Archive for December, 2009

Picking Dogs’ greatest games of the decade

David Greene figures in quite a few of the games of the decade for the Dogs. (University of Georgia)

David Greene figures in quite a few of the games of the decade for the Dogs. (University of Georgia)

Having long ago accepted that the media is determined to mark the ending of millennia and decades a year early (remember, there was no year 0 A.D.), I decided to poll a few UGA friends as to what they view as the Dogs’ greatest games of the past 10 years.

Three games tied for the most support, and I’m pretty sure they’d top just about any fan’s list for this decade:

Georgia’s 26-24 win over Tennessee in Knoxville in 2001. The “hobnail boot” game from Mark Richt’s first season, capped by cool redshirt-freshman David Greene’s throw to Verron Haynes. Says my friend Rusty: “I remember thinking Richt was a genius. What play-calling! Plus it generated one of Larry’s classic calls.”

Georgia’s 24-21 win at Auburn in 2002. The Dogs took the SEC East with Greene’s fourth-down throw to Michael Johnson in the corner of the end zone on the famed “70-X Takeoff” play. One of Georgia’s most …

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Some UGA coaching rumors won’t go away

John Chavis (LSU)

John Chavis (LSU)

Will John Chavis turn out to be Georgia’s next defensive coordinator after all? What about Kirby Smart, still any chance of that? Is Mark Richt really planning on getting his next DC from the NFL ranks?

Depends on which rumor you’re hearing, as the talk about who’ll replace Willie Martinez continues to generate conflicting stories. Are any of them based on real leaks of information out of Butts-Mehre in Athens? Or are they generated by agents looking to get their clients better deals from their current employers, or just sheer speculation? Only Mark Richt and Co. know for sure at this point.

It seemed a couple of days ago as if Chavis, the former Tennessee DC now running the defense for LSU, was off the board, after a Baton Rouge TV station quoted an LSU player as saying Chavis assured him at practice that he wasn’t going anywhere.

But ESPN.com’s Chris Low reports today: “In talking to several people close to the situation, Richt has serious interest in …

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Another case of SEC showing up Big 12

Aggies QB Jerrod Johnson runs into a wall of red. (Associated Press)

Aggies QB Jerrod Johnson runs into a wall of red. (Associated Press)

A few more thoughts and notes about Georgia’s win over Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl. …

No one will call this a game for the ages, but Georgia’s 44 points were a bowl record for the Dogs, surpassing the previous high of 41 in the Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii, and Georgia’s six touchdowns matched a record set by the 1941 Dogs in their 40-26 Orange Bowl win over TCU. Not bad considering the offense hardly registered a pulse in the first half. …

What kept Georgia in the game (and with the lead at halftime) until the offense could get on track and begin to wear down a surprisingly effective Aggies defense was the Dogs’ special teams play. If this didn’t drive home the importance of special teams to Mark Richt, I don’t know what would. He has indicated in recent days that he would be amenable to devoting one of the Dogs’ coaching slots to a full-time special teams coordinator. Let’s hope that comes to pass. …

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Independence Bowl: The better team won

Washaun Ealey and the Georgia running game took a while to get on track. (Associated Press)

Washaun Ealey and the Georgia running game took a while to get on track. (Associated Press)

The first half of Georgia’s game against Texas A&M in Shreveport didn’t look so promising for the Dogs, mainly because poor play by the offensive line stymied the running game and led to some questionable play-calling by Mike Bobo. The Aggies were having success with run blitzes on first down.

But A&M’s fast-paced offense wasn’t looking much better early on. Georgia’s much maligned defense looked good up front and got a lot of pressure on Aggies QB Jerrod Johnson,  though linebacker and secondary play was sketchy.

Neither team scored in the first 27 minutes. They both looked rusty.

The difference in the first half was Georgia’s superior special teams play.

Georgia’s halftime adjustments on the offensive line were successful and the Dogs eventually took command of the game in the second half. And they seemed like the better conditioned team, too, as the Aggies looked flat-out tired in …

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LIVE BLOG: Dogs vs. Aggies

independence bowl playersWell, an underwhelming season produces an underwhelming bowl assignment, and so the 7-5 Bulldogs find themselves facing 6-6 Texas A&M today in the Independence Bowl, of former weedeater infamy.

No matter how entertaining a game it turns out to be, 5 p.m. on a nonholiday Monday is not exactly a prime slot, though it is the only bowl game taking place today.

The game plan seems pretty clear for the Dogs: Run the ball and keep running it so that dual threat QB Jerrod Johnson and the fast-paced Aggie offense stay on the sideline. Hopefully, the presence of A.J. Green on the field will keep the A&M defense honest and keep them from selling out completely against our rushing attack.

