Archive for July, 2009

Dipping into the Bulldog ‘Wish Book’



Georgia Sports Communications

Georgia Sports Communications

I got my hands on the new 2009 Georgia football media guide Tuesday, and it sort of reminded me of when we were kids and the Sears Christmas catalog, known as the “Wish Book,” would arrive. The three King boys would battle over who got to flip through its wondrous pages first.

Only this time I didn’t even have to fight off my son, since he’s now living in D.C. Tough luck, Bill, you can see it when you come home for the McCartney concert in August!

Although ostensibly aimed at the media who cover the Bulldogs, the guides have always been a fan favorite and in fact used to be sent free to all Bulldog Club/Hartman Fund contributors, before the athletic association cheaped out a few years ago.

You can still buy a copy, though, at various retail outlets in Athens and by mail or online. The athletic association says it’s available for $15 from the GShop of and the UGA Book Store, though it hadn’t yet shown up on either’s Web site …

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Two-minute drill: Georgia atop SEC in recruiting?’s JC Shurburtt is a big fan of Georgia’s 2010 recruiting class, which he says is “shaping up to be something special.” Of the 16 verbal commitments, there are 10 ESPNU150 watch list members and four Under Armour All-Americans, he notes, adding that it “might be the quickness and athleticism … on the perimeter front-seven that really stands out.” Top to bottom, he says, this is the best class in the SEC right now. …

Bulldawg Illustrated offers a somewhat unconventional view on the hidden costs of Georgia carrying three scholarship kickers and three scholarship fullbacks. …

Richard Cirminiello of College Football News says, “Georgia is not going away.” His preseason assessment of the Dogs: “Joe Cox and either Caleb King or Carlton Thomas may not be Stafford and Moreno, but then again, they may not have to be for the Dawgs to exceed marginalized expectations. Both the offensive line and the front seven will be outstanding, which will have a way of masking concerns in the …

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It’s the week for ‘burning questions’

With the SEC Media Days come a host of beat writers, columnists and bloggers offering what they see as the “burning questions” about the coming season. Of course, most of those questions won’t be answered at the media fest, aside from those about whether Lane Kiffin will act up or any public spats will break out among the coaches.

Those are fun to read about, but they don’t have much bearing on how the season turns out (aside from the way you’ll probably see the Gators still calling timeouts and throwing for the end zone at the end of their game with Kiffin’s Vols, even if they lead by three or four touchdowns).

There are burning questions about the 2009 Dogs, but we won’t have answers until they have at least a couple of games under their belts. But while many in the media have put Georgia’s quarterback play at the top of their burning questions, I don’t think that’s a primary area of concern. Joe Cox should do fine, barring a meltdown by the offensive line. And I hope Logan …

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It’s Martinez on the hot seat, not Richt

Paul Finebaum, the Mobile Press-Register columnist and radio personality who serves as the Matt Drudge of the SEC media circuit, now has turned his attention from Urban Meyer ostensibly going to Notre Dame and has declared that Mark Richt is teetering on the hot seat.

Finebaum starts off by calling Georgia’s season last year “a house of horrors.” Even though the Dogs won the Capital One Bowl “to finish with a solid 10-3 record,” he says,” it was too little, too late. The damage was done and fans have been grumbling ever since.”

He touches on Richt’s supposed shortcomings, including not being enough of a disciplinarian and not having the “steely determination” and “ruthless no bend or break approach” of an Urban Meyer or Nick Saban. But “the one thing you hear more than any concern,” Finebaum says, “is the national championship. There is a feeling among some in the Georgia fan base that Richt simply can’t get it done.”

With Georgia facing another tough schedule this year, …

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Toughest game for the Dogs besides Florida?

There’s not much mystery about the teams Georgia is most likely (Tennessee Tech) and least likely (Florida) to beat in 2009, at least on paper. The former is a 1-AA team just looking for a paycheck while the latter is many people’s choice to repeat as BCS champion. Where it gets tough is figuring out Georgia’s least likely wins beyond the game in Jacksonville.

The season opener at Oklahoma State? The season closer at Grant Field? A rising LSU team in Athens? The road game at Arkansas in the third week of the season? Arguments can be made for all of those. 

Besides Florida, which of these games do you think UGA is least likely to win?

