favor. Think about that: they’ll NEVER have a run like they did from 2006-2009 ever again, and yet even giving them those years, we’re nearly 50% over that stretch.

          Since Tebow left, the Dawgs are 2-1 with the only loss coming in OT.

          Muschamp has NEVER won in Jacksonville as a player or a coach. The pressure to win in Jax is 100% squarely on him now. That will undoubtedly be the meme for 2013. The Jacksonville stigma surrounding Richt during his career now sits squarely on Muschamp’s shoulders (and don’t take that to mean Richt is vindicated – he’s still got work to do down there). That is ALL Muschamp will hear about this offseason on the speaking circuit. This is undeniable.

          There is realism, and then there is claiming to be realistic for the sake of being different. You can’t say you are not buying the tide change because this is like 2007. This isn’t 2007. It’s 2012, and we have a streak!

        • Irwin R Fletcher

          That’s just faulty logic. First of all, 3-3 isn’t misleading. It’s just a fact. Facts are facts are facts.

          Saying that 08 and 09 put us back in our place ignores 10, 11, and 12.

          Anyway, feel free to go back three decades. I’m not sure how Herschell, Spurrier, Dooley, Goff, et. al. are relevant to the state of the programs in 2012. For a commenter that puts so much stock in ‘trends’, it’s impossible to look at Richt’s ‘trend’ vs. the Gators as anything but positive. The man started 0-3 versus Florida and has now gone 4-5 over the last 9 with the difference an OT loss. That’s a trend.

    • Cojones

      Turd, the point is that you can’t always use predictive stats to call a game. It has to take place on the field and in the milieu of arena events. The psyche of the team is as important as talent when we view the scene from SC to FU. As fans we try to influence that team psyche in order that they might be “up” for the games. Nothing fancier than that drives many in defending coaches and players from downer remarks. And “yes”, I believe they read most blogs or get the gist of them from others. Of course nothing works like success itself to reverse the psyche of the fan.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      My Dad was full of quotes and one liners. I’ll share one with you.
      “You keep looking around for the desert and you will miss the picnic.”
      just sayin’

      • Cojones

        Yes, things could be much worse…. like telling a once 11(now 12) yr old girl that you “Guarantee” a win over UGA and she is already in her teens wondering if it will ever happen. She may be able to enroll in college before she ever sees it. Heh, heh.

  6. Lrgk9

    No more Mr. Bill – We are Sluggo!

    Let’s stay that way, be hardnosed, a pack o’ trailer park dogs, and relentless. We play like that and will let the results land where they may. Did anybody else hear that the UF players were punching and gouging in the pile and trying to provoke us?

    No pass to Devon Bowman intended. Wouldn’t want to be in his practice shoes.

  7. Ryan

    I think the psychology shifted in 2010 when UGA came back to force overtime. While it was still a loss, it showed a resiliency that was lacking the previous two decades.

    • Russ

      This. A thousand times. As much as I hated losing in 2010, I didn’t despair because we fought the entire time and could’ve won the game. Same game as 2011 (almost) except we closed the deal.

      I’d say the last three games have redefined the series back closer to it’s natural order.

      • gastr1

        Certainly it’s on much more even footing. I still pine for a QB who doesn’t throw the ball to them over and over again.

  8. Tom

    I’ll leave the analyzing to others. Just going to enjoy two and hope its a trend. On to Ole Miss.

    Jarvis Jones and Shawn Williams are my heroes. DGD’s and Erk would be proud.

  9. Krautdawg

    I think Coach Richt has prioritized this game. Maybe McGarity had some role in that, who knows. We’ve simply shown up prepared & ready (except for Murray) for the past 3 years and gotten after it.

    Being in the younger generation, I’m too scarred to start crowing about a momentum swing. But when Mark Richt starts talking about making sure his players’ blood stays hot, I like our chances.

