Archive Page 3

Time For A Change At QB

Folks out there are tiptoeing around the issue, but I’m going to just say it.

Hutson Mason no longer needs to be the quarterback of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Look, Mason seems to be a good kid.  He is loyal.  I hope he proves this Monday Morning armchair quarterback wrong.

But if he stays starting quarterback, then this team is going to lose another couple of games-at least.

He can’t make the throws needed to win SEC games.  For as good as Todd Gurley is, at some point in the very near future, the quarterback is going to have to take a game over and win a game for you in this league.  Even the great Alabama has needed it in the past.  This quarterback can’t get it done.

It won’t make a damn if we get Justin Scott-Wesley or Malcolm Mitchell back.  If you can’t get them the ball, what does it matter?  Sure, their presence may give opposing teams something to think about, but Georgia has got to be the easiest team in America to game plan for.  Our offensive strategy revolves around Todd Gurley breaking big runs and holding him back until the 4th quarter.  This is risky, and it is not sustainable.

I’m a big believer in running the ball, especially when you have the horses that we have in the backfield.  We should be a run first team for sure.  But there are times when you need to throw, and there is no way we can throw the ball right now.  Nothing I have seen makes me think we can improve in this area?

I posed the question before the season-Will Hutson Mason be the next Joe Cox?  I said no, because he had more talent around him than Joe did.

I was wrong.  Hutson Mason is not the next Joe Cox.  He is worse.  Joe’s problem wasn’t his ability.  He was talented.  He threw a bunch of touchdowns and a bunch of yards.  He was even part of the Elite 11 QB camp the same time Stafford was.  Cox’s problem was I think he tried to do too much and make too many big plays.

I don’t want to sit here and say I know more about quarterbacks than Coach Bobo and Coach Richt.   But I also know that Coach Richt is loyal.  Loyal to a fault.  How long do we have to sacrifice the betterment of our program for loyalty?  We did it with John Eason, Dave Van Hallanger, Willie Martinez, Joe T. III, etc.

I would love to be wrong.  I hope Mason leads us to an 11-1 regular season.  I would be tickled pink if that happens.  I’ll eat my words.  But I don’t think that will happen.  I don’t know what is going on with Brice Ramsey or Faton Bauta in practice and behind the scenes.  But I can clearly see what is going on with Hutson Mason.  If we are going to be no better off with a Redshirt Freshman at quarterback, we might as well try.

We aren’t going to win the SEC East in our current situation.  Forget about the quarterback situation.  This defense that gives up 30+ points to SEC opponents is a liability.  We knew that going into the season, so that shouldn’t be surprising.  We can do something about the quarterback situation.  How many more games are we going to lose before a change is made?  If you are being honest with yourself, what kind of chance do we have against Missouri?  Against Auburn? We might as well start preparing for next season and the future.

There is always next season.  That is the motto of a Georgia fan.

Corbindawg

NOTE:  I look at recruiting rankings not for the number of stars, but for who else has been recruiting that kid.  Mason had offers from UGA, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, FSU, Indiana, Mississippi State, UAB, Virginia and Western Michigan.  Brice Ramsey had offers from UGA, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, FSU, and Ohio State. 

Not giving up on Mason…yet

When Rick Pitino was head coach of the Boston Celtics, he once famously exclaimed the the likes of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish are ‘not walking through that door.”

That, to me, is the realization that is more real than ever for Georgia football when it comes to Hutson Mason.

Mason is the best option under center for this team right now. He won’t be Aaron Murray, no one else will be, and Mason is in the unenviable position of replacing one of the top signal-callers in Georgia history.

Fortunately for Mason, he has a healthy Todd Gurley in the backfield. This team has gone from being carried by Aaron Murray a year ago with patchwork running backs at times to Gurley carrying this team’s offense with a limitation at quarterback.

The good news for Mason is that I’m not sure we’ve seen all that he can do. Not even going back to last season against Georgia Tech and Nebraska, Hutson Mason did not have the full arsenal of receivers to throw to.

As frustrating as it may be to not see Mason stretch the field, he can only take those shots if the chances are there. This team has had one true deep threat the past four games in Chris Conley. So when defenses key on him, it’s easy to stack 10 in the box.

