A family wedding had me spending the weekend in South Carolina and, for the most part, away from the sports scene (though my daughter and I briefly tuned in to the Lady Dogs’ demolition by Stanford Saturday night before deciding it was too painful to watch). Perusing the Greenville News’ sports pages Sunday morning, I didn’t glean much of interest from reports on Clemson and South Carolina’s spring practice other than Steve Spurrier plans on using cornerback Stephon Gilmore more in the “Wild Cock” offense this season.
Back home, I scanned the various UGA news sites for reports on the Dogs’ Saturday scrimmage and didn’t see anything particularly surprising. The quarterback battle looks to be developing much like I’d expected: Logan Gray’s passing numbers were pretty mediocre and he was sacked three times, strong-armed Zach Mettenberger is much improved and had the best passing stats and longest TD throw but isn’t very mobile (two sacks), and Aaron Murray isn’t that much better than the others but is doing just well enough to probably rank at the top of the depth chart.
Bottom line: Murray most likely will start, but once his suspension is out of the way Mettenberger might be a stronger backup than many expected. Too soon to write off Gray? Perhaps, but if he’s going to turn things around, he better hurry.
What else? The Gym Dogs had only a middling SEC tournament but look to be positioned well to move on out of their NCAA regional. And the baseball team, well, David Perno unloaded on his bullpen following another late-innings meltdown after entering the eighth inning against Mississippi State with an 8-run lead.
The coach told The Red and Black of the loss: “It’s devastating. It could potentially just throw our whole season away. “It may keep us out of [the SEC Tournament in] Birmingham. That’s how bad it is.”
Don’t sugar-coat it, Coach.
Anyway, in catching up on the Dogs news, I found some items of interest …
Those who lament the way Kiante Tripp has had his UGA career basically wasted by too many position changes should be encouraged by this quote from fellow defensive end Demarcus Dobbs in the Bulldogs Blog: “Kiante Tripp, he has that big body. He has an NFL-type body. All he needed was an opportunity, and I think he’s taking advantage of this opportunity to really shine.”
AJC colleague Michael Carvell’s Prep Zone has an interview with former Dogs great Robert Edwards, the new head football coach at Arlington Christian. Edwards, who’s visited UGA’s spring practice, thinks the change in defensive leadership at Georgia was needed, and on offense he sees “they have the playmakers. They have to establish them a quarterback, but they have a nice trio of running backs that can complement each other. They have a tight end who is going to be All-Conference, and probably the best wide reciever in the nation. They just have to find someone to get them the ball. I think the O-line has been banged up the last couple of years. They can’t seem to stay healthy. If they stay healthy, then it will be the key to the success of the offense.”
On the tailbacks, he says, “I think Washaun Ealey is outstanding. He still has to find his way but he shows glimpes of that Knowshon Moreno-type of swagger. And Caleb King, being a guy myself who came off injury, it takes a while to overcome it. I know a lot of people expected him to bounce back after one year, but it takes longer for some people. Toward the end of last season, people saw that he was getting stronger and he was having more confidence and running with more authority. … The third back [Carlton Thomas] comes in and gives them a change of pace as far as screens and catching passes out of the back, while Branden Smith comes in for reverses and direct snaps. So they have a lot weapons they use, and I’m excited to see how [Mike] Bobo calls plays this season.”
This is good news for my son up in D.C.: Marc Weiszer of The Athens Banner-Herald reports that for those who don’t get CSS, the telecast of the G-Day game will be shown live on ESPN360.com.
The Macon Telegraph notes that while UGA’s basketball ticket sales weren’t up that much in Mark Fox’s first season in Athens from the 6,700 seats generally sold, the attendance “almost doubled,” according to Frank Crumley, executive associate athletics director, from an average of less than 3,000 per game to more than 4,000. As Fox tells his players, “our fans, they’ll come back and support you like you’ve never seen before if you play the game the right way.”
Elsewhere, Athens made MSN’s honor roll of college towns, with heavy emphasis on “an aesthetic community that has spawned Widespread Panic, Of Montréal, Danger Mouse and of course, R.E.M.”
And a Boston Globe columnist recapped many of the the longstanding complaints about UGA President Michael Adams in a piece arguing there’s no way Adams should be considered as president of the NCAA. Says the Globe’s Bob Ryan: “Michael Adams is a spinmeister. He is a clever and ruthless politician. He was once chief of staff to then-Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker. He knows how to amass allies — a power-seeking liquor magnate named Donald Leebern being the most prominent — and he knows how to wield power. He is not a leader. He is a schemer and an intimidator.”
As I said last fall, the thought of Adams leaving Athens to head the NCAA leaves a lot of us with very mixed feelings.
Got any thoughts on any of that or anything else to do with UGA sports? Feel free to share them in the comments.