Monday, October 08, 2007

"Are you going to do anything? Or just stand there and bleed?"

A reenactment of Saturday's game, with Billy Bob Thornton playing the role of Coach Willie Martinez, and Kurt Russell playing Coach David Cutcliffe (never mind that the younger, chubbier version of Billy Bob is closer to Coach Cut's body type):

For most of the game, Georgia decided that, yes, they were going to just stand there and bleed.
Luckily for me, Peachtree TV (the network formerly known as channel 17/local TBS) was showing Tombstone Saturday afternoon.

After the blocked punt, I watched the rest of the movie, flipping over to either the NCState/FSU game on ABC or the Cubs game on the other TBS.

I can't remember a time where I completely threw the towel in on the Dogs. I kept getting disgusted and leaving the room during the Sugar Bowl vs. WVU, but I kept coming back. I sat through the Auburn beatdown til the bitter end in 2004. I did get turn off the TV against LSU in the 2003 SEC title game, but not prior to halftime.

So what's left is that this game was as bad or worse than the 1999 Auburn game. To me, they're similar: a not-really-that-good team shuts the Dawgs down on both sides of the ball, and a new DC is needed.

Willie Martinez managed to stay the sword of Damocles last season with a strong Defensive performance against Florida, and shutting down Auburn and Tech, as well as some adjustments against VT. But in retrospect that was fancy window dressing on a terrible season defensively. Brandon Cox was injured, Auburn couldn't move the ball through the air at all, yet still topped 140 rushing yards on the Dawgs' D. Tech is Tech. Any UGA D coordinator should look good vs. Reggie "Game" Ball. And VT had Sean Glennon, so good Frank Beamer benched him in favor of a freshman this year.

And the real reason I turned the TV off so early? Because it looked like Coach Martinez and co. made no adjustments and learned nothing from their second-half torching at EweTee's hands last year. Florida has a young, inexperienced defense as well this season, yet somehow managed to hold the Vols to 13 points. Even Arkansas St. and Southern Miss made Arian Foster look like what he really is: a very average at best runningback.

When you play a defensive scheme more passive than Pamela Hoffman-Jeep (today's obscure reference to Infinite Jest brought to you by The Howling Fantods!) bad things happen. And yes, it is scheme and coaching. You can't tell me Tech has had more talent that Georgia on Defense for the past 3 years, yet Tenuta's boys can get a stop. When, in a meaningful game not against Reggie Ball, has the Georgia D under Martinez gotten a big stop?

The offense shouldn't get a total pass here (how many of Georgia's early possessions were: run first down, run 2nd down, oh, it's 3rd-and-8 we have to pass?) But given their performance so far, with the added handicap of three freshmen OL, it's easier to excuse nearly three quarters of poor play when the offense has really only looked poor one other time (and that was to a, sadly top ten, SoCar team) whereas the D has had this inability to get key stops through several games.

Ideally, the Dawgs do what they did the last time they lost to an above-average at best UT team and the Red Sox were in the ALCS (that was 2004 for those keeping score) and win their remaining games. But Willie Martinez should seek other gainful employment, and John Eason should join him. Beating three ranked teams to end '06 was nice, but when the problems that lead to us losing to Vandy and Kentucky last year are back, something must be done. Let's hope Coach Richt isn't so nice he won't let go a DC in over his head and a WR coach who's time has long passed.

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