On the BCS, SEC and Dawg of the Millennium (so far)

First off, congratulations to the Alabama Crimson Tide for a terrific BCS national championship win over a resilient Texas team. Since it wasn’t Florida, I was actually rooting for the SEC team this time around. It says a lot that it was an off year for the conference, and yet the coaches’ trophy still remains in the SEC.

Amid all the conflicting rumors involving the UGA defensive coordinator position, Kirby Smart and the Texas Tech head coaching job, I’ll just say this: If Mark Richt somehow does manage to land Smart and he brings that aggressive, attacking Saban brand of defense to the Dogs, there’ll be a lot of happy fans in the Bulldog Nation.

Oh, and one more thought: It looked like it actually physically pained Nick Saban to try and smile as he hoisted that crystal football after the game. Mr. Charisma, he’s not. But you can’t argue with the results.

Now, back to the business at hand. After all the best-of-the-decade lists that have been trotted out over the past week, it seems a good time to assess which Georgia Bulldog stands above all others from the past 10 years.

David Pollack is one of UGA's most decorated players ever. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

David Pollack is one of UGA's most decorated players ever. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

The first name that comes to mind, of course, is fan favorite David Pollack, who joined Herschel Walker as UGA’s only three-time All-America first-team selections. After seemingly coming out of nowhere with that great takeaway at South Carolina in 2002, the irrepressible player often compared to the Energizer Bunny went on to win the Ted Hendricks Award twice as the nation’s top defensive end, the Rotary Lombardi Award (nation’s top lineman), Chuck Bednarik Award (nation’s top defensive player) and the Lott Trophy (nation’s top impact defensive player), and was voted the SEC Defensive Player of the Year a couple of times. And he holds the UGA record for quarterback sacks with 36.

David Greene won 42 games in four years. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

David Greene won 42 games in four years. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

You can’t have this discussion, however, without mentioning the other half of the Two Davids combo, quarterback David Greene, who first grabbed fans’ attention as a redshirt freshman with his cool on-field leadership culminating with the famed “hobnail boot” play in the 2001 win at Knoxville. Greene led the Dogs to their first SEC championship in 20 years and back to the conference title game another time, and was named SEC Offensive Rookie of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, SEC Championship Game MVP, was an All-SEC first-teamer once and second-teamer twice, set an SEC record with 214 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, and until this year held the NCAA record as the winningest QB of all time with 42 victories. He holds a number of team records, including most career pass completions and most career passing yardage.

Knowshon Moreno had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Knowshon Moreno had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Then there’s the only Georgia running back who’s drawn serious comparisons with the legendary No. 34, Knowshon Moreno. The spin-move specialist known for bouncing up and running back to the huddle racked up 188 yards and three touchdowns against Florida in 2007. In his two brief seasons playing for the Bulldogs, Moreno ran for 2,734 yards in just 26 career games, scored 30 rushing touchdowns and two more receiving and was named a Freshman All-America player his first year and first-team All-America after the 2008 season. If he hadn’t left early for the pros, he probably would have given Herschel a run for a number of the school rushing records.

Who's the best Georgia player of the past 10 years?

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Who else might merit consideration? Hard-hitting safety Thomas Davis earned All-America honors his junior year before leaving for the NFL. Strong-armed quarterback Matthew Stafford had quite a few memorable games before leaving early as the No. 1 NFL draft pick. And in just two years, acrobatic receiver A.J. Green has been simply amazing. He was a Freshman All-America and if he hadn’t gotten hurt this year probably would have been a first-teamer.

So who’s the best Georgia player of the past 10 years? Vote among the three nominees in the poll and share any other names you think deserve consideration in the comments.

LADY DOGS’ STREAK CONTINUES

Congratulations to Andy Landers’ Lady Bulldogs, who now own the best start in school history at 15-0 after their come-from-behind overtime win over Kentucky, breaking a record set by the 1998-99 team that went on to the Final Four. The Lady Dogs are just five wins away from tying the school record for 20 consecutive victories set by the 1985-86 team. Georgia hosts Florida at 6 p.m. Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum in a game that will be televised on ESPNU.

