I Got 3 Problems With Outback Bowl, and the OT Isn’t One Of Them

A lot of folks are going to/have spewed venom at Mark Richt and his decision to play it conservatively and attempt a 42 yard field goal in the first overtime of yesterday’s loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. 

I don’t have a major problem with what transpired during the first overtime.  If I was going to make a list of things that irritated me about yesterday’s game, OT is a distant 4th.  You know what? I think I will make a list.

1.  Not converting Turnovers to Points:  I tweeted something to this affect during the game, but Michigan State had 3 turnovers.  Georgia had 3 turnovers.  Michigan State scored 14 points off Georgia turnovers; Georgia scored 3 points off the Spartan 3 turnovers. 

2.  Running back by Committee returns:  Reports are now that Boo Malcome had a shoulder injury and suffered through it.  Boo was effective yesterday, but if he was hurt, he was hurt (at least we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt the first time yesterday).  The running game was non-existent.  Boykin, Crowell, B. Smith, Samuel and Thomas all combined for 18 carries for 14 yards.  I understand that injury necessitated Carlton Thomas and Richard Samuel to come in the game, but I still get tired of the constant shuffle of running backs.  I don’t know, find one guy and stick with it. 

3.  Where was the defense at?  Again, folks are going to get on Richt and Bobo for being overly conservative yesterday, but I thought they made the best tactical decisions at the end of regulation.  Michigan State got the ball back with 1:55 left in the game.  Up to that point, your defense had held Michigan State to 13 points (7/20 came off pick six).  One of those scoring drives was set up by a fumble.  Kirk Cousins yesterday finished 27/50 for 300 yards-barely 50%.  Their leading rusher had only 2.8 yards per carry.  Georgia also made Michigan State burn all of their timeouts.  The UGA defense is 3rd in the country.  Todd Grantham is awesome.  The stars of the team are Rambo, Boykin, Commings, Ogletree, Jarvis Jones.  Unlike Georgia teams of the recent past, you felt confident when the defense  took the field. 

 4.      The OT management.   This doesn’t irritate me all that much.  As matter of fact, what irritates me is all the fan discontent over this one decision.  It shouldn’t have come to Blair Walsh and his erratic leg to save the day.  If Georgia had been able to convert turnovers to more points, been able to run the ball better and been able to stop Kirk Cousins from driving down the field 85 yards in a minute and half, this wouldn’t have mattered.   The Senator linked to a blog this morning that was headlined “Mark Richt May Be the Dumbest Football Coach in History.”  That is a little hyperbole, but our idiot fan base clutches to hyperbole and doomsday talk like it is going out of style. 

The crux of the discontent seems to be focused on Richt electing to let a kicker who was 6-16 this year from 40+ kick a 42 yard field goal.  Nevermind he came out the next possession and kicked a 47 yarder.   If this guy follows Georiga closely, then he would know that Walsh is 9/19 from this distance, and in 2009 went 7-7 from 40+.  He would also know that earlier this season, Walsh has made kicks of 56 and 53 yards and has demonstrated over and over again throughout his career that he has the leg.  He has demonstrated in 2011 he doesn’t have the brain. 

But Mark Richt said after the game “I felt like my man would make the kick,” Richt said. “I felt like we centered the ball, put the ball right where we wanted to, it was well within his range.”  Last year in the Liberty Bowl, Coach Richt was criticized for not having faith in his players and not putting his guys in a position to succeed.  Now, Coach Richt put his faith in the SEC’s all-time points leader, Groza award finalist.  What do you want?    

