Archive for September, 2009

Dogs mostly cellar dwellers in SEC stats

Georgia may currently sit atop the Eastern Division standings with a 1-0 record, but aside from a few exceptions mostly involving the kicking game, the Dogs don’t show up very well in the SEC team statistics for the first two weeks of the season.

You can check them all out here, but let’s look at a few of the more notable categories.

First, the good news. Georgia ranks No. 3 in the conference in kickoff returns with an average of 28.8. (This week’s opponent, Arkansas, ranks first with a 57.5 average, but that’s based on just two kick returns while Georgia has had 11.) UGA is No. 2 in punting with a 44.1-yard average, second only to Mississippi State’s 45.4. And the Dogs are tied for first with half the conference in the field goal standings and with nine other schools in PATs.  The Dogs also are tied with Ole Miss and Arkansas for first place in red zone offense, with each team having scored on all six of its trips into the zone. They rank fifth in red zone defense.

Beyond …

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Fan of the Week contest!

Photo by Brant Sanderlin / AJC

Photo by Brant Sanderlin / AJC

Want to win some free tickets to a UGA game?

We’re having Junkyard Blawg Fan of the Week contests in which the winner gets two tickets to the next home game and their picture up on the big video screen in Sanford Stadium. The spot was first shown during the South Carolina game and believe me, it’s quite a kick to see your face up on that screen! For our final contest, a grand prize winner will get three tickets to attend the Kentucky game with me in one of the sky suites (which will certainly be another first for me).

The theme of the final contest: the ultimate Georgia Bulldogs fan.

SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS

To submit your photos, go here. Deadline for getting your photo in will be announced in the blog describing that week’s contest theme.

Contestants must submit via e-mail a photograph that fits the theme of the week.

COMPLETE CONTEST RULES

Go Dogs!

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Two-minute drill: Florida game takes a bigger bite

University of Georgia

University of Georgia

Not many folks are giving the Dogs a chance in this year’s game with the Gators, but that didn’t keep the demand for tickets from going up.

The Georgia Bulldog Club announced today the contribution cutoff scores for tickets to this year’s Florida game in Jacksonville. For club level tickets, all Hartman Fund contributors whose donations amounted to a cumulative score of 49,837 and higher will receive those tickets. All contributors with a cumulative score of 9,200 or higher who ordered regular ticket will get them.

That compares with last season, when club level tickets had a cutoff score of 42,500 and the cutoff for regular tickets was 8,460.

Tickets for the Florida game will be mailed no later than Monday via priority mail with a signature required, and refund checks for unfilled orders will be issued next week, the ticket office said. For the 2009 game, all Hartman Fund contributors who qualified will receive a parking pass with their game tickets at …

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Richt on penalties: Haven’t we been here before?

Too many flags and Mark Richt might not have reason to celebrate. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Too many flags and Mark Richt might not have reason to celebrate. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt talked a lot in the preseason about cracking down on penalties after last year’s undisciplined team practically drowned in a seat of yellow at times. But it doesn’t appear the extra up-downs in practice have had that much effect. After getting 13 flags in the South Carolina game, Georgia again ranks near the bottom (109th) in penalties so far this season.

Asked at his Tuesday press briefing about the penalty situation, Richt said, “We’ll keep disciplining it. Some games get wild. That game got wild. They had a bunch of penalties. We had a bunch of penalties.”

Then he added: “If you have to choose between the team playing the way we played with the amount of energy, fire and enthusiasm the whole game, and if the byproduct of that is penalties, I’ll take that over a team that doesn’t have a penalty but doesn’t have a pulse to go with it. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t make me …

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Are you worried about Arkansas?

So how are you feeling about the Arkansas game?

Starting way back in the preseason folks have been pointing toward this game as a dangerous one for Georgia, with Tony Barnhart making the point again: Georgia is coming off two tough games while the Hogs have had an off week and have only played a patsy so far, allowing them to begin preparing for the Dogs even before the season started.

But since the South Carolina game I’ve been hearing less trepidation and more confidence in the way Georgia fans are talking about the trip to Fayetteville. Here’s how some of that thinking goes:

While the Dogs didn’t have much success pressuring the Gamecocks’ Stephen Garcia, he was an extremely mobile quarterback. Ryan Mallett, the Michigan transfer now behind center for the Hogs, is big and has a strong arm, but he’s slow and less likely to escape the Georgia pass rush than Garcia was. Also, Georgia will have its best pass rusher, Justin Houston, back for this game.

On the other hand, Mallett …

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Logan Gray: UGA’s missing quarterback

Logan Gray (Georgiadogs.com)

Logan Gray (Georgiadogs.com)

I’ll be off on Tuesday, but I wanted to leave you with something to chew over until the Blawg returns on Wednesday.

