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Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Links (11/2)

Rex Robinson has a post saying what many of you have said since Saturday: What's wrong with this team when it needs gimmicks to get up for its biggest game of the season?

In fact, Rex doesn't really even need to say it, because Rennie Curran did before the game:

"There is no way you can't get pumped for the Florida game. If you're not pumped for this one, then you don't have a heart." -- Curran

That's the quote Senator Blutarsky had on his home page for the better part of a week prior to the Florida game. Hard not to make the connection that Rennie says a team that's not pumped for that game has no heart, and yet Mark Richt thought a uniform gimmick and dancing on the sideline was a necessary game plan.

In some ways, I get it. Coaches have a job, and among their top responsibilities is to motivate. That's not always an easy task.

Here's the thing you have to remember about athletes: Daily life is all about fooling yourself into thinking that what you're doing is the most important thing that's ever been done. It's about tricking yourself into believing anything you need to believe to motivate yourself. It's about pushing yourself beyond your limits by any means necessary.

Sometimes, the gimmicks help with that. No one was complaining when The Celebration was followed by a Georgia win or the original blackout preceded a dominant performance. Sometimes the gimmicks work.

But here's the difference between Georgia and Florida right now: The Gators needed motivation, too. They're still talking about that 2007 celebration. They still feel slighted.

They used The Celebration and, more importantly, the loss as their primary tool for motivation throughout the offseason last year. Players talked about doing one push-up for every point Georgia scored, one sit-up for every rushing yard Knowshon Moreno had. That's focus.

This offseason, Georgia talked about it, too, though not as loudly. There were, indeed, posters hanging up around the Butts-Mehre building showing Florida celebrating a win and Urban Meyer calling timeout, even if Richt downplayed it publicly.

The Gators had everything to lose Saturday and Georgia had nothing to lose except another opportunity to prove they were up to the challenge of beating Florida.

Pregame, the confidence and swagger of Florida's players was palpable. It just felt like a great team that knew it was great and never considered the fact that they might lose.

For Georgia, there was confidence, too. But it felt created, hollow. It felt like a gimmick. It felt like Georgia had convinced itself it could win, while Florida just knew.

That's all abstract opinionating on my part, but it's an opinion I shared with a few other writers before the game even kicked off.

There was a talent difference on the field, and anyone who watched Georgia's linebackers fruitlessly pursue Florida's speedy running backs could see it. There's a big difference between having Tim Tebow at quarterback accounting for four TDs and Joe Cox and Logan Gray, who accounted for four turnovers, too.

But what I'll remember from that game, what I think was the real difference between those two teams, was what I saw pregame. There's a culture of confidence, of motivated players, of focus and determination and, yes, even arrogance at Florida that Georgia just doesn't have. I don't know why that is, but I'm certain it started long before kickoff, long before any uniforms were hung in lockers and long before this season even began.

In that respect, the uniforms weren't remotely responsible for what happened Saturday. They're a symptom of the larger problem.

On to the links...

-- I have a story in today's Telegraph that, despite the failures, there hasn't been a splintering of Georgia's locker room. Personally though, I can't help but wonder what some of the younger backups start to think when, at 4-4, the struggling juniors and seniors continue to get the starts going forward. That will be interesting to watch if it happens.

-- Battle Hymn Notes has more complaints about the uniforms which, at best, were a bad PR move on Mark Richt's part. This in a season of really bad PR moves by these Georgia coaches.

-- Get the Picture has a post on the potential decisions that Damon Evans may have to make down the road, with some news that Mark Richt may not be too interested in firing one or both of his coordinators.

I'll say this:

1.) I don't know that Mike Bobo needs to be canned now. I had as many problems with his playcalling early in the season as anyone, but I thought he did, for the most part, a nice job in that dept. on Saturday. Moreover, with a limited QB, virtually nothing from the ground game and absolutely no depth at WR after A.J. Green, Bobo hasn't exactly had a full deck to play with. He hasn't done an A+ job for sure, but he hasn't been so bad he needs to be fired either. He's not the one throwing the picks or going down in the backfield on first contact.Moreover , he's been forced to play catchup in six of eight games, which makes it tough to execute the game plan you planned for all week.

2.) Richt may not be enthusiastic about making a change at defensive coordinator, but remember last year that he explicitly said he would not fire anyone. That hasn't happened this year, and he's even admitted that a change may be necessary (even if he hasn't endorsed the decision yet). And beyond what even Richt may want, I almost find it hard to believe that Willie Martinez would really want to stick around in Athens for another year of constant questions and backlash. Nobody wants to work in an environment like that. Perhaps the most likely outcome of all this is that Richt won't have a decision to make at all because Martinez will may it for him. That's just speculation on my part, but it stems from a distinct difference in tone from last year to this.

