x’s and o’s
So here we are, on the verge of another potential debacle of epic proportions. Here we are in the face of adversity, thousands of miles from anything that looks “Georgia”. I’m scared. No, seriously. This game scares me because if we win then it’s, “Well, we should’ve won, that doesn’t mean anything.” and if we lose the sky, literally, has fallen.
Here we go:
Coaches: I don’t know if personalities are clashing, some reports say they are, especially on the offensive side. But anytime you lose like this, things are not “hunky dory” down on the farm. But ultimately the buck stops with Richt. If you get paid multi-millions per year, you are responsible for every part of the program win, lose, or draw. It IS his responsibility to make sure that he hires, manages, and supports his coaches. Leadership needs to come from him. If he hasn’t already, he needs to get in some folk’s faces. I would say something else, but alas, I am updating this before I start work. This cohesion problem will not fix itself. He has to fix it.
Play calling: It’s easy to second guess Bobo when we lose. It’s as equally as easy to cheer him when we win. But I think the SEC’s returning “most efficient” play caller deserves at least a couple games with AJ Green to see what he can do. Look folks, I’m not agreeing with his play calling all of the time, especially when it is 2nd and long and we are running Carlton Thomas up the middle, but look at it this way: If I would’ve have told you UGA would have been 11 of 12 in the Conference in rushing before the season started, what would you have said? I would have said 1-3. Our o line’s ineptness and running backs have been so pedestrian, I swear I’m watching a bad Miramax film.
When you plan all offseason, all camp for a run dominated, play-action passing attack WITH Aj Green and what you get is a pass dominated offense with protection problems where the team’s leading rusher fumbles twice on the goal line, things are VASTLY INSANELY different. Not that that is an excuse as to why we continue to run that scheme, but an explanation as to what is going on.
Fix this by letting Murray do what he does. I featured this approach during my “Keys to the Game” last week against MSU. Did it happen? No. Was I right, ALWAYS! *Wink* And I hate to say it, but it is time to go to a spread-style passing attack, utilizing our receiving weapons, slip screens, slants, deep outs, draws, quick options, option gives, etc. We are apparently are not going to be a power running team like we have been for several years, so it is time to adapt. If Bobo continues to ignore this and does not adapt, we will continue to lose and he will have probably cost himself his job, but let me be clear. As of now I AM NOT ON THE ‘FIRE BOB’ WAGON.
Execution: Bottom line, players need to step up, execute, buy in to what the coaches are doing, and have some one LEAD. Like Richt told them earlier int he week, “This will not stay the same. Either you it will get better, or it will get worse.” A large part of what route we go on today comes from the players.
Perception: The only way our perception improves is if we come out, smack the Buffs right in the mouth, hold them without a touchdown and hang 35 in the first half. And if that happens, Richt doesn’t need to let off of the gas until we have hung 50+. That will at least boost morale and give the coaches and players some much needed relief from this slump.
There is no panacea for a 1-3 start. This is no ‘miracle’ season on the horizon, but this is Georgia. If I hear one more time, “you know, I really don’t see what these kids have to play for” who knows what I’ll do. I don’t know what my evil side can manifest, but the world might get a pretty good glimpse.
At this point, we have nothing left to lose. It is time to let it all hang out and see how we respond. It couldn’t get much worse at this point, unless that is we send Carlton Thomas up the middle on second and long with the game on the line…
In summation, let it all “air” out. Go nuts. Hit somebody. Coaches, adapt to what you’ve been dealt.
Fleeting Thought: If Bobo’s playcalling is so bad, why hasn’t Shockley, Stafford, or Cox ever opened up and said as much? They could’ve. Maybe it was to help the program and not throw them under the bus…but if I’m worth 72 million (and I’m talking about Stafford here), I wouldn’t care all that much if he wasn’t good. Also, why did Detroit Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz say that Stafford was one of the most prepared QB rookies he has ever seen??? I’m not defending, criticising, etc, just some food for thought.
“It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner, when you’re number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not a winner.” – Vince Lombardi
What better way to begin a post about the direction of our program? Richt hasn’t been here before and in my adult years (which is pretty much Richt’s tenure), neither have I.
