Uncle Verne on Georgia’s clock management

From an interview with Spencer Hall:

SH: You say that you rarely take stances, but the time I wanted to ask about was the 2009 call in the LSU-Ole Miss game. Facing something like fourth-and-26, Jordan Jefferson throws the ball close to the goal line in a situation where they end up with no time outs and needing a field goal with the clock showing 1 second. Your call on this was: “What are they doing?!??”

That’s all just reaction, right?

VL: Absolutely. I can remember one other circumstance similar to that, in Auburn-Georgia early in my years in the SEC. Mark Richt forgot he didn’t have any timeouts left, and he signaled from the sideline in a goal-line situation for David Greene to kill the clock. I just reacted like people at home did, which was to say “Inexplicable.”

Tradition!

Might have been interesting to hear Lundquist call the last minute of regulation in the Tech game…

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

38 responses to “Uncle Verne on Georgia’s clock management

  1. CannonDawg

    It would be worthwhile for Mark Richt to spend some (or perhaps lots of) time with Coach Dooley on management of the game, to include the clock, in the late stages. Mike Smith might also benefit with a seat at that table.

    Like

    • Mayor

      Methinks VD would have no interest in doing that.

      Like

      • sUGArdaddy

        Um, sure he would. He loves Mark and UGA. You’ve misread that. But, St. Vincent was not without major mistakes of handling end-game scenarios. Clemson ’87 comes to mind. Up 4 deep in our own territory late. We ran a QB sweep, got tackled for a safety and watched Treadwell kick a FG to beat us (again) at the buzzer…on a rainy day when there’s probably no way Clemmons gets one in the end zone on us. There were others. They all make mistakes.

        The more I think about it, I’m not convinced the squib was that bad of an idea. Richt admitted it was a mistake, but that’s simply because they made the play to beat us off of it. I was calling for a squib, myself. A touchback runs no time off the clock, so they get it at the 25 with :18. The squib presents much less likely of a return because it’s usually not going to a speedy guy. The main problem was the squib was a terrible kick. Typically, a squib is a worm-burner line drive. Marshall essentially kicked and onside kick, which was terribly short. A squib that gave them the ball at the 35 by an up-back would have been just fine. A 20-yard play still would have left them out of FG range. What we didn’t intend to do with that squib was give them the ball at the 43. We were willing to give up 10-15 yards to waste clock and keep it out of the hands of a speedster with potential to get it into FG range or go for a TD. We did not anticipate a kick that poor.

        Of course, you also don’t have to let them scramble for 20 yards, so there’s that.

        Like

        • Russ

          I agree. I thought the correct play was a worm-burner that’s hard to handle, is still pretty deep, and takes time off the clock. Instead, we got a pooch kick.

          As for Vince and clock management, I well remember the fiasco at Clemson. He also refused to call time out on defense when it was apparent to everyone that Clemson was driving into position to score. We could’ve at least left time on the clock for us to attempt a comeback.

          Like

          • MA

            Also in Clemson ’87: We faked a field goal, which Clemson figured out when the holder lined up on the wrong side (for the kicker).

            Like

        • JRDP

          You’re right about the scramble. On that play the ball is on the left hash mark. Leonard Floyd is spy but inexplicably drifts to the center of the field and has no chance to stop Tech’s QB on the play. If he plays his responsibility he tackles Thomas and the clock likely runs out. But in any evenly it’s not a 20+ yard gain that sets up a FG.

          Like

    • Isn’t this what he did years ago with I think Homer Smith maybe? He consulted with some former coach about clock management particularly at the ends of games.

      Like

  2. Vindex

    I well remember that much was made 12 years ago of CMR’s comment after the win at Auburn that he had spent some time in the off-season with Homer Smith to remedy his clock management issues from AU at Georgia 2001. But, as we all saw most recently on 11/29/14, this is a recurring issue. It is a big reason, I am sure, that another poster (whose name I unfortunately do not recall) remarked that instead of 14 years’ experience as HC, Coach Richt has the same one year, repeated 14 times. For better or for worse. Vot you see iss vot you get.

