Archive for July, 2009

Two-minute drill: Dogs ‘will be better’ on returns

Some interesting reads to take us into the weekend …

Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald talked with Dogs assistant coach Tony Ball, who oversees kickoff returns, about UGA’s lack of success in that area last season, when they ranked eighth in the SEC and 62nd nationally, with an average of 21.2 yards per return. Ball’s response: “Is that where we ended up? That ain’t acceptable. I think we were better than that a year before that. We will be better.” Ball said Richard Samuel, Brandon Boykin and Carlton Thomas are among the players he’s considering for kickoff returner. …

Yellow peril

The Georgia Sports Blog looks at the “hidden yardage” UGA gave up last season in terms of penalties that resulted in first downs for the opposition. It wasn’t so much how many penalties the Dogs got, the blog says, as when they got them. “Last year, Georgia’s defense surrendered 35 first downs to the opposition via penalty flags. That’s a staggering 2.7 free first downs per game. By …

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UGA fan’s 2009 wish: No more one-half efforts


Chris Davis with bowl trophy. (

Chris Davis with bowl trophy. (

I caught ESPN Classic’s replay of the Capitol One Bowl game between Georgia and Michigan State Thursday night and was struck again by a couple of things about the Dogs’ performance. 

One was, of course, how poorly the offense played in the first half, continually shooting itself in the foot. The turnovers. The penalties. Matthew Stafford’s inconsistency. 

Even if he doesn’t have near Stafford’s talent and can’t make some of the passes Stafford could, if Joe Cox can just maintain his level of play on an even keel this season, minus the peaks and valleys, I think it’ll be a big help.

The special teams play also was lousy — a subject we’ve covered here extensively.

The other notable aspect of the bowl game was how much better the defense performed compared with much of the rest of last season. 

Perhaps it was Mark Richt letting them go full-speed and tackle to the ground in practice before the bowl. Maybe they thought they were …

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Bulldog Bites: Coaching furloughs at UGA?

Georgia Athletic Association staff members are expected to be subject to state-mandated furlough days that are to be taken by the end of the calendar year, the Athens Banner-Herald reports. Athletics director Damon Evans says that could include contract employees like coaches, but he’s still waiting for a ruling on that. The athletic association is a private, nonprofit corporation, but is subject to the furloughs because those who work there are state employees, Evans said, adding that they haven’t yet figured out how unpaid days off would be implemented for coaches during the football season. That’s a tough break in terms of timing, with football season essentially taking up the remainder of the year, but if Mark Richt and his staff must take the three furlough days mandated by Gov. Sonny Perdue, it seems like the best solution would be to do a few during the off week in October and the rest in December. …

As Tim Tucker has reported, UGA has announced some more cutoff scores …

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101 Reasons to Be a UGA Fan, Part 2


University of Georgia

University of Georgia

It’s almost that time when we’ll be “goin’ back to Athens town,” and to help get you into the spirit of the season we continue our rundown of reasons to be a fan of the Bulldogs. Here, in no particular order, are 20 more. …

21. You can’t spell “Sugar” without “UGA.”

22. The electricity in the air when you step on the Sanford Drive bridge before a game.

23. Appleby-to-Washington.

24. Dan Magill and the loudest tennis crowds in America.

25. Sinkwich and Trippi in the same backfield.

26. “Glory, Glory Dixieland.”

27. Red and black, the best color combination in sports.

28. Verron Haynes in the checkerboard end zone.

29. Teaching a child to say “Go Dogs!” (Especially if he belongs to your Gator neighbor!)

30. Vince Dooley’s sideline body English.

31. Kevin Butler kicking it “a hundred thousand miles” against Clemson.

32. The Gym Dogs’ 10 national championships.

33. Foley Field’s six College World Series banners (twice as many as the school in Atlanta).

34. …

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Two-minute drill: Dogs’ recruiting class best in SEC?’s Chris Low declares Georgia is “burning up the recruiting trail.” He says, “The Bulldogs are making a strong bid to have the best recruiting class in the SEC, and that’s saying something when you look at whom Alabama, Florida and LSU have committed. … The Bulldogs now have 12 ESPNU 150 Watch List prospects (the most in the SEC) among the 18 players they have committed.” …

David Hale of the Bulldogs Blog identifies five Dogs who remain question marks and need to step up this season and, no, none of them is a tailback. His five: defensive ends Justin Houston and Demarcus Dobbs, punter Drew Butler, safety Reshad Jones and tight end Aron White. …

Loran Smith writes in the Athens Banner-Herald that the flap over Steve Spurrier initially not voting for Tim Tebow on the coaches’ preseason All-SEC team is much ado about nothing. Coaches should coach while someone else does the picking and ranking, he says. Smith also notes that coaches often have been known to let their …

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What does UGA need to win a national championship?


BCS trophy.

