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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Last Word on the Defense

Even I'm getting a little sick of talking about the recent defensive shortcomings, so I'm not going to continue to bore you with the details the rest of the week unless something significant happens.

Before we drop the subject for a while though, I wanted to share two quotes I got today that I think are pretty telling:

Darryl Gamble on what's been missing for the defense:

Maybe leadership. I wouldn t say it s not there, but it s just not the same as in the past. Guys aren t as vocal as they ve been in the past. Guys like Kelin, he ll say something to do you and it will just stick with you. I think these guys are more about example rather than more vocal.

From Asher Allen on the team's mood on the field:

There were just some times in the games where you could just look at the body language, and people just feed off of body language and things like that. Just looking at our team s body language I just always have the memory of that Hawaii game in the back of my mind, how everybody was running around and you had so much energy and the past couple games there have been some times where we made some plays and haven t really celebrated and things like that. I feel like that s a part of the game. We should work on that, but I feel like it should be natural when you do things like that. It s been more of a relief at the end of games just getting out of them and things like that. We need to put more on ourselves, more responsibility before the game even gets there.

Allen's quote reflects similar statements I've heard from Corvey Irvin and Rennie Curran, and I'm a little unsure how I feel about it. Should you really be celebrating when you make a big play if the team failed to make 10 big plays before it? That said, there's definitely something to be said for energy and enthusiasm and how that can be contagious.

It's funny, if there was one story I was certain had been overblown this year, it was about the team getting sucked into the preseason hype. But the more I hear things like this, the more obvious it becomes that a lot of these guys have paid way too much attention to all the external discussions about them, and it is having a real effect on the personality of the team.

There is a lot of youth on this team. There may be plenty of experience, but that's not necessarily the same thing as maturity. Common traits of an immature team include lacking leadership, getting too caught up in external things, and lacking focus. Sound familiar?

I can't help but look back on the team now and think that being the preseason No. 1 did hurt this team's focus. At the same time, I spent some time talking to players today about the last time Georgia played at Auburn, when no one -- Mark Richt included -- thought they had a good shot of winning. Instead, they came out sharp, focused and played their best football of the year.

Something tells me this year's team would have made a much better underdog than it did a favorite.


Anonymous said...

More stellar work and insight. I was incredibly excited to see the Dawgs get preseason hype, but I was concerned as well. If the Dawgs can finish up 11-2, get some folks back for next year (the UGA battle cry), stay healthy, and continue to improve we'll be alright.


Anonymous said...

Bingo. The expectations surrounding this team were higher than any team since the Herschel days (I guess, I wasn't around at that time). Maybe even moreso, since we've never been pre-season ranked #1 or anything like that. It's obvious that the team totally bought into all of that hype.

Dog44 said...

I agree. it's always interesting to delve into issues like these.

I was one of those that thought the pre-season #1 was definitely an obstacle for this team. In fact, in my experience it seems like Georgia is always better off as the underdog. It just doesn't seem like we've had the maturity to dominate the teams we are supposed to dominate. (Or we have never gotten to the place where we expect to dominate other teams.) Hawaii is is a great (but rare) example where we just went out there and owned the field. I actually remember feeling sorry for Colt Brennan and the rest of the Hawaii team. Some of that is a mental edge we haven't often had.

Anonymous said...

If we would not have started out preseason Number 1, we would not be Number 10 in the BCS today.

Clearly falling behind 31 to nothing to Alabama and falling behind 49-3 to Florida isn't just a concept that the players or coaches or both, were not focused because we were the higher ranked team.

I believe, correct now if I am wrong please - that if we are behind 31-0 and 49-3, that those two teams Number 1 and Number 4 in the BCS today, just perhaps are better football teams.

What do you think ?

This season, more than any previous season, is a season in which the fans bought into the hype that the players that have averaged about 7th best in the nation in national recruiting rankings, are instead the Number 1 Best National Champions Football Team.

We are not.

For example, there is not 1 Tight End on this team - nor has there been all season long.

There, for another example, is not 1 Defensive End on this team - nor has there been all season long.

So, what are we doing about it ?

As fans, what we are doing about it is saying fire Mike Bobo, fire Willie Martinez, fire Coach Richt - they just can't get over the hump of being ranked Number 7 in the Final Polls on the average for the 8 years now of the Coach Richt Era.

What we should be saying is why is it that the best we can do in recruiting for next season is 1 guy at Tight End who has 4.93 speed in the 40-yard dash and at Defensive End all we can do is just 1 guy too and he too 4.93 in the 40-yard dash.

I believe we don't have the talent of Florida, nor Alabama this season. They out-recruited us. We knew that when they did it.

Unless we just bought into the hype that UGA would go undefeated against the Number 1 Strength of Schedule in the nation.

As for the Defense, 31 to nothing and 49 to 3 is not just a problem of the Defense, now is it ?

Thank you.