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November 10, 2008

Thoughts on the Defense: Talent or Coaching?

Who has two thumbs and has given up 125 points in 3 games?

Much is being written about the state of the Georgia Bulldog defense and Willie Martinez's approach to pretty much everything.

Let me first say that Richt is right. Most fans wouldn't know Cover 1 from Cover 2, 3, 4, 0 or man for that matter. I'm not that different. I'm not going to sit here and pretend to tell you why this part or that part of the scheme is wrong.

I just know something isn't working.

Is it Talent or Is it Coaching?
I get asked that a lot. I'm of the opinion it's both. From my seats, the coaching side of the equation looks to be less about scheme or play calling than our fundamental approach.

I said several times in the days and weeks following the losses to UF and Bama that I didn't feel that we had the healthy talent to beat either team. I still feel that way.

However, our defensive talent level doesn't explain why we didn't appear to compete in those games for painfully long stretches. I sincerely respect the field position disadvantages that our offense created for our defense against Florida. But after the first half of that game, the Georgia defense rolled over and played totally dead. In the Alabama game, it's hard to say that they put up much of a fight until things were totally out of hand.

In other words, I buy the argument that we lacked the healthy talent to get the outcome we wanted versus those Top 5 teams. However, the process of getting to the outcome raised red flags for me in those games that exploded off the field when watching the Kentucky game.

Offensively, Kentucky is the least talented group that Georgia will face this season outside of Vanderbilt. Yet, they attacked the Georgia defense with almost 230 yards rushing, 70 plays and 38 points. Granted, three of their TDs were field position related drives of 9, 29 and 4 yards. But as someone else said yesterday...there's nothing that prohibits us from holding them to field goals in those spots.

My concern boils down to this. The defense isn't playing with the violence or tempo of our successful units. No one we're playing could possibly fear this unit. They don't attack their opponents. They don't hit like prior Georgia defenses (outside of Rennie Curran). They don't run towards collisions like prior Georgia defenses. And they don't appear to reject failure as an option like prior Georgia defenses (all referring to those under Richt)

Granted, the scheme used by Willie Martinez and Brian Van Gorder requires dominating defensive line play, and we most certainly do NOT have that right now. However, that doesn't explain what looks to be a reluctance for our linebackers to play on the opponents side of the offensive line. It doesn't explain why we look tentative at the point of collision, and it doesn't explain the inconsistent performances of key players who DO have the talent to perform at a higher level.

So yes. There most certainly IS a talent gap between this unit and that of 2005 or 2002. But I'll be damned if I believe that our talent gap and injury situation is so severe that Kentucky's offensive personnel is superior to our defensive personnel.

Even if you disregard the 3 TDs that came from RANCID special teams play and offensive fumbles, they still gave up 17 points and 226 yards of rushing to a team that averages less in both categories in SEC games...and is much more banged up at key personnel areas than they were earlier in the season.

This group needs a major overhaul one way or the other. That doesn't mean fire Willie Martinez. We're averaging 10+ wins a year with Willie. But it's a group that's broken right now, and either he or Richt needs to spend an enormous amount of time fixing it at the DNA level.

The Good News:
The defense is most in need of a speed rusher, senior leaders, getting healthy and a coaching commitment to not accepting these types of results. The 2009 horizon looks better in most of these areas
  • Speed Rusher - Justin Houston shows signs of promise. He could be a Marcus Howard type player for the Dawgs. He's probably a year and half ahead of Howard at the same point in his tenure. Cornelius Washington is also redshirting. Washington was a high school sprinter who may grow into the type of edge performer Georgia needs. A healthy Rod Battle (while not a speed rusher) would also help here.

  • Senior Leadership - I've mentioned this before, but there is only 1 impact player on either side of the ball right now who is a healthy senior -- Mohamed Massaquoi. Next year, Asher Allen ,Geno Atkins, Jeff Owens, Kade Weston, Rod Battle, Prince Miller and Bryan Evans will all be seniors. Anyone of any age can lead, but it's usually the seniors who take you to the promised land. It was Jon Stinchcomb who deliverd the fire and brimstone message to his teammates at halftime in Auburn 2002 down 14-3, and it was Boss Bailey and Tony Gilbert who rallied the defense in Tuscaloosa and Columbia in '02 before the key stops.

  • Getting Healthy - This year we've played without Owens, Kade Weston, Rod Battle and Jeremy Lomax (injured but muddling through) for over half our games due to injury. We get them all healthy next year.
If we get back the Eye of the Tiger, the rest of it will mostly sort itself out.

Agree? Disagree?


