So I watched the Boise State game tonight with some friends. Midway through the third quarter, we turned it off and started watching a movie called “Green Street Hooligans”. This movie stars Elijah Wood and got a fair amount of positive buzz, but is really a stinker of a film that is about nothing more than a bunch of hooligans doing hooligan things. (I think I just unwittingly summed up Georgia’s 2011 season: a fair amount of positive buzz, but in reality a stinker of a year. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.)
In one of the early scenes in the film, Matt (played by Elijah Wood) is shown packing his things because he has just gotten kicked out of Harvard. As I saw this, I thought to myself, “In just a few months, that will be Mark Richt.”
Come on, people. I know that one game does not make a season. This year especially, when the rest of Georgia’s schedule after Boise State and South Carolina is just slightly north of Clarke Central on steroids.
Oh wait…I think Clarke Central would give Georgia a better game than Georgia gave Boise State tonight.
This was only one game. But there are times when one game means a whole lot more than just one game. This was one of those times.
Mark Richt had an opportunity here. An opportunity to take a 2×4 to all the critics (me included) who ever wondered if his program had lost its way and accused him of being no longer fit to coach at Georgia.
Instead, Mark Richt and his charges took a 2×4 directly in the gut.
When last we saw Georgia play, they had just gotten completely and totally punked by a Conference USA opponent, failing to score even one touchdown on Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl.
Eight months later, Georgia managed three touchdowns off the #5 team in the country. Guess that’s progress.
Never mind that one came off a trick play and the other two came in trash time.
Boise State, a team not exactly known for its defensive prowess, nevertheless managed to make Georgia’s offense look just slightly north of embarrassingly inept. The defense looked just as clueless in Year 2 of the Todd Grantham administration as they ever did in Year 1. They actually played decent for a couple of quarters, but Boise State made a couple of adjustments at the half and Todd Grantham’s boys were done for the night.
Georgia had eight months to prepare for this. The players had this date circled on their calendars ever since last fall when this matchup was first announced. Mark Richt made sure that his players did not forget or overlook the fact that Boise State was coming to Georgia’s neck of the woods at the start of the 2011 season. He made some changes to his staff, then went out and assembled a Dream Team of top-notch recruits, all in anticipation of this date.
Yet when the big day finally arrived, here’s how prepared Georgia was for it: False start penalty before they ever snapped the ball on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Another false start penalty three plays later. Delay of game penalty on the punt. Before the first quarter was over, we would see an illegal formation penalty for having five men in the backfield (that one was declined). We would even see Richt burn a timeout to avoid a penalty for having only ten men on the field before a Boise State punt. Coaches who have issues with that sort of thing are usually first-year coaches trying to rebuild struggling programs (cf. Derek Dooley).
Whatever Mark Richt said to his players to get them ready for this game apparently went in one ear and out the other.
Apparently Mark Richt has lost his players.
This is a problem.
A HUGE problem.
Boise State, on the other hand, came out on fire. They completely and totally dominated the line of scrimmage, on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Kellen Moore toyed with defenders all night long, at times making them look positively silly.
In short, Boise State looked like a team bound for a BCS bowl.
There once was a time when Georgia used to go to those.
I am remembering that correctly, aren’t I? Or was there something in the brownies I ate for dessert tonight?
If only we had another eight months to prepare for this game.
If only we had overhauled our strength and conditioning program during the offseason…Never mind. Tried that already.
If only we had gone out and signed a bunch of hot young recruits and brought some better talent into the program.
Oh wait. Tried that already.
Is Boise State really that much better than Georgia? Because if so, then I sure as hell don’t want to see them in the BCS title game if I’m Oklahoma or Alabama or LSU.
This isn’t about recruiting. This isn’t about the strength and conditioning program. This isn’t about the level of talent in your program. If you have better players but can’t get them into the right position to make a play, you’re not going to win very many games. If you have better players but can’t get the right number of them onto the field and into the correct formation, you’re not going to win very many games.
The problems at Georgia run much deeper than that. The problems at Georgia rise all the way to the top of the football program. What is needed at Georgia is a change of leadership at the highest levels of the program.
There is only so much FAIL a Georgia fan can take. This fan, alas, has just about reached his limit.