But if you get even a somewhat healthy Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell on the field, it gives defense something to at least think about – and more receivers that can stand a better chance of getting open.

It’s an adjustment not having a QB who can chuck it deep. And not an easy one to get used to. But having more to work with will at least give Hutson Mason a fighting chance.

As odd as it sounds, the Vanderbilt game will be highly important for this team. It’ll show if it has any chance to have any sort of passing attack or if its hopes will hinge on Todd Gurley staying healthy.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Style points or not, it’s all about the wins from now on

- To quote the noted orator from Faber College, “nothing is over until we decide it is!”

In the midst of the fog of despair of the loss to USC-East, one thought, though tough to swallow, is that the pursuit of the SEC East was still within this team’s control. It gets old having that mindset for the Georgia program, but that is the reality with the way the schedule sets up.

All of a sudden, the game next month at Mizzou is very, very large. Funny thing is, it was one of the biggest worries of the season going in – back to back road trips to Fayetteville and Mizzou won’t be easy.

The bottom line is this – it doesn’t matter how you win in this league as long as you win. From here on out, it’s win out and you head to Atlanta. The wins still count the same amount, regardless of how hideous they look.

That’s how I look at the Tennessee win. Was it a bland victory in some ways? Yes. Georgia won in spite of a punchless passing attack and the good fortune of Tennessee catching fumblitis in its own end zone.

But it’s still a win. I’m sure USC would gladly take an ugly win over Mizzou instead of a loss on Saturday.

From here on out, it is all about getting a win – no matter how they come.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Has the Tennessee rivalry lost a step?

Rivalries are a funny thing. You highly dislike them and want to be beat them and beat them bad. But once you do it too much, can it lessen the rivalry.

To a degree, that’s where the Georgia-Tennessee rivalry is right now.

Unless you live up near North Georgia right now, Tennessee has taken on the look of another game on the schedule. The Vols have fallen on hard times (if you have had to endure UT fans, you shed no tears over it). To a point, you want to do a combination of laugh and pity them (maybe a small amount). That’s how it goes when you regularly beat someone.

There’s a part of Georgia’s younger fan base that wonders why UGA and Tech still play, and do not have a genuine dislike for the maggots. But the ‘old school’ fans…or those of us who lived through the 1998 to 2000 Tech wins, see Tech as a massive rivalry.

Tennessee is the same way. As Macon Dawg noted earlier this week, if you think the Bama fans (aka, the guy who saw Bama play on TV one time when he was 9 years old) are unbearable, you didn’t have to deal with the Tennessee fans in the 1990s.

This is a fan base that, and still does, shove the greatness of Peyton Manning down our throats. This is the program that got away with Nick Fairley-style cheap shots game after game with guys like Raynoch Thompson. UT took full advantage of UGA being mediocre in the 1990s and 2000s. If there was a recruit in the Atlanta area, the Volunteers and Phat Phil usually got them. You want to talk about lucking into a national title? UT took the cake in 1998 when Clint Stoerner inexplicably fumbled the ball right into Tennessee’s hands. And of course, there’s the engineering nightmare of a stadium in Knoxville. The capacity of that place needs an asterisk by it – it’s easy to cram 100,000 plus in with seats that narrow.

Oh, and then there’s that idiotic song that oddly enough was written by a Georgian.

Time has healed some dislike of Tennessee. Other than Lane Kiffin, there’s not much much to hate about Tennessee recently.

There will be if Butch Jones takes UT a step forward Saturday.

Somewhere along the way, the intensity of the rivalry has lost some steam. It needs to get back to the dislike of a bad guy wrestling in WCW.

Saturday’s kickoff is early, there is no doubting that, and Tennessee could benefit from a flat, late-arriving crowd (it did so in the 2004 upset).

If you’re heading to the game, get there early. The Bulldog Nation needs to get back to treating Tennessee like an old hated rival again.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

30 years ago, this Lewis wrote this classic

30 years ago today exactly, Kevin Butler’s mammoth field goal kick upset Clemson.

