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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fleeting thoughts: After Colorado

BOULDER, Colo. - Two weeks ago, the Georgia Bulldogs were 1-2, and the sky was falling.

Doesn’t 1-2 seem such a quaint, innocent time now?

The season has officially gone off the rails, with Saturday’s loss here in the Rockies. Here are some mind-boggling stats and facts:

- Georgia and Tennessee will both having losing records when they meet each other for the first time since 1906. They played to a 0-0 tie that year, and the way things are going neither team may deserve to win on Saturday either.

- By my count, Georgia is seeking to avoid its first five-game losing streak since 1953. One of those losses was to Mississippi Southern, which later changed its name to Southern Miss. Vince Dooley was a senior at Auburn in ’53. Mark Richt was seven years away from being born.

- In order to finish bowl-eligible (6-6), Georgia will have to finish 5-2. That means beating at least two of the following teams: Auburn (5-0), Florida (4-1), Kentucky (3-2) and Georgia Tech (3-2). And that number increases if the Bulldogs somehow can’t win home games against Tennessee (2-3), Vanderbilt (1-3) and Idaho State (1-4).

- On the season, Georgia is still out-scoring its opponents, and by more than two touchdowns. No, seriously. That season-opening 48-point win over Louisiana-Lafayette still overtakes the combined 32 points by which the past four opponents have defeated the Bulldogs.

- The importance of A.J. Green: The star receiver did not touch the ball on Georgia’s first two possessions. He missed two more full series in the third quarter, dealing with cramps. On those four possessions, Georgia combined to lose five yards, and had one first down. The rest of the game, comprising seven possessions, the Bulldogs had 414 yards and 19 first downs.

Now the grades:

QUARTERBACKS: Aaron Murray had one interception, just his third in five games. Otherwise he made full use of Green, and got the tight ends involved. Murray also rushed well, though there were a few times he should have scrambled through an open middle. … B+.

RUNNING BACKS: Up until the end, Caleb King’s game was fantastic. You can’t forget his 100 yards, but you also can’t overlook the fumble. Meanwhile Carlton Thomas looked like someone who didn’t belong in Division I-A, even though he’s had his moments before Saturday. Washaun Ealey had just one carry, though it went for 15 yards. This unit continues to be a sore point for the offense, not only with its lack of production, but now three critical fumbles in four losses. … D+.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: Green did everything he could. Kris Durham missed the game with his neck injury, and you have to wonder if that made a difference when Green was out in the third quarter. Marlon Brown had a touchdown catch (two if you count the one called back). Orson Charles and Aron White each had two catches, as it looked like the middle of the field was a bit more open with Green lined up outside. … B.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The holes were there for the tailbacks, as the Bulldogs averaged 5.9 yards per carry, more than two yards over their season average. Murray was sacked twice, and was pressured when he threw his one interception. And both those sacks were on third down, on the drives in the third quarter when Green was out. It was an improved performance, but that’s not saying too much. … C.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Colorado averaged five yards per carry, but much of its yardage came on Rodney Stewart’s 65-yard run, which came on a pitch-out. The issue with the line was two-fold: Not making key stops on third and fourth down – Colorado just ran it up the middle and made it several times – and not enough pressure on the quarterback. On the plus side, Kwame Geathers seemed to play well when he was in there, getting a couple tackles. We may yet see Geathers at nose and DeAngelo Tyson at end. … C.

LINEBACKERS: Marcus Dowtin expressed frustration with his playing time last week, then did the smart thing and backed it up on the field, picking off a pass and recording one of the team’s two sacks. (Fellow linebacker Justin Houston had the other one.) Akeem Dent once again led the team with 12 tackles, eight of them solo, and the linebacking unit managed to make a few big tackles behind the line. Still, in a 3-4 scheme a lot of the third-down issues (Colorado was 7-for-15) fall on the linebackers not making plays when they’re needed most. … B-.

