Outcoached, Outclassed, Unblemished
Georgia has not lost in the Music City in twenty years outside of a thusly named bowl in Mark Richt’s first season as a head coach, when his historically poor clock management cost us a close loss to overmatched little Boston College, after it had cost us a tough loss to Auburn earlier that year which was chronicled across the then more simple sports media universe as bonehead. Only a month after Auburn ran out the clock, on a dark and bitter cold night in Nashville, I left the stadium knowing our progress as a program was relatively minor and certain Jim Donnan would have won that bowl game, as he did each at Georgia.
Our concerns about Richt were mostly quieted as UGA finished the next season 13-1; we were only a Cocktail party dropped touchdown pass by Terrence Edwards and a horrific DJ Shockley pick six from being an undefeated national champion. The program probably hit its peak. Richt personally continued to grow and learn and then eventually quit calling football plays at all in an effort to focus on the CEO role, yielding to former UGA QB Mike Bobo – who himself once led the SEC in interceptions before finally maturing as a senior on a strong two-loss team. At FSU, Richt was known for creative pass-oriented play calling, successful trick plays, total team talent and the Seminoles blowing an average of one game per season. At Georgia, we routinely blow at least two games per year we should win and have learned to lose more the past two pathetic football seasons.
This season in Nashville, Rambo had to save Richt from the sure firing line with a late pick and then a tipped away would-be winning Commodore touchdown pass. Adding insult to near defeat, the University of Georgia was embarrassingly under civilized in comparison to our private school SEC brethren. We completely lost composure and more alarmingly we nearly lost the football game to the perennial division cellar dwellers. Perhaps our most physical defender, Shawn Williams, had two interceptions and two personal fouls and may face suspension for the Florida game. Kwame Geathers was hit hard and dirty, but then he responded with a punch for the cameras to see. He may be suspended for the Florida game. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham behaved like a childish maniac after the contest. He may be suspended for the Florida game, where his unprofessional gesture last season resulted in public admonishment from Richt and the SEC office. This tirade was far more lengthy and significant, and he had already been warned to behave like a grown man, coach, fine example for our understandably temperamental student athletes.
Our special teams units were far from special Saturday, as preseason All-American Blair Walsh missed two more field goals. Does he have a backup and why isn’t he playing yet? Vandy blocked a very late punt because our protection was insufficient. Vandy completed a pass to a center eligible from a backup punter in a wild formation after none of our coaching staff was alert enough to call the timeout our knowledgable fans were calling for.
The halfback pass worked for Vandy, twice. When is the last time UGA ran a successful trick play? A handoff to a cornerback is not a trick play. And it is almost Halloween and the J-Ville house of horrors awaits. Unblemished in October to date, it is getting late.