Dawg fans love new approach on defense

Let’s wind up the week with some notes and quotes worthy of comment. …

Todd Grantham and Scott Lakatos. (Athens Banner-Herald)

Todd Grantham and Scott Lakatos. (Athens Banner-Herald)

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

Kat Ding. (Georgiadogs.com)

Kat Ding. (Georgiadogs.com)

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.

MASCOT SCUTTLEBUTT

Uga VII. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Uga VII. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

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.

102 comments Add your comment

Real Texas Dawg

March 20th, 2010
11:54 am

Buckhead Bulldog

March 20th, 2010
11:58 am

Go Kat Ding!!!!!!!!!!!

YeahDawg

March 20th, 2010
12:01 pm

I say give it to Russ, hes a damn good dawg.

THWT

DawgNation

March 20th, 2010
12:01 pm

Well Bill I just wonder what folks are going to trash you over this time. Great blog for this fine Saturday afternoon. Thanks for the info on UGA VII’s replacment.

Guido Killin' Dawg

March 20th, 2010
12:04 pm

Russ or it’s bust

CentralFLDawg

March 20th, 2010
12:05 pm

I always wondered why we had midget corners…seems to back a lot of years. Taller corners that actually look for the ball…what a novel approach?!?!?

Who knows what the future holds, but you gotta think these new defensive coaches are going to bring a whole new attitude and philosophy.

Frank Lane

March 20th, 2010
12:10 pm

Nice update. Thanks.

grandpa peckinpah

March 20th, 2010
12:27 pm

DawgNation

March 20th, 2010
12:28 pm

Let’s just say for S’s & G’s that Russ is the replacement will they change his name to UGA VIII or will a new era begin?

Sam

March 20th, 2010
12:29 pm

There is no such thing as a “former Olympian”. Once an Olympian, always an Olympian.

Doug$

March 20th, 2010
12:52 pm

Bill,
What happened to the all white pup that lost out to UGA VII?

chazzo

March 20th, 2010
1:09 pm

Let’s not go with an all white dog. In fact, let’s find one with a little pit bull in the mix. A show dog that has been bred beyond normal life functions and has to lay on ice bags vs. a junkyard dog. I think we need a mascot that better represents the new found attitude of this team.

kydawg

March 20th, 2010
1:16 pm

Will Russ remain the interim until an all-white male can be found and how old before he will be allowed to take over?

Russ is awesome…we are in good paws (hands) GO DAWGS!!!

AltamahaDawg

March 20th, 2010
1:40 pm

I don’t think we have the player right now to be a great defense, but they will be more fun to watch, it sounds like. If Grantham can do anything , he will be a rock star. How many post do we see like: since we have a new DC maybe we can block more punts, run up the middle, not fumble, cut down on interceptions, serve better poweraid, have fabreez in the mens room, and the young ladies will start flirting with the old guys. It’s starting to get like Chuck Norris jokes.

Zeus

March 20th, 2010
1:45 pm

Russ is 2-0. Don’t ever mess with a winning streak.

shane#1

March 20th, 2010
1:48 pm

The more I read about the methods these new coaches use the better I like them. I remember asking on an AJC blog a couple of years ago if the Dawgs did any form tackling in practice. I never got an answer. I was concerned about all the missed tackles and arm tackles that have plagued the Dawgs D for several years now. Then I read that CTG has his guys practicing proper tackling technique sans pads. Then I read that Coach Lakatos has the DBs learning proper footwork, amazing! Then, wonder of wonders, the DBs spent an entire session learning how to strip the ball! This on a team that was last in the SEC in recovering fumbles! Now Lakatos has his guys turning to find the ball, on a team that was near the bottom in ints! I think that with a little luck UGA could see a big change in their turnover ratio next year. If the running game continues to improve even a rise from the bottom to the middle of the SEC pack in turnover ratio could make a major difference in the Dawg’s season.

Richt's Butt Cut

March 20th, 2010
2:17 pm

We want Russ!

Cant wait for Grantham to Release the Hounds!!!!!

Big L

March 20th, 2010
2:21 pm

I think the Sieler family stresses to much over this all white thing. Take the breeding stress off this bloodline and just get a healthy bulldog. Because I miss the UGA VI that patrolled the sidelines and lived GATA. UGA VII was lazy and never looked healthy. I don’t think he handled the rides from Savannah well at all. He looked sick before last years G day game. Russ would make a fine UGA. Put the boy to work.

