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Another black day in Jax reveals UGA as second-rate


sdogg
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I have to agree with Mark Bradley.

AJC

Mark Bradley Another black day in Jax reveals UGA as second-rate

8:39 pm October 31, 2009, by Mark Bradley

One is hunting a third BCS title; the other isn't bowl-eligible. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Jacksonville — The game was a total loss, but the lesson imparted need not be. After yet another lost Saturday in Duval County, this much is beyond dispute: Georgia is no longer a major player in its division, let alone the nation.

Mark Richt began his somber media briefing by saying, “Well, here we are again.” And there they were, lopsided losers. It was 49-10 last season and 41-17 this time, and for all the good work Richt did in the early part of this decade, he and his program have been lapped by Urban Meyer. And Richt, once so clever and driven, seems to have run out of ideas.

He tried the color-scheme gimmick Saturday, presenting his players with black helmets after they’d warmed up in the usual red headgear. The upshot of this was to make Georgia look like an Arena league team and to cow the nation’s No. 1 team not one whit. After 11 1/2 minutes, the guys in the orange hats led the guys in the black hats 14-0.

“It’s not the helmet,” safety Reshad Jones said. “It’s what inside the helmet.”

Well, yes. With an extra week to prepare, Willie Martinez seemed even more witless than usual. As bad as the Gators’ first two touchdowns were, the third was an affront to everything Red and Black. Facing third-and-3 at the Georgia 23 with 1:32 left in the half, Florida ran a simple option. Tim Tebow faked a handoff and burst up the middle. He scored the touchdown that put him ahead of the hallowed Herschel Walker without being touched.

“They’re a good team,” said defensive end Justin Houston. “But it seemed like every time we made a bad play, they capitalized on it.”

In the first half Georgia had eight penalties. In the second it had four interceptions. If it was to have any chance against the Gators, it had to play a clean game. Instead it authored another in a series of messes.

If we’re to believe recruiting rankings, the gulf between Georgia and Florida shouldn’t be so pronounced. But Saturday was another installment of men against boys, and it called to mind the barb Steve Spurrier sunk into Ray Goff in this stadium 18 years ago: “Georgia gets all these players — I don’t know what happens to them.”

Players go to Florida and get, to invoke another Spurrier-ism, coached up. Players come to Georgia and are left to their own devices. Martinez is a substandard defensive coordinator, and no other position coach can be said to have done fabulous work. (Unless you count Kevin Butler, who isn’t a coach but who did sire the prodigious punter Drew Butler.)

Said Richt: “We’re 4-4 this season. I don’t think it’s an indictment of the program. I think it’s an indictment of where we are this year.”

Except Georgia has underachieved three times in the past four seasons, and as Richt himself noted Saturday: “There’s no guarantee of a bowl. The question is, will we play a game when we don’t do something that hinders us from being the best we can be?”

The Bulldogs have never lost more than four games under Richt, but they’ve never been 4-4 under this coach, either. Regarding possible changes, he said: “It’s not good to make decisions within minutes of an emotional game. You’ve got to settle your mind and settle your spirit, and then see where you are.”

As darkness fell on Halloween 2009, Georgia was again where it has been too often. The program that has all the resources was left to wonder why it has fallen so far behind Florida. And the ugly truth has never been more apparent: Florida might or might not have better players, but it absolutely has better coaches.

Edited by sdogg
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Not that it was hard to nail this one, but yea...

I (and some others) were saying it last year. Some people were excited b/c we got to 10 wins on what ended up being a weak schedule. I just thought if you can't see there are major issues with this program right now you're not paying attention. Richt does seem to be taking this stuff to heart though and he's being smart by not flying off the handle in these interviews. We all know what changes need to be made and now maybe they'll happen. The sad truth is Florida can't possibly consider us a true rival anymore...not when you've only won 3 out of the last 20. Obviously that's not all on Richt, but I'm just saying.

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UGA definitely has a ton of physical talent but does routinely underachieve and Bradley is right, that falls squarely on the coaches...

Yea, it just kind of bugs me when people claim we're down on talent this year, etc.

