“He’s a very special back.”

I know about the shaky special teams play, the youth on defense, the bizarre happenings in Nashville and Auburn, but, still, I have the feeling down the road when I look back at the 2013 season – in particular, the what could have been aspect of the 2013 season – it’s gonna come down to one thing:

Three of Georgia’s losses came when Gurley was out or sidelined for at least a chunk of the game.

Here’s hoping Todd Gurley enjoys a happy and healthy 2014.  He deserves it.  And maybe we do, too.

50 Comments

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50 responses to ““He’s a very special back.”

  1. uglydawg

    Nutshelled it.

  2. McTyre

    Of course 2013 came down to that. Obviously it’s not sustainable in the SEC to exclusively rely on 38 PPG offense much less 1-2 skill player to be a title contender. Sadly nothing new here: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and now 2013. Personnel changes but CMR’s lack of commitment to merely competent – elite not required with near perennial prolific Richt-Bobo offenses – defense and ST.

    • Careful Brad

      2010 Auburn would disagree with you.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        2013 Auburn, too.

        • McTyre

          As with 2010 Auburn, 2013 Auburn made lots of plays on ST and created their share of turnovers. 2013 Dawgs’ galactically poor in nearly every D category (including worst in league creating TO) and backbreaking ST snafus. Newton and Marshall had much more support from the rest of their TEAMS than did Gurley and Murray.

      • McTyre

        Newton was certainly a dominant player. However, that Auburn defense made a lot of plays – opportunistic with turnovers and Fairley’s dirty knockout shots on QBs – and didn’t suffer catastrophic ST breakdowns.

    • 4 out 5 ten win seasons. Two out of 5 top #5 or better finishes. As my Grandfather was often fond of saying in response to some of my grandmothers “poormouthin” . “Mother: these days it seems like we’re walking in some nice and tall cotton. I’ve seen a few better days, but I’ve seen more that were a whole lot worse.”

      2007 Tied for SEC East 11-2 finished AP #2
      2008 10-3 finished AP #13
      2009 8-5
      2011 Won SEC East 10-4 finished AP #18
      2012 Won SEC East 12-2 finished AP #5

      • McTyre

        If you’re content with divisional titles and poll finishes rather than titles – no SEC since 2005 and no BCS ever, then you’ll rarely be disappointed under CMR. My point remains that our 2007-13 talent and inherent advantages of UGA FB should have brought us more than zero titles of any sort . . . while Auburn has managed two SEC titles, one (or two) BCS titles. South Carolina recently has matched us with wins and rankings. Are Auburn and SCU better programs than ours? I don’t believe it myself, but in some measures they have surpassed us. FWIW, the co-divisional title claim doesn’t hold up when you’ve lost the HTH with the other 6-2 East team (UT).

        • If you’re content with divisional titles and poll finishes rather than titles…

          Another “realist” catch phrase I don’t get. Do you really think he’s choosing between the two? Or is this just your way of belittling him for taking some satisfaction from things you don’t?

          • McTyre

            You’d need to insinuate belittlement from my post. The reference to “walking in some nice and tall cotton” followed by the listing of poll and divisional rankings indicate a level of contentment with those seasons. My point remains that it’s reasonable for expectations to be raised for this program. I’m an astute enough observer of the program to manage my expectations in a given season based on key variables such as talent, experience, schedule and in-season impacts of injuries or revelations about our own team or opponents. I can’t help but think your response to me is directed at the Fire CMR-Bobo camp – of which I’ve never been a member – rather than to the plain meaning of my words. I enjoy your blog.

        • The other Doug

          At what point would you have fired Richt and who would you have hired to win us a crystal trophy?

          Muschamp? Mullen?

          • IAmAGurleyMan

            Ahhh…the old “who would you have hired?” Yes, because there aren’t any other coaches out there who can consistently win 10 games. I’m sure there are plenty of guys out there who can win 10 games, continue to support underachieving coordinators and continue to be stubborn about special teams and defense. It’s really not that an elite skill set.

            • I think it’s instructive to consider what winning 10 games really means these days. For years, it was a mark, a standard of excellence. But as the decades have passed it has become less so, as the number of games increased and the circumstances surrounding them changed.

              As the 10-win standard was thrown around in the media (though not so much anymore) I took pride that Richt had those 10-win seasons, because it made us look good to recruits and everybody else. And it did show a certain consistency, to the extent that our downside was limited most years, and we were generally an above average SEC team.