  • Oklahoma State
  • Arkansas
  • LSU
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia Tech

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After the Gators, Jeff Dantzler of Bulldawg Illustrated picks Georgia Tech as the team that the Dawgs are least likely to beat. Dantzler, who’s on the down side of the scale in predicting a 7-5 season for Georgia, sees LSU as the next toughest …

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Two-minute drill: Defensive questions, new attitude

Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald talks to defensive coordinator Willie Martinez about how the Dogs plan on using Nick Williams, who could wind up playing both outside linebacker in nickel coverage and backup safety. “We’ve definitely got to get him on the field,” Martinez says. “We feel like he’s somebody that can make something happen, a space player. He plays with tremendous passion and can run. We’re just trying to find a spot for him. He’s kind of a little bit of a jackal for us.” … 

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs Blog looks at the defensive end position, where the healthy Justin Houston is suspended for two games; Demarcus Dobbs, Jeremy Longo, Neland Ball, Rod Battle and Cornelius Washington all are trying to come back from injuries; Montez Robinson is a true freshman; and Kiante Tripp spent last year on offense. “If I was looking from the outside in, I would say [there are questions] and we realize that as a group,” Battle says. “We’re just trying to refocus as a group …

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UGA coaches should listen to Rex Robinson

As anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows, Georgia’s special teams play — and particularly the Dogs’ spotty kickoff coverage and Coach Jon Fabris’ penchant for high, short directional kicks — is one of my pet peeves. The results last season, with the other team too often getting the ball at the 40 or better, were pretty damning. But I think the fact that two of UGA’s most celebrated kickers from the past, Kevin Butler and Rex Robinson, have been openly critical of Fabris’ approach speaks volumes on the subject.

Robinson, who writes the Roughing the Kicker blog, talks about the kickoff situation and how it impacted the overall play of freshman placekicker Blair Walsh last season in a lengthy “catching up” interview with David Hale of the Bulldogs Blog. I think the measured way in which Robinson criticizes the directional kicking plan shows this is more than just a fan’s knee-jerk reaction. 

Robinson tells Hale: “Somebody left a comment on my blog the other day calling …

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A.J. Green shines brightest on ‘no-star’ team


A.J. Green (photo by Olivia King)

A.J. Green (photo by Olivia King)

The oft-repeated mantra in Athens this summer has been that the star of this year’s Georgia team is the team, unlike the 2008 Dogs, who had the spotlight tightly focused on Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno.

But even if that’s the case, not all “stars” on the team are equal, as was evident at Saturday afternoon’s Countdown to Kickoff charity fan event at the UGA practice fields. The Redcoats and cheerleaders were there and amusements were provided for the young kids, but the main attraction was lining up to get autographs from and pose for snapshots with current and former Georgia players.

And the longest line by far was the one for preseason All-SEC wide receiver A.J. Green. Yes, tailback Caleb King and a couple of other players were sitting beside Green and also signing, but you routinely heard fans referring to it as “the line for A.J.” And it never seemed to get any shorter throughout the afternoon.

Interestingly, one of the shorter …

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Who do UGA fans love to hate?

“As a Dawg, who do you despise most?”

I figured that topic/question, proposed recently in an e-mail from Blawg reader Tom Lashley, would make a good Monday morning eye-opener. After all, college football in this state traditionally is all about “clean old-fashioned hate,” and there never seems to be a shortage of villains for UGA fans to focus on, whether it’s opposing coaches, trash-talking players or mush-mouthed TV analysts.

Actually, there seems to be a lot more despising going on these days than I recall in my childhood. For the most part, folks in red and black respected Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd, even when he’d won eight in a row over Wally Butts in the 1950s. And while UGA fans always hated Tech the week of the annual game, many back then actually rooted for the Jackets when they weren’t playing against the Bulldogs.

Who do UGA fans despise the most?

  • Steve Spurrier
  • Urban Meyer
  • Tim Tebow
  • Michael Adams
  • Penn Wagers
  • Lou Holtz

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Two-minute drill: Get well Loran, Greenie update, Dr. Basketball

As Chip Towers reports, longtime Bulldog jack-of-all-trades and gadabout Loran Smith was injured in a serious car accident in France earlier this week, but Smith is now back home in Athens and says he’s “sore as hell but I’m going to be OK.” Smith, who cohosts the pregame tailgate show on the UGA radio network, reports from the sidelines during games and edits/writes the game programs, is probably mainly fretting about the fact that the accident prevented him from making his annual trip to golf’s British Open. Get well quickly, Loran! …

One of the most likable guys ever to play for the Dogs is all-time NCAA winningest quarterback David Greene (”Greenie” to his many friends). Greene is involved in Saturday’s Countdown to Kickoff and the Athens Banner-Herald provides an update on what he’s been doing since retiring from the NFL after four frustrating seasons in which he never got into a game. Greene says once the season starts, “I’ll definitely miss the game. There’s no doubt …

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