Posts Tagged ‘Mark Richt’

Georgia projects well for 2013, even with flaws in win

Mark Richt gets the Gatorade bath after Georgia's Capitol Bowl win over Nebraska. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Mark Richt gets the Gatorade bath after Georgia's Capitol Bowl win over Nebraska. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

ORLANDO – The players wore hats reading “CHAMPIONS” in all cap letters. The fact that “Capital One Bowl” — and not SEC or BCS — also was stitched on the caps in a much smaller script might deflate that declaration a bit, but it doesn’t take away from where Georgia may be headed.

Were the Bulldogs great in their final game of the 2012 season? Hardly. The defense, purported to be loaded with NFL talent, too often played sloppy and undisciplined. The quarterback, Aaron Murray, threw two interceptions in the team’s first three possessions. It is what happens sometimes in bowl games. The Dogs didn’t save their best for last. Their best came in the next-to-last game against Alabama.

But ultimately, what came out of Georgia’s 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl were signs that this program isn’t likely to take a step back next season.

There will be new …

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LIVE: Georgia tries to forget SEC ending, close with win

Aaron Murray gives a high five to tackle Xzavier Ward before taking on Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. (Brant Sanderlin)

Aaron Murray high-fives Xzavier Ward before the Capital One Bowl. (Brant Sanderlin)

ORLANDO — When asked the other day if he viewed this season as a missed opportunity to win SEC and BCS championships, Georgia coach Mark Richt said, “Every year is a missed opportunity, I think.” And that’s probably the right thing to say, even if it’s not every season the Bulldogs come within one tipped pass of winning the SEC title and going to the BCS championship game.

When Georgia faces Nebraska today in the Capital One Bowl, the question is whether we’ll witness any hangover from the last game. The Dogs (11-2, coming off a 32-28 loss to Alabama, No. 7 BCS) may be a more talented team than the Cornhuskers (10-3, coming off a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin, No. 16 BCS). But that doesn’t always mean anything in bowl games. Witness Georgia Tech vs. USC. Or witness Georgia’s last two bowl efforts — losses to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl two years ago and Michigan State in the Outback last …

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Georgia needs to finish strong to avoid diminishing season

Mark Richt hopes his team can finish the season better than it has the last two years. (AP photo)

Mark Richt hopes his team can finish the season better than it has the last two years. (AP photo)

ORLANDO – The old comedian Steve Allen once said, “I used to be a heavy gambler. But now I just make mental bets. That’s how I lost my mind.”

He easily could have been talking about bowl games. As inexact sciences go, they fit somewhere between the “wheel of fortune” and “pick a number between one and 10.”

A college team’s best players often are upperclassmen who already have one foot and an entire head out the door. Some get lost in the vacation atmosphere of bowl week. Some can’t transition back from holiday break. Others just look, play and act like they would rather not be there. It’s why we are left with results like: Central Florida 10, Georgia Holograms 6 in the Liberty Bowl.

For Georgia’s sake, this next bowl needs to be different.

This isn’t some grand declaration that the Bulldogs’ program will be defined by whether or not they defeat Nebraska in the …

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Aaron Murray may be playing his final game for Georgia

Aaron Murray hasn't told Mark Richt or anybody if this is his final game. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Aaron Murray and Mark Richt have been together for three seasons. This may be it. (Brant Sanderlin)

ORLANDO – Before this season began, Aaron Murray set a plan for the next two years — not for football, but for a doctorate program in industrial-organizational psychology. Call it an academic and career game plan.

“It’s a pretty big field nowadays,” Murray said in August. “A lot of companies are hiring I-O psychologists.”

Aaron Murray plays a football game Tuesday. There is a very good chance it will be his final football game for Georgia.

This is pure conjecture on my part. It is based on the fact that Murray, as much as he loves college football, has other things going on in his life. He has other things he wants to try. He’s a different kid.

“You mean mature?” Murray said, smiling.

“No,” I responded. (He laughed. Know your audience.)

I presented my theory to Murray, that Georgia’s game against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl would be the end of this …

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Progress pleases McGarity, but he’s still not ‘comfortable’

Greg McGarity is pleased but not content with Georgia's turnaround under Mark Richt. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Greg McGarity is pleased but not content with Georgia's turnaround under Mark Richt. (Curtis Compton)

Greg McGarity is avoiding amusement parks and costumed cartoon characters this week. He found his own “Happiest Place on Earth” in Orlando – roaming the aisles of a Barnes and Noble while clutching a gift card.

“I’m going to spend all of this,” he said by phone.

McGarity loves books, particularly anything on leadership. His favorite is, “Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All,” by Jim Collins.

“There’s a section in there on productive paranoia,” Georgia’s athletic director said. “I think all ADs have a level of that.”

It is why, despite the generally positive feelings that surround the Georgia football program these days, McGarity isn’t nearly satisfied. In fact, when asked if he felt comfortable about the program’s turnaround and direction, he all but chewed up the word and spit it out.