I have a couple of points to present here, but before I get on with that, I want to make a statement about our fan base pitchfork wielding, retarded asinine portion or our fan base. To all of those calling for “heads to roll” and “fire everyone, including Aaron Murray!” you can go to hell. I don’t have the power to send you there, but I have encountered your kind many times in my travels. You all have a certain smell about you, wear backwards hats, have earrings, post rambling senseless diatribes on the AJC (ya’ll are the only ones who read that garbage anyway), and more than once have been at the receiving end of my fists (to great success I might add). You are the bane of the my existence and honestly, I hope you are all sterile. Bringing another meth smoking, trailer park wonder into the world should be outlawed.
So, now on to the real fan’s perspective:
I see it out there. The long faces, the nervous feeling in your gut, the thought of quicksand. I feel it, too. This part one of two will focus on what I believe our shortcomings are. Post two will be about how to fix them.
If football were a simplified equation, it might look like this: Coaches + Players x execution= Success. So my post will follow this format…
Coaches: Wow, the hottest topic of them all. Are we to believe that this bunch of former Collegiate players really are so inept, that our team is 0-3 in our Conference because of their inability to call short passes over deep outs? Or cover 2 over man? Or a flex blocking scheme over big on big? I think not, but they sure haven’t been helping their case.
Being a former collegiate player myself, coaching means much more than most fans think. Most coaching staffs have a synergy about them. Having coaches filling different roles (beyond X’s and O’s). Some are fiery some are calm. Some are player’s coaches and some are reserved. From what I can tell (or what I see on the field) the coaches do not have this cohesion yet. I don’t know why, but I’ll bet it has to do with all of the changes, the media absolutely crucifying them, and us, the fans.
Either way, at least on the surface, it is safe to say they aren’t all hitting on the cylinders. I’m sure you can see it and an in depth look in to player and fellow coach’s quotes, you can read between the lines.
Also, there is a confidence problem. The players are not buying in, or so it seems, into the offense or the defense. However, losing as many offensive leaders last year (including the Ginger Ninja) and not having Green in the lineup makes a huge difference, especially to the younger players. Who has been outstanding on offense: Chris Durham. Confidence. Tavarres King. Confidence. Not that I’m excusing the performance, but as a former player, I have experienced this happen, a year later, we were in the playoffs.
Players: We, for the second year in a row, do not have a plethora of leaders, especially on defense. We are young there, but still…no Curran’s, Pollack’s, or Allen’s. We definitely do not have players who lead by example. Besides Daryl Gamble, I have not seen a single player on Defense have a complete game yet (yes, that includes Justin Houston). Inconsistency has lead to our early and late brain farts mental breakdowns, thus costing us chances to climb back into the game.
On offense, we are getting one of the best leaders back in the line-up. I know, Green may not be a vocal leader, but I’ve seen him, by his play alone save 2 games for us single handedly (SEE: Arkansas, Arizona State 2009). His play inspires people, inspires players, inspires coaches.
One additional offensive note: Aaron Murray may be the most impressive Frosh I’ve ever seen in a UGA uniform. I know David Greene was good, but his supporting cast was much better (especially his O line). Murray is getting it done and on a personal note, is slowly but surely becoming Man-Crush material.
Perception: Confidence is down, winning is down, big plays are down (unless you are our opponent), coaching synergy is down, fan enthusiasm is down, media love (except ESPN, they hate us and I am serious), we are seriously in the NCAA football BCS basement. Don’t think for a second our players don’t read these things, here these pundits busting their chops, and here these “fringe fans” talk about how terrible they are. Now compound that with the 1-3 record…wow.
Execution: I went through this week and reviewed every game we have played (every play, minus La-La). Ladies and Gentlemen, we are about 4 plays away from being 4-0. “Inspector, have you lost your freaking mind?” Well, no. Execution has been our worst enemy. On almost every pivotal play of significance, we have either had a) a fumble, b) a penalty, or c) a coverage breakdown. That’s not a sign of the coaches not coaching, but of the players not playing…just a FYI
In summation: Our major problems are: Coaching Synergy, Confidence, Perception issues, execution, some bad luck.
Yes, overly simplified, I know. Yes, I am capable of going further in depth and writing a breakdown worthy of a “Doctorate Dissertation” but Football needs to be simplified, not more complex.
Tune in for my Part 2 on what I think will fix or ‘could’ fix these…
As I’m sure you have heard by now: we are getting tired of Aaron Murray. According to many of you, this kid is the second coming of Corey Phillips, but with slightly worse decision making abilities. In fact, if I had to choose a QB to start for UGA he would have these stats:
605 total passing yards, a 62.2 completion percentage, 4 TD’s to 2 INT, a passer rating of 143.27, with 2 additional TDs on the ground. In short, fourth best in passing in the SEC….
