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October 7, 2007

Well, Tripp Chandler Looked Good

The defense that couldn't tackle, tackled. The team that couldn't run, ran. The team that couldn't stop the run limited Georgia to two first downs in two quarters of football. The coach who was close to being nudged out ran circles around the coach who was supposedly unbeatable on the road. Saturday's theme was redemption and, unfortunately, she was clad almost entirely in Big Orange.

The Vols have picked up a lot of criticism over the past few years as unmotivated, undisciplined, and poorly coached. At crucial times, this reputation proved true. The counterargument to that reputation might as well be the first two quarters of Saturday's game. Tennessee looked unstoppable in the first half. Arian Foster was Roger Craig, running downhill, all knees and elbows, refusing to submit to Georgia's version of tackling, which was all hugging and cuddling. Because Foster was gashing us up front, Erik Ainge didn't feel any pressure and completed passes seemingly at will. David Cutcliff took advantage of Georgia's young, fast defense by running counters, cutbacks, and a masterful trick play keying off the fact that our defense is so eager to pursue that we lose discipline quickly. The result was the worst half of football that Georgia has played since Ronny Daniels made us publicly and shamefully cuss our own players in 1999.

First, the bad. Our defense looked soft as a fat baby's cheek. For the third time this year, we couldn't stop basic inside and off tackle runs. When our D-line did stop up a hole, Foster easily cut back for big gains. There are times when we absolutely cannot get off a block. And we evidently prefer to nudge rather than tackle. On offense, our line looked like we were playing a bunch of freshmen. The old adage is that you can count on a loss for every freshman lineman you play. We have one more loss coming, at least. And that was against the 110th ranked defense in the country. Look, there are a lot of things to write about here, a blocked punt (off another missed block against UT by Lumpkin), penalties, etc. Frankly, you guys are going to write about the bad in the comments, so I'll let you do your work.

The good? Demiko Goodman made a hell of a catch and Tripp Chandler caught everything thrown his way. Anything else? No, everything else was bad to average.

So where do we stand? We're a better team than what we played like Saturday, but there are some disturbing truths about the Dawgs. We are now 1-6 in our last seven games against SEC East opponents. Atlanta is now all but impossible. In fact, we should stop even thinking about SEC championships for the foreseeable future. As Richt said, we have to focus on beating Vanderbilt. We still lack a bankable win over a legitimate opponent. We don't do anything consistently well. The good news is that every game remaining on the schedule is winnable (it's true). The bad news, if we play like we did Saturday, every game is also eminently losable.



Anonymous said...

Well, I guess I will get this started. I have so much sorrow and pain that I don't know where to start.
It is painful for me to admit that we just got dominated. It was total domination. I remember reading about UT playing a JV game the week prior to the UGA game. Well, they played against a JV team two weeks in a row.
I guess I will start with the coaching staff. I agree that there was no sense of urgency at any point in the game. The coaching staff gave up when the score was 0-21. They were so shocked that we kept running the same plays over and over and over again. I don't think I used enough "over's." Anyway, We did not run off tackle or to the outside but two times. Every run was up the middle. It seemed that UT decided that they were going to allow us to go deep on every play as long as they stopped the run. Well, we did not and played right into their hands. The defensive scheme was a stupid soft zone, umbrella, bend but don't break mentality. Well, we were soft, like men carrying frilly umbrellas, and broke like a crayon in the hands of my two year old, often and messy.
There were no immediate adjustments. The offense was so bland that I could have called a defensive scheme to stop us. Maybe the reason Stafford has no confidence is because we did not let him stand back there and pick apart a defense like we did with Auburn 06, GT 06, VT 06. We have ran the same plays for the past 5 years. While everyone else has single-wing, spread option, run and shoot formations to go along with the "I" and twin sets. It looked like our coaches had "Coaching for Dummies" on the sidelines like in "Waterboy." I don't get it.
The level of intensity we had was pitiful. It seems that every game last year and this year has lacked a level of "crazed dawg" that is needed from the get go. That is a coaches issue. We walk to the sidelines arm in arm and take a purely business like approach to football. Well, football is a barbaric sport and I want at the least our defense to line up and act like the Goths, Vandals, and Huns all rolled into one. While I appreciate CMR's demeanor and think that it is appropriate, can't we get at least the assistant coaches to "fire up" the team.
It seemed like the players were playing on casual friday hoping that it would all be finished in 60 minutes and they can retreat to the bar for cocktails. Well, had our c**ks between our tails all right.
I place all the blame not on our boys but squarely upon the coaches. Mike Gundy is right. They are 40. They are men. So coaches, everyone of you, take this beat down like 40 year old men and get better.

