Last week, a fellow red and black fan from the great Dawg nation wrote a letter to coach Mark Richt. In that letter, he called for the coach to bench Joe Cox, fire Willie Martinez, and send coach Bobo back to coaching the quarterbacks instead of running the offense.
A level-headed few of us took to the web to say "be patient, have faith, and keep cool." We felt that the season was not yet done even though we were out of the top 25 for the first time in three seasons—the last time was December 3, 2006.
Well today the cat is officially out of the bag and this author is finally at the point where she can say that some sure-fire changes need to be made NOW. Not later. Now!
Of course, the level-headed analyst in me says that firing coaches at this stage in the season can only bring more problems. The first of which will be who do we replace those guys with if we do?
Assistant coaches Rodney Garner and John Jancek are both chomping at the bit for their shot at the defensive coordinator position. Neither would be too happy to find themselves passed over for an outside hire.
Last season Jancek turned down the University of South Florida Bulls (USF) who flat out offered their defensive coordinator job to him—Garner turned down his Alma Mater for a similar job with new coach GeneChizik.
That said, if Willie goes and we don't hire either of them, will both bolt?
Say what you want about "cleaning" house, we don't want to lose Garner—he's the reason for such great recruiting returns. His haul last season included Branden Smith, Montez Robinson, and Chris Burnette—in all he was responsible for five recruits rated four-star or better.
We cannot afford to keep coach Martinez at the helm but if we give him his walking papers, we need to be sure we have a plan in place for both Jancek and Garner that doesn't involve either of them being shafted or feeling cheated by the man who many feel is the classiest guy in the SEC—MarkRicht.
It's understandable that the Bulldawg Nation is feeling raw right now. The feeling is mutual because the Tennessee game was brutal.
Seriously, it seemed as if we didn't even show up to play.
Tennessee came into that game with a respectable ground attack and a strong defense but an unreliable passing game. Enter Georgia who did their best impression of a dying dog by letting Jonathan Crompton—a guy who prior to that game had been monumentally ineffective—look like he was Heisman material.
Crompton picked the Georgia secondary apart and made our defensive backs look like imbeciles play after play. Add to that the ground game by Montario Hardesty and you have a tandem that waltzed all over the Dawgs for 468 yards!
Tennessee scored 38-points in the second and third quarters of the game.
Crompton completed 74 percent of his passes. 74 percent! He hadn't been that effective since the Vols played Western Kentucky in week one.
That's not disturbing...that's pathetic.
Is it all coaching? it's hard to be sure but if our guys are undisciplined, unfocused, and unmotivated, well...that is all about coaching.
When Brian Van Gorder was here, we had guys who were disciplinary problems but they still managed to show up and play tough on gameday—case in point, Odell Thurman. Remember him? He was oft in trouble and even got kicked out of the NFL for his lack of discipline.
That said, when Odell showed up in the red and black uni, he was a player. Period.
The Dawgs are reeling right now and the coaching staff is in the spotlight yet again for the same exact things that have plagued this team since week one: predictable offensive play calling, ineffectiveness in the run game, poor coverage in the secondary, and questions about the offensive line.
How many different ways can any respectable Dawg fan say "they'll turn it around " or "give it time"?
It doesn't matter how much intelligence you bring to the table, the writing on the wall becomes harder to ignore as the weeks go by and today seemed to bring forth a chorus so loud that none of us could ignore it any longer.
The title of that chorus' song was: "We Are Headed In The Wrong Direction."
It's time for coach Richt to let go of his loyalty to Willie Martinez. All of his defensive "leadership" has led us down a road of mediocrity that has so far culminated in one of the worst seasons I, personally, have ever witnessed.
Just look at the numbers:
total defense rank: 18th (313 ypg)
pass defense rank:7th (117 ypg)
rush defense rank: 52nd (143.8 ypg)
scoring defense rank: 8th (16.4 ppg)
turnover margin rank: 8th (-11)
total defense rank: 8th (258 ypg)
pass defense rank: 5th (150 ypg)
rush defense rank: 27th (108.2)
scoring defense rank: 20th (17.6 ppg)
turnover margin rank: 68th (-1)
total defense rank: 14th (323.2 ypg)
pass defense rank: 36th (213.3 ypg)
rush defense rank: 16th (109.9 ypg)
scoring defense rank: 18th (20.2 ypg)
turnover margin rank: 26th (+9)
total defense rank: 22nd (312.o ypg)
pass defense rank: 32nd (189.7 ypg)
rush defense rank: 27th (122.3 ypg)
score defense rank: 59th (24.5 ppg)
turnover margin rank: 73rd (+3)
2009 (through LSU):
total defense rank: 64th (358.2 ypg)
pass defense rank: 87th (236.8 ypg)
rush defense rank: 49th (121.4 ypg)
score defense rank: 85th (27.8 ppg)
turnover margin rank: 115th (-9)
Clearly, this year has seen the Georgia defense suffer it's worse season yet.
However, it would be unfair not to mention that having key players at skill positions didn't hurt—Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno were staples during the 2006-08' seasons and gave us more balance than we have at the moment.
However, that said, the ability to coach the talent you have on the roster is the job of the defensive coordinator. You expect fluctuations in categories as key players exit but it seems that Martinez has lost control across the board despite having talented players at his disposal.
This ties into the issues with coach Mike Bobo. Everyone knew it would be a monumental task to replace both Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford but he has done a horrible job of installing plays that play to the strengths of our current players.
For one, he is either not confident in Joe Cox or not creative enough in his play-scheming to develop a competent gameplan that the senior quarterback feels comfortable executing from week-t0-week.
By now everyone in the SEC knows that Joe Cox has A.J. Greene and.....*crickets*. See where this is going? Take away one guy from Cox's gameplan and he's completely lost. That should not be the case when you have so much talent at wide receiver.
Next, why do we have so many one-dimensional running backs? Washaun Ealey looked great last week but he struggled against a tougher defense scheme this week. Richard Samuel is a beast but he won't get you many yards after contact—he's not ready to be the power guy we want him to be right now.
Carlton Thomas is good in space but Bobo only seems to put him in on predictable screen passes and reverses—no diversity in the playcalling.
Finally, he continues to insert Logan Gray at times when he will be the least effective—what team isn't prepared for him to run a draw soon after he takes the snap?...Seriously?...Is this the best the Dawgs can do?
Georgia didn't score one offensive touchdown today. Not one.
Special teams scored 13-points and the heady play of Bacarri Rambo accounted for the other six. Outside of that, Joe Cox didn't have the time, protection, or ability to establish anything resembling a passing game.
He ended the day 19/34 for 146 yards and two interceptions. His receivers were inept and because neither Richard Samuel nor Washaun Ealey were effective on the ground, we became one-dimensional yet again.
This ain't Georgia people...this is...this is...shoot, I don't know what this is, but it ain't Georgia.
We need to get better. We have to get better. It starts at the top—coach Richt needs to start deciding what's more important: blind loyalty or maintaining the standard of winning we've grown accustomed to seeing him execute as Georgia's head coach.
All stats courtesy of www.NCAA.org.