Mark Richt has lost control of fourth down defense.

Sorry, but I’m not buying the latest weekly coaching outrage inflaming the Intertubes in response to this remark:

“I had my chance to coach that up and didn’t do it,” Richt said.

Part of that is because they didn’t expect a bomb. Junior cornerback Damian Swann said the same thing on Monday, explaining that they thought Auburn would target the first-down marker, rather than heave a bomb.

But it was a bomb.

“I’m in there, Grantham’s in there, we’re all in there. I could have easily said, ‘Hey guys, if the ball’s launched deep, bat it down.’ I could have said that,” Richt said. “That’s a good reminder for a young bunch of guys back there. I, quite frankly, didn’t think it was enough time to move the chains, so we weren’t thinking that they were going to launch a bomb into super-deep coverage.”

Hindsight is always 20/20, but come on, people.  Was it really necessary to say something that’s drilled into these kids on a weekly basis (“We bat it down every Thursday,” Richt said…)?  As Amarlo Herrera observed, it should be second nature at this point:  “I’m watching the ball in the air, just knowing it was about to get picked or knocked down.”

As for the coaches not anticipating a bomb in that situation, it’s hard to see how that matters either, as the coverage was there.

TODD J. VAN EMST — Special to The Telegraph

Two players had their hands on the ball and neither was in an Auburn jersey.  That’s what you hope for in that situation.  I can’t even say going for the interception was particularly unusual – if you’ll recall, that’s what the Hail Mary to end the Vanderbilt game ended with – and in any event, it’s just as likely as the ball gets fumbled to the ground as what in fact happened.  Probably even more so.

Richt’s just trying to give a little cover to a couple of players who are hurting.  That’s all.  There’s nothing else to see here; move on.



Filed under Georgia Football

50 responses to “Mark Richt has lost control of fourth down defense.

  1. JG Shellnutt

    Good take, good point.


  2. Scott W.

    What can he say for me to quit hurting? Guess I should grow up, it’s only a game.


  3. DawgPhan

    On the drive in both ATL radio stations were talking callers on this very issue…guess what they took calls on it on the drive home yesterday.

    I agree it its a total non-issue.


  4. South FL Dawg

    I expected it to be a first down attempt and not a 50 yarder. I can assure you had we been back defending the endzone as in a real hail mary and they threw for a 1st down, I would’ve been livid. But what happened is they got away with a terrible decision.


    • Bright Idea

      The deep in route was wide open for the first down in the middle of the field but Marshall ignored it. With the 2 man rush I fully expected Auburn to pick up the first down. The five guys dropping underneath were flatfooted. Bailey in the middle was spying but was too close to the LOS engaged with 2 blockers with 18 yards to go. The whole scheme was a cluster but we got lucky that the throw went deep into coverage. Oh, we didn’t get lucky.


  5. gastr1

    I keep watching that damn play over and over again thinking the ball with hit the ground one of these times and we’ll have gained a glorious victory, one of the most amazing comebacks ever, with Aaron Murray’s legend finally cemented.


  6. TennesseeDawg

    Harvey-Clemens screwed up. That was the reason. He knew what to do but went for the ball anyway.


    • Normaltown Mike

      JHC’s reaction on the sideline indicated he felt like the worst kid in the world. He kept his helmet on and sat by himself (at least when the camera showed him).

      Tray, in contrast, had the look of a ufc fighter who just lost a bout on points. Dejected, but no regrets. He knew he gave it the good fight.


      • 69Dawg

        As well as Tray should the FRESHMAN was in position and would have in IMHO made the play one way or the other. Harvey-Clemens the SOPHOMORE caused the tip trying to take the ball way from his own player. He is a selfish player and it cost the team. Coach Richt had better be just covering the DB’s butts or he is just confirming what the crazies claim, after 13 years he still doesn’t know how to coach anything but offense.


        • Dawgfan Will

          Jeez Louise, man, can we stop with selfish crap already? He was trying to make a play for his team. It turned out to be the wrong play. He feels like shit about it. Calling him selfish for making a mistake? Was Chris Conley being selfish in the Dome last year? Get off his back already.


