Battling QBs and a mediocre weekend for other UGA teams

Zach Mettenberger (left) had a good scrimmage; Logan Gray, not so much. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Zach Mettenberger (left) had a good scrimmage; Logan Gray, not so much. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

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.

BULLDOG BITES

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.

75 comments Add your comment

toph

March 30th, 2010
11:17 am

Welcome back Bill

$750K

March 30th, 2010
11:27 am

At least in a time of massive budget cuts affecting education on all levels, we have money to pay a football coach $750K.

It’s good to know that UGA has so much money lying around, isn’t it?

run the ball

March 30th, 2010
11:37 am

If I’m calling plays at Georgia, one of my top priorities is to have a back rush for over 100 yds every game. What is CMR’s record when we have a back rush for over 100 yds? Really, is it that hard? Let our fullbacks run the ball 5-10 times also. Maybe I’m wrong.

MtnDawg

March 30th, 2010
11:55 am

Perno also classically threw HIS OWN PLAYERS in the bullpen under the bus to the media in his quotes. Not very classy. As good as Perno has gotten UGA baseball, his statements seems to need a lot more explaining.

Are these guys out partying every night instead of practicing? Are they goofing off at practice? Are they being instructed. Did Perno recruit the wrong guys?

Bottom line: the buck stop with your Perno. They’re YOUR players, that YOU RECRUITED.

bigdawg

March 30th, 2010
12:17 pm

Georgia has the potential to be the top offense in the East this year if ONE thing goes their way. That being that the qb doesnt throw 17 INTs. If the qb can keep the INTs under 14 on the year, the Dawgs’ O looks to be loaded with Ealey, the Kings, Green, White, and an O-line that is probably top dawg in the entire SEC (yes that includes Alabama). look forward to G-Day. Gooooooo Dawgs Sic Em woof woof woof woof woof woof!

Kasie

March 30th, 2010
12:25 pm

I agree with MtnDawg – Perno recruited these guys & has had plenty of time to coach them. If he didn’t know the situation they were in, then he must have not paid attention at practices. Perno needs to spend his time & thoughts training these new pitchers instead of repeatedly busting on them after a lost game.

longtime Dawg

March 30th, 2010
12:48 pm

I think Mett & Murray will rotate the entire season. If CMR names a #1 QB too soon the
other one is likely to transfer. I don’t think he will risk that until he is sure of his #1 guy!

The offense seems to be loaded with targets. UGA could surprise a lot of people
this year. GO DAWGS!!!

jimmy

March 30th, 2010
12:52 pm

i wish scribe from boston would lay his quill to rest .let adams please go somewhere

Vinny D

March 30th, 2010
12:56 pm

I have said for a while that I think Kiante Tripp is a DE in a 3-4. I have said from Day 1 that he is my surprise starter. Good to hear I may not be too nuts after all.

1eyedJack

March 30th, 2010
12:58 pm

Weren’t the B-52s from Athens too? Love Shack Baby!

Ben

March 30th, 2010
1:01 pm

There is no point in reading the articles…Bill just hits “copy and paste” fromthe sites who really follow the Dawgs. Seriously, AJC….more Tony Barnhardt and less of Bill King! Seriously…anybodu can write a blog like this!

There's no place like home

March 30th, 2010
1:03 pm

Athens, Ga on a beautiful spring day like today….

Not sure what heaven is like but I have a feeling it’s a lot like that.

There's no place like home

March 30th, 2010
1:04 pm

and if you’re looking for somewhere over the “rainbow” I’m sure you’ll end up in Gainesville, Fl, LOL

Dorsey Hill

March 30th, 2010
1:11 pm

One would think that the table is set for Georgia to go from a “balanced attack” where the goal is 50-50 rushes and passes to at least a 60-40 split. It looks like we are 2-deep at every position along the o-line and with the threat of the TE’s and hopefully someone opposite of AJ we will keep defenses from loading the box. Also, we really need to eat up clock to keep a thin and inexperienced defense off the field. Bend don’t break is obviously gone, but that means that our defense is under much more pressure and is going to have to be fresh to make the plays required of them in this new system.

