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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts: Florida Edition

If you haven't read it yet, CLICK HERE to check out my game story from Saturday's debacle in Jacksonville.

I don't know how much is even worth saying at this point. I think we know the problems. I think we know that few will be resolved before the season is over. All that's left now is the post-mortem. Four games, of which Georgia must win at least two, and probably won't be favored in more than that. Four games to figure out how to right the ship for next year.

I don't know the answers. I can't gauge the atmosphere in the locker room. But I do know the answers won't come easily. And maybe more importantly at this point, I wonder how many of the people in charge are even asking the right questions.

Anyway, some thoughts...

-- Like last year, it's not hard to say that if a few things had gone differently, the game could have belonged to Georgia. Saying that, however, does no good for the future. If the mistakes had been an aberration, then sure, write it off as bad luck, bad decisions, bad breaks. Instead, this has been what we've gotten from the Dawgs for the better part of two years, and this with an extra week to prepare. If Mark Richt wants to do his team a favor, he won't spend the rest of this season sugarcoating the loss.

-- Here's something you'll no doubt hear at some point from someone: Two of Cox's interceptions and Gray's pick led to Florida points -- 17 of them in fact. So maybe Willie Martinez can't be blamed as much, given that the D only "really" allowed 24 points.

But you know what? I can't believe Cox throws that second pick if Georgia isn't so far behind. It was third down. It was midfield. They were trailing by 14. Cox had to make a play. A punt would have effectively signaled the end of a comeback, too. And his third INT? It was a bad throw, but it was made amid a furious and utterly fruitless attempt to keep the Dawgs in the game. And Gray's pick? Well, if the D had played better, maybe Gray isn't even in the game.

So this week, the defense gets cut no slack. I'm going to say the D was responsible for the offense turning the ball over so much. If the D had done its job in the first half, the situation in the second half is completely different. No excuses for Willie this week.

-- Remember, the Dawgs had that "all important" bye week. What were the defensive coaches doing during that time? Other than planning the Dawgs' wardrobe, I mean.

-- The defense did get better as the game progressed, but with an extra week to prepare, how could things start off so badly? Florida scored on an 80-yard drive and a 92-yard drive and only faced one third down.

On numerous plays, Tim Tebow never even needed to read the defense. Before the ball was snapped, he knew exactly where the holes in the zone would be.

On the running plays, Georgia showed virtually no ability to keep pace laterally with the speedy Gators.

And even when the defense supposedly adjusted, Florida scored every single time it needed to. It was like the Alabama game last year. People say it was close in the second half. It wasn't. Every time Georgia got close, the Dawgs' D gave up a score.

-- I don't want to ignore Brandon James' drop on the second drive. That's as open as I've ever seen a receiver on a play in which the defender didn't fall down. He bobbled the ball six times and still didn't have a UGA defender near him.

-- And Florida was 7-of-13 on third down.

-- Give some credit to Mike Bobo. There were times where Georgia's offense -- when it wasn't shooting itself in the foot with turnovers and flags -- looked as good as anyone has looked against that Gators' D all season.

-- It seems silly to say much about it in retrospect, but Caleb Sturgis' 56-yard field goal really changed the tone of the game. That was big.

-- If you're searching for silver linings, I think the combo of Washaun Ealey and Caleb King can be effective and potentially very good moving forward.

-- Clint Boling and A.J. Green both got hurt, and while Richt said he doesn't think either is serious, there's a possibility, from the sounds of it, that both could miss next week. If you take Boling and Green off this team, is anyone considering Tennessee Tech an easy win?

-- After the game, Richt wasn't anywhere near as angry as he was against Tennessee, but he certainly wasn't glossing over the problems either. I think it was more a sense of the sudden realization that he was resigned to his fate for this season. There are no more opportunities for miracles. It's done. This is officially a bad team.

-- Several times this week I mentioned that while Georgia had hardly evened its rivalry with Florida under Richt, the gap had clearly been closed. But that's hard to say now. I think T Kyle King puts it best:

"During Steve Spurrier’s tenure in Gainesville, Georgia simply was outclassed by Florida, and the results showed up in the record book: 38-7, 45-13, 52-14, 52-17, 47-7, 38-7. Between 2002 and 2007, though, the ‘Dawgs claimed a pair of victories in Jacksonville and never lost to the Sunshine State Saurians by more than a touchdown. There was reason to believe the two programs were on more or less equal footing.

"After back-to-back blowouts by 49-10 and 41-17 scores, though, no such cause for confidence exists. Every gain the Georgia program has made since 2001 has been lost. We are now where we were in the 1990s. The glory run is over and we are back to square one."

-- Orson Charles has a ton of talent and will eventually be a very good player, but Saturday showed us that he is also still very much a freshman. Having said that, I enjoyed hearing him called "Omar Charles" and "Orson Welles." At least the Welles one seemed appropriate for how frightening that performance was by Georgia.

-- No, Georgia didn't get any help from the referees.

-- Georgia didn't deserve any help from the referees either.

-- Joe Cox should not be the starting quarterback anymore. The problem, however, is that there is no one else on the roster who should be starting either.

-- I'd be fine with starting Aaron Murray this week. LSU probably gained some ground by burning Jordan Jefferson's redshirt late last year. And Tennessee Tech is probably the best time to get Murray's feet wet. But I still doubt Georgia does it.

-- Brandon Spikes is a dirty player. Washaun Ealey may be wearing an eye patch today.

-- I really see no need to comment on the uniforms, but I'll add two quick thoughts: 1.) Email from Davis, who summed them up perfectly: "They look like XFL uniforms." 2.) The first step in the right direction for Richt should be deciding that Georgia is too good to need gimmicks.