        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          They both were selfish players fighting each other to get an INT and be the “HERO” for ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Personally, I’m sick of people making excuses for them.


  7. adam

    I look at that picture and there’s just no way the Auburn player gets the ball. He’s running right past the defenders who have the ball wrapped up in their arms.

    Just such a ridiculously bad luck play.


    • James Stephenson

      100 times that play happens and 99 times the Auburn guy does not come down with it. Lets face it, it has been a crazy year for the Dawgs. Hell that jumping penalty on the punt had me livid, the fumble that was recovered by UGA period. The targeting calls in the Vandy game. It has just been a bad luck year for the dawgs, it happens. We can only hope we can one year get all the breaks and win it all to make up for this.


      • PHDawg

        In retrospect, maybe we all should have had a sense how this year was going to be at the beginning of the Clemson game. We lost one of our top receivers on the sideline. As he was cheering for a touchdown. FUBAR from the beginning. Have to give it to the team, though–they fought and fought time and again. Now let’s beat Kentucky and Tech!


    • Careful Brad

      Yes, why is he still running when the ball has been secured? Come back to the ball Ricardo, please stop running!


      • James Stephenson

        That was one thing Brian Finneran said on 680, why is that guy not even trying to stop and go for the ball. The whole thing was just a crazy play.


  8. Scorpio Jones, III

    Ok, it is time to get over this broken hearted crap. It hurt. Its over. The Bitches just love this wallowing in our pain.

    It was not Harvey Clemmons or Matthews or the coaches’ screwup…it was just the Kharmic Bitches toying with us.

    Here comes Kentucky, then Tech, then some bowl…we are not good enough to play Auburn for the next three games plus Kentucky, Tech and the bowl.

    Man up Dawgs, the past is done….Don’t let the Bitches beat us again…GATA.


  9. If your admitted LUCK is playing second fiddle most of the time then it SHALL be when you are also coaching.


  10. D Basham

    I feel bad for the players and coaches. All involved will probably never live it down. You know they will never forget it.


  11. Spike

    Indeed, I feel badly for the players involved, now that I have calmed down a bit. They were in position, had the angle and it was just the luckiest/ unluckiest damn thing I have ever seen. They will never live it down nor will they ever forgive themselves I suspect. Let’s cut them slack.


  12. MDDawg

    I like how Richt has handled the situation. I think he’s defended his players by admitting that none of the coaches reminded them to bat the ball down, but he’s also defended his coaches by pointing out that they practice batting the ball down every week.

    I think it’s like when you’re offense is trying to run the 2-minute drill. You practice it every week, tell your players to get out of bounds, tell the QB to not take a sack, preach ball security, etc. You practice it that way every week so that when the situation comes up in the game, everyone knows what to do. As a coach, it’s not a bad idea to remind everyone what to do in these situations, but if you’ve prepared for it properly, you shouldn’t NEED to remind everyone. Same mentality applies when we’re on defense and the opposing offense is trying to run their 2-minute drill.


  13. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s nobody’s fault. Not sure how high to place bad luck to our shitlist. Refs, are definitely #1, followed by injuries, tough schedule, bad luck, newbees, …. What’s next, weather?


  14. Crazy thing is, it was a lazy effort by the WR. The ball was slightly underthrown but the WR didn’t even try to adjust and make a play on the ball. Then he ends up being rewarded for it. Ugh.


  15. Irwin R Fletcher

    I’ve been in the camp of that someone on the staff should have said to knock the ball down at some point. Even if you are ‘only’ talking about defending a 4th and 18 and not a bomb, ‘knock it down’ is still a concept that the players should have been thinking..should the coaches have been saying it? Would it have even made a difference?

    I think my issue is this:
    -“Was it really necessary to say something that’s drilled into these kids on a weekly basis”
    -“it should be second nature at this point:”

    Aren’t those the same types of criticisms you could lob every week for the past 2 seasons? And the whole quote from Swann that those two timeouts were basically spent discussing whether to rush or play prevent? I’m not trying to beat up the players or call for anyone’s head, but I don’t know how you can just shrug it off as ‘they should have known’ when it seems the pattern is ‘they don’t know’…

    -“Here’s the list of things the defense wasn’t doing competently: everything else. And yet, at the moment when his team needed a crucial stop and had a chance to take control of the game late, Grantham chose to take the play out of the hands of a group that was getting it done and put it in the hands of a group that had struggled all day ”

    Fool me once….