The only problem I forsee is that the other coaches we face, especially early in the season, are going to try to make our qb prove that he’s a threat by loading the box, blitzing and mixing up coverages. I would also expect a lot of complex zone coverages since they will know that our QB’s are practicing against more man coverage than zone coverage.

We will know if we are going to have a big season if teams load the box and we keep running the bull, successfully of course. We we able to do that against Tech last season and hopefully Bobo will keep it up this year as well. If Murray, who will be the starter, can also hit some long ones against those fronts we can really put a defense on its its heels.

This team reminds me of the 1992 team. Zeier was a soph. who was good but not outstanding. Obviously, Garrison had a big year and we had Hastings at WR and Mitchell at TE. I think we averaged. something ridulous like 9 plus yards per play. We also had a questionable defense that played pretty well except in our 2 losses, by 3 to UT and by 2 to UF. Fortunately, for us I don’t think that the 2010 versions of UT or UF will be as good as the 1992 versions of those teams. I think our coaches and depth are better this time around too.

So I’ll say it again: UGA wins the East in 2010.

Bryan G.

March 30th, 2010
1:18 pm

I have mixed feelings about Adams leaving for the NCAA too. On one hand I want to help him pack and on the other hand I don’t like doing physical labor. Those are the extent of my mixed feelings.

Gratefuldawghead

March 30th, 2010
1:23 pm

Yeah…Ready to see my boys Widespread Panic tear up Florida in a couple of weeks. Hope the DAWGS can do the same in the Fall!

Walker07

March 30th, 2010
1:24 pm

750K, how many times have people discussed this? Athletic salaries are paid for by the Athletic Department and do not come out of the university’s budget. UGA does not have money “lying around”, the UGA Athletic Department does have some spare change however.

Gratefuldawghead

March 30th, 2010
1:26 pm

Good write up Dorsey Hill! 5 points from being undefeated in 92 and 7 points in 2002. Damn Damn Damn!

NC Dawg

March 30th, 2010
1:29 pm

As good as Perno has had the Dawgs playing in baseball, it’s Steve Webber who got the program to the National Level. The fact is UGA was the FIRST SEC team EVER to win the College World Series and that was under Steve Webber! Go Dawgs!

Fernando Appleyard

March 30th, 2010
1:29 pm

Walker07, Give it up. He’s obviously an ultra-left liberal and they don’t listen to reason.

dude

March 30th, 2010
2:08 pm

Please don’t slam Prez Adams. We need to do whatever it takes to get him out of UGA!

How2fish

March 30th, 2010
2:11 pm

Walker07 please save your fingers 750K knows this but a a Bug troller he can’t help himself. And it would take years of shock treatment or a very good night with a very bad girl to help him overcome his addiction. Treat him gently he is just another victim of the Curse of North Ave…

Daniel#12

March 30th, 2010
2:15 pm

Anyone know what happened in baseball? I went to the Auburn week-end and saw only one position player (non-pitcher) that is not a freshman or sophomore. I know we are starting 3 frosh and 6 sophomores but no juniors or seniors even on the roster? I know one or two may leave early for the pros, but two entire missing classes? Sure makes the mountain higher to climb.

june bug

March 30th, 2010
2:21 pm

I’m hoping Logan Gray will take one for the team, and become a multi-purpose player who can play some WR/ DB/ Widlcat/ Special Teams. Special teams star is a way to get to the NFL.

It’s gonna be either Zach or Mett that lead the team. If somebody gets hurt, Hutson Mason will be the very capable back-up (4500 yards/55 td’s in one season).

Daniel#12

March 30th, 2010
2:21 pm

By the way, I do not blame Perno for busting on his bullpen. 8 run lead in the 8th inning they can’t hold. Someone needs to get on them. Perno can only coach. He can’t throw the ball for the pitchers. From my experience in teh Auburn series, there are a lot of holes to fill on the pitching staff. If I were a HS pitcher, I see an opportunity.