-- One more thing on the uniforms, courtesy of Lee: "The black helmet/pants thing was a stroke of genius! This way, when someone is flipping through ESPN Classic 9 ten years from now, maybe they won't recognize that it's Georgia getting embarrassed against Florida again."

That comment was black-jersey worthy. Genius.

-- Georgia is not bowl eligible. Temple is. Yikes.

-- Tennessee over South Carolina. Mississippi State over Kentucky. The SEC East is a disaster. The fact that Georgia could either miss a bowl or finish second in the East, and either is distinctly possible, is absolutely insane.

-- Florida is not the best team in the nation. Luckily they play in the SEC East.


Anonymous said...

The debacle in Gainesville?

Prince Lightfoot said...

To be honest, whether Green and Boling, play next week, I'd like to see the staff sit every player who drew a 15-yd personal against Florida. That's not intensity, it's immaturity, and it happens way too often. Richt needs to make it stop.

Randall said...

Can we just leave them all in Jax and start over coaches and all?

Warren said...

Is there anything the coaching staff can do with respect to reporting Spikes to the SEC for his attempt to gouge out Ealey's eyes? Is there a procedure for this type of issue, in other words?

Anonymous said...

Players on this team will only sit for a real or nagging injury or for something they did off the field.

We don't sit players for making aggressively stupid plays.

Anonymous said...

The word is "aberration", not "aboration".

And you are questioning whose job performances?

Anonymous said...

Those of you that still believe our talent level is equal to the top SEC programs – FLA, ALA, LSU and even TENN need to wake up. Our supposed “defensive team speed” was exposed severally yesterday. I watched, as we were outran on numerous outside plays, DE’s get reached, Daryl Gamble and other LB’s get outrun (including Rennie) and Prince RUNNING from the blockers instead of fighting through and trying to make a tackle. Offensively, we have one player, A.J. Green; Enjoy, because this will be his last year. The other receivers are nowhere near top SEC players. Our offensive line is a patchwork of mediocre talent and not one “dominate lineman”. Quarterback is too short to be a good pro-style QB and not athletic enough to run the spread. Running backs, CK, shows some ability but is injury pronged. W.E. shows possibility.
We not only need new coordinators but we need a new recruiting coordinator also. Coach Garner has lost his eye for finding “winners”. Just because Rival’s says you’re a blue-chip does not mean you have the character to win. It’s obvious his coaching lacks also, the defensive front plays without passion. Find a new recruiting coordinator while were making the changes. They are out there. See Fla., ALA, LSU. We are not even getting the best in GA. now (see J. Dwyer, Eric Berry).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Seems that everyone is missing the fact that Richt pulled Cox with over 7 minutes left in the game down 17. That's where you go hurry-up and try to make it a 10 point game. Anything can happen. The players didn't quit -- Richt layed down and quit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:53 am

As long as you're correcting other people's grammar (on the internet no less) you might do well to check your own. "Whose" should be "who's" dumbass.

Anonymous said...

Lots of blame for the coordinators, but nothing for their boss?

Richt is officially a buffoon. Yelling at the refs. Blaming the kids for bad execution.

No more excuses. Richt needs to take the full accountability and do what needs to be done. If that is to resign, then so be it.

Randall said...

Spikes is a thug. May he break his leg and never make a dime in the NFL. Hope he went to class. No call for his actions.

Anonymous said...

It is NOT about the jerseys!

Anonymous said...

And when Richt resigns or is fired, who do you think will want to work at your joke of a university? UGA has the worse fans and a even worse AD. Not one top coach will touch that job. Good luck with that high profile hire Fox.

Anonymous said...

Cox has no business being a starting quarterback in the SEC or even D1.

Funemployed said...

At least our "joke of a university" has English 101 and teaches Students the difference between worse and worst. Which is more than I can say for your academic institution. Dolt.

Lee / @Suthrn_Shepherd said...

What did Spikes do to Ealy? I missed it?

Anonymous said...

The play before Moore caught the TD, Ealey ran the ball up the middle for little to no gain and as the pile formed here's Spikes digging his hands inside Ealey's helmet. It was a deliberate attempt to hurt him. I wish Ealey would've bit his fingers off. He is one of the dirtiest players I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

UGA needs to burn the Black helmets. I DID NOT like them. The Black jerseys were cool but the Black helmets gotta go. It was like watching some foriegn team and not the Bulldogs. Please CMR no more cheesy gimmicks.

I hope the SEC suspends Spikes for the rest of the season.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hale,
HOw much do the CBS guys get paid again. TERRIBLE! Also, in the beginning of the game they had Florida having the edge in the series. Which is clearly a mistake regardless of the beatdown we have taken over the past 20 years.

Anonymous said...

In retrospect, Ealey should have stayed on the ground and made them cart him off the field. I was disappointed that this was not mentioned by Danielson or Lundquist. Spikes should join his brother, who is serving time for first degree murder.

I rarely wish ill on others, but if there is karma, Spikes will snap his leg in two. David, thanks for writing something on this.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that everyone loved the blackout jerseys when we were winning in them. But when we modify a uniform now, if we don't win, everyone criticizes them for being "gimmicky."

Speaking from someone who was also at the game, I felt the most energy all season from those players at the start of the game... partly because we're playing Florida, but also partly because they were excited in the new uniforms. Interviews with the players have validated this sentiment, as they too seem to have all felt that extra energy from the change-up.

Make up your mind, people. It's not really fair to support the uniform change when we win but then criticize it when we lose.