We’re guilty of re-posting this column of Lewis Grizzard’s but it’s very, very fitting on a day like today.

Great moments in a would be father’s life

To my Son, if I ever have one:

Kid, I am writing this on September 3, 1984. I have just returned from Athens, where I spent Saturday watching the University of Georgia, your old dad’s alma matter, play football against Clemson.

While the events of the day were still fresh on my mind, I wanted to recount them so if you are ever born, you can read this and perhaps be able to share one of the great moments in your father’s life.

Saturday was a wonderful day on the Georgia campus.

We are talking blue, cloudless sky, a gentle breeze and a temperature suggesting summer’s end and autumn’s approach.

I said the blessing before we had lunch. I thanked the Lord for three things: fried chicken, potato salad and for the fact he had allowed me the privilege of being a Bulldog.

“And , Dear Lord,” I prayed, “bless all those not as fortunate as I.”

Imagine my son, 82,000 people, most whom were garbed in red, gathered together gazing down on a lush valley of hedge and grass where soon historic sporting combat would be launched.

Clemson was ranked number 2 in the nation, and Georgia, feared too young to compete with the veterans from beyond the river, could only dream, the smart money said, of emerging three hours hence victorious.

They had us 20-6 at the half, son. A man sitting in front of me said, “I just hope we don’t get embarrassed.”

My boy, I had never seen such a thing as came to pass in the second half. Todd Williams threw one long and high, and Herman Archie caught it in the end zone, and it was now 20-13.

Georgia got the ball again and scored again, and it was now 20-20, and my mouth was dry, and my hands were shaking, and this Clemson fan who had been running his mouth the whole ballgame suddenly shut his fat face.

Son, we got ahead 23-20, and the ground trembled and shook, and many were taken by fainting spells.

Clemson’s kicker, Donald Igwebuike, tied it 23-23 and this sacred place became the center of the universe.

Only seconds were left when Georgia’s kicker, Kevin Butler, stood poised in concentration. The ball rushed toward him, and it was placed upon the tee a heartbeat before his right foot launched it heavenward.

A lifetime later, the officials threw their arms aloft. From 60 yards away, Kevin Butler had been true, and Georgia led and would win 26-23.

I hugged perfect strangers and kissed a fat lady on the mouth. Grown men wept. Lightening flashed. Thunder rolled. Stars fell, and joy swept through, fetched by a hurricane of unleashed emotions.

When Georgia beat Alabama 18-17 in 1965, it was a staggering victory. When we came back against Georgia Tech and won 29-28 in1978, the Chapel bell rang all night. When we beat Florida 26-21 in the last seconds in 1980, we called it a miracle. And when we beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl that same year for the national championship, a woman pulled up her skirt and showed the world the Bulldog she had sewn on her underbritches.

But Saturday may have been even better than any of those.

Saturday in Athens was a religious experience.

I give this to you, son. Read it and re-read it, and keep it next to your heart. And when people want to know how you wound up with the name “Kevin” let them read it, and then they will know.

How Much More Can They Take?

Even the most critical of Coach Richt can agree on one thing:  his best attribute might be the fact he is a master motivator when adversity strikes.

Just think about it.  How much adversity this team has faced over the past four or five years.  If the players didn’t believe in Mark Richt, and play their tails off for him, he’d be doing a show with Gene Chizik on the SEC Network now.

Remember back in 2011?  The Bulldawgs were coming off a losing season, then lost the first two games of 2011.  Everyone was saying the loser of the UGA/Ole Miss game would be fired.  His seat was scorching hot.  What happened?  The Dawgs went out and won 10 straight games and played tough against LSU in the SEC Championship.

In 2012, the Dawgs were coming off an ass whoppin’ for the ages in Columbia, then almost lost to Kentucky.  What happened?  Georgia beat Florida and then came 5 yards shy against Alabama.

Even last year.  All the highs (LSU and South Carolina) and lows (Vanderbilt loss).  With all that went wrong last season with defense and injuries, the players never quit.  If they had, we’d gotten beat by 40 against Auburn, and not overcome a 20 point hole against Tech.

When their backs are against the wall and adversity creeps in, Mark Richt is able to rally his guys and they still fight for him.

