Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dawgs Post-Season Report Card Vol. 1: Coaching

I think about 99% of the Bulldog Nation would be surprised to know that we'd be 6-6 after our 12 regular-season games this season. With the assumption that Florida would be a good bit down, I thought we had a very good chance of getting to Atlanta. After running into that crummy discotech that is Columbia, I had to really put a damper on my expectations for the season. Without A.J., a defense that could stop the run, and an offensive line that created the run (by our QB), I was discouraged at what the season might hold.

I guess that was the armchair quarterback in me. After I got out of that armchair and Monday, September 13 rolled around, I gained a new found optimism for the team. That cycle lasted until about 7:30 p.m. on October 30. I think there are a lot of reasons that this season turned out to be so sour. Whether it's talent level, play selection, coaching, recruiting, etc. every Dawg has an opinion and evidence to show why that opinion is valid.

I don't know what it is, but I think it's important to look at each one of these aspects and decide for one's self. From now until the December 30th bowl game, every Wednesday I'll be reviewing each of four categories and grading them subjectively from some arbitrary metric that strikes my fancy. What this feature won't be is a written lynching. I think people have beaten up on this team enough and, frankly I'm tired of trying to blame this person or that group of people.

This week's topic is, much to your un-surprise, coaching. With some new guys on staff and some other guys being moved around, there were a lot of changes between January and March this year in Athens. Moving on from Coach Martinez set some expectations for the defensive staff, however conservative they might have been. Having veteran leadership in certain spots also set some other high water marks for this team. How did the coaches respond? We'll start with the defensive staff.


Scott Lakatos: Lakatos came with a pretty impressive resume from UCONN in January. With our pass defense steadily tanking in the years prior, I think Lakatos had a really good opportunity to right the ship. Lack of experienced depth in the secondary was a cause for concern and I thought that this could be the toughest job to take on the staff.

I think Lakatos did a pretty good job, all things considered. Our depth at corner is terrible, and considering current commitments, I have a feeling that he may have to do an even better job next year. Pass defense improved from 213 yards per game to just under 186. That's about three first downs per game, which probably equates to a 3 point per game swing in scoring defense. I'll take that improvement any day.


Rodney Garner: Honestly, I wasn't that impressed with the job that Garner did this year. I really haven't been impressed in several years. Garner has consistently been getting very high-quality talent from the high school ranks only to see them level off in college. Please understand, I'm not blaming this on the kids. Brandon Boykin has more tackles for loss and just as many sacks as any of our defensive linemen. That's just not good enough in my opinion.

Stats don't lie. Our defensive line accounted for FOUR sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. In comparison, Justin Houston had 19.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. On top of the very meager production, the line doesn't create a consistent push, which I can't for the life of me understand with the quality of players that we have along the DL.


DC Todd Grantham: While some may not feel it's fair to judge Grantham's first year because of personnel issues, I think this is a good year to tell how good he actually is as a coach. Molding your system to fit personnel and style is key to being successful. You're not always going to be in an ideal situation, but it's about how you deal with that adversity.

That being said, Grantham did an okay job this season. The defense looked very good against the run after South Carolina, for the most part, and we kept teams from passing at will. We were improved in pretty much every category and the one point of emphasis, reversing the turnover margin, was acheived. I think next year will give us the best look at what the future really holds with Grantham.



Bryan McClendon: I have one word. Fumbles. They probably cost us at least 3 games, which is the reason I'm a little sore at Mac. Why we have a former wideout coaching running backs and a former running back coaching wideouts I may never know. This is the easiest job on the staff and I assume that's why Richt has his recruiting ace in this spot. Maybe he's helping us a ton on the recruiting trail, cause it sure irritated me that his RB's fumble all the time, can't catch the ball out of the backfield, and don't know to switch the ball to their off hand.

Considering what I said earlier about this being the easiest job on the staff, Bryan is sure making it the hardest one. I will say that he has done a magnificent job teaching Caleb King how to block, which keeps him from F status. Washaun Ealey though, not so much.


Tony Ball: Your job can't be that hard when you have A.J. Green and Kris Durham. T.K. has come along as well, but I'm a little discouraged about Marlon and Wooten-tha-ballcarriuh's progression. With that said, the only real problem I have is that our receivers fall down a lot after the catch. This has improved since John Eason, as well as have dropped passes, so I do see some uptick.

Overall, I think Ball has done a pretty good job. If receivers block well, don't drop it, fumble it, or run into one another all the time you're gonna keep your job.