-- ESPN's Chris Low says Georgia is in decline, which stands in stark contrasts with Mark Richt's pronouncement postgame that the program was fine and only the season was bad.

-- For now, Richt is skirting the issues at QB.

-- Bulldog in Exile looks at Saturday's loss and sees plenty of problems, but wonders where the solutions will come from.

-- Bernie sees the same problem, but presents them in convenient bullet-point form.

-- Georgia Sports Blog isn't buying the notion that a severe talent deficiency is the cause of Georgia's headaches against the Gators.

-- Chip Towers writes that the talent gap shouldn't be that big.

-- Apparently Urban Meyer might have a talk with Brandon Spikes about his eye-gouging. But even better is this: Apparently Spikes went after Tim Tebow after the game against Mississippi State.

-- Every Day Should Be Saturday says that there was a bit of eye-related issues for Florida in Saturday's game, too, that weren't exactly caught on film.

-- Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. (And no, I'm not bitter about the Phillies.)

-- I love Pearl Jam's halloween costumes. My brother went to see them in Philly on Friday, which reminds me, I should bid a fond farewell to the old Spectrum. The Pearl Jam shows were the last for the once-great venue that was home to the Broad Street Bullies and Dr. J's Sixers. It becomes a parking lot now, which is sad. I saw my first concert there... and I'll give a dollar to whoever can guess who it was. (Clue: It was 1986.)

-- See, Harvard really is worth the money.

-- I swear, I would pay to watch Christopher Walken read the phone book. This, however, is even better.

-- I quit watching "Heroes" a long time ago, so I'm thinking this idea is a little past its time.

-- And finally, here's a great list of the best fake products from "The Simpsons." What, no Colonel Qwik-E-Mart's Kentucky Brand Bourbon?

44 comments:

ialmostguessednewkidsontheblock said...

hmmm... journey?

David Hale said...

I wish!

And oddly, my girlfriend's first concert actually was New Kids. She had backstage passes because her aunt's fried has hooking up with the band's manager.

Michael A said...

Bon Jovi.

Kevin said...

the cure

Anonymous said...

David,

When Coach Richt took over the program, he immediately made key changes in the program's discipline by instituting a tough off season physical conditioning program (Mat Drills), by sending our QB packing, and by sending our tailback packing when it was clear he was destroying team discipline. He also made great use of GMC and the military programs in Virginia when problems arose.

He made a commitment to tough, physical football with Verron Haynes and Musa Smith running the ball along with an aggressive, clean, hard hitting defense.

He embraced the traditions of the program, bringing in Coach Russell and our former players to teach the team what Georgia football was all about. He returned to a traditional uniform and stayed with it.

He put pressure on opponents by emphasizing aggressive special teams, changing games by blocking key punts and kicks throughout his first four years, aggressively returning kicks, often winning games by making courageous fourth down calls.

When he and his team made mistakes early on, he called it for what it was. He would bring in the best in the business to fix the problems (like Homer Smith after we blew two games with poor clock management). He spoke in absolutes. "We will fix this." "We will knock the lid off the program."

Now we have passive Mark Richt, who has done a complete turnabout on every one of his principals mentioned above.

He now regularly uses passive words like "maybe" and "probably". He makes excuses, many of them sound like those of a child.

I know Coach Richt has a lot going on in his life outside of football.

Something has happened.

Do you have any idea what it is?

Anonymous said...

Motley Crue.

David Hale said...

Anon -- I wish I had an answer for you, but I don't. Richt really has been an enigma for several years now... Evil Richt, Subdued Richt, Etc., etc. Maybe there is more going on in the background. I don't know. But I do think you're are correct in saying that the culture of the team seems to have changed some during the past few years, and that usually does start with the head coach (though, to be fair, not always).

As for the bands... you guys are WAAAAY off.

the tri guy said...

Wham. Richt is over his skis. BVG was able to keep us in games while Richt built up his goodwill, but now it is obvious to anyone that takes the blinders off that he is not on the same level of coach (either due to scheme, understanding, work ethic, or competetiveness) as the new coaches at all of our rivals. It's just a matter of how long we're going to circle the drain.

Trey said...

Couple of things...

