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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mailbag, part deux

Sorry, I would’ve posted this earlier, but the Cam Newton news came out of nowhere, and I’ve also been researching my All-SEC ballot for the AP.

But here, by popular demand, is this week’s second edition of Ye Olde Mailbag.

John Brown weighed in with a whole bunch of questions. Sorry I couldn’t get to all seven of ‘em, but here’s what I can do:

Outside of the 30+pts a game for 7 straight games stat, is there any other positive argument in Bobo's Favor? He's failed to establish a consistent running game the last two years and still show's a heavy dependence on the play action pass.

The development of Aaron Murray and the other Georgia quarterbacks through the years speaks well to Bobo’s abilities as a position coach. It is surprising, however, that while Georgia ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring, but only eighth in yards. But it doesn’t really matter what you or I think; Mark Richt still supports Bobo, and that’s what matters.

Is the Branden Smith at CB experiment over at last? He's too light to play defense and fumbles too much to play offense on a consistent basis.

I’m starting to agree on your first point – he is pretty small for a cornerback, especially against receivers that are becoming more and more physical, and he gets overwhelmed against the run. But if you’re trying to use his athletic skills, and you’re about to lose your top two receivers, hmmmm…...

Are Lattimore's stats that much more impressive than Murray's considering Murray is playing QB as a freshmen in the SEC and Lattimore is just toting the rock? I bet they both get named first team Freshmen All America.

Trust me, having covered that South Carolina offensive line for several years, Lattimore is doing more than just "toting the rock." He will be SEC freshman of the year because his impact has been so noticeable, and his team is in the league’s title game. Those of us who follow Murray know how good he’s been, but his team has been 6-6 without a signature win.

You’re probably right that Murray makes freshman All-America. His top competition, if you go by the NCAA passing efficiency rankings, is Jeffrey Godfrey, the quarterback for Central Florida – which may be Georgia’s opponent in the Liberty Bowl.

Bowl Games: It looks like UGA will get hosed with a bowl game again this year. Last year UGA had the same record as AU and beat AU(also lost 5 of last 7) yet the Outback bowl picked the tigers/plainsmen/wareagles. This year it looks like the Music City bowl will take UT. Another team with the same record that was beaten soundly by UGA. What gives?

Money is the name of the game, and the Music City loves the idea of all the home-state Vol fans coming to their game. It’s as simple as that.

And now on to some other faithful reader questions:

Seth, do you fully expect Richt and McGarity to contine to speak in vague terms with regards to next year? It's going to be donation season before you know it and I've yet to hear anyone attempt to sell the fan base on the future. With Green, Houston, Boling, Durham, Dobbs, Dent, Gamble, BOTH FB's, and about 5-6 more starters or part time starters leaving or graduating, what are they selling us on? How can anyone expect 9 wins with what is coming back? Seems like Richt is in an impossible situation (granted one he has ultimately put himself in).
- Bulldog Ben (via Le Blog)

I don’t know that next year is a hopeless situation. Georgia fans have seen great players leave before, and it’s survived. The question is whether position by position, the depth in the program can smooth the way for a recovery. We don’t know yet. A lot depends on recruiting – I would guess that a certain tailback and defensive end would start right away, as would a junior college nose tackle.

As for Richt and McGarity, they can only speak in vague terms, especially until Signing Day passes. In the meantime, I think you’re going to hear a lot about Murray.

I have never been so disappointed as when I saw your headline saying Mark Richt will make no staff changes next year . I know we were coming off a big victory against Tech and we were about to hit the recruiting trail, maybe Coach Richt was caught up in the moment and trying to give a positive PR spin. But , does he honestly believe that 6-6 is acceptable, that his coaches are all doing a great job and that none of them should be let go?

Van Halanger more than anybody has to go, and our entire strength and conditioning program needs an overhaul, in my humble opinion.
- Robert Burnham

As I've said, changes could still be coming - people just aren't going to get outright fired, apparently.

The key question for Richt, and possibly McGarity if he’s so inclined, is to ask whether changes would improve the staff, or just be cosmetic and just for the fans. Having basically overturned the defensive staff last year, I’m guessing that Richt’s thinking is that he has the right people in place, it just needs longer to pay dividends.

For everyone demanding a pound of flesh, there’s a recent precedent for not doing anything, and it paying off. Last year Ralph Friedgen, the head coach at Maryland (Hey, that’s where I went to school!), was pressured to change staff. He didn’t, and earlier this week he was named ACC coach of the year after going from 2-10 to 8-4.

Now cue up all the cracks about being the best coach in the ACC being akin to the world’s tallest midget, or best Buffalo Bill, or whatever.

Who do you think will be fullback next year with Chapas and Munzenmaier gone ?
Who is third on the depth chart ?
- Robert Burnham, getting greedy

Zander Ogletree has the inside track, and it’s probably a big reason he was given playing time this year.

Is it too early to run the Ken Malcome for 2011 SEC freshman of the year campaign? … Any insight? And will the TB field be wide open for competition next season?
- BicDawg (via Le Blog)

Yeah, I’m guessing it’s too early to start the campaign. Considering the struggles and depth issues of the tailbacks this year, I’m sure Malcome would have played if the coaches felt he had that kind of breakout ability.

That said, several Georgia defensive players I spoke to said Malcome had the most potential of any of the offensive players who redshirted this year.

It seems clear to me that the coaches are working hard on Isaiah Crowell, promising early playing time. Whatever happens, it should be a crowded backfield.

How would you compare the negativity from the Ga fan base to the negativity of other schools you have covered in troubled times? Like when things are not going good is this how most fan bases tend to act or do Ga fans have higher or sometimes more unrealistic expectations than most fans you have seen? I know there are always going to be fans who have negative things to say but this year there seems to be more than I have ever seen. Even when we win games very few positive things are said. It's understandable to a degree, then it can get to a point where I believe it can make the program appear from the outside that we lack a solid fan base.
- Chris Dawg (via Le Blog)

Interesting question. Honestly, I haven’t gotten that negative vibe – and that’s after covering the worst season around here in 14 years. I’ve found the Bulldog fan base to be quite knowledgeable, and passionate. It’s one thing to be negative when you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but this year my experience showed that Bulldog fans had very specific, perceptive criticisms of their team.

Of course, during games I sit in the press box, not in the stands. Maybe there’s a different flavor there.


Anonymous said...

haha...the elusive "signature win". The win a player or team signs their name on.

Or should we account for "body of work" more. Quite the fly in the ointment indeed

Anonymous said...

Next year will make McGarrity realize that most of this coaching staff are nothing more than a bunch of clowns. UGA will endure another under performing year and I will be back to tell you "I told you so".

Anonymous said...

Im not taking any stock as to what our defensive players are saying about Ken Malcome. Hell, my grandmother could have several field days againt our D. Both defensive and offensive lines got pushed around many times this year. UGA is losing a lot of players too and its not looking all that exciting right now for me. Sorry about being crictical or(negative) but our record sure bears it out which is the bottom line.