Dogs’ most important non-SEC game in 2010?

One blogger expects some football fireworks when the Dogs visit Folsom Field. (University of Colorado)

One blogger expects some football fireworks when the Dogs visit Folsom Field. (University of Colorado)

Ask most Dogs fans which nonconference game on this year’s schedule will be the most important, and the knee-jerk answer is, of course, Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets will be out to avenge this past season’s surprise loss at Grant Field while the Dogs will want to turn that win into a new winning streak against Tech and protect the hedges.

But in what CollegeFootballNews.com calls its “Ridiculously Early SEC Picks” by the site’s bloggers, Brian Harbach makes the case that Georgia’s trip out West to play Colorado at Folsom Field will be the SEC out-of-conference game of the year.

Here’s why he thinks that: “There are a number of great SEC out-of-conference games this year, but none may come at a more important time than Georgia’s trip to Boulder the first week of October. This game will be UGA’s third road trip in five weeks; and it will be following games at South Carolina, Arkansas and at Mississippi State. It is a must win for the Bulldogs, and Colorado coach Dan Hawkins needs a win against UGA to save his job. With two weeks to prepare for UGA, the Buffaloes will be ready. This is a huge game for [Mark] Richt and should be exciting to watch.”

I’m not sure how stiff a challenge the Buffs will be, but I do think it’s not an exaggeration to call it a “must” win if Richt is going to get his program back on track. As tough as SEC play is, there’s not much margin for error with the nonconference games if you want to reach that psychologically important 10-win mark.

I still think Tech’s a more important game, though. Your thoughts?

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that in that same blogger roundup on the SEC, the trendy pick for SEC offensive player of the year is Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett, but Billy Gomila opts for Georgia’s A.J. Green. His reasoning: “Mark Ingram or Ryan Mallett are the chalk picks, but after a season where the chalk picks didn’t exactly work out, call this an off-the-grid selection. Green was dominating SEC secondaries despite an inconsistent (and that’s a generous assessment) quarterback and negligible running game. Mark Richt’s done enough to make me think the Bulldogs have a rebound season in them, and Green will lead that with a huge season (likely his last before departing to the NFL).”

I can’t argue with any of that.

Oh, and in the picks for SEC coach on the hot seat, the favorite was LSU’s Les Miles and no one picked Richt.

SHOULD SAMUEL REDSHIRT?

In an interesting Athens Banner-Herald piece on Richard Samuel’s switch from running back to linebacker, it’s noted that while Samuel is a rising junior, he just turned 19 on Feb. 3, which makes him younger than two of the Dogs’ incoming freshmen and born in the same year as 11 other members of Georgia’s 2010 recruiting class.

So considering how young he is and that he’s switching back to defense, which he hasn’t played since high school, his former coach at Cass High in Cartersville raises the question of whether Samuel might not end up redshirting this season.

“I wouldn’t put out of the question that he could redshirt for a year,” coach Rick Casko said. “I think that’s beneficial just for his physical maturity. Coach Richt and I talked about this, too. I could have had Richard for two more years of high school based on age.” (When Samuel moved to Georgia from the Virgin Islands at age 8, he was placed in a grade with older students.)

While I think the Dogs might miss his speed if he didn’t play this season, a year to get reoriented to playing linebacker might pay big dividends down the road. I’m sure the decision will depend on how quickly Samuel adapts to Todd Grantham’s defense and the showing he makes during the spring. But giving Samuel another year to mature sounds like a good idea.

NEW ‘PRESENCE’ ON DEFENSE

Coach Richt spent his 50th birthday in Albany, speaking to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet, and the Albany Herald reports he provided an update on the pre-spring preparations in Athens.

“It’s going good,” Richt said. “We’re installing the defense, mostly, with the coaches and our coordinator is making sure the coaches understand, and we’re feeding it little by little to the players.”

Richt said recently arrived defensive coordinator Grantham appears to bring a new level of intensity to that side of the ball. “We like a lot of things about [Grantham],” Richt said. “He’s a great communicator and has got some presence about him that I think the guys will respect and enjoy.”

Maybe the Dogs have finally found a true replacement for Brian VanGorder in more than just job title.

105 comments Add your comment

Theophilus

February 19th, 2010
11:16 am

Will

February 19th, 2010
11:23 am

Steve Garcia…….meet 340lb Kwaeme Geathers!!!!!!!!

UGA 2010

February 19th, 2010
11:24 am

Great article Bill

11Dawg

February 19th, 2010
11:32 am

The fact that we’re playing Colorado on the road is irrelevant. Mark Richt does well on the road, and Colorado’s stadium is more pathetic than Tech’s.

Dale

February 19th, 2010
11:41 am

What is the team allowed to be doing outside of NCAA permitted team practices? They can lift and condition, they can study film, they can study the playbook, do they have team meetings with their coaches? Can they run informal practices among themseves at the intramural fields?