    Anyway, I don’t want to be too hard on them, but at the same time, save for about 5 weeks last season, the defense hasn’t been good


    • Olddawg 55

      And Irwin, who were you going to put in, the Patriot secondary?? That was our premium secondary…our strong safety and star! Right group, wrong play…forget it!


      • Irwin R Fletcher

        A fourth player rushing the QB is the change I’d make…because it worked against LSU while the 3 man rush did not. While you are forgetting things, was the past one of them?


  16. Granthams replacement

    I disagree, the coaches job is to make sure the players execute. Not emphasizing to bat the ball down in that situation is unacceptable. After the 1st 2 outs over every major league game professionals making millions of dollars call out how many outs to ensure everyone is on the same page. Given the performance of the defense coaches stating the obvious over and over is necessary right now.


  17. Senator, you are so right. Move on…Was in Columbus Monday…Read all the local sports columns. They constantly referred to what a “Miracle” game it was. Miracle my ass….


  18. Coach Bobby Finstock

    Guys, all of this is moot. It’s my fault. I mocked Lady Luck the day before the game.

    An Auburn buddy of mine texted me Friday and said he was on the way to Auburn for the game. “Good luck, your [sic] gonna need it!” he texted.

    My response, in hindsight, was unforgivable: “If all it will take is luck…then we’re SCREWED, LOL!”

    I’m sorry. Ban me if necessary. I get it.


  19. 69Dawg

    Hey players live for the chance to be on ESPN Sports Center’s plays of the day, well TM and SHC got their dream to come true. Heck they are probably going to get to see it the rest of the year and at the ESPSY’s too. Be careful what you wish for cause as Larry would say Ole Lady Luck is a fickled bitch.


  20. I was watching the game with my Mother and girlfriend. During the time out, I was telling my Mother that AU only needed to get 18 yards for the first down. Like most folks, I didn’t know what type of play they were gonna run except that I was pretty sure it was gonna be a passing play. In any case, I’d loved for those boys to have batted the ball down but it is what it is. Who’s to blame? I imagine, like most things, it’s a combination of the coaches, players and the moment at hand. I was able to “move on” shortly after the play. I live and die by the Dawgs’ success/failure each season. That game was extremely painful in the end but it’s over now and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.


    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Yes, there is, americus….we can choose to let it beat us again, or get over it…collectively, us, the kids, the coaches and get after Kentucky and Tech.

      Me? I am done with that shit…I talked to Uncle Roscoe today told him to go fark himself in his Awbun…ah ….ear.

      I also pointed out that we ain’t Bama, Bitch.


  21. GA Boy

    Did you see how that damn ball was even still in a spiral after it came off JHC’s fingertip? If anything, he tightened the spiral up a bit. How in the hell could that have happened? That was the freakiest thing I have ever seen in my life. Seriously….
    I will say this too. If Richt and Grantham can hold this team together to beat KY and GT over the next two games, I think they deserve the coach of the year award. Look how we all feel about this as fans. The players have to be so much more screwed up in the head than we are. I hope they can stay focused and pull it off. If they do, again Richt is the damn coach of the year after the season of BS he has had to deal with.


  22. JRW7

    Who cares anymore???


  23. fred

    Once I read a blog where someone said UGA fans were the worse fans in the SEC because they accept mediocre and have for 30 some years. You know what they were right!
    We are, Do you think the top players leave Georgia for TN, Al, Au, Florida and now Mississippi? Because they want a change of scenery? They leave because they know that based on CMR performance to date they will never play for a championship at UGA. Every day I spend time reading every UGA web site I can find and in every one 90-95% of the comments defend CMR. At this point it’s hopeless we will never be a winner with a fan base that is happy with 9-10 wins a year and a bowl game in Podunk city USA.