Weekend highs and lows in Bulldog Nation

It was a mixed weekend in Athens.

On the positive side, many UGA families, including mine, were celebrating graduations at Sanford Stadium and Stegeman Coliseum, the men’s and women’s tennis teams both advanced to the NCAA Round of 16, and the softball team was selected as the No. 1 seed for the Chapel Hill regional. But the results at Foley Field and the confirmation of disciplinary action against two members of the football team were disappointing.

The final baseball home stand of the season got off to a dismal start with the Diamond Dogs dropping Friday and Saturday’s games to Vandy, a middling team. At least Sunday’s win over the Dores clinched an SEC Tournament birth for the Bulldogs (15-12 in SEC play with South Carolina still to go), though just making it to Hoover is a bit of a comedown for a team that led the league (and the national rankings) much of the season.

Hosting an NCAA regional seems unlikely at this point, but at least the team will keep playing past the regular season and is pretty certain to go somewhere in NCAA play. And who knows, Rally Rat, their new mascot as detailed in the Athens Banner-Herald, could see an extended run if they can get back on track. Worth noting: The 2,361 fans at Sunday’s game set a new season attendance record at Foley Field of 93,360, surpassing last season’s 93,152. Up next: a shot at revenge against the Jackets Tuesday at Turner Field in Atlanta.

But what most Dawg fans were talking about this weekend was Mark Richt suspending junior tight end Bruce Figgins for six games and sophomore defensive end Justin Houston for two games, while junior receiver Tony Wilson was medically disqualified but would have been suspended otherwise. 

Richt didn’t announce the reason for the suspensions, but ESPN reported that Figgins failed a drug test, and his penalty is in line with UGA Athletic Association policy of automatic suspension for half a season in those cases. 

One Athens observer with close ties to the football program says that Richt generally bends over backwards to work with players who screw up and violate team rules, but not if drugs are involved. Which is as it should be. With this being the second time Figgins has been suspended (he missed last year’s season opener for an unspecified violation of team rules), he’s lucky he wasn’t kicked off the team completely.

As for the on-field repercussions, I’ve already touched on the justifiable fan hand-wringing about Houston missing playing time when we need all the help rushing the passer we can get. 

Missing six games will pretty much make Figgins, who sat out spring practice, an afterthought at tight end and move up the timetable on the expected ascension of incoming freshman Orson Charles as the eventual starter. It seems likely, though, that Charles and redshirt sophomore Aron White (the probable starter at the beginning of the season) will be used more as receivers in a hybrid flex tight end position, which gives the other incoming freshman, Arthur Lynch, a chance to earn playing time as the blocking tight end. Bryce Ros could figure in there, too.

While Kris Durham being out for the season means the Dogs will have just six scholarship receivers, including incoming freshmen Marlon Brown and Rontavious Wooten, I’m not convinced Wilson’s departure will make all that much difference. He was having a really slow rehab from a season-ending injury last year and had not shown that much in his time on the field. A lot of folks are really high on Brown, touted as possibly the next A.J. Green, and I really liked the way Michael Moore finished the season. Israel Troupe and Tavares King have shown promise, too. 

Lots for fans to talk about in the 116 days until the season starts. What do you think? Are these suspensions a minor hiccup or a serious blow to the Dogs’ 2009 prospects?

154 comments Add your comment

DawgGirl32

May 11th, 2009
10:44 am

I think losing Houston was a much bigger blow than losing Figgins or Wilson. If we can’t get pressure on the QB in the OK State game, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble. Hopefully Rod Battle, Cornelius Washington, or Demarcus Dobbs can step up. I must say that if anything I am glad that Mark Richt is properly taking care of these situations instead of sweeping them under the rug like many coaches do.

Rick S

May 11th, 2009
10:48 am

Time will tell whether this will be a setious blow or a minor hiccup but one thing for sure is the seniors need to step forward and provide leadership for the underclassmen before Georgia has another embarrasing offseason as in 2008!

Rick S

May 11th, 2009
10:49 am

Time will tell whether this will be a serious blow or a minor hiccup but one thing for sure is the seniors need to step forward and provide leadership for the underclassmen before Georgia has another embarrasing offseason as in 2008!

Dorsey Hill

May 11th, 2009
11:11 am

Does anyone have a clue as to what Justin’s issue was?

GeoffDawg

May 11th, 2009
11:19 am

Disappointing but it’s a team game and no one or two players is going to make or break the season. At the very least, we’re still light years ahead of 2008 level lost players. Everyone, knock on wood.

Charles Nelson Reilly

May 11th, 2009
11:41 am

Come on…..are you makin’ these names up??

I might buy Bruce Figgins Pudding, but Marlon Brando, Rev. Al Green, Rod Battle [rated XXX], Cornelius Washington from what planet, or Demarcus Dobbs, a ventriloquist and a stadium named after Redd Foxx?? But my very Favorite….Rontavious Wooten sounds like a cheezy motorbike! Ronnnnnntavious Wooten Wooooooten Woootennnnnnn! But I really hate I missed the Doors?

Huh?

May 11th, 2009
11:42 am

Make your reservations now for the Chicken Bowl folks. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

WTF??