John Lilly: I think Lilly is the black sheep of the coaching staff. I never see or hear anything out of this guy. I really don't mind it either as long as Orson Charles is catching footballs and Bruce Figgins is driving fools into the ground. I think Aron White is a very good player as well. With this group, much the same as the receivers, there is a lot of talent and natural ability at this position.

I was a little disappointed that more of the offense didn't focus on the TE, but with the offensive line's troubles they were assigned to block more than usual.


Stacy Searles: I think you know the outcome of this. I don't know why, but what was supposed to be our strongest unit was perhaps our weakest. It was as if every player along the line regressed. We couldn't control the line of scrimmage even against the bunch of two and three stars that Tech's line consisted of. I can't remember how many times we had to bring in A.J., Durham, or Marlon to block along with two tight ends. That should never be the case.

Even though we were horrendous this year, I don't think that this is a problem with Stacy Searles. You have to look at his body of work, and this certainly looks like an aberration on his resume. Even though this grade is going to look terrible, it doesn't really reflect what kind of coach he is.


OC Mike Bobo: Mike took a lot of heat early for his playcalling, and I won't say that it wasn't warranted. He has a penchant for calling a very good game or parts of a game and then completely wetting the bed. Seen the replay of GT? Pass, pass, pass in the first half and most of the third quarter, then start pounding the rock late only to let Tech catch back up. Basically it always boils down to the fact that we don't punish teams if they can't stop one facet of our game.

If we're running it well, he goes to the pass. If we're passing it well, to the run. You think Malzahn or Holgersen would go away from what the other team can't stop just for the sake of a "balanced offense"? I don't think so.

Other than his somewhat suspect coordinating skills, Bobo is a very, very good quarterbacks coach. I guess you probably saw Aaron Murray play this year and Matthew Stafford develop in his three years. Don't need to make much of an argument here. Were he just a position coach, he would be the best on the staff.

It's hard to argue with production as well and his offense certainly did that this year.


And now for who you've been waiting for,

HC Mark Richt: It's no secret that Mark will be coaching for his job next year. He earned a lot of respect from me during the end of the Auburn game when he did something that I never thought I'd see. It was obvious that he told Clint Boling to go after Nick Fairley after his dirty shot on Aaron Murray. Even though he earned some kudos during that incident, I'm still on the fence if he can right the ship. Keeping the boys out of trouble and off the Fulmer Cup leader board this offseason would help him do that.

The question still remains if he'll do the things necessary to get the Dawgs back to the Dome. He didn't do well for himself when he gave the S&C position to Tereshinski and kept it in house. My initial thought at the hire was changing for the sake of change, which is just a cop out. Call me crazy, but I feel like there were probably more qualified candidates outside of the program.

Just like every other Dawg, I like Mark Richt. Football is about winning games and we certainly didn't win more than we lost this year. The more and more I watch football, the more I realize that the shrewd and prickly guys are the most successful. Urban, Saban, Belichick, and Parcells all fit into that category and all have been extremely successful. Maybe that's just what it takes.

The decline UGA has experienced over the past few years starts at the top. Whether our talent level is down or other programs have eclipsed us, really is of no concern to me. All of that starts with Richt. After all, he is responsible for 70% of the profit of an $84 million dollar business. That's a lot to be responsible for with very mediocre results of late. There's no doubt in my mind he'd be sneaking out that healthy ficus in his office were he in the corporate world.


What do you think?



  2. You put a lot of work into this blog today. You didn’t get that much effort out of your readers, to match your efforts.

    Talent level, play selection and recruiting are all coaching responsibilities. Grades have to be doled out on these issues accordingly. Even more so, the 11 arrests from March 7 through just the Summer months. Any arrests are bad. 11. That is coaching. Like Herschel Walker said just few short weeks ago, we have no discipline.

    Florida being down, doesn’t affect UGA much. Think back to 2007 when Florida had its worst season of the Urban Meyer Era at Florida with their 4-loss year. That was the only game Mark Richt beat Urban Meyer, their worst team – until this season. And, Urban Meyer wanted to not coach this team this season for obvious reasons. And, Mark Richt could not beat Florida this season when 5 other teams did.

    If we are to progress, there doesn’t need to be a lynching, but there does need to be an honest evaluation of the coaching staff.

    You do that on several fronts here. We thank you for your hard work here to do that.

    Scott Lakatos :

    # 59 in the nation in Passing Efficiency Defense, one needed only watch any game to see that Secondary Pass Defense was in no way described as good.


    Solid D for Scott Lakatos. It is not possible to have watched our Pass Defense and think it is an Average C Defense against the Pass. We really need to get away from the Excuses. I think Brandon Boykin will make the NFL as a running back. 2011 is not good looking at the Secondary.

    Rodney Garner :

    Rodney Garner’s main responsibility for this football program is Recruiting. Our recruits too often are suspended and without discipline. They cannot get on our campus fast enough to get arrested and suspended. The DL was poor this season. As you noted, there was a total lack of production in getting sacks, pressure, and tackles for a loss. They were sitting back and not getting after it. Rodney Garner is tough love for his DL. He prefers to light into them, in the Press. His style doesn’t fit here. On his next job, he will have someone above him who will study the recruits he targets and get pre-clearance that they are not what we have been subjected to here at our alma mater. And, someone needs to light a fire under Rodney Garner to get him to quit with all the airing of our dirty laundry to the newspapers and media types, and have him encourage all our players off the field, and on the field to get in their faces and get them motivated. 2011 is not good in recruiting, just as the 2009 recruiting class is no longer on the roster and just as the 2010 recruiting class is Mark Richt’s dead last worst. 2011 on the DL is not good.


    Agreed with you on that.

    Todd Grantham :

    $750,000 a year and in Game 2 we played better defense than we did in Game 12. Further, he told us that he was going to evaluate his talent and get our best out there. Instead, what we had was a whole entire defense that was playing out of position. He forced his system on this football program, rather than evaluating the talent he did have, and getting them in the best positions.

    # 59 Passing Efficiency Defense

    # 59 Rushing Defense

    God Almighty is all I can say to that. We could not stop the pass and we could not stop the run. Is there something else that a defense is measured upon ?

    D –

    I give him a passing grade only because his talent level sucks. I thought he did a good job of getting in here and getting us some defensive talent in recruiting. I make no excuse for the fact that NONE of those recruits this season, stepped up for him. 2011 is not good for the Defense because the vast majority of what the Defense did well this season, is leaving after this season.

  3. Tony Ball :

    Great former Running Back. What the hell does he know about wide receivers ? He is a B because he had AJ Green ? We sent him everyone we could put our hands on to help him have a depth chart at wide receiver. Why did Mark Richt move him from Running Backs’ Coach ? If it were not for Aaron Murray, this team would have been no fun to watch at all. As a team, even with Aaron Murray we just could not buy a 1st Down. I realize that we were this year and have demonstrated we were last year as well, afraid to try to call a play that just might get us a 1st Down. But, with the inability to establish a running game, the wide receivers could have opened that up by stepping up. I think Orson Charles should have been called for by Tony Ball to be a wide receiver and that the other Tight Ends then might have been motivated to come into a game and make a catch, not drop the ball. As Tony Ball and Mark Richt did in Redshirting Knowshon Moreno, I believe that we missed our opportunity to have AJ Green on one side and Orson Charles the other. Tony Ball does not evaluate talent well.


    I give Tony Ball a Average Grade as Wide Receivers coach because he had AJ Green. Other than that, which he had nothing to do with, other than on his watch, AJ Green sold a $29 jersey for $1000 of a lousy bowl game and was fortunate that he was only suspended by the NCAA for 4 games. When he returned, we were supposed to be great. Instead, it appears he was not working during his absence, which is Tony Ball’s fault; and we lost to Colorado upon his return. In fact, we lost just as many games without AJ Green as we did with AJ Green – 6 total losses. The future here is not good at wide receiver. 2011 especially will be bad for us at wide receiver.

    John Lilly :

    I give this former Quarterback a lot of credit. Since he got here, John Lilly has been the lone recruiter on this football coaching staff. He has more talent at his 1 position than all the rest of the team, combined. Now, if he just had the guts during the games to go over to Mike Bobo, slug him, pick him up off the turf, and scream in his face to throw the football to his Tight Ends, he might actually be a coach. If you just sit there and take that kind of crap every year that John Lilly takes from Mike Bobo, not using his Tight Ends, where that is the only position on the team with talent, you get a poor grade on your responsibility to this team.

    A+++ on Recruiting Tight Ends, his position

    D for getting after the coaching staff to throw the football to them

    Why don’t we put John Lilly in charge of all recruiting and let Rodney Garner go who has grown stale. Then, we might actually have some talent on this football team which a new coaching staff might be able to utilize.

