Georgia Sports Blog FanShop

October 8, 2007

In the Cold Light of Dawn

There are a variety of solid, take a deep breath and then post type articles floating around after the game. Here are some of the better ones:
-- This one's gonna leave a mark - Get the Picture
-- There's got to be a morning after - Get the Picture
-- Some historical perspective -



Anonymous said...

I've paused, taken a few deep breaths, counted to 10, and blown some steam at the firing range. That said I still feel that now is a prime time to go after Van Gorder who's signature move was lighting fires in the pants of defensive players. I don't know if we can match the Falcons in pay, but we can BEAT the Falcons in the win column...just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

My expectation is not to win every game, that's my hope of course. My expectation is to be competetive in EVERY game. I am concerned that every year we struggle against "lesser" opponents and have a game or two where we get crushed. I dread FLA already this year. Will KY beat us two years running?

I can't begin to explain it, but somthing is not clicking. Stafford looks like he is too afraid to make a mistake and takes NO CHANCES anymore. I for sure don't want to seem him lobbing up the int's like last season, but to take a risk when you are down 21 points is justified.

There certainly seem to been some consistant problems and I don't think it is talent. We are loaded. I think(Why did our guys look so small next to TN?)

Anonymous said...

Saturday, after I spoke to friends at Neyland, I realized just how badly the fans were going to take this loss. I use fans in a pejorative sense since the people calling for firings of coaches, inviting coaches to leave when other programs' coaching vacancies become available and having unrealistic expectations ("he's got to go, we have waited for three years for another championship") are 'fans' in the same way the Colonel Sanders character was in "Water Boy," happy to make fun and belittle as long as it is the cool thing to do, but also willing to jump on the "we" bandwagon when the team wins. Reminds me of Tech fans, honestly (an unfortunate coincidence, since Schultz compared our PROGRAM to Tech).

While all of us are rightly frustrated at yesterday's debacle, this game, as well as the SC and Ole Miss games, exhibited the symptoms of something you alluded to in your post after last year's Colorado game. After a re-read of the post your linked about why you have a basis of faith in the program, something you wrote stood out to me: "Georgia doesn't have to do anything super human to win games with its talent, team work and conditioning." While I would be happy to chalk this up to the fact that Tennessee had two weeks to specifically scheme for this game with their coaches' careers literally on the line, which by the way is the reason they won so big, but didn't make the outcome any less certain, there is something deeper and far less correctable going on here: Georgia lacks team work and specifically team leadership from the players.

There I said it. Georgia lacks fundamental teamwork and leadership from the players. No one is stepping into the void left two years ago by DJ Shockley. Last year, we all assumed we would get that leadership from various players, especially Joe T, and we did at times. By and large, the team only plays up to the sum of its various components, not at a level higher achieved by teamwork.

We lack leadership; no one is stepping up. At various times, I felt we would have any number of guys do so, but it hasn't happened. Ellerby, Miller, Brown, Stafford. All names we thought would get it done, and I firmly believe will at some point in the near future, but haven't yet. One other name to throw in there. Moreno. Even at 18, he has that spark that could make it happen, but it remains to be seen. The biggest loss from Oliver failing out of school was his leadership.

We didn't get out schemed yesterday (there is some debate there, I know, especially defensively), we got out executed by a team that wanted to win more. Winning mattered more to Tenn. When you lose ballgames, it is almost always a product of either talent, play calling, scheme or execution or a combination of those four. Yesterday was almost exclusively execution. We could point to plays where the players seemed unprepared, but by and large, Foster ran with impunity because the players didn't tackle and no Georgia players ran anywhere because players didn't block.

I am not an expert in talent, but I cannot believe that any of the teams Georgia has lost to in the past two season has superior talent. Equal talent on a couple of occasions, but never superior talent. If you think play calling or schemes haven't worked, I can only point to the fact that Georgia continues to keep teams guessing (well, with the exception of yesterday) on offense. Throw out the run/pass thing from yesterday. When you are down by 28 in the first half on the road, you are forced to pass more. South Carolina does raise some questions, but again, offensively and defensively, it is about execution and heart.

I will concede that execution can be coached, but I believe that is happening. See the Alabama game, especially on offense or the entire Okie State game or the second half of the Ole Miss game. Even defensively, we have done some great things at times, but also looked like the Dawgs of the early 90's...lethargic, uninterested and overmatched. The difference now is the Dawgs aren't overmatched, just uninterested. It is almost as if the team has read the press, believes it and is just waiting for next year to get here, so they can be really good.

