There’s a thin line between love and hate.

A sentiment I share:

… We came into the season with a QB that has been praised for ‘getting the most out of his talent.’ We came in with two of our top receivers sidelined. We came in with a defense that was perilously thin, and one that the new DC was consistently and vocally not happy with. We endured another rash of injuries, and other things, that lead to us losing a whole team’s worth of RBs.

Still, Georgia is poised to lead the conference in scoring, improve 8+ points in scoring defense, and has fixed most of the special teams non-sense from the last four seasons. Bobo has done his best job yet in scheming, game planning, and coaching his players. Pruitt has done a good job with the players he thought weren’t ready for his style of defense. Richt and his staff have done a stunningly good job of maximizing what this team can be.

And that is what is so maddening. The two losses in conference were due to coaches not doing what it takes to win the game, as opposed to worrying about not losing. Richt, despite the fake kicks, going for it on fourth down, and breaking out trick plays, still, at inexplicable times, grasps onto the don’t screw up mentality. The squib/pooch kick was just one example of that.

At this point, Mark Richt still can’t recognize how to step into a situation where if things go wrong there isn’t really that big a difference, but if they go right, there is a huge payoff.

It’s been a season that started off with lowered expectations, as Tyler describes.  Those jacked up quickly after Clemson, faded a little after South Carolina, came roaring back at Missouri and Arkansas (ironically, without Georgia’s best player) crashed at Florida and were finally put to rest for good in Week 14.

From a macro perspective, Richt did his job.  The defense, while staggered by a steady run of dismissals and defections, stabilized over the course of the season and improved.  Replacing Grantham with Pruitt has paid off in both the short and long run.  Special teams, for the most part, was turned from a weakness to a strength.  The coaches took an offense run by a quarterback with a very different skill set from Aaron Murray and made it the most successful in the program’s history.  Most of all, Richt knew that for things to work based on his team’s strengths and weaknesses, the two most important areas Georgia had to control were field position and turnovers and that’s exactly what drove Georgia’s season.  That’s what Tyler is referring to when he describes Georgia’s 2014 season as “the best job coaching Mark Richt has done, as far as getting the team to play like a team and be better than the sum of its parts.”

And many of the computer rankings reflect that.  Sagarin has Georgia in his top eight.  So does Football Outsiders.  Ditto for Chase Stuart.  And Massey-Peabody has loved Georgia all season.

In the end, recordwise, the Dawgs ended up where we probably expected before the season got underway.  Yet many of us, including me, feel a bit deflated at the end of the regular season.  Why?  Because as good as Richt has been with the big picture stuff this season, there have been flops on the micro level that have simply killed Georgia in its three losses.  The squib kick against Georgia Tech.  The failure to have the team mentally and emotionally prepared to play Florida (what the hell?).  The ineffective playcalling at first-and-goal on South Carolina’s four-yard line.

No, it’s not all on the coaches.  It’s not on Richt that Todd Gurley sold some autographs.  The players bear just as much responsibility for not having their heads in the right places in Jacksonville as the coaches do.  (And let’s not forget the one common thread in all the losses:  missed Marshall Morgan field goals.)  But it drives me crazy to see the same guy do such a fabulous job in the offseason of identifying the major areas that needed correction, take concrete steps to fix them and yet whiff on much smaller stuff that wound up undoing most of the good he accomplished.

It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog.  But sometimes it’s frustrating as hell, too.

102 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

102 responses to “There’s a thin line between love and hate.

  1. 81Dog

    we should have taken our own advice a few times and “just let it rip.” I hate playing not to lose, especially when playing to win is what got you the lead in the first place.

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  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Can you say ‘brain fart.’

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  3. Uglydawg

    The players have been coached to “Finish the Drill”…now the coaches need to learn it. The South Carolina lost had nothing to do with autographs. While I am not even close to being in the “Replace Richt” camp, I do think it’s time for him to become a better closer. All three of these losses are coaching losses. That’s what makes it so hard to accept. The talent and skills were/are there and that is a tribute to CMR and Company…but the game day coach needs to be a little sharper. Georgia can have another great recruiting class and the future will be bright. Expectations will be high and coaching losses are now under intense scrutiny.

