My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Notebook: Booing Bothers Dawgs, But Does't Deter Them

In recent years, it was unheard of, but during Georgia’s past three home games, the Bulldogs players and coaches have heard plenty.

With Georgia struggling to a 6-5 record and coaches coming under constant scrutiny this season, booing has become a routine part of the Bulldogs’ recent games at Sanford Stadium. Some fans have booed bad plays and turnovers, but the loudest in-game critiques from fans have followed particularly conservative play calls by the coaching staff.

Still, receiver Tavarres King said it’s something the players hear – even if they try to ignore it.

“I just think we all try to block it out and move forward,” King said. “I feel like we’re playing for each other. When they boo, it’s tough, but you’ve got to keep going forward, I guess.”

That’s the same approach the coaching staff has taken, but defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner admits it can create some problems – both with the current players and the recruits in the stands who may be considering a future with the Bulldogs.

“That’s not something that you try to bring up, but if it did, you just say, ‘Hey, our fans are passionate about their football,’” Garner said. “When you’re passionate, you may react different ways. We’re not saying right, wrong or indifferent. People pay their money and they have the right to do what they want to do.”

While booing has long been a staple in professional sports, the issue of what is acceptable stadium behavior at a college game has been a hot-button issue among many Bulldogs’ fans this year.

The issue has made its way into Georgia’s locker room, too, and while the players aren’t happy about hearing the criticism from the stands, King said most understand it’s part of the game for SEC players.

“You know how some people are,” King said. “If you’re making plays, they’re going to love you. If you’re not, they’re going to crap on you.”

Garner said he doesn’t like hearing the boos, but he’s aware that it comes with the territory.
“You hate that’s what it’s come to, but that’s the reality of what we deal with,” Garner said.
And the reality remains that, despite the boos, the Bulldogs continue to play in front of huge crowds with lots of energy. There’s a tradeoff, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said, but the booing is a small price to pay for enthusiasm.

“You want to play in those types of environments,” he said. “You want people that care. You want people that are so into every game that it’s life or death. That’s what makes it exciting. It does affect the young men at times, but you’ve got to realize they’re just passionate about their Bulldogs.”


Freshman tailback Washaun Ealey has earned plenty of praise for his work in rejuvenating Georgia’s running game this season, but that’s not what has been on his mind for the past few days.

His bad angle on a toss sweep at the 1-yard line last week likely cost Georgia a game-tying touchdown and the Bulldogs eventually lost the game after another interception by quarterback Joe Cox, and Ealey has taken the mistake particularly hard.

“There’s no doubt the kid is crushed and disappointed, as is everybody,” Bobo said. 
“But sometimes things like that happen. You wish every play could be perfect and we’d execute, but the fact of the matter is it was a young kid who made a mistake, but you want him to be confident.”

Ealey leads the team with 456 rushing yards and a 5 yards-per-carry average this season, despite sitting out the first four games of the year. So while Bobo said the coaching staff will work with the freshman tailback on ball security, it’s absolutely essentially they maintain Ealey’s focus and confidence.

“He’s going to have a long career for us and we want him to run with the same kind of confidence he’s played with the last few weeks,” Bobo said. “He’s brought some energy into our football team since we brought him out of his redshirt. We’re going to correct it, talk about attention to detail, and that’s everybody, not just Washaun. Coaches, players, everybody.”


Georgia has spent much of the season looking for a receiver to step in as a suitable replacement for Mohamed Massaquoi, who graduated after last season. Tavarres King’s performance against Kentucky may have been the first indication that the Bulldogs have found their man.

King became the first Georgia receiver other than Massaquoi or A.J. Green to finish a game with 100 receiving yards since Kenneth Harris did it in October of 2006 after King grabbed three catches for 109 yards last week.

“I just had to step up and make plays, and I did,” he said. “That’s what I try to do every game, and I just made the most of my opportunities this week, and I hope to do that this coming week.”

The big game came without Green on the field, which made the strong performance for King that much more important. But while King said he hopes he can continue to produce impressive numbers, he said the solid games by Orson Charles, Rantavious Wooten and Israel Troupe recently give plenty of hope that the receiving corps will be strong next season.

“I feel like this is just the beginning of something that could really, truly be great,” King said. “I feel like we’ve got weapons and we’re starting to use them.”


With four second-half turnovers last week, Georgia now ranks second-to-last in the nation with a minus-18 turnover ratio – which puts the Bulldogs in some bad company.

Only 11 other teams this decade have finished the season with at least 18 more giveaways than takeaways, and for Georgia, the problems have come from almost everywhere.

