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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ye Olde Mailbag

So on Wednesday’s SEC teleconference, Mark Richt was asked whether it was easier for fans to criticize in this new age of interwebs, talk radio and motorized transportation. (I may have added that last part.)

Richt answered with a riff on the anonymity of the web, and how it allows fans to say anything.

“You could just say you’re Bulldog Joe and say anything you want and not really have any accountability for the words that you say,” Richt said. “And I think people may say things out of frustration that they may never say to your face, or may not say after 24 hours of cooling off.”

This of course raised the ire of BulldogJoe34, who on Twitter had the following reaction: “I’m Bulldog Joe from Monroe & I do not appreciate the way I’ve been called out by our head coach. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with our coach and say whatever I want to his face. God Bless and Go Dawgs.”

Now I’m pretty sure that Twitter account was created solely for the purpose of that exchange, after I tweeted that I was seeking a reaction from Bulldog Joe. But I think we can all appreciate the levity. (Tim Tucker of the AJC said he also heard from someone claiming to be Bulldog Joe.)

Anyway, time to answer a few of your questions, from people using their real names – or at least claiming it’s their real name. Seymour Butts, could you please re-submit your question.

Have you gotten any read on what McGarity's view of the Georgia program was before he arrived in Athens? It seems to me that as a Bulldog graduate working as Associate AD at Florida, Greg McGarity would be in the best possible position to get a truthful view on the abilities of the Georgia coaching staff which would weigh heavy on any evaluation of Richt and the rest of the staff. While he was in Gainesville, he had to have gotten a sense of the Florida coaches' view of Georgia which was either:
a) Richt always brings a well-coached team to play, he's just on a bad streak or
b) dude, your alma mater brings a simpleton offense and simpleton defense every year. How are those guys still allowed to teach those kids to play?
- Paul in St. Louis

When I sat down with McGarity a few weeks ago, he said that – believable or not – at Florida he was so focused on that school and everything that was on his plate there that he didn’t pay much attention to Georgia, or any other school. That doesn’t mean he didn’t come home to Georgia with any preconceived opinions, but even if he did, I wouldn’t look too far into it.

I sense that McGarity is quietly making an evaluation of the football program. I may have mentioned that he was on the field during warm-ups at Colorado, and I’m sure has been spending more time asking around.

Do others share the fear with me that we turn this season around just enough to "sweep" the failures under the rug kind of like last
year?...with the recruits we pick up every year and the financial support given to the program, at what point do dawg fans deserve a team that can at least contend for a national championship?
- John Tillery

I guess that will depend on your perspective on short term vs. long term thinking. But with a new A.D. who isn’t tied to anyone on the coaching staff, I would suspect that if McGarity feels any changes need to be made, he will make them. And Richt showed last year (too late for a lot of fans, I know) that he wasn’t afraid to shake up his staff.

Question 1: After Murray's TD (to open the third quarter) that was originally ruled down at the one, has Richt explained why he didn't let the play clock run down to zero before attempting the field goal? He almost cost us 4 points.
- Brian Parker

Well no, he wasn’t asked about it because the Bulldogs did get the touchdown, and they won 41-14.

Question 2: At the end of the first half, why did Richt call a timeout, forcing UT to punt, but then not field a punt block or return team, but the base defense instead? That made no sense to me. It looked like Grantham was the one that really wanted the timeout and was upset that Richt didn't call it sooner.
- Brian Parker again, getting greedy

Again that didn’t come up, but it seemed clear to me that with Tennessee looking like the Keystone Cops, and punts always a tricky proposition, Georgia wanted to make the Vols execute a snap and punt. But they didn’t try to block or return it, so as to avoid a roughing penalty or a muffed catch.

Do you think (Michael) Bennett or (Taylor) Bradberry will see any action this year at receiver?
- Bill

Probably not in Bennett’s case. They have a lot of depth at receiver now, with Rantavious Wooten catching a TD pass against Tennessee, and Marlon Brown looking like he’ll return from his shoulder injury. They’re still trying to find playing time for Wooten, Brown, Logan Gray and Israel Troupe. Given that, why force Bennett onto the field and burn his redshirt? Bradberry has already redshirted, but I haven’t heard his name mentioned by the coaches lately.

How much do you think other teams (Vandy) will start respecting Murray?
- Tim Palmer (via Twitter)

Good question. I’d say the word is now out on Murray, especially with his running ability. I was pretty surprised at how much room he had to run in the Tennessee game – both his touchdown runs came on scrambles, where open space existed because the defense didn’t have anybody spying on Murray’s running ability. Look for that to change the second half of the season – which could open up chances for some pass plays.

Redcoat alumni, lifelong Dawg, and eternal optimist here – am I completely insane to actually believe we could win out?
- Rory (via Twitter)

Not completely insane. Maybe just a little. That trip to Auburn looks pretty daunting at the moment. Otherwise, I think you could say every game on the schedule is winnable – but when you’re 2-4, I don’t know that you can count on a huge run. But hey, this is a team that was supposed to contend for the division title, so I suppose anything's possible.

Richt has said it is good to get a single back slathered up. Shouldn’t we be looking for Ealey of ’09 to show up this week?
- Ken Wilkinson (via Twitter)

First off, love the expression “slathered up.” Almost as much as Richt loves to say “splattered.” As for Ealey, he told us Wednesday night that he’s trying to get back to how he ran in 2009, which was more on talent and less “over-thinking.” It may help that he knows it’s his job to lose for two weeks. We’ll have to see.

How do the players feel about every home game being at 12:30 so far? Is Georgia Tech the only chance for a late kickoff?
- Dayne Young (via Twitter)

Well since Georgia Tech is the lone home game whose time has yet to be announced, yes to the second question. The only real sense I get from the players on day vs. night home games is from Kris Durham, who said at last week’s Athletic Association board meeting that players had noticed the student section showing up late – a result, undoubtedly, of the day games. If I was a player, I might prefer a noon start, rather than spending all day holed up in a hotel and having to go to study hall. But that’s just me.

What do you think our big uncommitted recruits will do? (Crowell, Swann, Shell, Dickson, Rome and Mitchell).
- Charlie Newman (via Twitter)

My standard caveat to any recruiting question: I’m not a guru. But I’d guess that there’s a lot that needs to play out over the following months: How Georgia does on the field, whether there are any staff changes (like does a player’s recruiter at Georgia stay or go.) My lone insight to any of the above names is Brandon Shell: One of the last stories I did for The State newspaper (Columbia, S.C.) was on Shell, and I got the feeling that he was looking for an excuse to pick Georgia.

How is Jarvis Jones progressing health-wise? And can we expect him to challenge for a starting role next year?
- Jonah Murphy (via Twitter)

We haven’t had a chance to interview Jones yet, but he’s been practicing, so his health seems to be fine. He seems an obvious candidate to play a lot next year, with Darryl Gamble a senior, and Justin Houston a possible early-entry NFL candidate.

Could you ask why it is that the Dawgs are having such a difficult time covering the wheel route by the backs? It seems like this is exploited in every game.
- Scott

That’s actually a keen observation, on something that’s been overlooked with all the vertical pass coverage breakdowns. I suspect the reason it keeps happening is because with such a young unit still trying to learn a new scheme, it’s one crisis at a time. And the current crisis is the third-and-longs.

How is Mad Men going to end?
- Peggy Olsen

The theme of this season was supposed to be "Who is Donald Draper?" But that's been put on the back burner lately, so I wonder if it'll come back with a big vengeance in the final episode.

I thought Don's letter/ad in the New York Times was a master stroke, a hail mary that needed to be thrown. It was also a sign that he may be forward-looking, or at least lucky, since in the time frame of the show cigarette advertising is set to disappear.

I'm also not sure if things will end well for Roger Sterling. He's almost become a cartoon character, and the designated comic relief, so I could see him being killed off. Matthew Weiner doesn't need a Barney Fife. (Apologies to all the Don Knotts and Mayberry fans out there.)


Anonymous said...

If the topics about game management "didn't come up" why not bring them up? I don't see why it is too late to ask these questions.

Almost kicking a FG too soon for the TD to be reviewed was a huge blunder and should definitely be asked about further.

The timeout to force a punt makes sense for an additional reason that you didn't mention. If you don't call a time out with 20 seconds left there, then UT can run the clock down to 3 seconds and then throw a Hail Mary knowing that it will be the last play of the half. If you call the timeout with 20 seconds left, they can't do that. I'm not surprised Grantham had to tell Richt to call the timeout; the NFL coaches are typically a lot more savvy about these kinds of clock issues than most college coaches.

Keese said...

Unrelated comment:

Anyone here think that Urban Meyer and that guy from Hard Rock Rehab have a close resemblance to each other. Probably same personality as well.

Anonymous said...

I tell you why Richt called the time out at the end of the half and made UT punt. If he had not UT would have let the clock run down to 3 seconds and thown a hail mary. By calling time out they could not do this.

Anonymous said...

Just watched under the lights georgia football on tv, I know we are 2-4, but if we "finish the drill" then we could win out (hopefully with a win in jville and on the plains) and end up 8-4. Not only is that an okay record, but with how we started I dont think we just gloss over the inherent problems and fail make fundamental changes moving to next year. We just end the year on a high note moving towards next year with great motivation.