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    • IAmAGurleyMan

      What makes you think after 14 years that he can learn to be a better closer? He is who he is – he’s had numerous opportunities to change his closing over 14 years – it ain’t changing.

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      • Uglydawg

        Because I’m a lot older than that and I’m still learning. Have you stopped?
        He may be a little slower and more cautious on the curve.but what we don’t have any way of knowing is HOW MANY Games has he saved by going conservative with a lead? There has to be more than he’s lost with that tactic It’s fine tuning when it’s approp that’s the skill.

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        • IAmAGurleyMan

          If you haven’t learned it within 14 years and after numerous opportunities to correct the same mistake, you probably aren’t learning it. I venture to say your employer wouldn’t give you 14 years if you produced as many lemons as he has without learning from your mistakes.

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    • JCDAWG83

      The problem is, Richt doesn’t have 14 years of experience, he has one year’s experience 14 times. For whatever reason, laziness, lack of intelligence, stubbornness, Richt continues to make boneheaded decisions that are all too familiar.

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    • Voice of Reason

      If there are three coaching losses, how can you NOT be in the replace Richt camp? I’m not sure I agree with the premise that the three losses are his (tech definitely, Florida his and the players who were over confident and unmotivated, but not going to blame a coach for play action or intentional grounding. Think il credit sc defense for not biting on the play action and being in the backfield to hurry mason). But if you do, surely a coach causing the loss of three games s worthy of dismissal.

      Bottom line:

      (1). if we want to win, we need to try to win at EVERY TURN. No more tying hands on multiple issues because the compounding effect is devastating. If no one else suspends for underage drinking or weed, neither do we. If no one else allows transfers to SEC and/or competitors, neither do we. And if everyone else stands up to the NCAA a and says prove it, well that’s the same DueProcess our country fought hard to put into (and preserve in) our Constitution. Clearly it’s good enough for me.

      (2). if we want to do things according to some moral code, irrespective of the impact it has on winning, then we need to accept that, recognize the limitations it imposes on winning, and dial back the expectations. The reality is, with even small handcuffs here and there, the compound effect makes it highly unlikely we will win. It’s not unlike the “character” limits with the Falcons. If talent is passed up for any reason other than superior talent (or lack of depth at a position of need), the product will be less than the best. And in this day and age, nostalgic notions of fair play and karma notwithstanding, the nice guy is simply not going to finish first. Surely it will be a day to rejoice if it does happen, but it is so difficult as it is that any self imposed limit or hamstring that offers the opposition an advantage, much less the compound effect of multiple instances, makes it implausible if not impossible.

      I struggle regularly with this. I see the same struggle scattered in the subtext of posts everywhere. The only choices are to compete to win or dial back my expectations. And since it’s very clear that the university has not, and will not, meet our opponent on a level playing field (whether right or wrong on any individual or collective issue, as I will make no judgement), the choice is to dial back the expectation and take pride in running a good, if less successful, Program. Sadly, my love of my school makes that painfully difficult. Maybe that says something about my own moral compass. But it also tells me that the administration’s interests and mine are not aligned, and for a school to be so out of alignment with its fans (I suspect that I am far from the only one who feels this way) cannot bode well for a business venture that requires fan support.

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  4. Irishdawg

    I’m still laying the SC loss on a garbage holding call, and the Tech loss on 2 goal line fumbles. Neither of those happen, and Richt would be SEC coach of the year, even with the Florida face flop.

    I’m frustrated as a fan, too, because all our losses were games we should have won. But I’m locking on to the positives I saw; improving defense, aggressive turnover production, Georgia’s ability to flatten quality opponents when focused. I guess I just tolerate mediocrity, though, as I’m sure Ill be accused of doing in a matter of minutes.

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    • James Stephenson

      That is how I see it, plus missing those two FGs at SC which Morgan had been as solid as they come. Those are the breaks, it takes some luck to win a NC always has. Tech did not beat GA, they got two luck fumbles.

