Archive for October, 2009

Tebow-Walker comparisons are bogus

The SEC record book doesn't tell the full Herschel Walker story. (Associated Press)

The SEC record book doesn't tell the full Herschel Walker story. (Associated Press)

Florida’s most celebrated player of all time scored his 49th rushing touchdown against Mississippi State, tying him with Georgia’s most celebrated player of all time for the SEC record.

But as with so many sports statistics these days, there’s an asterisk involved. Or, at least, there should be.

As the Georgia Sports Blog points out, the Dogs’ Herschel Walker actually scored five more rushing touchdowns that he doesn’t get credit for in the SEC record book because the conference didn’t count bowl statistics until recent years, and those five Walker scores came in bowl games.

Why they couldn’t have updated the past stats to include bowl games when the rule changed, I can’t begin to understand. It’s not really fair to all the great players from the years before the rule change, but unfortunately that’s the way it is. Life isn’t fair, especially life in the SEC.

The blog also notes that it has …

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Great Georgia wins over Florida: 1985

Vince Dooley and his Dogs celebrate the 1985 win over Florida. (About Them Dawgs!)

Vince Dooley and his Dogs celebrate the 1985 win over Florida. (About Them Dawgs!)

One good way to improve your mood when you’re feeling pessimistic about the Dogs’ chances is to look at games from the past where Georgia overcame the odds for a big win.

So as the 2009 Dogs prepare to meet the No. 1 team in the nation, it’s good to remember that Georgia’s only win to date over a team ranked No. 1 was against … Florida.

I well remember that 1985 classic in Jacksonville. It wasn’t televised because Florida was on NCAA probation, so I sat in the den of the Decatur house we were renting at the time, listening to Larry Munson describe the action on the radio while my infant son sat nearby. (As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I indoctrinated him as a Dog fan from the day he was born.)

The challenge for the 1985 team wasn’t quite as daunting a task as the one this year’s Dogs face, because Georgia was 6-1-1 at that point (in the days when games could still end in a tie) and ranked No. …

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Is it realistic to smell upset against the Gators?

(Georgiadogs.com)

(Georgiadogs.com)

A group of us were sitting around Sunday talking about the upcoming game in Jacksonville and the chatter was getting increasingly optimistic as a couple of folks noted that Florida has looked anything but unbeatable over the past three games.

Then the fan who seemed the highest on Georgia’s chances to upset the Gators turned to me and said, “You don’t look too optimistic.”

What can I say? As much as I’d love to be, I’m not.

Sure, if both Georgia’s offense and defense play mistake-free football on Saturday, the Dogs can win. I’ll be ecstatic if they do.

But I haven’t seen much on the field over the past month to make me believe that’s actually going to happen.

I know Florida’s been struggling in the red zone recently and Tim Tebow has looked less than superhuman. But which do you think is more likely: that the Georgia defense somehow manages to shut down the Gators’ running game while also holding the receivers in check, or that Urban Meyer’s offense finds the …

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Cox: Key to beating Florida is passion

Joe Cox says Mike Bobo brings energy to the sideline. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Joe Cox says Mike Bobo brings energy to the sideline. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

There wasn’t any real news coming out of today’s Touchdown Club of Athens luncheon with Mark Richt, with the coach saying the off week is mainly a time for the Dogs to work on fundamentals and get in some sustained time in the weight room. He expected his staff to begin implementing the Florida game plan in today’s practice, with most of the work on that to begin on Sunday.

Richt did say he really liked the way his team dealt with adversity the week after the loss to Tennessee and bounced back mentally and emotionally. “We probably had more emotion in that Vanderbilt game than any Vanderbilt game I’ve ever seen,” he said.

As is the tradition at the annual lunch meeting of the Touchdown Club, Richt brought along a couple of players, this time senior leaders Joe Cox and Jeff Owens.

Cox was asked by my brother Jon about how it was having Mike Bobo on the sideline instead of up in the booth and the …

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Share your thoughts on the Dogs at midseason

Mark Richt's team has been its "own worst enemy." (Associated Press)

Mark Richt's team has been its "own worst enemy." (Associated Press)

I’ll be on vacation the rest of Georgia’s bye week, though my brother Jon and I do plan on attending the Touchdown Club of Athens meeting on Thursday at which Mark Richt will be speaking. If he says anything noteworthy, I’ll share it on the Blawg.

In the meantime, here’s a link to a midseason review of Richt’s team by ESPN.com’s Chris Low. He naturally picks A.J. Green and Rennie Curran as Georgia’s midseason MVPs, but he notes that the Dogs have “been their own worst enemy for much of this season with turnovers and penalties, and the defense has again struggled. Going back to last season, the Bulldogs have given up 37 or more points in eight of their last 16 games.”

Low adds that the embarrassing game against the Vols is “the kind of loss, depending on what happens the rest of the way, that may force Mark Richt to take a long look at his staff at season’s end.”

