Note to UGA fans: Don’t forget about Arkansas

 

 

We had eight spring games in the SEC over the weekend. What did we learn?

 

Note to UGA fans: Don’t forget about Arkansas. Georgia goes to Fayetteville on Sept. 19. The Bulldogs would be wise not to lose focus on that trip.

It looks like the Hogs have found their quarterback in Ryan Mallett, the transfer from Michigan. Mallett completed 15 of 26 passes for 233 yards (2 TD, 2 INT) in the spring a game.

“Our ability to throw the ball down the field will be much better,” coach Bobby Petrino said.

Here is the other important change at Arkansas. Petrino has gone out and found reinforcements for running back Michael Smith, a small back (5-7, 173) who wore down with 207 carries last season. Arkansas recruited two big running backs who might be able to help. Knile Davis (6-1, 209) graduated from high school early and went through spring ball. Green (6-2, 240), a transfer from Southern Cal, is still waiting on an NCAA waiver that would make him eligible this fall. D’Anthony Curtis, a rising sophomore, rushed for 103 yards and had a 23-yard touchdown run on Saturday.

Unlike last season, when Arkansas’s entire offense was built around Smith, this team will be able to pound defenses and then throw the deep ball with Mallett. Like Ole Miss was a year ago, Arkansas will be the surprise team in the SEC this fall.

 

 

 

Florida gave opposing DCs something to think about: Just imagine that you’re a defensive coordinator who will face the Florida Gators this fall. Florida has the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner (Tim Tebow) returning for his senior season and will be going for his third national championship in four years. Just when you defense gets into some kind of rhythm against Tebow, in comes sophomore quarterback John Brantley, who has a cannon for a right arm.

It’s a little scary. Florida used its spring game to showcase Brantley and what opponents can look forward to after Tebow. He had completions of 26, 47, and 50 yards. The two longest ones went to Frankie Hammond, Jr. (Remember that name).

In short, Tebow spreads the defense horizontally and finds seams for all of those speedy backs and receivers. Brantley will then spread the defensive vertically and kill you throwing intermediate passes. Playing Florida in 2009 will mean a long week of preparation.

 

Nick Saban doesn’t need to say it. Greg McElroy is Alabama’s starting quarterback. During my visit to Alabama 10 days ago nobody was going to say on the record that the young Texan will, barring injury, take the first snap against Virginia Tech on Sept. 5. And head coach Nick Saban didn’t want to actually say the words after McElroy completed 16 of 30 passes for 189 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions last Saturday.

But 84,050 turned out for the spring game, which must be some kind of record for the third year under a coach. They now know that McElroy is the guy.

“Everybody knows who our players have the most respect for,” Saban told the media after the game.

Here is why you don’t name McElroy the starter now. Alabama has to develop a backup quarterback and there are two very young players (Star Jackson, A.J. McCarron) involved in the competition. Young players tend to sag when it becomes official that they are not the starter. Saban has to keep their heads into the competition because at some point this season Alabama is going to need one of them to help win a game.

 

Looks like T-Bob Hebert is good to go at LSU.  The only question I have about the LSU offense is at center, where the Tigers have to replace All-American Brett Helms. Hebert, an Atlanta native (Greater Atlanta Christian) and son of former Falcons quarterback Bobby Hebert, was recruited to fill that position but missed the second half of last season with a knee injury. He’s made a rapid recovery and in the spring game was going full speed with full contact. He will compete for the starting job with two other players.

“I liked our center play,” coach Les Miles told reporters after the spring game. “I feel good about the position going into the fall.

If the LSU line gets solidified, I don’t see a lot of issues on that offense going into the summer.

 

Now Ole Miss has to live up to the hype: Ole Miss, the only team to beat Florida a year ago, will go from the hunter to the hunted this fall. There is a big difference.

Quarterback Jevan Snead completed 11 of 15 passes for 254 yards in the spring game. He is the best quarterback the Rebels had had since Eli Manning left campus in 2003 and the second best in the SEC behind No. 15 at Florida. So fans and some media are expecting the Rebels to challenge Alabama and LSU for the SEC West title.

But coach Houston Nutt told me that a big part of this spring and offseason will be dedicated to managing the expectations of his team and his fans.