BurningRedBleedingBlack

March 30th, 2010
2:22 pm

Bill, i have great faith that Coach Grantahm will put the right skill players on the field. I’m glad they are going to who can make plays instead of playing kids who are just waiting in line because of there class. Shawn Williams making plays in the secondary is a great example. Tripp will make it to the field lakatos and grantham both like big physical players this is something are defense has lacked Bill for sometime if you ask me is SIZE!!! GO DAWGS!!!!!!!

june bug

March 30th, 2010
2:25 pm

I see Coach Richt letting the 2 QB’s battle it out on the field in the Fall against real bullets during the first 8 games. This is a BIG decision. Why theorize. Let em’ have an 8 game tryout on the field, against REAL cometition. Not much risk there as the toughest games will be against Florida, Ga Tech and Aub, which all come late in the season (games 9, 11 & 12).

part time hater

March 30th, 2010
2:33 pm

I guess it will be Mett, June Bug because Zach and Mett are the same person.

june bug

March 30th, 2010
2:35 pm

is Georgia going to go from -16 in turnover margin to +10? That’s THE question if Richt wants to win the National Championship, which I’m not so sure.

If the offense commits another 40 fumbles and interceptions like 2009, Georgia will fall on it’s own sword AGAIN in 2010.

If the defense doesn’t SCREAM about forcing takeaways, every 10 minutes in practice, thn they won’t be able to go from worst to first, like the Saints did in 2009.

june bug

March 30th, 2010
2:39 pm

Like I said, it will be either Zach or Mett as the QB, that’s the only competition. We need his swagger, he’s the man. Murray’s injury prone. Mason will be the #2 and will eventually be the starter, he’s outstanding.

The Mark Richt Strategy

March 30th, 2010
2:42 pm

It’s so easy to beat Georgia, all you do is force turnovers on their offense, because they have no discipline, and can’t protect the ball. Urban Meyer pulls this strategy out EVERY YEAR, and Richt NEVER CATCHES ON. Richt is CLUELESS about the strategy Meyer uses to kick his butt every time. Meyer will use it again in 2010 and I don’t see Georgia suddenly becoming a disciplined team. Nor do I think Bobo has any hoe of ever teaching the QB’s and skilled positions how to protect the ball IN A WAY THEY UNDERSTAND AND APPLY.

june bug

March 30th, 2010
2:43 pm

Murray and Gray BOTH blew it by not understanding that you CAN’T THROW INTERCEPTIONS.

part time hater

March 30th, 2010
2:48 pm

June Bug are you stupid or uninformed? Zach and Mett are the same person. Do you mean Zach and Hutson?

BigGAdawg

March 30th, 2010
2:56 pm

Logan needs to go ahead and swallow his pride and realize it ain’t gonna happen at QB. He is a very talented athlete and should be making the transition to WR or even CB. He has the size, speed and hands to excel at either.

UGA needs him most at WR but the NFL is going to need tall, fast CBs. They have lots of 5′ 10″ CBs who are trying to cover the large crop of WRs, (who are AJ Green’s size) who have been coming into the league in recent years.

june bug

March 30th, 2010
3:00 pm

The QB battle is between Zack or Mett. Great deep ball threat, ball protection, and great accuracy. Georgia has its guy.

wow june bug...

March 30th, 2010
3:03 pm

I hope Zach & Met do play because that is what it’ll take to make that combo successful…you see Zach will take the snap and being that he can’t avoid the rush, then he morphs and Met pops out to block someone, and gives ol’ slew foot some more time…really, get serious…being that NO ONE knows if Murray went against the second team, or Gray went against the first team, or if Met went against the Sister’s of Samford doesn’t tell much…what it does sound like is everyone is getting a good look…remember just last week, AJ said how good Gray looked…relax, nobody is ready to give up on any of these guys yet…

june bug

March 30th, 2010
3:07 pm

Gray is out. Even is Gray goes 70% in the remaining scrimmages, his 40% scrimmage will finish in 3rd place in the statistics unless Zach or Murray have a meltdown in the remaining Spring. Murray will probably get hurt in the next scrimmage, like AJ Green, he’s not tough physically or mentally.

june bug

March 30th, 2010
3:08 pm

Hutson Mason is the MOST accurate Georgia QB, completed 72% of his passes his senior year, and threw for 55 td’s and 4500 yards, and had a 5.5 td-to-int ratio.