    • 79Dawg

      The irony ofyour comment is that there was an article in the fishwrapper Saturday morning that said McGarity told Richt to treat it “like any other game”, because that’s the way Florida treated it while he was there.
      Whoever wrote the article needs to get some new sources because (1) Coach Richt obviously ignored the advice and (2) it was clear before, during and after the game (both this year and last) that Florida treats this game differently, and that it means more, just like we do.

  10. heyberto

    I had many of the same thoughts. Well said Senator. As we turn to the final weeks, let’s hope the Dawgs maintain their focus.

    • gastr1

      I couldn’t help but laugh at that…what a character, that Boom.

    • simpl_matter

      That’s the face you make when you try to talk and push something big out your other end at the same time. I’d rather have a spit-filled Marine basic-training dressing-down than have to look at someone making that face at me.

    • AusDawg85

      That’s not “fire”. That’s not coaching. That’s just plain psychotic.

      • heyberto

        I’m in the camp that your head coach MUST keep his composure so the team doesn’t also lose theirs. It’s one thing to get on a kid.. it’s another to appear to be losing your mind. Let someone else on the staff go to those extremes. He needed to say something, but that was just plain idiotic.

        • uga70

          I think CMR has the right quote, “maintain intensity with discipline”. Kinda like “walk softly but carry a big stick”.

      • Uglydawg

        “The Shining”….starring Will Muschamp..

        • gastr1

          All in all, I really like Will, though. He’s not a smartass like Spurrier nor a self-absorbed asshole like Urbz. No, he’s neither of these things. Instead, he’s 0-2 against us. I kinda like him for that.

          I like him almost as much as Paul Johnson, whose strength is also in his consistent losing to us. Time to gradulate the Gata, I say. :)

  11. hodgie

    Senator, here is a link to the war for the oar thing. The student governments are involved in making this new tradition. Yes, it kind of goes along with trying to move the game away from the WLOCP meme.

    http://www.gatorcountry.com/football/article/uf_uga_war_for_the_okefenokee_oar/15557

  12. Brandon

    Georgia has now beaten Florida as many times since the sec broke into divisions in 92 as Tennessee has, and Tennessee plays Florida at home every other year. Let’s face it UF has been pretty good the last twenty years or so, Jacksonville is not and has never been the problem.

  13. hassan

    Everyone is misguided on this issue. It’s not that we couldn’t beat Florida, it’s that we can’t beat Spurrier (as recent events in the USCe series shows).

    • Ain’t that the truth! That Man; what is it that he knows about us?

      • gastr1

        Targeting us. He’s made a cottage industry out of demonizing and targeting us as if he were driving a stupid old gold Model A.

        • NC Dawg

          Don’t you know he hates us even more now. Beats us by four TDs, and we are higher ranked and still in the hunt. Carolina, meanwhile …l

    • The Zooker has a winning record against Georgia.

    • Dboy

      It is that we couldn’t beat Spurrier and really had a tough time beating U Meyer. Both are all time great coaches with multiple NC titles to prove it.

      One element to UGA’s resurgence is the coaching change / leadership instability at UF, the other is UGA is stacked with nationally elite players, especially on defense. When they finally shook off the indifferent attitude, they were a force. I think we would have fared better in the past 20 years with J Jones and the all american caliber talent around him on defense… and with a capable D coordinator to use them effectively. In the Richt era, we have pretty consistently had excellent offensive skill players; however, dominant defensive players / overall defenses have been scarce since BVG left.

      I also think that Gurley was an unsung hero. He let us move the ball on offense and eat clock. He was physical and rarely did the first tackler bring him down. Not sure we win that one w/o him.

    • Brandon

      Yeah, I sincerely hope those of you who were old enough to enjoy that 1966 pummelling of Spurrier’s Florida team by Bill Stanfill et al., got your money’s worth because he has been taking it out on us ever since.

