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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Teleconference Notes (10/11)

A few tidbits from Mark Richt's Sunday teleconference…

-- Fans have complained a good bit about Richt not sounding as upset about the failures of the team as he should. First, you have to understand that it's just not Richt's personality to air that stuff in public. But he was a bit more straightforward in his criticism today.

Regarding the defense: “It’s not what we have been accustomed to at Georgia, that’s for sure. That’s something that’s gotta be corrected. There are some circumstances for those things happening but overall, everybody’s got problems. Everybody’s got issues. Everybody’s got to, whether it’s injuries or youth or whatever you might say. But the bottom line is you’ve got to perform and we haven’t performed as well as I would like our defense to perform. We certainly haven’t helped them in a lot of instances, and that’s pretty well documented with some of those things. When your turnover ratio is what ours is, we haven’t helped those guys in any way. But they’re still allowed to go three-and-out, too."

Regarding the overall performance: "We’ve got to get better, period. We’ve got to get better at defense, get better on offense, we’ve got to get better in all areas. And we’ve got to get better at coaching.”

On what he means by "coaching better": “We just have to continue that when we put our plan in, it’s not too much. We don’t ask our guys to do more than they’re capable of doing. And we’ve got to continue to motivate and all the things that coaches do. I guess the point I’m making is that is where we are right now is a culmination of everyone. I’m not pointing the finger at any one individual. I’m pointing the finger at all of us as a whole. We must all improve, period.”

-- He called this game one of the most frustrating of his career offensively.

-- Richt said he'll be evaluating film from the game and may make some personnel changes, but it won't be any wholesale cleaning house on either side of the ball. “We’re not going to have open tryouts or anything like that. We’re going to get right back to work preparing for Vanderbilt and try to get the best man at every position. But it’s not going to be some kind of open tryout.”

-- Any personnel changes, he said would be decided by Tuesday, most likely.

-- Obviously chief among the personnel questions is at quarterback, but don't expect anyone other than Joe Cox to be under center this week.

Richt on the freshmen -- Murray & Mettenberger: “They could function with a certain percentage of what we’re doing, but it’s a matter of deciding whether you want to do that, number one, as far as playing them, and then how much can you do with them, and how effective can a true freshman be at this point."

Richt on his game plan for Vandy: "Right now, my No. 1 goal is to put a team out there that has the very best shot of beating Vanderbilt on Saturday. Any personnel decisions that may or may not be made will be based strictly on who gives us the best chance to win on Saturday.”

-- Regarding Cox, I noted this (thanks to reader Jim F.) on the blog earlier today: Before the drop by A.J. in the second quarter, Cox was 11-of-13 passing. After, he was 9-of-22 the rest of the way. Take away the 4-of-5 throwing during garbage time, and Cox went 4-of-17 (29%) following A.J.'s drop.

Well, Richt may know the real cause: “Joe played better in the first half than in the second half. I think Joe took a couple shots that probably shook him up a little bit. He probably would never admit to that. But before we have any successful quarterback play, we’ve got to run the ball better and pass protect better than we did.”

-- More Baccari Rambo? That's good. More Bryan Evans? Eh, not so much.

“Rambo is beginning to play well and earn more playing time," Richt said. "He needs to play more. As a matter of fact, when it comes to safety play, we probably need to do more of a three-man rotation between Rambo and Bryan and Reshad. Rambo kind of subbed for Bryan but we really didn’t sub Reshad. Reshad doesn’t need to play every snap, Bryan doesn’t need to play every snap, Rambo doesn’t need to play every snap. We need to split that workload a little bit more and I think that’ll help all those guys. We need to be productive on a more consistent basis.”

-- And just a word to a few commenters: I've read multiple (at least three) comments today referring to Georgia as the "laughing stock of the NCAA."

Please guys, if you want to say something that silly, don't do it on the blog of a guy who follows Syracuse football. Now THAT is the laughing stock of the NCAA.


Anonymous said...

