With just over 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, it became a mass exodus to each of the Sanford Stadium exits.
Georgia, which lost 38-10 to Alabama last Saturday, was pretty much done and the fans in attendance had seen enough. Alabama had just scored, increasing its lead at the time to 38-3. It was yet another big-game defeat for Georgia, marking the 10th consecutive season the Bulldogs suffered a double-digit loss.
Receiver Malcolm Mitchell doesn’t blame the fans for checking out early. He said the performance warranted it, as well as any criticism that came afterward.
“With some of the losses we’ve had, some of the fans get upset, which they should,” Mitchell said. “Any time you’re giving your all emotionally to a team and they don’t perform, you feel bad. Now should that result in anger? I’m not sure, and I doubt they’ve done that. I’ve never seen UGA fans do that.”
That said, Mitchell was around when former quarterback Aaron Murray’s house was egged following a 35-7 loss to South Carolina in 2012. Asked about that, Mitchell offered a slight laugh and joked that fans are probably unaware of where he resides. But from his personal experience, he’s never had anything outrageous happen to him after a loss.
In fact, when he checked Twitter following the Alabama game, he was surprised to see many fans writing him encouraging words. Some told Mitchell to keep his head up and keep going.
“I wasn’t expecting anything but to get that kind of support was refreshing,” Mitchell said.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt has often been criticized as someone who can’t win the big game. In addition to having an all-time .741 winning percentage, Richt is 38-35 against ranked teams. But since 2008, he’s 14-22 in that department.
Therefore, the critiques get louder and louder each time Georgia experiences a loss against a big-name opponent. In 2014, Georgia went 4-2 against ranked opponents (at the time it played them), defeating Clemson, LSU, Auburn and Louisville. However, for many fans, those kind of wins should happen. Losing to South Carolina and Georgia Tech, and especially to unranked Florida, were seen as unacceptable.
It’s something that comes with the territory. As the coach of an SEC program, the demand to win will always be there. And when performances such as Georgia’s against Alabama occur, it will rile up the fan base in a big way.
“You get a lot of people watching our business and they may be critical,” Richt said. “And I don’t blame people for being critical for what happened on Saturday. I don’t at all. I love the passion of our fans that they care enough. I really do. But we’re more critical than they are, as far as when you look yourself in the mirror and say we didn’t get the job done.”
Richt is 0-1 against ranked opponents this season. The next time Georgia lines up against one probably won’t be until Oct. 31 against Florida, and that’s assuming the Gators are still ranked after games against Missouri and LSU.
Richt’s eager to get back on the sideline this weekend against Tennessee to erase, and hopefully replace, the memory of yet another devastating loss.
“It’s nice to know you have another game coming but sometimes you wish you were coaching baseball and you’re playing the next day, to maybe have a good performance and move on a little faster,” Richt said.
Hitting the links
Georgia is focused on returning to inside running game.
Keith Marshall on the 2013 ACL injury he sustained against Tennessee: "It changed everything."
Isaiah McKenzie is doubtful for Saturday's game but Brandon Kublanow will travel with the team.
Georgia's still pleased with the development of freshman receiver Terry Godwin.
The AJC's Jeff Sentell writes about the time Richt braved habanero sauce when recruiting Rennie Curran to Athens.
Dawgs247's Kipp Adams writes that Georgia impressed a Texas duo when they made an official visit.
Dawg Post's Dean Legge offers his thoughts on the crowd noise that can be expected at Neyland Stadium.
Georgia knows it can’t afford another slow start on offense such what occurred against Alabama.
Tennessee has been a team that’s gotten after opponents early in games. While the Volunteers have lost games to Oklahoma, Florida and Arkansas, they were leading the Sooners and Gators at halftime. Against the Razorbacks, they were tied.
Given the fact Tennessee has shown the ability to score early, Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said it will be important for his unit to get after the Vols’ defense in the first half.
“They’ve started very fast, I know that,” Schottenheimer said. “You look at the scores of their games, all of a sudden they’re up 17-0 on Oklahoma, (14-0) on Arkansas. They’ve started very fast. Very similar to last week, they’re going to get in your face and challenge us and try to commit to stop the run. The thing they do a really good job of is pursuing the ball and gang tackling.”
Richt on Tim Kimbrough’s 13-tackle performance against Alabama: “I think that was his kind of game, in terms of a physical, downhill running team. It wasn’t a big space game, it was in the box. He played the box pretty good. He was physical. He had a nice day and I hope he continues to get better.”
Song of the day
"Coal Miner's Daughter" by Loretta Lynn