Go Dawgs.

Anonymous said...

Chandler looked good and MASSAQUOI LOOKED AWFUL. This guy should be benched. He WAS benched last year but somehow got back on. Awful, Awful, Awful. It's like they don't even care.

Anonymous said...

Ok anon - You made your point. You posted more or less the same thing on two separate threads.

dentdawg said...

I concur with your thoughts. It all goes back to coaching. Willie Martinez has lost 3 big games for us AU in 05 and UT in 06 annd 07 by failing to adjust to what the other team did. I am sure Brian Van Gorder would love to leave the sinking ship called the Falcons and come back to Athens and get these kids motiviated. Regardless, I am still going to support the dawgs and put my red and black on and go to the games. I also want to admonish the Ga fans who sold their tickets to the 8 UT people who sat behind me in Sect GG and were obnoxious. Sham on you for selling UGA tickets to the enemy. GO DAWGS

Smitty said...

The #12 team in the country lost to an unranked team. That's the real disappointing part. I don't care if its Tenn or not. It's a game we should have won going into it but somewhere we lost it before we got off the bus. "Youth" isn't the only reason we are losing and that excuse is in its second year.

At the party I was at I heard "Ray Goff called and wants his team back". Brought back some bad memories.

C. Paul said...

First off, always Go Dawgs...always.

Secondly, this game has been 2+ years in the making. Coming out flat, missing tackles/blocks, over-pursuing, etc. you get the picture.

But unlike years past, we didn't get back in gear and UT kept the hammer down all game. Congrats to them.

Where we go from here, I don't know. I agree that it is time for us to cycle back from thinking of the SEC Championship game and to take it one week at a time. We are not a Top 20 team right now, but have time to be one before the end of the year.

Get through Vandy and to the bye week and then see where we can go.

Go Dawgs!!

Anonymous said...

We're going to find out what kind of coach we have. Coach Richt has some tough decisions to make with his coaching staff. I could be wrong, but I can't remember a coach that Richt has fired and replaced. I think BVG and Callaway left on their own for other jobs. I know Richt is loyal to his staff, but surely he sees that changes are needed. On defense it's obvious. On offense, the game plan and play calling is textbook Richt, very conservative and predictable. The OC was taught by Richt, therefore calls like Richt. Where is the offense that FSU had under Richt? That's what got him the job @ UGA, but he has changed his coaching philosophy now that he's head coach. Way to conservative on O and D. Other teams in the SEC are starting true freshmen, so I think that's and excuse. Stafford isn't progressing b/c of the conservative coaching. I think MoMass has played well this year, not counting the UT game. I love the dawgs. I will be at the rest of the games, win or loose. But I think the program has been going in the wrong direction the past 2-3 years.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how they could be that flat. I haven't seen such a lack of passion and execution in a UGA team in a very long time. It was reminiscent of the complaint of how we manage to have top 10 recruits each year but fail on the field. Hopefully they will turn the season around.

Anonymous said...

ok, i've got a little different take on this debacle, but here goes. USC lost to stanford, ND started 0-5. UF is 1-2 in SEC play. UM lost to a d2 school. Unless your team is USF or LSU, you have message boards full of people calling for the coaches heads right now. This is without a doubt the weirdest season of college football I can remeber, and one that has left 98% of the fans with their hearts ripped out. I never once held the illusion that we could field a team with this many underclassmen and not have a Sunday where I wake up and I am scared to check the AJC. My problem with the game is this... couldn't CWM see that Cutliff was waiting for us to line up on D, and then calling the playes in from the sidelines. They new exactly what we were going to do on D before they even called a play. Can't we adjust to this. Can't we show them a set and then switch after Ainge calls the play?? It just looked too easy. Ainge would stroll up to the line with 20 seconds left on the play clock, look at our boys, look to the sidelines, get the play, and run it down our throat. BTW I don't think we gave up on the game at 0-21. After D Goodman caught that pass, had we gotten a stop, I think we would have had a good chance to cut it to 14 with 4 minutes left in the 3rd. All of a sudden its a different ballgame. Of all the things we did wrong, it was their drive at the end of the 3rd quarter that killed the dawgs this past saturday.
Go Dawgs we can still go 11-2.

