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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.


Anonymous said...

"I would think as time goes on, those boys will get better at what they do . . ."

This quote is stroke-inducingly maddening. We're 6 days from the end of the regular season, and he's talking like these guys are fresh of the bus from East Dingle HS.

This BS coach-talk must end.

Anonymous said...

I think that, even worse than how pathetic the coaches' efforts have been this year, is the fact that Coach Richt keeps giving us these chicken shit answers.

He is lying to us, and he is lying to himself. At some point he has just got to say that he is embarrassed and the team WILL BE BETTER. Just make a stand, be a man.

This crap about being thankful for any bowl they go to is ridiculous. UGA does not settle for the Independence Bowl, and Mark Richt should not settle for it. He needs to be embarrassed for his effort and that of his staff. It has been a pathetic, pathetic effort for going on two years. Embarrassing. Pitiful.

Blog Goliard said...

1) Glad for your ranting about the clock. Perhaps it's partly because it's a diversion from the agony of that second-half debacle, but I'm still on a slow, mystified burn about that.

Once again: it's the 21st century. Is it really so hard for a multi-million-dollar sporting enterprise to get itself a mission-critical 99.99999%-uptime clock? And a decent wireless microphone or two?

It's not just an annoyance's an embarrassment, and it has a clear and frequent negative impact on the playing of the game itself. Which would put fixing this problem at #1 on my facilities-related list right now if I were Damon Evans.

But maybe he--or they, or whomever--just don't care that much. Or at least as much as they care about the whiz-bang full-color jumbotron and ribbons. You'll notice how reliable those have been--not because they're harder to keep running than a DAMNED CLOCK, but perhaps because they're used to generate sponsorship revenue. Compared to which, necessary core technology that lets you know how much time is left in the game is obviously relatively unimportant.

If you ever get the chance to put questions to Evans or operations people in the athletic department, I'd love to see some accountability for this. Somebody somewhere needs to have their feet held to the fire. (And not just in our house--I've seen a fair amount of this same inexplicable problem elsewhere--but especially in our house.)

Anonymous said...

"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."

How about letting Walsh kick the ball out of the end zone?

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

Good Lord, Tech is going to score 70 this year.

cakeman said...

I wish CMR would be a little more specific about what exactly the kick cover guys are doing that keeps them from getting down the field in a timely fashion. Are they getting lost on the way? Do they run into eachother and fall down? Are they out of shape and just can't sprint 50 yards at a time?

Blaming everything on youth is stupid and self incriminating. CMR is the one that is in control of who we recruit and who plays, if we are forced to play a bunch of young guys it's because he has done a poor job of developing depth and older players.

And why if it is so important to play younger players all over the place does Logan Gray never see the field while Joe Cox plays every snap? We are going to walk into next season with no experienced QB's, why is this acceptable? CMR inspires no confidence that he knows what he is doing when talks about this stuff.

Blog Goliard said...

2) On to another subject I've been ranting about all year: what would be so wrong about trying to block a punt? Especially when the opponent is pinned inside their own 10?

My memory may be faulty here, but I don't think we've given the block any sort of effort more than twice this whole season...and at least one of those times, lo and behold it worked!

I understand there are other things you can do and reasons you might try to do them. And a year or two ago, we were getting such good punt returns on such a reliable basis that of course that became more of a priority. It's not the case this year, though, and 11 games in, the coaches ought to have figured that out by now and adapted.

I'll admit that I'm just Joe Fan here, and have no particular expertise to bring to bear. But to me the calculus is awfully simple. There are two reasons you wouldn't want to go all-out for a punt block.

a) Because you're afraid of a fake. If had been having any success in stopping fakes this season, this would be a valid reason. But we haven't, and so diverting resources to that task is pointless.

b) Because it's more important to set up the return. If we were getting good returns this season, this would be a valid reason. But we haven't--it's been fair catches and opponents downing the ball as far as the eye can see. So diverting resources to this task--apart from having a good fair-catch specialist out there every time--is pointless.

Considering these premises, and the fact that we had Kentucky cooped up behind their own 10 for that last punt, and the fact that our offense had abandoned us...I can't think of a single, solitary good reason why we weren't rushing ten guys on that play. Best-case scenario: a blocked punt gets you a touchdown and a tied game. Second-best scenario: a blocked punt gets you a safety, meaning that a touchdown will now win the game...and also that the ensuing kick will be handled by your kick return team instead--which has been far more successful than the punt return team. Third-best scenario: the punter gets the kick off, and the exact same thing happens as did happen: fair catch.

(Okay, so there is an additional worst-case scenario: Kentucky burns us with a fake punt. And the odds of them calling that in that situation--and pulling it off in the teeth of a ten-man rush--were...?)

Blog Goliard said...

3) First and goal from the 6, needing a TD to tie the game late. In that situation, you have all four downs to work with.

Was our offensive line so beaten by that point that we couldn't just bring in the jumbo package and try to stuff it down their throats? We only needed 1.5 yards per play.