Really Bill?

March 20th, 2010
2:47 pm

“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,”

Bet those were really tough to get. SCORE!!!

Diamond Dog's Parole Officer

March 20th, 2010
3:08 pm

Why don’t they just continue to spray paint Russ? If they think it’ll cause health issues, the can always take him to the Vet School. By the way, isn’t that the same vet school that had given UGA VII a clean bill of health? How did that work out for the Seiler’s?

middle oconee river dawg

March 20th, 2010
3:11 pm

Many of us watching the bowl game against West Virginia knew that Martinez’s days were numbered. It took way too long but now we are heading in a new direction. Hopefully these new D coaches will be able to make quick adjustments to the other team’s offensive successes during the game. That’s one thing the other guys never seemed to able to do.

Ralph M

March 20th, 2010
3:14 pm

Bill L is right on, I’m afraid. UGA VI was the ultimate UGA, the best of them all, by far. He nearly ate his father, UGA V, alive in the pre-game changing of the guard ceremony for trying to hog his glory. HE KNEW he was the man, and he looked and acted the part..

But the breeding got messed up with UGA VII. Let’s hope Sonny can get it back on track.

~~~

Emily Littella

March 20th, 2010
3:15 pm

Taller corners to cover the 6′4-6″ receivers AND to have them turn and find the ball! Who woulda thunk it?

1eyedJack

March 20th, 2010
3:20 pm

I beleive that Russ would serve as a very fine Regent until the Once and Future King is ready to wear the crown. 2-0 baby!!!

Bill King

March 20th, 2010
3:41 pm

To “Really Bill?”:

Obviously you’ve never been to a Gym Dogs meet. They outdraw the men’s basketball team and frequently sell the place out. The lower level seats are hard to come by.

Bill King

March 20th, 2010
3:43 pm

Sonny Seiler has said Russ most likely will serve as interim mascot early in the season until the new pup is old enough (and big enough for the sweater).

Caleb King

March 20th, 2010
4:21 pm

When do we play Tech?? I’m ready to run for 300 yds again!!!

RunningDog

March 20th, 2010
7:07 pm

I love the approach with the secondary. I remember being in Jacksonville last year and screaming at our guy covering a Gator receiver with me screaming from the stands, “Turnaround! Turnaround!” Our guys never played the ball. This is good news.

Andrew

March 20th, 2010
7:15 pm

Bill,

Shouldn’t you be commenting on AJ Green returning punts in practice? Did Coach Richt ask your expert opinion before doing that?

Ted Striker

March 20th, 2010
10:03 pm

Clicked on the column but didn’t actually read it. Mr. King is a damn good dog (fan) however he’s too negative in his writing and he no longer represents the majority of dog fans.

Look Alive

March 20th, 2010
10:54 pm

Bulldogs are great but I’ll take a KAT anytime.

RED DOG 77

March 21st, 2010
2:56 am

I don’t guarante anything, usually, but I will guarante you, the UGA defense will intercept at least three times the number balls than they got in ‘09 with Lakatos coaching the Defensive backfield ! The man is just that smart, was an excellent “get” for the DBs. GO DOGS !!! GATA !!!

southside dawg

March 21st, 2010
6:17 am

A couple of takeaways a game can translate into a couple of cheap td’s and then kill the clock with a pounding running game. Erk proved that players do not have to be superior athletes to compete on D. Good speed and techniques will keep your team in the game.

Chronos

March 21st, 2010
7:56 am

A new approach would be stopping other team’s offenses.

SickandTired

March 21st, 2010
8:21 am

Such a sad thing that this breed of dog is so prone to so many problems health wise. It’s a disgrace what humans have done.

bad brad

March 21st, 2010
8:21 am

Keep Russ and call him Russ, not UGA VIII. It’s time we got a dawg of color and away from this numbering thing. And don’t paint his ass white either.

DawgNation

March 21st, 2010
9:00 am

I will have to agree with SickandTired in regards to the inbreeding of the breed just to produce an all white descendant. Couldn’t this be accomplished through normal breeding practices?

I will have to also agree with, and disagree with, bad brad on that I agree about the name and leaving the paint off Russ but not his obvious raciest comment on color. Let’s leave the bigotry to the ignorant humans and leave the rest of the mammal world out of it.

Really Bill?

March 21st, 2010
9:38 am

