Archive for December, 2009

Dogs play the numbers game

Rennie Curran celebrates with fans after the win over Georgia Tech. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Rennie Curran celebrates with fans after the win over Georgia Tech. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Through the 12-game regular season, the Dogs did manage to have two players who topped individual statistics categories in the SEC: Drew Butler and Rennie Curran.

Butler’s 50 punts for a 48.8-yard average was tops for the conference (and so far nationally) while Curran had 64 solo tackles and 58 assists, with an average of 10.2 tackles per game.

Despite missing several games, A.J. Green, who led the conference in receiving much of the season, still managed to place second to Shay Hodge of Ole Miss. Hodge had 63 catches for 1,023 yards to Green’s 47 for 751. Green was also second to Hodge in average receiving yards (85.2 to 83.4)

Although he only played in nine games, Georgia’s Justin Houston was No. 2 in sacks, with six solo and three assists. Tops was Auburn’s Antonio Coleman, with seven solo and four assists. Houston also was second in tackles for loss, with 11 solo and eight assists …

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Bulldog Bites: UGA’s Fox gets same TV slot as Richt

Mark Fox's show will occupy the same time slot as Mark Richt's. (Associated Press)

Mark Fox's show will occupy the same time slot as Mark Richt's. (Associated Press)

The debut of  “Inside Georgia Basketball With Mark Fox” is set for Sunday at midnight on Atlanta’s WSB/ Channel 2 in the same time slot as Mark Richt’s show.

The Fox show, which will run 15 weeks and is hosted by Chuck Dowdle, also airs at 1 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays on SportSouth and is being  carried by WALB-TV Albany (midnight Sunday), WJBF-TV Augusta (noon Sunday), WTVM-TV Columbus (11:30 p.m. Sunday), WPGA-TV Macon (noon Sunday), WNEG TV Toccoa/Athens (7 p.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Monday), and WTOC TV Savannah (midnight Sunday).  The show also will air on Cox Cable in New Orleans at 4: 30 p.m. Wednesdays. All episodes also will be available for free on-demand viewing at Georgiadogs.com.

Next up for the men’s basketball Bulldogs are the Virginia Tech Hokies, in Blacksburg, Va., at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The game can be heard on the Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network.

VOTE FOR KUPETS

UGA’s most honored …

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Who are Dogs fans pulling for in SEC championship?

SEC logoI put the question to a handful of Bulldogs buddies: Who do you want to win the SEC championship?

My friend Scott’s initial reaction: “I’m pulling for the Goodyear Blimp to spin out of control and pull a Hindenberg at the Dome.” But failing that, he said, Bama.

That, in fact, was the unanimous answer from all the UGA fans I heard from. As Tim put it: The team in red. Roll Tide!

Actually, Scott said that if he thought another national championship would push Urban Meyer to Notre Dame, he might actually pull for Florida, but all indications are he’s staying in Gainesville “and I simply can’t stomach another Gator title. Bama is the lesser of two evils.”

That’s my own view. I’m not a fan of Nick Saban, but I’ve had it with the canonization of St. Timothy by CBS, plus I want to be able to root for the SEC team in the BCS championship, and I’ve learned my lesson about doing that when it’s the Gators.

I’m not sure Alabama is up to beating Florida, but I hope so.

So based on my …

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Welcome winds of change hitting Athens

Mark Richt seems to be embracing change. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt seems to be embracing change. (Associated Press)

A head coach having to completely overhaul half his staff might be looked on as a negative development or sign of desperation by some. But as we look ahead to Mark Richt’s 10th season at UGA, I think the fact that there’s a narrative of change, as my son calls it, going on in Athens is a completely positive thing.

Some of the changes haven’t come as quickly as some of us would have liked, and there’ve been more than a few missteps along the way (I’m thinking of how special teams have been botched the past couple of seasons, particularly the mishandling of placekicker Blair Walsh in his freshman season).

But I like the fact that Richt, Mike Bobo and Stacy Searels finally figured out how to get the running game on track this season and didn’t hesitate to throw offensive balance-for-the-sake of balance out the window when it became necessary to come up with a new game plan. They finally settled on the right two running …

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It was past time for defense to rule again at UGA

“It was definitely not a one-year knee-jerk reaction to this season. It was more of a decision that was made over the course of time. More time than just more than one year.”