The blocking was looking pretty grim by then though. Did we get into such trouble in the 2nd half because the defense got too much rest (and therefore, the offense too little)? Or was there some other reason our running game completely abandoned us in the second half? From where I was sitting in the end zone, it looked like the holes were simply no longer opening.

Blog Goliard said...

4) I know that no one wants to linger forever after having just suffered a depressing loss close to midnight. But good golly, our coaches and players set a land-speed record for evacuating both the field and the locker room (I saw the team buses go by me on East Campus Road awfully soon after the final whistle).

Maybe it's just me, the unseemly haste with which they all got out of Dodge--as if they'd just robbed a bank and were trying to stay one step ahead of the Sheriff--sat badly. Didn't encourage me to stick around through the end of the game and the alma mater and everything next time it gets ugly, that's for sure.

X-Dawg said...

I don't understand how CMR can talk about our team like it's a work in progress 11 games into the season. This is one seriously coached down team.

at least Auburn lost to this team said...

I hope we get SLAUGHTERED this weekend.

I said it.

I will be cheering for the dawgs just like always, but my god, these coaches deserve to get humiliated in back to back weeks. It would be a fitting end to a horrendous season. Kind of like Joe Cox's fitting end to his Sanford Stadium career.

I wish someone would ask coach why he refuses to take responsibility for the disasterous product he continues to lead onto the field. And i use lead lightly, because he clearly has no control over these players. They do not fear him one bit.


The even bigger problem is that Damon Evans is just as much of a coward as Richt.

sbryant said...

At what point will CMR be a man and man up! This is his team and his freakin responsibility! Still 11 games into the season there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY by the head coach! FOR GOD'S SAKE RICHT, quit lying to us and yourself, stop with the politically correct BS!

AND What kind of head coach or "good" man throws a true freshmen under the bus? Ealey was put in the game by you and your coaching staff, he didn't make the play call you did! Your talented team shouldn't have been coming from behind in the 4rth qtr against a mediocre team when you had a 14 point lead at half time. I am sick of reading comment after comment about Ealey being to tight and turning it up to early. Coach ya know, if he was coached a little better he probably would have recieved the ball on time! Not only that but, be a bigger man and SAY it was the wrong call at the wrong time! We know it, you know it, Everybody knows it! Obviously, your offense isn't as comfortable running a toss sweep as you think. That is something you and Bobo are responsible for knowing not Ealey. Take responsibility don't put it on the kid!

The Independence Bowl is unacceptable and that is the message you should send your team. Instead you just allowed UK to come in to your house and beat you out of a decent bowl. Coach you have lost your edge and you play not to loose instead of playing to win. You have forgotten what it means to be a Georgia Bulldog. You are doing a disservice to your team and everyone who wears the red and black. BE A MAN and get rid of the dead weight, stop being so damn loyal to assitants who continue to get you beat and be the coach we hired you to be to our players! It is time for you to practice what you preach and FINISH THE DRILL or go!

JJH4 said...

Preaching to the choir here but CMR eventually has to take responcibility for where this program is and why the product put on the field this year is so undisiplined. Mr. Tony Barnhart said on Talkin' Football that this Georgia team looks tremendously poorly coached right now, and he is always less critical to the UGA program than most. I have always been a CMR fan but at some point hes got to stop blaming the players and take a look in the mirror. No more lame excuses and penalty, turnover driven teams. I'm embarrassed and he should be too.

Blog Goliard said...

Good point, JJH4...and what troubles me about these press conference notes is the vibe I'm picking up of a coaching staff not taking responsibility for things, and bristling at the idea of being held accountable to anyone to anything.

I know it's different down in Tallahassee. Coach Bowden has run the football program for some time now as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bowden family, operated first and foremost for their own benefit; and it really does look like he's not only completely unaccountable to anyone, but that a lot of people in the Florida State community have, astoundingly, grown content for it to be that way.

But this isn't Tallahassee (thank God), and Coach Richt isn't a Bowden (thank God). He should expect to be held accountable; and surely he knows deep down that even the lowliest among us deserve some respect and consideration (and gratitude for our support...unlike him, we're not getting paid to be there, y'know).

No, the fans are not his direct superiors, nor are the sports media...and yes, very few of us have the expertise and inside information we would need to give the program a full and fair and thorough evaluation.

But the coaches do have some responsibilities to the fan and journalist communities. Honestly acknowledging the true nature, character, and depth of failures when they occur, and being willing to hold themselves responsible for those failures when necessary, would be a good start.

And heck, they might even learn something if they weren't so quick to circle the wagons and dismiss both ideas and legitimate criticism if whenever they originate from outside the coaching staff.

Anonymous said...

I am probably in the minority here, but I am sick of the "let's pray for victory" mindset of the Richt program. I want a head coach who demands perfection and will dog cuss a player when he screws up (a la saban). I believe that this staff is too soft on players. It's time for Richt to move on to missionary work in Africa.

