Archive for November, 2009

A hard but fair look at stumbling Dogs

Paul Johnson is riding high right now. Mark Richt, not so much. Will Richt address the "decay" in his program? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Paul Johnson is riding high right now. Mark Richt, not so much. Will Richt address the "decay" in his program? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

My friend John is kind of blunt but prides himself on being “hard but fair.” That’s how I’d characterize this assessment of the current state of the Dogs by ESPN.com’s Chris Low:

“There was already a black cloud hovering over Georgia’s football program. This season hadn’t been what anybody wanted, but then the Bulldogs went out and lost to Kentucky … at home. Not only did they lose, but they dominated the statistics and still managed to lose. But that’s what happens when you turn the ball over four times in the second half and have 75 penalty yards for the game. The Bulldogs (6-5, 4-4) are staring squarely into the face of their first non-winning regular season since Jim Donnan’s first season in Athens in 1996. The Bulldogs might not be one of the top two most talented teams in the SEC, but they’re certainly one of the …

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Lousy finish can’t ruin a fine day in Athens

From left: Baylie, Dayna and Mark Symms at Saturday's game. (Photo by Bill King)

From left: Baylie, Dayna and Mark Symms at Saturday's game. (Photo by Bill King)

Saturday proved to be an enjoyable and memorable day in the Classic City, despite the results of the game.

It started out at one of the Bulldog Nation’s favorite hamburger joints, Allen’s, where my daughter and I joined my two brothers for lunch. While we were there, Sonny Seiler came in, fresh from the memorial service for Uga VII at the stadium, and joined his family at the table next to ours.

When we were getting ready to leave, I went over to speak to him and thanked him for sharing his dogs with us for these many years. “You’re so kind,” he said, shaking my hand. “It’s been a pleasure.”

My daughter noted that I’d run into Vince Dooley at last week’s basketball game and now Sonny Seiler. “Which celebrity will you run into next?” I laughed and told her I was hoping for Herschel!

Saturday afternoon, we killed time at the Tate Center, a wonderful place to hang out before …

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A lot of ‘ifs’ cloud Dogs’ chances against Jackets

What are the odds that Jeff Owens and the Georgia defense can rise to the occasion against Tech? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

What are the odds that Jeff Owens and the Georgia defense can rise to the occasion against Tech? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Saturday night’s debacle had been over only a few seconds when someone posed me the question that I’ve been asked several times since: Is there any chance Georgia can beat Georgia Tech?

My gut response: No way.

But that’s not the full answer. This is college football, after all, and a rivalry game. Unexpected things happen. And I’m a fan. We never completely give up hope. Yes, the Dogs could win the game …

If Tech implodes and plays its worst game of the season on offense.

If Georgia somehow manages to scheme the triple option correctly and play disciplined, mistake-free defense.

If Mike Bobo’s offense can avoid turning the ball over.

If, on both sides of the ball, the Dogs refrain from committing needless penalties.

OK, for those eternal optimists out there, I’ll grant that I don’t think it necessarily would take a combination of all those …

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Lack of improvement a hallmark of 2009 Dogs

Some thoughts and questions arising from the Dogs’ meltdown against Kentucky. …

The same problems plagued Georgia all season long, and while the players must take the blame for the turnovers and penalties, the fact that the Dogs never really could get a handle on either problem has to be seen as an indictment of Mark Richt’s coaching staff. Most of Georgia’s problems were a matter of sloppy or careless play, not lack of talent.

Looks like Joe Cox's eyes are closed when throwing this fourth-quarter incompletion. Maybe that explains those two interceptions. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Looks like Joe Cox's eyes are closed when throwing this fourth-quarter incompletion. Maybe that explains those two interceptions. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Early in the season when Joe Cox would make stupid mistakes, many of us gave him the benefit of the doubt by pointing out his relative inexperience despite being a fifth-year senior.

But the most damning statement that can be made about Cox (and his coach, Mike Bobo) is that the quarterback never got better as the season progressed. Saturday night, with nearly a full season under his belt, he …

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If you can’t put Kentucky away, that’s just sad

Joe Cox leaves the field after his second awful interception. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Joe Cox leaves the field after his second awful interception. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Wow, that was two really ugly quarters of football Georgia played in the second half Saturday night.

With the apparent focus of a 3-year-old child, the Dogs squandered a 20-6 halftime lead by turning the ball over four times.

How pathetic was it? When the Dogs got the ball back at midfield with just under 2 minutes left in order to tie up the game and Joe Cox proceeded to throw an interception on the very first play, nobody seemed surprised.

Which was uglier, his first interception or that second one? How’s that for a discussion point?