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      • AusDawg85

        In no way excusing coaching decisions, but when players make bad plays, you put the coaches into a position of making decisions that can cost the game. When faced with these decisions, St. Nick has shown the ability to make a bad one. Difference is his players make the mistakes less often than ours seem to do. Sure that’s coaching, recruiting, facilities, commitment, etc. So it’s everything, not just the HC.

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        • Will (The Other One)

          They have better talent (and coaching) than most teams they play too, so the chances go down.
          The Dawgs had 3 close games this season, total (plus one not close loss). They went 1-2, and had some bad fumble / BS holding luck in the losses. But that also meant they didn’t have to worry about the final minutes in several other games, including against some very, very good teams (looking at Arky, Mizzou, and Auburn), and put away the truly obvious wins early. As disappointing as parts of the season have been, that’s progress (including amazing progress with the patchwork secondary.)

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    • IAmAGurleyMan

      If you’re not going to count our fumbles, then you can’t count their fumble that led to a 99-yard TD for us.

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    • Debby Balcer

      +1

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  5. Bulldawg165

    What bothers me about this season is that:

    1) I genuinely believe we’re one of the top 5 teams in the country, if not the best, when we’re firing on all cylinders. Yet here we are, sitting at home on championship weekend because we couldn’t even win one of the easier Power 5 divisions.

    and…

    2) I feel like #1 happens a lot.

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    • Uglydawg

      165..I wholeheartedly agree..I feel like UGA is as good as anybody when playing well. The screw-ups are maddening. Being a Georgia fan can be very frustrating. But as Irishdawg said above…we’ve got a lot to be positve about.

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  6. sectionzalum

    the only loss that was really a head-scratcher for me was uf. cocks and nats were games we shoulda/coulda/woulda won if not for (fill in the blank). and against the nerds, in addition to a missed field goal, we had two freshmen fumbles within 5 yards of the goal line. 17 points, ladies and gentlemen. ugh.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      I’ll put the final 3 quarters of the offensive line vs. Tech just below the entire UF game as “things I just don’t get.”

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  7. Bud

    I thought it was the WORST coaching job Richt’s ever done.

    First, he has the ball on the goalline against Spurrier and blows that win, then he loses to a terrible Florida team in a blowout loss, then he calls for the pooch against Tech and blows that win.

    Tyler is someone happy with 9 wins.

    You can find excuses every year if you’re looking for them, but Champs figure out a way win Championships.

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    • Tyler is someone happy with 9 wins.

      And you’re someone who’s letting his disappointment override his reading comprehension skills.

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    • Dawgfan Will

      Worst coaching job? 6-7 from 2010 would like word.

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      • Will (The Other One)

        Up there with 2004 and 2008 as disappointments. (Though 2005 and 2011 were great bouncebacks. 2009…not so much.)

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    • Irishdawg

      So he gets no credit for consecutive road blowouts against Missouri and Arkansas , huh? Or throttling Clemson? Or holding Auburn to season low point and yardage totals? Or a +12 turnover margin? Or leading the SEC in scoring, after losing his best player for half the season?

      Jesus Christ

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    • Sanford222view

      I know, right? Why did CMR coach Chubb and Michel to fumble inside the 5 yrd line? What a moran!

      For me the UF loss was the coaching loss. We were dominated in that game. The other two while there were some decisions you could change I put equal or greater fault on execution by the players. I didn’t have a huge problem with the play call in the SC game. Yes it can be second guessed and argued that you just run it with Gurley but Mason’s had an issue with getting called for grounding other times this season as well and has to do better to throw the ball away there. Against Tech it should have never come down to the squib kick even though I do agree that decision was bad.

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  8. “It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog. But, sometimes it’s frustrating as hell, too.”

    That comment summarizes how I feel right now. For the Debby Downers, I feel your pain that we have had the pieces in place but couldn’t/didn’t get the job done. For the Disney Dawgs, I understand we were really close this year to being one of the final 4 standing and the future appears bright.

    The most frustrating part of the last 5 years has been the schizophrenic performance of the team – sometimes even in the same game. The Auburn wins of the last 4 years were surgical and business-like. We were completely schizophrenic in the 2013 game to fall behind by 20, come roaring back to take the lead, and lose it on a freak play that shouldn’t have happened. The South Carolina game in 2012 and the Florida game in 2014 were complete brain cramps where we didn’t even look like we got off the bus with the right mindset. This is the biggest thing the staff and the team need to fix. Alabama may lose games, but they make the other team play their absolute best to beat them. That’s what we need to emulate.

