Monday, September 26, 2011

Where are we and where are we going?

So, I'm not sure where we are. I can honestly say that Saturday was the least excited I've ever been for an SEC victory, especially a road one. Not that I wasn't pleased with the way we played. It really didn't matter to me. Win ugly, win big, win the way we did, which was workman-like. Just win, get to 2-2 and prove it to me this week. That's kind of where I'm at. I WANT to be excited and play in games that matter. Saturday will go a long way in starting that. Win that one, and the next one, and the next one…and that next one will really, really matter. Drop one of these, and it doesn't matter quite as much.

Still, I'm excited we're in a different spot. I thought we'd get better as the season went on last year. I was wrong. We got progressively worse. This year, I think we've gotten better every week, and I like what that means moving forward. I think we're better than we think we are and better than most people are. But, it's put up or shut up time. Fact is, we knew 2 weeks ago that we'd be 2-2 right now. It's a good looking 2-2, with the colossal whooping we put on Coastal and the solid win in Oxford. That win looked like old school Richt. I'm hoping for some old school Richt this week and the next.

The next 2 weeks are humongous for Aaron Murray. I like Aaron. I think he's probably the best QB in the league. It's time to prove it. He needs to shine. I thought he was pretty sharp on Saturday. He needs to be sharper the next 2 weeks. He needs to play great in front of the home fans, then go on the road on TV and look like a stud.

I want to be pumped again. I'm getting there. I'm excited about what I think I'm going to see on Saturday. But I just don't know. I've been excited a couple times in the last 2 years, only to get crushed. I think I'm protecting myself. I want to let it all hang out again. I want to believe that we can do something that most say we can't. I want to see something different from this team than what we've seen the last 2 years. I do know that we went to Mississippi a year ago at 1-2 and our season turned into a dumpster fire. This time, we went to Mississippi 1-2 and we looked like we knew what we were doing. We looked in control. Our fans now need to see a performance for the ages. We need to look good between the Hedges in a game that means something and that we need. This game really matters, and we need to look like we think it matters. I'm cautiously optimistic.

And I'm starting to like our defense. I think they might be pretty fun to watch when everyone gets healthy and, shhhh, they might be awesome next year. There's 2 seniors on that defense and not any underclassment likely to turn pro…Don't tell anybody. It's so crazily (yes, I made that a word) frustrating. I want Richt to do it not only because I like him, but I think we've really got a shot to start building something again. I think we're starting to see CTG knows what he's doing. We are in position and flying around on D, and we return those guys. Our best players on offense are Crowell, Mitchell, and Murray, 2 freshmen and a sophomore. We don't have a single senior at a skill position that matters, except Figgins at FB, and I think Zander's going to be okay there. And if Richt can turn the tide, we're going to sign Keith Marshall and have a lethal 1-2 punch at tailback for 2 years, which will be Aaron's junior and senior years. So, I'm starting to see rays. But I need to see wins. I need to see a team that looks like those early 2000's teams the next 2 weeks and takes care of business and comes out ready to play 2 weeks in a row. There are no more moral victories. We need wins. Then, let's go win an ugly one 19-15 in Nashville and get rested for the stretch run.

Is it possible? I don't know. But I do know that if Chris Relf runs for 143 yards against us on Saturday, I'm liable to kill someone.

Monday, September 12, 2011

UGA's mind boggling stats compared to rivals

Let me be clear and say that I'm not sure I want a new coach. I hope we go
10-2 and don't need one. I think, maybe, 9-3 will do it. This summer I
thought 8-4 could do it w/ wins over the Gators and Jackets, but now I'm not
so sure. Here's the bottom line, and the goal that is still out there for
Richt and probably my biggest pet peeve of mine over the years. Something
he's NEVER done and something I want done immediately or I'm simply ready to
cut bait and go fishing again...I think. I want to beat rivals. I am tired
of losing to rivals. Now, I do not expect to beat all our rivals every
year. No coach does this. But I want to beat all of them some years. And
we NEVER do it.

Bulldog Trivia. And for the most part I'm going to leave Tech out of this
because they're OOC. For the most part, I'm talking about conference
rivals. Do you know when is the last time we beat Tennessee, Florida, and
Auburn in the same season? 1982. 19 freaking 82. Do you know why 2007 was
so fun? We ended the year beating rivals. It was the first time since '82
that we'd beaten Florida and Auburn in the same season. Are you kidding me?
We can't beat our 2 oldest conference rivals in the same season in 25 years.
Are. You. Kidding. Me? Man, the more I think about what Ray Goff did to our
program, the madder I get.

Anyway, before you start thinking, I wonder about other teams? I'll kindly
oblige. The last time for comparable teams?
In 2010, South Carolina beat Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee in the same
season, along with #1 Alabama, and throw in a victory over Clemson for good
In 2010, Auburn beat Georgia, LSU, and Alabama in the same season. They
also did this in 2004. So, they've had 2 different coaches do it in the
last 7 years.
In 2009, Alabama beat LSU, Tennessee, and Auburn, plus Florida in the SEC
champ. Game, but I'm mostly concerned about the regular season games.
In 2008, Alabama beat LSU, Tennessee, and Auburn, and had a pretty good
showing between the hedges from what I hear.
In 2008 and 2009, Florida beat Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia (along with FSU),
and beat Bama in the SECCG in 2008.
In 2006, Florida also beat Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia.
In 2007, LSU beat Bama, Florida, and Auburn. LSU also accomplished this in
In 2004, Tennessee beat UGA, Florida, and Bama. They also did this in 1998.

