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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Post-Game Notes: No Decisions Yet on Cox's Future

After it was over, Georgia quarterback Joe Cox took the blame. After throwing three costly interceptions, there was little doubt he deserved to shoulder a fair portion of the burden. But in the wake of a demoralizing 41-17 loss to Florida, head coach Mark Richt isn’t ready to make any decisions about the future of Georgia’s quarterback position.

“It’s not good to make decisions within minutes after an emotional ballgame,” Richt said. “It’s always good to settle your spirit, settle your mind and look at the entire picture before you make any kind of decision. But we’ll do that.”

That doesn’t exactly mean Cox’s job is safe. The fifth-year senior completed just 11-of-20 passes for 165 yards and tossed three interceptions, one of which set up a crucial Florida touchdown to start the second half.

The numbers were bad overall for Cox, but they were dreadful in the second half. Cox had completed six of his first eight throws, but finished a woeful 5-of-12 down the stretch before being lifted for backup Logan Gray in the fourth quarter.

Still, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was quick to dish out blame to more than just his starting quarterback, but didn’t rule out a potential change at the position.

“We’ve got to address the problem of what we’re doing offensively,” Bobo said. “That’s not just Joe Cox, that’s everybody, coaches included, and see what our next step is and what’s the best move. You can’t turn the ball over like we’re doing. There’s no possible way of winning football games with our turnover margin like it is, and when you do it against a great football team, the result is usually something like tonight.”

The turnover margin now stands at 21 giveaways and six takeaways for the season, with Cox responsible for 13 of those turnovers, 12 via interceptions. He has completed at least one pass to the other team in all eight games so far this season.

Despite the problems, Richt said Cox has retained the confidence of his teammates throughout.

“Joe is a very respected man in our locker room and our program, and you could tell how badly he hurt about this one,” Richt said. “I can’t tell you how many guys – offense, defense, freshmen, juniors, sophomores – came up to him and wanted to let them know how they felt about him.”

Regardless of the respect Cox may have in the locker room, however, Richt said the decisions on personnel – including at quarterback – will eventually come down to performance.

On that front, Cox has struggled, but he may still be the best answer. Gray has thrown just seven passes this season, completing only one, and he had his pass against Florida intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

“I think we’re going to look at the big picture at all positions and just see what we think we need to do,” Richt said about the quarterbacks. “But if we believe Joe gives us the best chance to finish out this season with the most success then that’s what we’re going to do.”


Georgia opened the game with its fifth different lineup in eight games on the offensive line, but this is one Richt said has a potential to stick.

Clint Boling moved from right tackle to left tackle, with Cordy Glenn moving from tackle to left guard and Chris Davis and Josh Davis handling the right side of the line. The move seemed to pay dividends in the running game, with Georgia rushing for 121 yards in the game – among its best performances of the year on the ground against one of the tougher defensive units in the country.

“It was pretty effective,” Richt said of the lineup. “Florida’s defense is one of the better defenses in America, and we did run the ball well. We protected well early on when we still had our run-pass mix where we could keep them off balance a little bit.”

Georgia did allow three sacks of its quarterbacks, a season high against a line that had allowed just six sacks all season. But the boost to the running game was crucial, led by a productive day from freshman Washaun Ealey, who finished with 70 yards on 17 carries.

“Moving them around (on the line), that helped a lot. I knew they were going to block real hard,” Ealey said. “The line has been doing a good job, and I just tried to keep hitting the holes hard and making plays.”

Richt said line coach Stacy Searels would have the final say after watching film, but he expected a similar lineup going forward.

“I liked the combination,” Richt said. “I’m not sure how Coach Searels will feel about it when it’s all said and done, but there’s a good chance it’ll stay that way.”


Georgia has had black helmets and pants on the shelf for over a year.

Richt felt Saturday against the Gators was the best opportunity to show them off, saying, “We felt like this might have been the best chance to pull them out, with the victory over Vanderbilt and had a chance to play in this big ballgame.”

Similar to the blackouts of years past, where the Bulldogs’ wore black jerseys with the regular red helmet and silver pants, the players had no clue leading up to the game. They found out less than 15 minutes before kickoff.

“I loved the uniforms,” White said. “I feel like the coaches helped us out emotionally with the pants and the helmet.”

The team ran onto the field to start the game wearing black uniform pants and black helmets for the first time in school history, and it was a boost that had the players pumped.

“It had us fired up,” Cox said. “I know we had planned to do it at some point last season, but we didn’t have a chance to. It got everybody fired up. That was as emotional a running out onto the field as we could ever have. That part was good.”