Murray kneeled down to center the ball and we kicked on 3rd down, this way to have a second shot if you bobble the snap or, if there is a penalty for false start (which is very realistic with this group), you still have a makeable field goal for Walsh.  It is not like it was in regulation and Mark Richt decided “Screw Touchdowns, I am going to just kick for 3.”  You only needed 3 points to win the game.  Michigan State, as I noted above, had stopped the run all night long.  Common logic says, that when you only need 3 and you have a kicker who can make 42 yard field goals, you don’t pass the ball and risk a sack, holding penalty or interception.  You keep it on the ground.  So from there, it was at best gain, what, 4 yards?  38 and 42 yards shouldn’t make much difference to Walsh, because his problem is not his leg.  So while Mark Richt made an ultra, ultra conservative call, it was not a dumb call nor does it warrant this much scorn.  The game should have been over before overtime, so to hinge the blame on Richt as I have seen some do, and on Walsh is unfair and not using critical thinking. 



13 Responses to “I Got 3 Problems With Outback Bowl, and the OT Isn’t One Of Them”

  1. 1 I'veseenworseinGA January 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I agree corbin. Overtime doesnt bother me as much as regulation. We lost this game for the same reason we lost to LSU. No running game. I was very impressed with most of Boo’s runs he had no blocking and there was no real back up so it was pretty much on him and I feel he did his best. Bobo made some bad decisions again, but what’s new. I want to know what Murray was thinking on the pick six, either Brown or King was wide open behind Bennett. Still a good bounce back season. Young team and a lot to look forward to next year.

  2. 2 STUDAWG January 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Aaron Murray’s PICK SIX WAS DEFLECTED AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE! THE ANNOUNCERS DIDNT SEE IT AND APPARENTLY NOBODY ELSE SAW IT EITHER. It was intended for Bennett and deflected into the arms of Denard. I dont think you can blame Murray for that.

  3. 4 Ron January 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    If I were a coach & I knew that I was going to kick a field goal on third down after centering the ball on second down…..then I probably wouldn’t have run my tailback off tackle to the near side on first down. Just sayin

  4. 5 Jonathan January 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    @Ron – I don’t think Richt was thinking “I’ll kick it on third down here” before the drive even starts. But after getting nothing on first down, you re-evaluate your plan. Knowing it only takes three to win, how do I make that happen. Put the ball in middle of field and give Walsh the glory of his final kick as a victory. It didn’t work. Still good things ahead in 2012. Go DAWGS!!

  5. 6 BuyPropertyUcheeDawg! January 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    If we had gone balls to the wall and gotten intercepted or fumbled, the same people crying b/c we kicked it on 3rd down would be crying b/c we didn’t kick it on 3rd down. You can’t win arguments against Monday Morning QBs.

  6. 7 Brent January 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Murray had 3 turnovers.

    Against Mich St, LSU, and South Carolina.

    There’s your answer.

    • 8 Corbindawg January 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Simple enough. You are correct.
      Murray is a very good QB. One of the best in the SEC. But to be an elite QB, he has to cut down on his give aways. Be less Joe Cox. I attribute a lot of it to the OLine and the lack of a running game; look at David Greene’s stats from 2003. This is fixable, and if there is one thing Bobo and company can do, it is coach a QB.

  7. 9 BuyPropertyUcheeDawg! January 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm


  8. 10 Brent January 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    The O-Line for Murray’s turnovers? nO WAY.

    Why not just take a sack? Why did Murray make 3 bad decisions, AGAIN?

    • 11 Corbindawg January 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      The O Line is a factor, Brent. David Greene followed up his 2002 Offensive player of the Year performance in 2003 with a 13-11 TD to INT ratio. Why the stark drop off from his 22-8 ratio in 2002? UGA had a mostly freshmen O-Line and no running game. The extra pressure cuases more mistakes.

  9. 12 mtndawg January 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    our o-line/running game problems have cotinued now for 3-4 seasons.If these same problems aren’t solved soon the 2012 season will be a copy of 2011.we will lose to all the ranked teams are p lay and struggle to beat all the others except the 3 pansies on schedule..

  10. 13 Skip Smith January 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    On paper the game was a toss up. It went down to triple overtime. Both teams coulda, woulda, shouda during the course of the game. My guess is if we played Mich State 10 times we would win 5 maybe 6. Unfortunately for some “fans” a 10-4 season played by a very young team was not good enough. As for me, I’m one very proud dawg.

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