May 11th, 2009
11:50 am

I do LOVE COX!!!

AltamahaDawg

May 11th, 2009
12:05 pm

I think Rod Battle was the most hopefull DE coming into last year and was just never healthy, so hopefully he can finally live up to expectations. I also really like what I read about the extra LB on a pass rush situation. Worked pretty well in the G-day game.

cliff

May 11th, 2009
12:10 pm

If a players actions warrant multiply game suspension then dismiss him from school and .the team. Bring in someone that wants to play and can behave.

AltamahaDawg

May 11th, 2009
12:12 pm

What exactly does medically disqualified mean?

Cuz

May 11th, 2009
12:22 pm

Altamaha, it means he was passed over for admittance to med school.

WTF???

May 11th, 2009
12:26 pm

You know you’ve made it when idiot Tech fans post under your screen name….

Urban

May 11th, 2009
12:29 pm

Gettin’ started a little early at THUG-U, huh?

WTF???

May 11th, 2009
12:32 pm

LOL!!! Coming from a Gator…. Now that is funny.

DawgGirl32

May 11th, 2009
12:34 pm

Yeah Urban, at least Coach Richt actually disciplines his players for failed drug tests. You really think anyone believes that Percy Harvin actually passed his drug tests in college?

dufferdawg

May 11th, 2009
12:35 pm

I am like most Georgia fans that have grown very weary of the off field issues. I am tired of being the laughing stock from the rest of the conference, and tired of the distractions it causes the rest of the team. I for one am ready for CMR to step up the level of punishment. I think Figgins shoulbe be dismissed from the team. I understand CMR wants to give everyone 2nd, and 3rd chances…but he has to think of the negative effects on the team at this point.

Urban

May 11th, 2009
12:40 pm

GeoffDawg

May 11th, 2009
12:41 pm

Nice zinger DawgGirl.

GeoffDawg

May 11th, 2009
12:42 pm

Lame comeback Urban.

Urban

May 11th, 2009
12:45 pm

49-10 will sound good compared to what’s coming this year.

JP

May 11th, 2009
12:47 pm

Richt has improved the recruiting at UGA. Bad apples come with it. It happens no big deal.

JP

May 11th, 2009
12:48 pm

When your concern is the pass rush after losing one player (not even an all sec caliber player) then thier are other issues at hand.

Urban

May 11th, 2009
12:50 pm

Hey muttters….if you think Harvin failed his drug test, where’s the proof? Thought so. Kinda like your “best recruiting class ever…SEC championship this year….NC championship this year”…blah, blah, blah….same ol’ mutts.

STUCK IN SC

May 11th, 2009
12:53 pm

Hey King, what’s the deal with Houston? Was it not reported anywhere why he was suspended? Its kind of strange we have info on Figgins but not Houston?

RedandBlack

May 11th, 2009
12:53 pm

116 days until kickoff, Baby! Georgia will line up to hit them hard and often. See you in the endzone, urban. Watch me dance. Take a timeout. I will dance some more. Woof, Baby, Woof!! Go Dogs!!!

Mike

May 11th, 2009
1:00 pm

As always, the loss of one or two will be felt, but should be overcome. It’s the cumulative effect of others to come through injury, etc. that bothers me. Starting this early just adds more time for the losses to mount up.

GeoffDawg

May 11th, 2009
1:05 pm

Conclusive evidence that Critical Thinking is not a core requirement at UF.

If you think clean cut, boy next door, Percy Harvin never smoked the pot during his time at Florida but then suddenly can’t take the pressure after being told about combine drug testing, then I have some swampland in Gainesville to sell you.

StoneColdDawg

May 11th, 2009
1:12 pm

The difference is that UGA a player gets in trouble, he pays a price and his offense is made public whereas at UF, they list the offender as being injured…ie Percy Harvey.

gdawginkalamazoo

May 11th, 2009
1:16 pm

As Percy said ” I swear it was second hand smoke, I was backstage at the Willie Nelson concert, invited as VIP to enjoy the smo… show.”

AJC Headliner

May 11th, 2009
1:19 pm

How ’bout those Brainy Dawgs!

uuugh.

May 11th, 2009
1:20 pm

Urban…If I were you I would hope that it was the pot that made Percy Harvin so damned dumb. If it wasn’t drug related somebody down there in the capital of New Jersey needs to shred the coloring books he turned in as tests before the NCAA comes knocking curious as to how a kid that can’t ‘read good’ passed enough classes to play football!

AltamahaDawg

May 11th, 2009
1:21 pm

Maybe now, the slanderous stories will subside. http://www.altamahamopeds.com

Urban

May 11th, 2009
1:25 pm

same ol mutts….blah, blah….blah, blah….been fun, gotta go win ANOTHER NC. Hey, nice guy, that Tony Cole, huh?

uuugh.

May 11th, 2009
1:27 pm

In Percy’s defense, maybe the NFL suprised everyone at the combine with drug tests. Maybe Urban Meyer should have warned him about the both the drug test and the Wonderlic. I think the Wonderlic snuck up on him too–Michael Vick scored higher folks–MICHAEL VICK!?!??

