Archive for November, 2009

Will you follow the Dogs to a bowl outside Atlanta?

(University of Georgia)

(University of Georgia)

A lot of bowl projections currently have the Dogs winding up in Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A Bowl, which certainly would please the fans since it’s the best Georgia can do bowl-wise. And it no doubt would guarantee another quick sellout for the bowl formerly known as Peach.

But there’s still a good chance the Dogs could wind up in Nashville. Or Shreveport. Or even Birmingham (which is where CBSSports.com sees Georgia playing).

A factor in determining where the Dogs end up playing will be how well the bowl officials think the Dog fan base will travel.

Mark Richt made reference to that on his TV show Sunday, pleading with the season ticket holders who can buy tickets in advance up until 5 p.m. Friday to go ahead and do so. The more tickets sold in advance, when fans still don’t know what bowl their team will get, the more impressed bowl officials are.

This is especially a concern when the team in question has underperformed, like the Dogs have this year. With …

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Big win doesn’t negate UGA’s need for change

Win over Tech shouldn't be a factor in the decision on Willie Martinez. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Win over Tech shouldn't be a factor in the decision on Willie Martinez. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

One game, victory or defeat, shouldn’t determine the fate of any college football coach or assistant.

That’s why Saturday’s big win by the Dogs over Georgia Tech should not be enough to deter Mark Richt and the UGA athletic association from making the changes that are needed in order for the program to once again rank among the SEC’s elite.

We’re talking, of course, about the future of defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, whose job security has been questioned for the past couple of seasons as the Georgia defense generally has underperformed and routinely has allowed more than 30 points a game. From all accounts, Martinez is a good man and beloved by his players. But the results speak for themselves.

Martinez is not without his supporters, and I will concede to them that he is capable of getting his players to rise to the occasion. He did it late in the 2006 season and again at …

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Key to Dogs’ win: Not beating themselves

Washaun Ealey ran the way Georgia backs are supposed to run. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Washaun Ealey ran the way Georgia backs are supposed to run. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Everything in the Bulldog Nation isn’t exactly the way we want it, but let’s put off that discussion for at least a couple of hours. A win like Saturday’s is worth savoring just a bit more.

The Dogs’ honor roll for the Tech game is quite lengthy. The entire offensive and defensive lines deserve to be singled out. Washaun Ealey and Caleb King ran like Georgia backs are supposed to run. Reshad Jones redeemed himself from a year earlier with probably the best game he’s ever played.

And let’s not forget Mike Bobo. No, he didn’t call a perfect game. That attempted short pass on third-and-4 on the Dogs’ last drive, forcing an unsuccessful long field goal attempt, wasn’t the best choice. It was a time and place to just give it to the backs again, going for it on fourth down, if necessary. And in the second half, when Tech crowded the line to slow down Georgia’s run game, it’s curious that  Bobo …

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A Dog fan’s memorable night in enemy territory

Reshad Jones celebrates a terrific interception. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Reshad Jones celebrates a terrific interception. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Saturday night’s Georgia-Georgia Tech game was memorable for me for more than just the unexpected result.

It was the first football game I’d attended at Grant Field since I was a teenager.

Generally, I’ve avoided the campus of the school that pretentiously likes to call itself “the Institute.” I’d been to a few concerts at the old stadium over the years and took the kids to a couple of Atlanta Beat games, but when it came to football I preferred not to mix with the folks in gold and white (and blue, the often forgotten Tech color). I can proudly say I’ve never given their athletic association a penny’s income.

But my son decided back in September to take me to this year’s Tech game as a birthday present. I have to admit that the way the season had transpired, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the game, but I figured it would be an interesting experience. Different, at least.

That was the case right from …

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‘All the Way Turnt Up’

Caleb King's 75-yard touchdown run was a thing of beauty. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Caleb King's 75-yard touchdown run was a thing of beauty. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

So, how’s that ACC championship game looking now, huh?

Finally made it home from Historic Grant Field (MARTA may be smarta but it sure isn’t faster) with the chants of the UGA student section we sat near still ringing in my head.

Early on, Tech’s hip-hop heavy video board had video of some of the Jackets leading the gold-and-white crowd in the popular number “All the Way Turnt Up” but it wasn’t long before the Georgia students appropriated that as the theme song of the evening for the Dogs.

Man, it felt good to see Georgia rediscover the joys of running the ball straight at the opponent. Washaun Ealey, with his 183 yards, and Caleb King with 166 made it look easy at times, particularly on King’s 75-yard run. And Joe Cox discovered, as Buck Belue knew all those years ago, how good you can look at QB when all you have to do is hand off to your backs.