              But if I’m really honest, when it would be mentioned by Herbstreit, Verne, or other major CF talking heads, I liked it because it made us look better than we actually were. Because these days 10 wins is no great achievement. It’s better than 9 or 8, but that’s about all it means anymore.

              The better measuring stick today is number of losses. When Georgia wins 10 games these days, it means we also lost 3 games, and maybe 4. And that is not anything special. It’s not bad, but not anything to celebrate, either. It’s usually enough to get you ranked, and that’s better than not being ranked.

              But losing 3 or 4 games is no standard of achievement, or at least shouldn’t be. Not at the University of Georgia. Not when you consistently recruit Top 10 talent and are Top 10 in resources, profit, facilities, and just about everything else.

              In Georgia’s case, winning 10 games, and losing 3 or 4, simply underscores the record that has unfolded for the last 8 years on the field. Namely, that Georgia is talented, and generally good, sometimes very good. But rarely consistent week-after-week. And far too often, self-destructive and underachieving.
              ~~~

              • 10-4 means the team played in the conference championship game. Shame that’s “not anything special” these days.

                • Playing in the SECCG is always fun. But is it always special, even when you lose 4 games? Was the 2011 game with LSU special for you? Seems to me, when you lose 3 or 4 games, the only way the SECCG is special is if you win it. Or at least come very close.

                  Getting completely embarrassed and humiliated with the whole country watching is not my idea of anything “special”.
                  ~~~

                  • Was the 2011 game with LSU special for you?

                    Considering what we got in 2009 and 2010, yes, it was.

                    • And 2011 was a banner year for you, as well?
                      ~~~

                    • Not sure what you mean by “banner year”, but it was the year that Richt surprised me by turning the program around, something I’d come to think he wasn’t capable of doing.

                    • {“Not sure what you mean by “banner year”, but it was the year that Richt surprised me by turning the program around, something I’d come to think he wasn’t capable of doing.”}

                      Yeah, I agree. The 10-game win streak was a good sign that 2010 was rock bottom. We didn’t beat any good teams in that streak, but winning 10 straight games is this League is never easy. That part was encouraging, and something to build on.

                      By “banner year”, I meant a year to celebrate. 2012 was. But when you only play 4 good teams and lose to them all in embarrassing fashion …..
                      ~~~

  3. uglydawg

    If I’m reading you right, McTyre, you’re point is that CMR is relying on his “near perennial prolific offenses” to carry the defense and ST?
    If so, I would agree that that’s the way it’s turned out recently…but I don’t think it’s by design or desire by the coach.
    If a little bit more defense is thrown into the mix, by luck or by CTG just finally getting a handle on the thing….UGA is going to be very, very good.
    As far as the ST’s are concerned…I think the rhetoric is mostly overblown. The FG unit was spectacular and won some games. Overall they improved steadily over the year..I remember one very big onside kick, and several field goals that won some games.
    I trust CMR. I believe he knows where deficiencies are and will fix them.
    There simply IS NO team in the SEC that could have done as well with so many injuries on one side of the ball as UGA has. I don’t give a damn how good your defense and ST’s are….(see UF).

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      In support of your premise, ug, all you have to do is look at FU. The FU D was great, particularly early in the season, but just couldn’t overcome an O that scored so few points. And the FU STs were basically good, too. Same problem. McTyre’s point is correct though: A football team is just that, a team, and all parts need to contribute in order to win consistently. The Georgia D hasn’t pulled its weight and the STs at UGA have been a consistent problem for years.

      • McTyre

        Yeah, Ug actually made my point. UF parlayed elite D and ST into an 11-win season in 2012 as the O was outright horrible at times. Despite all the 3-and-outs, turnovers and poor field position from the Gator O that year, their other two units held up well and carried the offense. Murray – God bless him – had to not just carry the offense in most games (turnstiles at RB and WR) but overcome the points and bad field position allowed by the D and ST gaffes. Oh, keep in mind that Murray rarely had a short field to work off of from D turnovers and the stress of having to put 40 on the board to win many games. The Dawg D and ST look even worse when you understand that – unlike 2012-13 Gators – the fact the game rarely hinged on them having to make a play. Simply follow the Hippocratic oath and Murray-Gurley-Bobo O will ensure the Dawgs win. Yes, I understand that Morgan had a great year on FG. However, every other ST unit ranked near the bottom of the league and Blair Walsh’s 2011 year and Morgan’s 2012 involved year-long slumps. as we saw in the Clemson game, an All-SEC FG kicker can’t snap to himself.

