For the 4th straight week Georgia has self-destructed and cost themselves a victory or a chance at a victory. Georgia was driving down the field to set up a FG in the last two minutes of the game and was already inside kicker Blair Walsh's range (although Walsh did have a rare miss in the first half).
Georgia called a running play and the Offensive Line got completely blown up and Caleb King got hit right as he was getting the hand-off and fumbled the ball and the game away. This doesn't happen to good teams. Good teams control the line of scrimmage and actually make solid attempts to block during the game and especially in crunch time. The fact is that this Georgia Offensive Line is going to go down as one of the most over-hyped, under-performing units in the history of the Georgia Bulldogs and in the SEC.
The Offensive Line
In the pre-season most of us knew that Georgia might struggle on defense with the installation of a new 3-4 defense but we were hopeful. The one thing that everybody knew was that the Offensive Line would be the strength of this team. Georgia returned the most starts in all college football and Phil Steele (I'm not calling him out because a lot of people were on the bandwagon) tabbed Georgia as the #1 Offensive Line Unit in the entire nation. Everything we thought about the Offensive Line is wrong. In every game we have played except the first game they have been out-manned and out-muscled. Does this fall on the OL Coach, the strength & conditioning coach, the OC or the Head Coach. Or should everybody share the blame equally? I think it's beyond obvious that our Strength & Conditioning program is not operating at an SEC level. We are getting blown off the ball on both sides of the line of scrimmage and that comes down to guys doing the work in the weight room and doing the proper work.
The Defensive Line
Right now we simply don't have the right guys and right body types to play the 3-4 defense that Todd Grantham wants to play. We are getting beat up on the line of scrimmage. Grantham needs to be hitting the junior colleges and high schools and getting some big thick bodies and telling them that they can play tomorrow and be integral part of the defensive re-vitalization of the University of Georgia. Kwame Geathers did get some playing time and seemed to play well while he was in there, he has to see the field more. The biggest problem right now with the Georgia defense is getting off the field on 3rd down as it's just not happening. Colorado was 7 of 15 on 3rd down conversions. The funny thing is that Georgia actually averaged more yards per rush (5.9 vs 5.0) than Colorado did, we just couldn't make stops when we had to.
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The Rest of the Season
For all intents and purposes this season is over for the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia is 1-4 and would have to go 5-2 in their last 7 games to be bowl-eligible (who would have thought I would be typing those words earlier this year). Here are Georgia's next 7 games: Tennessee (2-3, 0-2), Vanderbilt (1-3, 1-1), at Kentucky (3-2, 0-2), Florida (4-1, 2-1), Idaho State (1-4), at Auburn (5-0, 2-0), and Georgia Tech (3-2, 2-1). Georgia has the talent to go 5-2 against those teams but the way we've been playing 2- 5 sounds more likely.
What Happens After the Season
If Georgia does tank the rest of the season that brings us to the tough decision that is facing new Athletic Director Greg McGarity. Does he blow out Mark Richt? Richt has been a very successful coach at the University of Georgia but the last two seasons simply has not gotten the job done and is heading for one of the most embarrassing seasons in recent Georgia history.
T Kyle King of the SB Nation site Dawg Sports tries to find some perspective of Richt's current losing streak:
- In his first 122 games as the Bulldogs’ head coach, Wally Butts went 84-33-5. At one time during his first 122 games at the helm at Georgia, Coach Butts endured a four-game losing streak during which the Red and Black’s worst loss was by 20 points.
- In his first 122 games as the Bulldogs’ head coach, Vince Dooley went 79-38-5. At one time during his first 122 games at the helm at Georgia, Coach Dooley endured a four-game losing streak during which the Red and Black’s worst loss was by 39 points.
- In his first 122 games as the Bulldogs’ head coach, Mark Richt went 91-31. At one time during his first 122 games at the helm at Georgia, Coach Richt endured a four-game losing streak during which the Red and Black’s worst loss was by twelve points.
Some interesting stuff but the climate of today's athletics are just not the same that they were back in the days of Wally Butts and even in the days of Vince Dooley. In today's world it's win now. If Georgia does not reach bowl eligibility I think it would be hard, almost impossible to stand by Richt. If we keep him and allow him to re-vamp his coaching staff on the offensive side of the football then what happens if we fall lower than expectations again?
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I consider myself a Mark Richt fan (although it might not sound like it in this blog). That being said, it's almost impossible not to start formulating a list of who is out there that can turn around this team. Is it time for a cahnge and fresh blood to come in? In my opinion, we will find out in the next 2 games (Tennessee and Vanderbilt). It time to circle the wagons and win some football games.
Lastly, let's take a look at a positive for Georgia yesterday. A.J. Green played in his first game of the year and showed us why he is the premier Wide Receiver in all of college football. The first time he touched the ball he took a reverse 40 yards. The next time he touched it he was in the end zone. A.J. cramped up in the 2nd half and only ended up playing about 2 and a half quarters (and the offense struggled when he wasn't in the game) but he finished with 7 receptions for 119 yards and 2 TD. He quite simply is the difference maker on this team. Take a look here at his highlight reel TD catch via YouTube.