Archive for the 'Coaching' Category

You’re a DGD, Coach Landers

I’m not naive. I know that to many, Georgia women’s basketball is either a casual interest or niche sport, for the most part. But when you say Lady Bulldogs basketball, the first person to come to mind is Andy Landers.

He’s a only full-time coach that UGA has ever had – let that one sink in and marinate for a minute.

If you only judge a coach by championships – Landers was not successful. But that’s the thing – success is an entire body of work, and that is what Landers embodied during his career.

31 NCAA Tourneys

20 Sweet Sixteens

11 Elite Eights

5 Final Fours

7 SEC Championships

4 SEC Tournament titles

He had the highly unfortunate fortune to be in the same conference as the great coach in women’s hoops, Pat Summit. Put Landers in a different conference or region, and who knows what would have been.

No shortage of tremendous women’s greats have played for Landers – the Miller twins, Teresa Edwards (perhaps the most decorated women’s basketball player of all time), Katrina McClain, among others. But they came to Athens for one reason – the program that Landers built from the ground up into an elite operation.

Happy trails, Coach Landers. You’ve earned every bit of it.

Go Lady Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Making sense of Saturday’s nonsensicals

– Georgia may have lost this game on a squib kick, but it was the game itself was lost well before that. Fact is, the better team won on Saturday, Georgia just came close to digging itself out of a big hole just in the nick of time. For the most part, this same team that overpowered Auburn and Clemson got manhandled by Tech. Basically, it was the Florida game all over again. If I’m playing Georgia, I run it, run it and run it. because as good as this defense is against the spread, its as lacking against power running games.

– Really a shame for Hutson Mason. He probably got more out of his ability than most players in the CMR era – but he’ll be remembered for a massively boneheaded play in the worst time to make it.

– I turned and made sure to exit Saturday and not see GT players taking pieces of our hedges. It sucks that it happens, but when you protect your house, it doesn’t happen. Then again, fair is fair – Ben Jones gave us one of the better post-game shots a few years ago with a chunk of yellow turf in his mouth, so it works both ways.

– You cannot, CANNOT get inside the five three times and score a combined three points. I said to myself at the half that Georgia would lose after the two first-half fumbles.

– Speaking of fumbles, Georgia got a gift on Swann’s return….but based on the screw jobs by refs on Georgia this year, we were due for once.

– Look, I like accountability as much as the next guy, but this after the fact business of, ‘yeah I messed up,’ is getting old and getting old fast. It doesn’t matter if you admit it was a bad decision, it was STILL a bad decision. The squib kick ranks up there with the 2001 goal line debacle against Auburn and opting to redshirt Knowshon Moreno. One of the biggest mistakes in TV series history was when Coy and Vance were in the Dukes of Hazzard. Every knows it was a bad mistake, but it does not change the fact that it took place.

– That said, I’m not on the “fire Richt” bandwagon. Bonehead things happen. Remember Saban in the Iron Bowl last year? That said, everyone on the staff should have their feed held to the fire after losing to Georgia’s two biggest rivals. That should not be unacceptable. The problem is that being ‘pretty good’ seems to be ok with the UGA administration.

– Please, for the love of Christmas, don’t make us play Nebraska again in a bowl.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Jacksonvilling, A Georgia Tradition

38-20.

The winning team with more than 400 rushing yards.

The losing team’s fans taking to social media to rip the losing coach to shreds, some calling for his firing.

On paper, and if you asked anyone outside the Georgia fan base the past week, they’ve have surmised that it would have been Georgia with the 38 points and gaudy rushing yards, and Florida with the loss and possibly placing the red tag in Will Muschamp’s locker.

Then again, none of those fans know that us Georgia fans know all too well. There’s a little thing called Jacksonville, and for whatever reason, Georgia’s more underwhelming performances happen at Everbank Field. It may not be a true neutral site, but that can’t be an excuse to let down after let down. Go back in Mark Richt’s tenure and better Georgia teams have either struggled to beat, or lose to inferior Florida teams.

But Saturday? It took it to another level. In terms of losses under Mark Richt, it, to me is among the top three most shameful, in the same breath as the 2006 Sugar Bowl and 2008 against Georgia Tech.

It’s unconscionable that a team that rolls over Mizzou and Arkansas, on the road, to be blunt, just seemed uninterested in being there on Saturday. More baffling? This team’s worst performances this year have come off open dates. I mean, if this coaching staff has problems keeping players sharp, why the heck not scrimmage someone like Buford High on open weekends?

The officials Saturday? They were bad, as usual. Was Gurley missed? Yes, but it wouldn’t have meant much with the way Georgia was beaten up front.

But it’s funny, in a way. Saturday may have been the final laugh for Georgia toward the Muschamp era at Florida. Instead, it is one that Florida fans will always remember, and remind Georgia fans with infamy – very similar to Georgia’s 1985 win over top-ranked Florida. And, depending on what happens the rest of the year, could be the turning point for Richt’s turnaround during the past three seasons. Sure, it’s post-game gut reactions, but all I know is a lot of Richt apologists last night appeared to be tired of defending Richt, and may be finally resolving that maybe their loyalty needs to be reevaluated.

At the end of the day, the problem is this. Georgia fans are asking themselves why this team has put together another underwhelming showing in a game it had no business losing going in. And it happens season after season.

