Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mark Richt's Proverbial "Lid" Back on at Georgia

When Richt talked about UGA's 2002 SEC Championship, its first in 20 years, he repeatedly mentioned 'blowing the lid off' the program.

He discussed the idea that Georgia had several quality teams under both Goff and Donnan, and had come very close to being an SEC Champion, but could just never quite get over the hump.

He talked in retrospect about the '01 Tennessee 'hobnail boot' game, in which it was looking like another "not quite" game for the Dawgs, until David Greene, Randy McMichael, and Vernon Hayes (sic) changed the fate of the Bulldogs, not only for that day, but for the next few years.

He spoke of the all-important '02 Auburn game, in which Georgia was against the ropes; its chances of finally winning the SEC East looking dim after falling behind and getting physically outmatched for the first 30 minutes, but rallying to come from behind in dramatic fashion to clinch the division.

When we look at the Georgia program now, it's obvious that there are some X's and O's issues, probably a couple of talent issues, and a litany of other things that have just added up to Georgia's less-than-successful past 15 games. Certainly, the Dawgs have been asleep at the wheel for entire halves of games, and that's something to consider. However, the biggest difference I see right now is that Mark Richt's teams of late haven't shown that same confidence, drive, or determination that says, "Hey, I don't care what's happened for the past 40 or 50 minutes, we're in this game, and we're going to win."

Everybody with an opinion on Georgia has got their reasons for the Dawgs 1-2 start this year, and 2-6 record over their last 8 SEC games. Some label Bobo's play-calling far too conservative. Others cite a dip in elite talent, while the rest talk about an overall lack of effective coaching. These reasons certainly range from the plausible to the probable, and everywhere in between.

In the end, though, you've got to win in the end. Georgia has been losing more close games than it's been winning lately, and that's the biggest difference. The program's lid has been screwed back on, and if Richt can't figure out how to once again blow it off, he too may be screwed.

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