SECONDARY: It’s time to accept that this unit just isn’t very good. At this point it’s not even average. Getting sliced by Ryan Mallett was one thing, but Chris Relf and Tyler Hansen? The third downs and big plays keep killing the Georgia defensive backs, as they continues to allow receivers to get wide, wide open. It didn’t help in the second half that Branden Smith was out with a re-occurrence of his concussion. And what about Vance Cuff: He made some big plays, but kept committing penalties, including on special teams. … F.

SPECIAL TEAMS: The return units finally provided a spark, beginning with Brandon Boykin’s first kick return. (The offense didn’t capitalize.) Punter Drew Butler was solid (46.3 average, and only one was returned). The kick and punt coverage was also very good, especially kickoffs. But Blair Walsh’s miss from 41 yards, his first failure of the season, was the difference. You can’t kill him for it, given what he’s done so far, and because he didn’t get a chance at the end to win it. But a miss is a miss. … B.

COACHING: Mike Bobo’s play-calling seemed a lot smarter with Green in there. It might have been useful to see a bit more trickery, but Smith’s absence prevented that. I know a lot of people want to berate Bobo for the final play call, but no one speaking to the media after the game said it was intended to be a flea-flicker. Richt was pretty specific that it was the team’s “No. 1 running play.”

As for the defense, well the glow officially seems off Todd Grantham and the 3-4. It may just be a case of needing the right players to fit the system – after all, they are using the smallish Tyson and the youthful Geathers at nose tackle. But once again, the Bulldogs weren’t ready to stop the opening drive (four games, four touchdowns) and had trouble making stops at the end of the game. … C.


meansonny said...

For the third week in a row, I'm left saying, "This one hurts."

Seth... any tips for fans that aren't used to losing streaks?

The numbness hasn't set in, yet.

NCDawg said...

1-4 is ugly and it hurts, but I can't convince myself the wheels are falling off the bus. Yes, we are getting beat a little up the middle, and the 3rd down conversions are killing us. The secondary has struggled, especially at safety. I don't know if it's personnel or if I'm becoming Lakatos-intolerant. But the defense is consistently getting teams into 3rd and long, we are tackling better than last year (seriously, we were much worse last year), and penalties have improved - although Cuff had enough stupid for the whole team. If the defense stops half of those 3rd & longs they given up, arguably we are 4-1.

The offensive line has been a disappointment, the running backs seem to turn it over in incredible WTF moments, and AJ is missed. However, turn overs are down, King looked great when he got some space, Murray has me excited about the next 2 years, and our offensize numbers are not bad. Regarding play calling, everyone looks like a genius when the play is executed well. Everyone looks like an idiot when defenders come in untouched.

We have been in every game until late in the forth qtr. The biggest problem is confidence. The only swagger I have seen out of Georgia this year since La-La was during the 2nd Qtr. when AJ was in. I still think this team can win, even against UF, but they won't beat anyone until they get that swagger back.

A die hard on life support! said...

I agree with NCDawg but Richt does not want swagger. He tells our fired up coaches to calm down. He looks like he is bored on the side line and that his mind is a million miles away. He was actually smiling when he ran off the field last night. For some reason he keeps Bobo, Van Halager and Garner and we keep under performing Our team looks slow and lethargic and it appears we are still playing the wrong players. We also are either recruiting the wrong player or not coaching them up to their full potential, either of these is a problem! Richt did finally do a LITTLE coaching last night...... but it is too little too late!!! Please Richt wake the hell or resign and let us go after someone with some fire and passion, that hold players and coaches to a very high level of accomplisment and accountability. And one that is not afraid of getting in the faces of players and coaches even if it will be on live T.V.

Michael said...

"1-4 is ugly and it hurts, but I can't convince myself the wheels are falling off the bus."

Dude. Wake the heck up. The sparks are flying all around you as the bus grinds metal along the pavement.

Michael said...

"If the defense stops half of those 3rd & longs they given up, arguably we are 4-1."



Sports fans are notoriously bad for "what ifs" regarding their team, but that's like saying if we scored 20 more pts per game...

Anonymous said...