Anonymous said...

Amen to sbryant, ditto. There has to be some accountability, more than blame it on the freshman. I have yet to hear one coach take the blame for the lack of discipline this team has shown. WE ARE GA. DAWGS, and gd, I am tired of putting my tail between my legs everytime someone wants to talk of this dismal season. IT IS NOT WORKING CMR, grow a set of nadds and do what is right, change this program from the roots up, clean house of your old school buddies that do not know what it like to be a Junkyard Dawg, who do not know what GATA is, who do not know why it is good to be a Georgia Bulldog on a Saturday night, who do not know WHY we must beat our rivals, and send that North Ave. Trade School straight to HELL!!!! I, like many, am afraid our greatest embarrassment will be next Saturday. We should not be happy to accept just any bowl invite, we have missed our goal, this team deserves NO bowl this year. I can't remember the last time I saw a Georgia team self destruct like this team!! Well, when Tenn. whipped our ass in the second half a few years ago is a bad memory. There is no way the Bulldog Nation should continue to accept this mediocre performance, CMR, and staff, become true Bulldogs, or leave.

MikeInValdosta said...

Just once I would like to hear Richt say "Joe Cox needs to do better" and "We coaches need to do better".

Youth is an excuse for the coverage team... What excuse does a fifth year senior have?

Why was the running game, and subsequently, the play-action game abandoned?

Stan said...

You guys are idiots! I'm tired of hearing criticism from stupid people. Joe has done exactly how I thought he would do for a QB who has played in as many games he has. If the savior Matt would have been better then maybe Joe would have had more experience. Just because he's a fifth year senior doesn't make up for not being an experienced QB. I believe this season would have been worse without his leadership. The skill pos. guys are mostly freshman, these guys have just got off the East Dingle HS bus. Also I think teams like this (with a lot of inexperience)will be like they are...very inconsistent. A team usually finds it's personality during a season, and how many teams have you seen change from their personality during a season? Not many! This years happens to be one of penalties and turnovers.

I have no idea where this "we should be embarrassed to have to settle for Independence Bowl" comes from. Where were you in the Goff days? Do we need to get better? YES! Do we need some asst. coaching changes? Probably. But calling into question the ability and integrity of the best coach we've had in a verrrry long time is NUTS!

But darn people these guys are 18-21 year olds playing football! The world does not end if we lose, just like it doesn't change when they win. Take the good and the bad and cheer on!

Anonymous said...

mark richt is a poor excuse for a coach and for all who claim he is a nice fellow it is now time to understand he recieved 3 million to evade the truth which is now what he is doing and it amounts to an insult to the fans and more so the players

the same freshman on other teams manage to play correctly but not georgia freshman

it is time to get the trustees of the athletic dept to walk the plank -------they are the guilty ones for keeping an incompetent coach who now is making up doctored versions of the truth

richt is a disgrace

Anonymous said...

Out of one side of his mouth Mark Richt says that a 5th year senior at QB gives us our best chance of winning games. Out of the other side of his mouth he says that our kick coverage team is awful because they're young and inexperienced?

Maybe we should try the young and inexperienced at QB and put Joe Cox on the kick coverage team?

Why is that all these other teams can play first year quarterbacks and be successful?

When Joe Cox seen that Ealey was too close, why did he pitch the ball? From my angle he could handed it off to him. I guess that he forgot he was a 5th year senior and a good decision maker?

Anonymous said...

@Stan -- "Our skill position guys are mostly freshmen . . ."

Are you sure what a skill position is?

QB Cox 5th year Sr
QB Gray Redshirt Sophomore

RB Samuel Sophomore
RB King Redshirt Sophomore
RB Ealey Freshman
RB Carlton Thomas Redshirt Freshman

WR AJ Green Sohpomore
WR Michael Moore Senior
WR Israel Troupe Redshirt Sophomore
WR Rantavious Wooten Freshman

Out of those 10 players who have received the bulk of the PT at those positions, only 2 are right off the bus.

Anonymous said...

"When Joe Cox seen that Ealey was too close, why did he pitch the ball? From my angle he could handed it off to him."

You obv. never played football. That was not Joe's fault. You cant stop a toss sweep in mid pitch. Ealey CLEARLY thought he was getting a hand off. He has his pocket open...TERRIBLE play call by Bobo though. IDIOTIC.

But still, the int's were all Joe's fault and he is terrible.

sbryant said...

This is for Stan, who was obviously drinking and posting at 3:04 this morning!!

First of all I was here for all of Goff's years and I did show up every freakin Saturday at home and away. So, don't ask me where I was again! Secondly,this is a religion not a pass time and I do live and die with every game. You obviously don't take this serious enough because, you are willing to continue to accept less than medicore football at a top 10 program.

Constructive critisism is accepted calling people idots isn't. If the rest of us are wrong then prove it with stats and valid points. Trying to convince others by being in denial, having your head in the sand and not knowing college football isn't going to get you anywhere!