Mickey McCale said...

Nice idea anon 9:00AM, but that 'check at the line' BS that is so in vogue now is the same thing that OKSt. did to us and we handled it just fine. No, that wasn't the problem, methinks.

I'm an ex-footballer so I'd like to think I know more nuts and bolts than the casual fan, but I won't kid myself into thinking I can accurately second-guess our coaching staff.

That being said, we sure did seem predictable on Saturday. Lately it feels to me like our offense is Denzel's in "Remember the Titans:" just like novocaine, give it time, it always works. Except that it didn't. And it didn't feel like we had any concept of how to gameplan against a big lead.

Stafford had under 200 yards passing trying to dig into a huge lead. Paul, perhaps you can explain to me what we were trying to accomplish. It just seemed to me that the last quarter and a half we were just practicing, not competing.

Mickey McCale said...

Oh, and by the way, just like in the South Carolina game, it was pretty painfully obvious that the opposing team's coordinators were far superior to ours on both sides of the ball. Bobo has been owned by Nix and Chavous now, and Martinez has been pretty well neutralized and overpowered by Spurrier and (especially) Cutcliffe.

I didn't feel like they put our kids in a position to win on Saturday. That being said, I'd really like to see some fire on the field by someone not named Moreno or Allen. There was an opportunity in that game for some leaders to develop and grow up and they didn't take advantage of it.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

anon 9:00,

11-2? Are you kidding! Have you watched any of the games this year, especially Sat. Who have we beat this year? Ok State, bottom of the Big 12. Bama, they almost lost to Houston on Sat. Ole Miss, that speaks for itself. We have some tough games left on the schedule, FL, AU, UK and GT. If we play like we did on Sat, then we have 4 or more losses. I hope you are right, but it will take another comeback like last year. For that to happen 2 years in a row is unlikely. This team has to many issues on both sides of the ball. Not to mention that conservative coaching makes comebacks even harder. I hope your right and I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Is it at all possible UT has been planning for the UGA game for 3 weeks? They played a nobody (Ark St.) then had an off week. They came out focused and by the time our guys knew what was going on, it was 21-0.

Having said that, the conservative playcalling drove me crazy. We were playing not to lose from the word 'go'.

Also, I'll be glad to see Erik Ainge go. He's one helluva qb.

Anonymous said...

Agree with anonymous that this entire CFB season seems almost beyond explanation.

I honestly can't remember the last game where I WASN'T frustrated by blown arm tackles and the secondary going low to take out the legs. I understand you might not want to go toe-to-toe with someone full speed who is 20-30 lbs heavier, but honestly, it's football, right? Isn't there a pre-supposition that you like contact, that you play with an aggression and a pride, to the point where after a long day of having your ass handed to you, you might just want to try to lay someone out? I don't get it. It seems like we lose these individual situations, series and games on basics like not hitting, not tackling. Let's drop the blue chip recruit pursuit and bring in some undersized guys who won't accept failing, or some bad-ass guys who don't care if you don't like them stealing cars - at least they play like men.

I saw a lot of over-pursuit on Saturday, two times leading to a TD - in my mind, the trick play wasn't nearly as cringe-inducing as Asher Allen letting Foster blow by him in the third without even a touch. Patience, composure, knowing what to expect, these are also coaching issues, but I'll give some leeway with the youth back there.

One thing that seems inexcusable to me is the team not being prepared mentally. I'm not on that 'CMR is WAY too nice' bandwagon, I think that's BS. But something seemed off on Saturday. The guys didn't look shell-shocked, I don't thinnk they gave up, and that reflects positively on the character of the staff. The problem, to me, is that they looked like they really didn't care. That kind of game, I expect excitement on the field and the sidelines. I expect aggression and determination. I didn't see any of the above (maybe just a glimpse after the TD). Talent being relatively equal, emotion and momentum decide a lot of CFB games. Here's a thought - make Moreno the #1 guy, make him the captain, keep him on the field. Seems to me that Greene was steady and collected, but Pollack was really the heart of those (great) teams. I love Moreno's attitude, swagger and urgency. We need more of it.