“Some of our younger players were still wearing their Cotton Bowl hats the other day,” Nutt said. “They don’t understand that it took our veteran players 4-5 years to get in that position.”

Don’t get me wrong. I think Ole Miss will have another fine season.  The Rebels will get Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, and Tennessee in Oxford. But Ole Miss has not won an SEC championship since 1963 and has never played in the SEC championship game. That is a lot of history overcome.

Can this team do it? I’d feel better if Michael Oher (a first round NFL pick) was back at left tackle and Peria Jerry was back at DT.

 

 

227 comments Add your comment

LSWho?

April 20th, 2009
9:13 am

Colonel Doc Blanchard, “Mr. Inside” passed away, RIP

Miles

April 20th, 2009
9:18 am

In terms of talent, Arkansas has it for sure. Whether they’ll be able to execute on the field is another question.

UGA'er

April 20th, 2009
9:21 am

Where is the Vol report today? Didn’t they have a spring game too?

Bamafan

April 20th, 2009
9:24 am

If Alabama’s qb gets hurt this season, they are in for a long season! Star Jackson looks like a bust for
qb. Hope that A.J. McCarron can help this season and the 2 offense lines were terrible against the 1st
and 2nd defensive lines in the spring game! GO BAMA ROLL TIDE!!

Huh?

April 20th, 2009
9:44 am

How is that Florida defense giving up big pass plays? I thought they returned their entire 2 deep roster full of 5 star prospects? They let a sophomore QB that has never played a down of live college football shred them for three big plays like that? Things that make you go hmmmm…..

GeoffDawg

April 20th, 2009
9:54 am

After the mental lapses at inopportune times last year, hopefully Georgia and the defensive staff and players specifically have gotten the message that you can’t overlook anyone at anytime in this league.

PTC DAWG

April 20th, 2009
10:01 am

UGA has bigger fish to fry than Petrino.

JB

April 20th, 2009
10:02 am

1. Arkansas better worry about Georgia.
2. Have you seen Bama’s Schedule…….They could win 10 games with walk on’s. That Schedule will hurt them this year when they are at 9-0..10-0 and wonder why they are ranked 8 th or 9th.
3. Florida will go back to what they do best if they struggle AT ALL. They have the players, talent and moxie to do it again. Hard for a dawg fan to say that, but we are the hunters still, they are the hunted.

[...] ever-excellent Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tells you five things he learned from this weekend’s spring game action:1)  Georgia has an early trip to Arkansas this fall [...]

GatorInBoston

April 20th, 2009
10:04 am

Huh?, apparently you did not read more about the UF spring game before posting your comment. None of Florida’s starting defense played in the O&B game. Meyer held them out to let younger players play, mostly because of the injuries that had been piling up with other potential starters. Also, Brantley has played quite a few downs of live college football. He played in many 4th quarters last season in Florida’s blowout games, including throwing for a TD against UGA.

Atlanta Gator

April 20th, 2009
10:08 am

Huh?—-Could it be that Gator back-up QB John Brantley is just that good? Hmmm. Do you know who holds most of the Florida high school passing records? Hint: it’s not Tebow anymore.

BTW, Brantley is every bit as big as Tebow, and arguably a better pure passer. The Gators may struggle in 2010, but it won’t be on offense.

m

April 20th, 2009
10:09 am

They all better watch out for Paul Johnson and GT. Last year he whipped 2 out of 3 sec teams he played including whipping the #1 hushpuppies at Sanford and Son stadium. This year Tech plays 3 of the overrated sec teams and will probably win all 3. The future is so bright at TECH that we all need to wear shades. Thank God and Greyhound that the sec of coaches, chan gailey, is gone forever. Halllleeeeedamloooyah!!

Atlanta Gator

April 20th, 2009
10:10 am

UGA-er—-Sure the Vols had a spring game, but their coach didn’t say anything embarrassing afterward, so they aren’t getting any press coverage.

DirtyDawg

April 20th, 2009
10:11 am

To hear these ‘beat’ writers talk everybody on our schedule is better than we are…sure hope they’re wrong. If we take care of business like we should – if we don’t beat ourselves – I like our chances against anybody.