Don’t scoff at this.  If it were that easy, Mack Brown would probably still have a job and the Braves would be playoff bound.

We have heard the same song and verse after the loss in Columbia.  “We still have all of our goals in front of us.”

How much longer can this message be repeated?  I hope this isn’t the case, but gut wrenching loss after gut wrenching loss, how much more can the psyche take?

My biggest fear for the rest of the season isn’t we get beat again by a quality opponent.  I have no problem with losing to South Carolina.  You play a tough team on the road, and you lose by 3 points.  Like with Clemson a year ago, there is no shame in that.  Nothing to hang your head one.  Don’t miskate this for accepting defeats; I am simply being pragmatic.

But it is the way you lose that is so bad.  It is not that Georgia gets beat. It’s that they get beat in the worse possible ways.

My fear is that the players finally don’t say the hell with it and stop fighting hard for their head coach.

Richt has proven time and time again he can rally the guys and get them to play hard.

Can he do it again?

Corbindawg

 

Why Not Give It To Gurley?

The decision to not hand it to Gurley while on the 4 yard line is one that certainly helped keep Georgia from winning Saturday, but it is hardly the only reason why Georgia lost.  I can’t believe after all this time folks are still complaining about Mike Bobo.

Look, Mike Bobo is an excellent recruiter and is a big reason for Georgia’s success in recent years.

I don’t blame him, or generally question his calls.  I’ve been a loud and proud defender of Mike Bobo for a long time. 

Not giving it to Todd Gurley with 1st and Goal on the 4 yard line was a bad, bad decision in an otherwise well-called game.  Anytime you score 35 points on the road, in the rain no less, you are doing something right.  And that play call, the play-action pass to the tight end, is a bread and butter play of ours that has worked a lot and scored a bunch of touchdowns for Georgia over the years, including earlier in the game.

I want to make it clear…we didn’t lose the game solely because of that bad call on the goal line. 

With all that said, I keep on going back to this:

Why not give the ball to Gurley?

I thought back to Florida when they had Tim Tebow.  In 2006, when Tebow would come in, you knew what he was going to do, and Florida by God did it.  From 2007-2009, in that situation, everyone in America knew Tebow was going to run up the middle in those situations.  Or do that stupid jump pass.  And it worked.  Every time.  When Auburn had Cam Newton, in that situation, what would happen?  We all know that Cam would have kept it.

You have the best tailback at your school in a generation.  You have the best player at that position in the entire country on your team.  Why would you not put the ball in his hand in that situation?  What is the point of having an All-American, Heisman trophy candidate in Todd Gurley if you aren’t going to put the ball in his hands in the most crucial of situations?  So what if everyone knew it was going to happen?

Spurrier saw a weakness in our defense and exploited it all night.  We knew what was going to happen, and we couldn’t stop it.  If it is working, and you have the talent, why not dare them to stop it?  Georgia  had 4 tries to get 4 yards with the best running back in America.

It harkened back to the South Carolina game in 2007.  In case you don’t remember, Georgia got the ball back down 7 with 6 minutes left in the game.  Knowshon had runs of 10 yards then 11 yards to get down to the South Carolina 11 yard line.  The next three plays were incomplete passes to Michael Moore, Tripp Chandler and Tony Wilson.  Trusting my memory here, either Massaquoi and Bailey, the two best receivers, were not even on the field.  You just had Knowshon gash the defense, and you went away from that.  Now, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and those are mistakes you can expect a coordinator to make in his 4th game calling plays.  Not from someone who is in their 8th year calling plays.

I think we panicked.  This game reminded me of many of the heartbreaking games in Jacksonville in the early 2000s, except with better offense and worse defense.  Costly (BS) penalties and having to settle for field goals was eerily similar.  But it goes back to confidence.  In all those games in Jacksonville, we had superior players, and during the Zook era superior coaching.  In Jacksonville, we never had the confidence.  For whatever reason Saturday night, we didn’t have the confidence in our best player to put the ball in his hand in a crucial situation.

Florida would with Tebow.  Auburn did with Cam.  Why didn’t Georgia with Gurley?

Corbindawg



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