No More WIimps!!!

March 30th, 2010
3:15 pm

Georgia needs some SWAGGER. Get rid of these WIMPS who can’t take a hit like Caleb King, Murray, or AJ Green.

Get some mentally and physically tough leaders like Zach and Ealey.

Shane

March 30th, 2010
3:20 pm

It’s good to know that UGA has so much money lying around, isn’t it?

Dang right. The football team makes tons of money for the University. 750k is a drop in the bucket.

No More WIimps!!!

March 30th, 2010
3:20 pm

Let’s see how Grantham likes starting his defense on his own 30 yard line 3 or 4 times a game.

Bobo doesn’t play TEAM ball–he WON’T run the ball enough because he wants the big passing stats, doesn’t care about time possession and field position and the EFFECT that has on the defense.

Ask Willie Martinez, who Oklahoma thought was a pretty good coach.

Welcome to Mike Bobo’s 40 unforced errors per season world.

DawginLex

March 30th, 2010
3:35 pm

Big difference between this spring and last spring.

Last spring-joe cox and no running game

This spring-2 top recruits and Ealey and King

big difference.

Observor

March 30th, 2010
3:36 pm

Dorsey,

Great write up on Georgia being only 2 losses and 5 points away from being undefeated in 1992. But unfortunately close only counts in grenades and atom bombs.

Also, had the dawgs come up with the extra points to beat both UF and UT then who is to say they would have remained undefeated? After all, they would have played an Alabama team that really was undefeated and which defeated both Florida and UT that year and then went on to destroy no. 1 Miami which had won something like 23 in a row before being annihilated by Bama.

Bama didn’t need to say shoulda, coulda, woulda in beating UF and UT on the way to a national title. They just stepped on the field and got it done. That should be the dog’s new fight song shoulda, coulda, woulda, if, if, if…

part time hater

March 30th, 2010
3:39 pm

Observor, you forget these people are always coming up with excuses other than they just cant get it done.

big bug

March 30th, 2010
3:41 pm

june bug,

Are you just stupid? What does Hutson Mason’s high school stats have to do with anything? Is he throwing against high school kids or is he now throwing against sec college men? I can guarantee you its a little harder throwing against 22 year old former 4-5 star dbs like Branden Boykin and Branden Smith not to mention throwing over college linebackers and 6′5 D-lineman as opposed to throwing against 16-18 year old high school kids.

Observor

March 30th, 2010
3:44 pm

part time hater,

I aint even got nothin against the dogs. I’ve just never seen a more pathetic group of excuse makers than the dog fans. Since the inception of the 2 division format UF has 3 national titles, Bama 2, LSU 2, UT 1, and AU had 2 perfect seasons but didn’t get to play for it all.

And what do the dog fans got. A bunch of coulda, shoulda, wouldas and well, if this or if that woulda happened. It would be comical if it wasn’t so absolutely pathetic. What a bunch of losers.

part time hater

March 30th, 2010
4:04 pm

Observor, you are correct; they are stuck in a 1980 time warp on a Saturday night in Athens. I think June bug is really patrick.

DawginLex

March 30th, 2010
4:04 pm

good for you observor,

It must blow to be so obsessed and filled with hate that you feel the need to get on the UGA blogs and try and convince yourself that “I aint even got nothin against the dogs”.

Anything in life that you hate that much owns you. So in other words, UGA owns you.

Enjoy.

Lindsey

March 30th, 2010
4:07 pm

I wish Michael Adams would leave UGA, he is a crook!! GO DAWGS!!

ugafan

March 30th, 2010
4:23 pm

idiots. Mett and Zack are the same people. did yall even go to college