PS – Wonder what it will take for Mr. Petrino to bolt on the hogs? Clearly college athletes aren’t the same as professional…primarily they don’t yet know that the kind of mindless treatment they get from a Napoleonic martinet isn’t the only, or even the best, way to inspire young men to perform. So I suppose it’ll have to come from the administration and AD, which at these prices I doubt they’ll have the cajones for.

Maddog

April 20th, 2009
10:15 am

Yawn….so we’d better watch out for Arkansas? Have you looked at our schedule, Tony? Seems to me we need to “watch out” for about 9 solid teams minimum this year.

Cameron

April 20th, 2009
10:18 am

m:

You played Miss. St. for goodness sake. You played th egame of your life and beat UGA by a field goal. When everyone was ready to call you the “real deal,” you laid out a Gailey-esque egg against LSU. You deserve the credit for beating UGA (not rings, but oh well). But, until you beat one of the other big boys (like Auburn a few years back) you don’t need to boast about beating any SEC also rans. Also, why does it matter if you beat UGA and lose to Virginia. Your goal should be to win the ACC, not prove to the doubters that you can hang with the bottom feeders of the SEC.

DawgManiac

April 20th, 2009
10:18 am

The Dawgs need to worry about only one team: Florida. They can beat the rest of their schedule with ease. Arkansas? Are you serious?? LOL!! Georgia beats them this year like a rented mule: 42-20, mark it down!

Huh?

April 20th, 2009
10:24 am

No, I have not read anything about Florida’s spring game. I wasn’t even aware they were having one. From what I have read, it seems they’ve already won the 2009 SEC Championship. Who needs practice?

On a more serious note, okay so no starters on defense in the spring game (I’m not sure I agree with that move but that’s a whole other topic all together). But again, you return your entire 2 or 3 deep roster or whatever the heck it is on defense. The hype is off the charts. I think its safe to assume that the guys backing up the starters aren’t exactly chopped liver if their media clippings are any indication. I just thinks its a little surprising that a backup sophomore QB with very little game experience gave them so much trouble. That’s all. Its just the flip side to the relentless media hype. The media loves their Gators and of course will never tell us the flip side. That’s what I’m here for.

Have fun with that preseason #1 ranking. You can have it with a big fat pretty bow on top.

Saint Nick

April 20th, 2009
10:25 am

M,

If Gailey is the “SEC of coaches”, he would still be the coach at GT!!! Seeing that the SEC has won the last 3 NC’s!!!! DUMBA$$!!!!!!!!!!!! Another day, same mindless nonsense from M!!!!!RTR!!!!

G

April 20th, 2009
10:26 am

Arkansas?? LOL! There is no guarantee that Petrino will even be there on September 19th. He is a night runner you know

JustCallMeChamp

April 20th, 2009
10:27 am

Huh?…Once again you have lived up to your name…you are clueless. NO defensive starters even played, there was very basic defense played (no stunts, no blitz) which is pretty standard in most spring games. What you had late in the game was primarily non scholarship defensive players playing. We already KNOW what the FIRST unit can do (see Oklahoma: National Championship Game). Combine that with the fact that Brantley is more than capable of starting at most SEC schools, including yours, and there you go! But don’t take my word for it, just ask Mr College Football himself as Mr Barnhart had a chance to see Mr Brantley “up close and personal” last week. Comprende Huh??? Things that make you go duhhhhhhhh…..

Knelson

April 20th, 2009
10:27 am

My guess is Ga beats no one this year like a rented mule.The entire SEC will be stronger than it was last year. UF will in FACT beat Ga like a rented mule as will Bama! Dont bank on beating Tennessee either as they may not be able to score 10 points on you with that QB but their defense will not allow you 10, bank on that !

Blindog

April 20th, 2009
10:27 am

Let’s not forget ,Mallett was beating Ark.s defence, just as every other SEC team will next year. Any SEC road game is tough but I believe this will be an easy game to win. GO DAWGS !

DawgGirl32

April 20th, 2009
10:29 am

Tony- The Arkansas game is one that I’m particularly concerned about because I’m worried that we might overlook them. They are very young, but a very talented team. They are deep with playmakers and we’ll need our defense to step up for sure. Mark Richt has proved that he can win on the road and I know that he’s taking this seriously; I just hope the players do too.