And that subject is Georgia’s alleged backup quarterback, Logan Gray, aka the Invisible Man.

Well, not entirely invisible. Gray did get in the game behind center for one play Saturday night to hand off the ball. And he again played Mr. Fair Catch on the punt receiving team.

But while Mike Bobo had indicated we’d see the special package of plays drawn up for Gray when Georgia got into the red zone, that wasn’t the case. Gray didn’t play at all in the red zone Saturday.

This bothers a lot of fans, including my brother Tim, not because they’re not fans of Joe Cox, but because they think the Dogs badly need to get some meaningful game experience for Cox’s backup.

Let’s face it, Cox likely would be making much better decisions on the field if he’d gotten more than the very occasional bit of mop-up work behind Matthew Stafford. If Cox goes …

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Who’s really getting no respect?

Steve Spurrier leaves field after defeat.  (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Steve Spurrier leaves field after defeat. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Despite the closeness of Saturday night’s win over the Gamecocks, I think most UGA fans expected the Dogs to at least hold steady at last week’s No. 21 ranking in the polls, if not rise a notch or two. And we weren’t alone. Sporting News college football columnist Dave Curtis had predicted the Dogs would rise in the poll. “The Dawgs are a shaky squad bound to lose a couple more. But SEC wins are gold in the eyes of voters,” he wrote Sunday.

Instead, Georgia dropped two spots to No. 23. First impression of many at that news is that the voters just weren’t impressed by Georgia’s play against South Carolina.

And maybe that’s it, though that’s not really logical. I mean, the Dogs defense may have given up a lot of points, but they mostly were field goals thanks to good work in the red zone. Plus Georgia’s offense and special teams put up 41 points against what was considered one of the better defenses in the SEC. …

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Reasons for UGA fans to feel good … or bad

A.J. Green's circus catch. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A.J. Green's circus catch. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

So, two weeks into the season, a win in the first SEC game but still lots of issues unresolved.

Here are some of the things Dogs fans had reason to feel good about after Saturday’s marathon against the Gamecocks. And some things that have us still wondering what to make of this team.

On the plus side:

Rennie Curran. What a player! He tied his career high with 15 tackles (nine solo, six assists), notched his seventh game with 10-plus tackles and broke up the Gamecocks’ last gasp shot at the end zone. He made some terrific open-field tackles, too, including one on a kickoff return.

A.J. Green. Watching the replay of the game Sunday morning, I noted that the reception I’d described as “a circus catch” in my notes Saturday night was even more impressive in slo-mo. And his touchdown catch in the back of the end zone was big-time, too. Solve the problem with the occasional fumble and he’s going to be unstoppable.

Richard Samuel. I …

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Game day at UGA Tailgate Central

Tailgating on North Campus. (Photos by Bill King)

Tailgating on North Campus. (Photos by Bill King)

With my son as guide, on Saturday I ventured to ground zero of tailgating at UGA — otherwise known as the university’s original quadrangles on North Campus.

I thought I knew UGA tailgating, since I was familiar with the red and black tent set-ups in front of campus buildings like Myers Hall along Lumpkin Street, where you see a mostly family crowd and there’s still room for tossing a football or playing those beanbag games.

North Campus tailgating is on an entirely different level to that. My son warned me as we were about to enter the northernmost quad that it would be difficult to get around. “You have to be patient,” he said.

And how. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that many Georgia fans packed into a contained area that wasn’t Sanford Stadium. It took us quite a while to even find the tailgate party we were looking for, overseen by Al Skelton, my nephew by marriage who I had not seen in a number of years.

Since I’ve been …

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‘Prevent’ defense nearly prevented a win

A few observations and questions from Saturday’s win over South Carolina. …

As tough as Willie Martinez’s mostly zone defense was in the red zone Saturday night, it was pretty hapless between the 20s.

Stephen Garcia attempted 53 passes, completing 31 of them for 313 yards and not only did the Dogs only get to him a couple of times, they hardly exerted any pressure on him at all. And thanks to the cushion our defenders gave the Gamecock receivers, South Carolina was able to engineer one long, clock-eating drive after another, resulting in their time-of-possession advantage being 34:21 to Georgia’s 25:39.

On WNGC’s “Fifth Quarter Show,” A.J. Bryant and Kelin Johnson described how Martinez was constantly making adjustments on the sideline, but it was hard to see any evidence of that on the field. …

Branden Smith still plays at times like a true freshman, as we all saw when he again ran a kickoff out of the end zone that he shouldn’t have and then dropped the ball, one of several …

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