256 comments Add your comment

HUNKER DOWN

January 9th, 2010
4:57 pm

Yep Buckhead you beat me to it. Great player but does not qualify for 21 century Dawg.

HUNKER DOWN

January 9th, 2010
5:01 pm

Kirby could add the Junk yard Dawg bite to “D”

MontyP

January 9th, 2010
5:13 pm

I called the Georgia upset of Kentucky! Ok, were not there yet but that was one heck of a first half. Leslie is amazing! Mr. King do you even know that Georgia has a basketball team? According to you, you are the only real Dawg fan alive. Not! Go Dawgs!

BULLDOG MOM

January 9th, 2010
5:17 pm

Sure do wish David Pollack could be an assistant coach at Georgia. Go Dawgs

Can you dig it?

January 9th, 2010
5:24 pm

Hey Bulldawg (post 6:14am)…Are you kidding me?You are wound tighter than a cheap watch.In the future maybe CMR ought clear everything he does with you before he makes any decisions this year.You sound like a little boy,go play with your GI Joe and leave the football decisions to those people who actually know whats going on. Please remember this is a blog not a place for you to compose a novel….we don’t care what you think…its obvious if you knew as much as you think you do you’d be a coach some where…but your just a loud mouthed idiot that no one cares to listen to….Can You Dig It !

HUNKER DOWN

January 9th, 2010
5:38 pm

rumors swirling from good source that Dawgs are close to announcing DC

SOUTHGADAWG88

January 9th, 2010
5:47 pm

Hearing it’s as early as tomorrow

Buckhead Bulldog

January 9th, 2010
5:48 pm

HUNKER DOWN: Well they better hurry up before the price keeps going up with all the DC, HC being fired or resigning. Very interesting shake up s we have got at UF, USC, TT, GT, and of course us….just hope we can get a good one who will, like you wrote, bring back that Junkyard D that has some B I T E!

Dawgaholic30286

January 9th, 2010
6:25 pm

I think they should retire Pollock’s number 47……..and maybe Greene’s too……….What they did for Georgia was more than all the other players have done for the team (except maybe Hines Ward)………since Herschel.

Flowery Branch Dawg

January 9th, 2010
7:08 pm

David Pollack!!!!!!

Dawg

January 9th, 2010
7:10 pm

WSB-TV 2 just said Kirby Smart is about to announce….something!!!! And that he has a contract in hand. Will he he sign it? dunno

G'Vegas Dawg

January 9th, 2010
7:16 pm

Expect Kerby Smart to be announced as the new DC on Monday. 4 year deal at $800K per. Travis Jones is expected to come along as well. Multiple sources out of Athens have confirmed this.

Buckhead Bulldog

January 9th, 2010
7:22 pm

Yep! I heard that on WSB-2, too. Sounds like a done deal(?).

Cracker Jacket

January 9th, 2010
7:44 pm

David Greene was the best!

Steve

January 9th, 2010
7:58 pm

This list is pathetic. Moreno shouldn’t even be on it since he only played two years and bolted.

I respect the Shockley posts, but due to his injuries and turnover issues his first three years he didn’t stay on the field long enough. You can’t put him on here simply because he stuck it out. So did a bunch of others.

T Edwards I would say should get a nod to be on the list. Yes, he dropped a couple of crucial passes that could have made huge differences in our seasonal outcomes, but he also made a huge impact and probably won as many. That being said …

For me, the only true option as the 3rd choice behind Pollack and Greene is Thomas Davis. Not only has he been the most productive in the NFL, our defense has not been the same since he left. His ferocity on defense was unmatched and he gave us an identity as a team you did NOT want to mess with. As much as I loked David Pollack, our defense did not sink at all when he left, but when Davis left our defense started playing like a high school team. We have gone form 16.5 to 25.9 ppg in the four years since he departed.