When A&M has the ball, the game will be fast-paced and Georgia has to play smart. Against the two other similar offenses that the Dogs faced this season, the UGA defense did pretty well in a loss to Okie State and in a win over no-huddle Auburn. It’ll be interesting to see how the Dogs fare with just …

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Remembering favorite Georgia bowl wins

Whether your dream best-case scenario for today’s Independence Bowl game involves the Dogs winning a high-scoring thriller against the Aggies or Georgia’s patchwork defensive scheme shutting down Texas A&M in a yawner, it’s highly unlikely this match will make any Bulldog fan’s list of favorite bowl games.

It comes at the end of a disappointing season. And it’s Shreveport. Enough said.

Still, unless the Dogs turn in a showing along the lines of earlier this season in Knoxville, it probably won’t rank as least favorite bowl, either. For me, that infamous distinction forever belongs to the 1974 Tangerine Bowl, when a Georgia team that should have stayed home lost a dismal game by a score of 21-10 to the other Miami. You know, the one in Ohio.

Of course, there’s no question which of Georgia’s 45 bowl games ranks first with fans. The Sugar Bowl game on Jan. 1, 1981, capped an undefeated season for the Dogs and gave them a national championship. And the loser was Notre Dame. Talk …

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Bulldog Bites: Christmas in Shreveport

(Georgiadogs.com)

(Georgiadogs.com)

Georgia wrapped up its pre-bowl practices in Athens today and the players will be hitting the road on their own for Shreveport, where they’re expected to report by 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday. First up once they get there, the athletic department says, will be a team activity at Barksdale Air Force Base.

The Dogs will practice again Friday afternoon at Independence Stadium, after beginning Christmas Day with a morning visit to patients at a local hospital. Some of the players have grumbled about being away from home on Christmas, but maybe they’ll feel less sorry for themselves after that. A dinner is planned at the team hotel Christmas evening.

The Dogs will practice again on Saturday and hold a walk-through session on Sunday before Monday’s game against the Aggies. The Dogs are a 7-point favorite with the game’s over/under betting total set at 64 points, which, considering the offenses and defenses involved, some might consider kind of …

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Bulldog Nation turns up its nose at Shreveport

(Independence Bowl)

(Independence Bowl)

Admittedly, most UGA fans aren’t too thrilled about the Dogs spending the postseason in Shreveport, but I’m thinking this is probably the least enthused I’ve ever seen the Georgia fan base about a bowl game.

The latest indication is the wince-inducing report in the Athens Banner-Herald that not only does UGA still have about 5,000 unsold tickets to the Independence Bowl, but some of the nearly 6,900 that have been sold so far have gone to Texas A&M fans. The paper reports that after the Aggies sold out their allotment of 12,000 tickets, the school’s athletics Web site encouraged A&M fans to buy tickets at Georgiadogs.com. “Let’s MAROON out the Georgia allotment,” is how they put it.

Tim Cearley, UGA’s director of ticket operations, confirms to the ABH that “a lot of the stuff that we’ve mailed out in the past few days has had Texas mailing addresses on them,” though he makes an attempt to save face by adding: “but we do have a lot of alums out there, …

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Bulldog Bites: UGA ranks 3rd on SEC’s decade list

Amid all the talk about potential defensive coordinators and bowl practices and ticket sales, you might have missed a ranking of the SEC’s football programs for the past decade put together by ESPN.com’s Chris Low.

Low’s ranking is based on a number of categories, including record against SEC competition, record against nationally ranked foes, record in bowl games, and conference and national championships. Not surprisingly, the two teams that have won BCS titles occupy the top two spots: Florida and LSU.

But Georgia finished a strong third, with comparable numbers to second-place LSU in just about every category except national championships. In fact, the Dogs had nine Top 25 finishes to the Tigers’ seven and six Top 10 finishes to LSU’s five (and Florida’s four).

Behind Georgia in descending order: Auburn, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

LAST-MINUTE GIFT IDEAS

dooley's playbook largeIf you’re still looking for a UGA-related gift, you might …

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Fans fret about UGA coaching search

Mark Richt isn't talking about Georgia's coaching search. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt isn't talking about Georgia's coaching search. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

While off last week, I managed to keep a peripheral eye on the goings-on in Athens concerning the hunt for a new defensive coordinator.

Looks like a bit  of a mess.

First came the brief media hubub about Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster, who publicly acknowledged “talking” to UGA before announcing he’d gotten a sweeter deal to stay put. Not surprising; you get a lot of folks using your job search in that way who have no intention of making a move. I’m sure Mark Richt wasn’t at all surprised by that.

Then came the Vic Koenning affair, which was a much muddier picture. Apparently the Kansas State co-defensive coordinator had expressed interest in the UGA job, but Georgia dithered while Illinois made it clear it wanted him. Then at the last minute Richt reportedly made an offer to Koenning but he decided to stick with Illinois.

Whether Koenning was the right choice for the Georgia job or not (and I’m not …

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