Epic Failure – Georgia Loses to UCF

I can’t believe I just typed that headline.  Georgia just lost to a Conference USA team getting its first bowl win ever.  This game was everything that has been wrong with the program for the last 3-5 years rolled up into one 60 minute game.  Poor preparation, no motivation, and the failure to make adjustments were at the core of why Georgia lost tonight.

Poor Preparation

Picture above:  Coach Grantham’s self-assessment of his performance today

Todd Grantham has had a year to learn to defend the spread running game.  UCF popped in the South Carolina video and copied their game plan to a T without Alshon Jeffrey.  They ran right at us, and we had no answer.  To get pushed around by Auburn with Cam Newton or South Carolina with Marcus Lattimore is one thing.  To get pushed around by UCF is a completely different issue.  I understand that we don’t have the interior defensive linemen to play a 3-4, but to have the same problems on defense in game 13 we had in game 2 is absolutely unacceptable.

Picture above:  Was Michael Stipe on the sideline calling the plays today or what?

Mike Bobo seemed to think the South Carolina game plan was a great plan as well.  I called the draw on 1st and 25 and then the screen where Murray was sacked after the chop block penalty.  The offensive line played a downright offensive game.  I don’t know what Stacy Searels has done from game to game this season, but tonight was the worst performance I’ve seen from a Georgia offensive line since the Ray Goff era.

No Motivation

Picture above:  We have screwed the lid back tightly on this football program!

I lay this directly at the feet of Coach Richt.  A 96-yard drive and kick a field goal on 4th and 1 at the UCF 2 yard line?  That decision absolutely took the wind out of the sails of the Georgia crowd and told the team that he didn’t think we could line up and gain a yard when we were absolutely manhandling them at the point of attack.  How demotivating was that?  We looked like a team that thought it would win by rolling the ball out there and showing up with the “G” on our helmets.

Failure to Make Adjustments

Once again, we go away from what is working.  We were controlling the UCF offense, and then we refused to overload the box when it was clear they could not contain the pass rush long enough to throw downfield.  We went right ahead with playing 6 (sometimes 5!) guys in the box like we were concerned they would hit us with big plays in the passing game, and they kept running the zone read with a limping quarterback.

On offense, it seemed like Bobo was not willing to try anything that wasn’t on his play sheet.  No downfield completions to the best receiver in college football and no attempts to get him the ball in space.  After Murray threw the 2 interceptions (and almost at least 1 more), Bobo decided to take everything to the sidelines.  After doing a pretty good job the second half of the season, Bobo regressed today.

Overall Assessment of the Performance

Needless to say, this game won’t go into the vault of the Butts-Mehre building as a shining example of Georgia football.  I give the offense a big fat F (turnovers, penalties, and the inability to score 1 TD).  The defense gets a D because they didn’t give up any big plays and forced a couple of turnovers but couldn’t defend the simple zone read.  The special teams get a C because we didn’t get any field position from the return game and the punting game didn’t give us any field position.  The coaching, of course, gets a big, fat F for the failure to prepare, motivate, and adjust.

I don’t remember the 1974 Tangerine Bowl when Georgia lost to Miami (OH not FL), but today has to feel very much like that game did.  Coach Dooley placed himself on a warm seat after that game going into 1975 just as Coach Richt has done today going into 2011.  Coach Dooley rebounded to go to the Cotton Bowl in 1975 and an SEC championship in 1976.  Here’s to hoping that may happen again.

Those are my thoughts.  I would appreciate hearing yours in the comments below.

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6 Responses to Epic Failure – Georgia Loses to UCF

  1. 69Dawg says:

    I think you covered it nicely.Anyone who thinks we are going to be better next year just hasn’t been paying attention. Nice guys only finish last when they don’t know what they are doing. Mark has never ever even been around a program that has gone south. He has no frame of reference. He will just go down with the ship because the big money Dawgs have got to be embarrassed by this loss enough to cause a change.

  2. eethomaswfnc says:

    Excellent points – thanks for the comment!

  3. Mayor of Dawgtown says:

    The game was lost when Richt kicked the field goal on the first drive of the game–and not just because of the loss of the 4 points (7-3=4) which turned out to be the exact amount by which the Dawgs lost the game. Ealey actually made the first down and the Dawgs got a bad spot. Inches to go for a first down and slightly more than 1 yard to go for a TD. Maybe that bad spot influenced Richt to kick the field goal instead of going for it. UGA certainly has had enough bad spots in the last 3 years. Whatever the reason the decision to kick evinced a mindset of playing not to lose instead of playing to win. It displayed a total lack of confidence in the UGA offense, particularly the offensive line. There was a change in the effort level from the UGA offensive players after that. If their coach did not believe in them how can they be expected to believe in themselves?

  4. eethomaswfnc says:

    Mayor, excellent point. I didn’t think at the time it would cost us the game, but it did show we were playing not to lose instead of playing to win. Does anyone think Nick Saban would have kicked a field goal yesterday against Sparty in the same circumstances?

  5. I don’t know why I did this to myself but I just relived that game, which I saw live at the Liberty Bowl, by reading your post. Excellent points, all of them. I would very much like to say “But, my, how far we’ve come since then”. And I do feel that we’ve come a very long way since then. But it’s just a gut feeling. I can’t readily produce any evidence that such a thing has occurred. All I can point to is what you and me and everyone else who cares has read regarding them Dawgs in these last few weeks and months leading up to The Season. But, my, has my confidence grown.

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