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June 29, 2011

Georgia Preseason Preamble

There are two things I keep thinking about when I start to write about the upcoming season:
  1. How close to the Dawgs are to being overlooked due to the people putting an inordinate amount of weight on last year's performance having anything to do with this year's team.  Not to say they aren't related; they are.  It is too easy to say Georgia lost to UCF and move on to the next team without evaluating what has happened since then.  Similar thing happened in 2007 after the Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii. 
  2. How close the Dawgs are to being rightly overlooked, with root causes of the recent past failures being the reason.  Failures of training, failures of scheme, and failures of development.  The answer to a turn around isn't simply saying run fewer quick draws or make the players eat right.  The answer is figuring out what the failures are and fixing them. DNA level failures.  Not doing so, and now, likely means a regime change in Athens.
I've talked about one of the changes that probably is the most obvious.  Getting guys stronger and eating better.  It remains to be seen if the new approach is working, but getting guys to lay off Waffle House and Burger King is a start.

I'm no schematitian, but as a team, we fail to utilize our best talent.  We fail to prepare for the most important times in games.  We blow time outs at crucial junctures.  We are on our heels and playing reactive football, on both sides of the ball, too much.   We don't find plays that work, then run those plays until the other team figures out how to stop them.  I'm bearish on this changing.  Several years ago, Georgia was singled out by the SEC officials for their hurry up offense and a rule interpretation was implemented to help defenses against hurry up offenses. Think about that, then think about the delay of game penalties and time outs we have blown in the recent years because we were unprepared for the next play.

The offensive line is thin.  We'll need inovative play calling to get guys open in space, without having to ask the linemen to create that space.  We'll need players who are ready to go from the day training camp opens.  We'll need those players to buy in and have each others back.  We'll need coaches that aren't afraid to fail and desperately want to succeed.  Not just succeed, but make the other team's coaches look badly outcoached.

I personally don't think there is any one answer to what has happened over the past few years. When you look at the downfall of large organizations, it is rarely one big thing that is the source of the downfall, it is almost always a plethora of small things that become cumulative.  Any one or two or three of those problems won't cause the downfall. I don't know if it has been a lack of oversight, lack of competence at key positions, or a lack of caring about either.  I do know incremental changes have been made the past two seasons, and we have tangible evidence of a mindset change at the top.  Very top.

Great leaders are adept at knowing personal and organizational weaknesses and isolating them.  Great leaders are adept at knowing what they are good at and maximizing those strengths.  For five plus years, we saw the great leader in Mark Richt.  For the past few, we haven't, at least to the best we can tell (I am willing to say the change in Dcordinator, although a year late, still has time to pay off due to implimentation lag time). 

Do I have faith in Coach Richt's ability to correct what has gone wrong?  I don't know, but I surely want to.  Do I have evidence that my faith wouldn't be misplaced? Absolutely.  There is also evidence that my faith would be.  Mark Richt lost to UCF, but he also was the coach that the SEC had to slow down.  Will he become the guy to slow down again?  To still be in Athens in 2012, I think he has to.


Sam, Dawg Fan said...

I cannot think of a team that has been ranked so all over the place in the pre-season. This is going to be one of the most interesting seasons I can recall. Not saying it is going to be the best, but I cannot think of a season where I had so poor a "feel" for how they might do. 10 wins or 6 wins would not surprise me.

Even more concerned about the O line...

Anonymous said...

I personally have had no idea how we'd do the last two seasons, and that hasn't gone well. Hopefully that changes this year.

Of particular note in your post - the need to design plays to get guys in space. This is the most frustrating aspect of the offense to me. If we can't figure out how to do that, why sign guys like Wooten, B. Smith, and M. Mitchell, and particularly C. Thomas? We have all the talent in the world, but we have to leverage it better. I have faith that Crowell is plug and play into the offense, but I worry about our ability to leverage the smaller guys and the apparent multiple threats at TE.

Also, I think you mean 2012 in the last sentence.

Good June post, though.

Tony Waller said...

I did mean 2012. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Better be careful of people will start saying you aren't a "true fan" despite calling it like you see it.

I think two things have lead to the current situation. First, other teams in the SEC have gotten better. Look at the coaches in 2005 and now. Big difference. Second, UGA has stayed in neutral and therefore has fallen behind. Lack of urgency to get better is a cancer and UGA is full of tumors right now.

ColumbiaGawg said...

I think it is no secret what is at stake in 2011 for Mark Richt. It's win or be replaced. The football program has reached that point. It cannot have another season like the last two.

Cojones said...

Second guessing in June sure doesn't help. I'll go along with the AD, the President and the Board of Regents who all have supported Richt publicly in print. All of you "giving" Richt another year must be higher up on the chain than those people. My Degree from Georgia gives me pride in those who we pay to be responsible for hiring and firing.

Who in the world will you guys be watching to enjoy college football? Certainly sounds like you won't be enjoying any games we play with these terrible conditions you perceive even to today. Not winning the SEC or NC will not alter my vision and hope for the Dawgs. And the things I can't change don't keep me harping like I just discovered negative cheering at it's finest. There are so many positive events and player actions stacked up for this season that I can't keep up with them. Why don't we go ahead and push Murray for the Heisman and crucify the O line personnel if he doesn't get it?

Win or lose, these are my coaches and players that make up the Dawgs. I support who my University hires until they hire someone else, but I'll be damned before being responsible for such action as removal of coaches by running along and nipping at their heels like little dogs. That's what FU does.

Tony Waller said...


I am not 'giving' Richt another year. What I think about the situation is irrelevant to Mike Adams and Greg McGarity. I am saying that if we show up and let 6-6 teams manhandle us, the opinions of those that Mike Adams and Greg McGarity do care about will not be supportive.


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