      • uga70

        Yep, Brandon you’re absolutely right. I was there for the game, my first year at UGA and have always said, from that game forward, Spurrier has hated us with such intensity (there that word is again) that I believe he spends some portion of every waking day, thinking about how to defeat UGA as well as thinking of one-liners to use against UGA when the next opportunity arises. Thank goodness we had such a overwhelming number in the win column when he started coaching FU or we would not be still leading the series today. Hell, if he doesn’t retire soon, we may need to worry about the series with USCe. Fortunately I don’t think we really need to worry about that one too much but we’ve definitely go get that monkey off our back next year.

  14. Scorpio Jones, III

    Ya know, I have never understood this hex shit. The historically conscious among us, and even them, has to see that Georgia owns Florida in a way that no other SEC series beyond the state of Mississippi vs Bama comes close to.

    Just the history of the WLOCP when Florida is the higher ranked team should wake folks up to this. Hassan is right, the problem for Georgia was not Florida, but Steve Spurrier.

    Don’t ever in any way misunderstand. I loved every minute of the win over Florida Saturday, and especially the way it ended.

    I also recognize that a certain fringe of our fan base felt “hexed” by the Gators…something I hope the more historically conscious among us never have felt, and never, by God, will.

    Ole Miss, on the other hand, is a whole different problem…I bet Bobo’s knee still aches when he looks at film.

    I say again, Ole Miss is undermanned, but they don’t know it and neither do the folks who play them.

    We got a lot of work to do to finish the drill, folks.

  15. Irishdawg

    UF fans have got some stones complaining about the refs. Jarvis Jones might not have been held on 3 plays, and Florida wasn’t called for it once. The celebration play on Gurley was chickenshit, as was the offsides on the onside kick.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      It has been my observation the losers ALWAYS complain about the officials, it is almost a Rule of Football.

      • Uglydawg

        I hate them, win or lose. The SEC referees are inept or dishonest. Not much I can say nice about them. Did you see how they screwed Tennessee against SC? No way that was an accident.
        The only thing I would trade with the ACC is the officiating crews.

    • Macallanlover

      Holding on interior linemen hasn’t been called much at all all year long, but holding by WRs and RBs have been called by the “old standard”. If you want to see holding on most plays, watch what happened to John Jenkins on almost every play. He was really bringing it, had the center not been grabbing him he would have disrupted FU’s offense as much as JJ. He and “our other Jenkins” had excellent games.

  16. Slaw Dawg

    I’ve thought since the ’10 game that it might be a new era. We lost, but we fought back for the tie to go to OT. Last year, down a couple TDs in the 2d and Florida with the ball, said I to my son: “somebody’s going to make a play and turn this whole thing around, and I mean the whole series.” Ogletree and Rambo happily obliged by forcing and recovering a fumble, followed a few minutes later by that great, gutsy Murray to Bennett 4th down catch. And try as I might, I could never convince myself the Dawgs were going to lose this Sat.

    So I agree too about psychology. The better team may usually win, but the head game gets a Dawg win in ’85 and a Gator win in ’02. Current Gator students will one day be boring their kids with tales of the good ol’ days they remember from their own childhoods–tales of Spurrier, Wuerffel, and Tebow–wondering what in the Hell it’ll take to ever get those days back and accusing Dawg fans of thinking football history started in 2011.

    • Macallanlover

      Or that they need to move the game out of JAX because they cannot win there. That was their whine when SOS arrived in 1990, he basically told them to grow up, or grow a pair.

  17. Dawg19

    People can say what they want about Murray but he’s the first Georgia quarterback to beat Florida and Tennessee in consecutive years since Buck Belue…

  18. Macallanlover

    I have always thought the “twenty year view” was total insanity, and only weak Dawgs allowed FU fans to dictate how the series should be viewed. SOS dominated the 90′s with better players and a coaching mismatch. Leave that decade at that. The 00s were a wide swinging range where UGA was sometimes outmatched but generally fell short in competitive games and FU. Lot of coaching changes but the games were generally even matched but weak Dawg fans began to bow to the south and grovel.