(I'll do the special teams report tomorrow night. I'm sleepy)


Anonymous said...

The issue with Willie is that Richt can defend him while we give up 125 points in 3 games because in the same season we can hold UT to 1 yd rushing and Arizona State to 17. This issue to me is the consistency of the defense. If he can't get us to play at a consistent level for every game, what should we expect as fans? At what point can Richt no longer defend the end results - "well, at least we won the game"

And while I won't blame the scheme, if the idea is based on a dominant front 4, why do we insist on playing the same scheme when it is clear that we DON'T have a dominant front 4? Shouldn't the coach's responsibility be to put his unit in the best possible position with the talent he has, not the talent he wants?

Anonymous said...

As long as Willie Martinez is DC, UGA will not win a national championship. His defense relies too much on turnovers. If the turnovers don't come then the defense has trouble stopping anyone. KY and SC are two games that could have easily been L's had it not been for the last second turnovers. I understand the short field but how many times has the defense been given a short field and held the team to a FG?

Richt would have been wise to hire Charlie Strong instead of promoting Willie when BVG left. At least then we would have a better shot at beating Florida with Strong gone.

Smitty said...

I realize the special teams put us in a great hole in this game. But we never made a stop until the very end of the game. How many times did everyone in the stadium know they were going to run right up the middle and we lined up no differently every time it seemed? Their QB was making his first start and was no real threat to pass but lets not stuff the run or attempt to! Hopefully this will better prepare our guys for Tech. Tech has a much better offense than Kentucky I think. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Richard said...

Pre-season, I expected this year's defense to be dominating. I thought that the production of the DE rotation would be impressive. Right now, our DE play needs to get better. Rod Battle was disruptive against UK but overall, we weren't pushing play back to the middle. What we need to do to close of this regular season is: "Contain, Contain, Contain". Against the option, please have someone assigned (and know that that they have that assignment) to the pitch man. The UK game drained me emotionally. It took me 24 hours to recover from that one. I was flashing back hard to the Kevin Ramsey era. Looking forward to this weekend in Lee County. Go Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

My main concern with the defense has more to do with the intensity they show (or don't show). Watching UGA, I just do not get the sense that they have any passion/fire about what they are doing out there. I want more emotion. If you combine that with the lack of fundamentals that some of the players possess, then you get a defense that is underperforming, even with the injuries.

Our backups should be at least on par with the starters of UK, but they got manhandled. When dealing with passion/fundamental issues, then you have to blame the coaching. Athletic talent has nothing to do with coaches, and the coaching staff has to harness the abilities of these players, utilizing the strengths and limiting the weaknesses.

I agree with the above, if you don't have a decent front four, then change your scheme. It's pointless, for UGA will probably go 11-2 and thus prevent any wholesale changes...We're winning in spite of our defense, not because of it...

Anonymous said...

It is just very disconcerting to hear CMR say that the fans, "just don't know anything about football."

Actually, coach, lots of us do. I also know that my wife can sit there watching the game and tell that our defense sucks.

The rhetoric that he is spouting sounds eerily similar to what Phil Fulmer has been saying since 2000, when his team's descent began.

I do not think firing CWM is the answer, but I do believe that we should look at some staff changes. For all the talk about RG's recruiting prowess, our DL is really weak right now.

I have also been really, really disappointed in Kade Weston's progress. He should be a dominator at this point, but I cannot even tell if he plays in the games.

We are taking a kid this year, Lott over the kid from ECI, Lanier. Hopefully Lott turns out to be another Seymour, but we are taking a 265 lb. kid and trying to turn him into a DT, when we could also have picked up a 315 lb space-eater with decent quickness.

When we lined up on the goalline against UF we had Battle, Irvin, Atkins and Wynne on the DL. That group averages about 270. They simply got run over by UF's OL. We need some big bodies.

Anonymous said...

I would only add the word controlled to your suggestion of the need for violence in this defense's mindset, Paul. I'd imagine the disproportionately high number of PF flags we've gotten this year were the result of our players over-reaching in an attempt to manufacture some of that same violence.

Smitty said...

11-2? The way the D and special teams are playing anyone is capable of beating us. Especially if you throw in a couple of turnovers.

Anonymous said...

Want meat - Go JUCO.

Anonymous said...

After last season, I was looking forward to seeing the D destroy our opponents more than I was wanting to Moreno and Stafford light it up. The later has performed, the former has been a tremendous disappointment.

I suppose losing Kelin Johnson and Marcus Howard, combined with Owens injury, has been too much for our young men to overcome.

Sometimes defenses and offenses fail to jel. This is one of those years for our D.

