Archive for August, 2009

Two-minute drill: 4 games go on sale to general public

A limited number of tickets to four Georgia football games will go on sale to the general public beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the athletic association announced today. Tickets for two road games and two home games will be available for purchase online.

The games available and ticket prices are: Oklahoma State Saturday in Stillwater ($100), Arkansas on Sept. 19 in Fayetteville ($45), Arizona State on Sept. 26 in Athens ($60) and Tennessee Tech on Nov. 7 in Athens ($45).

All Oklahoma State tickets ordered can be picked up at the Gate N-12 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater starting at 1 p.m. Central Time on the day of the game. When picking up Oklahoma State tickets at will-call, you’ll have to present a photo ID. All other single game tickets ordered will be mailed out next week.

UPDATE: A limited number of tickets to the South Carolina game on Sept. 12 in Athens will go on sale exclusively to Hartman Fund donors, also at 9 a.m. Tuesday. These tickets, priced at $55, will …

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By the numbers: Top 10 opener a rarity for UGA

A win over Oklahoma State would be only the second season-opening victory over a  Top 10 opponent in school history, UGA’s sports communications folks  point out. The only other time it happened was when unranked Georgia under Vince Dooley beat Bear Bryant’s No. 5 Alabama 18-17 in Athens in 1965. All-time, the Bulldogs are 1-4-1  against Top 10 foes in season openers.

Of course, the Dogs haven’t faced that many top teams in opening games over the decades. Once UGA moved Alabama out of that first-game spot, opponents have tended to be designated patsies with directional or hypenated names until recently, when the likes of Boise State and Okie State have been added.

Will Georgia have to score more than 45 points to beat OSU?

  • Yes, the Dogs will have to win a wild West shootout.
  • No, Georgia’s defense will rein in the Cowpokes.

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Some other opening-game record book tidbits from UGA: The last time Georgia opened against a ranked opponent …

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Predicting Saturday’s TV story line easy as ABC

Considering the preseason crowning of Oklahoma State as this year’s Cinderella team in college football, I was already expecting ABC’s coverage of Saturday’s game in Stillwater to be heavy on Cowboys hype and ready with a story line about Georgia being the Pokes’ first step in a magical season.

You know the drill. Okie State has all those offensive stars and plays television’s favorite style of offense. Georgia lost all its star power from last year and its defense is suspect. Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN’s “Game Day” even made reference recently to the Dogs “limping” into Stillwater. And he wasn’t just talking hamstrings.

Besides all that, ABC loves the Cowboys, and Saturday’s opener will be OSU’s sixth straight regular season game to be televised by the alphabet network. 

Then came the topper: I saw that the ABC crew for the game, slated to kick off at 3:36 p.m. Eastern, will have Sean McDonough on play-by-play, Matt Millen as analyst and Holly Rowe on the sideline.

McDonough is …

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What’s wrong with a little star treatment?

Mark Richt’s offseason mantra this year, that the star of the team is the team, has gotten a lot of  discussion in recent months. We’ve heard how last year the Dogs bought into their preseason ranking too much and some players tended to expect stars Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno to pull off a miracle when things got tough.

To put that mind-set aside, Richt has stressed time and again that the 2009 team has no stars, despite the fact that it’s not true. A.J. Green is already a big-time star. Rennie Curran is the SEC’s best returning tackler. And some of the players returning from injuries, including Jeff Owens and Trinton Sturdivant, have star potential.

In any other season, the Athens Banner-Herald pointed out, some of these players’ faces would have adorned the UGA football media guide the same way other SEC schools promote their stars. Instead, Georgia went with mascot Uga VII and a mass of unidentified players on its media guide cover — the first time since 1992 that …

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Talking Dogs: Four years and counting

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the founding of this blog. To mark the occasion, I thought I’d give you a chance to look back at that very first Junkyard Blawg from Aug. 29, 2005 about growing up in Athens town. …

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Fandango: Pollack debuts on Fox Sports show

An occasional roundup of fan-related items …

Rohan Backfisch, an old Athens High School classmate of mine who worked for Turner Sports in its heyday and now is with Fox Sports, tells me that “SEC Gridiron Live” begins its 15-week run on Fox Sports South, Sun Sports and Fox Sports Southwest at 10 p.m. Eastern Wednesday, Sept. 2.

