Archive for August, 2009

Can’t wait to see these Dogs on the field

 

Carlton Thomas at G-Day (AJC staff)

Carlton Thomas at G-Day (AJC staff)

Chances are that once the tailback rotation gets set, Carlton Thomas, the shifty little tailback who turned so many heads during spring drills, will probably be the second or third of the three backs who’ll regularly get reps with the first team. Most UGA observers don’t expect him to be the lead back, though it’s worth noting he’s about the same size as former tailback Thomas Brown, who defied expectations.  

But fortunately for us, tailback isn’t the only place where Thomas is likely to make a contribution to the 2009 Dogs. Talking with The Red and Black about Tuesday’s special teams practice, Thomas noted that he spent time returning punts. “Oh yeah, I see a lot of opportunity on kick return and punt return,” he said. “I caught some punts today and the next special teams day we’ll be doing kickoff return. I feel like the opportunity on the special teams is real.”

Whether it’s returning kicks, playing his expected role as the …

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Some changes mark 2009 game days in Athens

 

University of Georgia Alumni Association

University of Georgia Alumni Association

I was leafing through the Georgia Fan Guide that came with my season tickets and noticed the page detailing “What’s New in 2009.” 

Really, not that much is new. The biggest change only affects UGA students (or those nonstudents who used to get into games using student tickets). This year, students will use their university-issued UGACard for admission into Sanford Stadium. Scanners will be used at Gates 1, 3 and 4A to verify the cards; students must enter at one of those gates. All nonstudent ticketholders should use any of the other gates. 

So apparently the days of selling your student ticket to a friend who’s not a UGA student are over. At least, for home games. Although knowing the ingenuity of our students, I’m sure someone will come up with a way around this complication. 

Parking revisions

The other changes this year involve parking. Because of construction on campus (has there ever been a time in the past 40 years when …

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Two-minute drill: Cowboys QB has hurt leg

The Oklahoman reports Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson has a slight leg injury and didn’t fully take part in the Cowboys’ first practice because of it. OSU coach Mike Gundy told the paper Robinson has a slight pull in his lower leg and has suffered this sort of injury before. It doesn’t appear serious. 

Georgia the Underdawgs

Georgia Sports Blog notes that DannySheridan.com has Georgia as a 6-point underdog in the opener with Okie State. If, for some reason, Robinson were to still be having leg problems later in the month, that could change. 

Ready to go bowling?

It might be “insanely early,” but that hasn’t stopped ESPN.com’s Chris Low from coming up with a projected 2009 bowl lineup for SEC teams. 

Best case scenario for the Dogs, he says, is “they ride one of the best offensive lines in the league to another 10-win season and a berth in the Capital One Bowl.” 

Worst case: “The tackling doesn’t improve on defense. The running game suffers without Knowshon Moreno, …

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Should Dogs battle Army?

The Athens Banner-Herald reports UGA has held preliminary discussions with Army about a home-and-home football series, but it hasn’t gone very far because Army’s trying to schedule 10 years out and Georgia can’t do that yet without the conference schedules. 

 

USMA

USMA

Army, which dropped out of Conference USA five years ago to play as an independent, is trying to schedule games against major programs around the country. They recently signed a deal for a home-and-home with Oklahoma to begin in 2018. Army athletics director Kevin Anderson told The Middletown (N.Y.) Times-Herald-Record, “It would be good for us to have a home-and-home with Georgia. There are several Army bases down there and we have said we want to go play where our troops are.”

I hope it happens, whether the road part involves the Dogs traveling to West Point or perhaps meeting the Black Knights in one of the games they’re starting to schedule at the new Yankee Stadium in New York City. 

Would you like …

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Turnovers and kickoffs: Good news, bad news from UGA camp

The problem with preseason practice, when your players are only going against each other, is that if your offense or defense is doing particularly well, it raises concerns on the other side of the ball.

While it’s generally a given that the defense has an edge in early practices, all these reports out of Athens over the past week about a bunch of takeaways by the Georgia defense, especially Darryl Gamble, who had another interception Monday, raises concerns about the Dogs’ offense. I’ve heard more than one fan ask with alarm: Which quarterback is throwing all those picks?

Mark Richt addressed the good news, bad news aspect, the Bulldogs Blog reports. From a defensive standpoint, he said, “I think we had 75 pass break-ups in the first six practices and a good many picks. We’re catching the ball better.”

As for the offense, Richt said “the majority of the turnovers is with the No. 2 offense vs. the No. 1 defense — a great majority has been that. When you’ve got a veteran …

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Greatest UGA plays: You had to be there

Whenever the subject of the greatest plays in Georgia football history comes up, the choice isn’t too difficult: “Run, Lindsay!” in 1980 is pretty much the hands-down winner.

