Posted: Sunday, October 7th 2012 at 12:13am
Opinion: Dogs show up flat again; re-visit old questions
By Morgan Lee Editor
Anyone who has watched Georgia football since 2006 should understand and accept that the Bulldogs are not predisposed to running roughshod over the competition.
And Saturday night’s epic fail in Columbia, S.C., only added to a long and disturbing trend of Bulldog disappointments when the lights shone brightest.
This year was supposed to be different. 2012 was alleged to be a season when an experienced defense and quarterback, allied with talented young running backs and a deep receiving corps would return Georgia to the heights it once scaled 2002-05 (and on rarified instances since then).
Not only is it now obvious that that will not happen -- it should have been obvious beforehand.
Many in the “Dog Nation” expected a tough game against South Carolina and could even have accepted defeat -- defeat if Georgia had shown any fight. Instead we witnessed a Bulldogs squad that looked under-coached and under-prepared against the first quality team it faced this season in a 35-7 blowout.
And therein lies the rub. It’s not the loss, rather how the loss occurred that has raised -- yet again -- questions about Mark Richt and his coaching staff’s ability to get the best out of the players in Athens. Richt's Dogs are now 0-10 against ranked teams since the end of 2009.
South Carolina is a good team, undoubtedly. But it seems almost preposterous to believe that the Gamecocks are that much more talented than the squad on the Bulldogs’ sideline -- one that some NFL draft analysts believe contains multiple first round picks.
If that is indeed the case, how is it the Bulldogs could find themselves staring a 21-0 deficit after the first quarter and looking shell-shocked?
The answer was treading the sidelines and sitting in the coaches box. One team came out emotionally charged, ready to attack and challenged the opponent to keep pace. The other (the team in white shirts) looked ready to climb on the buses just eight minutes after kickoff.
Granted Steve Spurrier is one of the top coaches in college football, but there was once a time when Richt’s star seemed destined to rise to that level. And Saturday was another chance to prove that he could reroute Georgia’s descent into mediocrity. But that chance crumbled under the force of Carolina’s determination that left Richt and the Dogs with no answers.
The most disappointing aspect of the latest meltdown is that it was the latest. The game eerily resembled the Alabama defeat in 2008 -- the last regular season game Georgia faced of this magnitude.
It’s easy to argue that players have to make plays and that coaches can only put players in position to win. But, since last week’s shootout win over Tennessee, it seems as though Georgia (at least on defense, though offense certainly looked out of sync this week) doesn’t even know where it is supposed to be lining up.
It is an all too familiar sight for Bulldogs fans -- as is the sight of being behind in the SEC East race and being made to look inferior in a big showdown.
-- Morgan Lee is sports editor for Access North Georgia.com
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