Until we get another big hitting, ball hawking strong safety like Davis our defense will continue to cause other teams to drool. You have to have a beast floating around back there.

Froggy the Gremlin

January 9th, 2010
9:20 pm

Sarah Jessica Parker

Julia Roberts

Rosie O’Donnell

Jasper Sanks

ckgator

January 10th, 2010
12:08 am

“…since it wasn’t Florida…???”

I know you are supposed to be a homer, and this is the “Junkyard Blawg,” but a little journalistic objectivity would give you a lot more credibility.

But I guess most leghumpers think alike… if at all.

dawg4life

January 10th, 2010
4:06 am

So far I have heard Travis Jones DE and ST coach, Garner as DT and RC, Lance Thompson as LB coach, anyone else heard any different

Larry

January 10th, 2010
7:21 am

I would like them to keep or hire the grad assistants who coached in the bowl game. One of them needs to coach the secondary.

Sandman053

January 10th, 2010
8:45 am

This waiting is worse than December 24th for my 8 year-old daughter…I wish they would announce something! I think CKS would be a great choice.

Tombo

January 10th, 2010
9:25 am

The nod has to go to game changers…the guys who could dominate the game…not just have a bright moment here or there. These are the guys the opposing coaches had to plan for or pay the price.

David Pollack, Thomas Davis, and Knowshon Moreno were game changers. AJ Green is on his way.

David Green was very talented and efficient….but didn’t take over games (but I’m relying on memory which can be sketchy at times). Stafford??? Over-hyped and too streaky. DJ? Give me a break…he couldn’t break the starting lineup.

Whoever said Moreno sold-out UGA…get real. The kids don’t have to stick around four years. By your definition every kid who left after their junior season was a sell out. Didn’t Herschel play just three years? The kids have to do what’s right for them…and you can spend NFL money supporting yourself and your family a lot easier than you can spend senior season fond memories. Besides…it’s a big seller to recruits seeing the names of UGA players in the pros.

Tombo

January 10th, 2010
9:37 am

Whoever put Thomas Brown as the best kick returner obviously didn’t watch this season. The kids returning kicks this year forced other teams to do squibs and short kick offs rather than risk the long returns. Thomas Brown did good to get the ball to the 15 yard line.

Who was the kid who was so good at the punt returns? Was it Thomas Flowers? I don’t remember. We had a kid back there who was electric and opponents kept punting out of bounds. He should warrant honorable mention.

Newnan Dawg

January 10th, 2010
10:11 am

I always liked Greg Blue another hard hitting guy along with Thomas Davis.

Preston

January 10th, 2010
10:36 am

If Edwards hadn’t cost us a game vs sorry @ss South Carolina, I’d agree Rx Dawg.

Preston

January 10th, 2010
10:39 am

Whatever happened to Paul Oliver? He shut Calvin Johnson down every time he played against tech. I know he flunked out at UGA (which is a disgrace when considering all the available tutoring available to student athletes) but I’m sure he’s playing pro ball for someone. The guy was an animal.

Git-er-dun Richt

January 10th, 2010
11:29 am

Richt needs to get it done next year or go. No more Mr. Nice Guy. His teams of late have made way too many mistakes (penalties and turnovers) and were very temperamental, which I attribute a lot to coaching. I am impressed with how Saban’s players are more disciplined on the field to the point of boredom sometimes but they don’t beat themselves. Richt pays too much a price for loyalty versus winning. Winning buys loyalty.

My Vote for Best of Decade: Pollack. He could turn the momentum of the game when the team was struggling and did it often.

DirtyDawg

January 10th, 2010
12:01 pm

In case somebody hasn’t noticed, we’ve got ourselves a basketball coach. The only thing I would suggest to him is ‘please, please, figure out how to get the ball to young Mr. Leslie more. This kid has a chance to be as good as we’ve ever had – and yes, that includes the ‘high-light film’ guy.

