Archive for October, 2009

For Dogs, the colors were black … and blue

Is Joe Cox pointing to the next Gator he'll be throwing the ball to? (Bob Andres / AJC)

Is Joe Cox pointing to the next Gator he'll be throwing the ball to? (Bob Andres / AJC)

Florida defeated the Georgia Bulldogs again Saturday in Jacksonville with a large assist from … the Georgia Bulldogs.

After spotting the Gators two touchdowns in the first quarter, Georgia managed to pull back within four points. But the two bugaboos that have plagued the Dogs all season derailed any chance of staying in the game: penalties and turnovers.

The Dogs had eight penalties in the first half. They fixed that problem in the second half, drawing only one flag, but switched to their other favorite way of shooting themselves in the foot, turnovers, with four.

I don’t think that’s what they had in mind when Mark Richt and his staff have said the Dogs need to play “balanced” football.

Starter Joe Cox was lifted halfway through the fourth quarter after throwing his third pick of the half, and then we got the answer to the question of why we haven’t seen more of Logan Gray at QB this …

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UGA, Florida playing for new trophy

(UGA Sports Communications)

(UGA Sports Communications)

Starting this year, the Dogs and Gators are playing in Jacksonville for more than just bragging rights and a recruiting advantage.

They’re battling over the Okefenokee Oar!

It seems the two schools’ student governments have teamed up to create a traveling trophy for the winner of the annual border war. Victoria Lee of UGA’s Student Government Association dropped me a note about the new Okefenokee Oar, carved in the shape of an oar out of a 1,000-year-old cypress tree from the Okefenokee Swamp.

Some might think a keg would be a better symbol of the game popularly known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but the oar (and, please, no jokes about the Dogs being up the creek without one this year) is intended to be symbolic of the European settlers who first navigated the Okefenokee Swamp, which crosses the borders of Georgia and Florida and which the two states used to fight over in boundary disputes.

The trophy was paid for in part by the …

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Bulldog Bites: Buck on Georgia-Florida

Buck Belue in 1980. (University of Georgia)

Buck Belue in 1980. (University of Georgia)

Former quarterback Buck Belue, whose name always comes up this time of year as Georgia fans remember the “Run, Lindsey!” play against the Gators in 1980, has had quite a bit to say on his blog about this year’s Dogs-Gators meeting.

Among other things, he thinks keeping Florida frustrated in the red zone early, improved blocking on the offensive line and getting the ball to A.J. Green are the keys to a Georgia win.

He’s also weighed in, as have many of us, on the SEC rushing touchdown record controversy as Tim Tebow prepares to eclipse Herschel Walker’s misleading official stats. Belue also notes that in three games against the Gators his teammate racked up 649 yards and 8 TDs, averaged 5.6 yards per carry, made 36 first-down runs, and had 17 runs over 10 yards. Walker averaged 39 carries and 216 yards against Florida.

But to me the most interesting of Belue’s postings sees him retracing the Bulldogs’ route to the old Gator Bowl from …

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Will rested Dogs still need divine intervention?

Georgia's best chance is to see that A.J. Green touches the ball as often as possible Saturday. (Associated Press)

Georgia's best chance is to see that A.J. Green touches the ball as often as possible Saturday. (Associated Press)

Conventional wisdom in the college football world is that a bye week before a game, especially when your opponent doesn’t have one, gives you an advantage.

In fact, what little chance Georgia is given to win this year’s battle with Florida in Jacksonville generally is deemed to hinge on how successful the Dogs were in making use of their extra week of preparation.

Georgia is 11-3 under Mark Richt following an open date, including 1-0 when it comes before the Florida game thanks to 2007, when the No. 20 Dogs upset No. 9 Florida 42-30.

As has been noted with frustration by Dogs fans in recent years, a bye week is something of a rarity for Georgia in this series. This will be only the sixth time in the history of Georgia-Florida that the Dogs come into the game after a week off. UGA is 3-2 in those games. In contrast, Florida has had a bye week before facing the Dogs …

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Gators in Georgia … who let ’em in?

(Jacksonville.com)

(Jacksonville.com)

When a lot of people think of Florida Gators fans, images of guys sporting mullets and wearing jorts and women with skin like leather come to mind, and I know there are folks who fit that stereotype.

But that’s not how I’d describe the many, many University of Florida grads I’ve had to work with and have come to know over the years.

It certainly doesn’t describe my next door neighbor, whom my family fondly refers to as “Gator.” He’s a really nice guy with a lovely wife and a cute baby boy who I teasingly threaten to teach to say “Go Dogs!” Surprisingly, my neighbor just laughs and says if his son can attend UGA for free on the HOPE scholarship, then a Bulldog he’ll be.

Quite a statement for a guy who flies his orange and blue UF flag all year round.

Actually, many Florida grads I’ve known aren’t that different from UGA grads on the surface. They’re intelligent and hardworking enough to have gotten into a big state university. And they love SEC football.