Actually, that’s selling Cox short. He made a …

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Sound off on Dogs and Jackets

Since tonight’s game doesn’t kick off until 8:12, it will be quite late when I get back from Grant Field and my initial post-game Blawg goes up.

So until then feel free to comment here on the game, whatever the outcome.

Go Dogs!

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Rivalry with UGA defines Tech

UGA fans don't view the rivalry the same way Tech fans do.

UGA fans don't view the rivalry the same way Tech fans do.

It’s a given that Georgia fans hate to see the Dogs lose to Georgia Tech.

They are, after all, our in-state rival, and you always hate to lose such a game. But aside from bragging rights, UGA fans don’t attach nearly as much significance to the rivalry as do the folks from North Avenue.

We also hate to lose to Florida, Auburn or Tennessee. In fact, the Florida rivalry has a pretty strong claim to being the biggest one in the eyes of Bulldogs fans.

Whereas with the Techies, there’s no question at all who ranks No. 1 in their thoughts 365 days a year: Georgia.

It’s an obsession at Tech. I understand they indoctrinate incoming students at orientation with the importance of hating the school in Athens. They have “to hell with Georgia” in the official lyrics of their fight song. (UGA’s fight song makes no mention of Tech, and even the unofficial version sporting a “to hell with …” line sung by the student section  …

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10 favorite UGA wins over Tech

I simply cannot tolerate Georgia Tech in any season or under any circumstances, so every win over the Jackets is precious, but especially in the marquee sport of football.

The Vince Dooley era was a great one for Dogs fans in the rivalry with Tech. (University of Georgia)

The Vince Dooley era was a great one for Dogs fans in the rivalry with Tech. (University of Georgia)

I’ve been fortunate to have followed the Dogs through a wonderful era beginning with Vince Dooley’s first team that has seen Georgia dominate Tech 33-12, with the Dogs twice running off seven wins in a row while the Jackets have three times won two in a row and had one streak of three in a row over Jim Donnan. So there have been a lot more great days for the Red and Black in the in-state rivalry than there have been bad ones.

But some wins over the insects have a special place in my heart. So here are my 10 favorite UGA wins over Georgia Tech. …

1964: Georgia wins 7-0 in Athens. The first of Dooley’s 19 wins over the Jackets in 25 seasons was played on a cold, rainy day at Sanford Stadium. A Tech fumble was …

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Thanksgiving memories: Bullpups vs. Baby Jackets

For many years, Thanksgiving in this state meant the Bullpups vs. the Baby Jackets. Here’s a reminiscence of those days that a lot of you enjoyed back when I first wrote it in 2006. Happy Thanksgiving!

Fran Tarkenton played as a freshman in the 1957 Thanksgiving classic. (Georgiadogs.com)

Fran Tarkenton played as a freshman in the 1957 Thanksgiving classic. (Georgiadogs.com)

“Strong legs will run that weak legs may walk.”

For six decades, that slogan, reputed to have been coined by The Atlanta Constitution’s legendary Ralph McGill, summed up the annual Thanksgiving Day meeting between the freshman Bullpups and Baby Jackets to benefit Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital.

Back in the days before freshmen were eligible to play on the varsity, this game held every year at Grant Field was a really big deal, drawing national attention. In its heyday, it regularly drew crowds of 40,000 people willing to postpone Thanksgiving dinner in order to preview the stars of tomorrow. (More than a few probably spoiled their appetites with a post-game visit to the Varsity.) The game …

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Richt: ‘We’re not dead yet’

Mark Richt said he'll do "anything and everything" needed to get Georgia back on track. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt said he'll do "anything and everything" needed to get Georgia back on track. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

You might have expected Mark Richt to be a little tense this week as he tries to get his floundering team to shake off last week’s second-half collapse and prepare for a Georgia Tech offense that gave the Dogs big problems last year.

But the Richt who dropped by the Touchdown Club of Athens meeting Tuesday night at the Athens Country Club appeared relaxed as he teased UGA color analyst Eric Zeier and recounted how his efforts to recruit Zeier to FSU came to naught.

Richt noted that Zeier has done such a good job of analyzing Georgia in the radio booth that Dogs supporters have been urging him to add Zeier to his coaching staff. In reference to widespread criticism of that staff, Richt cracked: “I said that if I hired him, he wouldn’t be so smart any more.”

Talking about Georgia’s past two games, Richt said he thought the Dogs winning the turnover ratio for the only …

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