The Georgia Bulldogs enjoyed the off week prior to Saturday’s Florida game for only the second time in 18 years. What did the UGA coaching staff come up with to stymie the no. 1 Gators? Black helmets and black pants. The “fake juice” didn’t work as the Gators rolled over the Dawgs 41-17.
Florida has now won 17 of the past 20 games against the Bulldogs, and Mark Richt fell to 2-7 against the Gators.
And to add insult to injury, Tim Tebow rushed for 2 touchdowns, which broke the SEC rushing TD record held by Herschel Walker.
A little over a week ago, I wrote an article about the off week. It’s usually an advantage to have the off week, especially prior to a rivalry game such as this one. But evidently the Bulldogs didn’t take advantage of the extra time to fix any of their glaring problems, such as stupid penalties, turnovers and poor defense.
I also wrote an article entitled “Who Needs Motivation for the Georgia-Florida Game?” This was in response to the various reports that the Dawgs were motivated by the Meyer timeouts last year, and the Gators were still upset about the 2007 celebration. I also wrote:
We shouldn’t need any fake juice or gimmicks to win this game. Blackouts? Uniform surprises? Celebrations? Timeouts? While those can all be fun, we shouldn’t need them to get motivated.
What we do need is excellent coaching, preparation, focus and determination to beat the Gators. Will we see that? Who knows.
Well, we know now. Apparently, this Georgia football program feels that we need uniform surprises and that gimmicks are what it takes to get motivated, or more motivated to line up against one of our most hated rivals. News flash: the better coached team, better prepared team and the team that makes the fewest mistakes usually wins. For the second consecutive year, the Bulldogs were not that team.
The helmets and pants had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. If anything, they made us look like the Grambling State Tigers, a Football Championship Subdivision team. I guess since we are playing like an FCS team, we should look like one too.
But the helmets and pants aren’t what disturbs me the most. I am more concerned that given two weeks to prepare for Florida, we didn’t surprise them with anything on offense and our defense was porous as usual. A.J. Green, our most dynamic player, had only three receptions. Three!
Joe Cox, while a damn good Dawg, continues to struggle against quality competition. He threw three interceptions Saturday, one ill-advised throw that appeared to be a throw-away that didn’t make it far enough, and two that were tipped. And with six minutes left, Logan Gray threw an interception that was returned 5 yards for a TD.
With all of the preseason goals gone, where do the Bulldogs go from here? We could still conceivably finish 8-4, but it is highly unlikely. Georgia should be able to take care of Tennessee Tech on Saturday, but then comes Auburn, Kentucky and at Georgia Tech. All three of those games could go either way based on how poorly this Bulldog team is playing.
Is Logan Gray capable of performing better than Joe Cox? It’s hard to tell since Gray hasn’t been inserted into the game at QB except in garbage time. But he hasn’t looked like an SEC caliber quarterback when he has played. Should Richt play Aaron Murray and burn his redshirt to prepare him for 2010?
What can I say about the defense that isn’t already known? It’s clear that this Georgia defense lacks discipline, technique and fundamentals. That falls squarely on the coaching staff, starting with Willie Martinez. The Bulldog defense has been in a steady decline the last few years. And if you think it’s a talent issue, that also falls on the coaching staff.
Mark Richt is the CEO of the Georgia football program. He gets paid a base salary of over $2 million. As the head of the Georgia football program, he has to make the tough decisions and sometimes those decisions may not be popular. Richt needs to right the ship by making wholesale changes to his coaching staff, especially on defense. He can’t sit idly by while Florida and Alabama run circles around us. And Tennessee, like it or not, is on the way back and may have passed us already.
What do you think?
Note: If I had more room in the title, I would have added + turnovers + penalties.