False Hope, or Real Hope? I Reckon I'll Take the Latter.

Scott Cunningham

After a great year with another great one on tap, the Bulldog Nation finds itself a little upset this week. And, for the most part, rightfully so. It's not, however, without some silver linings, and we have to look at the total picture to see everything going on.

My Mother has had a difficult time keeping her basement water tight. With a lot of rain, water runs under the house like a creek. As she began to tackle this problem, I told her, "It's not going to be just one thing to fix it, you are going to need lots of things, some big and some small." So, she sealed some walls, put in long downspouts, did some landscaping, and made drainage areas with pumps as a last resort. And, it's better. Chuckdawg, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, having made my sometimes terrible mistake of perusing the AJC and other message boards, I found a lot of people blaming this one thing or that one thing for the recruiting year, mostly on Todd Grantham. Also, and maybe more rightfully so, there is fair amount of blame on CTG for our run defense. What caught my attention, however, is how singularly focused the comments are on Coach Grantham and our recruiting year. "Good Riddance" "Georgia is shady" (always tech fans of course). "His run D was terrible anyway." "It's his fault we had a bad year."

Well, what seems, as so often happens in our real life stories, is that occasionally some people can only focus on the one problem, rather than craft a picture that combines all the pieces to give a cyclorama, versus one still shot. In truth, a lot of things are going on. The run game was weak, yep. But John Jenkins didn't pan out quite as well as expected. And we did well to stop the pass leaving the run game as a better option for our opponents. There were those untimely Offensive mistakes. Alabama ran on us. Yep. And they ran on everyone, with one of the best O lines around. These things don't mean we don't need to get better, but when you simply go the route of "fire someone" after a good year, you are likely missing out on a lot of the pieces that are causing your basement to leak. We just came off a 12 game winning season, and I believe we are going to be unstoppable on Offense with a decent Defense next year, and no one is happy. Did I jump on my couch on Wed? No. But I was already jumping on my couch for the 13 early enrollees, a great QB, and getting more O line and DBs. And if Tunsil or Crowder or whoever isn't that serious about being a Dawg, well, they aren't going to be that serious about being a Tiger or a Rebel anyhow. I aint skeert.

For recruiting, again we had a series of things that didn't help. First, and this is just truth, we had a couple of guys we thought were surely locked in flip on signing day. It's not like we didn't do everything we could, and everyone is wondering what Ole Miss did. Next, Alabama is Alabama. They are winning lots of rings and that always brings in recruits. Also, as MaconDawg said on the podcast, you have schools that are in such bad shape they can guarantee playing time. That does not guarantee Ole Miss and Auburn are about to win anything. In fact, we'll stomp them both in the next years. And you have to factor in our former Coach Rodney Garner, who was seemingly phoning it in and thinking about his next job. That was a huge blow. Finally, we got "Grantham Gate". And Coach Grantham didn't necessarily do things in a way to help us either. But I have to agree with Kyle (and me) that having a desired coach is a "good problem" and the only issue is the back and forth of Coach Grantham being hired away and the timing with signing day. So, it's all these things. Oh, and the "fence off our state" line. Well, we can't mathematically get them all anyway, and we keep stealing other states star QBs, and sometimes kids want to see a different piece of land. We need to do better, but there are always going to be some that go elsewhere.

One last piece is UGA had the "dream team" a few years ago, and we were all jumping on our couches and saying victory was nigh. And that didn't go quite as planned. We didn't really need 5 stars and super stars in this year group anyhow. Sure, I wanted them all, and wish we had them, but we don't need them. And no, I aint shining you on, I am not happy about the whole thing, I just think there are roses with the weeds. And while Ole Miss has a good haul, they still are deficient in a million areas, and these are freshmen mind you, and Alabama is pulling in guys that may never see the playing field. But we got numbers, and what is completely missed but so huge is we got 13 early enrollees. Numbers were hurting us for depth, and numbers were hurting us to give in house competition. So, no, it wasn't a great haul, but it wasn't a bad one either.

In the end, yea, a lot of little things hurt us. But there wasn't some major disaster area. I try to give Coach Saban his proper credit, and he knows everyone of these little things add up. Having a solid staff that hits kids up in 11th grade and then walks with them all the way to Athens is huge. We failed at that. What we can do, however, is take those 13 early enrollees and add 20 lbs of muscle and cut 5 % of fat between now and August, all while studying the play book and getting used to campus life. No, I am not that happy with Coach Grantham right now, and we need a better run defense, but when looked at with a singular eye you miss all the other parts and pieces going on. UGA didn't hit a home run on National Signing Day as a coaching staff, not as an individual. It's all those little pieces that are causing some of our short comings. It is not, however, all doom and gloom. A lot happens between now and August. A lot of good may happen for us, and maybe some bad for those other guys. But simply pointing the scope at one problem and blaming it for all means you only see what's in the optic, and not everything around it. Yea, I just said not seeing the forest for the trees. A little lame but true. In the end, my hope, based on some decent empirical evidence, is we got more Dawgs. That's something we really needed, is more Dawgs. I have no idea if Coach Grantham is a Dawg or not, but I do expect him to figure it out right quick. Bottom line, there is no perfect; it's trying to do all the big things and little things you can. We failed in a handful of little things, and how you weigh them is going to vary. Gardner being replaced by Wilson hurt, but I think helps. Having a desired coach hurts, but it's part of having a good coach. All is most certainly not lost, however. Let's see how it pans out. In the meantime, Basketball is on a hot streak, so

GO DAWGS!

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