That Band Kid

February 19th, 2010
11:47 am

Great article Bill! I’m going with the pep band to Colorado next season. That is probably gonna be a memorable game, they played us really well in 2006. Haven’t looked at their staff or recent performances to know exactly what to expect… Although how they’re playing next season is what will matter most. Here’s to another road win CMR!

Once a Dawg, Always a Dawg,
How Sweet It Is!!!!

jimmy

February 19th, 2010
11:59 am

redshirt samuels,buffalo game is real big the whole country is looking

Denver Dawg

February 19th, 2010
12:04 pm

hope you’ll be making the trip, too, Bill… here’s a long-time Beatlefan subscriber that has a free place for you to stay that weekend!

dougdawg

February 19th, 2010
12:29 pm

Enter your comments here

Brewdawg

February 19th, 2010
12:38 pm

Colorado did put up a fight last time against us, but thanks to the Ginger Avenger we pulled it out. Im really not sweating this game as much as SC.

GO DAWGS!!!!
30 – 24

Rick K

February 19th, 2010
12:39 pm

Any true Dawg will always vote Tech as the most important out of conference game. Also, being at the end of year could make big difference in bowl selection. Tech’s Johnson glory days will be over quickly. Opponents defenses are catching up with the option and no quarterback or receiver with any aspirations will commit to Tech. UGA beat tech with our worse team in a decade and started a new streak.

daug thinking

February 19th, 2010
12:43 pm

CO is not a patsy.

Repeat until believe.

Brewdawg

February 19th, 2010
12:46 pm

Bill, do you have any stats on star players or anything special about CO??

Greg

February 19th, 2010
12:51 pm

Booked a condo in Boulder last week – cannot wait to head out West (again) to see the Dawgs as the ASU game was a blast.

Dan

February 19th, 2010
1:21 pm

Yeah, opponents are really catching up to that offense. It only finished in the #11 nationally in scoring and #1 in TOP. But don’t let facts get in your way.

Brewdawg

February 19th, 2010
1:32 pm

Dan
I sense some sarcasm in that last post lol

Sorry Guy!

February 19th, 2010
1:34 pm

Dan – that is because you guys play in the weakest conference in America. Don’t get excited about inflated stats. Your offense is a joke and is only played in Pop Warner!

Jan Kemp

February 19th, 2010
1:34 pm

Everybody knows it’s Tech, but most in Dawgnation won’t admit it.

Dan

February 19th, 2010
1:37 pm

May be just a tad, Brewdawg. Y’all beat us last year but I’ve got to tell you I’ve grown weary from the talk about how the offense won’t work. There’s plenty of room to criticize Tech (defense, special teams, etc.), but the offense isn’t one of them if that criticizm is based in reality.

Dan

February 19th, 2010
1:38 pm

Sorry Guy!, then why did the SEC go 0-2 in bowl season against that horrible conference?

Dan

February 19th, 2010
1:41 pm

And, Sorry Guy!, that joke of an offense is averaging 35 a game against your team.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

February 19th, 2010
1:59 pm

11Dawg, no, it’s not

VolsRule

February 19th, 2010
2:09 pm

Give UGA credit for stepping out – Tennessee does the same.

Now – we BOTH need to get our act together and STOP and HUMBLE Florida.

Urban has made a laughing stock out of the SEC EAST – and LAME KIFFIN did not do us any favors either.

At the end of the day – I think TENNESSEE will bottom out this season 2010 – and will a force in 2011.

I think UGA will have a better 2010 – but I honestly think UGA and Richt have turned into a perenial 8 win – maybe 9 win team – basically a game better than DONNAN.

Heck – Tennessee has not been very good these last few years – AND WE HAVE OWNED UGA. Playing UGA 3 out of the last 4 years was like playing WESTERN KY. NO competition at all – which is unlike UGA – just come into Knoxville – go through the motions – take that A$$ beating – and go home. WHERE IS UGA????

matt

February 19th, 2010
2:55 pm

Dawg 39

February 19th, 2010
3:17 pm

Samuel may turn out to be good enough that if he Is RS, he may not stick around to be a 5th Yr. Sr. Something to consider ? Also, I think he would be great on coverage teams as well as an OLB.

This year might be one to remember for UGA

February 19th, 2010
3:18 pm

It takes many of ingredients it seems for UGA to have one of those epic seasons and this one may be IT.
Talent is in place
New enthusiastic staff is in place and this will be a real difference maker. It ALWAYS PAYS OFF to freshen up your coaching staff and this year will prove that old axiom.
There is a hunger around Athens and it ain’t for another 8-5 year. Afterall, UGA IS THE ONLY SCHOOL to win 8+ for 13 years in a row. Name one other team to do this. Cannot be done.
THE SCHEDULE IS RIGHT. THE SEC is not up to standards of late. Bama will be a dominant team and maybe one or two more. Wll one be UGA???
I know, I know, Florida is not their usual 12-0 or 11-1 team and CUM is in rehab. He may be the cause of the Gators “sinking” to a 10-2 type of year.
UGA is set on offense and they can run or throw and will be protected with a fine offensive line.

