Archive for November, 2015

Face The Facts About Coach Richt

Bulldog fans fall in one of three camps today:

  1. You are sad/angry about Mark Richt’s departure
  2. You recognize it was time for Mark Richt’s departure
  3. You are thrilled about Mark Richt’s departure

I relate to #2.  I said after the Tennessee game that it was time for Coach Richt and the University of Georgia to part ways.  If you are in camp #1, I won’t argue with you.  I won’t ridicule you.  I was with you until very recently.  However, things change.

But regardless of where you are at, there are some things that are facts that we all need to agree on:

  1. It was time for Mark Richt to go. He was given a second chance after 2010 to turn things around.  He did.  He signed Dream Teams and Ring Team classes.  There was talent brought in.  We were right there.  So excruciatingly close.  Things took a step back, and no coach deserves a third chance.   Just since 2008, look at some of the players that have come through Athens:

a. Matthew Stafford

b. Knowshon Moreno

c. A. J. Green

d. Todd Gurley

e. Jarvis Jones

f.Justin Houston

g. Drew Butler

h. Nick Chubb

i. Aaron Murray

These players are either in the conversation as all-time greats at UGA or the SEC, and/or are having successful NFL careers.  No SEC titles with these players.  You can say, “Yeah, but…”  No quarterback.  Good recruiting class coming in.  Catastrophic injuries.  Lacking administrative support until recently.  I get all that.  But losing games Georgia shouldn’t lose, and losing games in the way we lost them the same way over and over again isn’t a good look.

  1. His accomplishments should be celebrated. This is not like we are firing, say, a Will Muschamp, a Ron Zook or a Mike London.  Coach Richt elevated the program.  UGA had the most sustained success in its history under his leadership.   This is not a joyous day for UGA.
  1. It shouldn’t have ended this way for Mark Richt. It should have ended with him hoisting a crystal football.  It should have ended on a happy note.  He deserved that.  The fans deserved that.  But it had to end.  And it had to end now so we could get ready for the future.
  1. Kudos to Greg McGarity to have the cojones to make the tough decision. Even if you were the most ardent anti-Richt person, you are being disingenuous if you think firing a coach who wins 9.6 games per year and has dominated most of your rivals is an easy decision.
  1. But I really have strong doubts that Greg McGarity will make the right hire. And until some of the obstacles are removed from an administrative stand point, I’m not sure any coach will have as much success as Richt has had, or the success we covet.  There needs to be total, sweeping change in Butts-Mehre.
  1. I fully expect us to one day in the near future look back and say “What were we thinking?”
  1. Ultimately, bad coordinator hires doomed Coach Richt. He lost all the good will he had built up with Willie Martinez.  Brian Schottenhiemer was the nail in the coffin.
  1. Finally, Georgia will be great again.

You can be glad that there is a change, yet recognize the unfortunate circumstance this is.

I am reminded of the Greek myth of Icarus.  Icarus was warned not to fly too low or fly too high.  His ambition made him fly higher and higher, until his wings melted and he crashed down.  I hope that in chasing the Sun, we don’t crash down.

But, you have to try and get there.

Mark Richt was the coach of the program that I love.  As much as I wanted to see Coach Richt succeed, I’ll love Georgia football without him.    This is a sad day for the Bulldog Nation, but maybe the next coach can inspire the hope that Coach Richt once did 15 years ago, or hell, just three years ago.



Only one thing matters

Will Mark Richt be the head coach here next year? Yes, despite what Bill Shanks wants to have to say about it.

Will Brian Schottenheimer be packed up the U-haul soon? Hopefully

Will Jeremy Pruitt be in Athens next year? Hopefully.

But none of the that really matters.

One thing matters right now, and it’s the same thing that matters now matter how good or bad that a season is.

Freaking Beat Tech.

I was in Athens last year. I had to watch the enginerds gleefully prance out of Sanford with a once every seven to eight years victory.

Some of you in the Atlanta area – and others on Facebook had to endure Techies crawling out of the woodwork.

Any time Georgia loses to Tech, it stings, because it should not happen on the football field. That’s why it means so much to GT when it does – because it does not happen often.

If you call yourself a Georgia fan, there can be no part in you that does not despise Georgia Tech and all that it stands for. And let’s not get into the Joke By Coke…

Has this season been a hard road? Absolutely so.

Let’s not make it worse by losing again to the maggots.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg




One Thing Is For Sure-Georgia Defense Will Rise To the Occassion

Look guys, the UGA offense is what it is.  11 games in, a Tiger isn’t changing it’s stripes.  It is a poorer version of what we saw from 2001-2004.  Except this time, you don’t have a 100% shut down defense, there are many liabilities on special teams, and a quarterback who isn’t capable of making the necessary plays to win when the game is on the line.

Basically, we are Iowa circa every year except 2009 and 2015.

Let’s just choose not to get into the up and down nature of the special teams.

