Unlike what appears to be many other people, I came into last night's game against Florida fully prepared to lose. I haven't been this prepared to lose a WLOCP game since the beleaguered 1990's. I was actually rather surprised, therefore, when we actually showed a pulse versus the Gators.
In fact, if our receivers hadn't gotten the dropsies in exactly the wrong game, we could have actually been competitive here... should have been, even. To be honest, that's more than I expected coming in. And that's despite the fact that our running backs seemingly have forgotten how to run, our blockers have forgotten how to block, and our offensive coordinator has forgotten how to coordinate an offense.
I know many of y'all have probably decided to check out of the season at this point, and I can't, in all honesty, blame you. The only question now is whether UGA will go winless for the rest of the season to finish at 5-7, or whether we'll salvage a win against either Ga. Southern or Ga. Tech to at least go to a bottom-tier bowl game. (And don't you even start with "we should decline a bowl because we don't deserve it." The extra practice time is what shitty teams like ours need the most.)
So, anyway, we've got Kentucky coming into Athens to get their signature win for the 2015 season against the Dawgs this Saturday. Let's not even debate whether they're going to win... because they're going to win. Just accept it. But on the off chance that UK decides to have an bad day next Saturday, I'm letting the following people know that, for us to have any chance in this game, You're On Notice, Dawg!
In no particular order:
(Sorry, no graphic this week. I'm writing this on my iPad from Fort Vineyarddawg, and all the tools I use to make the graphic are on my computer at home.)
1) (Vacant) - The honorary #1 spot is vacant this week. It used to be reserved for UGA president and Il Duce Michael Adams until he retired. Then it was taken by Steve Spurrier, but now Spurrier has retired as well, and no amount of fond remembrances can recall the feelings we had during week 3 when we handed the Ol' Ball Coach such a terrible loss that he decided to hang up his whistle for good. I'm thinking the #1 slot will be vacant for the rest of the year, but we'll see. I'm open to suggestions on who should occupy the "honorary" #1 slot. (And no, it can't be Schotty. He's in the semi-permanent #2 spot.)
2) Brian Schottenheimer - Look, let's just admit right now that this is going to be a bad situation for everybody. Admitting that hiring Schotty was a terrible, terrible mistake won't make us feel any better when our offense continue to be hot, flaming garbage for however long Schotty continues to be employed, but at least we can acknowledge that's there, and we can know what to expect. It won't make us feel better, necessarily, but at least we'll be expecting the mounds and mounds of hot feces when they appear on the field.
I'm on a mobile device, so I can't go back easily and find the link, but when Schotty was hired, I was extremely skeptical from literally the very first post I wrote about his hiring. NFL offensive coordinators just don't have a good track record in the college ranks. NFL offenses don't work like college offenses, and the ways you "coach up" NFL offensive players aren't the same ways you "coach up" college players.
I give Schotty credit for dialing up some creative stuff on literally the first play of the game with the wildcat that Michel ran... but when did he ever run it again? "Hey, that play worked except for the penalty... so clearly let's not ever do it again?" How does that thought process even work? And where the hell was Keith Marshall?? Marshall only got 4 carries, I believe, but he had more yards per carry than even Michel did last night. Why does Brian Schottenheimer refuse to give the ball to the guy who, at the very least, is clearly our second-best running back?
So, as long as Schotty is here, our offense is going to be hot ass. I guess we have to be realistic and say that there's no way he's going to be fired after just one season, but damn... he should be. This is going to be a terrible experiment that very well could cost Mark Richt his job, and with those stakes in play, you just wonder if Richt might privately "suggest" to Schottenheimer that he throw a few resumes back into the NFL pool. I don't really care... just whatever gets him out of Athens. Sadly, though, I think he's here for at least 3 years... and if he is, there's a decent chance that those are Mark Richt's last 3 years in the Classic City.
3) Any person who has ever, in their entire life, said, "Fire Mike Bobo." - Sometimes the only thing worse than not getting what you want... is getting what you want. Now many of you genius Armchair-QB's are screaming even louder to fire Mark Richt. How's that gonna work out for you? Let me give you a hint: You don't know what you're talking about. Just stop.
4) Anybody who thinks they know who our starting QB should be - Faton Bauta got the entire Florida game to show what he could do. We've heard "behind the scenes" for a long time now about how Bauta unquestionably has the best work ethic, but for some reason he's just never been handed the ball before now. And while Bauta didn't blow anybody away, I don't think he was particularly awful, either. I haven't seen the replay on DVR yet, but I know he made a couple of particularly egregious throws for INT's, so have both Ramsey and Lambert in their time on the field. And we had many, many drops on big plays, one or two of which were Bauta's fault, but many of which were not.
Overall, I think over this season that we've seen precisely what Mark Richt was talking about in preseason when he said no QB had "separated" himself away from the others. All 3 of these QB's have promise, and all 3 have made some really bonehead plays. I don't know who I would choose at this point. I guess I'd somehow pick between Lambert and Bauta, especially if Bauta has the best work ethic, but I just don't really know. If your OC's going to screw it up no matter who's playing, does it really matter who the QB is?
5) Our receivers - This is an extension of the last point. It just flat-out doesn't matter how good or bad your QB is if your receivers can't catch the ball. Our TE's and receivers dropped at least 2 and maybe 3 sure TD's on the night, and that's a blow that even a good offense would struggle to recover from. For our crappy offense, we have to take advantage of every single opportunity. And our receivers were sitting there blowing them left and right;.
6) Our run blocking - Nick Chubb is out for the season, and possibly even longer. Stop looking for him. He ain't there. And maybe the fact that Chubb was so damn good just masked how bad our offensive line is. I honestly didn't think our O-Line was that bad in our first 4 games, even when you factor in the Chubb effect. But they couldn't even block a troll on twitter right now. Our pass protection is fair most times, but our run blocking is abysmal beyond abysmal. To run behind our offensive line right now is to gaze into the abyss, and have the abyss gaze back at you.
The worst part is that these offensive linemen are supposed to be the good ones. This squad was the one full of upperclassmen and starting experience from last year. What the hell happened? Did Schotty teach them to stop blocking the run? I honestly have no clue what happened, but our run blocking has sucked ever since the Alabama game. (Also: This is also why Bauta didn't run more with the ball. There was nowhere to run.)
7) People who want to fire Mark Richt - I get it, y'all. I understand the fact that y'all hate losing, and you hate losing to Florida even more. Me, of course, I LOVE losing. And I REALLY LOVE IT when we lose to Florida. You know, I just love those guys. Love, love, love those Gators. And LOVE losing to 'em.
Or, you know... maybe I don't go off the damn deep end like a 12-year-old boy who just got smiled at by a Hooters waitress during a season where basically our only offensive weapon was taken out on the first play of the game in Knoxville. Our defense has been decent for most of our games, and singlehandedly kept us alive in both of the last two games. But we have no offense without Nick Chubb. And we're not going to grow an offense overnight at this point in the season.
We're going to be lucky to only lose once more and end the regular season at 8-4. It's far more likely that we'll go 7-5 or 6-6, and it's not impossible that we could lose out and go 5-7. I mean, you can't win games if you can't score points. Shutting out teams just isn't realistic as a strategy to winning games, as Will Muschamp can attest.
How about, just this once, we don't lose all of our ability to reason when a circumstance beyond our control decimates our season. Nah, I know that's too much to ask. I don't even know why I said it.
8) Vineyarddawg - for not even filling out all 8 line items. But it's getting very late, and I gotta drive back to Athens tomorrow. And it doesn't matter what I say, cause the crazies among you are just going to ignore everything anyway and say we're all just Disney Dawgs who don't care about losing as long as a "good Christian man" like Mark Richt is at the head of our program. (Which, for the record, is an argument that no one at this site has ever made, not even once.)
I know nobody cares about the Kentucky game now, and they're going to beat us because it's a noon kickoff and the stadium's not even going to be half full, but if y'all are going to be with me among the people half-filling the stadium next Saturday, try to act like you want to be there. And if you're going to boo your team at any time during the game, just stay home. I'd rather have 10,000 fans who want to cheer for their team than 90,000 fans who are going to boo when Kentucky scores their first touchdown and/or turnover. They're still our Georgia friggin' Bulldogs, dammit. They're still our team. And I guarantee that they want to win just as much as we want them to win. So let's both do what we can to make it happen.