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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Teleconference Notes (11/22)

Not much in terms of concrete answers in Sunday's teleconference with Mark Richt. Here's what was said:

-- Richt called the fumbled kickoff to start the second half the turning point, noting that had Georgia scored, they would have taken a 21-point lead, but giving Kentucky the quick score instead left Georgia up by just seven, allowing the Wildcats to continue working their game plan without adjusting its approach and taking more chances.

-- Richt said neither A.J. Green nor Bacarri Rambo were slam dunks to play this week, but said he was hopeful on both.

-- Georgia will not hold classes this week, which Richt said will be a big advantage for the Bulldogs, who can now go beyond the normal 20 hours of prep time to get ready for Georgia Tech.

-- Richt said they'll do more full-speed tackling in practice this week and work to simulate the types of blocking Georgia Tech does in order to prepare the defense for the task of stopping the Jackets.

-- Richt said Reshad Jones, who was criticized heavily after last year's Tech game, has been Georgia's best perimeter tackler this season.

-- Asked about the postseason picture: "I'm not sure where, but I can promise you we'll be thankful anywhere we get to go."

-- Richt again reiterated that he did not feel the toss sweep was a risky play on the third-and-1 at the 1. He said the toss sweep is a routine part of Georgia's offense and it was reasonable to run it there.

-- After watching the film, he said Washaun Ealey had started his break toward the line too soon on the toss sweep and was in bad position to receive the toss. "Why? I don't know. I'm sure it had something to do with the guy being a true freshman."

-- Regarding the kickoff problems, Richt again went back to the well of the coverage team being too young. He said last year was a good coverage team, but problems with the kicking. This year is good kicking, but a young coverage team ("We've been breaking in a bunch of rookies covering it, so that's been more of the issue"). On the fix: "I would think as time goes on, those boys will get better at what they do and Blair will continue to do well and we ought to be in good shape. But right now we're searching for answers. And also we ran up against a team that really is the finest in the league and probably one of the best in the country, too. So some of the things we try to do really weren't all that effective."

-- On why Georgia has not improved in areas of penalties and turnovers: "The turnover thing has never been like this. That's really the thing that did us in. The penalties -- offensive we had a couple and overcame them, and they didn't really cost us. Well, I think one of them did. Defensively, of course, the penalties hurt us and they continued to score on those drives. But it's definitely been frustrating no doubt. It looked like we had turned the corner last week with the penalties cut down dramatically and winning the turnover ratio was the difference in winning and losing that one. I don't think the penalties got us as much as the turnovers did. If we just don't turn it over and they don't turn it over, I believe we win the ballgame. But that's not what happened."

-- And finally, since there was not an AJC columnist there to pose the question, I asked Richt about the state of the program. My question exactly: "I know you've said that you remain confident in the state of the program, but I think fans see the last 16 games, you have a record of 9-7. What do you say to fans who see the results but don't know what's happening in the locker room?"

His answer: "Well I would just tell them that they need to keep supporting us, keep believing in us and we're going to keep working on our end to make them proud. That's the main thing."

My follow up: "So you would say that the results of the last 16 games are an aberration rather than a sign that the program is not strong?"

His answer: "Well I think that all programs go through some cycles. We've been on a pretty good upswing for quite some time and this year has certainly been a downturn when it comes to record. That's the way I -- I mean, it is what it is. But will we get it back on track and get back to the winning ways we're used to? I think so. I don't think there's any doubt about it."

-- These teleconferences don't make for the easiest back and forth, and clearly Richt wasn't going to start getting into any specifics, so perhaps more follow-up questions would have been a lost cause. But here are four questions I did not get to ask, but would still really like to know:

Why, if he attributes Ealey's mistake to being a true freshman, why they didn't have Caleb King in the game instead?

Why the kickoff coverage team is still a bunch of rookies 11 games into the season?

Beyond the results of this past game, why is it that there have not been improvements on the turnovers or penalties?

What, exactly, makes him so certain that the program will turn things around going forward?

I would like to know those things because I have no doubt those are the things you guys want to know. Whether any of those questions would have come with a reasonable response, I just don't know.

18 comments:

BullyMack said...

Weak sauce as usual for Richt. Blah, blah, blah. Why we would expect more at this point is beyond me. I guess we are glutens for punishment. It's like watching the ridiculous red paint drying on the facemasks. Senerity now!!!

Anonymous said...

Good try David. Kind of hard for you when you are getting politician answers. The one thing that this year has taught us is that Richt does not come across well when things go bad. Someone should send him a copy of Andy Lander's quote from earlier this fall. Could you repost it so I can pretend it came from Richt?

Herschel Blogger said...

I never thought I'd be at this point, but Richt's half-hearted excuses don't even come close to cutting it for me. I don't expect him to throw Bobo or Fabris to the lions or anything, but to blame anything on youth is a weak and sorry excuse. If they're too young to perform (which obviously Ealey hasn't been since LSU,) then have your coordinators make the changes necessary.
As sad as it is, Richt will be the one to make the changes necessary. I fear that if he does not, I may be among the masses calling for his termination.

As always, Go Dawgs. forever.

Bernie said...

Searching for answers on kickoff coverage...?? Despite all the directional kicks, Walsh leads the SEC in TBs. I'm not in the arena per se...but pretty sure it's not rocket science. Once the ball is teed up and the whistle blows...kick the $&*! outta the football.

Therein lies the solution.

Justin said...

