Mark Richt has recently begun a spring speaking tour, traveling to different cities around the South and speaking about the upcoming football season. On Thursday night in Jacksonville, he made an interesting comment, saying that the team’s lack of effort last year was “embarrassing”.
He went on to tell the crowd, “It’s our shame and it’s my fault. We’re not going to let that happen again.”
Most likely, Richt doesn’t even know how right he was. Last year, five of the games Georgia lost could have been won easily if the Dawgs’ stupid mistakes were eliminated. Four of those games finished within eleven points, and two had a score differential of three points or fewer. Consider the following:
- South Carolina: Washaun Ealey fumbled at the goal line during Georgia’s best scoring opportunity. South Carolina later added a field goal that made the final score 17-6.
- Arkansas: The Georgia secondary completely missed an assignment during the final minute of the game. Arkansas scored a touchdown on the play and won 31-24.
- Mississippi State: The Dawgs’ offense looked it forgot to show up to the stadium. They didn’t score a touchdown until there was only 1:27 left in the game.
- Colorado: As Georgia drove into scoring position to win the game, Caleb King fumbled on what may have been a flea-flicker play. Colorado ran out the clock to win 29-27.
- Florida: After a thrilling second-half comeback, Aaron Murray went into overtime and threw an interception that was almost returned for a touchdown. Florida went on to kick the winning field goal.
In short, Georgia was basically four plays away from having a 10-2 record during the 2010 season. And, as Richt said, all of the above plays were the result of poor coaching and uninspired playing. Ealey and King’s fumbles could have been easily prevented with more practice and discpline. Football coaches at all levels must teach their players to hold onto the ball, especially in key situations, and not try for a big play when it’s not there. As many Georgia fans can recall, Ealey tried to stretch the ball out to the goal line while he was falling down, which only resulted in a Gamecock defender knocking it loose.
Against Florida, Richt and Mike Bobo should have told Aaron Murray to be safe with the ball and not take risks, as the game was in overtime. It’s much safer to kick a field goal and trust your defense to stop the other team. Georgia went with the dangerous route of trusting the defensive coordinator’s choke sign to stop Florida.
Richt and the coaching staff hold the same responsibility for the other losses. Someone should have fired up the offense during that Mississippi State game. Also, Todd Grantham should have ensured that the deep routes were covered on the play against Arkansas (although some blame for that play does fall on the secondary).
During his speeches, Richt has guaranteed that he will discipline this team and inspire them to play hard. However, many of Richt’s “guarantees” have fallen short in the past. If he can’t keep this promise, his time at the University of Georgia may be nearing its end.
About the Author
Written by Brenden Hull
I have been following and analyzing sports my entire life. My favorite teams include all Georgia Bulldogs teams, along with the Atlanta Braves and Indianapolis Colts. I am the Georgia Bulldogs football writer here at Pro Sports Blogging, having joined the team in April 2011. You can contact me at bulldog724 AT gmail DOT com.