Mark Fox wasn’t in the mood to sit down.
Usually after games, win or lose, Fox heads to the interview room to sit down in a chair behind a podium installed before the start of the 2016-17 season.
This time, a frustrated Fox stood behind the desk and opened by taking the blame for yet another loss – Tuesday's 72-60 defeat to Florida – which also was the third defeat in a row and the sixth in the past eight games.
“Our team’s not playing well and that blame lies with me,” Fox said. “We’re not nearly the defensive team we’ve been the last four or five years. And then offensively, we’re not playing well. We did not play well (Tuesday). Although Saturday (against South Carolina), I thought we finished at a good rate against a great defensive team on the road. We have to have some more guys finish plays. We didn’t play well. We didn’t start the game well and that certainly is my responsibility.”
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But Fox also delivered a pointed message about his team, one that maybe folks didn’t think would come true when the season started. It’s not a team that plays consistently enough to rack up wins.
The Bulldogs went on the road and played well in losses to Kentucky and South Carolina. But then there was this game against Florida, in which Georgia shot only 25.8 percent from the field in the second half. Combine that with a 20-point loss to Alabama, a blown nine-point lead at Texas A&M and a Dec. 23 loss at Oakland, and too many missed opportunities have marred a season that began with high expectations.
At 13-11 overall and 4-7 in the SEC, you don’t have to look further than social media and message boards to feel the heat rising from the fan base concerning the basketball program. Stegeman Coliseum wasn't close to capacity for the game, which was somewhat of a surprise considering how important the game was. Even the student section, the most consistently filled area, saw quite a few empty red seats.
Fox said he understands the angst from a fan base that expected more of this season.
“The great news is they care. The great news is we have people now that care,” Fox said. “For a long time we didn’t have them. They should be disappointed. I haven’t gotten this team to find victory even on the nights we’ve played well. We have to stay the determined course and keep fighting forward.”
Seven regular-season games remain on Georgia’s schedule, with one guaranteed game in the SEC Tournament. Late-season resume-building games against Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas can be had.
But Georgia is essentially in a win-out scenario now. No more losses can be afforded.
Georgia guard Juwan Parker is holding out that his team will put something together over this final stretch of the season.
“We just got to get some wins,” Parker said. “Seven, eight more games guaranteed, at least. We just got to come with some energy every day and ready to play.”