    To me you look at the overall record with UGA having a solid lead, or you look at the recent history. When “recent history” goes back longer than the current players have been on earth it isn’t a relevant measurement. Let’s look at the most recent six years, 3-3 record with one of our losses in OT, that is what current college players, and recruits can see. They cannot remember the 30s. 50s, 90s, etc. so those games are just part of the overall record for everyone that doesn’t let the vocal FU fans dictate that football began in 1990. You can also make a case that coaching matchuos can be a measure, in which case UGA is unbeaten against Boom. Enough of this 4-22 talk, it is for losers. Bobo even referred to it in his commets this weekend, he said the players all all that from fans and it can effect their thinking. I agree, why would Dawg fans want to plant a negative? UGA and FU is a competitive series, one that we have leveled again. Now it is time for us to get behind the players and staff who have been laboring to overcome the negativity of fans.

    • Macallanlover

      Sorry, to finish that thought “generally fell short in competitive games and FU players made the key plays to win the games”. They won 2-3 SEC titles in the 00s so they were obviously pretty good…..so did we.

    • Can we get an; “AMEN” Let’s get behind those DAWGS!

  19. W Cobb Dawg

    I believe CTG deserves a huge amount of the credit. The D flew to the ball and I felt the fu players were stunned (at least early in the game) by the hits we were delivering. On O, I thought Theus and Gurley gave all they had and the O line had their best effort of the year. AM and his teacher CMB get a win because they’re on the same team as Jarvis and Shawn.

  20. Cojones

    Yes, the D finally won a game this year. When they are clickin’ in sync with the O, we have the best team in the land. Hope Grantham continues since this is the first week he has corrected what he said he would correct beginning from the Buffalo game. Thank goodness for Bobo and Murray for the rest of our wins.

    We can’t over look Ole Miss this week. They deserve our attention in a big way. Scorp has made some blustery moves, but he really has to take off the Halloween mask (it’s not a mask? Sorry) and get down to the roach leaves. Those things read themselves.

    Smoke’em if you got’em. Time to go bear hunting. Think I’ll reread “The Bear” by that good Mississippi author who chronicles Dawgs hunting Bears..

    • Slaw Dawg

      Now, Cojones,that is simply inspired! A little Faulkner and Elmer T. Lee to get ready for this Sat might be just what the good doctor ordered.

  21. Matt

    On the fan base psychology point, I read through the Alligator Army game thread (one of them, anyway) Saturday night, and marveled at how Jarvis Jones’s name wasn’t mentioned once (literally not once – I did a word search). They were completely convinced that they had lost the game because their own players/coaches and the referees had failed them, and Georgia’s performance didn’t seem to have anything to do with it. They also refused to attribute any of their turnovers to good defensive plays by Georgia, but rather were slamming their own guys for dropping the ball. Do we sound that way after a loss? I’m trying to remember. I do remember in particular our grudging postgame comments on what a beast Lattimore is with SC, but maybe those times are the exception for us…?

    • Macallanlover

      I read your comment this morning and went over to a popular FU blog to get their take on the game. Same thing there, I may have seen Jarvis’ name once in hundreds of posts regarding the game. Primarily it was blaming the refs, some blasts at Peace the OC, and dozens against Driskell. Those guys missed an interesting football game, hard to believe the lack of depth in the analysis. In fairness, that could have been a student dominated blog, or one for beginning football fans.

  22. JAXDAWG

    I grew up watching us dominate in the 80′s, suffered through the 90′s while enrolled at UGA eating that shit sandwich that Florida fed us each year, then came the 00′s when we lost several times to UF but the games were closer, tighter, and more balanced. Still UF found ways to win b/c it was UGA that made the critical mistake or conversely, UF made the critical play at the right time. But what I saw in 2010 told me that we weren’t quiting anymore – and 2011 proved that to be correct.

    We’ve now won 2 consecutively for the first time in 23 years and I look for the trend to continue as long as we circle this game each and every year. This is particularly important b/c the road to Atlanta and to the MNC runs through Jacksonville, so to treat this game as “just another game” is ludicrous. Sorry Greg, but this is a fact.