But the defense, while not as violent and dominant as it was earlier this decade, is still having a damn fine season.  The only blemish was the Tennessee game, and really, the offense did nothing to help them out.  Tennessee ran nearly 100 plays.  If the Georgia offense could muster a first down or control the clock a little bit, like we saw against Auburn, Georgia would have won the Tennessee game.  I 100% believe that.

Georgia should win Saturday.  And the defense will do its part to stop the triple option.  They did well against Georgia Southern, and that was a nice tune up for Tech.  I think Southern is better than Tech.

Georgia coordinators-hell, all coordinators for that matter-have a hard time against Paul Johnson’s triple option offense the first time they’ve seen it.  As Nick Saban said, Georgia Southern ran through the vaulted Alabama defense like shit through a tin horn when they faced off in 2011.  If you aren’t used to it, it causes problems.

In 2008, in Johnson’s first year, Georgia Tech rolled up 409 yards rushing and 45 points against Georgia and Willie Martinez.  The next season, Johnson’s best Tech team only mustered 24 points and 205 rushing yards against one of the worst Georgia defenses in the history of the program.

In 2010, the first year under Todd Grantham,  Tech rolled up 411 yards and 34 points in a wild game against Georgia.  The next year, Tech only managed 243 yards and 17 points.  In 2012, Tech got 306 yards on the ground on 67 carries and only 10 points.  In 2013, Tech did put up 27 points in regulation but only 263 yards on the ground (but did have 232 yards passing that game).

Last year , the first under Pruitt, Tech put up just 24 points in regulation but got 399 yards on the ground.  And Pruitt never saw Tech while he was at Florida State.

Last week against Southern, Georgia’s defense only gave up 7 points and 233 yards rushing to Georgia Southern’s triple option attack.

So I fully anticipate Georgia’s defense to contain Georgia Tech.  If they score more than 13 points and have more than 250 yards rushing, I’ll be surprised.

Cut and paste from any other post this year:

Georgia’s defense should be fine Saturday.  If the offense or special teams turn the ball over and put (insert team) in easy scoring situations, this could get away from the Dawgs. 

It really is a broken record, isn’t it?




On Georgia Southern

For the record, I think Georgia wins. But in possibly an indictment of how uneasy things are amongst the fan base, I could also see Georgia losing as well.

Living in Middle Georgia, you live among a good mix of fans, and with its proximity, that includes Georgia Southern fans. To me, GSU has always been a rural version of the Georgia Tech fan base. Georgia should not lose to them on the gridiron – and when it happens, it is MAJOR deal.

And don’t discount the dislike for the Bulldog Nation either. Asking people on campus not to wear red all week because they are playing UGA? That’s North Avenue Trade School inferiority complex stuff. Heck, you can almost argue that a Georgia loss would devastate UGA’s fan base more than any other group.

We’ve talked in this space before about Georgia enabling programs to get a signature win. You think winning at the The Swamp was big a few years back? That’s absolutely nothing compared to what it’ll be if the Eagles pull off the win. It’d be more revered than any of Georgia Southern’s 1-AA titles. A state of Willie Fritz would be commissioned within three days.

Georgia has talked big in recent years about ‘running the state.’

A loss to Georgia Southern means taking a back seat going forward to GSU. Georgia, and Mark Richt cannot allow that to happen.

Bottom line – if Georgia has multiple three and outs and relies on defense and special teams on Saturday, it’s a recipe for disaster and one of the most infamous home games in Sanford Stadium history.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Thoughts From Auburn

A few quick thoughts:

*Very good, much needed win.  This is one of the worst Auburn teams Georgia is going to see, which is saying something because there have been some bad ones.  But it is still Auburn and Georgia took care of business.

*Despite what folks say, it was a win in a “big game”.

*I thought the offense, while it didn’t convert on the goal line, did a fine job.  At least, good enough.  No turnovers, had first downs, moved the chains and controlled the clock.  You don’t have to win every game by scoring 30.  The defense played fantastic and the offense did what it was supposed to do to help the defense.  There are going to be those games where you have to score 30 to win, it is just the nature of today’s college football.  Saturday wasn’t one of those days.

*Georgia had drives  of 4 minutes, 7 minutes, and 6.5 minutes in the first half.  If the offense had done that once against Tennessee, I think Georgia probably wins that game.  That was about 60% of the first half.  Georgia had the ball for 35 minutes.

*Can we just say that Gus Malzahn is overrated?  When will more people come on board with that?

*The offense, overall, has not been good.  But we saw what kind of weapon McKenzie could be.  The end around at the goal line was the perfect call at the time because we were having a hard time getting short yardage up the middle.  He had the dynamic punt return, and a few key catches to move the chains.  I’m not sure it would have made a huge difference, but Chubb’s absence has gotten all the attention.  I wonder how much McKenzie’s injury has slowed the offense down?  It probably wouldn’t matter because Shotty wouldn’t know how to use him, and this is more evidence that Richt is more involved in the game planning/play calling.