1.) I'm pretty sure the celebration this time was all on Cox. He even said it was his idea and he was up to that. So, and I'm sure its just another "hey Richt, stop using gimmicks" type of comment, but I don't think its fair to put that on him. Also, that seemed to work very well for TN when they destroyed us. How many times did Kiffin get his team around him on the sidelines during that game? 3? I don't think those kind of things are gimmicks, Georgia just isn't good enough at playing football to win.

2.) Also, I don't think Georgia's lack of swagger or confidence is an issue. The way you talk about how Florida looked before the game, that's how Georgia looked last year before the Blackout. Moreno had the new haircut, Stafford and MM were laughing at messing around... we had the confidence and knew we were about to become the #1 team in the nation... yeah, that worked out. The problems are simply executing in everything that matters to win a football game. We don't block well, we don't tackle well, we don't cover kicks well, ect... If we did those things better, everything CMR has done this season would look a hell of a lot better. You can't do the things we try to do and not play well, THATS when everything we do becomes a gimmick. The original Blackout was praised and CMR looked like a genius because we played well and won. Its amazing how winning solves everything.

The 3rd Richt said...

Beastie Boys

doigetasecondguess? said...

elton john?

Anonymous said...

DIO

Anonymous said...

AC/DC

Anonymous said...

Aerosmith and Ted Nugent

Anonymous said...

Alabama, Charlie Daniels Band and the Bellamy Brothers.

Anonymous said...

Kenny Rogers with special guests Paul Anka and Lee Greenwood.

Anonymous said...

Van Halen with BTO.

Anonymous said...

Julio Iglesias and Rosanne Barr

Anonymous said...

New Edition

Greg said...

David-

I thought the anonymous poster (the first one) really had a great point. Can you find a way to paraphrase everything he said and make it into a question for CMR for tommorrow's PC? He has repeatedly said he thinks the program is fine but in curious how he would respond to specific examples of what was done in the past compared to what little is being done today, and therefore why it may not actually be standing as high as it once was.

I don't think he should necessarily be fearing for his job quite yet, but it's at least time for him, as you said, to stop sugar coating, man up, take some real responsibility (and I mean more than the "that loss is on me" cliche), and re-energize the program.

I would love to hear If he really believes he is doing a championship-caliber job of coaching this year, results aside. In summary, i guess what I am getting at is that i hope he realizes there's a problem and is working to fix it. What scares the living sh*t out of me is that I have a bad feeling that he and the coaching staff think that if they keep doing what they're doing, something will change/click. That is the DEFINITION OF INSANITY.

Finally- I believe this trend began with our preseason #1 ranking last year. It seems that ever since then, he has been on the defensive, making excuses for everything. What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear CMR's as well however you can get him to elaborate.

Anonymous said...

CULTURE CLUB!!!!! TOTO!!!!!!!! FIREHOUSE!!!!!

John P said...

Enuff Z Nuff

Schlagdawg said...

Btw, Urban Meyer said Spikes gets a half-game suspension for their Vandy game.
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=4616581

David Hale said...

You're still way off... although I have seen Enuff Z'enuff in concert. They played with Poison, Warrant and Quiet Riot. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Considering the year and location, I was going to say:

Bruce Springsteen, The Hooters, Todd Rundgren, or Hall & Oates.

John P said...

damnit dave. who could it be???? Parliament Funkadelic?

Ah...how about Marky Mark?

or...GNR?

Chili Peppers?

Phish?

was Jane's Addiction around back then?

country, crap i mean rap, or rock?

Anonymous said...

Grateful Dead? Neil Young?

Anonymous said...

Robert Zimmerman or Peter Gabriel?

Anonymous said...

Genesis

Anonymous said...

The Firm

Anonymous said...

The Fixx

Anonymous said...

Psychedelic Furs

John P said...

The Fartz, Green River, Mother Love Bone???

David Hale said...

I'm enjoying the guesses immensely. I'll reveal the winner tomorrow... but we still don't have a winner yet.

I'll give you another clue: I didn't choose to go to the concert. I went with my dad.

the tri guy said...

kenny rogers

John P said...

hmmm...blue oyster cult? Jethro Tull? The Guess Who? The Mamas and the Papas? Jefferson Starship? Strawberry Alarm Clock (wow)? KISS? Ahhhhhh....I got it. MEATLOAF!

Anonymous said...

Frank Sinatra and Red Buttons

Anonymous said...

ZZ Top

Anonymous said...

Stevie Wonder

John P said...

hahahaha, Red Buttons....classic.

He was in the original Poseidon Adventure.

Anonymous said...

Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band

Anonymous said...

The Pretenders with Iggy Pop

Anonymous said...

The Moody Blues

Anonymous said...

Since your Dad took you .... Loverboy!