    Like

    • Mayor

      The time with Homer Smith actually created new problems. CMR was told what to do in clock management and end of game situations by Coach Smith and those were undoubtedly insightful and the right lessons, IMHO. The problem is that CMR misapplies those concepts and uses what Coach Smith said at the wrong times and in different situations than what Coach Sith was talking about. CMR’s sessions with Coach Smith in some ways made him worse in end of game situations–not better. For example, when are behind in the game by more than 3 points with 1 timeout left and you are inside the opponent’s 10 yard line, 1st and goal with the clock running, Homer Smith says do not clock the ball but rather run a pass play into the endzone because the D is on their heels and in disarray. Absolutely right! But when you have no timeouts you can’t do that because if the pass is complete in bounds and the player is not in the endzone and gets tackled, the clock runs out and you lose the game. When you have no timeouts left you clock the ball, huddle up, and tell all the receivers “If you are not in the endzone do NOT catch the ball because if you get tackled time runs out and we lose the game.” CMR followed the correct procedure if he had 1 TO left, but not if he had zero TOs left. That’s the problem. He does the wrong thing believing it to be the right thing because he apparently can’t match up the call with the situation. Same thing in the GT game. Squib-kicking the KO is fine if you have more than an 8 point lead–but not with a 3 point lead. I cannot believe that a guy who played football all through HS and college, coached as an assistant for more than 20 years and now has been a HC at the college level for 14 years can be such an idiot at times in end of game situations. But the truth is that CMR personally is responsible for losing 2 games with bad decisions at or near the end of the games (SC and GT) which kept UGA from an 11-1 regular season and a chance at the SECCG and the 4 team playoff (I’m not even going into the WLOCP). The TEAM won those game and he threw them away. My impression is that Bobo is as bad as CMR as he participates in these end of game screw-ups.

      Like

      • sUGArdaddy

        Lord, I still don’t understand people crying over South Carolina. The play-action wasn’t a bad call. Quayvon was wide open and the DE made a play and Hutson panicked. You still had 2-3 plays to hand it to Todd if it’s imcomplete or doesn’t get it. Worse case, if you’re sacked, you’ve got a great kicker and a chip shot 3. Worse, worse case…there’s still plenty of time to get a stop and get the ball back if disaster happens.

        It’s easy to say, “I wished we’d handed it to Todd 4 straight times.” 1st, do you really think we go for it on 4th if we don’t get it running 3 straight times? 2nd, while Todd had a good game, SC had slowed him down as good as anybody. 3rd, what if the coaches were convinced that they “couldn’t” slam it up in there 3 straight times and score? 4th, What you don’t want is to end up saying, “You know, I wish we’d have tried something a little more creative there at least once.”

        We tried the ‘hand it to Chubb’ nearly 6 straight times vs. Tech. It didn’t get in and we settled for 3. To call this some kind of end-game fiasco is simply inaccurate. It was a play that went wrong, but not necessarily a bad call.

        Like

        • Mayor

          “None are so blind as those that will not see.” Also, I’m not crying. I’m explaining football strategy to those that don’t “comprende” football strategy. I guess that would be you. 🙂

          Like

          • sUGArdaddy

            Mayor, if you think the play action was an atrocious play-call, then there are a lot of coordinators on Sundays that need to be out of work, because that play gets called all the time.

            There are very, very rare times you can point to a singular play as a bad play call. That simply was not. It was a quick, low-risk pass that Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady run weekly. It backfired in the worst way.

            Chubb going over the top backfired in the worst way vs. Tech, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad call. An opposing player made a play and our guy made a mistake on a routine play.

            As many TDs as Verron Haynes, JT Wall, Jeremy Thomas, Brannan Southerland, and Shaun Chapas scored out of the backfield in the Richt era, I can’t understand how many fans think that was the worst call in the history of football.