Ah, ask and ye shall receive. Thanks for the teleconference notes.

Anonymous said...

I like these quotes from Richt. It sounds like he's taking accountability and doing it more publicly than I've heard him do. I don't know about you guys, but what I saw of Logan Gray yesterday didn't make me at all confident in him replacing Joe Cox. In fact, I actually think he would be significantly worse than Joe Cox. I know that sounds impossible, but believe me, it's very possible. The fact that we've lost 3 games and he still hasn't seen much playing time is very telling. I just don't think he's the answer. I would definitely be open to getting Aaron Murray some play time, though. Any news on when he's supposed to be completely healthy? As far as "personnel changes," I'm hoping that means Bryan Evans sees less and less playing time. As maddening as this season has been, you have to appreciate the sheer talent of our freshmen and sophomores. We've seen some sparks of brilliance by them and it's exciting.

Mike said...


What is your take on the possibility of Richt demoting or replacing Martinez should the defense finish around the bottom of the SEC again this season?

Some UGA fans say Richt is too loyal to his coaches, but there really haven't been any situations under Richt where one unit's performance truly rose to a sustained level whereby CFB coaches are often fired.

But two straight seasons at the bottom of the SEC in defense? That is a situation where DCs are at least occasionally, if not often, replaced.

Do you think Richt would get rid of Martinez after such a season?

David Hale said...

Texas -- I think he would, but I don't think he's anywhere close to making that decision yet. I think Willie will honestly get a continued evaluation from now until the end of the year. If things improve dramatically -- say, a win against Florida -- then he probably stays. If they don't, I think CMR will see the writing on the wall and make a change. Or more likely, Willie saves him the trouble.

Bernie said...

Like Anon 7:06 said, these quotes have a different air about them. But right now they're just words on a screen to me. David - did you notice a difference in his demeanor as he said them?

David Hale said...

Richt sounded the same as always, but it is by far the most direct he's spoken about the issues. And sometimes it's hard to read too much into Richt's tone. I've seen him say angry things to people with a smile on his face before. He's not easily rattled.

SDawg said...

"If things improve dramatically -- say, a win against Florida -- then he probably stays."

Please don't give me a reason to root for the Gators. As I typed that I realized I wasn't being totally sarcastic.

Ant123 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ant123 said...

Anonymous, I agree with your assessment of Grey to a point. But, I really don't think those few plays under those conditions gave much of an opportunity to fairly evaluate him. I would like to see him get a series early in the next game to see what he could do. He could not do much worse than the qb play this week anyway.
I think what everyone really wants to hear coach Richt say is that the absurdly bad play we have been seeing will not be tolerated and that one way or another it WILL be fixed. David, What do you think about that? Will we get that?

Sam said...

In your five years of covering GA football, is this the lowest point? It seems like sorrow and pity are the two emotions running through Dawg Nation right now, as opposed to say ... pride and confidence.

Trey said...

I think people need to get a grip and realize what Richt has done here. Name one coach who hasn't had a down year. I mean heck, look at Urban in 07. COACHES AND TEAMS HAVE BAD YEARS IN EVERY PROGRAM. Give Richt a chance to correct things. He's not going to make the coaching changes mid-season because right now there's not a better alternative.

David Hale said...

Ant -- I think this is as animated as you'll see Richt get publicly. Privately on the other hand... that may be a different story.

Sam -- Things were pretty bad in '06. Four straight losses, including to Kentucky AND Vandy? That's about as down as you can get. I think the difference now is that people seemed to think that '06 was a building process with some growing pains. This season just seems... lost? That's where the frustration comes from, but I still think the best approach is to avoid the sweeping conclusions until after the season is over. We'll have a much better idea then of a.) what UGA has to work with and b.) what's being done to fix the rest.

Anonymous said...


Love the blog - especially for the journalism that underpins it.

Keep up the great work. At least if we can't PLAY well, we can have a quality analysis of the game afterward.


Anonymous said...