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    • Charlottedawg

      Your last two sentences are spot on. It’s the 5 yards difference between us & Bama.

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      • Alabama knows they are going to receive a team’s best shot in every game. I think instilling that mentality is part of Saban’s “process.” We need to understand that we’re typically in the same boat with most of the teams we play and need to prepare and execute like it.

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      • Uglydawg

        That’s it.

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    • Debby Balcer

      This Debby is not a downer

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      • Macallanlover

        🙂

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        • RocketDawg

          It is fascinating to try to understand the psychology of 18-22 year old athletes and trying to get and keep them focused every week. I don’t think that it is possible especially when you are in an emotional situation like rivalry games (which we seem to have every week) and the quality of talent that resides in the SEC.

          There are “buzz-saw” games where for whatever reason it doesn’t matter how prepared or ready to go a team may be, they are going to lose. 2012 vs USCe in Columbia (at night, Game Day, highly ranked, Clowney, etc) is a prime example. I have no doubt that the team was prepared and that they had a good game plan but in an environment like that you almost have to play flawless to win. Had Rambo made the pick on the first pass play we might have had a chance. The same could be said for our game vs Auburn this year. The return of Gurley, night game, revenge for last year all were factors. I told my wife before the game that I thought Gurley would take the opening kick off back for at TD and he did just that (our opening kick anyway). I have also never been more sure that we were going to win a game against a big time opponent as I was that night.

          The interesting part of this is how do you eliminate the “buzz-saw” emotions and stay in/win a game when the talent levels are so close. I guarantee that if we play UT at night next year it will be a “buzz-saw” game for them and we better come ready. Likewise the Alabama game for us should be a “buzz-saw” game for us.

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  9. 9-3 is probably a better record than I expected us to get when I was looking ahead back in August. I knew we’d miss Murray. (Not that Mason has been bad, far from it, but he was definitely a step down at a very important position.). Also, our shiny new DC was famously under-confident about his personnel.

    But 9-3, while not bad, is still not good when two of those losses come to some of your biggest rivals, especially when one of those rivals dominated you whistle to whistle despite being a truly inferior team with a lame-duck coach.

    So that’s why we feel deflated, I think; we know 9-3 is pretty good considering what could have happened but we also know that it should have been 11-1 with a shot at Bama.

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    • SCDawg

      This was an 8-4 or 9-3 type team based on the losses on defense-especially in the secondary, questions on OL, doubts about our starting QB, and what we expected the teams on our schedule to look like. So, at first blush, this season looks like a success. While we finished about where I thought we would, some exceptionally weird stuff happened along the way. This is a team that could have played Bama in the SEC champ game-and could have played them as one of only two undefeated teams. Two bad plays and failing to even get off the bus against your biggest rival cost them. That is, to me, even more frustrating than losing tough games to Mizzou, USC, and/or Ark on the road, and losing to AU and/or Clemson at home. Which is where I expected the team to stumble this year.

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      • Cojones

        Not me. Thought they would win out from the start as long as the team didn’t repeat last yr’s injury rate. Each loss hurt like hell because of the possibilities with this team and the only thing that salved it over was the thought of how the team felt after each loss. They all saw sugar plums, I’m sure. So did the coaches. Their disappointments by far outweigh my feelings.

        Looking back now, I don’t feel any differently and mourn the losses as true possibilities of winning it all, including the SECCG and beyond. In all fairness I should have considered the possibilities of D being down after losing two big men in the backfield and with a little more luck we wouldn’t have missed them and their experience.

        It’s a great balm to see the hope for the next two years. My eyes will be glued to practice reports for a QB leader of this upcoming loaded team to go all the way next year. As proof that I’m not an eternal optimist, I don’t think next year’s fall crop of ganga will be as good. Thought the pecan crop would be better this year as well.