            Singular play-calls like that just aren’t the thing to complain about, because we don’t know enough about the situation. In our offense, a QB very rarely walks to the line with 1 play to call. Usually, the call is depending on a look by the defense. It just bothers me. All we know is it didn’t work, but it’s worked a million times and will work a million times more. And we don’t know that a hand-off to Todd doesn’t result in a 3 yard loss and what do we do then?

            The squib? Complain about it all day long. But that play against South Carolina was neither a bone-head call nor what lost the game. Giving up 38 points lost the game.

            Like

            • Macallanlover

              Wasting your time with a “wasted mind”. He is the loudest whiner on every loss with his not even 20/20 hindsight. Of course the results were bad, but the play calling was perfectly normal. Most every coach has called for a squib in the same situation, clocking the ball against Bama was one acceptable option but running a play quickly was every bit as good, and I wouldn’t want an OC or HC who would only run the ball at 1st and 4. To deny there aren’t other options reflects a total lack of football knowledge or a mind gone to pasture. Could be both with this guy.

              If someone wants to rave about a call that was undeniably wrong, the one Verne is referring to against Auburn was that. Would not be so memorable had it worked, but the play selected gave us only one shot when we could have had two…..CMR blew that one. And it would have been a bad choice even if it ad worked.

              Like

              • Mayor

                With every post you show how little you understand the game of football. NO coaches ever squid the ball on a kick-off at the end of the game with a 3 point lead–at least none that keep their jobs very long. Sure in the South Carolina game there were options other than handing the ball off to the best back in America 1st and goal from the 4 when the game is on the line–CMR/Bobo picked the worst option, a naked bootleg pass leaving the DE unblocked. How’d that work out? If you don’t know anything about football you need to STFU and stop showing your ignorance.

                Like

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Great Mayor, glad you brought this up…exactly what are your qualifications to “explain football strategy” to us, no kidding, it certainly would help to know your CV in the football arena.

            Thanks for taking the time.

            Like

            • Husky Jeans

              All I know is that Mayor adamantly argued to me earlier this year that the list of better coaches than Richt includes Jim Mora (nice 31-10 loss to a bad Stanford team at home to close the season), David Shaw (great 5 loss season this year), Mike Gundy (great year), and Frank Beamer (did anyone watch their game against Wake Forest this year?). Tough to take anyone seriously who makes those kinds of arguments.

              Like

              • Mayor

                At least get the names right. I said all the coaches in the SEC West except Bert were better plus Spurrier from the East and maybe also Pinkel. I said Urban Meyer and Mark Dantoinio from the Big 10 and RichRod from the PAC 12 . RichRod had a tough loss in the PAC-12 Championship Game the other night but I at least his team got to play in it. I also said Gary Patterson and Art Briles from the Big 12. You have a very selective memory no doubt dulled by drugs and alcohol.

                Like

      • Hey Mayor

        You’re such a smart guy so answer this.

        We clock the ball. Saban doesn’t use his last timeout to regroup (which he most certainly would have if we’d stopped the clock because his defense was gassed and getting shredded). The clock is now stopped (and you and the football “intelligencia” feel better about life for some unknown reason). We run the same play. Mosely blitzes (like he did on that same play). Freshman Gurley doesn’t attack the blitzer so Mosely gets his hands up and tips the pass (again, just like he did on that same play). Conley is not the target on the play but instinctively catches the ball in bounds and doesn’t score (as he did on said same play). A combination of not executing a block and the ball’s trajectory being diverted in an unlucky direction.

        So what difference does clocking the ball make? Hint: The clock runs out in both situations.

        Clocking the ball would not have helped avoid the scenario we experienced at the end of the game. Might have actually helped Saban though.

        Don’t feel bad – 98.6% of our fans don’t have a clue about the intricacies of football either.

        Like

        • Mayor

          Conley purposely knocks the ball down because he and all the other receivers were told before the play not to catch the pass if he’s not in the end-zone. It’s either a complete pass in the end-zone for a TD or incomplete and we do it again. See my post above.

          Like

    • Debby Balcer

      Do you have multiple identities or is the new meme coach Richt has coached the same year fourteen times? It is about as true as Bobo has a crayon.