Oh wait….THAT IS AARON MURRAY. This kid is a stud, our present, our past, and certainly our future. This is the “big play guy” we’ve waited for at QB. And if you don’t think he should start at QB, well we think you should go play in traffic. Which brings to my first bullet point:
– Let him loose! Aaron Murray has grown up before our eyes and has become our biggest weapon and poses the biggest threat to MSU’s defense. His intangibles matched with his arm strength (as long as he is protected…see bullet point no 2) should wreak havoc on MSU’s secondary, which for lack of a better word, is less than stellar. Murray is ready to hold the reigns and if Bobo allows him to, this might be the coming out party for Murray. I hope he sent me an invitation…
– Protect the kid! The OL has been a sore subject for many fans, pundits, and even our own coaches. Why can’t they become one unit, one dominating baby eating, soul splitting unit? Answer: I don’t know. Obviously talent is there. Maybe it is an attitude laden ‘better than you’ party that has manifested itself into a bunch of question marks and excuses…maybe. Or maybe they just don’t have their shit together yet. Well news flash: time to get your shit together. Hopefully the sting of defeat, vocal doubt, and fan angst will light the “proverbial” fire under there asses to perform at the highest level. Or, literally Searels needs to gather some kindling, some lighter fluid and actually light a fire under their asses. I look for a much improved performance on Saturday. If not, we are in for a long day and so is Murray. On another note, if I see Ealey employ his half-ass, patented “drop to the knees, maybe he’ll trip” blocking scheme this week, BMac should bench him indefinitely. King being back in the line up should help as well. He is one of the better blocking TB’s we have had in a while.
–Involve the tight ends! If you told me that three games in that our tight ends would have had such a non-impact on our offense, I would have told you that you were crazier than Monte Kiffin’s birth control methods. In fact, we have such pathetic total receptions from our tight ends, I don’t even want to mention it BUT IT RHYMES WITH 5 (and f-ing pathetic). A. White and Charles are two of the better tight ends in the nation, period. Find a way to use them, especially if Manny Diaz (MSU D Coordinator, and a good one at that) decides to cover them with a steady dose of LBs. Look to Charles spreading out in the slot, he’s plenty athletic enough to make an impact there.
–Get Branden Smith his touches! Who loves listening to TI, is arguably the fastest player in the SEC, and just came back from injury? Yep, Branden Smith. Split end, TB, Wild Dawg, doesn’t matter. All it takes is one mistake, one over pursuing end or linebacker, and it’s all over but watching No 1’s backside trek into the endzone. 10-12 touches minimum. All it takes is one play.
Of course, there are many other ‘musts’ I could list here, but the post would become a blabbering tirade (if it’s not already…haha).
I will leave you with MSU’s stud on defense: Defensive end, Pernell McPhee. He has been very quiet the first three games. Don’t let him make noise now. He is all SEC and hopefully will look more like all ACC today. MSU Defense has 4 total sacks on the year, but don’t let that fool you. Against Auburn and LSU, they saw two very mobile QB’s who rolled out of the pocket almost every play. MSU’s defensive line is good. Not great (but neither were Arky’s). If we can keep them at bay, we should be golden.
With a few razzle-dazzle, ‘I can’t believe it’ plays out of left field, I have pretty good feeling that we will become more cohesive and efficient as an offense. We score early and often, taking the crowd out of the game, using the latter part of the second half to let Carlton Thomas to carry the load.
UGA 31 – Fake Bulldogs 10 We Suck…
BREAKING NEWS: Later today on HTT, we will be featuring a piece on Corch Meyers sexuality. Did he or didn’t he?
Also, Courtney Furmann drops by to give us some lingerie fashion tips and her patented method on, ‘how to steal your man in a BMW.”
Finally, Captain and I are laying out some X’s and O’s for Saturday’s game versus the Fake Bulldogs in Starkvegas. I’ll be hitting up the Offense and Captains tackling the Defense. I am also including a section in “Who to root for this weekend…”
Only one of these stories is actual, can you guess which one?
Stay tuned, if not then I hope you have lots of penicillin…just sayin’…
Have a great Friday!!! Go Dawgs