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  10. CannonDawg

    Once again, there were enough occasions this year where the word “almost” could describe a call here or a play there and the affect it had on that razor-thin margin that so often affects the outcome, that it reminds me of Gettysburg (note: I was just a kid then).

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  11. Skeptic Dawg

    “…flops on the micro level that have simply killed Georgia in its three losses.” leave me feeling “a bit deflated at the end of the regular season.” This is where I find myself. Entering the season I said may time that I thought Georgia would be a 4 or 5 loss team. As mentioned above, expectations changed based on wins and progression of the team, namely that of ST’s, defense and the OL. My frustration comes from the flops we see from Georgia teams on the constant. I am not asking for 12-0 every season, just play consistently week in and week out and show up for every game.

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  12. Friedeggs

    Tyler is SOOOO wrong on this one.

    So what if you finish #1 in the SEC in scoring, is that the way you win the SEC? No. Ark did in 2011, Texas A/M in 2012/2013, UGA in 2014. None won a conference or national championship.

    And I got to tell you, for someone to call 2014 Richt’s best coaching job, just gets me, when we only won 9 games, lost to a couple of 6 win teams, and lost to a lesser talented GT. And we didn’t win the conf or
    get into the national championship game again for the 9th straight
    season.

    Bama had some key injuries, and a new guy at QB, and their rb’s were banged up pretty bad. But they found a win to win the conf and finish 31 in the country.

    You look at defensive scoring and it’s all Bama in the conference, #1 in 2011, #1 in 2012, #1 in 2013, #3 in 2014.

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    • .Dash

      Yes, hapless Alabama, with their ocean deep roster of 4 and 5 star talent somehow managed to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and win. Give me a break man.

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  13. Friedeggs

    for Tyler to call Richt’s coaching flaw of being too conservative “easily fixable” is absurd, ridiculous, laughable and naiive. Richt’s known about this since 2005, had 9 years to fix it, and still no championships since 2005.

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    • I didn’t say he would easily fix it. I said it is ‘easily fixable.’ Furthermore, it is one he has started to fix. It is something he’s known about his whole career; I’m guessing it is some sort of compensation response to seeing Bobby Bowden ‘go for it’ so much.

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    • FWIW, we have the QB, WR, and DB talent/depth of a 7-6 team. I stand by my assessment that this is the best job Richt has done in ‘getting the team to play like a team and be better than the sum of its parts.’

      No one here will question your loyalty to OMGFIRERICHT if you actually think he might be competent at something.

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      • Friedeggs

        Know any legit sportswriter who’s said Richt should be Coach or the Year, or are you the lone voice there?

        Who cares if Richt’s competent in areas that don’t win Championships like special teams, offensive scoring…..it’s not that I don’t see those things, it’s that they aren’t relevant to winning championships in the SEC.

        It’s about defense first, needs to finish in the top 5 nationally in scoring like Bama has in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. I don’t know if Richt’s defense has ever finished in the top 5 in scoring. He just doesn’t understand how you win Championships since 2005.

        The offense needs to be in the top 20 in scoring and be a run first team every year.

        special teams doesn’t seem to matter much if you look at Bama.

        So if you’re going to write, speak about what it’s going to take to win a Championship, quit calling a guy who just won 9 games, and no championships, his “best year ever”.

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          • Friedeggs

            If you’re right about this being Richt’s best coaching year ever, name some respected sports journalists who are writing about that? If you can’t, maybe you’re really off about the job Richt did this year.

            I would like to remind you that Muschamp, WILL MUSCHAMP who got fired a few weeks later, ran for over 400 yards on Richt, and GT, with much worse recruiting classes, also ran for near 400 yards on Richt. How does that happen given the resources Richt has? How can anyone say Richt did his best coaching job this year?

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            • And I would like to remind you that Auburn put up 300+ more offensive yards on your paragon than it did against Georgia.

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              • Friedeggs

                Muschamp didn’t even run for 260 yards+ on ANY team EXCEPT MARK RICHT.

                418 Rush yards, when no other team allows more than 259???

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              • Friedeggs

                Richt was also the ONLY TEAM to allow SC to complete 70% of their passes.

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                • Sounds like you’ve got a bigger problem with Pruitt than with Richt.