What's especially frustrating is seeing Florida's D very much improved after last year's dismal performance. No one would have ever convinced me that Florida's D would trump Georgia's D in 2008.


Unknown said...

Quotation marks are for things people actually said. Did Richt really use the words "just don't know anything about football" to describe the fans? I've never heard that so I'm kind of curious to see where he did and in what context. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure he never said it that way. All I've seen him do is claim that most fans don't recognize basic schemes and packages... which is probably true.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dante. I've said "we need a new defensive coordinator" many, many times this season...Does that count? While I may not be a college football coach, I admit, I can see that we haven't given up less than 38 points in the last three games and against our toughest opponents we've given up 41, 38 and 49. That's made me say, and I quote, "Damn! Somethings got to give!" Actually I just said that out loud at 8:35 at my kitchen table.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how time changes perspective. After the UT and ASU games, our (run) defense would have been considered a strength. We thought we matched up well against LSU for that very reason. And then the wheels came off. It's not that we haven't shown fire and tenacity on D this year. We played largely lights out against SC, ASU, and UT. I remember in the ASU game thinking that we might be looking at something special. The difference, I think, is 1) we found out that none of those teams are particularly good, and 2) we have lost some of our confidence and swagger since then. To me, it's not a matter of scheme and shouldn't be one of personnel (we returned 9 starters this year, though the loss of Owens quickly took us down to 8). It's a matter of consistency and fire in the belly.

Anonymous said...

17 points on the road at Kentucky after a demoralizing FU loss. I'll take it.

It's the special teams that should be getting ripped.

Anonymous said...

My main concerns: awful penalties by the defense at huge times of the game.

Three examples:

1) Alabama's first drive. We cause a fumble, recover -- but wait, roughing the passer. Bama scores a TD, game is gone from there.

2) Florida's driving and getting ready to score. Tebow throws an INT (Prince Miller, helluva catch) -- but wait, hands to the face. Florida scores a TD, game is gone from there.

3) Kentucky driving to win the game (did I just say that?), 4th down, UGA stops them! But wait, roughing the passer, 1st down for Kentucky.

It's ridiculous and I'm sure my list is non-exhaustive.

Coach Richt's blase attidude earlier on that "at least he penalties are aggressive, hiyah!!" is insane. No coach should disregard penalties. They cost you games. They ruin momentum. They give hope. Etc.

All that said, I agree the blame is 50-50 coaches and players. Martinez has held teams to less than 20 rushing yards twice - that's impressive. He also didn't give up 38+ points but twice in the previous 28 games, yet somehow has done it 4 times in 6 games this year.


Anonymous said...

Willie Martinez has not held anyone to less than 20 yards and hasn't given up 38+ points 4 times in 6 games this year. Last time I checked... he has 0 tackles and hasn't played one minute this year. The players are just not making plays.

I understand someone has to be accountable but what is wrong with that being the players when clearly this scheme has worked before?

uga9 said...

Willie Martinez must go. Georgia cant and wont win a national championship with him as D-coordinator. He continues to make no adjustments week-in and week-out. If i was an opposing team i might pass every play against us. We never blitz, WM thinks he can rush four and still put pressure on the quarterback. IT HAS NOT WORKED ALL SEASON. We continue to let mediocre QB's sit back in the pocket and rip our secondary to pieces. It doesnt matter how good any quarterback is if you give him 10 seconds to throw every play someone is going to be open! We have to blitz more. Thats what you do to these freshman/sophmore qb's in the SEC. You put pressure on them to make mistakes. Next week, if we bring the same scheme we will get the same results. A good ole dawg fight with a very weak offensive team.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with our defense is attitude. When BVG left, so did our d's swagger. When is the last time you guys saw a vicious hit from our d other than Curran (various players , past and present, and coaches used to talk about how hard our d hit, not anymore)? Why do our guys look hesitant when blitzing (they just kind of jog up there and pull up when they should be running full speed)? Why do you not hear T.V. announcers talk about our d being "fundamentally sound" in tackling and being in position (and yes these are previous football players and coaches)? When is the last time you saw our d wrap up when they tackle? I'll tell you when, it was before WM took over as D Coordinator. I don't know what "IT" is but Willie does not have it. I personally believe that WM is not a motivator and his players are not scared to mess up like they were scared to mess up with BVG. I remember on several occasions when a player would mess up and try his best to come off the field as far away from BVG as possible. I know I'm rambling, but dang, I can't take it anymore, I've said over and over since WM effectively took Greg Blue out of play after play by running him AWAY! from the line of scrimmage before the ball was hiked that we were doomed on defense. It's time for an attitude change for our defense and that starts with WM. He either needs to be demoted or removed. Our d does not play with intensity on a consistent basis and that includes in the same two halves of a football game. I'll leave you with this last statement, when BVG was our D coach, all we had to do was score 18 points or more and we won some ridiculous % (something over 90% if I remember correctly) of the time, because our defense shut people down. Now, I feel like our offense has to outscore the opposing offense to win. We just can't rely on our d anymore.