The UT loss in 2007 was just as embarrassing as this one and look what they did, granted we had Knowshon & Stafford. This team will play the season out with heart. Our best shot at winning is with the QB we have, not a freshman or a punt catcher at QB. Get over it guys, he's average but he's the best we got in 2009. There are alot of problems, no one problem is to blame, but I believe Martinez will resign at the end of the year and Garner will be promoted. Hopefully he won't sheme a scared defense. A four man rush 80% of the time with a weak secondary equals disaster, but yet he can't make himself rush more than 4. Garner expects alot out of his DL's. He seems to have an edge to him and that's something we haven't seen alot of under Martinez. Can he coach and adjust, there is only one way to find out.

Brad said...

Les Miles last year? They sucked and it happens. We have a lot of talent and no cohesion. Let's see this thing play out. I am hurt by this loss too but have a ton of respect for Coach Richt. I don't know about you all but I wish that I had a boss like him.

Mike said...


Thanks for your responses. Very interesting stuff.

I know there are a lot doubting Richt right now, but this isn't a guy who just showed up to this game. He's got almost 20 years of coaching CFB players with a resume (multiple MNC games as an OC, 2 SECCs, 6 of 9 seasons with a top 10 team as head coach, etc.) that only a tiny few people that have coached the game in that time can match.

There are very, very few people who I would want instead of Richt as far as turning things around at UGA goes. And none of them are options, of course.

Muckbeast said...

Trey, down YEAR?

2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and now 2009 were all disappointments.

Our two losses in 2007 with that LOADED team were a disgrace. 2007 and 2008 were both like 2004 all over again.

Two SEC titles in 5 years is great (his 2001->05 run).

One SEC title in 8 years (02->09) is not so great.

Muckbeast said...


Have you seen and

Embarrassing for us and for the recruits that follow that site.

Mike said...

LOL. A #2 finish with a true sophomore QB, freshman RB, OL starting two true freshman, and 8-9 new starters on defense was a "disgrace"?

Nah, no irrationality there.

Anonymous said...

I believe, like many here, that Martinez has to go, we have quality players, they are not coached well. Coach Irk is rolling in his grave. Why don't we offer David Pollack a position as linebaker coach, or any position just to get his knowledge and enthusiasm in the game. Many are right, we don't have that GATA attitude anymore. Someone, coach or player, has to step up and give this team a spark. Even Uga goes to sleep on the sideline,,,,,,,,

Anonymous said...

"Our two losses in 2007 with that LOADED team were a disgrace."

Yeah, kicking Florida and Auburn's asses, winning the Sugar Bowl, and finishing #2 in the country sucked.

T-Rey said...

I listened to the Budwieser 5th quarter show on my way home last night and I have to say this, I am highly disappointed in the way our team played on Saturday, but I am also highly disappointed in the fans. Maybe its part of having the best fans in the country, but there were people calling for Willie's head, Bobo's head, and even Richt's. I don't think that is very fair. Following last years season (when UGA had arguably the worst defense in UGA history) I would have agreed with anyone that Willie needed to be gone sooner than later. However, this year, UGA hasn't done anything consistently...good or bad. We had two terrible defensive games in a row, followed by two pretty good defensive games. Our offense rolled in two games in a row, followed by one mediocre game and then two bad ones. I'm not defending anyone, just trying to put in perspective by saying that until we start doing something consistently bad, we may need to cut back on the "firing" talk. Really the only thing we've done consistently all season is turn the ball over, so I ask, is that on Bobo? Richt? And for anyone that is going to respond to this with recruiting talk, I don't want to hear that either. Yes we finish in the top 10 in recruiting every year. What people tend to forget is that we generally finish in the top 10 in the AP poll as well. For some reason that isn't good enough for us anymore. Really, what does that say about Richt as a coach when we are disappointed in 10 win seasons? I'm not saying that there isn't room for improvement, there clearly is. All I'm saying is take a step back and look at everything a little more objectively. Also lets not forget, every team struggles occasionally, especially when you play football in the most elite conference in America. Least we forget, even the mighty gators lost 4 games in '06, Bama lost 6, remember where UT and Auburn were last year? Just because Richt has spoiled us with 10 or 12 win seasons year in and year out doesn't make us immune to a bad season. Lets also remember that we lost 3 of our offensive starters to the first 2 rounds of the NFL draft. Of course we were bound to struggle this year. Sorry for rambling, just some food for thought. I do have a question though. David made the comment a few weeks back that Cox gives us the best chance to win this year, and I do hesitantly agree to that. My question is at what point do we start to invest in next years starter? I believe Joe Cox could attest to the fact no matter how long you spend in a system, no matter how well you know the ins and outs of the game, you still aren't complete without game experience.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh...Me thinks after Saturday's debacle, Damon or Michael finally made the call.