You’re right Bill I haven’t been to a meet. I catch up on my sleep at home. And of course they draw more than the men’s basketball team. Who doesn’t? I wouldn’t use that argument frequently. Might even get a laugh out of some die hard fans .

SupportourDawgs

March 21st, 2010
10:13 am

Really Bill?, you are a sarcastic old fart! You are talking about something that you have no knowledge of! Have you been to a LadyDawgs Home Gymnastic meet! I didn’t think so! Go to one before you make any sarcastic comments. And as far as attendance at the Men’s Basketball games, things are looking up. There were 4-5 sellouts this year and it only looks to get better and better with what Coach Fox is doing with this program. The guy can actually coach!!! If he and his staff can recruit the best players in Georgia, then we will be fantastic! Oh yeah, the only one getting laughed at, is you, with your lack of knowledge!

Really Bill?

March 21st, 2010
11:16 am

Oh yeah, the only one getting laughed at, is you, with your lack of knowledge!

OOh, you got me. What are you 12?

I think the dogs will have a great team. Mark Fox is an outstanding coach. Did you here me bash the team? I’m talking about the fans. No one cares about basketball at Ga right now, but hopefully you’ll step up and support the team instead of just talking about it.

Really Bill?

March 21st, 2010
11:19 am

and again I’m sorry I’m not as excited as you guys about gymnastics. I simply don’t care about women’s sports. Well, except volleyball. Those girls look hot in those shorts.

GaDawg

March 21st, 2010
11:43 am

Zeus

March 20th, 2010
1:45 pm

Russ is 2-0. Don’t ever mess with a winning streak

Russ is short for Russell…as in Erk!
Man if this new defense comes out looking anything like those Junkyard Dogs of Erk’s era, we might just start hearing chants for RUSS…RUSS…RUSS…RUSS…RUSS…RUSS

GaDawg

March 21st, 2010
11:57 am

In that case, I guess you’ve never gotten a good look at the Gym Dawgs. They are a group very talented, hot looking young Ladies! Gymnastics tune a body to perfection. No disrespect intended, only truth, Gym Dawgs

Goooo Dawgs

GymDogs Rock

March 21st, 2010
12:33 pm

Really Bill?- You should take a gander at Kat Ding….smoking! Talking about athletic…those women are amazing!

Really Bill?

March 21st, 2010
12:42 pm

Gym- I’ll google her. thanks. And I apologize if I offended anyone on the gym team. Just not interested.

Really Bill?

March 21st, 2010
12:46 pm

ok, now I get why those 2nd row seats are hard to get and why Bill would want to go. “Terrific athletes” is the reason I would want to go to. (wink wink)

bigdawg88

March 21st, 2010
2:01 pm

Taller = slower, but since all the receivers are giants now the dbs should be too. What we ought to do is recruit little speedsters at receiver and blow away all those tall dbs.

Sonny needs to introduce some Olde English Bulldogge or American Bulldog blood in the lines. The current English Bulldogs are sort of pathetic. Too many health problems and no athleticism for my tastes. We don’t need no more lap dogs. We got a new junkyard dawg defense, we need a junkyard dawg to go with it!

GATA!!!

KJ

March 21st, 2010
5:49 pm

“Bill,
What happened to the all white pup that lost out to UGA VII?”

This is a good question that hasn’t been answered yet.

BE#3

March 21st, 2010
6:11 pm

The GymDogs are smokin’ both in and out of the Coliseum. Not to mention, they are all smart & good kids.

cantondawg

March 21st, 2010
6:46 pm

Excited about the upcoming year.

I see great improvements in all areas of the game

Offense-
RB – CK and WE should continue to get good numbers this year. Definite improvement
OL- Almost everyone returning – much improvement
WR- AJ back expect to see improvement out of MB, RW, IT and TK
QB- Personally, i think AM will be an improvement over JC

DL- Only area that may be slightly worse with GA and KW and JO leaving
LB- will miss RC but i think RS will be a stud
DB-Expect to see much improvement from this group…looked lost last year

Coaching- Offensively-think we will pound the ball and limit turnovers this year

Defensively- think we will be much improved this year. CTG is definite upgrade at DC. CSL seems to be better db coach than WM and spirit seems to be better

Kicking team- i think this is one of the areas that we will seen great improvements.

Overall, i see UGA being a much better team in 2010 and with an easier schedule i see us going 10-2 or possibly 11-1. Don’t laugh because i think UF will struggle mightily this year.