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                  • Friedeggs

                    No, the problem is Richt, because he has the wrong priorities, strategy and is not able to execute a top 5 national scoring defense, he assumes you can win the SEC by finishing No 1 in offensive scoring instead of finishing No 1 in defensive scoring…

                    It is 100% on Mark Richt because is a strategic issue.

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                  • Friedeggs

                    Another way to say it is, Mark Richt assumes he can win Championships by just outscoring teams.

                    Since 2005, that has never worked.

                    In 2014, he could not outscore GT or UF or SC.

                    His strategy was wrong.

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                    • AusDawg85

                      LOL!! In the history of football, I’m pretty sure no one has ever won without outscoring the other team. But you got it half right, we always seem to lose games when we don’t score more points than our opponent.

                      Must be bad strategy.

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                    • Mayor

                      And in 2010 Auburn didn’t win the BCSNCG by almost entirely offensive football? I would say 2013 Auburn came within a whisker of winning it all again with no discernible D being played.

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                    • DirtyBird

                      Mayor, unless you run the option like Auburn does, then you better play some defense because you can’t score as many points passing it, without a lot more turnovers in this conf. I don’t see CMR switching to an option team. Time of Poss is different if you look at a CMR led offense, where a Saban offense is going to always average over 30 minutes poss each year, CMR’s will usually not.

                      Saban does 3 things to keep his defense fresh that we don’t do well:
                      1–wins time of possession by running the ball well and often
                      2–rotates his guys a bunch without sacrificing quality due to recruiting and great coaching
                      3–last, is good at limiting first downs— been #1 in the conf on opponent 1st downs every year except one for a long time.

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                    • Mayor, unless you run the option like Auburn does, then you better play some defense because you can’t score as many points passing it, without a lot more turnovers in this conf.

                      Georgia was first in the conference in scoring, first in turnovers lost and first in turnover margin this season.

                      Georgia 2014 averaged more points per game than 2013 Auburn did.

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                    • DirtyBird

                      To win our conf, you either:
                      1- top defense like Saban
                      2- Spread Option team like Gus or Urban Meyer ran

                      CMR’s plan seems to be:
                      1- Have a poor defense that finishes 6-10 in conf def scoring
                      2- Pro style offense that finishes #1 in conf off scoring

                      CMR’s plan has resulted in 0 conf titles since 2005 and 0 BCS title games in 14 years.

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                    • Sorry – why does the style of offense you’re running matter?

                      Also, lumping Malzahn’s and Meyer’s offenses together under spread option label is really lazy – very different types of attacks.

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                    • Biggus Rickus

                      You think Mark Richt’s strategy is to produce mediocre defenses? Like, he plans to give up 20 a game because he thinks it gives him the best chance to win?

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                    • DirtyBird

                      Why does style of offense matter? Well, assuming you want to come up with a plan that has a shot at winning the SEC and getting to the BCS big dance, there are only 2 roads:
                      1- Have a top ranked defensive like Saban does almost every year that holds offenses down
                      CMR hasn’t had a top 3 defense in the conf since 2005 as far as scoring goes. So this option will never work for CMR.
                      2- only other way an SEC team has been able to win the SEC is running the spread offense with a dual threat Qb, like Urban Meyer & Gus run.

                      Bama does run a Pro style offense, but it only works because they also have the #1 conf sco def almost every year. Their defense is usually top 5 and their offense is usually top 20. Only way to make Pro Style off work in the sec is to have a top defense, and Richt never does since 2005.

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                    • That’s not an explanation, just a repetition.

                      Which means it’s time for you to move on to a new subject, friend.

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        • Biggus Rickus

          2nd in 2003. They were also 6th in 2005.

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    • IAmAGurleyMan

      +1,000

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  14. Friedeggs

    Bama finished #101 in special teams, they don’t waste time on it because it’s a lot less important than defense.

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    • Yeah, that worked well for ‘Bama last season.

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    • Nick Saban 2011-4 would like to have a word with you. They outplayed LSU in 2011 but lost because they couldn’t kick a field goal. They could have lost the 2012 SECCG to us due to a special teams blow-up with the blocked FG return (remember they fell behind by double digits at that point). They blew the 2013 Iron Bowl because of special teams (one again the inability to kick a field goal and the brain cramp at the end of the game). They lost the Ole Miss game this year due to the inability to field a punt cleanly.