*I doubt Pruitt will be back next year, but man whatever it takes we need him.  There was one time when Lorenzo Carter was pushing an Auburn runner out of bounds, I think it was Johnson, and he actually held him up and didn’t push him down.  This disciplined aggression and metal focus is a little thing that Pruitt’s unit does well at, and it doesn’t seem they make bone headed mistakes like we’ve seen out of the defense under Grantham and Willie.

Overall, a good day to be a Georgia Bulldog!


Hard To Fight The Narrative

You know, after the Tennessee game I came out strong saying Mark Richt and UGA needed to part ways, and I haven’t backed down one bit from that statement (and  won’t, until there are reasons for optimism again).  Make no mistake about it:  2015 is a very disappointing season, and even if Georgia wins out, not all 10 win season are created equal.  Just like not all 8 win seasons are equal.  This is a bad year.

I am not one of these fools that are hoping Georgia loses for a change to take place.  I was living and dying on every play Saturday, just as I would if Georgia and Auburn’s seasons had transpired like both teams fans had hoped.

Though this won’t fit the narrative people try to push, beating Auburn was a “big” game for many reasons.  Coach Richt and his team came ready to play in the “big” game.

As I said in my post arguing why it is time to part ways, I spent a good deal of time going into the good of Coach Richt, and also the false narratives that people point to.

One that I didn’t touch on was that Coach Richt seems aloof, disengaged, or simply doesn’t care about the team winning.  That is one that I find complete hogwash.

But what happened Saturday against Auburn, two Saturdays against Kentucky, and three weeks ago against Florida make it hard to disprove that narrative.

Coach Richt clearly likes his CEO role, much like his mentor Bobby Bowden.  Coach Richt lets his assistants and coordinators run their units, and gives them autonomy.  I believe that Pruitt, Grantham, Martinez and Van Gorder had complete reign over the defense, and that Bobo had full control of the offense.

But this season, the offense was not working out.

Though the point totals and yardage didn’t reflect smashing success, I thought the offense played very well against Auburn, overall.  There were three offensive possessions in the first half, all of which went for sustained drives and ate time off the clock, which helped keep Auburn’s off the field and our defense rested.  The play calling at the goal line was suspect on the second drive, but you had to like the aggressiveness of going for it 4th down twice and eating up nearly 7 minutes.  The third possession of the first half went for 12 plays and ate nearly 6 and a half minutes.

Against Kentucky, Georgia mixed in the Wildcat.  Against Auburn, you saw passes to the tight end and fullback.  You even saw a Quayvon Hicks carry for a first down!

And Richt seemed more active on the sideline.  At least it seemed that way to me.  He had the play sheet and seemed like he was more involved with the game.  And running up the middle to set up a field goal in the 4th quarter was classic Richt.

Something just seems a little different over the last couple of weeks.  Maybe it is because the quality of opponents and the defenses are not as good as what we saw in October.  Maybe.  But I also think that Richt has gotten more involved.

Why did it take until the tenth game of the season for something different to take place?

I’m glad we won.  But to those people that are always saying that Richt seems disengaged, it is hard to argue against that when it took ten games to do something different from what wasn’t working.


A different meaning of the Georgia-Auburn game

For a long time, especially as a result of calling the Peach State home, the Auburn game was usually circles on the calendar. When you live in and around Auburn fans and other supporters, it’s hard not to get your blood going for The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

Georgia and Auburn is like two siblings going against one another. The thing about siblings is, you don’t always have to like them. That’s the case with the Bulldogs and the Wartiglesmen.

But for me, the Auburn game means a lot more, and something different.

It all started back two years ago, really in the final minutes of the game.

On the late-game pass thrown by an Auburn quarterback that Georgia had the audacity to dismiss for stealing from his own teammates (I refuse to refer to the fluke play by name), when the ball was deflected in the air, I just knew…maybe from the perpetual heartache of being a Georgia fan, that it would not end well. And course, it didn’t.

Now, like everyone else, I was devastated. Our dog, a 45-pound pit mix, was probably also nervous from all the yelling at the TV from the late-game turning of events.

So, of course, a few minutes go by. And then, Mrs. Lugnut Dawg decides that something is needed to make me feel better. At that moment, she tells me that we’re expecting our first child. All I know is that if Georgia would have won and our daughter would have been born a boy, his name would have most likely been Aaron!

Flash forward to 2014.

On the Friday morning before the game, I was primed and ready to go, already making plans for what time to head to Athens on Saturday for not only the Auburn game, but Todd Gurley’s return. That all changed around 2 p.m.

While at work, I got the call that few want to receive. It was one informing me that our daughter’s trip to see her pediatrician was much more serious, and that the next stop was a trip straight to the ER of the local Children’s Hospital.

21 or so days later, she was out of the hospital and has improved in multiple areas since then.

The funny thing is, when telling Georgia fans about the initial trip to the hospital, usually say, ‘well, it was the weekend of the Auburn game…”

In a way, our daughter has been defined by the Auburn game.

Either way, she’ll be decked out this Saturday from our home in red and black cheering on the Dawgs with us!

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg