No matter where I am in the world, I can always tell whenever Georgia has taken a particularly distressing loss by looking at my blog and seeing how many people find it by using the search term “fire mark richt”.
It has taken me a few days to think this one through, but here is where I come out: Come on, people.
What happened this past weekend was not a failure of coaching. It was not a failure to scheme properly. It was simply superior athleticism from the other team. It happens sometimes. Deal with it.
Georgia’s defense looked pathetic with all the missed tackles. But let me tell you a secret: Marcus Laddimore is going to make a LOT of defenses look pathetic by the time it is all said and done.
Todd Grantham had his players where they needed to be, doing the things that needed to be done in order to make plays. But the plays would not be made; Marcus Laddimore refused to allow that to happen. It happens sometimes, and a defensive coordinator can live with that.
And despite all the missed tackles, we must not forget that the defense kept Georgia in the game all the way until the very end when South Carolina got that last field goal.
Aaron Murray was not the most effective, but what do you expect from a freshman quarterback starting his first ever SEC road game? There is a HUGE difference between playing in front of 90,000 of your fans and playing in front of 90,000 of theirs. Aaron Murray had to learn this the hard way.
The offensive game plan was overly conservative, and if you wish to criticize that, you might have a legitimate argument. Still, it is a sensible thing to do when you are trying to break in a freshman quarterback who is starting his first ever SEC road game. On the other hand, at some point you do have to take the training wheels off. Let your freshman quarterback go out there and step up like a veteran and make the big plays to win the game. I think you can be pretty sure that Mark Richt and Mike Bobo are thinking long and hard about that this week.
To sum up: This was NOT a failure of coaching, or a failure of schemes. It was simply two very good teams who figure to do a lot of damage in the SEC East this year, going at it in a close, hard-fought game. In such an instance, one of those teams has to lose. This time, it was Georgia. It happens sometimes. Deal with it.