But someone threw me a curve not long ago when they asked what was the greatest play that I’d seen in person. 

That made it tougher, because I wasn’t in attendance at the game for that Belue-to-Scott touchdown against Florida. Or for other great plays such as the SEC-winning pass play Fran Tarkenton drew up in the huddle against Auburn in 1959. Or Herschel-over-Bates in Knoxville in 1980. Or Verron Haynes’ “hobnail boot” catch in 2001. Or Greene-to-Johnson against Auburn in 2002. Or Sean Jones’ fumble return in Knoxville in 2003. Or Stafford-to-Henderson in overtime at Alabama in 2007. 

And while I saw it in person (though I could hardly believe my eyes), I’m not going to count Reggie Ball’s jaw-dropping fourth-and-dumber play in the 2004 Tech game since I’m really talking about greatest plays by

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Two-minute drill: Two-a-days bring real hitting

 

Caleb King (ACJ staff)

Targeted today: Caleb King (ACJ staff)

I like this quote in the Bulldogs Blog from defensive end DeMarcus Dobbs after this morning’s first practice with full pads and full contact: “It was a good feeling. Richard Samuel, Caleb King, Dontavius [Jackson], Carlton [Thomas], they all like to run hard, especially when we’re in thud [not full contact] and can’t go to the ground. So it was a nice switchover and a good chance to take them to the ground, execute a little revenge. It was good for us to unleash and play to our full capability.”

A winning decade

Georgia Sports Blog researched what teams had the most overall wins during the past 10 years (1999-2008). In the SEC, Auburn and Tennessee tied for third with 85 wins apiece. Florida was in second place with 93. And the winner? Georgia, with 98 wins.  

Honoring a great Dawg

The Greater Augusta Bulldog Club is honoring 88-year-old Dan Magill, who not only built the UGA tennis program into a national power but also was sports …

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‘Power’ ranking sees four SEC teams ahead of Dogs

ESPN.com’s Chris Low has unveiled his preseason SEC power rankings and the Dogs, ranked second last year, drop to fifth this time around. Florida, as you’d expect, is No. 1, and also ahead of Georgia are Ole Miss, Alabama and LSU. After UGA it’s Arkansas, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State. 

Low likes Florida for obvious reasons. He says Ole Miss’ “combination of a franchise quarterback like Jevan Snead and perhaps the deepest defensive line in the country makes them one of the favorites this season,” though he wonders how they’ll handle all the hype. Alabama’s defense, he says, should be one of the best in the country, and while their offensive line won’t be as good, “stud receiver Julio Jones is the great equalizer.” He thinks sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson will be the key to LSU’s success, adding that new defensive coordinator John Chavis “has reinvigorated a defense that went belly-up last season, and the Tigers’ …

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Bulldog Bites: Don’t forget Arthur Lynch

Most of the preseason media spotlight on Georgia’s tight ends has focused on Orson Charles, who’s really more of a hybrid wide receiver/tight end, but the Athens Banner-Herald reminds us that the Dogs have another highly ranked true freshman at that position: Arthur Lynch, who was listed as the No. 2 tight end in the nation by Rivals.com.

From the way Mark Richt is talking, it sounds like both freshmen are likely to see playing time early this season. While Charles might be more of a threat as a receiver, the 6-foot-5 Lynch is more in the mold of a traditional tight end, the ABH says. 

Richt said he was looking forward to seeing Lynch block in practice this week “because he has that mentality. He’s 255 to 260. He’s very trim. He’s athletic and I think he’s going to do a good job. He runs routes good. He’s got good hands. He’s not a blazer, but he’s a pretty darn good route runner and pass receiver, too. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him play scrimmage downs, also, this …

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Has Dogs defense learned from last year?

 

Rennie Curran (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Rennie Curran (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Before you can fix a problem, you first have to recognize that you have a problem.

In that regard, at least, the members of this year’s Dogs defense are already a step ahead of last year’s D. Their coach, Willie Martinez, I’m not so sure about.

The Macon Telegraph had a story Sunday on lessons the defense has learned from last year, when the Dogs allowed 38 or more points five times, finished 10th in the SEC in sacks and made Georgia Tech’s running attack look like vintage Nebraska.

How confident are you about Georgia’s defense this season?

  • I think they’ll play vintage Georgia defense.
  • I’m cautiously optimistic.
  • Not at all confident; Martinez is still there!

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Martinez gave the standard coach’s non-answer about lessons learned, saying “Nothing that happened last year is going to help us win games this year, so we’re just worried about focusing on our players and making sure they’re …

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