Defensively, we have 11 guys that want to be Greg Blue and deliver that one hit everyone remembers. It is all about them and their desire to make ESPN highlights. One big hit is nice, but a well defended pass play is more of a thing of beauty, especially if it saves a touchdown or causes 2nd and 10. A tackle for a loss is terrific, but extending a running play and forcing a back out of bounds with a one yard gain on 2nd and 8 is just as important. Sacks are crowd pleasers, but pressuring a QB into rushing passes or dumping the ball off on 3rd down wins games.

Offensively, we have to find players that execute. Enough of the young line, enough of the learning curve, enough of the injuries. Find people willing to go do the job. I wasn't sure if it was Sturdivant or 'Tater Salad out there. Find receivers willing to go across the middle, willing to block, willing to take a hit and willing to go up, fight for a catch, then stay on their feet and run after a catch.

Most importantly, find players who want to go into the other guys house and absolutely embarrass them. Find players who want to play at home and have the crowd so juiced that opposing teams are begging to load up to go home. Perhaps part of that is on the coaches, but the players have to want it; you can only coach so much desire. I am reminded every day of that very thing, since I am in a similar business: It is hard to motivate a 20 year old to do something unless he already wants to do it.

Let's not wish for Richt to leave. Who would we get? He is the right man at the right time for Georgia, and I hope he'll retire here after passing Coach Dooly as the all-time win (something that very well could happen, even at 8 wins a season). Let's remember that we are talking about real people, with real options in their lives beyond working for Georgia. The same could be said for the players, but it seems obvious to me that the players are less into doing their jobs than the coaches right now. Yes, there is blame to go around, but the first fundamental problem is player leadership.


As I listen to my two year old daughter sing Glory, Glory, it does remind me of how easy it is to lose sight of the reason I am a Georgia fan, because I absolutely and unconditionally love the University and the Dawgs. As much as it would absolutely suck to go 0-12, I wouldn't be any less of a fan. I would still never boo the players. I would be frustrated with their performance, as I am now, I would still make as many games as I could. I will still be there next week in Nashville, for that matter.

The Dawgs have plenty to play for, especially now since each loss moves our bowl game earlier and to a less desirable locale. Hopefully, playing for pride, instead of a championship, will mean something to the players.

Trey said...

anon... there are so many things wrong with your post.

1) You use the word fans in a "pejorative" sense because they are happy to make fun and belittle as long as it is the cool thing to do. And, by the way, you pejoratively point out that fans use "we" when referring to the football team, but you use it later in your post, unironically.

First, I don't agree with calling out any player. If a player is bad, and he shouldn't be in the game, it is the coach's fault. They are in charge of who goes in the game, and they are free to be criticized for bad personnel decisions. As OSU coach Mike Gundy said, "[He's] forty. Critize him. Not some kid." Most of your post was criticizing the players' effort, desire, leadership, etc. That is a bunch of bull. If the players aren't up to snuff, it's the coaches' faults collectively. They are the only ones with the power to do something about it... either by playing someone different, or by going to get different players.

Second, you can't expect fanatics to be only fanatically positive. It doesn't happen that way. You can expect them to be classy even when things are bad (like calling coaches at home in the middle of the night is ALWAYS wrong), but to expect fanatics not to react negatively and vent their frustration when the product put on the field is embarrassingly bad... that is un-American.

2) UGA was out-schemed because they were out-executed. If you run soft zones, you must get pressure up front. If you can't get pressure up front, you need to change your scheme. If you don't change your scheme, and the other team beats the crap out of you, then you were out-schemed. "Out-schemed" is the coach's fault. If players are not playing the scheme appropriately, that is the coach's fault. The players do what they are told. If they do it poorly, it falls to the coaches to make sure they do it correctly the next time. If they are doing it correctly and it still sucks, then who's fault is it? The coaches.

3) If the team went 0-12, I'd bet you $100 billion dollars that you wouldn't attend every football game. If you did, I would make fun of you. I would use the term "fan" pejoratively... as in "you're an idiot for attending games for a team that goes 0-12."

4) While you are in Nashville, perhaps you should inquire about a hotel room in December. You might consider making it a standing reservation.

5) [DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR REDACTED], I didn't realize you trolled the blogs. I have two words for you... 1) BLITZ & 2) RESUME'. If you can't figure out what the first word means, you better figure out what the second one means.

Anonymous said...

THat's the best comment I['ve read and the first time I've laughed since 3:29pm Saturday.
Kudos to you sir!

Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm watching CNN or Fox News. Let's take 2 extremists and lob softball questions at them. Fireworks ensue and we can call it 'Fair! And Balanced!' while it really does nothing to point out that the answer is almost always somewhere squarely in the middle.

Anonymous said...