Sanford Drive

May 11th, 2009
1:28 pm

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of blog where sports fans could post insightful comments about their respective teams?

ChefChuck

May 11th, 2009
1:28 pm

Tony Cole’s jailhouse fight was a draw…at least the dawgs didn’t lose that one.

uuugh.

May 11th, 2009
1:30 pm

What does inciteful mean?

Chris

May 11th, 2009
1:33 pm

Why is it that when a college or pro athlete gets in trouble, they are black 95% of the time? Just blows me away. The stupid thugs care more about themselves then their team.

AltamahaDawg

May 11th, 2009
1:34 pm

I can understand smoking pot and being stupid, but trolling all day in a rivals sports blog, pretending that your college football team somehow offsets your obvious low self esteem…..that’s just sad.

Dawg_Em_Out

May 11th, 2009
1:36 pm

UGA will be just fine come seasons start. this has actually been a pretty quiet offseason this yr imo.

Ardawg

May 11th, 2009
1:38 pm

s Percy said ” I swear it was second hand smoke, I was backstage at the Willie Nelson concert, invited as VIP to enjoy the smo… show.”

Now thats funny! I don’t care who ya are

What?

May 11th, 2009
1:40 pm

Chris,

Really? These are kids, no matter if they are black or white. They are college kids. Hummmm, lets look at the current roster of any college football team. Most of them are black on the team, so the odds of some kid who happens to be black getting in trouble is a little higher. Stupid comment. How many kids are getting in trouble at the University of Georgia are white? Why is that? They care more about themselves than representing their school. Wow!!!!!

Dawgtime

May 11th, 2009
1:40 pm

Again, if the Gators are so superior, why are Gator? fans posting on UGA blogs? You should be reading UF blogs. Posting a score from last year seemed very childish. That would be like me posting a video of the Bulldog Boogie on a UF site. Get a clue. I see quite a few people bragging about the Gators now, but where were these fans 10 years ago? Yelp, wearing FSU and Miami gear. These people are fickle nobodys. They just jump from bandwagon to bandwagon. I will always be a Dawg fan. I do not read nor post on UF blogs. I can always watch DEA on T.V. if I need to see drug dealers in action. Yeah, yeah, I know the first time Percy Harvey smoked the weed was this year. Yeah right. In terms of two suspended dawgs, I say that you both need to grow up and become men instead of thugish little boys. You both were in line to start this year and you both demostrated a lack of personal control. In my opinion, UGA should inform them that they have received their last warning/suspension. I believe in zero tolerance. I’d rather lose with good kids than win with thugs. This same crap is what ruined a potential great season last year. This boys see dope as a means of being cool. What a joke? You are in college to learn and to play football. If you need to try drugs, give up the scholarship and leave UGA. I’m sick of these thugish decisions. Again, I call for fathers to become fathers. Too many young people are growing up without males in their lives. Smoking dope is not going to make you a better person, a man, or a father. Grow up.

Ramble On!!!

May 11th, 2009
1:43 pm

Man, we smoked so much pot at Tech! I think that is what led to my homosexuality….

Big Phil

May 11th, 2009
1:44 pm

2009 Fulmer Cup Standings…………..drum roll, please………….
Tied @ # 5……..Carolina & The Florida Gators
Tied @ #16……..The Mississippi’s
#19 The Hogs

Even with these minor off-field issues, UGA is still in better shape than other SEC schools!

GatorHator

May 11th, 2009
1:45 pm

if Percy was dumb enough not to smoke weed before the combine…..and it only stays in your system for a couple weeks at the most…. then he obviously couldn’t go that long without smoking unless he is just the biggest d/a in the world….. wait he did go to UF right? nevermind

Dawgtime

May 11th, 2009
1:48 pm

Stop the lies. Michael Vick did not score high on the mental aptitude exam. That is a lie. The Falcons were questioned for taking someone with major questions. I still have a copy of the magaizine. The Cole kid has nothing to do with UGA. UGA got rid of this kid. That is old news. Linking a school to something like that is weak at best. In terms of the race issue, I say what is that about. Bad decisions and behavior do not come in colors. That is a stupid remark. I know many young people will defend the usage of drugs because they are attempting to fit in and seem cool. It makes you look stupid. Many lives are ruined because of that trash. V.D. is very common on college campuses too. Is that something that is cool? Grow up and get a clue. Develop a backbone and stand up for what is right. Stop being comformist. Go DAWGS.

Snoop

May 11th, 2009
1:49 pm

Richt is not concerned with rehabilitating players who misstep. His only concern is winning games, and he learned his style of discipline from his master, Bobby Bowden. In every case, he applies the NCAA minimum penalty for specific criminal activity. He did kick the thug, Lemon, off the team, but that was because a big lawsuit was pending. Richt learned nothing from last year when he had the talent for a championship season and turned it into a 9-3 season which should have been a 7-5 disaster. It just appears that Richt’s players have changed their drug of choice from alcohol to something illegal.

GatorHator

May 11th, 2009
1:49 pm

but what would you expect with Corrine Brown being an Alumni…… Corch Urban Meyer!