AJ Green returned for the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. With his return was supposed to come a turnaround of a season of ineptitude.
That was the case for a little while, but the end result of the game was the most heartbreaking loss yet for the disappointing Bulldogs.
AJ Green was the star everyone expected to be for this game, but only for about one half. His first touch was a 40-yard run on a reverse and was quickly followed by a gasp-inducing one-handed grab in the endzone.
Just a short while later, Green burned the coverage for a 39-yard touchdown catch. He finished with seven catches for 119 yards and those two touchdowns, but was a non-factor in the second half. In fact, he didn't catch a single pass after the third play following halftime.
The game against Colorado wasn't really the ideal situation for him to return. Green suffered from cramp after cramp, partially due to a lack of game situations, a direct result of his suspension. Also, the altitude of Colorado's stadium clearly affected him.
Where Does the Blame Lie?
Green's absence has been a convenient excuse for Georgia fans to use during the struggles of the 2010 season, but that is no longer an option.
Colorado is not exactly the toughest opponent in college football and is a team that virtually everyone expected for Georgia to win. Yet the Bulldogs still came away with a loss.
The problem isn't a lack of talent, there is plenty of that on the roster.
Green is back and he should be forming a potent duo with Kris Durham quite soon.
Aaron Murray now has five games under his belt, including ones in hostile stadiums and under lots of pressure. He also had an entire redshirt year to practice and gain experience.
In my mind, the problem is a lack of heart.
The Bulldogs aren't tackling fundamentally. They're unable to move the ball against smaller, slower players. They're blowing coverages in the secondary.
They're just not playing high-quality football.
It's almost like they've quit on this season already. Part of the blame for that has to lie with the coaches.
Don't get me wrong, Mark Richt is an incredible football coach and he's had great success during his tenure as head coach at Georgia. But, it seems like his players have quit on him.
They're not getting fired up and playing with passion. Isn't it Richt's job to motivate them to play with heart and desire?
There is no doubt that some sort of change needs to made at the University of Georgia, and the Bulldogs are doing their best to expedite that process.
What Needs to Happen
So many of the players came to this school at least in part because of Richt. He's loved, respected, and looked up to in Athens for the work he's done.
I've even seen a cell phone where the background was a picture of Richt with his coaching headset on.
The players may have given up on this season and stopped playing with the same desire that they should be playing with, and that's their decision.
They're all men capable of making their own decisions and if that's the one they choose to make, fine. So be it. This season may end up with a lower tier bowl game if they turn it around, but even that would be a failure when you look at the preseason expectations.
The results of this season aren't going to look good, no matter what angle you choose to look at them with. There's nothing that either you or I can do about that.
But to the Georgia players, please, at least be willing to play hard for Mark Richt.
He's given his heart and soul to this program. He deserves that at least.