After taking a step back from my earlier position and doing some real thinking, I feel a little bit better about this weekend. I put a Fan Post up over at Dawg Sports that was ripe with emotion, but lacking logic. After reading some comment from others at Dawg Sports and some self-reflection, I’ve stepped back from my initial position. It doesn’t help that Mark Richt makes it completely clear that he feels it’s not the coaches’ faults. There have been numerous breakdowns in Special Teams and untimely offensive turnovers that have contributed to the numerous points layed on this defense in the last two games. Thankfully, none of the turnovers against Kentucky came back to bite Georgia in the proverbial butt.
The Special Teams play was atrocious. A 96 yard kickoff return, a blocked punt, and a punt for 18 yards all set up scoring drives for Kentucky with the short field. It’s hard to hold the short field against the defense, but I’d certainly be a little happier if those scoring drives were 3 points instead of 6. Maybe my post should have been titled “Fire Jon Fabris Now”, instead of “Fire Willie Martinez Now”.
Knowshon Moreno was singledhandedly a red-zone beast this weekend. Hard to believe that in all the years of Georgia football only he and some other guy you might have heard of are the only two RB’s with back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. As I mentioned post-game Saturday, I think Matthew Stafford must have forgotten he played in the SEC and thought he was playing for one of those Big 12 teams. He ended up throwing for a career-best 376 yards with 3 TD’s and zero INT’s. The offense in total rolled up 520 yards and 42 points. The offense was six for six in the red zone.
Demarcus Dobbs decided to pull his best Thomas Davis in 2002/Charles Johnson in 2006 impression and cause a last minute turnover that sealed the game for the Dawgs against inferior opposition. What scared me most about this weekend was the fact that Kentucky was running nothing more than a variation of the triple option and gashed the defense for over 220 rushing yards. I believe we play some team in a few weeks that is known for its option offense. Anyways, I hold hope that Coach Martinez can rally his troops and maybe they will magically start wrapping up tackles and stopping the run again.
I don’t do this very often, but I do take exception to Coach Richt’s comments regarding what he sees as likely the casual or uninformed fan. As a person that believes he knows a little about football, I’ll go on record and say that my complaints aren’t scheme based or lack of blitzing. My complaint is this team just doesn’t have that killer instinct that defenses in the past have had, and it seems fundamentally undisciplined (see missed tackles, poor execution, etc.). Of all people, Coach Richt should know best that having a bad defense can get you run out of Athens. I may be wrong, but that’s how Coach Richt got his current job. Now, I appreciate Coach Richt for taking this sleeping program and “blowing the lid” off it in 2002. It seems the program has a sense of complacency over it and isn’t doing what it takes to get to that elite level. I just don’t want to see the team become mired in mediocrity like FSU the last few years due to unwillingness to address needed change. I just ask that Coach Richt doesn’t allow Coach Martinez to become our Jeff Bowden if it reaches that point.
We’ve got two more regular season games and a bowl game. This team can still reach 10 wins and achieve another top 10 ranking. The goal at this point has to be to send the senior out the right way. Three out of four versus Auburn, extending the streak to eight against Tech, playing in a third New Year’s Day bowl, winning 10 games three out of four years, and finishing in the top 10 three out of four years. Certainly the setbacks have caused this season to be something of a disappointment, but we can still finish the season strong. Let’s hunker down and GATA!