      Like

  3. Gaskilldawg

    Vern’s memory is playing tricks on him. I was at that Auburn game in 2001. Richt did not signal Green to kill the clock. He called a running play, Saks didn’t score and the clock ran out before we could snap the ball again.

    Like

    • Yep and Richt threw himself on his sword rather than mentioning the fact that a lineman went the wrong way and the play was a bust. He did a pretty damn good job of managing the clock earlier that season in Knoxville, and the Vols still have a hobnailed boot crushed face as a result.

      He made a mistake at the end of the tech game and owned it. Let’s get over it now. All of us make mistakes at work every day – the problem is ours aren’t typically made in an environment where millions of people see the result.

      Like

    • Mayor

      Correct, Gaskilldawg. I was there and saw it live. Absolutely the wrong call to make in that situation. After the game the Auburn defensive players said that when Georgia came out in that formation they all, to a man, knew what play was called, too. That play had no chance of working. Predicable even back then.

      Like

  4. Uglydawg

    For every game we can point to where the clock was mismanged, there are probably several that we don’t recall where the management was very good. But as we used to say in the service…one “Oh, Shit” wipes out a hundred “Attaboy”s.

    Like

  5. anon

    If only we could bring homer smith back from the dead to update his clock management book for dummies to include kickoffs..then richt would have that part of the game mastered.

    Like

  6. Alkaline

    When I saw that “2009 LSU” and “bad clock mgmt” were being referenced, I assumed this post would be about the 2009 LSU/UGA game in Athens. There was still 1:09 on the clock when we kicked off to LSU after tying the game up at 13–and after the famously non-existent AJ Greene celebration call.

    I was standing behind the hedges in the LSU end-zone, so I don’t know how deep the kickoff was, but LSU took it to the UGA 40. I’m sure you know the rest. The officials deservedly took the rap that day, but kick coverage and the speed at which LSU scored (on 2 plays) leaves me wondering given the recent squib-kick meme.

    Like

    • Alkaline

      My memory was a little off–we actually led 13-12 after our final score. LSU had missed a two-point conversion after they went up 12-7. Things just seem to work out for Les, though 😦

      Like

  7. Will Trane

    Amen Mr. Mayor. So well said.
    Thanks.
    Somewhere between now and next season, please post and repeat that again for those who seem to forget.
    Painful to think of those losses.

    Like

  8. Will Trane

    Watching CMR at the end of the game is like what I heard a friend tell our pastor one time about the length of worhsip services. Sometimes they can be a little too long.
    He told the pastor to be careful about long sermons because what you say in the first 55 minutes you can take back in the last 5.
    CMR has taken back a few wins over the years…no more so that Auburn and Tech…very old, long established rivals that we see every year.

    Like

  9. aikendawg

    all of you so called football fans just need to chill and listen to what mayor has to say. I agree with 99% of what he says because its right on the money. as a real football man I respect and appreciate his ability to break down situations and then explain why our head coach continues to cost us game after game. facts are facts fellow dawgs. as I posted a couple of days ago……we don’t support the university of mark richt we support the university of Georgia. keep up the good work mayor. gata jyd

    Like

    • AreUkiddingme

      No doubt he’s a likable guy and a great politician, but a football mind CMR is not

      Like

    • JRDP

      Blind leading the blind. Or perhaps better stated, we see what we want to see.

      1. Just for example – See my post above for an explanation as to why the so-called Mayor is dead wrong on the end of the 2012 Bama game.
      2. If you think coaching cost us the GT game … wow! Did coaches fumble twice inside the 5 yard line early in the game? Did coaches fail to execute the defensive call on the last offensive pay of regulation? Again see my other post above.

      Where is Mayor coaching these days?

      Like

  10. AreUkiddingme

    Bottom line is you can’t fix dumb and CMR ain’t the brightest bulb in the pack.

    Like

  11. ugafidelis

    Yeah come on y’all, do any of you think The Great Saint Nick would ever make a bone headed decisions late in a game against his biggest rival??? No way! Oh wait…

    Like