It's a done deal. The promoting form within decision didn't work. In less then 4 months Coach Richt will be surrounded by the assistants he deserves.

I love my Dawgs...

Unknown said...

Two random thoughts:

1) David, I agree with you that 2006 was a down year, but in a totally different way than this year (or last). We lost 4 in '06, but the only game that was out of hand was Tennessee, and that one got away from us late. We dominated the first half, and then keeled over the second half. The other three losses were all at least close. Hell, we only lost to Florida by 7 that year. But more importantly, in those losses (save the embarrassment from TN), our defense actually showed up. UF scored 21, and I think Vandy and UK each scored around 24. Don't remember that exact scores. We lost those two by 2 or 3 each. Nowadays, it seems we consistently get beat (badly) by the better teams, and we let EVERY team hang with us, be it Kentucky or Arizona State. In '06, I think everybody in Dawg Nation at least had the feeling that we could hang with anybody. That is not at all the feeling now. Not saying it couldn't happen this year (I HIGHLY doubt it will), but we actually finished '06 out very strong. We beat Auburn, GT, and then had a KILLER game against VT. All of those teams were ranked. Anyway, I'm rattling off now. My point is that '06 was, in a lot of ways, a much better year than I think this one will end up being.

2) Short and sweet here. Besides Walsh and Butler, there is one player on this team who seems to have a lot of passion. That is Zach Renner. It says on the roster that he is a safety. I don't care what position he is, he gets after it! Isn't that like the third punt he's blocked in the last two years? And to think, we don't ever even go after punts. He could have a few more if we tried. Put him on the field somewhere, I guarantee you he'll give it his all.

Sorry, that second one wasn't as short and sweet as I thought it'd be.

T-Rey said...

On a side note, I am also very tired of all the comparisons (in a negative light) of Coach Richt to Urban Meyer, Les Miles, and Nick Saban. People are questioning his enthusiasm and passion because he keeps his cool in public and doesn't have emotional outbursts mid-game. I have a friend that is an athletic trainer for the football team and she was telling me that Coach Richt cussed in practice the other day and the team was speechless. I believe that speaks volumes about the Coach Richt's character. There isn't anyone in the nation I would rather be our coach. So he doesn't go crazy on the sideline, does that really make him any less of a coach? In two and a half seasons at Bama, Saban has won 23 games, Richt won 26 in the same time. Urban Meyer has won 40 games since '06, Richt has won 33 (Lets not forget, like it or not, Florida has had one of the greatest players to ever play the game). Les Miles has won 36 since '06. I believe '06 is was the inaugural season for both Miles and Meyer, could be wrong. Take that for what its worth, I realize that all of those coaches have one or more national titles, but would you really trade Coach Richt?

Anonymous said...

This teleconference sounds more like the old Coach Richt.

No tentative or evasive language this time.

The old Coach Richt has been missing since the start of summer practice.

Anonymous said...

"I believe '06 is was the inaugural season for both Miles and Meyer, could be wrong."


Richt *destroyed* Miles in the SECCG that year, I should add. Complete schooling.

Anonymous said...