Every team basically has 3 big time conference rivals that they play every
year. The other 2 of the big 6 in their division and their every year foe
from the other division. If you're a school like Arkansas or South
Carolina, you're basically looking at the big 3 in your division as your big
rivals. So, in Richt's tenure, South Carolina and Tennessee have done it
once, Auburn, LSU, and Bama have done it twice, and Florida has done it 3
times. You know what beating rivals does? It makes fans happy. I feel
immeasurably worse after a loss to those 3 guys then I do after a loss to
Arkansas, South Carolina or Kentucky. I don't like those teams, but I don't
hate them like I do those 3. And all this has happened for these other
schools in the last 7 years. We haven't done it in TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. I
want a coach that can get it done and will get it done. So that's where I
stand on September 12. My decision can get an extension on Oct. 8, another
on Oct. 29, and the final stamp of fan approval on Nov. 12. Beat those 3
teams, and then finish it off with a victory on the Flats, and it'll be hard
for me to complain because beating those guys makes me happy and gives our
team tremendous momentum. It's hard for me to fathom beating those guys and
going 8-4 or 7-5. Beat them, and I think you're 9-3 at worse. Beat those
guys with a loss to MSU or UK or something fluky like that, and I think I
can still live with that and go 9-3. However, 9-3 with a loss to Tech and
we probably win the East, but that's another conversation for another day.
If we can't beat those 3 teams, I think I'm willing to say 11 years was
plenty of chances and lets give someone else a shot at this thing. Thanks
for the great memories, most of the greatest in my life. I faintly remember
seeing Walker play, but the greatest teams I saw were Richt's Dawgs. But I
believe we can be greater. We have better everything than Auburn, better
everything but tradition than Tennessee and our recruiting advantage over
them far outweighs their slight tradition advantage. We have every
advantage over LSU except MAYBE recruiting base. Florida and Bama are the
only teams that have multiple advantages over us, but we're not that far
behind in natural advantages bent toward success. We are simply are one of
the plum jobs in America and can do better. So, if we had to have a new
coach, I began thinking about what I want.

New coach
-Beat our rivals.
-Oversign. No excuse for not signing 25/year
-A Mean s.o.b. I want a mean and nasty team that scares people on defense.
-Smart, disciplined play and 'mental mistake free football'
-Deploying young talent early and often. You think Ray Drew has played yet
in Gainesville? What do you think Clowney's role would be for us? If
you're noticing, he made the play of the game for the Cocks Saturday night.
In his 2nd game, Spurrier gave Lattimore 37 carries against us. We gave
Crowell 18 Saturday night in his second, on a night he averaged 7.3/carry.
-Hiring the guys in Atlanta for S&C
-Beat Florida
-Pro style offense
-Someone who makes o-line recruiting our first priority
-Better use of personnel and decisions. Richard's a LB, Prince Miller's a
WR, Brandon Miller's a LB. It's not that hard to figure out, people.
-Better game management

I hope it doesn't come to it, but my call list would be, in order:
1. Chris Petersen
2. Gary Patterson (and he might be 1A)
3. John Gruden (just for never know)
4. Randy Edsall
5. Kirby Smart

I interview all of those that will. I want to see all of their plans. And
I start at $4 million, and I'm willing to go to 5 or 5.5 for the right guy.
I want them to know we mean business and we expect results.

The problem is that there are no guarantees. I think Brian Kelly is a good
coach, and he's 0-2 in year 2 in South Bend. But, we might be forced to
take a chance.

I want to say we've lost only a few battles, but I'm worried we've lost the

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What will make you madder on Saturday afternoon?

A) Looking like we've looked the last season and a half. Totally unprepared, sloppy, and weak.


B) Looking sharp, running power football out of the I, blitzing like a crazy man and not jumping off-sides and wondering why that was so difficult to do 1 week earlier.

It's a legitimate question. That's kind of the point I'm at. I'm not sure anything can make me happy on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, I want to win, but why would it take that handling to figure all that out? I'll be happy if it's B, especially if that's a harbinger of what's to come, but I'll be peaved that we didn’t figure that out in the last 8 months first.

And, are we really going to become one of those teams looking to the sideline for the play call? I'm sorry, but right now I feel better about AM getting us in the right play rather than MB. It's not like Malzahn or Petrino are over there calling the plays.

I really, really hope we're walking back on Saturday thinking: "Boise would beat Oklahoma's britches off, 'cause we're pretty doggone good."