Dawg66 said...

I have been a suspicious supporter of Richt. He is a likable fella, good moral fiber and Christian ethics. Now let's talk football. The team began his tenure with some residual talent. He scored well in bowl games. Something has been happening though. The big Dawgs have gone now and things are beginning to crunble. I agree with NCDawg..the fire has gone out.
I really don't believe he has the winning instinct any longer and his post game comments are feeble.
He surrounds himself with his buddies like Bobo...well.. he wouldn't even make waterboy on Alabama's powerful machine. Now it's all Richt and recruiting...losing half the team and his best player for four games!
Something is just not right. What defense? I don't know if it's that transparent yet. He will likely lose all but one, maybe two of his remaining, as opponents no longer deign to the once juggernaut Dawgs. Upshot: Coach, you've had a good run...let someone with some FIRE take the helm. Yes, even more ability to select supporting coaches. UGA is used to a winning program. We support a WINNING Program. You, sir, apparently are no longer a winner. Losing 4 or is it 5 straight is unheard of in my Dawg history. Hershel Walker could come back and play better than these guys. I guess I've vented enough. W means WIN not Wah!

Anonymous said...

Damn and we thought David Hale was a jinks. Seth this has got to stop, for the love of Dawg get a job covering Florida.

Anonymous said...


if you love our dawgs please wake up.... The wheels have fallen off, yall keep forgetting that we didnt lose to an Alabama or Florida... we lost to Miss St and Colorado...

Can we find a way to win out, yes, and I think our boys have the talent to do so... but if we do it will because of their effort not the coaching. It is time to give our boys what they deserve and if Coach Richt thinks his loyalty lies with his coach over his players than he can get the heck out of Athens... DO NOT FORGET THIS... Bobo needs to go and we need to bring in a real offensive coordinator...

If you want to support our boys that means giving them the best tools for success, that means getting rid of Bobo... ugh cant believe some people are just throwing a blind eye to this

Anonymous said...

Its almost half way through this season and we have OFFICIALLY become the WORST team in the SEC on and off the field... What more proof do you want that the wheels have fallen off.. Im rooting for our boys to win out but that does not mean im oblivious to the 4 wooden wheels that are on the side of the road about 1500 miles from Athens....

Willb said...

Just wondering what is everyones NFL prospect opinion on aj green? I think he might be the best prospect since Randy moss. The only others that compare are Calvin Johnson Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. I just wonder what greens 40 will be. If he runs in the 430's he might go first overall. The hype around him really reminds me of a few years ago with Calvin Johnson.

Did we recruit Calvin Johnson?

Willb said...

For anyone who says aj green going number one in the draft means nothing I completely disagree. The number one pick in two of three years would be huge for recruiting! Bamas not putting out number one picks. Maybe someone like crowell will see a place to play from the start and get drafted high.

I have a request for one of you anon guys that like to make list. How many NFL draft picks have we had that were recruited by richts staff the last ten years as opposed to the ten years before. I'm just personally wondering.

Daniel said...

this bodes well for us to get crowell. our backs suck, he should get plenty of playing time. well after a mandatory redshirt because they say he doesnt pass block. its amazing how other teams can get young guys to contribute and we cant even in their junior years

yearofthedawg said...

Seth, any word on T.J. Stripling?

Willb said...

Hey Daniel I disagree. Aj green, mo mass, t king ,orson Charles , Aaron Murray, ben jones, clint boling, sturdivant, stafford, even ealey produced well as a true freshman. Its hard to believe ga redshirted moreno! Mark richt said he made a mistake on that one. I wouldnt see us redshirting crowell for sure! We will redshirt lemay though. Are there any more offensive playmakers out there left to recruit other than crowell? We need another aj green type. Looks like darick Rogers wouldn't of been that guy now anyways. Kinda glad we didn't get him.

Seems like getting def players to produce early might be a problem. Only rennie curran comes to mind. The only big time player we have on def now is Justin Houston. I think he might be a little underrated nationally.