A tough but fair assessment, I think.

Feel free …

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There’s still time to win free UGA tickets!

Chop shows his UGA spirit. (Photo by Bill King)

Chop shows his UGA spirit. (Photo by Bill King)

Meet Chop.

He’s the 4-year-old pug-wirehair mix at left showing off his UGA spirit. His full name is Chop Stick. Not Chopstick. Someone at the vet’s office asked my brother Tim, Chop’s parental figure, whether he should be put down on their records as “Chopstick King.” No, Tim said. “His last name is Stick.”

Unfortunately, Chop isn’t eligible to enter our third Junkyard Blawg Fan of the Week contest because he’s family. But if you’ve got a pet you like to deck out in red and black, there’s still a week left for you to win two free tickets to the next Bulldogs home game in Athens.

In order to make it into the final round of finalists, your pictures need to follow our theme: Showing your UGA spirit through your pets.

Send us a photo of your pet by midnight on Oct. 27. Any kind of pet will do, though of course this is Bulldog Country, as they used to say. We’ll narrow the entries down to four finalists and put it to a vote of the …

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Bulldogs Bites: Richt sending Samuel a message?

Richard Samuel is staying at tailback for now. (Associated Press)

Richard Samuel is staying at tailback for now. (Associated Press)

While linebacker Charles White has been moved to fullback, Mark Richt told the Touchdown Club of Atlanta on Monday that he’s not yet ready to shift tailback Richard Samuel to linebacker, the Athens Banner-Herald reports. But he didn’t rule out moving Samuel, an all-state linebacker in high school, after the season.

“I don’t know if we’re at the point right now where we’re ready to say that he should move and we really haven’t taken the time to try to evaluate that,” Richt said. “I think he’s still very valuable to us as a running back. … If you’re going to make that move, make it in the offseason, make it when he has the whole spring and summer to understand what to do. I still believe he’s a heck of a back and he can help us win at that position.”

What’s most surprising about all that is Richt’s willingness to acknowledge publicly that he might consider such a move. You’ve got to wonder whether he’s trying to …

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SEC officiating sinks to a new low

(Southeastern Conference)

(Southeastern Conference)

To stand out as a really bad officiating crew in the SEC is a challenge.

But the team of officials headed up by Georgia Tech grad Marc Curles deserves some sort of special golden flag for phantom calls that affect the outcome of a major game.

You’ll remember Curles and Co. for the bogus celebration call on Georgia’s A.J. Green in the LSU game, a call that the head of SEC officiating, Rogers Redding (another grad of the Institute), subsequently had to disavow.

Now Redding has had to issue another statement on a call by Curles’ crew during a fourth quarter drive in Saturday’s Florida-Arkansas game when the Gators were trying to tie it up. Razorbacks defensive lineman Malcolm Sheppard was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for legally using his shoulder to fend off a Florida player who was coming at him. It wasn’t even close to an infraction, as CBS’ Gary Danielson pointed out, but the 15-yard penalty set up the Gators to score on the next play.

As was …

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Vandy game tough to use as a litmus test

Fred Munzenmaier scores. (Frederick Breedon IV / Special)

Fred Munzenmaier scores. (Frederick Breedon IV / Special)

The problem with a win by a struggling Georgia team over an opponent like Vanderbilt is that it’s difficult to know how much of the result was due to improved play on the part of the Dogs and how much to the Commodores just being lousy.

Still, there are positives that can be taken from the game — along with some nagging problems that haven’t gone away.

On the plus side, Georgia numerically had its best day in a long time running the ball. But 120 of Georgia’s 173 rushing yards came in the fourth quarter. One the one hand, you could say that the game already had been decided and Vandy was flagging somewhat by that point. On the other hand, it was a rare occurrence of the Dogs being able to put a game away by grinding it out even when the Commodores knew we were going to be pretty much doing nothing but running the ball. At the very least, the Dogs spent some time working on the running game against someone other than the …

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Two ways of viewing UGA’s win over Vandy

Dogs celebrate in Nashville. (Frederick Breedon IV / Special)

Dogs celebrate in Nashville. (Frederick Breedon IV / Special)

I’m not sure I buy the comparisons between this Georgia team’s situation and the 2007 team, which used a win over Vandy as a springboard to beat Florida and run the table, or the 2006 team, which rose out of the Richt era’s previous low point to finish strong with three wins over ranked teams. After all, Matthew Stafford was the quarterback of those teams, and he had help from names like Kregg Lumpkin and Knowshon Moreno.

Joe Cox is no Matthew Stafford, even on his best day. And while Georgia always has a chance as long as A.J. Green is on the field, the rest of the supporting cast of characters still has a lot of developing to do.

But college football is a screwy game, so you never know. While there was no jumping up and down at midfield, the Dogs reportedly emerged from the Vandy win pumped and elated. And this year’s Florida team doesn’t look invincible. I mean, the Gators barely beat an Arkansas defense that …

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