Anonymous said...

I agree with OVN. That "roughing" penalty on Bama's first drive was a game changer. The INT negated against UF was huge, but if Stafford still throws three picks it doesn't matter anyway.

The main reason I beleive for the poor showing on defense in the complete lack of consistent play from the end position. Andrew Gully got a ton of snaps at UK and thats a scary proposition. We have always had good if not dominant ends, and I haven't seen anything from this position the entire year.

The opposing OT's have manhandled the ends, allowing the interior OL to have a 3 on 2 matchup every play. Irvin has been a pleasnat surprise, but Geno can't do anything if he is doubled everyplay. That's why teams have had the success running the ball.

I was really pissed after the way our run D was chewed up by Bama and LSU and UK. Martinex needs to stay (he can scheme with the best of them) but he needs to learn when to abandon the scheme.

In the past, when UGA loses, it's usually not close when we are playing quality opponents. Martinez's inability to adjust may be a factor, but I still think he's the man for the job.

Brandon Ashley said...

Point is, we win SEC championship in 2005 under Coach Martinez's watch. We ended the season #2 last year. When we do well, no one whines and moans. Everyone needs to simmer down.

Also, for all you people who want to fire Willie, let us remember this: CWM is a GREAT secondary coach also. From Bruce Thornton, DeMario Minter, Tim Jennings, Paul Oliver, Asher Allen, Greg Blue, Thomas Davis, Kelin Johnson, Tra Battle and Reshad Jones, our secondary is usually stacked with talent and plays well. Just because Bryan Evans has not developed well and may be a miss, there have been countless misses at other postitions.

Have things been good this year? No, but there are a lot of other factors other than scheme. Is WM better than BVG? Probably not. But let's look at all the external factors and good things before we start calling for folks heads to be on the chopping block.

Dooley had some rough years and Erk Russell's D hit some rougher spots in the late 70s. Sure glad Coach Dooley didn't fire Erk or Richt got rid of BVG after the 2003SECCG.

Trey said...

Memo to Richt:

I know defensive schemes. And, you have played some of this and some of that. What is frustrating is when you play the more aggressive coverages and when you decide to play back and allow the offense to pick you apart. For the majority of the time, the defense is most successful when it is aggressive. When it sits back and plays a zone coverage, average quarterbacks are able to pick it apart. This has been the case for the past 4 years. I've seen it time and time again. I've never heard fans say a defense was too aggressive. Even when they have been.

What is more troubling is that this is not simply a scheme issue. It is a coaching issue. The players have no discipline, which falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaches. They do not do the little things... on the field or off the field. Look at how many players are driving around without licenses or drinking downtown underage or silly things that should not happen. Is it really that hard to have a valid driver's license? That's a little thing that is symptomatic of the attitude of the team. Look at how many times they have missed tackles and committed stupid penalties and blown coverages, blocks, etc. This is not a disciplined football team, and it will have these meltdowns on a regular basis until order is restored and they focus on the little things.

Finally, this team is soft. I think it starts with the defense, but this softness has permeated the entire team. I don't know how it started, but it's there. My personal opinion is that the style of play we have used on defense is the catalyst. Often, the defense has sat back and let the offense attack them, rather than the other way around. Good defenses attack the offense, and dictate what they can do. On 3rd and 18, good defenses blitz like crazy so the quarterback doesn't have time to get a receiver to first down yardage. Georgia drops 8 into coverage and gives up big gains over and over and over. They allow the opponent to be the aggressor rather than being the aggressor themselves. Now, the whole team seems to take this approach. They let the game come to them, and when opponents take it to them, they get flummoxed and start falling apart fundamentally. That's how you can have periods of games where the team is not competitive despite equal talent.

Am I wrong or am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

PWD, your defending of CWM is a joke. How do you explain the last four years of steady decline? It's not just about this year. He's been declining for four years now - that is the real point.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me Coach Richt...

Is it you or Willie that teaches our corners to play 7-9 yards off the receivers?

P.S. Don't smile and laugh after a DAWG loss. We might not "know football", but us fans hurt worse than you after a loss! I consider myself a bigger DAWG than you and CWM combined!

Anonymous said...

We actually did blitz several times Sat, we just don't know how. We blitzed on UKs last drive, first play and he threw about a 30 yd completion. But the problem was the LBs that blitzed did so right into the backs of the DL. They were all jammed in the middle. We have no rhyme or reasoning to our blitzes. No stunting. No picking a lane. Thats coaching.

Anonymous said...

I gurantee you, no matter how much we hurt after a loss and how big of fans we are, no one hurts more than Coach Richt after a loss. None of us puts in the long hours that he or the coaching staff does.

Anonymous said...

A few things after reading this entry, and these have been mentioned already in some form or another in other comments:

We blamed early season penalties on aggressive play, but as the defense crumbles I'm willing to say those penalties were symptomatic of a larger problem of non-discipline and a lack of focus.

The number of drive-enabling penalties in our biggest losses (already noted) are maddening.

Also, while I understand we've given opponents a short field I also wonder if the defensive numbers wouldn't be worse if offenses were given more field to work with.

As for the leadership question, why do we assume that our juniors are going to rise up and show leadership as seniors? I'd love to see it happen, but if they aren't showing signs of it now, will they ever?


Anonymous said...

I really think we have too many coaches that are like richt with that calm, cool demeaner. This team really misses a hard ass for a coach like van gorder was.

Anonymous said...

Just curious -- why isn't anyone demanding that we fire John Eason lately? That seemed to be a hot issue a while ago.


Anonymous said...

anonymous at 9:30, "In the past, when UGA loses, it's usually not close when we are playing quality opponents. Martinez's inability to adjust may be a factor, but I still think he's the man for the job." this is pure stupidity.

A coaches job is to teach the players he has how to win, not to stick to his guns and make his team, his players, and him self look foolish. If you can't get the pressure you need from the line to make your scheme successful you change... that is of course unless you dont know how, and you've been coasting for the last 4 years....

With the talent and presitge that this program has, we should NEVER be blown out the way we were agains UF and Bama, but our fans have become accustomed to it, because it has happened once a year under this administration. I

I do not believe that CWM can take us to a National Championship, but i would love for him to prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'd edit up a one thing Paul, and add one or two more.
On the "speed rusher" idea, we just need better DE play period. They aren't getting much pressure in the passing game, but they also seem to be getting crushed on the ground too. A lot of rushing plays seem to go for big yards off tackle, meaning we don't have DTs scraping or occupying blockers to let the LBs scrap, but also don't have DEs holding at the point of attack either. Our DEs are problem in both run D and pass D. The DEs as a whole have been a problem this year. Fabris usually does a great job, but this year both his position group and his baby of special teams has been a major problem.

The additions I'd add are 3rd down D and an intimidator. The intimidator is easier said than done. Guys like Greg Blue, Thomas Davis, and Reggie Nelson are something every program craves to have and very few exist. But we lack that intimidating force in the back 7 that we had when this D was at it's best. There is no one who makes opposing Os fear coming across the middle anymore, who makes backs worry about making the wrong cut for fear of a crushing hit or who makes recievers short arm passes for fear of getting decaptitated. We lack an intimidator in the back.

And then a huge beef, 3rd down. Far too often we seem to let drives drag on. Far too often it seemed like the D couldn't get Kentucky off the field. If Graham Harrell or Colt McCoy was at QB making plays, that's one thing, but for the kid Cobb to make those plays is completely different. With our weakness against Kentucky, I don't look forward to Ga Tech with Dwyer possibly cranking out 150-200+ yards on that belly option.

Anonymous said...

Is Geno Atkins really that good? He's picked like a top 25 draft pick. I don't even know if I've heard his name this year.

Maybe I'm dumb. Wait ...

Anonymous said...

"Champions are built in the spring and summer when you recruit"
Charley Trippi
CWM isn't the problem. Talent is. Last I checked, all the coaches recruit and apparently they've done a poor job lately. We all know the problems on the O-line goes back to not taking 2 or 3 big men every year. Our defense also stinks b/c we don't have players. Geno is good, but his position depends on DE's making plays, they don't. Curran is great, despite his diminutive size. Ellerbe is hobbled, Dent doesn't hit with authority. Reshad Jones has to be called a disappointment thus far. He was expected to be the next Blue, yet he can't tackle. Our DB's look good, but it's irrelevant when so many other players aren't. This is clearly the least talented D we've had in a decade. In '99, we KNEW it was coaching. I can't look at this unit and say coaches are the reason Reshad misses tackles, LB's don't seal the corner, D-Ends can't enforce their will, etc. If you start with '99, you can circle numerous bonafide NFL studs on every team. Do we have any true studs this year?
We have to recognize our recruiting has failed us over the past few years. Now what are the coaches going to do about it?
BTW, if our Athletic Dept. nets about 10M a year (as has been reported) can't we hire a coach that does nothing but Special Teams? CMR's approach of dividing it up b/w various coaches is an obvious loser.

Anonymous said...

You are referring to the Charlie Strong , who has spent many yrs at Fla.(mnc too)? I am sure a lateral move to another SEC school is on his "to do" list(Fla has as much money as UGA).Could Gino be double teamed (isn't like others get pressure)? Those comments sound like the stupid TN. fans people joke about.Fix our "special" teams, stop missing tackles is basic stuff(do it).

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to point out that while I do wish we'd play a little more aggressive (and a lot more disciplined) on defense, we've gotten burned several times this year when we blitzed. SO its not just a problem of not blitzing enough

Anonymous said...

One thing missing in all the harping on the woeful defense - the offense. BoBo ball for the most part is either a huge play or 3 and out. How many times has the defense come off the field needing a blow when BoBo calls for that stupid 80 yeard incompletion we see over and over. Three plays followed by an 18 yard punt puts the defense back on a short field with little rest.

Anonymous said...

WOW, UGA could have a crushing defense like UF of last season.I wouldn't trade WM for CS if they threw in 5 cheerleaders(ok maybe 5 ).Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon at 12:38 about Bobo's playcalling. His redzone calling is often a headscratcher, but I can't name the number of times this season I've hollered at the television when Stafford goes long on the 1st or 2nd play when the D definitely could use a nice long drive to give them some rest. I don't know if that's Stafford or Bobo, but it doesn't help our D out any. And they obviously need all the help they can get.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what's wrong with our defense, but we look like a Big 12 team and I'm tired of it.

Anonymous said...

Florida OWNS Georgia! Go Gators!!!

Unknown said...

If a Kentucky option can do that to our defense, what is Tech's option going to do?

Anonymous said...

The Caption for CWM's photo should read.......

"Missed stoppin' 'em by that much"

Anonymous said...

I agree, I'm worried about Tech. They throw stinkers up there against mediocre teams, though, so maybe we'll be ok. ;)

Seriously, I'm not worried. If they win by running a triple option and deception, so be it. It certianly won't be because they have better players.

Anonymous said...

I propose to you this thought about CWM defense in the hope that we can see a larger context of woeful play by our defense.

I do know the difference between coverages and man and zone.

The defense as a whole is bland. Regardless of the intensity of the players or the in-game adjustments, the whole concept in play is average at best.

The reason that we are lights out at the beginning of the year and see the wheels come off at the latter part of the year is the fact that we recycle defenses. This means that CWM does not institute a different scheme for each new team. I see the same coverages for the same formations. He does not change any player positions during the field. There is no rotation of players. The weak-side linebacker is always next to the end for three games in the middle of the season. The linebackers rarely if any run up to the line only to back off at the moment of the snap. The point I am making is that CWM either has a TINY playbook from which he selects defenses or he simply does not understand the concept of hiding coverages.

I can watch a game and 80% of the time tell you where the holes in the zone will be. Rarely am I surprised at the actions of a defense.

It is almost like when CWM asks himself how to defend a team he looks at what he did last year and says well we won so that defense is good enough. He then looks at the new game film and says well our cover 2 will work on that formation, etc.

THIS DOES NOT WORK. In no way does he realize that other OC are looking at his defense and saying well CWM I see that you do this and do that so here is how I will beat it. And CWM does not change. THEREFORE, we either lose or come close to losing.

I will say that the only thing the CWM relies heavily upon is the talent that he receives. It is the players intensity and violence and leadership that saves CWM. I appreciate their hard effort and desire to win while playing hard.

So it is not the players or intensity. It is the lack of imagination shown by CWM to do anything other than play a soft zone, man, and a 4-3 without disguising anything.

Anonymous said...

here's the quote from Richt:

“People don’t get it,” Richt said. “People think they know, but they don’t. If people really knew football, they’d know we’ve been blitzing, they’d know we’ve been playing (cover) zero. They know we’ve been playing cover one. They know we’ve been playing robber, we’ve been going firezone with cover three behind it, firezones with cover two behind it. If they really knew football, they wouldn’t be saying the things they say, but they don’t.”

hoodawg said...

The dropoff I'm seeing is team leadership. It's the same thing Rennie Curran was caught talking about to a reporter earlier in the year, when he said that teammates aren't calling each other out or pushing each other to get better. That came after the 'Bama game, and I thought it was a keen observation on his part. Time was, if a player missed a tackle or didn't go strong to a gap, he would hear about it from Thomas Davis or David Pollack. That didn't hurt team unity -- it made everyone feel like they were being held to a consistently high standard. It also made rising safeties want to to be the next Thomas Davis, and it created a tradition of great defensive ends in the line of David Pollack. Those traditions were reinforced by CBVG.

I don't know what has changed since those days, but I just don't see folks aspiring to those roles these days. If you had to choose a "leader" for this defense, it would be Dannell Ellerbe, who hardly played for the past 5 weeks. After him, it would be...Asher Allen? Geno Atkins? But when do you see any of those guys pushing their teammates to improve, or getting in an underclassman's face to let him know what's expected? Having a good coach and good scheme is a huge asset, and having great talent is a must. But execution on the field demands a field marshal, and one that isn't afraid to impose discipline. What I saw on Saturday was an undisciplined team -- ankle tackles, unnecessary hands to the face, running themselves out of plays, lack of effort to shed a block, etc. That's not scheme, folks -- that's a team that's forgotten what a Georgia defense looks like.

Last year, CMR rekindled some of that fire and desire with the Celebration and the Blackout, but coaches can't sustain that over time. It must come from within. If we need a convocation of former Dawgs to remind the current bunch that they aren't measuring up, so be it. But right now, they aren't man enough.

Anonymous said...

No leadership. Wasn't this group hand selected by this coaching staff? No talent, then the current coaches need to change how they recruit. Defense returned 8 of 11 players. Where are they? Does UGA not have 3 football players who can step up?

Anonymous said...

wow anon 2:19, you should be our head coach since you know sooo much.

Anonymous said...

RE: anonymous 2:32

to Coach Richt's comments:
We as the fans may not know as much about football schemes and play designs as you, however, what we do know is UGA has allowed 38 or more points 4 times this season, and that to us, the fans and supporters of the program, shows us something isn't working. robbers, cover zero, cover one, and firezones, don't matter to us if the results are what we've seen this year.

Unknown said...

I've heard dicipline,
I've heard desire or the lack thereof,
I've heard leadership, or the lack of,
I've heard poor coaching.

As I see it, the two most glaring points that can be made about the D are the lack of superior talent. We've got a few good ones and a few bordering on greatness, but for the most part they are underacheivers IMHO. Injuries were crucial hits to the program, I'll give you that, but the quality of play dropped significantly after the injuries. To be a legitament National Title Contender, this has to improve.
That being said, the Defensive coaching staff does seem to have aproblem adjusting on the fly. Again I believe it has alot to do with lack of debth/talent as it does the coaching staff.
DD hit the nail on the head-we only lose ONE contributer(hopefully) next year. If we don't lose a stud before next season, I'll feel more comfortable going into next season than I ever was about this one. But all things aside-10-2 or 11-2 ain't no slouch either. I've been listening and/or watching Georgia football ever since Munson started calling our games. I've seen the good. I've witnessed the bad. The ugly, left a really bad taste in my mouth. Things aren't nearly as bad as alot of the forums and armchair "Gurus" make out. It's great to be a Georgia Bulldog now, and if you ain't down with that, go suck on an orange.


Anonymous said...

Senior leadership question - Do Asher and Geno come back for next year???

Anonymous said...

Every one wants to point to talent. Did Rodney Garner and Willie Martinez recruit all these players. They all wear a "G" on their helmets. So why are we recruiting guys with no talent?

Anonymous said...

Willie needs to go! A friend of mine was part of a luncheon with The Larry Munson last year. Only about 6 people including Larry. At the luncheon Munson praised Coach Richt and said he is an excellent head coach and human being. At the time I was a huge supporter of our coaching staff so I was surprised by what else Larry had to say. He said tht he has his doubts about Willie Martinez as our D-Coordinator. He was quick to change the subject afterwards. If Larry says it, I believe it. And trust me this comes from an extremely reliable source.

Anonymous said...


i think i'm more concerned about special teams and turnovers than the defense. i think that the combination of those two areas have consistently put the defense in awful spots especially in the two losses and the KY game. i mean, when you have multiple scoring drives of 40 yards and under - that's just not a good formula for keeping the scores low. Additionally, the lack of an outside pass rush from the standard 4 man fronts have killed us as well.

The only thing scheme wise that i don't get from this past week is that we played a nickel against a team that obviously couldn't do anything in their passing game except for their screen plays. The nickel itself isn't as much of a problem to me except for the fact that the 5th DB was a non-tackling corner and not a safety.