TEBOW has gone on to the NFL pulpit.
Willie Martinez is gone.
Fabris is gone and twice gone he is, if you count Louisville.
Janzek is gone.

I am also gone. Go Dogs.

It could be a great one to remember fans.

Bremen Dawg

February 19th, 2010
3:27 pm

I think the Colorado game is very important. That will kind of set the tone for the season if we can get through the first 4 games at least 3-1.

TECHGRADserving frys to you

February 19th, 2010
3:31 pm

UGA-tech is only important to fans, and I love when the dawgs stomp tech. How can it be the most important non-sec game when the worst uga team in 100 years beat the acc champions??? who then went on to be humiliated by the likes of IOWA?

Brian Harbach

February 19th, 2010
4:09 pm

Give me one minute to defend this, first the Tech game is every year and the question wasn’t what is the most important, it was what will be the best. Second, having been to Fulsom Field, it is a great place to watch a game, I recommend to all who are thinking about going to do so. Third, everyone thinks of Penn State/Alabama or LSU/West Virginia as the best OOC games but I expect this game to be competitive and intriguing. Two teams needing to win badly, UGA with a tough first month and Colorado needing respect. I am excited about this game, I have a feeling you guys will be too come October.

Dorsey Hill

February 19th, 2010
4:13 pm

If it were up to me, and I know that its not, I would let Samuel apprentice as a redshirt safety with Rambo and Hamliton, get him some time next year in the rotation and then have him start opposite Rambo as a senior. He has the speed to cover and the size to intimidate.

Samuel could transition into a good linebacker, but he doesn’t quite fit yet. He is a little light for ILB and not angular enough for OLB. His height is good for an ILB but he needs to put on 15 lbs. to get to about 245. The OLB position in the 3-4 requires a lot of blitz match ups with taller linemen so an OLB ought to be 6-4 or better. It will be interesting to see how Nick Williams and Marcus Dowtin fit in as well since they are good players and similar to Samuel in stature. I have a feeling though that we’ve seen the last of these smallish speedy linebackers in our recruiting classes. They are going to be replaced with 6-4 to 6-6 behemoths. The ones that get fill in play end and the ones who stay thin are OLB’s.

We can’t say how this transition will work in the end, but I do know that in 3 years we are going to have, collectively, a much bigger front seven than we are used too.

KC Dawg

February 19th, 2010
4:42 pm

Get the facts right before priting them in your “blawg”
Brian Harbach states that Georgia plays at Arkansas this year. The game is in Athens. We played there last year.

Bill King

February 19th, 2010
5:00 pm

KC Dawg:

Harbach didn’t word it very clearly, but he wasn’t saying the Dogs play AT Arkansas. He said the Colorado game will be will be UGA’s THIRD road trip in five weeks. It will be following games with South Carolina (road), Arkansas (home) and Mississippi State (road).

KC Dawg

February 19th, 2010
5:07 pm

Thanks Bill. Thanks for the clarification. It took us forever to get to Fayetteville last year so when I read that I just wanted to make sure we did not have to go back there again!!!

i read this...did you?

February 19th, 2010
5:07 pm

KC dawg….please re-read the post before you slam the author. As you will see when you re-read that part He states that we have 3 out of 5 road games and then: “it will be following games at South Carolina, Arkansas and at Mississippi State”. Notice the “at” this means that the games will be away. I understand how this can be hard to understand. Lets just review before we bash…

i read this...did you?

February 19th, 2010
5:12 pm

good post Bill…Boulder is an amazing city and a great place to play a game. I just hope that we don’t look like we did a few years ago when we had to have Joe Cox win the game for us!

Super Dog

February 19th, 2010
5:27 pm

Not expecting great things on defense but I hope to see more aggression and players in position this time to make plays.

If that happens I think in the next two years will have our sea legs back

Since Captain Nemo Martinez drowned us in so many games

Boulder Dawg

February 19th, 2010
5:30 pm

First time ever on this Blog, but wanted to say that the CU fans are jacked about this game. As, a third generation UGA grad, and long-time resident here, can’t wait to show the Buffs the outstanding UGA fans which will follow our team.

Go Dawgs.

UA Alum92

February 19th, 2010
5:33 pm

Come on, Bill. No mention that of the five bloggers to comment on the topic, only one picked the UGA-Colorado game and three picked Bama-Penn State? Also no mention that all of them pick Florida to win the SEC East?