Cuz

April 20th, 2009
10:30 am

One game at a time starting with Okie State.

Huh?

April 20th, 2009
10:30 am

Okay, so Brantley looked good against a bunch of scrubs? Whoopdeefreakingdoo. Hand this guy the 2010 SEC MVP trophy RIGHT NOW.

Blindog

April 20th, 2009
10:31 am

Kenlson…You are an idiot ! Have a nice day.

JB

April 20th, 2009
10:31 am

m…………………….You guys beat us by 3….. That’s a whipping.?………What LSU did to ya’ll was a WHIPPING. LMAO………I enjoyed that game…..Johnson in his over sized blue jogging oufit and Crooked hat looked lost.

dawgystyle

April 20th, 2009
10:31 am

HEY TONEY DID ARKANSAS GET A DEFENSE THAT I’M AWARE OF.

Mikey

April 20th, 2009
10:34 am

If UGA needs to watch out for Arkansas, then FL needs to watch out for Charleston Southern.

Heresay

April 20th, 2009
10:35 am

I see parts of the Vols game. I think UGA among others are going to realize a mistake by not getting onto Tony Williams as fast as Fulmer did, nor did any of the other schools seem to give him a good shot at TB.When Kiffin took over there was talk that he was unsure about Williams. Now even Kiffin looks pretty smart for keeping the guy at TB. The kid looks like a real player. We’ll see.

JB

April 20th, 2009
10:36 am

Damn, after reading All This, maybe UGA ought to give up football…… Mark has won 80% of his his games in the SEC, with wins over every “envy team”, but the haters on here act like we can’t find the Stadium….. Tells me one thing……Deep down inside , they know that……and they know UGA can beat ANYBODY on ANY given Saturday.

Atlanta Gator

April 20th, 2009
10:36 am

Comments in response to Tony—-

(1) Look, all of us folks here in Atlanta need to get past the Petrino-Falcons controversy. Petrino is a good coach who got caught without a quarterback in Atlanta, thanks to Michael Vick’s extracurricular activities. His record at Louisville proved that he can coach college players, and coach them well. Point being, is that Richt and his Dawgs should not overlook the Hogs like the Gators underestimated Ole Miss in 2008. Any SEC team can beat any other SEC in any given week. Pre-game preparation and game-day motivation matter.

(2) See my comments above about Gator back-up QB John Brantley. He’s the real deal. Wishing for Tebow’s graduation is not a formula to beat the Gators.

(3) Tony is wise, and Saban is savvy. Furthermore, if anything happens to McElroy one of those young quarterbacks will be the instant starter, and neither has any college game experience.

(4) Now, that makes for good trivia. How often do you see the son of a big-time Division I and NFL quarterback play offensive line? Probably never, present example excepted. How big is this Hebert kid?

(5) It would be fun to watch Ole Miss finally make it to the SEC championship game. If I am not mistaken, Ole Miss is the only team in the SEC West that has never made it to the Big Game in Atlanta (along with Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt from the SEC East). The potential problems for Ole Miss are the same as the Gators face—-self-satisfaction, complacency and believing your own press clippings. The Rebs need some senior leadership to live up to their 2009 potential.

Shut Up Huh?

April 20th, 2009
10:38 am

Huh? I really hope you aren’t a dawg fan but unfortunately it looks as if you are. It was Florida’s spring game, who cares. If you go by UGA’s spring games then I think we would all be scared for the fall. And just in case you have forgotten, UGA was ranked preseason #1 last year and choked so I don’t believe you have any room to talk. Quit posting, you are making us all dumber just by reading your posts.

KR

April 20th, 2009
10:39 am

In my opinion, one should never put too much stock into what you see during a spring game, one way or the other. Regardless of what the coaches may say, they do not go full speed and they do not show all of their cards.

Spring games are designed to pump up the fans in the middle of the off-season and give question mark players a chance to prove themselves.