    Stacy Searels

    He has been here 4 years now in this position and was given the added responsibility, given his lack of success at his position coaching job of running game coordinator this season. Stacy took a cushy job here at UGA where no one is held accountable for their position they are in charge of, and with all the numbers handed him on the OL. I think Stacy can evaluate talent very well. I think he recruits very well. I am not as convinced that he is on the side of the players he inherited here. If he is, he plays them because of their seniority here and not on what they produce. If I am a Starting OL at The University of Georgia, I should not 6 games into a 6-Loss Season, have it dawn on me that I need to Rip the Redshirt Off a true freshman and promote him all the way to Starting OL. Stacy might be slightly better a recruiter of talent than he is a teacher of the positions. What we are missing here, is production. If you have been here 4 years and next year is your 5th year here, then you are accountable alone for the total lack of production from the players across the board. I personally don’t care for the inability of Mark Richt to step on the faces of his coaching staff.

    D –

  4. Offensive Coordinator MIKE BOBO

    Matthew Stafford beat # 9 Auburn in 2006. Other than that, he beat no Top 10 Final AP Poll team. Aaron Murray beat no one at all, not even 1 reasonably good team this season. When Matthew Stafford has played in the NFL, he is not considered to be 1 of the Top 30 Quarterbacks. Both came here super-talented. I am looking around the NFL for the players that Mike Bobo trained at QB here. Pardon me, but I don’t see one and Aaron Murray will not be one either. You can take that to the bank.

    # 73 in the nation 2010 in 1st Downs.

    We cannot buy a 1st Down. Why did we lose 6 games this season ? Because in 6 games this season, the other Quarterback out-performed our Quarterback on the Field, head-to-head.

    10 of the 11 Starters returned on the Offense this 2010 season. We are in fact the # 48 Total Offense. That by the way, is a HIGH WATER MARK for Mark Richt and Mike Bobo and our Quarterbacks.

    # 48 Total Offense

    Over the 10 years, Mark Richt and Mike Bobo have averaged for all 10 years the # 52 Total Offense.


    The biggest failing grade for Mike Bobo is in the area of recruiting. Christian LeMay is nothing but bad press all year long this season for The University of Georgia Admissions Department. Montez Robinson was as well. So, too, was Zach Mettenberger. 2 of those are battery and the 3rd one a 14-year old. Mike Bobo recruited ALL 3.

    Bryan McClendon :

    I don’t have anything further to add about this wide receiver whose Dad was so great for us as a Running Back. Thank you very much for your description here of the fumbles issues since he was promoted to this position with absolutely no knowledge of the position, himself. None. Mark Richt obviously thinks that anyone can coach anything. We cannot run the football. I do not comprehend the recruiting of running backs since Bryan McClendon was handed this gig by Mark Richt. If Mark Richt can sleep at night as the # 8 team in his own conference, that God tells him he did his best; then God Help us. We are suffering as a football program because primarily we have no clue on running backs. Caleb King is a total abomination, a distraction, an un-skilled, un-motivated, un-producer. The regular season is finished with his total of 430 yards rushing and 2 catches for 8 yards. 2011 is not looking good at running back. It was hailed as a TANDEM 2010. It was anything but.


    Warren Belin

    If you saw some linebacker play this season, I didn't and neither did anyone voting on any of our linebackers as good. We don't have the kind of players at this position that stand out in my mind. We have 4 linebacker jobs on our Defense now, all 4 are gone after this 2010 season. I am willing to give him another year, as I am Mark Richt. I believe however, that 2011 is more of the same and that 2011 at his positions - like many others on this football team for 2011 - is way undermanned for the task of a tougher schedule next year than the 6 cupcakes we beat this year (And, lost to 2 cupcakes this year.)

  5. Mark Richt :

    I love the guy. Great guy. He is an embattled coach who has had 10 years of experience. Or, is it 1-year of experience 10 times in a row. Vince Dooley said Mark Richt was not ready yet and was going to teach him about CEO, head coach, the items which Mark Richt had no knowledge of when he got here, and still doesn’t. This coaching staff is the dead last worst coaching staff in America, which he has assembled here. Clearly, he must FIRE the remaining coaches he did here that he did not fire this time last season. What does that tell you about his ability to HIRE a coaching staff ? When the HOMER fans get it behind them all the EXCUSES and LIES about his coaching staff and read what you have written here about him, for example, they will cease to be Mark Richt does not call it like it is. He does not get after it. Unit, Corps, God, Country.