Herschel Blogger said...

as far as AJ's draft stock... I have a feeling NFL teams will look at the fact that he can't seem to stay healthy for an entire game, much less a season.
His first game back, and he goes down for crucial plays.

On that note, I don't want to discuss how we are entirely INCOMPETENT without him on the field. It was ridiculous how we went from rolling to falling so quickly...

Anonymous said...

I think this is the worst grade you've given the running backs this season, but this is the game where they actually got the most done. Yes, there was a fumble, but it wasn't a come-loose from his grip fumble, it was a botched play.

We got a 100yd rusher and a ton of great blocking. I'm not saying it's not a D+ but it's a little odd to me relative to the other grades, when this was the first game where it looked like we had a run game.

David said...

Just occurred to me that we now have the worst start to a season since before we had an UGA.

Might be a good idea for the Seilers to sit this season out before picking IX...he shouldn't have to see this. Especially right out of the gate.

David said...

Lost in all the underperformance from last night is the fact that we didn't even get the ball to AJ until the SECOND QUARTER.

The end around was a good play - would have been better on the FIRST DRIVE.

Someone tell Bobo and Grantham that the first drive counts toward the outcome of the game. Not sure they are aware.

Of course I've never been "in the arena" so maybe it is OK not to get the ball to your best player by far. And OK to give the other team 7 points to start every game.

In MY arena, losing 4 in a row like this gets you put on a performance improvement plan.

As for next week, we might consider that a couple times in the last few years that Orange team has really put a whacking on us. They are coming next week. They can run and appear to have the idea that tackling is helpful when playing defense. Or do we want to let another team pass us by while we are on the way down.

Anonymous said...

Cool it win the swagger talk. That's a stupid term that means nothing.

Anonymous said...

Seth, sir,

Come on. The Offense already was in field goal range and all they had to do was kick the field goal and the game was won.

Instead, one of the nation's worst football teams beat us because this offense is not any good. Sacks, interceptions, penalties, balls batted down at the line of scrimmage, fumbles, and 3 and outs are the fault of the Offense.

There is no silver lining in losing 4 games in a row after a cupcake to start the season.

Aaron Murray is 1-4 as a Starting Quarterback, one of the worst records of all-time.

But, I am certain someone on this blog can tell me how he or Caleb King is so freaking great, instead.

I am guessing it will be Joeski, the huge LSU fan who comes in here to tell us all how great we are doing - like he would know.

No, I am not a prophet nor Jim Donnan. I am, however, right as rain - something that no doubt explains the bitterness of Joeski - who has been anything but - hasn't he ?

UGA Dawg20 said...

One of the issues on this team that has been overlooked is Richt's insistence on playing guys no matter how undisciplined or poorly they are playing. With Vance Cuff, there was obviously a handicap in that Branden Smith couldn't have come in to replace him after he just kept committing penalties. But the situation that bothers me the most is the offensive line and particularly Josh Davis. I'm sure that Davis is a great kid and a leader on this team, but in most of the instances where Murray got hit, Davis was the culprit, allowing his man to easily get around him and hit the quarterback. He was also the player responsible for the direct hit on Caleb that jarred the fumble at the end of the game.

Obviously, it is important for any team to remain one cohesive unit on the offensive line. But if there is a weak link, it needs to be fixed. I'm very much a believer in the theory of if something isn't broken, don't fix it. But something is clearly broken and needs to be addressed. I'm all for seniors getting their playing time, but they need to be successful to keep themselves on the field. Unfortunately, #78 might need to be replaced in order to allow Murray more time in the pocket.

Dokemion said...

Football is here and damn I'm still stuck in the office! It Sucks!

lakewood bail bonds

Yodi said...

I didn't read everything you said, but there is one thing that I caught and I believe it is 100% stupid. You said some crazy crap about the secondary versus Hansen and Relf. The last time I checked Relf had NINE completions for 148 yards and Hansen had 13 completions for 158 yards. The pass defense was not the issue in either of those games, it was the D's inability to stop the run.