BCS trophy.

Someone on the DawgPost Forum (free but registration required) asked a question this morning that I hear a lot whenever UGA fans start discussing Mark Richt’s program: What pieces do the Dogs need in order to win a national championship? 

With Mark Bradley looking at the chances of Richt ever winning a BCS title today, I thought this would be a good time to discuss what exactly Georgia is lacking in that regard. 

The first step, of course, is to win the SEC championship; without that, as the Dogs discovered in 2007, you don’t get to be part of the BCS championship conversation.

But beyond that? Among the early suggestions over at DawgPost were: luck, a more favorable schedule, media buzz that goes deeper than last year’s somewhat tentative preseason infatuation with the Stafford-Moreno team, and a dominant defense. As in the old maxim, “defense wins championships.”

All of those are valid parts of the formula, especially the last one. A breakout star offensive …

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Bulldog Bites: UGA slight favorite over guess who

While we’re passing along betting news out of Las Vegas, Senator Blutarsky points out a Las Vegas Sun article detailing the early Las Vegas Hilton betting lines on some big games this season. 

As you’d expect, Florida is a 13.5 point favorite over the Dogs, but Georgia is a favorite over South Carolina (11.5 points), Arkansas (3.5 points), LSU (3.5) and Tennessee (3). 

Oh, and the Dogs also are a 1-point favorite over Georgia Tech. 

Guess the oddsmakers aren’t as impressed with Paul Johnson’s triple-option juggernaut as they are with Mark Richt’s road record. …

So it’s the postgame interviews that will be trimmed from Loran Smith’s to-do list on the UGA radio broadcasts. WSB-TV sports anchor Chuck Dowdle, who already cohosted Mark Richt’s weekly TV show, has told our Tim Tucker that he’s agreed to take on the locker-room interviews this season. 

What sort of difference will that make? Well, the questions no doubt will be a bit more relevant — less about someone’s hometown or …

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Oddsmakers see Dogs going 8-4

Las Vegas oddsmakers place the odds of the Georgia Bulldogs winning the 2009 SEC Championship at 10/1 and see the Dogs with 8 regular season wins this season in their over/under betting lines, and report. That win total is “shaded” slightly on the over side, VegasInsider says. 

Florida, naturally, is the favorite to take the SEC with 1/2 odds, followed by Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss (all at 9/2 odds). From there the odds go from 20/1 for South Carolina and Tennessee all the way up to 75/1 for Mississippi State.

Will the Dogs have over or under 8 wins in the regular season?

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The Las Vegas Sports Consultants’ SEC regular season win totals run like this: Vanderbilt with 4.5 wins, Kentucky with 6, Auburn with 6.5, South Carolina with 6.5, Tennessee with 7, Arkansas with 7, Georgia with 8, LSU with 8.5, Ole Miss with 9, Alabama with 9.5 and Florida with 11 wins. They …

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Two-minute drill: Fresh faces, hot workouts

Carlton Thomas (photo by Olivia King)

Carlton Thomas (photo by Olivia King)

As part of his look at “fresh faces” in the SEC,’s Chris Low focuses on Carlton Thomas, Washaun Ealey and Tavares King. Thomas, Low says, “might not be a guy who will carry it 20 or 25 times a game, but he’s a magician at making people miss in the open field and can turn nothing into something in a hurry. Look for Thomas to be the Bulldogs’ changeup back this season and play a key role on third down.” On Ealey: “Every year, there’s a true freshman fans can’t wait to get a look at. This year, that guy at Georgia is the 5-11, 205-pound Ealey, who obliterated the Class A competition in high school while playing for Emanuel County Institute.” And on King: “He’s a tad on the skinny side and still needs to prove that he’s durable enough to weather the pounding in the SEC. But King has added 20 pounds since coming to Georgia last year (up to 182) and possesses the kind of speed that should make him a nice complement to [A.J.] Green.” … …

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Cowboys don’t want red and black horde

One of the more notable aspects of last year’s Georgia-Arizona State game in Tempe was the large percentage of the 71,706 seats in Sun Devil Stadium filled by fans cheering for the Dogs. 

Talking about that game to the Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club this week, UGA athletics director Damon Evans said, “I think we showed the people out in Tempe, Ariz., what football is about. When you have 25,000 Georgia Bulldogs invade the Phoenix and Tempe area, it is something else.”

Something that the folks at Oklahoma State in Stillwater apparently don’t want to see.

OSU only provided UGA with 5,000 visitors tickets for the Sept. 5 game at 60,000-seat Boone Pickens Stadium, newly renovated to the tune of $283 million.

And the match-up with Georgia was the only home game this season for which the school didn’t sell any single-game tickets. 

If you didn’t get one of the 5,000 tickets sent to UGA (which are sold out), the only way to see that game in person is to buy an Oklahoma State season …

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