It was bad, but we need to hold off judgement...a few more days

So, it took me a while to decompress from that handling we got on Saturday…and it was a handling. The truth is, it will take me a while to get over it. I've had to do a lot of soul searching. I mean, even after a 30-point victory over the Cocks, I still don't think I'll be over it. This is for 2 reasons:

1. I really thought they were a bit of a paper tiger. I knew they were good and had beat some good teams. But they were far better than I imagined. I was very impressed. Could they compete week in and week out in the SEC? I don't know, but they could sure compete in the East this year and they'd hold their own. If they had our schedule, I'd predict them to go 12-0 or 11-1.

2. We were far less prepared than I imagined. Everything. There's too many things to name. We weren't prepared for the first drive, weren't prepared for the short passing game, weren't prepared to have to replace Ogletree, weren't prepared to protect Murray. Heck, it was a million things. It disgusted me. With a $3 million dollar job on the line, I think I'd be prepared for everything, because I think I'd like making $3 million. Sometimes I wonder if Richt does. I really, really expected us to win by double digits on Saturday. Not because I'm a homer. I thought we were just that much better than them. This is why I'm not a prognosticator.

Now, my shock aside…

Saturday is HUUUUUUUUGE for Georgia and Mark Richt. It's the most important game of his career. We have not beaten a really good team since Tech '09. That's a long time. At some point, we've got to beat a good team. At the beginning of the year, we thought these were the best 2 teams we'd play. If you go 10-2 and lost do the 2 best teams you played…is that really a great year? At some point, you've just got to do it when all eyes are watching. Everybody's watching on Saturday. Win, and we start to think that maybe we can make something out of this. If we lose, I'm not sure we can recover. I think the fan base will turn, the team will begin to slip and Richt will lose the team. We're just losing too many games.

Don't give me victories. Those things don't matter as much as losses. In 12 game seasons, losses are the only things we can compare to previous years. In '91 and '92, we had 2 really great years. We lost 3 in '91, and won our bowl game. We beat a really good Clemson team, LSU, Auburn, and Tech, and Tech was good. In '92, we lost 2 by a gnats hair, beat South Carolina in Columbia handily (the last time that happened), beat Auburn and Tech. We won a New Year's day bowl and our tailback finished 3rd in New York. We followed that up w/ a 6 loss season in '93. It was a tough year with an absolutely brutal loss in Jax. We then lost only 4 in '94 against one of the hardest schedules in UGA history. We played @ South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, & Auburn. We hosted Tennessee, Clemson, and Tech…and only lost 4! We didn't make a bowl, and Coach Dooley wanted to give Goff another year with the reverse of that schedule. In '95, we experienced the worst string of injuries in school history, literally losing our 1st & 2nd string QBs and TBs and our All-American LB for the season. We lost 6 games, including the bowl. We fired Ray before he lost the 6, though. 3 straight seasons of 6 losses, 4 losses and 5 losses was enough.

Mark Richt has lost 5, then 7. We're 0-1 now. Ray Goff lost 14 in 3 seasons and we fired him. Mark Richt has lost 13 in 2 seasons and 1 game. I'm not saying…I'm just saying.

The caveat to all that is that we have been no friend of Richt when it comes to scheduling. We've simply scheduled in a way that is too difficult, and it makes judging our performance hard to figure. It's very difficult to judge what we're doing vs. other schools because it's apples to oranges. In the last 5 years (+ Saturday's opener), Florida is 4-1 vs. FSU. They are undefeated in the rest of their non-conference games, excluding bowl games. This is because they have scheduled guaranteed home wins in those games. In 5 years, we are also 5-1 vs. GT, which has been a much better program than FSU for most of those 5 years. However, we have lost 3 non-conference games. Would we feel different if our record in '09 was 9-4 and in '10 it was 7-6? And the proverbial "Would we have lost to the 'Cocks in '07 had we not played the Pokes?" and "Would we have lost to 'Bama had we not traveled to Tempe the week before?"

I hope we can recover from this game. It was fun to play in it, but at the end of the day…it was useless. It taught us something, but it got us an L. We don't need to play in that kind of game. We just don't. We're already playing at a disadvantage because we don't over sign, there's no need to make it worse by over-scheduling. I'm not crying. This is just simply a fact. I don't know if we'd have a false sense of hope if we'd have played Lafayette on Saturday, I just know we'd be 1-0 and feel a whole lot better getting ready to play the Cocks in the games that really matter. Of course, it'd be great to beat Boise, and that's no excuse for the performance we saw, just an observation on the overall state of things.

What does it all mean? I have no idea. I can only imagine Oregon and VT fans felt the same way the last 2 years. They both went on win their conference, and I wonder what they felt in Pasadena and South Beach thinking back on that opening game. I'll bet they thought, "We ain't worth a flip and we just got beat by a 3rd world country. USC/FSU is going to kill us." Is is possible? Yes. We have a boatload to fix. A boatload, I tells ya. But it can happen. I'm hoping it happens.

I just want Mark Richt to look really P.O.'d. Is that too much to ask? Just be angry. I think we all have to wait to reserve judgment till about 8 p.m. on Saturday night. I'm hoping I'm walking back on the railroad tracks saying to some stranger, "Man, Boise must be really good."