Archive for June, 2009

P.M. Roundup: Ex-coaches, UGA name team, Stafford’s hair

A couple of recent announcements out of Norman, Okla., illustrate the depth of UGA’s athletics program, as two Georgia grads who also had worked as assistant coaches in Athens were named to head coaching positions at the University of Oklahoma. Georgia assistant golf coach Ryan Hybl, a former UGA golfer, was named the head men’s golf coach at Oklahoma and John Roddick was hired as the Sooners’ head men’s tennis coach. Roddick, brother of tennis star Andy Roddick, was an assistant at UGA from 2000 to 2002. …

Dawg Sports’ T. Kyle King (no relation) takes a fun look at Georgia’s “all-name” football team since 1964. Besides the obvious Jiggy Smaha, he includes Happy Dicks, Hiawatha Berry and Dax Langley. …

My Motown buddy Charles sends along a Detroit Free Press report on how Matthew Stafford is doing. He feels mentally ready to compete for the starting job with the Lions, and he has acquired “girl-approved hair” through his endorsement deal with Axe Hair. “I had to step up my …

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Bulldog Bites: Washaun Ealey, receivers, UGA outlook

The Georgia High School Football Daily e-mail newsletter, cofounded by one of my former coworkers, Chip Saye, reports that running back Washaun Ealey passed a summer course at Emanuel County Institute last week, finishing his academic requirements to enroll at UGA. “He’s in,” ECI coach Milan Turner told GHSF Daily. You can contact the newsletter at ghsfdaily@bellsouth.net.

Bulldogs Blog’s David Hale had an interesting talk with senior Michael Moore about the returning players and incoming freshmen in Georgia’s receiving corps, including his own chances when opponents double-team A.J. Green. Asked what freshman tight end/receiver hybrid Orson Charles brings to the table, Moore says: “He’s a high motor guy. He always wants to know what to do. He wants to learn more, he runs well, he catches the ball well. I think he’s a better fit for tight end only because it will give him a better advantage. You can flex him out and he’s going to beat up a DB, but he’s better suited for tight …

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No ‘hot seat’ for Richt

Mark Richt and Les Miles on the SEC hot seats? 

That’s the remarkable proposition blogger John Pennington offers at MrSEC.com. He says he came to that conclusion by asking which coaches can least afford a “bad, bad” year, are battling perception problems and face the highest expectations from fans and boosters.

I won’t get into his thoughts on Miles, but using a 5-7 record as the benchmark for a bad, bad year, he thinks such a season in 2009 would result in fans beginning to call for Richt’s head because the perception is “Richt can win a lot of games, but he can’t win ‘the big one’” and the expectations for this season are high “despite the loss of three key playmakers on offense.”

OK, there certainly are elements of UGA fandom that gripe about Richt not yet having won a national championship. And, granted, expectations always run high in the Bulldog Nation. I doubt Richt would want it any other way.

But only the most unrealistic followers of Bulldogs football would even …

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UGA’s greatest athletes?

The Gym Dogs’ Courtney Kupets is easily the most honored and winningest collegiate gymnast ever. She is the only gymnast ever to win the all-around and every individual event in NCAA competition, and is the all-time NCAA leader with nine individual championships. She also won a silver team medal and an individual bronze at the 2004 Olympics.

So does she belong on a list of the five greatest UGA athletes ever?

Which of these UGA sports has the best all-around athletes?

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Gymnastics

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A Junkyard Blawg commenter going by the name UGADawg83 thinks so, posting Monday after Kupets was named the top female college athlete of the year that she is “easily among the top five greatest athletes ever” at UGA. Joining Kupets in that Dog fan’s Top 5 were Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, basketball “Human Highlight Reel” Dominique Wilkins, football and baseball star Charley Trippi and football star David Pollack.

I like the …

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P.M. Roundup: Dobbs on defense’s ‘mentality’

One aspect of the Macon Telegraph’s story about DeMarcus Dobbs that’s drawn comment is the fact that the backup defensive end’s two interceptions last year ranked second only to the five snagged by strong safety Reshad Jones, who was part of a secondary that was notably unproductive in that regard. But it’s also worth noting a quote from Dobbs about Georgia’s difficulty getting to opposing QBs last year that underlines the lack of on-field leadership. “A lot it had to do with injury,” he said, “but it was also our mentality out on the field. This entire offseason we’ve been working on changing the mentality. We’ve been working so hard every day, just trying to improve, and I think it will show up on the field.” Let’s hope he’s right. …

What transpires when two Bulldog football legends play golf? Check out Buck Belue’s report on a round with Kevin Butler. …

The Tuscaloosa News once again has crunched the numbers using a complicated point system involving everything from …

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Kupets an inspiration to future Gym Dogs

Congratulations to Gym Dogs star Courtney Kupets, named the 2009 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year as the winner of the Honda-Broderick Cup today in a ceremony at Columbia University in New York. Kupets, the all-time NCAA leader with nine individual championships, is the first UGA athlete to win the cup and only the second gymnast.