  4. Keese

    Here’s a thought to ponder: would you rather have seen Gurley stay healthy this year, put up awesome numbers and mail it in next year anticipating the draft (clowney style) OR save his best season running roughshod through the SEC in 2014 to solidify/further his draft position?

  5. AusDawg85

    Mason’s first 4 starts…GT, Nebraska, Clemson, South Carolina. Mr. Gurley will have to be his BFF to get through this (as proven already at Tech).

  6. We all deserve better and next season is going to be one for the record books. I feel it in my fingers..I feel it in my toes…it is all around us,come on and let it show!

    • uglydawg

      Good grief…and we can’t quote the Eagles?

      • Bluto informed me sometime ago, that GTPs stand on them is negative,however I am a huge fan from the early 70s. As you know, I do not like to rock this boat. Wouldn’t want to get banned.

        • I doubt that would happen. You did rock the boat with that post SEC Championship game loss rant of “ROLL TIDE”. You’re still here are you not?. Worrying over your Eagles affection is small change . IMHO!

          • I want to know what ever happened to Saturday night and finding a sweetheart … holding them tight…tell me oh tell me was I alright.. Years robbed the railroad it ran by my door now there’s boards on the windows and locks on the door and she passes her time at another mans side, and I pass the time with my pride.

          • I don’t worry baby! Bluto likes to keep it interesting.

      • Dog in Fla

        ugly, get over it. Take it easy. I know that just when I’m busy being fabulous and have a peaceful easy feeling, the tough thing about being a desperado is that in the long run, after one of these nights, there will be a tequila sunrise with the usual victim of love. After you take it to the limit one more time with the best of your love and the thrill is gone, they stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast with lyin’ eyes. I can’t tell you why she’s a witchy woman because there’s always a new kid in town which leads to a heartache tonight for pretty maids all in a row who had been out mending fences because there’s always another disco strangler in the city

  7. The only gm we lost that #3 played in all 4qtrs was Auburn. I’ve been at practice the last two days and they are getting after it.

  8. {“Here’s hoping Todd Gurley enjoys a happy and healthy 2014. He deserves it. “}

    Here, here.

    I said all year, after the Clemson game, that Gurley wasn’t 100% effective. After the quad injury, he lost some speed and quickness. Not so much that many noticed, but you could clearly see it. It also changed the way he ran a little bit, and he was a little less aggressive and evasive. He improved a little every week, and got close by the LSU game, but his health never really returned.

    After LSU he was only a shadow of himself, and played the Florida game at no more than 50%, probably less. I’m convinced no other back in the country even plays that day. He hasn’t been anything close to himself since then.

    His speed, quickness, acceleration, cutting and all the rest is WAY down.
    But he’s refused to complain about it, or even admit it, which is to his credit. He did finally say this week that, “I could have been out for the whole year”.

    Yep, and a lot of backs would have.

    Yet even though he was hurt, he still helped us considerably – made a difference – in every game he played. Which is nothing short of marvelous in my book, a feat almost unprecedented. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like it.

    It’s just an amazing thing to think about what this kid did this year, how he carried the team on his back at times, and yet wasn’t anything like himself. He is one tough Jose, and he can play hurt. Even when he’s just a glimpse of himself he can still play, and be a factor.

    I can’t wait to see him again, next year, when he’s in great shape and gets his speed and quickness back. No back is truly 100% once the season starts, so I don’t mean that. Just a 100% healthy season in terms of what that means for a running back.

    If he does, it’s going to be something to watch. Heck, he’s fun to watch the way he is now. Let’s just hope he stays healthy from now on because this kid is special, unlike anything we’ve seen, at Georgia or anywhere else, since Herschel Walker.
    ~~~

  9. eli

    hate tosee Murray and Gurly not win a sec champioa shit while at Ga

  10. JAX

    2014 is all about “next year”, and so will 2015 and beyond. Richt’s teams have evolved into spectacular offenses weighed down by poor ST’s and underachieving defenses – and that will be his legacy unless he changes his approach to the two aforementioned and actually makes them both a very high priority. If you don’t believe me then come back here in 12 months and let’s see who was proven correct. But remember, history is on my side.