Anonymous said...

These past 2 years are scary. Our program is heading south in a hurry. We are now a 4th place SEC East team because south carolina has passed us by. We lost to vandy and kentucky last year and we have played 2 good teams this year and in the first game we couldnt even score ONE freaking TD and in the 2nd game we got dominated from the time we got off the bus for the 2nd year in a row. Thank god UT called off the dogs because they could of put up 50+ on us again. There are some coaches that need to be evaluated at the end of the season beause we have some major problems on defense and on offense. I havent been this down about georgia football since the donnan years.

Unknown said...

I was at the game on Sat and that was absolutely embarassing. We have way to much talent on defense for this to keep happening on a much to frequent basis.

I hate to see guys get fired but it seems like the time has come for Willie Martinez. This soft zone crap just isn't working. The could've scored 60 on us on Sat if they wanted to.

I also agree that something looked different with us out there Sat. There was no fire, we looked like we didn't care. The team showed no energy.

Anonymous said...

Look, we got beat like a rented mule, owned, pwned, whatever you want to call it. No details are necessary. We have no clear leaders on defense, and our offensive line of freshmen, redshirts, and jucos have played together for a total of six games. We aren't as bad as we looked, but we are a long way from #12 in the country.

Some of the comments here and elsewhere are ridiculous but expected. People just have to bitch, moan, and complain no matter the level. My oldest son's undefeated 9th grade team lost their first game last week; as soon as the horn sounded, people were bitching about play-calling, how to use time-outs, lack of enthusiam, etc. Some fans description of the team went from a juggernaut coached by Dooleyeque geniuses to a team of soft kids who "just don't care" coached by no talent hacks, with several sideline Dads who could "coach better than that". Does this sound familiar?

Georgia lost. Georgia lost to Tennessee. Georgia was embarassed by Tennessee. It was the head coach's fourth road loss ever, the same head coach that has been to 3 SEC Championship games in the last 6 years, winning 2. I believe we will be fine in the long run. No need to replace coaches mid-season or for anyone to move on. Pre-Richt our best bowl appearance between the 84 Cotton and the 03 Sugar Bowl was the 1993 Citrus Bowl. Are we really that spoiled?

Anonymous said...

Would you say that UT put a hobnail boot into you guys? Would ya? I would.

2 in a row, but won't be happy until it's like it was in the 90's.

strick9 said...

If you want an elite program, then you have to be concerned with the direction of the program. It started at the Sugar Bowl vs WVU and has slowly went down. I love CMR, but I think he needs to surround himself with better coaches. He has started that with the hiring of our new OL coach. His demeanor is great for the head coach, but he needs other coaches to help prepare the team and keep them motivated.

Anonymous said...

in a thread before the game, i commented that i believed the game set up like auburn-florida, with ut in the auburn role. i hereby offer my sincerest apologies to florida for comparing in any way this bulldog team to their own. i also said that “i even love this wacky group of dawgs who often have the attention span of a gerbil on crack.” in retrospect, i think a bunch of cracked-out gerbils may have been more effective on saturday.

i can’t help but be a dawg fan: it’s in my dna. but they sho’ do make it hard sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I am with Strict9 and a few of the other posters. To chalk this up as simply "one of those games" and just move on like we don't have glaring problems that haven't been addressed for the past few seasons is just being ignorant.

If we want to have an elite program we need to bring in coaches that can get the job done. I don't think anyone wants to get rid of Richt, but there are problems in this coaching staff that need to be addressed and we can't just ignore them any longer. The WRs have been a problem for quite some time and while we haven't recruited some of the elite WRs that other top-tier schools have, we aren't Kentucky, but they seem to be catching quite effectively. Eason needs to go. Our LBs have been awful since Van Gorder left, Janeck needs to go, and our defense, while it has put up decent seasonal stats, has given up huge yardages and points various times.