I moved to Georgia in the early 90s and that's when I became a fan...I remember some of the teams we had and I was actually at the stadium when the Gators came to Athens and put up 50 on us. Those Georgia teams...just didn't have the talent! It was clear then and it's clear looking back now. However, some of the Donnan teams and the current team...MORE THAN ENOUGH TALENT to be competitive with the top teams in the conference.

Man, it's hard to say "top teams" in the conference b/c it's so clear we're not one of them anymore.

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Yea, it just kind of bugs me when people claim we're down on talent this year, etc.

I moved to Georgia in the early 90s and that's when I became a fan...I remember some of the teams we had and I was actually at the stadium when the Gators came to Athens and put up 50 on us. Those Georgia teams...just didn't have the talent! It was clear then and it's clear looking back now. However, some of the Donnan teams and the current team...MORE THAN ENOUGH TALENT to be competitive with the top teams in the conference.

Man, it's hard to say "top teams" in the conference b/c it's so clear we're not one of them anymore.

Yep, UGA routinely recruits a lot of the same players UF does and wins quite a few of those head to head battles with us. I think Richt is a heckuva recruiter and a very good coach. I just don't think he's a championship caliber coach--at least yet...

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Yep, UGA routinely recruits a lot of the same players UF does and wins quite a few of those head to head battles with us. I think Richt is a heckuva recruiter and a very good coach. I just don't think he's a championship caliber coach--at least yet...

I'm still holding out hope that Richt has it in him...but many people were saying that about Richt in the earlier part of the decade. I didn't buy it but it's hard for me to keep arguing with them when you see what's going on with other teams in our conference.

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I'm still holding out hope that Richt has it in him...but many people were saying that about Richt in the earlier part of the decade. I didn't buy it but it's hard for me to keep arguing with them when you see what's going on with other teams in our conference.

I feel bad for fans like you but there are "certain" fans that really make me enjoy the crap of it...

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Yea, it just kind of bugs me when people claim we're down on talent this year, etc.

I moved to Georgia in the early 90s and that's when I became a fan...I remember some of the teams we had and I was actually at the stadium when the Gators came to Athens and put up 50 on us. Those Georgia teams...just didn't have the talent! It was clear then and it's clear looking back now. However, some of the Donnan teams and the current team...MORE THAN ENOUGH TALENT to be competitive with the top teams in the conference.

Man, it's hard to say "top teams" in the conference b/c it's so clear we're not one of them anymore.

Well said. I got into a heated discussion with two, "we accept mediocre" fans, about talent last night. They clearly dont keep up with the recruiting classes and how UGA has ranked in the top 10 and even top 5 in recruiting. That we steal some of the very players that many other top programs are trying for. They all seem to assume its lack of talent and can never be lack of coaching.

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I'm still holding out hope that Richt has it in him...but many people were saying that about Richt in the earlier part of the decade. I didn't buy it but it's hard for me to keep arguing with them when you see what's going on with other teams in our conference.

Im holding out hope as well, but it is getting rather difficult to do so. If he makes the changes we all know he needs to do, I can give him 2 to 3 more years. But if he doesnt get it done by then, he has to go. No excuse for UGA not have won a NT in almost 30years. Not to mention, constantly getting owned by UF.

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Im holding out hope as well, but it is getting rather difficult to do so. If he makes the changes we all know he needs to do, I can give him 2 to 3 more years. But if he doesnt get it done by then, he has to go. No excuse for UGA not have won a NT in almost 30years. Not to mention, constantly getting owned by UF.

I'm not as worried about the "not winning" a National Championship in so long, it's the fact that we haven't even really been contenders for much of that time...

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I find nothing to disagree with here.

Seems to be an increasing trend that we not only get outplayed, but vastly outcoached as well.

We need some big changes. I think and hope that Richt is our guy... he's a great man, a great recruiter, great mentor and a good coach to be sure. I believe we just need a breath of fresh air in our coaching, even if it might hurt us with a few recruits right now... it's a move that will be much more beneficial in the long run.

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