Atlanta Gator

April 20th, 2009
10:39 am

Huh?—-Sarcasm does not constitute a reasoned response or add any new information to the discussion.

murfdawg

April 20th, 2009
10:41 am

Tony,
I am glad you are paying attention to the schedule this year, unlike last year. The Dawgs start off in OKST, which by the way has a pretty good team. Then the Dawgs come back and play your boy SOS. The trip out west is not the problem it is the next week that is the problem. I thought that the offense looked a little bit off against Bama(couple of dropped passes, couple of missed passes…NO Bama Stan it wouldn’t have made any difference in the outcome, but we looked a little tired or something).Then the Dawgs have to go to Arkansas and you may be right Mr. CFB. UGA could get off to a 0-3 start very easy. This is still a very young team and inexperience at key positions. I hope we can find enough bodies to show up for a game.

Cuz

April 20th, 2009
10:46 am

Has anybody checked this morning to see if Petrino is still at Arkansas?

Urban Warfare

April 20th, 2009
10:46 am

For you JOKERS out there, and you know who you are, that are saying that the Gators are going to trip all over their press clippings this year and fall on their faces, let me give you a little quote from the HC himself….. “We’re going to make it so hard (this summer and fall workouts) that they will have a hard time just picking up the Street & Smith magazine telling them how good they are. And anyone who even resists, will not play.”- Urban Meyer>>>Post Orange and Blue Game press conference. (And you wonder why he is the best HC in the country!)

Eric

April 20th, 2009
10:49 am

Petrino must be chowing down on the biscuits and gravy since he got to Fayetteville. He looks like a little pig. Sooooo-eeeeee!

Rising Tide

April 20th, 2009
10:50 am

1. JB aside from the UGA’s annual beat down by UF I don’t see alot of difference in our schedules. We play preseason top 10 Hokies and you guys play OK St. and Ariz. St. Rest assured if Bama is 10-0 we’ll be in the top 2 or 3.
2. DawgManiac I will be pulling for you guys especially against LSU and the barn…. but did you watch any of your spring game? Snooze fest!

wp

April 20th, 2009
10:52 am

I’m confused, other than Stafford and Moreno what other major talent form last year is gone. I don’t see any huge downturn for the Dawgs this year.Also isn’t this the same petrino who walked out on his last team? He might not even be around when we play the Hogs

GT Falcon

April 20th, 2009
10:52 am

I do have to say as a GT and Falcons season ticket holder that I will be a HUGE DAWG fan when UGA plays Petrino. I would love nothing more than to see Petrino fall on his face.

GO Dawgs (Sept 19th only)

JB

April 20th, 2009
10:53 am

Anyone who resists will not play……….Nice…….

Tony Barnhart

April 20th, 2009
10:54 am

To Maddog and others: When I say Georgia should look out for Arkansas, I’m not saying the Hogs are the best team on the schedule. The SEC is not only about who you play, but WHEN and WHERE you play them. When Georgia plays Arkansas it will be going on the road for the second time in three weeks. It will be coming off its SEC opener against South Carolina. They have to fly out to Arkansas after flying to Stillwater two weeks before. Is Georgia going to be better than Arkansas? Sure. But the game just falls at a tough place in the schedule and it might be difficult to convince Georgia’s players that Arkansas is improved. Just something to think about.

mcdawg

April 20th, 2009
10:55 am

wp- MoMASS came up w/ huge catches last yeari think the D will miss Ellerbe and Allen-looking forward to see what M. Washington can do at DE

JB

April 20th, 2009
10:57 am

Rising Tide……..Annual means every year I suppose…….It’s seems we beat fla. and your over rated butt the year before….does Annual start from last year ?…….Just look at Strength of Schedule when it comes out.

the real Old Gold

April 20th, 2009
10:57 am

I hope Arkansas goes 2-10 with wins vs. LSU and UGA. Then comes the resignation letter at halftime of the LSU game taped to the AD’s car and facebook wall posts to let his players know he’s leaving to coach high school football in Canada.

Coach

April 20th, 2009
10:58 am

Everybody needs to chill out in here. I know it’s a Monday and everyone is grumpy, but the weekend will be here soon. It’s a scrimmage game people. Just because you put 50, 60 or even 80,000 people in the stands it doesn’t make it anything more than it really is, a scrimmage. Coaches are giving looks at different guys, calling some gimmick plays, having fun, playing it safe. It’s pointless. It’s just a reason to get the fans excited. Guess it worked

Coach

April 20th, 2009
11:00 am

Tony- Unfortunately most of the fans in here don’t think like that. Rational thought is not applied very often in these forums.