I think that the players have given up on the season and the coaching staff. Last night no fewer than 15 of our players were acting like complete idiots in Bourbon Street. They were dancing on tables, dancing on the bar, dancing in the booths, and acting as if they didn't notice they had just taken part in one of the most embarassing displays of Georgia football I have ever seen. I've also heard people complaining that they were acting the same way in On The Rocks, the Loft, and Level 131. I appreciate the notion that they are college students and want to have a good time, but their behavior last night was infuriating and left me disgusted.

The lack of players in the bars this summer and beginning of the season left me feeling as CMR had regained control of the team. Last night's behavior proved to me that he has not. We might be unbeaten at this point if the players had the same enthusiasm about football as they showed while drinking, dancing, and acting like meatheads.

Muckbeast said...

So that's the most we should hope for?

Loaded teams that choke to SC and Tenn? Seriously?

While Florida wins 2 (maybe 3) MNCs in 4 years, we should be happy with a #2 ranking and 2 choke losses?

Muckbeast said...

After this abortion of a season ends, we will have only won the SEC east *once* in the last 7 years.

We have only PLAYED for the SEC title once in 7 years.

We have ONE SEC title in 7 years.

Is that the most we can hope for?

Anonymous said...

I think most of the problem with uga is that many of our assistant coaches are not proven instead have connections to get the job or are ex-players who are given a chance to coach. I am not saying this means they cant be good coaches but a lot of times they have no experience or true coaching ability. I would like to see some proven asst.coaches working as coordinators, and perhaps a some "real" position coaches teaching our players what to do. I think tony ball is a good teacher and coach but bryan mcclendon is our running back coach, and ex-receiver who really has only playing exprience. what is he possibly teach our running backs? A good head coach is only as good as his assts. and should have coaches that complement him. Van Gorder was fiery emotional guy in contrast with richt calm and cool. well now we really dont have that fiery coach who gets in players faces or motivates the team. Our guys looked dead out there against tennessee even when it was close, the bench had no emotion, which reflects on our coaches having no emotion. maybe im totally off here but i think richt has done a good job of being the ceo of our team and being in control but when you have success coaches leave and thats where the dillema has come with how to replace those coaches. Raw talent only gets you so far and without coaching you will eventually lose. i think were beginning to find that out now without moreno /stafford.

Anonymous said...

uga has not been or won a sec title since Richt turned the play calling duties over to Bobo.

adam said...

muckbeast, we will have played for the SEC twice in 7 years, winning it once in 7. but to be fair... we would have played for it 3 times (winning the east 3 times, and tying for 1st in the east in 07 and UT had to rely on two teams missing field goals to keep us out of it) and won it twice in 8. and that's of the 9 years coach richt has been here. it's not as bad as you're making it out to be.

so, we're 2 teams missing field goals away from winning the east 4 times in 8 years and playing for the SEC those 4 times with 2 titles and if we had gone in 07, likely a third.

so you can say we have 1 SEC title in 7 years and that does look rough. but we have 2 in 8 and likely would have a gotten a third if south carolina or vanderbilt had a kicker in 07.

and as a bonus fact...

in 03 we were 6-2 in the SEC and went to the SECCG. in 04 we were 6-2 in the SEC and didn't. in 05 we were 6-2 in the SEC and won the SEC title. in 07 we were 6-2 in the SEC and lost a tie-breaker in the east to keep us out of the SECCG. likely would've won it (see above/remember). in 08 we went 6-2 in the SEC but didn't get a shot at the SECCG (but doubt we would've beaten bama then. but who knows.)

so... there's little difference between 03, 04, 05, 07, and 08 as far as SEC play goes. in 02 we went 7-1 and won the east and the SEC and finished #3.

so in 6 of richt's 9 years we've either gone to the SEC championship game or done just as well as the years where we have (including 05 when we won it). the difference being of course which division gives us our 2 SEC losses (excluding 02).

plenty of SEC teams would like like to be in the hunt for the conference crown 2 out of every three years.

again, coach richt has been nothing but stellar for UGA. the assistants on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

muckbeast, when people like you start quoting stats, it's almost always possible to adjust the stat to get a better picture of reality: if you say we've won 1 in 7 years, it's pretty much a guarantee we've won 2 in 8.