“Obviously there’s sometimes we can make better decisions throwing the ball, and sometimes it’s just been some fluke things, things you’re like, ‘Why did that happen?’” Bobo said. “We’ve just got to be more conscious of being safer with protecting the football. It’s one of those things that’s just an avalanche right now.”

The most frustrating thing, Bobo said, is that there have been times when it has appeared that the Bulldogs had turned a corner. Two weeks ago against Auburn, Georgia finished without a turnover and took two from the Tigers – the first time all season the Bulldogs have finished on the plus side of the turnover ration.

But the optimism was short-lived, and Bobo said it is incumbent upon everyone to turn the turnover trend around if the Bulldogs are to have any hope of beating Georgia Tech on Saturday.

“A lot has to do with some youth in some areas, but that’s part of playing is learning through mistakes,” Bobo said. “We just haven’t done a great job of correcting them. We’ve got to do a better job of coaching protecting the football.”


mpstrick said...

Wonder if losing bothers them more? We'll find out...

dawgjammin said...

How is booing any different than the coaching staff throwing individual players under the bus in media sessions after the game. It appears Mike Bobo is still throwing Washaun under the bus. Coach him up and move on...most of the boo's I've heard in the stadium this year have been directed at his inept playcalling or the insane kick off strategy, not individual players on the field or not even the defense...

Anonymous said...

tech has and will destroy the i offense all you have to do is stack it up where the full back goes. just as i said last year we will have to score 50 points to win so i hope we use the spread gun.

Randall said...

Youth and fluke plays. Blah, blah, blah. Damon should take a page out of Notre Dame's book and no allow access to the coaches or players. The same excuses that old lady luck is not smiling on us and we are young are getting really boring.

Anonymous said...

Never ceases to amaze me, UGA fans desert the team when things get tough, and eat their own. These are the same fans trash talking everyone just a few months earlier. Just crummy behavior by a sizable percentage of us. When confronted with it, backs get bowed and attacks on loyal fans increase. Sheety, just sheety.

Also, players get a pass for lack of focus/performance. Everything is blamed on the coaches...the same ones revered when we were winning. Message to Georgia coaches, protect your backs. Those fans who wrote you fan letters and sung your praises now think you are unworthy.

runnindawg said...

A few things jumped out to me while reading this article. First, I'm surprised at the coaches' take on the booing. Seems like it doesn't bother the coaches. I think it bothers some of the players, but I am surprised at the overall take on it. I personally don't boo, and this year it seems most of the booing was coming from the student section. Second, Washaun is our leading rusher despite not playing until the second half of the fifth game. I think that says a lot about our running game. The Samuel experiment is over. My money is that he's back on the defensive side of the ball next season. I do believe that the last 3-4 games our running game has improved dramatically. Due to Ealey, Kings improved play, and with J. Davis returning the line has given us a spark. Wonder what Moreno thinks about Ealey playing as a true freshmen? Thirdly, I still can't get over the attitude about the turnovers. It's almost like the coaches have thrown their hands in the air and have given up on trying to fix the problem. I understand that there's only two games left, but this kind of attitude about it will linger into next season. On a side note, David, did you read or hear any of Paul Johnson's press conference on Tuesday? Very interesting comments. Would like to know your thoughts on it considering you hear coaches speak 24/7.

Anonymous said...

What people say and what they mean are 2 different things. Booing bothers everyone! It a classless thing to do and if you do it you are out of line. PERIOD! The Dawgs are my team, win or lose. PERIOD! I don't like what's going on but I will not Boo, My TEAM. PERIOD! If you don't understand this, you are a JACKASS! PERIOD!

Anonymous said...

I've had my season tickets for over 40 years. During that period you get to know most of the people that are near you and you recognize many year-after- year who are seated several rows in front. I've noticed many new comers this year. Different ones each game. The regulars didn't boo. Some of the new comers do. More young drunks at night games.Fewer regulars attending.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11;56, you may be right. It is hard to think a "true" fan would boo, but bandwagon/casual fans would care less about the damage it does to this team, or the future of the program. Makes sense these type fans and drunken students would account for the maajority of the problem. Doesn't excuse the interent posters and those who call into sports shows. Changing coaches/players will not make the stain of this go away for many years. We deserve the criticsm from other fan groups, UGA fans have become the worst in the SEC (and that is hard to do with the Yankee Florida fans. We blew right by TN fans who have been booing ofr the past several years. Real UGA fans should woodshed these imbeciles.