My opinion: (1) We (I call the DAWGS "We" whether we win or lose) have got no bad-ass team leader types (i.e., no Pollack, no Greene, no Boss Bailey - guys that lead the team with words and action). (2) We have no linemen to speak of on either side of the ball. Some of the guys are good, but nobody is great. The coaches have totally screwed up the team by not recruiting enough correct linemen on both sides of the ball in the last few years. We must get more, and better, linemen on the team. (3) The coaching staff lacks outward fire. It appears that nobody "hits the roof" ever. I suspect some coaches do at practice (Coach Garner, perhaps), but we need an "Erk" for the defense right now. Bad.

That game was the worst game I have seen Georgia play since Ray Goff coached the team. UT was ready, but that was absolutely pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thinks that we are in the midst of a big talent drought right now?

You can really point to four reasons: (1) poor coaching = no development of top recruits out of high school (2) attrition from suspensions, injuries, etc. (3) Empty "star" rankings... or (4)..Maybe the state of Georgia, the main talent pool for UGA football, is down right now.

I think it is pretty safe to say that Georgia’s recruiting classes in 2003, 2004, and 2005 just didn’t pan out. There are no stars anywhere on those lists that are still at Georgia. Charles Johnson, Pope, Oliver…all gone. Is there any wonder why UGA put no individuals on the All SEC team in the preseason?

But think about this...the state of Georgia has been down. There just weren’t that many great players out of the state in 2003-2005…and the ones that were great, UGA missed on. i.e. Calvin Johnson, Marcus McNeil…(I'll come back to that later) The ones UGA got left early (Johnson and Pope). I would say it is arguable that the state of Georgia hit a historic low over the last three years in producing top NFL talent. Does NFL talent equal college talent? Obviously, not...there are too many great college players who didn't get drafted or got drafted late to subscribe to that theory. However, NFL talent does equal tools. Things like freakish speed and size and the ability to flat out make plays on athletic ability alone.

Here is a quick breakdown..(these are just looking at it visually…I couldn’t find a comprehensive list on high school alumni in the NFL more recent than 2005)

2007 Draft- 4 first day players from the state of Georgia (Calvin, Kenny Irons, Moses, and Ch. Johnson)

2006 - 3 first day players (McNeil, Pope, Whitehurst)

2005 - 9 (Ronnie Brown, Pac Man, Carlos Rogers, TD, Pollack, Reg. Brown, O Thurman, D. Greene, LeRoy Hill)

2004 – 8 (Dunta Robinson, A. Carrol, Daryl Smith, Ben Troupe, J. Smiley, Dont. Thomas, Darius Watts, Sean Jones, Keyaron Fox)

2008 isn't looking great either. T. Choice, D. Robertson, P. Wheeler all from the North Ave. Trade School and the JR at Oklahoma, Duke Robinson, if he comes out are the only 'locks.'

Georgia just doesn't have any of those guys that are upperclassmen. Is there hope? You don't have to be Mel Kiper to see talent in Moreno, Stafford, etc. but where are the top guys from in-state?

Which really brings me to my final thought. I have heard so many times people saying that UGA has a lock on the state. That is so far from the truth it isn't even close. It is truly sad how many great players in the state end up at other schools. 5 players from the state have been drafted in the top 10 in the past 4 drafts(just based on my looking...feel free to correct me)...none from UGA.

I'm not trying to be all gloom and doom. Certainly, Georgia has the ability to recruit top players from other states. Stafford & Moreno, again, great examples. But I know I am tired of seeing UGA recruit 23 of 25 guys from Georgia that are any good yet the two they lose out on go on to be special talents like Eric Berry might be.

Just a different thought that I hadn't read yet in the blogs. Don't mean to imply this is the only reason we are clearly stuck in mediocrity right now. (It takes talent, coaching ...i.e. play calling and scheming, and execution to win with each being arguably more important that the other). Plus, you need depth...none of those guys that UGA didn't get really won anything by themselves ... the Auburn guys clearly had a lot of help. Just couldn't help but feel like the state as a whole is down and that UGA isn't at a point as a program where they can overcome that.

Anonymous said...

I think the most aggravating part of watching our defense getting consistently torched by any opposing team is that Martinez ALWAYS makes adjustments at half time, and we are surrendering very few points in the third and fourth quarters. If these adjustments can (and are) being made, why does it take an act of Congress to make them before the half? I can still remember Kirby Smart being in the booth for that remarkable comeback in spite of Kevin Ramsey -- in the Outback Bowl. I just hope Willie Martinez has not become Richt's Ramsey. What I would not give to have Van Gorder back.

Copyright 2009 Georgia Sports Blog. Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan