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January 1, 2011

Frustration and a Welcomed End to 2010

WARNING: What you are about to read are the frustrated musings of a person who traveled 3,510 miles to only three games this season only to be rewarded with losses to Mississippi State, Colorado, and Central Florida.

First of all, I'd like to say that the Liberty Bowl isn't a bad trip. Memphis is a fun town if you stick to the right areas. The halftime show was the best halftime concert since Kenny Rogers at the 2005 game in Knoxville. My only complaint was that the stadium felt like it was at the center of the American transportation system with trains blaring by at regular intervals and an almost constant flow of low-altitude aircraft. Otherwise, I enjoyed the trip. Well, except for the actual play of my team.

I'm just at a loss on this one. It was the same stuff as all the early season losses, except we seemed intent on getting the ball to A.J. He returned punts. He caught quick passes. We tried to hit him deep. Despite that, the offense sputtered. UCF has a competent defense, but when your OL outweighs their DL by 50 pounds a man and two of its members are considering early entry to the NFL draft, you should dominate the offensive line of scrimmage. But, just like the rest of the year, our line looked weak, or tired, or just slow. UCF played a conservative defense that demanded good execution and methodical play. The Dawgs obliged on some long drives, only to sputter within sight of the goal line. The offense just never seemed in rhythm.

It's frustrating. A losing season is never acceptable. The University of Georgia places a high emphasis on its athletic programs, especially football. So, things have to change, right? Well, there won't be coaching change this season, so let's take that off the table. With that said, how exactly do you see the Georgia Bulldogs improving next season?

I've heard a lot of folks saying that recruiting is the key to next season. Those pleas just ring hollow to me. First, recruiting is important every year. We have to sign great athletes every year because our competitors sure are. Second, the chief deficiencies I see on this team are on the offensive and defensive lines. How many true freshman do you see making an appreciable difference on the line of scrimmage in SEC play? Crowell, Drew, Rome, and the rest of the Dream Team are important, but will they make an appreciable difference next year? I'm not so sure. Long and Benedict should be ready to contribute on the OL, but both those guys are coming off major surgeries.

Georgia will open the season against Boise in Atlanta. We'll be without our top play maker on both the offense and defense from this year. Why should I be optimistic about that game or any game next year?

I was on Beale Street Thursday afternoon before the bowl pep rally. Greg McGarity walked toward me, stopped, and thanked me for coming to support the team. He didn't know me, nor does he have any particular reason to. It was an appreciated gesture. I told him that I was sincerely grateful that he got the job and wished him luck. It seems that our administration is ready to support our program in any way, even thanking some yahoo on the street. We just need to figure out how to improve, and fast.



Jim Wood said...

The offense was in rhythm on the first drive. After Richt gave them a vote of no confidence with the field goal, they never looked the same.

Anonymous said...

Nice call on McGarity's part. A class act.

Too bad the team didn't welcome you with equal enthusiasm.

ColumbiaDawg said...

You can't spell Huge Disaster without UGA

Dubbayoo said...

I figured early on that with a new QB and a change to the 3-4 this team had a shot to go way did I see 6-7.

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

A slightly different take on the recruiting angle about the skill positions. A very good back can make an offensive line look better. If you have a good back that can hit a hole quickly it means the OL has a greater margin of error.

The defense did well (not something that could be said this year) and the offense let the game get away.

Murray was not sharp after the first quarter. Maybe a result of the layoff? (Watching Taylor Potts struggle as well). Although it seems weird there was a delay in the rustiness.

Richt says changes need to be made.

Well, he has a new DC and S&C coach. Maybe Searels is gone if the O line is really deficient. I have fewer complaints about Bobo although I still cannot figure out a running play on 2 and 23 (but I see that sort of call regularly across college football).

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the strategy to get AJ the ball more than usual, but when I first realized the emphasis, I thought they were 'showcasing' him for the draft. It never dawned on me it was a game strategy.

William Neilson Jr. said...

Even if we beat BSU, why would anyone expect us to continue that momentum for the rest of the year?

Us beating BSU wouldn't shock me b/c we find ways to show up for opening games

But we CONTINUE seeing ZERO leadership, ZERO emotion, and laughable coaching in so many games

It is embarrassing

Dawgnoxious said...

I write this from car on the way back to Atlanta from Memphis. I agree the Liberty Bowl is a good trip (disregarding the fact our opponent wouldn't make an attractive non-conference home game).

The same problems occur over and over. Blair Walch [I think] had a revealing quote in the paper about how our guys thought the fact we're an SEC school was good enough to win.

We looked like we were sleep walking through the game. No urgency. But it's the attitude that starts at the top. I give you two examples: in the first quarter, it's fourth and inches and Richt opts for his beloved field goal. At the close of the first half he did exactly what he did at Auburn. With time on the clock and timeouts left, rather than try to squeeze out a quick score, he takes a knee and goes to the locker room.

Why is he playing conservative? What is there to CONSERVE? The plane has crashed into the mountain. Show some sack and PLAY TO WIN THE GAME.

No amount of recruiting and no amount of S&C program changes can make a difference when it comes to this kind of mindset. And it flows directly down to the assistant coaches and players. There is no killer instinct, and that's why we basically lost to the University of Phoenix to close out what was a season that resembled hot garbage.

Anonymous said...

Spot on Dawgnoxious and Quinton!

JackSpratDawg said...

Said it before & I’ll say it again. I think the Mark Richt era at UGA saw high tide September 20, 2008 in Tempe. Things been going downhill since. At best, for the future I see UGA posting a long line of 7-5, 8-4 type seasons, with an occasional 10-2 or even 11-1 record. Perhaps now and then an SEC (or at least SEC East) title and BCS bowl game thrown in for good measure. The heady days of late summer 2008 are long gone, and I doubt they will be back in the foreseeable future. I have been a supporter of Coach Richt through this stretch, but cannot help but to notice the indifference shown when losing games we should have won, or at least been competitive in. His remarks after the loss at AU were particularly galling. I am sure he will be around for the entirety of 2011, but at this point, I would not particularly be upset if he were not for 2012....

Hunkering Hank said...

Dawgnoxious- Amen to that.

I said this on another blog already, but the Richt Dawgs will not win more than eight games again - ever. Next season looks really rough. I can see losing eight games. We are standing stock still while the better SEC teams run away from us and we are passed by the likes of UCF. Honestly, now we can't even beat CENTRAL Florida.

matt b. said...

Up until this game, I was willing to let Mark Richt have 2011 to turn this around. Also, I planned to make my initial contribution to the Hartmann Fund.

Afterwards, my mindset has changed on both points. Why sign-off on this dismal performance by handing the Athletic Dept. my money?

Perhaps next year I will contribute, contigent on either an SEC East title OR a new head coach.

jeromefromdecatur said...

It's interesting to hear from some Georgia fans that RECRUITING is now very important in light of yesterday's events.

Recruiting? Really?

From Ray to Donnan to now Zombie-Richt, stockpiling talent has never been our problem.

Anonymous said...

Too many of our guys are considering the NFL when they should be more concerned about becoming more efficient football players for future NFL success. I believe some(?) of the linemen were playing "not to get hurt" with the draft coming up. Before you disagree, go watch the film. To me, it was obvious in the first quarter. No fire, no intensity, no confidence, no getting after anybody. But let me quickly add that I didn't see any of those things from any of the other players either, so maybe the UGA team is just what they looked like, "a really bad football team." And it all starts with coaching. We're not coaching our guys up the way other teams are. If you watched the Alabam/Michigan State game, you know what I'm talking about. Alabama played like they were conpeting for the NC! UGA is in the bottom third of the SEC right now! And with the same coaching staff next year, you won't see much difference in next year's team. Man, I hope I'm dead wrong!

GLT said...

I was there, sitting on the 9th row behind the Georgia bench. I'm sure somewhere in the crowd of Georgia players there had to be a player or two who actually paid attention to the game, but it was hard to tell. Not too many folks on the Georgia side seemed to care and it was evident on the field.

JJBA said...

Couldn't have said it better Dawgnoxious. If you can't get 1 yard against UCF then I guess you don't deserve to win. With Walsh telling it like it is yesterday I'm surprised he just didn't pick up the ball and run for a first down himself. I've been a CMR apologist for the better part of 3 years but I'm done. He's soft and thats why our O-line and entire program is. Its all about attitude and that FG from the 3 yard line is the definition of our program's attitude.

Lets go Fox's Hounds!

PatinDC said...


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Pl0we said...

I agree with JJBA because he is my friend and is Barstools roommate. Also, Leach is still available and so is Gus Malzahn.

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