As for the Kentucky game, you knew in your heart we weren’t going to get any calls in that place. I mean no way we get three front court guys foul out and they don’t even have anybody with more than three. Officials are intimidated by that crowd and program, but this Georgia team will win more than it loses in the Conference, play well in the SEC Tournament and make the NCAAs…that’s how good Mr. Fox is and how much better he’s made this group of players.

And finally, I don’t care much for Bobby Knight, but the one thing he has always done is speak his mind and the truth. Kentucky, in an effort to regain their idea of where they ought to be with that program, has thrown the dice that they’ll win at least one Championship before they get put on probation. I had a Kentucky friend tell me once, back when Jim Harrick was coming to Georgia, that we’d be sorry because even though he was a pretty good coach, he was willing to cut corners and compromise any value and/or standard in order to win….too bad that friend and his compadres have deluded themselves about Mr. Calipari – by the way, ain’t that a bottom-feeding, tentacled thing or something?

Fair and Balanced

January 10th, 2010
12:20 pm

In a way it is hard to NOT pick Stafford since he was the NFL as the # 1 pick. His only shortcoming was that GA never won any titles with him as QB, but that is because the defense was so horrible. I would still go with Pollack and Greene. Those guys were good, won titles, and had character!

Pro Scout

January 10th, 2010
12:42 pm

In my estimation it has to be the three UGA Bulldogs. They always gave their best, no ‘hotdogging’ like Pollock, no second rate QB like Greene. Of all the players, Moreno was the best, but he had a tendancy to be a ‘No show’ in some games. Vote still goes with the dogs.

jojatek

January 10th, 2010
12:57 pm

Kirby is just too damn Smart to go to Athens, and Saban’s comments said it all: Why would Smart agree to a “lateral move” over to UGA (and that’s putting it charitably, folks…) when he can coach another year in Tuscaloosa, then have Richt’s job in 2011…??

All in jest, of course… Mark Richt is a helluva football coach and has earned the right to retire in Athens if that is what he chooses to do. But Kirby Smart will have plenty of head coaching opportunities next season… he is too Smart to give that up for a step backwards in Athens…

As for my Jackets? Well, no excuses from me: When it mattered most (Nov.28th, Jan. 5th), we simply failed to adjust and came up short in primetime, on a national stage. We’ll be back, of course, because CPJ is the perfect fit for Tech. He taught a group of talented, though largely unknown and unheralded student-athletes (the type of recruiting classes that will remain unchanged at Tech regardless of who is coaching) that hard work can – and very often does – beat talent when talent doesn’t work hard. We have a long, long way to go, but we’re unmistakenly on the right track…

Go Jackets!

Triple Dawg

January 10th, 2010
1:20 pm

DJ Shockley has to get a mention here. Also, he didn’t get much credit when he was in school, but Tim Jennings was an awesome CB.

SiddyBoy

January 10th, 2010
2:06 pm

David Pollack no question!!

Hire Kirby on a “coach in waiting”basis. CMR will retire in 5 yrs. or less to enter a Christian Ministry.

You heard it here and I know it’s going to happen !

steve

January 10th, 2010
3:52 pm

Brandon Sutherland led the Dawgs in TD’s as a fullback,10 carries,10 yds,10 TD’s,that is production!

messin with sasquatch

January 10th, 2010
4:08 pm

I like reshad jones best.

GatorBite

January 10th, 2010
6:27 pm

R U Crazy? The best Dawg of the new millenium so far would have to come from the Gym Dawgs. It is the one area where UGA dominates on a yearly basis. Football, Basketball, Golf, Softball, etc have superior teams in the SEC at other schools but in Gymnastics….well….the Dawgs are supreme! That may not help out the inferiority complex that is now UGA football but it is truly an honest assessment.

uga_b

January 10th, 2010
6:49 pm

Champ Bailey was drafted in 1999. Nice try though.

