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Monday, September 7, 2009

Okie State Addendum

A few additional thoughts after reading many of your comments:

-- A few people were angry about Logan Gray returning punts. Just as a clarification: He is only in to return when the opposition is punting on the short field. He's Georgia's most experienced return man in terms of deciding whether to fair catch or let the ball bounce into the end zone -- a crucial decision at that spot on the field. He is not a returner, per se, however, and is unlikely to ever actually field and return a punt, so there's virtually no chance of him getting hurt.

-- A word of caution on some of the coach criticism, particularly regarding the Marlon Brown/Rantavious Wooten stuff: As I said, I don't understand the decision, but that's not to say there isn't a valid explanation. I simply haven't heard it, and I have not been able to speak with Tony Ball yet to find out. I can only go by what I've heard from the players and Mike Bobo, and so far I've not heard a good answer.

-- A clarification on Gray playing QB: I think there's a good chance that one day Gray is a good QB, but that day won't be Saturday. As a true freshman, he got virtually no experience. Last year as a redshirt freshman, he missed significant time in QB meetings and reps while working on special teams. So this was his first spring/preseason to really get acclimated. He doesn't come close to having the understanding of the offense that Cox has, and his natural ability isn't anywhere near what Stafford had at his disposal in 2006. Until there's a lot more evidence to the contrary, I feel pretty confident in saying that Joe Cox is the Bulldogs best chance at winning this season. Rather than hope for him to be benched, you're better bet is to hope he looks a lot better without 48 hours of puking under his belt before the game.

-- When discussing coaching philosophy, there are a couple of things you have to remember. Fans have the luxury of Sunday morning quarterbacking -- we should have done this, we should have done that. But for the coaching staff, the most important thing is deveoping a philosophy you think can win and sticking with it. Because of that, I think it's tough to criticize a staff for not changing game plans in the middle of the game -- particularly in a game as close as Saturday's was. The Dawgs really were a play or two away right up until the end.

The problem I have is that there didn't really seem to be a philosophy, and that's concerning. Georgia's offense needs to find an identity, and I'm not sure how much closer they are to doing that than they were a week ago.

-- Having said that, as bad as the offense was, I don't think they were that far off. As I said at the end of my last post, there were about a dozen things that went wrong that, if fixed this week, could make Georgia a much improved offense. I'm not promising this season works out as well as many of you had hoped, but give it at least one more game before you abandon ship.

-- And the bottom line of all of it is this: The reality of the situation is, Mark Richt is not going to make any major changes because of one 14-point loss. Coaches won't be fired or demoted. Quarterbacks aren't being benched. Tailbacks aren't going to completely change their running styles. I'll be shocked if the kickoffs go in a different direction (like into the end zone, for example).

If this ends up being a 7-6 year, then we can discuss all this again at year's end. But for now, my advice would be to dance with the girl you brought, so to speak.


NCT said...

Dance with the girl I brought? It was an arranged marriage from the day my parents met in Athens in the mid-1950s, and there were formal ceremonies on 6/11/1988 and 5/18/1991. Not a day goes by I don't think she's the most beautiful thing in the world, even when things don't go quite right.

sUGArdaddy said...

If we go 7-6, it won't be discussing that's going on. We have more talent than that, and if we can't do something with it, then we've got problems.

I don't think we're looking for philosophical changes, it's that the coaches care. Dawg Nation would go nuts if Richt would say, "You know what, I'm sick and tired of giving up big kickoff returns and it's on my shoulders. I'm taking it over and we're going to have the best KO team in America." The scariest part is the 'seemingly' lack of accountability. Richt doesn't have to tell the media and fans everything, but he hasn't figured out that the media can be your friend when it comes to building momentum w/ your fans.

Bernie said...

Re: directional kicking

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I KNOW Richt is aware of this definition as I've heard him use it in reference.



Anonymous said...

I think we go 3-9 or 4-8 at best.

Anonymous said...

Butler being player of the game really scares me! Most of those kicks had 0 hangtime and 40 yard rolls. I promise you, we will have a couple of his punts returned for touchdowns. Yes, I'm also tired of the Bryan Evans experiment! The man seems to be around when big plays happen against us. Enough of #3

Carter said...

But the girl we brought throws like a girl.

The Realist said...

1) Lol, Carter.

2) Bryan Evans is a solid safety. He's fast, he arrives with bad intentions, and he's a solid tackler. He made a bad read on Dez's bomb, and Dez blew by him like he's done to many talented defenders. It happens. And, unfortunately for BE, fans forget the shot he put on Dez after making an unbelievable recovery out of a 2-deep look on the sideline... which is not an easy play... to breakup what should have been an easy completion. Give the kid a break. He's still a damn good dawg.

3) How did Georgia's coaches not foresee that Logan Gray might be better served as a quarterback in 2008, just so he'd be ready in 2009 should obvious things like Stafford going pro happen? That seems about as short-sighted as redshirting Moreno. Just a plain terrible decision in retrospect.

4) Some of the gameday woes are fixable. They've been fixable for several years now. Some things never change.

Ubiquitous GA Alum said...

"[Gray] missed significant time in QB meetings and reps while working on special teams ..."

David, I've seen this line of reasoning since last spring from a bevy of beat writers so this isn't a knock on you ....

However, how much time does one really spend practicing and meeting the art of catching a short field punt? Does Prince Miller spend as much time in the art of long field punts? If so, why does that not hamper his DB development?

Rhetorical and smirky I know, but this sounds like coach speak.

Billy D said...

We won't make coaching changes etc., but some of those other things can be discussed right now and should.

Our RB coach can't tell Samuel to try and dodge defenders instead of trying to run them over every time?

We can't tell our kicker to stop the directional kicking because everyone in the world (except Fabris apparently) knows it doesn't work?

David Hale said...

Ubiq -- I agree that the notion of missed meetings is overstated, I'm just saying it's a factor. Not sure how big of one.

Also, there's a big difference in terms of mental preparation between what a QB needs to do and what a DB needs to do, so the Miller comparison is sort of apples and oranges.

I think the bottom line is, if Gray had looked as sharp in all the practices as he did during the spring game, coaches would have played him more. He's still got some growing to do.

Ubiquitous GA Alum said...


RE: Apples & oranges ... that's a fair observation.

I agree with your assessment too. The coach(es) either didn't feel comfortable with Gray or they didn't want to destroy Joe's confidence -- assuming the flu was the reason for his performance.

I also realize that neither could be said publicly.