But, then again, who really cares what any of these guys think. The fact that none of them predicted the returning Heisman Trophy winner to be the offensive player of the year has me seriously questioning the judgement of them all.

Dawg Fan

February 19th, 2010
5:48 pm

The game against Tech is always our most important game!!! We hate Tech!
Richt has won 8 out of 9 against those geeks!

Bill King

February 19th, 2010
5:49 pm

UA Alum92:

If this was a Bama blog, I would have noted those things. But it’s not.

You do have an interesting point about the player of the year picks, though. I guess as far as the CFN bloggers are concerned, Ingram is yesterday’s news. And Ryan Mallett is this year’s Jevan Snead, at least in terms of pre-season hype.

The D

February 19th, 2010
6:21 pm

Hey KC DAWG, just moved up here myself, where do you watch the games at?

OLD DAWG58

February 19th, 2010
6:30 pm

TO VOLS—- 90 DIVIDED BY 9 IS 10 A YEAR. RICHT IS 6-3 VS UT. YOU ARE RIGHT, BOTH UGA AND UT NEED TO BEAT FLA MORE.

Rich K, really?

February 19th, 2010
6:31 pm

Wait, this is the same Paul Johnson that won 2 national titles at GA Southern and won at Navy. The Defenses saw the same thing every season but yet they couldn’t stop them. Give Tech the time to get the right QB and right players and watch out. Heck, he beat UGA in his first year. By you say the defenses will catch up sounds like a broken record. So keep dreaming brother Rich. Johnson is here to stay and your going to have to deal with him on a yearly basis.

George G.

February 19th, 2010
7:41 pm

UA Alum92:

For Ingram to win SEC Offensive POY, Trent Richardson will either have to be hurt or not on the roster. Those two will be splitting more carries in 2010. Ingram will not be taking over games in 2010 in the same way that he did in the 2009 South Carolina game.

yeah right

February 19th, 2010
7:45 pm

Gaytor bait 17-3 said Richts record does not compare to Miles, Saban, or meyers.

As demonstrated below he is a moron

Saban first 8 years in D1A (SEC) football. ……….81 wins.
Richt first 8 years in the SEC……………………82 wins Richt has a better record

Meyers first 5 years in SEC ……2 SEC titles.
Richts first 5 years in SEC……..2 SEC titles ..richts record is as good.

Miles 8 years in SEC 79 wins 1 SEC title
Richts 8 years in SEC 82 wins 2 SEC titles. Richts records is better.

So much for gaytor bait 17-3, he is kinda an idiot

yeah right

February 19th, 2010
7:48 pm

Clearly Richt is as good or better. Now let look at the luck aspect.

Richt has finished in the top 10 six out of his nine seasons at Georgia (yes he finished #10 in the USA Today Coaches Poll last year, the same poll that hands out the BCS Natl Championship trophy).

Thats more than any other SEC coache.

You have to be very lucky to win a Natl Championship – Florida would not have been in the Natl Champ game in 2006 without USC inexplicably losing its final game to Karl Dorrell and UCLA.

Look at LSU in 2007 and the circumstances in which that two loss team made the championship game. Richt simply has not had that kind of luck bestowed on him yet – matter of fact he should have been playing for the Natl Championship in 2002 and 2007 if not for some luck of the opposite kind.

yeah right

February 19th, 2010
7:56 pm

Richt has put them in a position to be in the SEC title hunt every year. How many other programs in the SEC can say that? That’s the problem with a lot of UGA fans (and you), you only see what UGA hasn’t done. You don’t see what they HAVE done.

All Richt needs is one lucky year. Its interesting to note that UF and LSU have won national titles with the same record UGA had when it won its two SEC titles. Its not that UGA is not as good of a program as either of the two, they have just been luckier than UGA. And that’s the truth.

lucky?

February 19th, 2010
8:02 pm

Beat Tenn and/or SC and you would have been luckier….
Speaking of SC…that big tight end #88 might set a record this year against the daugs.

John

February 19th, 2010
8:16 pm

The best thing that has happened to Georgia in years is the defensive coordinator from Florida has gone to Louisville.

yeah right

February 19th, 2010
8:24 pm

Beating Tenn or SC would have done it. However, LSU lost two games and with “luck” got in the BCSNC. The number 1 and number 2 teams lost the last game of 2007 allowing a 2 loss LSU in.

also, I was wrong about Miles and Richt. Miles has won 79 games in 9 years not 8 and Richt has 90 in 9. Thats 11 more wins in same time frame.

Richt has won 7 bowls games in 9 years and Mile has only won 5 in 9 years.

Yep gaytor bait is right Miles is sooo much better than richt.

Oh did i mention that Richt beat miles in 2005 to win the SEC in the SECCG? and then in 2008 hanging 50+ points on them