Let’s wind up the week with some notes and quotes worthy of comment. …
There’s no telling whether UGA fans will still be in love with the new defensive staff come the end of November, but Todd Grantham, Warren Belin and Scott Lakatos certainly seem to be saying and doing all the right things during spring practice.
We’ve already noted that the defensive backs being coached by Lakatos have talked about how different his teaching methods are from the way Willie Martinez did it. (And for many Dogs fans, that alone is good news.)
For fans long frustrated with the way Georgia’s secondary men rarely seemed to look back for the ball under Martinez, here’s a particularly sweet quote from Jordan Love in the Bulldogs Blog: “When the ball’s in the air, he teaches to get your head around and look for the ball. Last year we were playing hands to the receiver, and that’s an adjustment we’ve had to make.”
We pause for a chorus of amens.
Another thing that bothered a lot of fans under Martinez was the Dogs’ penchant for signing undersized cornerbacks, so I was pleased to see Tim Tucker quoting recruiting coordinator and defensive line holdover Rodney Garner as saying that in addition to having to recruit “different body types” for linebacker, defensive end and nose under Grantham’s 3-4 scheme, Georgia will be recruiting a different type of cornerback from now on. Grantham and Lakatos “like taller corners. So we want bigger corners, too.”
Meanwhile, Loran Smith says that while Lakatos may have coached in Connecticut and grown up in New Jersey, he has an appreciation for SEC-style football. “When you observe what is going on in football, you notice how big the game is in the Southeastern Conference,” Lakatos told Smith. “You always see that tradition and packed stands at every campus. It makes you appreciate how serious the game is to people in this part of the country.”
No wonder Lakatos says that “My son Cole couldn’t wait to put on his Georgia stuff and wear it to school. My family is excited about the Bulldogs.”
And Bulldogs fans are getting excited about Lakatos.
UP CLOSE WITH THE GYM DOGS
Thanks to my brother Jon, who scored some terrific second-row seats in front of the vault at last Sunday’s regular-season closer at the Steg, I got a chance to watch Georgia’s Gym Dogs up close and came away impressed with what terrific athletes those young women are.
Currently ranked No. 4 in the nation and next due to compete March 27 at the SEC Championships in Jacksonville in their quest for a sixth consecutive national championship, the Gym Dogs are led by senior Courtney McCool, a former Olympian. But even for someone not that versed in college gymnastics it was easy to see who the star of the future is: sophomore Kat Ding, who took the individual honors in both the vault (9.925) and the bars (9.975) on Sunday.
My friend Dan, who raises bulldogs, passes along this from one of his friends who talked with Sonny Seiler recently about the search for a replacement for Uga VII, who left no all-white offspring. He said two females have been bred using a brother of the departed mascot and they’re keeping their fingers crossed for an all-white male. But Seiler said all he really needs is a white head and legs. And I don’t think that would bother the fans too much. The all-white dogs have been a nice tradition at UGA, but it’s not really necessary since the sweater covers the rest of the body.