Longtime blog commenter Cuz, with whom I watched the game, summed it up pretty well when he said the second half was like a “greatest hits” of all the bad plays Mark Richt’s 2009 team has committed. Make that “greatest hurts.”

Special teams? Pretty awful, from Branden Smith’s fumble of the opening kickoff of the second half to the fact that Richt …

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Wearing black for Uga VII?

Fans plan on wearing black for Uga VII. (University of Georgia)

Fans plan on wearing black for Uga VII. (University of Georgia)

There’s been no official call for a “Blackout” and I fully expect the team to be in the traditional red helmets and jerseys Saturday against Kentucky.

Which is as it should be.

But I’m hearing from a lot of fans who plan to wear black, or at least black shirts, to the game as a mark of respect for the Seiler family on the death of Uga VII.

That sounds like a good idea to me. Not a big media thing, not a “Blackout.”

Just the Bulldog Nation mourning its lost mascot.

What do you think? If you’re going, do you plan on wearing black?

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No mystery to Dogs-Cats: Whoever runs best wins the game

Will Washaun Ealey finally break the 100-yard rushing mark this week? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Will Washaun Ealey finally break the 100-yard rushing mark this week? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Whether you’re going to be wearing red and black or blue and white on Saturday, you figure to be watching your team try to run the ball down the throat of the opponent.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks may have talked this week about his team needing to be able to throw the ball in order to beat Georgia, but with a still relatively inexperienced freshman quarterback in Morgan Newton and the Cats ranking 112th nationally in passing offense, that’s probably not going to be his first choice of attack.

Especially since the Wildcats rank 17th nationally in rushing offense, averaging just over 200 yards per game. The Cats’ Mr. Everything, Randall Cobb, who gashed the Dogs so badly last year, may be banged up, but they’ve also got Derrick Locke in in the backfield, and he ranks fifth in the conference, averaging 82 yards per game. He’s had three 100-yard rushing games this season.

Fortunately, the …

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A game without a bulldog makes history

Uga VII won't be replaced for the Kentucky game. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Uga VII won't be replaced for the Kentucky game. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Saturday apparently will mark the first home game since the beginning of the line of Uga mascots in 1956 that Georgia won’t have a live bulldog at a Sanford Stadium game.

According to the “Damn Good Dogs!” book written by Uga’s owner, Sonny Seiler, and Kent Hannon, there have been away games with no mascot since the current line of mascots began, most recently the 2000 Oahu Bowl when Uga VI didn’t make the trip because of Hawaii’s quarantine laws. But since Uga I made his debut on Sept. 29, 1956, there has always been one of the Ugas or a substitute at all the games in Athens.

The most famous sub was Otto, who took the place of his injured brother Uga IV for four games during the 1986 season and was co-mascot with Uga for the Tech game that season. Otto, who had a brown and black spot on his back that kept him from being considered for the official mascot (which traditionally is all-white), ended up with …

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Uga VII’s reign the shortest of the line

Uga VII. (Georgiadogs.com)

Uga VII. (Georgiadogs.com)

The death of Uga VII, who was officially introduced as to UGA fans at the Georgia Southern game in Athens on Aug. 30, 2008, makes his tenure the shortest of the Uga line of pure-bred white English bulldogs owned by Sonny Seiler of Savannah.

Previously, Uga II, who was mascot from 1966 to 1972, held that distinction. The Seilers have provided UGA’s mascots since 1956 and generally have served about nine years each.

At 56 and a half pounds, Uga VII, whose official name was “Uga VI’s Loran’s Best,” was second only to Uga VI as the biggest mascot in the line. He was 4 years old.

The Ugas are among the nation’s most popular and celebrated college mascots, especially with the TV networks that cover football. Uga V was perhaps the biggest “celebrity” of the line, having had a role playing his father in the film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and been named America’s best college mascot by Sports Illustrated.

Uga VII’s time with the Bulldogs was …

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Contributors can order tickets for … whichever bowl Dogs land

sec logoSaturday’s game against Kentucky might clarify Georgia’s bowl position some — or might muddy the picture even more. But no matter where the Dogs go bowling, contributors to the William C. Hartman Jr. Fund (aka the Bulldog Club) are able to start ordering tickets online as of today at Georgiadogs.com.

Contributors also will be mailed a bowl ticket application on Tuesday, good for requesting bowl game tickets until the priority deadline of 5 p.m. on Dec. 4. Orders will be accepted by mail, phone and online.

All of the SEC-contracted bowl games in which Georgia might be selected to play will be listed. The athletic association will not charge purchasers’ credit cards until the bowl bid has been officially determined. Orders will be filled only for the game in which Georgia is selected to play and tickets will be assigned based on contributors’ cumulative Hartman Fund score. Any orders received after the priority deadline will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis …

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