Just hoping for improvement and not as much internal negativity...

thanks for your continued good work...

Unknown said...

Everything is a lie until proven differently. Recruiting is not nor has ever been an exact science. Athleticism is only part of the equation. Some players grasp the concept of a system and buy into it quicker than others. Thank your lucky stars that we aren't in the Jane Kemp days. Some students and athletes alike take a little longer to absorb material that they aren't comfortable with. It is a very special individual that has both the comprehensive ability and athleticism to produce right out of the starting blocks. It is a hell of alot to ask of 17-18-19 year olds, especially with 90k+ screaming fans, to be able to read and react at the speed of the SEC offenses. The game has changed during my lifetime. It is alot quicker and more physical. That tilts the scales towards more athleticism. Sometimes, not always, these aren't your most academic students. All have the skills, they just aren't mature enough to see the big picture. I know that some of my remarks sound somewhat disparinging, but they are honest and without malice or prejudice. One of my proudest moments was when Greg Blue graduated. He added one more variable-determination. The sky is not falling. Things will start to click. All of you fair weather fans can then rejoice..or not. Us real Dawg fans will sit back, have a drink, and listen to your inane pratter for a while, slap you on the hand ,like any immature imp, amd tell you to FOCUS ON AUBURN. That's how to control your destiny!


Anonymous said...

I don't remember where I saw it, but earlier today I read that this year was the first time since 1900 that a UGA defense has given up 38+ points in 3 consecutive weeks. Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some of you guys who know so much should become coaches.

Anonymous said...

Richt is quoted as saying that they have had the same defensive philosophy for the entire time he has been here. Think that might be the problem? Its time for some fresh ideas in Athens. Would one consistent DE make all the difference in the world? Yeah right. It might be worth a few points but it doesnt solve our energy issues, lack of swagger or scheme.

Notice how our red zone production went up after Bobo took over the reins from CMR? Think that our defensive game calling is predictable? How could we get gashed so much by a freshman converted WR/QB so many times? He didnt even read the defenses himself? Every snap he calls a signal we set our defense and then wait in our set till he looks over and gets the right play for the defense we are in....hey we can move cant we? Time for Willie to be demoted and some new blood take over.

I expected after a defeat to FL that our team would come out with fire in their eyes. The offense rips out to a 14-0 lead and the defense laid down the rest of the first half.....pathetic.

Heres the rub. We all know that CWM is not the coach to get us to the promised land. Are we going to blow our chances with the talent (yes, we have tremendous talent) we have assembled with top 5 recruiting classes and let him blow our chances for the next few years. Its kind of like the situation with Donnan - he is good but its never going to be good enough - so why not make the change since you know we are going to have to make the change eventually.

You want to know what type of defense I want? I want the defense Alabama had which was in the backfield all night and got 4 ints at LSU. Thats a defense.

Ginger said...

The defense runs in spurts. Martinez is either the product of his defenses being overrated or him not getting these guys to live up to potential.

Ellerbe has been hurt...we lost Owens...Irvin is mediocre at best. The scheme can use help from LB blitzes, but there is the rub b/c those open up big plays and being gashed. Im not a huge Martinez fan, but I am a huge Richt fan and I believe he knows what he is doing.

Did he just pass 80 wins and are we not ranked number 10 in the country yet again?

Our day will come...tchidoch er' lor (our day will come)

Anonymous said...

If I hear that "next year we have an advantage" one more time I might scream. How many years have we been saying this?! Stafford was suppose to turn things around, then Knowshon, and our defense and blah blah blah. Sure we've had injuries, but we should have predicted that. It's the SEC players are lucky to make it out alive. The point is 2005 could've been our year if Shockley hadn't got injured, last year could've been our year if we'd beat UT or SCAR, this year was suppose to be our year considering we were ranked preseason number one... it's a lot of should have, could have, would have... and let's be honest next year won't be any different.

Anonymous said...

So apparently the defense had a players only meeting thats theme was "enough is enough". Thanks guys, just a little too late. But maybe we'll finish the year strong again.

Anonymous said...

If you have listened to Coach Richt often enough, you can read between the lines and recognize his comments as a challenge to the players. He would never call them out publicly and he shouldn't, but by saying the scheme is not the problem and we will fix this as a team, he was saying teh players just are not playing the way they should.

Is it not the coaches' job to get the players to play the way they should? And if they aren't, to put somebody out there who will?

Anonymous said...

if you fire martinez, what do you do with rodney garner? he is going to want that job. do we want him as defensive cordinator? will our top recruiter leave if passed over for the job? do we get the check book out again to appease?

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