Monday, October 12, 2009

There is no home like the one you got, 'cause that home belongs to you.*

Yesterday, I discussed the good and bad from the game on Saturday. I want to get the macro/program level issues I see off my chest. I don't have answers, just faith. I fully respect the approaches of The Senator, Streit, MaconDawg, and Mike in Valdosta. I actually appreciate seeing their words, because I was unsure I would be able to write this in a way that didn't sound petulant and frankly like I was writing on the Dawg Vent. While we all have that perogotive, I don't think it is constructive, useful or right.

I guess I need to start with the obvious, we don't have a good football team right now. Coach Richt acknowledged that in his post game comments. I desperately want this game to be the perfect storm of all the weaknesses coming out at one time. I am desperately afraid that isn't the case. It has gotten ugly on the boards, though. Ugly and stupid. Someone actually suggested we make a run at Carroll. Pete Carroll. Unreal. (In full disclosure, someone sent me that, I can't stand getting on the boards and rarely, if ever, look at them, for that very reason.)

I do want to address a couple of key comments I have seen:
  • Coach Richt not holding himself and his coaches accountable - crap. Pure Crap. I don't get (nor will I ever get) why he calls out his kicker in the press. However, I don't believe he will accomplish anything he wants, much less what the 'fans' want, by calling out a coach. You can blather in your annon comments all you want about his blind loyalty, his faith, his lack of desire/passion/emotion, but you cannot, for one minute, doubt his devotion to this team, desire to succeed, and his belief that the University of Georgia is THE best place both to coach football and have his career be associated with. He does hold himself accountable and his coaches accountable. Just because he chooses not to do so in the press doesn't equal no accountability.
  • The Defense. I've seen high school defenses adjust to play action and misdirection better than Georgia has this season. Yesterday was the Oklahoma State game's logical conclusion, if we hadn't played better pass coverage in Stillwater. I just think, no...I know, the same coach that has made such great adjustments in the past is still capable of coaching up these players. You can call for Willie Martinez's head all you want, but he is still a capable tactician and motivator. Some how, some way, he can do it again.
  • The Offense. Mike Bobo's game strategies have been sound. He has well scripted the start of games. I am not sure where things are going wrong, but his play calling has been suspect. I was excited when he took over play calling in 2007. There was reason for that.
  • Oline. The running backs aren't the only ones to blame for the poor rushing performance. Hey, I love Stacey Searles, his approach and his passion (well, from what I have heard his passion is). If he deserved great praise last season for his work with the offensive line, then he has some heat coming now. Vast underachievement, in my opinion. Pass and running plays alike. However, the same talent that overachieved last year is there. The same coach that got that performance is still there. They are capable of being there again.
  • Kickoff Coverage. Accountability for the issues would be nice. The issues are not the kicker.
I work in a world that is based on numbers and outputs. I also work with students in the same age cohort that play college football. Furthermore, my success, or lack thereof, is made very public every year in print and online. That is me personally, my career personally and my success personally. Granted, I don't have 100,000 people watching me do my job 13 weekends a year and the few folks that blog about my job don't give a rat's ass about my product. However, there are plenty of people who think they know a lot about how to do my job and just how easy it is. They don't and it isn't.

I say all of that to make this point about Coach Richt's quote about being in the arena. I do get what he is saying. There is pride. Pride in doing you job well. I know good and well Coach Richt cares and has pride. I know good and well Mike Bobo, Jon Fabris, Stacey Searles, Willie Martinez, Rodney Garner, Tony Ball, John Lilly, John Jancek and Bryan McClendon care and have pride. I know the 85 men that wear the Red and Black care and have pride. They care way more than any fan, blogger or donor can.

Finally, I leave with a quote from Coach Richt, one that I found particularly poignant, especially considering the state of frenzy from blog comments (and some bloggers), comments to newspaper articles, newspaper 'columnists' and the various fora: "I’m pointing the finger at all of us as a whole."

We all need to examine ourselves, from the coaches to the everyday fan. And examine we will. If your most damning criticism of this post or me is that I am a homer, then you are right. That all came into focus yesterday morning when my son was singing "Glory, Glory" asking if Georgia was winning while I was watching the replay. He didn't care (or even have the concept of knowing to care). All he knew was that Georgia was playing and that made him happy. I don't like losing. I don't like seeing Georgia play bad football. However, I will always prefer being a 3-3 Georgia Bulldog over being fan of any other team. That is just who I am. That is my home.

These days are NOT over.

*Lyric from Jenny Lewis' song 'Barking at the Moon'


  1. Excellent perspective. I haven't really posted on this because I too felt it would become childish and too petulant especially after all the aforementioned bloggers covered the bases of my feelings pretty well. It's absolutely incredulous that anyone would call for Mark Richt's job at this point. Granted, I was in college for the early Richt years so all I knew was success, but I was a Bulldog fan far before that and I remember the Goff and Donnan years and just how bad it really was. Mark Richt has raised the level of this program to a point it has never been before, arguably better than the 1980-1984 Dooley years.

    On the other hand I am really glad that I didn't watch the game on Saturday (I went with the parents to Taste of Atlanta). I think Paul Westerdawg over to posted last year, but frankly it's been the same story for a few years now. Poor fundamentals, questionable coaching decisions, and just an overall staleness. You could basically write up a story about a Georgia loss and it would fit most of them over the last 3 years. I certainly hope that Coach Martinez and Coach Bobo can turn this thing around, but sometimes a shakeup isn't a bad thing. Look at the Rockeis this year. They were on the way to a terrible year and fired their manager and Jim Tracy led them to the best record in baseball from May through September. I'm not advocating any firings, but it's not always a bad thing, I suppose. I still think Coach Richt is the man to lead my alma mater until he no longer wants to, but I do believe he's going to have to do some serious soul searching at the end of this season. I just worry that the decisions may be taken out of his hands a la Tommy Tuberville. I think Richt is like Tuberville in the respect that he would rather go down with the ship than be as Hootie Johnson would say "forced at the point of a bayonet". Who knows though, I never entered the "arena" so I obviously have no clue what I'm talking about. ;)

  2. I probably spent more time on this post than I have any one yet. I didn't want to just spew non-sense (at least any more than normal).

    I see you point about the changes. If that is the case, then so be it. It'll be tough for CMR to do, but I believe he will (I have to believe he will might be a better way to put it).

    Anyway, you truly missed nothing by not watching the game. Nothing.

  3. Great post. I'll go ahead an incorporate by reference pretty much everything you said, BIE, but I think Richt went way, way, way overboard with two inter-related, but distinct post-game comments. First, his fresh-wound defense of Bobo's play calling was, ironically, a bad call on Richt's part. Don't get snippy with journalists for doing their job. Second, he made one of the "people who aren't in the arena shouldn't criticize those who are" comments. If Alabama took that approach, Mike Shula would still be the head coach. I understand how easy it is to discount comments from individuals who aren't directly involved in any activity, but at a certain point, Richt must ask himself whether a person needs to be "in the arena" to know that Jonathan Crompton shouldn't look like Joe Namath. If Richt doesn't want to hear flack from those "not in the arena", then don't cash your paycheck. The same non-arena types criticizing now are the same ones who will cheer the loudest when things go well (and who will continue donating to the UGA Athletic Department instead of the BYU Alumni Association, as they probably should).

    With that off my chest, I still bleed red and black and hope we start a great turnaround the week at Vandy. More than anything, I want to see the offensive line push some people around. offensive line steps