    In 10 years, Mark Richt has beat 3 Top 10 Final AP Poll teams. He beat # 4 vols in 2001, stating that he knocked the Lid Off This Program – losing 4 games 2001.

    He beat # 6 LSU for The SEC Championship 2005 – losing 3 games 2005.

    He beat # 9 Auburn 2006 – losing 4 games 2006.

    He has beat none since Auburn 2006. On 9 other occasions against

    Top 10 teams

    in the Final AP Poll, Mark Richt has LOST 9 games winning only those 3 and all 3 of those years, he lost either 4, 3, or 4 games.

    There is supposed to be a Separation of Church and State.

    I love the man. I grew up in Church. I am here to talk about Football, College Football – my hobby.

    I have coached. I was a Walk-on at The University of Georgia. Unit, Corps, God, Country. He is paid in excess of $ 3 million dollars a year to be our head football coach. his Walk is solid. his “coaching staff” and record of beating the top teams, is not. Our talent has fallen off.

    20 LOSSES the last 5 years, an average of 4-LOSSES per season the last 5 years.

  6. Unit, Corps, God, Country

    4-LOSSES per season the last FIVE (5) years.

    After the bowl games this season, there will be 25 who will have averaged 10-win seasons over the last 5 years now today. These are 14-game seasons. In fact, 8 of the 10 Mark Richt Seasons, are 14-game seasons. There are 17 coaches today, coaches at their current school who have a better won/loss record than Mark Richt. There are 22 other football programs who have done better than us over the last 5 years. We don’t have any of the Jim Donnan recruits left and have not had for 5 years now this season. This is a tale of 2 Five-Year periods of the Mark Richt Era. This first 5-Years and this second 5-Years. Through both 5-Year Periods, there are several consistent facts : We don’t recruit as well as we used to, poorly evaluating both coaching staff and players in the entire Mark Richt Era. We have no discipline and we never have had in the Mark Richt Era. We have never beat a Top 10 Final AP Poll team in any bowl game the entire Mark Richt Era at the end of the season on The National Stage in a big huge bowl game, have never beat any in any season we did not lose 4, 3, or 4 games the same season, and have Lost 9 of the 12 games Mark Richt has competed against in all 10 years now against a Top 10 Final AP Poll team. We LOSE too many games. And, our coach has a Priority other than his job. If he can put his head down on the pillow at night, after he gets up from his knees and retires for the evening, and get a good night’s rest that he is doing it the Right Way at The University of Georgia, he isn’t recruiting well, beating good teams, establishing himself as a forceful leader of men who fear him and feel they are disciplined, nor takes his job seriously.

    I would like to win some football games. We find only 3 states with more high school recruits who go on to play in the NFL, and are # 22 in won/lost over these last 5 years now – in the books. And, we are the # 11 college football program all-time in 1-A wins.

    He isn’t getting his job done, and I don’t give a Damn if he is a Christian.

    F –

    I have no confidence that he can all of a sudden hire a coaching staff. 20 Losses the last 5 years, averaging 4-Loss Seasons EVERY year of the last Five (5) years. 4-Losses for 5 years in a Row, and he has ISSUES as head coach.

    You cannot evaluate otherwise a football program who is 13-12 in its own division of its own conference the last entire 5 years when there has been 1 only team.

  7. To whomever wrote this, God Bless you. I'd really like to talk to you.

    PLEASE shoot me an email. I have a VERY important question to ask of you.

    Thanks for ALL of your input. Get back to me ASAP.

  8. How can I assist ?

  9. Martin Van Dawgin, sir :

    Did you write these words ?

    "HC Mark Richt: It's no secret that Mark will be coaching for his job next year. I'm still on the fence if he can right the ship. Keeping the boys out of trouble and off the Fulmer Cup leader board this offseason"

    "The more and more I watch football, the more I realize that the shrewd and prickly guys are the most successful. Urban, Saban, Belichick, and Parcells all fit into that category and all have been extremely successful. Maybe that's just what it takes."

    "The decline UGA has experienced over the past few years starts at the top. Whether our talent level is down or other programs have eclipsed us, really is of no concern to me. All of that starts with Richt."

    "That's a lot to be responsible for with very mediocre results of late. There's no doubt in my mind he'd be sneaking out that healthy ficus in his office were he in the corporate world."

    "GRADE: D"

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