My major problem with the defense is that we run the same thing everytime regardless of who we're playing. We don't force our will on opponents, we seem to hope they just don't execute. With the type of athletes we've recruited we should not be playing this bend-don't-break-sometimes-break-horribly defense.

Anyways, I think its apparent Martinez needs to step down as DC. Does anyone disagree? I would like to hear other views and why he should continue to lead our defense, but I believe if someone else was given the tools, facilities, and players he was given they'd do a better job. I'm not saying fire Martinez now, or demote him now, but at the end of the season see if he wants to stay on as DC or let him go and have someone else come in. I don't want to wait until Martinez finds something else like the Callaway situation.

Also, on offense, why don't we take what we're given? The middle was wide open and for some reason we don't ever run crossing routes, slants, etc. And why is Stafford continually not stepping into his throws? He's not being rushed every time, but he acts as if he is. I know we're young up front, but there are plenty of times no one is near him and he's throwing off of his back foot. Practically every deep ball he threw was off his back foot and every deep ball came up short.

Also, why did we basically just give up after we were down? We didn't even seem to try and catch up.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mid 80's Dawg,

It is not just a single performance that people are complaining about. It is the noticable issues with which people have been complaining about for three years. If it was simply an abberation then I would have no problems with your assessment. However, go back and read posts from last seasons and this seasons WINS rather than losses and people are bringing up these same issues. Those being a weak defense, an unimaginative offense and a lack of the "fire in the belly" mentality.

No I respectfully have to disagree that people are just having to complain about an abberant beat down. The issue is the lack of imagination and intensity with which our players are playing. We are all aware that football is about what have you done for me now. Whether that is right or wrong does not matter. What is being done right now is incorrect. If you want to address the past then look at the tradition of hard-nosed defenses, and tough minded players.

It is not merely a situation where we can compare wins and loses but how those wins and loses came about. Those wins and loses came because of something that went right or wrong for the dawgs. But when we look at the wins and loses of yesteryear compared with the wins and loses of the most recent past there is a complete difference. That difference being the complacency with which our coaches prepare and the intensity with which our players play.

If the coaches and players can fix the problems of pride and learn to adapt and overcome, then there is no reason to fire anyone. But a lot of hard work and hard answers to even more difficult questions is in the near future. I place the situation with the Dawgs in the only place it can go, into the hands of the coaches and players. They want to play for themselves and the coaches and not the fans then fine. Win for yourselves or lose for yourselves, that is alright, but give it all in the film room, practice field, and on game day for yourselves as well.

If you don't think that you are playing for us then these coaches and players have to realize that they let one another down. They failed one another. How they handle that will the be the test of champions or pretenders.

Anonymous said...

I'll go ahead and get this out of my system:

I want to start out by saying that I love the I formation. I think it's probably the most versatile formation out there and with a good FB who can catch, you can do a lot from it. And Gerogia does have a great FB who can catch. But there are other formations and they do have their merits. When you're behind by 4TDs, the I just isn't that attractive. Granted, you can't just heave-ho on every play but you can sell the pass a bit more. Especially since you do in fact need to pass a bit more.

And for the record, there's no shame in going for 4th and 1 or 2 at any point on the field when you're down 21-0. It took Tennessee exactly one play to get from where we punted the ball to where their line of scrimmage would've been if we went for it and didn't make it. Instead, we punt into a team that is manhandling us and they go up 28-0. That was the "Game Over" in my book. Richt has gone for it before on our side of the field with a lot more on the line. I remember a few times where we went for 4th and 1 late instead of punting just so we could go ahead and call it a day. The running game wasn't great but we were getting 1 to 2 yards pretty consistently.

Oh and I hope the defense is prepared for the counter play because I can guarantee you that every team who watches footage of this game is going to run counters and traps at us until we prove we can stop them. Like I occasionally hear from my wife while I'm driving, "Stay in your lane!" (I'm not a good driver.)

The good news is that Georgia can and most likely will improve. I don't know if it will be this year but if we can get Tripp Chandler catching the ball, anything is possible. Hopefully, this game was more aberration than growing trend. We'll know by the end of the season.

I do think that even if we salvage the season a bit, Richt will probably have to let a few assistants go at the end of season. Doing so before then will do far more harm than good. When are we going to let them go in-season? The bye week is the obvious answer but I'd rather spend that time getting the team ready for Florida than getting used to a new assistant coach. I wouldn't presume to call for specific firings. I think Richt knows full well who isn't getting things done.