Former Georgia defensive end David Pollack will be one of the analysts on the 60-minute live show, along with host Charles Davis (former UT player), former NFL player and fellow analyst Randy Cross and “social media reporter” Cassidy Hubbarth.

The program promises interviews with players and coaches, extensive game breakdowns, and debate and discussion of the weekend’s upcoming SEC matchups. The live studio show also will incorporate a social networking component, providing viewers with the opportunity for immediate interaction with the on-air broadcast team and SEC football fans across the country.

“SEC Gridiron Live” will replay several times each …

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Bulldog Bites: Belue says Dogs should go all-out

UGA quarterback-turned-broadcaster Buck Belue thinks the Dogs’ best shot at beating Oklahoma State is to come out as the aggressor on offense.

“None of this 3-and-out stuff in the first quarter by being conservative,” he writes. “That spells trouble. It’s one of those ‘Think 30’ situations. The Cowboys offense is loaded and dangerous. Got to expect they will score some points. So, think 30. As in, we need to score 30 points to win.”

Belue suggests Georgia let QB Joe Cox “throw it around” in the first half and “maybe get a big play or two and set the tone. Oklahoma State’s secondary got torched last season. New [defensive coordinator] and some new faces and that’s another reason to test them. … Hit ’em with some big pass plays and get them focused on rushing the passer … then start dialing up a steady dose of running plays.”

Jeff Owens (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Jeff Owens (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Do you really really like me?

Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald has an amusing quote from Geno Atkins about …

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Keys to success for 2009 Dogs

I was a bit under the weather yesterday and away from the Blawg, but I was still thinking about Georgia football (I know, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it?).

I started pondering keys to success for the Dogs this season, prompted in part by reading on Georgiadogs.com that Mark Richt noted the preseason emphasis on reducing penalties didn’t really pay off in the practice half-a-game on Wednesday.

“There were too many penalties,” Richt said, adding: “One of the penalties forced us to kick a field goal instead of going for a touchdown.”

While he did note that “we substituted pretty freely because it was so warm,” which might have been a factor in the number of flags, the hope here is that the coach made the point forcefully with the team that this is a great way to lose games. And that he continues to make that point.

So along those lines, I offer here five pretty obvious but essential keys to the season. (I didn’t include injuries, which was a major negative factor last year, because …

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What do you expect of 2009 Dogs?

I’ve been hearing a range of predictions from UGA fans on how Mark Richt’s 2009 team is going to do. (I’m holding off on my own trip out on the limb until next week.)

The 2009 Dogs will disappoint you if they don’t …

  • Win at least 8 games, plus a bowl.
  • Win at least 9 games, plus a bowl.
  • Make it to a BCS bowl as an at-large team.
  • Defy the odds and take the SEC East.
  • Win the conference championship.

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The most pessimistic outlook I’ve heard so far is 7-5, and that’s been pretty rare. Not many fans or even objective media types think this team will post Richt’s worst season record.

I’ve heard a few more folks predict an 8-4 season, but more commonly I’m hearing 9-3 regular season or 10-2. No one seems to be picking this year’s Dogs to do any better than that (though admittedly I haven’t asked my brother Jon, who never picks against Georgia).

What I’m wondering, though, is what sort of record would constitute a disappointing …

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Two-minute drill: Tackling a priority

The Athens Banner-Herald raises the question of whether missed practices due to hamstring injuries is likely to affect the tackling of Reshad Jones and Bryan Evans in the Georgia secondary. A lack of tackling in practice last year was cited in the failure of the Dogs’ fundamentals during the season.

“Yeah, it can affect you if you’re not going out there right now, trying to get it done,” Evans told the ABH. “We’ve still got a week and a half, close to two weeks. I think all that will be polished by the time the game comes around. I really don’t have any doubts about us having problems with tackling.”

And wide receiver Michael Moore told Bulldogs Blog that tackling has been emphasized more this year. “There’s a lot more hitting, a lot more tackling. As receivers, we have these drills where we go one-on-one with the DBs that are tackle drills, tackle to the ground. We never really did that before. Even today, we had a couple periods where we were going full speed, tackle to the …

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