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Looking back on 2009: Some good, some bad

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

It was early morning at the Omni Hotel, and Mike Bobo, Georgia's offensive coordinator, was intently focused on the video screen of his computer with images of Georgia Tech's defense dancing across the monitor.

"Just watch No. 91," he said as he observed the fluid and dominating moves of Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan. "If we have a chance to win, we have got to find a way to neutralize him. We just hope Josh Davis is up for the job."

When the game was over, and the Bulldogs were savoring an emotionally satisfying 30-24 victory, one of the story lines of the game was that Davis played the best game of his career -- one in which he was effective enough to keep Morgan from being disruptive.

The question from Bulldog cynics was predictable: "Why haven't they played like that all season?"

If there were an easy answer to that question, the coaching staff could have come up with a solution long ago.

When a team finishes its season on a high note by defeating its most important rival, then that makes the off Saturdays more palatable. Some reflections that are worth review in retrospect:

*** Joe Cox, who had both highs and lows, was not the kind of quarterback who could carry the team. Yet, he is a competitor who underscored due diligence and positive leadership to help his team win seven games with one remaining on the schedule. What might have been category? What if he had started the season in the best of health rather than being separated from the team by the flu bug, arriving late in Stillwater for the opening game and being quarantined from his teammates until game day?

*** Injuries were a problem and leads to this observation: With Washaun Ealey and Caleb King combined for 349 combined yards rushing against Tech, you have to wonder what that pair, in good health all season, would have meant to the Bulldogs. Ealey missed three weeks in preseason with a dislocated elbow. He missed a lot of work which delayed his making the lineup. King was conflicted by hamstring complications until mid-season.

*** The youth of this team, combined with ill discipline, made Georgia a mistake-prone bunch rather than an opportunistic one. When an official made the worst call ever in Sanford Stadium on A. J. Green in the LSU game at the most critical time, the young Dawgs took the defeat so hard, they did not recover for the Tennessee game the next week. Beating LSU would have given them momentum and confidence.

However, all of the preceding is part of football, which is why championship teams overcome problems and challenges to warm the hearts of impatient fans. What Georgia fans want is a championship team. In case you are not aware, that is what the Bulldog coaching staff wants, too -- even those whose contracts will not be renewed next year.

As the holiday season approaches, and everybody rehashes events of this past fall, there is the salient reminder that there is not that much difference between teams. Defeating the No. 7 ranked team in the country ought to make Christmas a joyful time for Bulldog fans.