Anonymous said...

The important question is: How many points do you think UGA will be getting when we play Troy?

Anonymous said...

Not to deflate the tiny section of "good" from Saturday's game, but Chandler didn't quite catch everything that came his way. Remember that time he was wide open, standing still and waiting for the ball to come, and he somehow "tripped" over his stationary feet, fell to the ground and Stafford's nice pass went to waste? That would have also been a first down.

Well, at least we still have Goodman's catch.

Anonymous said...

"Remember that time he was wide open, standing still and waiting for the ball to come, and he somehow "tripped" over his stationary feet, fell to the ground and Stafford's nice pass went to waste? That would have also been a first down."

That straight-from-COPS look of lying on the ground as if about to be arrested was worth the 1st down we didn't get. I assumed he thought he was surrounded and surrendered.

Anonymous said...

Okay...we're not on the Titanic here, People. Remember when we destroyed LSU at home back in 2004? That was a damned good LSU team that came out flat against a UGA team that was fired up and looking for revenge. Everything worked for us that day. Well, this past Saturday was somewhat similar. Tennessee was fired up and had a week off. Plus, their coaches needed that win. We knew going into this season that we had a young an inexperienced team. Games like this are going to happen now and then. Face it, Folks...WE'RE NOT THAT GOOD AND HAVEN'T BEEN SINCE 2005. We are getting ready for next year. We are feeling the same feelings Tennessee fans were after they were pounded by Florida earlier this year. We'll be all right, I promise. If nothing else, games like this make winning feel so much better.

How sad are gator fans who are calling for Urban Meyer's job right now? What a joke.

Something tells me the SEC East is only going to get weirder this year.

Oh, and I, too am so glad to see Eric Ainge leave. That guy had our number.

Paige said...

My question is....did we have to run up the middle every blasted time we tried a run play? It wasn't working at all at any point during the game. It was driving me nuts. Lumpkin came in late and he was running off the sides and was getting some yards. No, it wouldn't have made a huge difference, but it was driving me crazy watching them try to run up the middle every blasted time!! IT WAS NOT WORKING.......TRY SOMETHING NEW!!!

GO DAWGS!! Still love you boys! Always!!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, that playcalling is just sad at times. Tennessee was running to the sides every time, and good ol' Georgia decided to run the ball up the middle practically everytime for short to no yardage.

Also, there's something just wrong about the passing game (and it wasn't all Stafford's or the receivers' faults). How hard is it to run some cross routes rather than just getting them to run deep and bomb it down the field? Sure, it works sometimes, but it's usually dangerous and it would be better to go for first downs.

I just feel like there's a problem when I could have just picked up NCAA 08, chosen some random plays from that, and probably be more effective than what we saw Saturday.

Also, games like that make me just feel bad for our most talented and motivated players who don't get a chance to shine due to the poor playcalling. Moreno, for instance, was repeatedly told to run up the middle and get pounded by the D line. Same for Thomas Brown.

Maybe Bailey or even MoMass could make more catches and pick up yards if they were told to run some tricky routes rather than just going straight down the field, where they are covered pretty tightly.

shliknik said...

Someone mentioned it earlier, but while I was sitting in the stands Saturday, I was having flashbacks to my student days and seeing Ronnie Daniels/AU putting up 30+ in the first half in Athens.

There have been only a few games I've been to where UGA was completely outmatched (98 TN being another), but I can now place Saturday's game amongst that group.

While I won't pretend I know more than any coach on the team, I can state an opinion...and since '05, UGA has taken a step back and are competing for 3rd/4th in the East. Could it be youth? Sure. Play calling? Maybe. Again, I don't have any answer...just stating observations.

While leaving the stadium, I asked my friend where did we park out time machine? Somehow we ended up in 1995 when I wanted to be in '80, '02 or '05.

Hopefully the ship can be righting because we're offcourse as of now.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul - sorry for posting "more or less the same thing." Won't happen again. Do I owe you anything for taking up extra space on one of your servers? Let me know.

Anonymous said...

I said what I said b/c you were ripping a player. There's a shorter leash for that.

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