Dooley: UGA struggling with ‘mental thing'

Don't ask Vince Dooley.

"I haven't been able to identify anything," the Bulldog coaching legend said Monday. "Sometimes those things happen."

Dooley, though, probably wouldn't mind if those things happened for one more Saturday. The Bulldogs will play Tennessee, coached by Dooley's son Derek. Dooley, who spoke at the Touchdown Club of Atlanta's weekly luncheon at Atlantic Station, said he was surprised by the Bulldogs' four-game losing streak and 1-4 record.

"I'm sure Coach (Mark) Richt is even more surprised than I am," Dooley said, enumerating the reasons Georgia was pegged to win this season. "But I've always said each year is a venture into the unknown. You absolutely don't know what's going to happen."

Dooley did say the Bulldogs were having problems between their ears. He pointed out how Georgia could not stop Mississippi State in the crucial moments of that loss and then fumbled away the football on a potential game-winning drive against Colorado.

It is an unfortunate commonality the Bulldogs share with his son's team, which has had its own share of implosions.

"It's a mental thing with Georgia and it's a mental thing with Tennessee now," Dooley said. "After losing like they did, it'll be two teams with some mental things going on that'll be playing each other."

At the luncheon, Dooley expressed confidence in Richt, noting he is going through a tough time that all coaches have experienced. Of Saturday's game, Dooley said he neither dreaded it nor looked forward to it.

"I would rather in a lot of ways it not happen," he said.

Dooley will watch the game from home.

"It's family first, but I'm certainly not going to be pulling for my son in Sanford Stadium," he said.

The coach acknowledged it will be strange hoping Tennessee defeats his beloved Bulldogs, although his affections have their limits.

"You don't all of a sudden love that ugly orange," he said. "I don't. But I have a great appreciation for the fans."

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.