Saturday was a chance to continue moving this program forward. Instead, it took multiple steps back, and it may need a win over Auburn in two weeks to get back on track.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

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

Post USC-East takes

Maybe it was the emotional exhaustion of another grindfest in SEC play…or maybe it had something to do with an eight-week old girl in the house, but I somehow drifted into an unexpected nap on Sunday afternoon.

So after all that, and some time to let everything from Saturday sink in, here are a few takes.

– Was the decision to not run Todd Gurley four times at the four-yard line a knuckleheaded call by Mike Bobo? Probably (Of course, it didn’t help that officials botched the intentional grounding call…more on that later). But I’m more than willing to give Bobo some slack. This offense has averaged more than 40 points or so the past three years. If you would have told me we’d roll up around 40 points the first two games this year with a hovering above average QB and ZERO deep threats at receiver, I’d gladly take it. This team has some shortcomings right now. Mike Bobo is not one of them.

– The defense showed how far of a hole it has to dig out of. When you have inexperience, you can have the greatest coaching in the world, but it cannot compensate with lack of experience. There is talent on defense, but that talent has to grow up in a hurry. A few players that did not want to do it ‘The Georgia Way,” who are not worth mentioning, may help this team long-term, but they put it in a tough spot short-term. This defense will get on the right track. Hopefully, it will be before it is too late. Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins were non-factors against South Carolina…but the Chickens going max-protect had a lot to do with that.

– Did the referees cost Georgia the game? Yes and no. It baffles me that as much revenue as the SEC pulls in that it has no problem that its officials continue to embarrass the conference. And this is not only a Georgia gripe. Ask Kentucky’s fans, as well. An awful holding penalty call cost Georgia a touchdown and Heisman-highlight clip from Todd Gurley, and the intentional grounding call was an awful miss too.  For whatever reason, the SEC does not think its important to have quality officials. It is laughing all the way to the bank. The league, its teams and fans deserve way better. At the end of the day, though, you have to assume in every game you are not going to get certain breaks and have to play well enough to over come them. Georgia did not do that. Which brings us to…

– Football is a funny and illogical game sometimes. How Marshall Morgan’s field goal streak ends with two misses in the second half baffles me. If he makes one of them, it’s a tie game. If he makes both, Georgia wins. On the road in this conference, you have to make your own breaks and take advantage. Georgia did not do that.

– Despite many comment section and Facebook postings after the game, this season is not over. It’s a tough pill to swallow to lose to the HBC, but this team still controls its own fate. USCe will lose at least once more this season. More often than not, you won’t run the table in this conference, it just won’t happen as much as you want it to.

– I’m avoiding the call-in shows on Monday.

– You can’t pin this loss on one facet. It was a team loss. There were breakdowns on offense, defense and special teams that contributed to the loss. This team has a week to get better and heal up against Troy and take on what will be a pesky Tennessee team.

– Can we replace Uncle Verne?

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Last week was nice, but…

From the moment that Georgia’s 2014 schedule was released, one positive that jumped out was this week’s open date. The schedule-makers slotted Georgia with an open date between two brusing matchups – last week against Clemson and next week’s road trip to South Carolina.

While the Gamecocks will go up against a pesky East Carolina team, Georgia can rest up and guys such as Malcolm Mitchell and John Theus can get closer to being healthy.

Still, the open week could be a bad thing.

The Bulldogs are coming off of an impressive win last week against Clemson. Georgia has risen in the rankings, and very, very early talk of National Title hopes and a Heisman Trophy contention for Todd Gurley has been kicked into high gear.

Georgia’s fans have an extra week to reflect on how impressive the Dawgs looked last week – and the players have more time to hear about how good they looked.

Georgia’s season may be defined in how well it handles the open date. If it lapses this week, the Bulldogs could leave Columbia next Saturday 0-1 in SEC play, and the Clemson win would be little more than a nice win over an old rival.

It’s great to win, but that win cannot define a season.

Anyone remember 2004. Georgia whipped LSU in a much-anticipated rematch. The next week, a lackluster performance against Tennessee cost Georgia the game as well as the SEC Eastern Division title. Or as Georgia head coach Mark Richt said, “we lost the wrong game.”

Last week was nice for Georgia. But it’ll pale in comparison if the Bulldogs don’t come out with a win following this weekend’s open date.

Lugnut Dawg 

Bobo being taken for granted?

Let’s throw it out there. Mike Bobo is a massive lightning rod when it comes to the UGA football program. Mention his name and you’ll either have fans talk about how great he or how he needs to lose his job (which I still fail to understand, for what it’s worth).

Georgia, however, is running a high risk of neglecting Bobo. There was recent news that Bobo received a contract extension, but a pay raise was not included.

Look, I get the fact that the defensive staff has to be offered more to lure them in, and I have no issue with that. If Pruitt and Company produce, they are worth every penny.

But when you have a coach such as Mike Bobo, whose offense is the only reason that this team was a national title contender two years ago and made itself a factor for Atlanta again this year, you have to, as they say, “Pay the man.”

And then there is the fact that Georgia’s upswing in South Georgia recruiting has a lot to do with Bobo.

Bobo is a loyal guy to both Georgia and Mark Richt. But when you underappreciate someone long enough, the end result is that person making an easy decision to leave.

Let’s hope it never comes to that.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg


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