The move came as a surprise to even the players, who didn’t learn of the new uniforms until after their pregame warm-ups.

Richt said the team had the uniforms last season but shelved them after wearing black uniforms in a blowout loss to Alabama. Instead, they donned the new look for this week’s game, Richt said, in hopes of adding an extra spark against a top-notch opponent.

By the end of the game, however, the fashion statement was the only statement Georgia had made. Florida’s dominance had left the Bulldogs with little concern for their threads.

“We weren’t worried on the pants and helmets throughout the game,” receiver Michael Moore said. “We were more focused on the bigger task at hand which was Florida. We just fell a little short today and didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.”


For the first time since becoming head coach, Richt has a .500 record eight games into the season. His team is unranked and in danger of potentially missing a bowl game for the first time since 1996.

But while the problems continue to mount, Richt said the program remains strong.

“We’re 4-4 this season,” he said. “I don’t think it’s an indictment on the program. I think it’s an indictment on how we’ve done this year. The more you win the better you feel about the overall direction, but if there was chaos, if things were getting really messy in your locker room or your staff room or something like that, I’d have a very large concern right now. I’m very concerned about the fact that we’re 4-4, but I’m not concerned about the stability of the program or the direction of the program.”


Left tackle Clint Boling left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury, and Richt said the team was unsure whether Boling could miss action.

“I don’t think it’s severe. Right now we don’t think it’s severe,” Richt said. “He may be back this week. It may be a little bit. But we don’t think it’s any type of surgery or anything that would end his season.”

Receiver A.J. Green was helped off the field following a hard hit on Cox’s third interception of the game. Green went up to try to haul in the pass but was sandwiched between defenders and spent several minutes on the ground following the play.

“He definitely got the wind knocked out of him,” Richt said. “That was most of the problem at that moment. I don’t know if there will be a rib injury beyond that. We’ll have to wait and see on that.”

Linebacker Nick Williams also left Saturday’s game with a back injury and did not return.


Georgia’s penalties and turnovers killed any chance of offensive success in a 41-17 loss Saturday.

The Bulldogs threw four interceptions, three by starter Joe Cox. There were also a number of drive-altering penalties early in the game.

Georgia’s miscues were especially frustrating considering most offensive categories. The Bulldogs converted 16 first downs, averaged five yards a play and kept up with the Gators in time of possession.

But the penalties and turnovers made the positive stats irrelevant.

“We were moving the ball well,” said Georgia tight end Aron White. “I feel like they weren’t stopping us, we were stopping ourselves.”

The penalties ambushed Georgia’s first drive of the game and were of the lack of focus variety. Flags were thrown for a false start and unsportsmanlike conduct. The drive stalled, and Florida went up 14-0 soon after.

“Getting a couple of penalties early on turned a couple of drives around and really hurt us,” White said.

The turnovers undermined the second half. Quarterback Joe Cox threw a pick on the first play of the half, giving the Gators a short field and eventually a three touchdown lead. And he threw two more as the half unfolded, one on a third-and-two play action pass and another grabbed after bouncing out of A.J. Green’s hands.

Florida scored 17 points from Georgia’s turnovers, quickly turning a once close game into blow out.

“That’s kind of the storyline of our season so far is shooting ourselves in the foot, pretty much,” said wide receiver Michael Moore. “Turnovers and mental errors like that have hurt.”

Georgia has 21 turnovers on the season, entering Saturday 92nd in the country in the category.

“We have never won the turnover ratio this season,” coach Mark Richt said. “That’s not good. That’s pretty bad and frustrating at this point.”


On Georgia’s first kickoff return of the second half, sophomore cornerback Brandon Boykin set the school record for kick return yards in a season.

Unfortunately the record means nothing, Boykin says, because of the loss.

“No. Not at all,” he said. “I could care less about the record. I’d take 0 return yards for a win.”

Boykin finished with 114 yards on six returns against the Gators Saturday, He still has four regular season games to build upon the record, currently set at 714 yards on 28 returns, with a pair of 100-yard touchdowns.


-- Blair Walsh connected on his fourth 50-plus-yard field goal of the season in four attempts in the first half.

-- Aron White has just four touchdowns in his career at Georgia, and two are against Florida.

-- Nick Williams got the first start of his career at linebacker.

-- Temperature at game time was 84 degrees, which is the hottest it has been at kickoff for a Bulldogs’ game this year. The previous high was the season opener at Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. The temperature was 81 degrees.

*Fletcher Page contributed to these notes.


stan p said...

Give Wi-Mart some credit for Boykin's kick-off return record...

defense? said...

did you not talk about the defense because of space constraints? as an homage to the defense not showing up today? just plain tired of saying the same old things?

Anonymous said...

I understand MR's comments about the team and coaches sticking together but am also concerned at the same time. With all of the problems & mistakes this year, shouldn't people be holding other people accountable?

Maybe change for changes sake wouldn't be such a bad idea about now. Loyalty is an admirable trait but how long can loyalty be rewarded when you are losing.

Trey said...

David, you know better than any of us ( I would only assume)... But will people be held accountable at the end of the season? Is DE the kind of AD that will trust Richt to keep his staff if he wants. I just don't want to think that if we win out, that gives everyone a free pass, and we start all of this over again. I'm really nervous about this program. I don't care what CMR says... Look at how UT is coming along, Kiffin is the real deal folks, he really is. Alabama is up there, Florida is up there, LSU is up there, Ole MIss is up and down, but where does Georgia come in now? In two years (one of those having two #1 round draft picks) we have gone to maybe the 5th best team in the SEC? Who is held accountable for that? CMR wants to act and talk like this is just an 09 problem. Are we all forgetting how we were embarrassed last year in every big game when we were suppose to have the best UGA team of the decade? CMR has been relying on the past for two seasons now, and I'm sick of it. I don't want him gone, but somehow they need to wake up and realize when every good team has beaten us down the last two seasons, their is FAULT ON SOMEONE.

Anonymous said...

This was funny defense?:
"did you not talk about the an homage to the defense not showing up today?"

Muckbeast said...

Anyone excited for Georgia Tech?

Anonymous said...

Do you know how to use a space between paragraphs?

Richt, bobo, cwm are the problem. The players are the result of the problem. Once these three are fired and no one hires them, they will finally get it. They have destroyed Georgia.

ActuaryDawg said...

Three points:
1) It's pretty much a given that your return man is going to break some kind of record when you give up six or seven scores every game.

2)The black variations of the uniform are already stale. It's like Notre Dame's green jersey's (i.e. the jerseys they wear when they plan on losing a big game).

3)The defensive problems come down to execution and hard work. The team just has to work hard and execute better. They should play more physical too. And execute more physically as they work harder. It's just that simple. Oh yeah, I forgot about focus. That's important too.

Billy Barou said...

Hats off to Bobo for calling a good game today. Hats off to the O-Line and the backs as well.

I came to a realization after the game. I was talking to my brother and told him somewhat less despairingly than might have been expected, that at least this was better than the Tennessee game. Then it dawned on me: the reason why these losses don't eat me up the way they used to is because they've become the norm. I'm used to this now.

We don't need gimmicks to fire up the team....we need to hold the players accountable. So when a certain defensive back, for example, gets burned, or runs the wrong way, or is on the wrong side of the field, we can put Rambo in there, or how about Quinton don't think after all that time off that Quinton Banks is FIRED UP to get back on the field?

Part of the reason some of the younger guys (Ealey, Dowtin, Boykin, Rambo, King, Charles, etc. are showing some fire is because they are FIGHTING for playing time, whereas we've got some veterans out there that are either going through the motions or just incapable of getting it done on this level.

What scares me is the fact that everyone, at least on the defensive side of the ball, that is good, has pretty much been good since they were a freshman. Kade and Houston have progressed nicely, but guys like Curran, Dowtin, Owens, Atkins, Jones (half the time) were good when they were freshman, its like they're still good DESPITE the coaching they've received....whereas a bunch of other upperclassmen (I thought better of naming them) showed glimpses of promise when they were younger and two or three years later still show no more than the occasional glimpse. We're not developing our talent.

Trey said...

Anon 11:30 PM,

Indentions separate paragraphs, not spaces you dolt.

Anonymous said...

You are still a moron, Trey, Try out for a coaching position. Your are a shoe in.

Anonymous said...

First, to comment on the comments, "your a shoe in" is hilarious. Just wanted the anon poster to know that I get it. Second, saying Richt and his staff have "destroyed" Georgia is an admirable demonstration of hyperbole. I'd say leading UGA to its only SEC championships in the last 20+ years is hardly destructive, but that's the world we live in these days, eh? This attitude is why I won't be surprised when the Taliban are decapitating people on soccer pitches and no one in America will care. Yet, I digress.

God bless Joe Cox, but the "big picture" has nothing to do with 2009 at this point. We're a 7-8 win, Liberty/Music City Bowl team at best. We should secure our bowl bid, yes; but we should start playing for '10 NOW. Tennessee Tech is the perfect time to start. BURN THAT SHIRT. Joe is a DGD, but it is what it is: he ain't winning us any meaningful games at this point. I love him, and I hate it, but it's a bottom-line thing. We're playing for '10 now.

Those unis: an abortion. One would think that the "uniform as motivation" card would have been played out after 31-0. Still, I'm not one to think that the uniforms matter, but Georgia wears red helmets and silver pants. In '07, the team earned the chance to wear black jerseys by beating OSU. This year, I'm not sure what this group did to earn breaking out the fashion atrocity that was what our Dawgs wore today. Of course, after seeing UT, the Grambling unis don't seem so bad. Seriously though, since when was Georgia one of those teams? Just pathetic. So, we were so fired up we only lost by 24?

The record is always an indicator of the program's standing. Pray tell, what recruit wants to be 4-4? What recruit wants to be in a position where the Music City Bowl looks like the best bet for the holidays? And, relatedly, what does it say about the program that there isn't a QB ready to step in? Hell, Mizzou just inserted a new QB this year after losing it's best of all time. Missouri!

I can't be more disappointed in the team's performance, but what's worse is that I didn't feel like we had a chance to win anyway, so what the hell? I'm not one of these "mythical national title or bust" type fans. All I ask is that Georgia - a program with a rich history, seemingly unlimited resources, access to abundant home-grown talent and strong fan, alumni and administrative support - be COMPETITIVE.

Georgia is not competitive.

UGA69Dawg said...

Any team that has to resort to changing uniforms to get their team fired up is beaten before they take the field. The uniforms don't matter, the play does. We were once again embarrassed by ourselves and our lack of discipline, this is the coaches' fault. Pull everyone of the jive talking players out of the game and sit them for the rest of the game and play the damn walkons. This team is out of control.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:15, Trey is below "moron" status and is a Kiffin admirer. 'Nuff said.

David, can you ask next week about AM's arm problem and see if he is healed. If he were 100% could there be any reason not to play him next week, and could there ever be a better time to see what he has? Tough time for Gray to see action, but he really didn't look like he had been here 3 years. Guess we know now why he hasn't seen action so far. Proof positive, coaches who see practice every day know a lot more than message board geniuses who just bitch and 2nd guess.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:43,

Had a couple of drinks? Catching up with the rest of us?

Last time I checked, our team has not been competitive in the SEC for 4 years. We are last in defense and maybe soon to be last in the SEC for offense. What more evidence do you need for our destruction. Are your predicting an SEC championship next year without a quarterback who has played an SEC down? I might bet on Alabama before us.

We can argue all we want but it is time for a change in coaching at GA or for time for ALL GOOD FANS TO GO HOME AND SIT OUT A YEAR WITHOUT SENDING MONEY TO GA.

Anonymous said...

We haven't been competitive in the SEC in 4 years??? How about 2 years ago when we tied UT for the East and finished #2 in the nation?

Not downplaying our current problems, but just saying....

GATA said...

Anyone else see Spikes eye-poking Ealey?? Check you-tube, search brandon spikes, what a dirty ASS player

Anonymous said...

GATA, I saw the video and feel it should be sent to the SEC office. Spikes should be suspended for a couple of games, just like the NFL fines players after reviewing controversial hits. Spikes has been a dirty player his entire career. Even if gutless Slive doesn't suspend him, Meyer shoudl sit him. I would want Richt to to the same. No place for this in football.

Muckbeast said...

2007? You mean the year our team was absolutely LOADED but we didn't even WIN the SEC East because we choked like bitches against Tenn and SC?

UGA has been in a brutal downward spiral since 2005. Yes, 2005. The 2005 Sugar Bowl was the beginning of what you see now.

Undisciplined, Uncreative, Uninspired football teams.

I have been a die hard Dawg fan since 1975. I went to UGA law school. I lived in Georgia for about 20 of my 37 years.

But this just isn't fun. It isn't about losing. Losing games where your team plays hard - well, that happens.

But utterly failing to show up for entire halves or entire games? Losing BADLY to teams you should beat? And doing so OFTEN - at least 1 or 2 games every year? :(

It just isn't fun any more. And following sports should be fun.

Keith said...

Why do some of you guys always drag out the claim "good players won't want to play for a losing team?" If that were the case, then NO team would ever rise from the ashes after hitting bottom.

I can remember various quotes from recruits on the trail back when even Richt began his recruiting days at UGA. Recruits would be quoted as saying they were excited about playing for UGA to help build the team back to higher status. The point is, recruits ARE NOT like some of you sidewalk fans that run away from UGA because the program takes a downfall. So stop projecting your personal feelings for the program onto potential recruits.