“I don’t …

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Predictions: Georgia pulls upset, Tech goes down

chalk

According to various websites that I looked through while doing research for this final week of investments — not counting those that kept asking for a credit card number, age verification and automatically opened 27 new windows (Close! Close! Dang it, close!) while my wife screamed down to the basement, “Are you still looking at point spreads!?” — I came across some interesting statistics.

The chances of winning Wednesday night’s $579 million Powerball drawing were approximately 1 in 176 million. That was still far more likely than the odds of having a meteor land on my house: 1 in 182,138,880,000,000. Or about double that for the same meteor landing on the ACC championship game and hitting somebody.

Is that a meteor falling on my house, or Georgia going to BCS title game?

Is that a meteor falling on me, or Dogs going to BCS?

Other odds I came across: 1 in 3 million chance of spotting a UFO; 1 in 11,500 of bowling 300 in a game; 1 in 649,740 of being dealt a royal flush; 1 in 20 million of being canonized; about even-money that one of those …

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Georgia’s best chance vs. Alabama may be to step on gas

Aaron Murray has 14 touchdowns and no interceptions in last 17 quarters. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Aaron Murray has 14 touchdowns and no interceptions in last 17 quarters. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

ATHENS – When gazing at the nation’s leaders among college football defenses, Alabama doesn’t stand out statistically so much as it leaps off the page, stomps on cars, knocks over skyscrapers, swats away missiles and terrorizes women, children and offensive coordinators.

The Crimson Tide rank No. 1 nationally in total defense. Also No. 2 in rush defense, No. 3 in pass defense, No. 1 in scoring defense, No. 1 in red zone defense. It has shut out four opponents, held seven to 10 points or less and all except one to 17 or less.

Which begs the question: All except one?

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin relatively humbled Nick Saban three weeks ago with his hyperventilating, no-huddle offense. The Aggies upset then No. 1 Alabama 29-24, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions, accumulating the second-most yards (418) and the most red zone possessions (five) of any Tide …

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Georgia playing at level we haven’t seen under Richt

Dogs accept overnor's Cup for Saturday's win, but they're after bigger trophy. (Brant Sanderlin)

Dogs accept Governor's Cup after the win, but they're after something bigger. (Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – This is new ground. Or, more accurately, new air.

Georgia had never reached this elevation before under Mark Richt — not in BCS ranking at this point of the season, not in perception of championship potential.

It didn’t feel like this even during those two SEC titles early in Richt’s tenure, when Georgia already had been cropped out of the national pictured. It wasn’t this real when a Sugar Bowl win left the Bulldogs with a postseason ranking of No. 2, after they already had been leapfrogged in the BCS and left out of the national title game.

Never before in late November under Richt could we look at Georgia and legitimately think: That team can win it all.

Now we can.

Georgia didn’t just beat Georgia Tech on Saturday. It humiliated the Jackets 42-10. The tilt on the scoreboard would have been even greater if Richt hadn’t pulled starters with more than 10 minutes …

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LIVE: Bulldogs, Jackets vie for more than bragging rights

The early scene from the final regular season game for UGA and Tech.

The early scene from Sanford Stadium, site for the final regular season game for Georgia and Tech.

ATHENS — Good morning. Before we get to the game, I have a small request: Let’s be civil.

I understand emotions (and beer) often cause sports fans to jump the rails a little bit. Because we will have both Georgia and Georgia Tech fans on this blog, the chance for a verbal inferno becomes even greater.

But the same rules apply: no profanity, no profanity that is cleverly disguised with punctuation marks, no racist comments, no sexual innuendo, no stealing of screen names to give the impression that somebody wrote something when they really didn’t, no … well, you get the idea. You can praise, mock, laud and criticize all you like. But let me share something an old editor of mine once told me: If you have to ask, “Can I write this?” the answer is probably no.

Fair enough?

OK, onto the game. Georgia and Georgia Tech is, first and foremost, always about 364 days of bragging rights. …

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Vince Dooley: Joy from Georgia’s rise, pain from son’s firing

Some of Vince Dooley's joy over Georgia's resurgence took a hit with his son's firing. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Vince Dooley's joy for Georgia's resurgence took a hit with his son's firing. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

On Sunday, when everybody associated with Georgia football was still basking in the afterglow of the season’s 10th victory and the anticipation of a dramatic flip at the top in the BCS standings, the Dooleys of Athens received a phone call from their son, Derek.

“I knew it was going to happen,” Vince Dooley said. “I felt for sure it was going to happen. Then on Sunday when he contacted us and told us, it was difficult. You hurt for your family. You hurt for your son.”

Seldom do the extreme highs and lows of competitive athletics collide like this.

Dooley hired Mark Richt and watched him win two SEC championships in his first five seasons. He saw the program slip back for a couple of seasons and Richt try to navigate through “crises” while four other SEC schools won six national championships and so many called for the coach’s head. Now the Bulldogs are more than …

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