      If Nick Saban had Marshall Morgan (or Blair Walsh) the last 4+ years, Alabama may have even been better than they are.

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      • Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Eggman’s point is that despite special teams blunders because of the overall strength of Bama’s defense these are overcome.

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        • They lost 3 of those 4 games, so the defense didn’t bail them out in any of those cases. They were also behind in the 2012 SECCG when the blocked FG happened, so special teams have bitten the Tide over the last few years.

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  15. Charlottedawg

    I think all things considered Richt and Georgia
    Did a good but incomplete job this year. Make no mistake, the 3 losses sucked, but let’s remember why the word disappointing keeps getting thrown around and it’s because when this team was on it was on. Losing to south Carolina, tech, & Florida was maddening because you saw the same team just destroy every tiger team it faced. You can’t blame the coaches for the bad without giving credit for the good.

    No, we didn’t know that the east would be as bad as it wad and yes we should’ve won the division. But I still think the team performed beyond reasonable expectations. Having a real shot at 11-1 is a pretty damn good job for a first year qb, losing the best player in the country, and a new defensive coordinator. (A young dc rebuilding the defense no less)

    Long term the program’s success hinges on 3 things 1) can Pruitt put an elite defense on the field to finally complement one of if not the best offensive coordinator in the country 2) kind of tying in, can we recruit well enough and manage our roster well enough to give us one of the top 3 rosters in terms of talent in the sec. (We need a string of top 5 classes not top 10). 3) can mark Richt change himself and the program to a mindset of showing up for every snap of the season as opposed to doing
    One’s job most of the time.

    Check all 3 and we get over the hump. Stay the same and Richt becomes our John Cooper good enough to be the 4th best coach in the conference and 2 conference championships as his final record.

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    • Charlottedawg, well reasoned analysis of the state of the program. Regarding your 3 items:

      #1 – We’re on our way regarding the defense. We thought Grantham would bring an elite defense but never did. I don’t think Pruitt will give up until we are on par with Alabama on the defensive side.
      #2 – I think top 10 recruiting classes are sufficient to build a roster that can compete. While you can’t make chicken salad from chicken $#!+, player development and S&C is more important because the recruiting services are SWAGs about these guys. Oregon has proven you can be elite without the approval of Rivals, Scout and 24/7.
      #3 – The question comes down to whether Richt can change his stripes 15 years in. This issue alone is what has caused the schizophrenic play since the 2006 Sugar Bowl. He doesn’t need to become Les Miles or Nick Saban to make it happen. He needs to demand consistent excellence from everyone associated with the program.

      None of this requires significantly more money from the reserve fund (although some facility upgrades including an IPF are necessary to keep them from becoming an anchor). It’s really about changing the mindset of the program.

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  16. Macro happy, micro upset, but that’s the life of a Georgia fan. We regressed to the mean, record-wise, based on talent/attrition/injuries so I’m OK with the 9-3, I’m just not happy with how we got there, if that makes any sense. Shrug

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    • Macallanlover

      Pretty much where I am. Never happy with a loss, but realize they happen to everyone. Very happy that we are capable of playing with anyone. And agree that the big picture shows we were pretty much a 9-3 or 10-2 team when I thought 9-3 was about all we could expect, and that 8-4 seemed a real possibility. All in all, good year for UGA with what we had to work with and circumstances we faced, but I expect better the next two years with what we have coming back and the group coming into join us. Good time to be a Dawg Fan.

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  17. Bright Idea

    Got to recruit more size and strength on the LOS to make some of these micro issues moot. When Bama and FSU have a micro screw up they overcome it by kicking butt on the LOS.

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  18. Yeah, like JasonDawg says, it’s like a 15 year old marriage.

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  19. Friedeggs

    I expected Richt to win the SEC and the BCS, have every year since 2005, but he disappoints every time.

    I don’t go into a year expecting to not be a Champion.

    I expect more than 8 or 9 wins a season.