"Glutens" and "senerity," indeed!

josh said...

we all know richt is field goal jesus, but i was thinking today...we've had three of the best kickers in the history of the program under richt (bennett, coutu, and walsh). where would richt be if we didn't have great kickers? i'm not sure how to analyze this in terms of wins/losses, but it would be interesting if there was a way to determine how "valuable" the kickers have been to richt's overall success at georiga.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the toss sweep call at the goal line and it is clear Ealey has run that play more effectively than any of our other backs this year.

These kind of mistakes happen sometimes. Even Bo Jackson did it.

A more creative call would have been to line Branden Smith at tailback and give the ball to the fullback.

Branden had been very effective and many of the defenders' eyes would have been on him. He would have made a great decoy.

Prince Lightfoot said...

After reading Richt's kickoff excuse to my wife, I commented that we were 10 games into the season before Saturday's debacle, which belies the "rookie mistake" explanation. Her response, "Exactly. It's not like they're Benjamin Button."

Though that would explain an awful lot.

watcher16 said...

Ok...so the defense is "we aren't creating enough turnovers..."

Can you ask Richt what is wrong with our defensive scheme, then, where we don't have players in position to make a play to get INTs? Why we don't look back to find the ball when covering? And try not to accept the "we're in position to get TOs but they aren't capitalizing" answer

That is definitely a scheme thing that falls on the defensive coordinator...

Dawgfan17 said...

A friend of mine said it best. "We blew a 14 point lead to KY, at home, on senior night, and we have become so irrelevant that it didn't even get a mention on Sports Center or Gameday Final." Now that is scary and shows just how fast we have fallen from last years pre-season # 1.

Anonymous said...

McGINTY
Is anybody here
afraid of anything other than
bugs?

SHANE
Quicksand.

They all turn to Shane. Franklin nods in agreement.
F
RANKLIN
Shit, yeah, quicksand is a scary
mother! Suck you right in and if
you scream you get all that muck
in your --

McGINTY
(cutting him off)
I don't think that's what Shane
meant, Franklin.

FRANKLIN
Oh... then what'd he mean?


McGINTY
You'd have to ask Shane that.
They all turn to Shane. A long beat before he relents:

SHANE
... you're playing... you think
everything is going fine... but
then one thing goes wrong... and
then another... and another... and
you try to fight back... but the
harder you fight, the deeper you
sink... until you can't move...
you can't breathe.. because
you're in over your head...
(shrugs)
Like quicksand.
McGinty nods.
McGINTY
Now... what else are we afraid of?

Anonymous said...

Im sorry but Richt is an idiot. Completely, and utterly stupid. I dont even know what to say at this point. When we find this "magic defensive coordinator" who saves our program next year shouldn't we just save the Univ. 3 million a year and promote him to head coach! This is just sad. I am without words . . .

Anonymous said...

David,

I dont understand your line of thinking. It really doesnt matter what answer Coach Richt gives in a press conference. When you are 6-5, it is always going to be the wrong answer.
I think that this is just a young team taking its lumps. Next year, we will be good enough to go 10-2 again. We are set of rb (Ealey, King), WR (Green, King, Wooten, Durham), TE (Charles, White), Entire starting OL - Vance + Sturdivant + Strickland + current second string with one more year of experience), Great LB core (with or without Rennie), two shutdown corners (Smith, Boykin), good safeties (Banks, Rambo). Only holes are DT and QB. We should good enough in DT with Tyson, Jones and new recruirs and Murray/Mettenberger should be at least as good as Cox.
Go dawgs !!!

David Hale said...

Anon,

I'm with you on the talent for next year, but I think you're overstating it a bit. We don't know much about how "shut down" Smith will be, we know nothing about Murray or Mett for certain, and the O line was supposed to be good and deep this year and is not.

But look at the underlying issues of this season: Defensive scheme, turnovers, penalties, kickoff and other special teams problems... how much of that has to do with this year's team being young? Those are coaching issues that Richt should be expected to address.

Plus, the "being young" issue is all well and good in September and maybe October. But we're 11 games into the season and this young team is no better than it was in Week 1 or 2 in virtually every key area, save a marginally improved running game.

Do I expect answers from Richt? No, not really. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

Texas_Dawg said...

Do I expect answers from Richt? No, not really. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

There is nothing Richt could say that would make anyone happy about this season. The people wanting him fired or just wanting to bash him would still do their thing, no matter what he said.

When you win whatever you say is brilliant, when you lose whatever you say is picked apart and held up as evidence that you suck and everything you do is doomed to fail forever.

Whatever. Richt is a great coach and has proven that over many years (both at UGA and FSU), so I think there's a lot of reason to think good changes will be made and we'll reload for another good run through the Murray years. But there's nothing that can be said now that will make anyone believe that who doesn't want to.

Texas_Dawg said...

Im sorry but Richt is an idiot. Completely, and utterly stupid. I dont even know what to say at this point. When we find this "magic defensive coordinator" who saves our program next year shouldn't we just save the Univ. 3 million a year and promote him to head coach! This is just sad. I am without words . . .

Ah, yes. One of the winningest coaches in CFB this past decade, and arguably the best coach UGA has ever had... and he's just an "idiot."

So sayeth anonymous blog poster who struggles with basic grammar and punctuation.

Good times. Fire everyone.

Anonymous said...

Texas Dawg, agree totally. The "fire everyone" idiots are becoming more numerous. UGA fans have surpassed the SC fans for being the most delusional in the SEC, and the Florida fans for being the least classy. As bad as this team has performed, the fan behavior is more disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Why did they have Branden Smith in to receive the kickoff when we have arguably one of the best kickoff returners in the nation, Brandon Boykin available?