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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fleeting thoughts: On 2010, and looking ahead

I’m traveling today – flying to Washington, then driving to Athens – so you’ll forgive me if this can’t quite be that in-depth. Here’s the ol’ college try:

- This will certainly go down as one of the most disappointing years in recent Georgia history. At least in 2008, when there were all those national championship expectations, the team still got 10 wins. This year the expectations were a bit lower, but to finish with a losing record, as Mark Richt said after Friday’s game, nobody would’ve predicted that.

- A.J. Green’s four-game suspension to start the season will be remembered for derailing the season, at least the start of it. But Green was on the field for the Liberty Bowl debacle, when his team managed just six points.

It’s possible that the offensive performance against UCF was an isolated event, a product of a bowl system that creates a month-long layoff. But it certainly shows that Georgia’s offense, despite all the points it scored in the second half of the season, had a lot more problems this year than just the absence of Green for four games.

- Aaron Murray’s performance in the Liberty Bowl was a big reason for the loss. Blame the gloves all you want, but it just seemed that the month-long layoff stunted the momentum Murray had coming off the season.

Still, Murray will remain one of the lone bright spots from 2010, and is setting himself up for a long, record-breaking career. But the strength of his win-loss record remains an open question.

- The grade on the hire of Todd Grantham and his defensive assistants is incomplete. Grantham brought a fire to the sideline, along with the meeting room, that apparently had been missing under the previous regime. But the numbers were only slightly improved, and too often the defense couldn’t make stops when it needed them most.

- There were few standouts on this team: Murray, Green (when eligible), Justin Houston and Akeem Dent. The kickers too, and Brandon Boykin’s kick returns.

But ultimately what this team lacked this season was enough playmakers, and enough stability at a bunch of spots: Offensive line, tailback, secondary. That says a lot, obviously.

There were also players whose potential seemed under-utilized, either because of their youth or just not being able to get them involved enough: Orson Charles and Alec Ogletree are the first two that come to mind.

So what now? Here’s what to watch in the coming days and then weeks:

- Anyone clamoring for a coaching change, or any further changes on the staff, is almost certain to be disappointed. The administration at Georgia made its decision on 2011 a long time ago, and a four-point loss in a bowl, no matter how ugly, shouldn’t alter that.

But Richt and the current staff will definitely feel like they’re on notice for next year. I wouldn’t put a specific record to be hit, but Greg McGarity said when he was hired he wanted the team to be “in the hunt for championships.” For Richt, that'd be a good start.

- A.J. Green should make it formal within the next week or so and announce he’s going pro. Few can blame him. Houston is also likely to make the jump, although I think there’s still a chance the staff could convince him to return. (They’ll try to tell Houston that one more good year could vault him into top 10 status).

Guard Cordy Glenn is a 50-50 shot, in my estimation, to go pro. Boykin seems more likely to return, but that will change if he gets a high draft rating from the NFL advisory committee. It’s harder to get a read on tackle Trinton Sturdivant.

- The recruiting trail will be quite busy for Georgia, which hasn’t received a commitment since August. The month before signing day could be as critical as any in Richt’s tenure, with a number of targets capable of playing, or even starting, right away. That includes tailback Isaiah Crowell, junior college nose tackle John Jenkins, defensive end Ray Drew and possibly a few others.

15 comments:

Buster said...

Team effort sucked for most of the year! Grantham was a MAJOR mistake and was horrible! Bobo has ZERO imagination and CMR needs to try to stop dozing on the sidelines! What a miserable 2 years! Go Falcons and Steelers!

Anonymous said...

Awful season all the way around. I guess Murray could be considered a bright spot, but at the end of the day you have to measure success by W's and L's...and right now he has more losses than wins.

I blame the coaches, but its time to put just as much blame on the players too. The team had absolutely no leadership in the huddle. You can blame schemes all you want, but it was pretty damn obvious that our 3, 4, and 5 star players were getting smoked by lesser talent. We don't have enough players on the field that know how to win and will do whatever it takes to win.
Richt has one more year...anything less than 10 wins and the SEC East champ and he needs to be cut. A loss to UF is absolutely unacceptable next year and if we don't win that game, we'll have a new head coach come 2012.
Richt has an outstanding record in his career, but you cant rest on our laurels in this game.

walter sobchak said...

cordy glenn was getting destroyed all day yesterday against guys he wont see on sundays

Anonymous said...

No improvement whatsoever with this team. Im looking forward to 2012 because that is the year UGA football will start anew. 3 years too late though.

Anonymous said...

I see no reason that next year will be any better than this year. In fact, I think there is a 75% chance it is going to be worse. This is a team that will lose both its best players on offense and defense. How in the world is UGA going to beat Boise or even South Carolina a week later.

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

wow, what a bunch of losers posting here.

Anonymous said...

Crowell and Jenkins are must-haves. Without those two I think the hill will be too big to climb. In other words, if they both(not one but both) don't sign next year is already cooked.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could see CMR just show some type of emotion on the sideline. We need a running game, not just these almost legit tailbacks. What happened to Tailback U? It was sickening to the see the kid from Canton, GA tear up our offensive line and every time he made a play they kept saying that he wanted to come to Georgia. You can't make chicken salad with no chicken. The talent is not there right now.

Anonymous said...

I will be thrilled never to see Murray again. Play Christian early and often!

Anonymous said...

BOBO GOTTA GO!

Anonymous said...

Sam, my friend, you are oblivious.

No offense.

But as a season ticket holder (8 of em), the product is not acceptable.

We are the second most profitable athletic dept in the country, due to the generous support of the very loyal and very patient Bulldawh Nation, and as one of those generous customers, the product must improve and i dont see that occurring with Bobo or CMR.

Period.

JJBA said...

It aint Murray's fault that the defense was terrible. He had 2 bad halfs all year and a bunch of people want to blame him. The blame is all on Richt, Bobo, Grantham, and Van Halenger.

JJBA said...

Murray put up similar running numbers to Shockley '05 and similar passing numbers to Green '02. Murray was our 3rd best player and will go down as one of the greatest Dawg QB's ever. All of that despite Bobo being his position coach and coordinator.

tmast89 said...

People really wanna blame Murray? hahahaha

Calif Dawg said...

It is easy to state Richt must go, but you need to offer a solution unless you expect the team not to have a coach. I would target (in this order)
Dan Mullen
Mike Leach
Van Gorder