To be honest, I wouldn't care if CMR was fired (he won't be, am just saying I wouldn't care). He's already shown that loyalty is more important than winning. So how will he ever make solid decisions in this upcoming process?

There is not one, NOT ONE, assistant coach on this staff that should remain after this year. The closest is Searels but even he is suspect IMO. Our OL has sucked year long in what was supposed to be "one of UGA's best OLs in recent history". duh

But I don't want to see these incompetents shuffled around and moved to other positions on the staff just to keep them on the payroll. I'm talking FIRED completely from the program.

But at the very least Bobo and Martinez need to be fired. Will they be? I'm not betting money...

As for QB --- Since when does ONE PASS quantify a QBs capabilities? You guys have defended limpy Cox by saying "one game" isn't enough to rate him. But you throw Gray under the bus for ONE PASS.... But, really, what difference does it make anyway? Bobo is the QB coach........

I predict a 5-7 season.

Anonymous said...

As bad as i hate to admit it, I have come to the conclusion that our Dawgs are really in trouble, and not just this season. We have a coach who lives in denial, who either can't see the problems we have, or wants to protect his buddies. Willie must go, no excuses, no more chances. The uniform debacle is a complete embarrasment. We have become the Oregon of the SEC. This team is out of control, and the lack of discipline is evident both on and off the field. Why our staff would reward the behavior and performance (of lack thereof) from this season by rolling out some thugged up uniforms is beyond me. This should have been a reward for accomplishing goals for the season, not as a catalyst to try to get an underachieving team excited. I hope they find a high school somewhere in GA, and donate those God-awful black helmets, jerseys and pants (like Dooley did with the red pants when we lost to S.C.) and we never see them again. This team and staff is out of control.

Anonymous said...

Georgia is next to last in the nation in the discipline categories of turnovers and penalties.

These are not new issues for this staff.

Last year, we were in the same position with penalties and forced turnovers.

This is what happens when you pass on disciplining or benching your offending players (i.e. last year) or pass the discipline issues over to your players (i.e. this year).

This is what happens when you pass on making the tough decisions with your staff (i.e. the co-coordinator fiasco) or pass on the opportunity for a true a culture change (i.e. John Chavis).

This is what happens when you are more concerned with team harmony than team competition.

What remains is will Dr. Adams and Damon Evans pass on making the right decision and change the head coach?

Or will they delay the inevitable by playing the change-the-coordinator song-and-dance for two years?.

I beleive they will make the right decision this year, like they did in 2000.

Anonymous said...

"Richt said line coach Stacy Searels would have the final say after watching film, but he expected a similar lineup going forward."

Does anyone else think that this is a strange thing for a head coach to say?

Anonymous said...

I thought the defense played hard yesterday but we're obviously not getting the type of performance out of these guys that we should. Georgia has plenty of talent on that side of the ball -- obviously coaching in technique and scheme is missing. As is the ability to adjust. We were 14 down before we did. That happens way too much.

On the offensive side of the ball we did a lot of good things but kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Our skill players are young and hopefully we can get a quarterback with more talent than Joe. He's a great kid but ultimately you have to be able to perform. At this point I wouldn't mind seeing Gray (or Murray) get a shot. It's hard to come in in the kind of situation we had yesterday without a lot of reps. If we find a quarterback next year we should be good on that side of the ball. Everything I've heard about Murray (except the injury) is encouraging. We have a lot of young talent at the skill positions who are making some plays. I think the offense will be pretty good next year.

Penalties and turnovers are killing us. I'm still afraid our reputation for penalties causes the refs to watch us more closely and call things they wouldn't against other teams -- it's just human nature at work. That's going to be hard to change without a new coaching staff. Reputation can influence certain outcomes.

Turnover margin is a bad one but aggravated by a defense that allows a lot of space and doesn't pressure the quarterback enough. Joe Cox was supposed to be a smart, accurate quarterback but has made some boneheaded throws.

I love CMR. I sincerely hope he can fix this. Martinez is probably a great guy but the results are not in accordance with the talent this football team has. I know a lot of folks disagree with this but if WM could handle it with class at the least demote him back to secondary coach and get a DC who can do the job. Whatever happens change must happen on that side of the ball and you can't be held hostage by fears about recruits not signing becasue they like WM.

Never, ever bring out the black helmets again.

Anonymous said...

im glad mark richt isnt worried about our program's and coacing staff's future, because every georgia fan sure as hell is. I bet a bunch of top notch recruits are worried too and will probably slip to tennesse fla or even auburn over uga.