UGATopDawg

January 10th, 2010
7:09 pm

wat about Greg Bleu.Thomas Brown. Muhammed Massaquoi.

FLA DAWG

January 10th, 2010
7:10 pm

The only possible reason Curran delayed his decision was to learn who the new DC would be.

My guess is he learned today that Smart would not be coming home to Athens.

I hope I’m wrong about Smart. I wish Curran great success in the NFL.

Tell-it

January 10th, 2010
7:38 pm

Arnold Harrison
Boss Bailey
Sean Jones
Musa Smith
Thomas Davis
O’Dell Thurmond
DJ Shockley
Tyson Browning
Charles Grant

The Southside Observer

January 10th, 2010
8:15 pm

Herschel Walker for the pure excitement when he touched the ball. Ben Zambiasi for how he stopped runners cold in their tracks. David Pollock for his his energy and outstanding play at defensive end. D. J. Shockley for his patience and for his leadership, juking ability, and his arm. Ben Smith, Odell Thurmond, Jermaine Phillips, Knowshon Moreno, Moonpie Wilson, Cowboy Parrish, Kendrell Bell, A. J. Green, Ray Goff (he was a player — SEC Player of the Year like D. J. Shockley), Richard Tardits, Jasper Sanks (when he wasn’t in the “dog house”), Champ Bailey, Boss Bailey, Will Witherspoon, Thomas Davis, and, of course, Hines Ward (Super Bowl MVP), Terrell Davis (Super Bowl MVP who stayed in Goff’s “dog house” — but perhaps by no fault of his own), Jake Scott (Super Bowl MVP and on the undefeated Dolphin team of 1972), and last but certainly not least by any means (because these are just a few off the top of my head), George Patton! Let me not forget the Scrambler himself, NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, All American and Athens resident Charley Trippi, and Heisman winner Frankie Sinkwich!

The Southside Observer

January 10th, 2010
8:18 pm

One more off the top of my head that I don’t want to leave out…Randy McMichael of Ft. Valley who, by the way, turned down admission into the Gridiron Society because he could swear no allegiance to any but God. I respect this.

[...] Bill King on the Dawg of Millennium [...]

BigDawg

January 10th, 2010
10:32 pm

Jevaris Johnson – TE
Terrance Edwards – WR
Bryce Hunter – WR
Robert Edwards – RB
Champ Bailey – CB
Jonas Jennings – OL
Marcus Stroud – DL
Orantes Grant – LB

just to name a few!

Russ GATA

January 11th, 2010
7:47 am

AJ GREEN!!! Dawgs do not even have a winning season without him.

quadriple option

January 11th, 2010
10:32 am

Pollack!!!!!

Greg Bleu used to clean clocks. That boy could hit hard.

Tech suck!

Beelzebub's Advocate

January 11th, 2010
1:42 pm

I sure wish Kirby Smart would make up his doggone mind.

messin with sasquatch

January 11th, 2010
1:58 pm

really, reshaad chasing after roddy jones is my all time favorite, for real. really..

Michael

January 11th, 2010
2:03 pm

David Greene is GOD to me!

Suck it nerd

January 11th, 2010
2:12 pm

No contest, Reggie Ball.

Fort Worth Dawg

January 11th, 2010
2:14 pm

I’d like to get Derek Dooley’s take on several issues: (i) he coached under Saban, so maybe he could give some insight to the guy (or confirm what we already know), (ii) does his UGA law degree add anything to his coaching skill set, (iii) thoughts on Mike Leach (fellow coach [well, former coach now] with a law degree, and (iv) UGA DC rumors he’s heard.

As collegiate recruiters target the mothers of recruits, I wonder if anyone makes an effort to sell a coach’s wife on the benefits of a job change – everything I’ve heard suggests that UGA is significantly more family friendly. Does Kirby have any kids, because that could be a huge factor?

Finally, has anyone picked up the fact that Kirby has a finance degree from UGA? http://www.rolltide.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/smart_kirby00.html