Dawgy1 said...

Does anyone recall last season the excuse we were given for the defense's poor performance was that tackling to ground was stopped to prevent more injuries?

And, the offense suffered because of injuries to the offensive line and tight ends?

This off-season we were bombarded with how this team had great leadership that was lacking on last years team?

Blah, Blah, Blah....

I'm sorry Coach but, from now on excuse me if I don't believe anything except what I see on the field.

t-Rey said...

Kiffin also promised his Vols (3-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) they'd never lose to the Bulldogs while he was coach. Reported by Chris Low. What an idiot. This guy is unbelievable...i guess he is planning on having a short career.

Prince Lightfoot said...

So, Saturday was a grim day for me, with the Three teams I follow (UGA, Stanford, MIchigan) falling on national TV in fairly quick succession. Here's my take on those other two team:

Stanford: Freshman QB (with Pritchard, who beat USC, on the bench.) Knockout running game. Winning games because of outstanding special teams and pretty suspect on defense. Despite losing to the Beavers (and horrible defense, put 'Quizz in place of "bootleg" and that's how the game went) Stanford fans are hugely excited and optimistic. Harbaugh's getting *a ton* out of his players- can you imagine recruiting a kid who would put up 2 TDs and 124 yds a game on 5.3 per carry to *Stanford* if any other DI school saw that potential? How about special teams that are averaging 50% more yards per return on both kickoffs and punts than their opponents, with 3 KO and 1 punt return TDs? To me, that's coaching inspiring their athletes to overachieve, at least as much as the athletes, themselves. (And not entirely poor competition, though that helps. Harbaugh has beaten UCLA, who Kiffykins couldn't, and USC, who Pete Carroll couldn't.)

Now, Michigan: Coming off their most embarrassing season in history, and not far removed from losing to App State, at home. A new system, with not one, but two freshman QBs. I saw the Western MI game in Ann Arbor, and, despite the 31 the Wolverines put up in the first half, I didn't think either Forcier or Dennard was going to get it done for them- both were inaccurate, too quick to tuck the ball, and neither could sustain much of a drive or make tacklers miss. 6 weeks later, UM's been in every game, has multiple 4th quarter comebacks, and gave Iowa all they could handle, at home. Notably, Rodriguez had the guts to pull Forcier, who'd started this game and engineered the previous comebacks, because he was making bad decisions, missing his receivers, and throwing picks. Sure, Rodriguez is taking some heat for the decision to leave Dennard in for the last drive, because he threw a dumb pick, too, but nobody's calling for his head, and Michigan fans are still upbeat, despite the fact that UM's all but out of the Big-10 title hunt (which they somehow found themselves in), since Iowa owns the tiebreaker. This *after they lost two weeks ago to their in-state rival.*

What do *you* take away from those stories, compared to the situation here in Athens? Is it just Rich Rod's honeymoon? Is Stanford just happy to play a game on TV? Or are those staffs getting the most out of their players and being rewarded by their fans?

Prince Lightfoot said...

err, make that "and Washington, who Pete Carroll couldn't."

Anonymous said...

OK lets see how Syracuse and Georgia stack up:

Wins: SU 2, UGA 3;
Scoring Offense: SU 23.0, UGA 25.8;
Scoring Defense: SU 29.5, UGA 30.7;
Turnovers Lost: SU 16, UGA 16;
Turnovers Forced: SU 14, UGA 5;
Penalties/Game: SU 6.3, UGA 9.5;
Kickoff Yards/Return Offense: SU 24.1, UGA 22.8;
Kickoff Yards/Return Defense: SU 19.1, UGA 27.1.

Coach Marrone has our program going in the right direction.

UGA's coach does not.

Who's laughing now?

David Hale said...


Point taken.