Never has the oft-used analogy about raising the bar for those who follow been more applicable than in talking about Kupets’ stellar career. She should provide great inspiration for future UGA gymnasts.

But even with a change in head coaches as Jay Clark takes over from retiring legend Suzanne Yoculan, UGA’s gymnastics program seems up to the challenge. As they like to say in football circles, the Gym Dogs don’t recruit, they reload.

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Richt low-key on revenge

It’s interesting to see how Mark Richt’s way of trying to motivate his players after a couple of rivalry losses last year contrasts with how the coaches of those teams approached their games with Georgia.

After the 2007 Dogs beat the Gators in a game that featured a very un-Richtian appeal to raw emotion in the infamous end-zone celebration, Urban Meyer made beating Georgia the keystone of his 2008 Florida team’s preseason preparations. His players had to do 42 reps on every weight station as a reminder of the Dogs’ 42 points scored in 2007, and they had to do 188 sit-ups, push-ups and crunches during workouts to drive home the memory of Knowshon Moreno’s 188 yards against the Gators.

From the very day he became Georgia Tech’s new head coach, Paul Johnson made no bones about the importance of beating Georgia. He may be acting now like it was all the players and alumni that made a big deal of it, but at his introduction as the Jackets’ new coach, Johnson said that the game …

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Maybe now Scott Howard can quit screaming

The news from ISP Sports that UGA’s interim broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Scott Howard and analyst Eric Zeier have gotten the broadcast booth jobs on a permanent basis was no surprise. The duo are already established in those roles, Howard has been a longtime presence in the booth on Georgia broadcasts, and Zeier was a big-name player for the Dogs.

They were the safe choice for ISP and UGA. Introducing a stranger in the booth, particularly in the play-by-play role, as the broadcast transitions from the Larry Munson era would not have been a popular move in the Bulldog Nation and would have put the newcomer in a very tough position.

Plus Howard and Zeier have, for the most part, done a good job since first having to step into the breach. The familiarity of Howard’s voice has been comforting for fans missing Munson, and Howard has provided more pertinent information about who’s doing what on the field than Munson did in his later years. 

As for Zeier, not my first …

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10 greatest UGA wins of the Richt era

I find that compiling mental lists of things often makes the drive back from Athens go faster, so on Sunday I  was pondering what I see as the greatest Bulldog wins of the past eight seasons, a time that has seen Georgia win two SEC championships, three SEC East division titles and compile an 82-22 record under Mark Richt. Then I ran it by some of my family to see what they thought. 

What’s the greatest win of the Richt era?

  • Tennessee in 2001
  • Alabama in 2002
  • Auburn in 2002
  • Tech in 2002
  • LSU in 2004
  • LSU in 2005
  • Auburn in 2006
  • Alabama in 2007
  • Florida in 2007
  • Auburn in 2007

View Results

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Chronologically, here’s what I came up with:

1. The 2001 “hobnail boot” win over Tennessee in Knoxville with the late “P-44-Haynes” touchdown pass from David Greene to Verron Haynes. My brother Tim picks this as the greatest win of the Richt era because, he said, “That was a tough place to win for a freshman quarterback.”

2. The 2002 win …

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Bulldog tales for Father’s Day

 

Program from the 1942 Georgia-Alabama game.

Program from the 1942 Georgia-Alabama game. (Prideofthetide.com)

With the Father’s Day weekend upon us, I thought I’d wind up the week opening up the forum for Bulldog-related memories of our fathers and I’ll start it off with a couple of my own.

The first concerns one of the greatest UGA victories ever, the Oct. 31,1942, battle between Wally Butts’ Bulldogs, who had an 11-game winning streak going, and Alabama, who’d won eight in a row. It was one of those “neutral” site games at Grant Field in Atlanta and the Crimson Tide led 10-0 with 10 minutes remaining, but the Dogs, featuring Frankie Sinkwich and Charley Trippi, came from behind to win 21-10, with Sinkwich throwing two TD passes and Andy Dudish intercepting a fumble in midair and running it back for another. 

Georgia went on to win the Rose Bowl and a consensus national championship. After he retired many years later, Butts picked that game against Alabama as the greatest comeback by one of his teams and his …

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