The …

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Good times in the Dogs-Gators series

A few more of my favorite Georgia-Florida games over the years …

The 1964 game in Vince Dooley’s first season as coach. I remember rushing back from a Boy Scouts outing to turn the radio on and listen to this one. Late in the game, the two teams were tied 7-7 and after a Georgia drive bogged down at the Gator 5-yard line, the Dogs were going for a field goal when the snap was fumbled. The Georgia kicker, Bobby Etter, whose name was usually preceded by the word “little,” picked up the ball and ran to his left, giving a pump fake while he was a it. The Florida defender came up, holder Barry Wilson blocked him and Etter dove over the goal line for the winning score. I vividly remember listening to Ed Thilenius describing the action on the radio. It was, I think, when Georgia fans knew something special was happening to the program.

Steve Spurrier probably still sees Bill Stanfill in his nightmares. (Dozier-stanfill.com)

Steve Spurrier probably still sees Bill Stanfill in his nightmares. (Dozier-stanfill.com)

The 1966 game during Steve Spurrier’s Heisman Trophy season.

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Before this season has ended, I’d really like to see …

… a UGA running back go over 100 yards in a game. Richard Samuel is the only back who’s done it this season, and that was once against Arkansas when he had 104 yards, 80 of which came on one play. Mark Richt’s Georgia teams have a won-loss record of 38-3 in games where they have a 100-yard rusher.

Can Joe Cox make it through a game without a pick? (Associated Press)

Can Joe Cox make it through a game without a pick? (Associated Press)

… Joe Cox making it all the way through a game without throwing an interception. So far, this season, the closest he’s come to that was the LSU game, where Cox didn’t have an interception until a desperation pass on Georgia’s last play.

… Prince Miller taking a punt return all the way for a score. For much of the season, the Dogs weren’t even trying to return punts. Miller came close a couple of times against Vanderbilt. Remember that 92-yarder last season against Bama? It’d be nice to see the senior do it again.

… Willie Martinez changing up his defense to fit the offense an opponent is running. It would probably …

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Dogs! Dogs! Dogs! Time to pick your favorite!

Our panel of judges has selected the four finalists in the third of the Junkyard Blawg Fan of the Week contests, with the theme of showing your Bulldog spirit through your pets. Not unexpectedly, they’re all dogs, ranging from a Junkyard Dawg to one who sacrificed his coat to show his UGA spirit, a classic Georgia Bulldog and a holiday cutie.

If you’d like to see all the other entries in addition to our four finalists, go here.

Now it’s up to you. Take a look at these photos, pick your favorite and then vote in the poll. The winner, to be announced next week, will receive two tickets to the Tennessee Tech game on Nov. 7 in Athens.

And stay tuned for an opportunity to enter the next contest!

Dog No. 1

Dog No. 1

Dog No. 2

Dog No. 2

Dog No. 3

Dog No. 3

The entry previously posted as Picture No. 4 has been disqualified and votes for it will not count.

Which UGA-inspired dog deserves to win Fan of the Week honors for its owner?

  • Dog No. 1 (42%, 259 Votes)
  • Dog No. 4 (39%, 243 Votes)
  • Dog No. 3 …

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1997 game saw underdogs rule in Jacksonville

Robert Edwards (Associated Press)

Robert Edwards (Associated Press)

One of Georgia fans’ favorite Bulldog wins over the Gators has to be the 37-17 decision in 1997.

The game had a Georgia back, Robert Edwards, running for 124 yards and four touchdowns. It saw Hines Ward accounting for 203 total yards, with seven receptions for 85 yards, five rushes for 21 yards, two pass completions for 27 yards and two kickoff returns for 70 yards. It broke a seven-game Florida winning streak and was the Gators’ worst regular season loss in five years.

Plus, it was a win over Steve Spurrier in his prime.

Despite QB Mike Bobo throwing three picks that day, Georgia racked up 434 yards of offense (287 through the air). The Dogs took a 14-3 lead into halftime thanks to two of Edwards’ touchdowns. Florida, which used three quarterbacks in that game (Doug Johnson, Noah Brindise and Jesse Palmer) came back to grab a 17-14 lead in the third quarter, but it was all Georgia from that point on, with the Dogs scoring 23 unanswered …

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Isn’t Georgia-Florida motivation enough?

Can we call a timeout on cheap motivational ploys? (Associated Press)

Can we call a timeout on cheap motivational ploys? (Associated Press)

The dueling insults story is easily the most predictable aspect of coverage this week leading up to Saturday’s Georgia-Florida game.

Mark Richt thought his 2007 team was flat, so he challenged them to get an excessive celebration penalty after their first score against the Gators that year. The whole team danced in the end zone and Georgia went on to win the game. The special attention SEC officials have given the Dogs since then has made some question Richt’s move, but at the time many hailed it as a great motivational ploy.

Urban Meyer didn’t think so. He told the world that it was a “bad deal” and would be “forever in the mind of Urban Meyer” (why is it humorless prigs always like to refer to themselves in the third person?). So he used it as a motivational tool all during the offseason, and in 2008 his Gators took it out on the Dogs.

That wasn’t enough for Meyer, of course, so he childishly extended the …

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