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       After 5 games in the 2009 season, the Georgia Bulldogs sit 3-2 and unranked for the first time since 2006. Both the offense and defense have been unreliable, as Georgia currently ranks 86th in total offense, 60th in points scored, 64th in total defense, and 85th in points. These averages put Georgia near the bottom of the SEC, and many believe that the Tennessee game this weekend will make or break this season for the Dawgs. With a win, Georgia could go on a run and at least win 8 games. With a loss, Georgia might struggle down the stretch and could possibly be looking at not going to a bowl game for the first time since 1996. However, some see this as much more as just a season on the line. Some Dawg fans feel like that Mark Richt's time in Athens should be ended due to this season. In the word's of Lee Corso, NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND.

      If we fire Mark Richt after this year, I'm jumping off the Bulldog bandwagon. This is a man that took over a Georgia program that could not compete with rivals Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia Tech year after year. Fast forward to 2009, and only Florida has had the edge on Richt's Bulldog teams over the years. How about final standings? During Jim Donnan's era, Georgia's highest final ranking was #8. Georgia has been ranked in the Top 10 at year's end 6 out of the 9 seasons that Mark Richt has been the head coach. Now let's talk about rebuilding years. During Donnan's tenure, the Dawgs had one losing season in four seasons. Then go back to Jim Donnan's predecessor, Ray Goff (not Goof). In Goff's 7 seasons as the Bulldogs head coach, Georgia finished .500 or worse 4 times and only appeared in 4 bowl games during that time. Now fast forward to Richt's tenure. The Bulldogs have went to a bowl game every year that Richt has been head coach, with their worst record being an 8-4 mark his first season.

   Every coach is bound to have a down year. For it to come this late in Richt's tenure is incredible in my eyes. This shows me that Coach Richt has dealt with losing starters efficiently and has built Georgia up to be National Contenders each season. If you'll look closely, I believe that in truth, their are only two people that could (not should, could) be blamed for Georgia's irregular start to the year.

   First off, let's put Senior QB Joe Cox on the spot. Sure, Cox has been a loyal Bulldog, waiting in the shadows when he could have transferred elsewhere. But once I think back to the Cox vs Stafford situation in 2006, I should have realized that Cox was not the man. I mean, after all, Cox had more time at Georgia, yet the coaches felt more comfortable with a freshman QB playing. If you'll watch Cox's eyes and body language prior to the start of a play, it's evident that he has already made up his mind on who he's throwing the ball to. If Cox struggles against Tennessee, I think that it wouldn't be a bad idea to try either Logan Gray or Aaron Murray at the QB position.

   Now the next man who's going to be my scapegoat. In 2005, Georgia Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder left Athens to become the Jacksonville Jaguars LB coach. To replace VanGorder, Coach Richt promoted DB Coach Willie Martinez to the DC position. Sure, much like Joe Cox, Martinez could have went elsewhere, but he turned the other schools who were offering him the head coaching position down to stay with Georgia. However, for the last 2 or 3 years his coaching has been questionable. I believe that Martinez really needs to change up his style of coaching in order to better Georgia's defense. You might think that I'm suggesting that Coach Martinez should be fired. I don't really believe this is even possible. Coach Richt seems like the type of guy who is loyal to his assistants. Unless somehow Richt is convinced he has no other choice, I believe that Willie Martinez will be the Defensive Coordinator at Georgia as long as he wants the job.

        As much as I respect Mark Richt and hope that he remains at Georgia, there is once aspect of his coaching style that HAS TO CHANGE: Penalties. Georgia is annually one of the most penalized teams in the nation. I've always wondered "Wow, I guess Richt's guys just aren't listening." I always imagined Richt the type of guy who wouldn't put up with stupid penalties and would refresh his players' thoughts on penalties by running them come Monday. According to CBS's analysts for NCAAF, this thought is wrong. During last weeks Georgia vs LSU game, it was said that Richt doesn't stress penalties because when he was at FSU, they were heavily penalized and they still found a way to win week after week. Are you serious? I bet that Georgia has lost about 7 or 8 winnable games over the years due to stupid penalties. YOU HAVE TO STRESS PENALTIES!!! That's what keeps good teams from becoming great teams. Uh oh. I might see where some of these riled Dawg fans are coming from now.  


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