Though Crystal Balls are as uncommon as Crystal Footballs are in Butts-Mehre, you all could see the headlines being written before kick off Saturday. Had Georgia won, the headlines would have read something like “Alabama Dynasty Over, New King of the Mountain.” But, since Georgia lost, and lost in glorious fashion, the headlines now read “Georgia losses another big game, Mark Richt sucks.” Or something like that.
Saturday was an awful day for Georgia fans. It is hard to argue with the headlines being written. I am not going to delve too deep in the game; we all saw it, there isn’t much else to say.
However, I do want to say this.
This wasn’t the same typical Georgia not showing up, looking unprepared, bed wetting we have seen in the past.
The two worst blowout games I can think of are the 2007 Tennessee and 2012 South Carolina games. In both of those games, Georgia wasn’t competitive. The 2007 Tennessee game, the Volunteers got up 28-0 at the half and it felt like it was 60-0. Against South Carolina, Georgia was down 21-0 in the first quarter, and not for a garbage touchdown, Georgia would have been shut out.
Georgia had opportunities last Saturday. They didn’t capitalize on them early.
To say that “Georgia doesn’t show up to play in a big game” is lazy or uninformed statement. There have been some clunkers. But there are many “big games” where Georgia wins, and (gasp!) wins big.
Georgia did what I thought they had to do early, and that was stop Derrick Henry. On Alabama’s first possession, Georgia forced Henry to fumble, and Georgia took over in Alabama territory on the 42. Alabama then went three and out on their next series and Georgia took over at their own 43, and went three and out again.
On Alabama’s next possession, they drove the length of the field, and got a big 50 yard pass, and were held to just a field goal after getting it to the Georgia 15.
Then, late first quarter and early second quarter, Georgia drove the length of the field and had to settle for a field goal, but put together a 14 play, 71 yard drive that ate nearly 7 minutes off the clock.
Georgia didn’t come out lifeless. Georgia wasn’t unprepared. This wasn’t akin to similar beatings that we’ve seen. What happened Saturday in the late second quarter and early third quarter is exactly what happened to South Carolina against us in the third quarter of that game. A few big plays, one team grabbed momentum. So everyone needs to back off on that particular narrative.
At this point, if you are familiar with anything I’ve written, you’re probably thinking, “There goes that Corbindawg again, being mindless homer and shill for Coach Richt.”
Oh, but I’m not done yet.
What was the same?
The same conservative nature of Coach Richt. A Tiger isn’t going to change his stripes, but what cost Georgia the game and the point when I knew we were in trouble was the moment we punted the ball on the Alabama 38 yard line, and only gain 24 yards in field position. That is something that makes Davis Shaw warm on the insides.
You have Sony Michel, Malcolm Mitchell, and Nick Chubb. Why not attempt to go for it? If you lose because you are swinging ferociously, at you lose fighting. If you lose by curling up in the fetal position, you deserve to lose. A team like Alabama needs to be pounced on early. You are at home, and have all the momentum. Roll the dice! And on the next possession, at midfield, you have ti 4th and 1 at midfield with one of the best running backs in America. 4th and 1!
Think back to some of the recent big wins. Against Auburn last year, we attempted a fake punt and went for it on 4th and 1 (famous David Andrews dance afterwards) that led to a score. How many times does he try an onside kick? Remember the 2012 SECCG? Arthur Lynch completed a pass to convert on a fake punt. How about the 2011 Florida game? Going for it on 4th down twice-and twice throwing to the end zone-and twice scoring touchdowns.
Where was the aggressive team we saw against South Carolina that was still throwing the ball in the 4th quarter with a 24 point lead?
I get the frustration. I get the anger. I get the disappointment. I get it all. But don’t be lazy and complain about things that simply aren’t true. Georgia was ready to play. Georgia showed up. Georgia did not shit the bed. Mark Richt can’t be blamed for that.
I’ve said it many times. When Mark Richt coaches with a chip on his shoulder, he is among the best. When he coaches not to lose, 28 point losses happen. That is once again the failure of Saturday.
It is easy for members of the media and fans to say blanket statements. But dig deeper, and we should have seen this loss coming halfway through the first quarter. We could have all left then, and been a lot drier.
We’ve seen this story before. Early loss, adversity, then rally. But, for once, it would be nice to be in the lead.
Because, as Lewis said, “If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”