There were too few of these high points under Willie Martinez. (Special)

There were too few of these high points under Willie Martinez. (Special)

That quote from Mark Richt on Wednesday, after he decided that Willie Martinez, Jon Fabris and John Jancek wouldn’t be returning as defensive coaches at Georgia, gets to the heart of the matter.The ebb and flow of defense under Martinez wasn’t the only problem the Dogs have had over the past few seasons, but it was the one that didn’t seem to hold much hope of improvement without a change.

As I noted the other day, Martinez usually coached his charges up a couple of times a year for a big game. But too many times over the past five seasons, since Martinez became coordinator, the Dogs looked poorly prepared on defense.

There were fan complaints about the weakness of the Georgia defense against the run and the tendency to leave …

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What do you think of Martinez’s ouster?

Willie Martinez

Willie Martinez

It’s official now. Willie Martinez is out. Look for more details coming on ajc.com. In the meantime, what do you think?

TWO MINUTE DRILL …

I like the quote that ESPN’s Ivan Maisel had from South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson to explain the ACC’s two division champs, Georgia Tech and Clemson, losing to midlevel SEC teams: “That conference is really down, especially in the area of the box, offensive and defensive line play,” Johnson said of the ACC. “It’s just not very good. I thought [before the game with Clemson] we were a lot better than they were up front, and we were.” …

The Football Writers Association of America named the Dogs as its national team of the week for the Bulldogs’ upset of then-No. 7 Georgia Tech. Georgia beat out Mississippi State (which upset Ole Miss) and West Virginia (which beat rival Pitt) for the honor. …

Retired UGA Gym Dogs coach Suzanne Yoculan, who knows a thing or two about winning, offers her opinion on why …

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Dogs’ bowl hopes could ride on … Jackets

(Clemson University)

(Clemson University)

It looks as if Georgia’s hopes of landing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl rather than Shreveport’s Independence Bowl might be in the hands of in-state rival Georgia Tech.

Normally, many (if not most) Bulldogs fans would be rooting for the Clemson Tigers in Saturday’s ACC championship game with the Yellow Jackets.

ESPN.com’s Chris Low reports, however, that the Chick-fil-A Bowl is waiting on the ACC title game before finalizing its decision on whether to take Tennessee or Georgia for its SEC slot. A Tennessee-Virginia Tech matchup is very likely, Low says. But if Clemson loses to Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game, they likely would wind up in the Chick-fil-A since the Gator Bowl, which usually gets the ACC championship loser, wants to take retiring Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles.

And if Clemson winds up in Atlanta, Low says, the Chick-fil-A Bowl might decide to pair the Tigers with Georgia, a longtime rival. That would indeed be a hot ticket.

So …

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Pooch kicks: Bowling and bumblebees

(Independence Bowl)

(Independence Bowl)

A flurry of anonymous-source stories Tuesday appeared to have the Dogs surprisingly headed to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, though the conference has told the bowls not to announce any pairings until Sunday, and Chick-fil-A Bowl honcho Gary Stokan said no decision has been made to invite Tennessee and that Georgia is still in the picture for the Atlanta bowl.

The word leaking out of Butts-Mehrer in Athens is that at this point athletic association folks expect the Dogs to wind up in either Atlanta or Shreveport. Feast or famine, in other words.

All of this is because the Outback Bowl reportedly has gone maverick again and picked Auburn instead of Tennessee, which had been expected to land there. Apparently the Tampa bowl, which usually picks from the SEC East, wants a team that hasn’t been there in a while and UT played in the Outback in 2007 and 2008.

The trickle-down effect has Tennessee likely to oust Georgia from what seemed like a lock in the …

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Sounds like sour grapes from Tech’s Paul Johnson

Who got punched in the face? (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Who got punched in the face? (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

I’m off today and just got back from the dentist, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to comment on the latest flap in the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry.

As you’ve probably seen, Tech coach Paul Johnson, appearing on local radio, dismissed the UGA program that just embarrassed his team Saturday night, asking “What have they done to be the mark for Georgia Tech football? What’s the last thing they won? 1980?”

For Tech, he said, the annual game against the Bulldogs is “not the be all, end all. We’re 1-1.”

And he went on to advise any Tech fan getting a hard time from a Georgia fan to “punch him in the face.”

OK, so now we know that in addition to being a pretty good coach, Paul Johnson is a bit of a jerk. I mean, you’ve really got to go some to make Lane Kiffin sound classy.

Georgia hasn’t won anything since 1980? What, conference championships don’t count? Mark Richt has two of those. Tech hasn’t won one outright since 1990 …

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