    I don’t settle for less than Championships.

    Fact is, this team SHOULD have beaten SC, UF, and GT, was favored to win in all 3, and found a way to go 0-3 in those games. COULD have gone 12-0. SHOULD have gone 12-0.

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    • I don’t settle for less than Championships.

      Whoop-de-fucking-do.

      So what have you done about it?

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      • Friedeggs

        What I’m NOT doing is calling a terrible year, a “best”. Nothing is more damaging to a program than writers who can’t tell best from average.

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        • So Georgia’s average year is terrible, or is it that Georgia’s terrible year is average?

          And if what people write on a blog is more damaging to a football program than anything else, Georgia has bigger problems than I thought.

          You’ve made your point. Repeatedly. Move on, or risk the consequences of boring the shit out of me. And this isn’t my first warning to you about trolling.

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  20. Friedeggs

    Saban doesn’t use injuries, or 1st year starter at Qb, or first year coordinators, as excuses like Tyler does for losing, Saban just finds a way to win Championships with all the issues that Tyler says hurt UGA this year.

    Those same issues didn’t hurt Bama.

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  21. JAX

    All this back and forth……

    No one is asking for my 2 cents but here it is anyway:

    Mark Richt’s teams have had more than the talent necessary to win a national title and multiple SEC titles. The primary reason this has not happened is due to (1) below-average defenses since BVG left and (2) the anticipated Mark Richt lay-an-egg game. 2004 and 2007 UT come to mind, 2014 Florida, so many it’s hard to keep count. This isn’t “hating” on our coach, it’s a fact.

    Coach Richt has had 14 years to show us what he is capable and not capable of. At this point I firmly believe that we will continue to see 9 and 10 win seasons with an occasional 11 or 12, but no SEC titles. This program has been elevated by a great man who happens to be a pretty darn good coach. The record bears that out, but he is not a championship-level manager and will not be required to be one because the business side of our program is too healthy.

    Will we ever dare to be great? Not under this current regime.

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    • RocketDawg

      You hit the nail on the head with point #1, the biggest problem with the UGA football team has been our inability to put a good (not even great) defense on the field consistently since 2005. There was a blip of good defense in 2007 that probably set us back a few years since it gave Willie a reprieve from the hangman’s noose. I think that we all wanted to believe that Grantham was the answer but in reality he was 4th or 5th choice for DC when the change was made and didn’t come with all that impressive a resume’. I believe that we are finally on the way back to putting a good defense on the field with Jeremy Pruitt as DC, the defense improved dramatically from the beginning to the end of the year with sub-standard talent at all 3 levels. We are on our way to the #1 or 2 recruiting class in 2015 and working on the same for 2016. As long as Bobo and Richt are here then you know that we are going to score points, the key will be having a defense that will stop the other team.

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    • Unfortunately, I think your 2d to last paragraph sums it up. Mark Richt is a great guy who is a reliable B+ coach. Maybe he’ll get lucky one of these years and avoid the face plant game (though luck hasn’t been his strong suit). Otherwise, we’ve had plenty of time to see the truth that we must face: championships aren’t likely to happen for Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs.

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  22. Jerry

    Was a super dum artical. Georga has a terrubull dfense that is giving up 34 a game to teams in the Sic like Floridu, Tenesse, Kentukee, Soth Carohlinea, and Arkansaw. Best seeson ever?>#$%^& .

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  23. MinnesotaDawg

    To me, Richt (and his staff) is frequently like a very good, sometimes great chef–who is very personable and likable to his boss and patrons, knows what they like to eat, finds and collects beautiful, fresh ingredients, presents a solid, and sometimes creative menu. He’s also very competent in preparing the dish.

    However, randomly, once a week he forgets to turn the ovens on and nothing gets cooked and the food gets ruined. Also, randomly, once a week, he sits back and just burns the shit out of the beautiful entree he worked so hard to create. And again, the food gets ruined.

    Frustrating.

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  24. Cojones

    Yall are some funny dudes. Yall been smokin’um like you got’um?

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  25. JCDAWG83

    The problem with Richt is that he doesn’t have 14 years experience as a head coach, he has 1 years experience 14 times.

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