Archive for March, 2010

Logan Gray still might be fielding punts? Really!?!

If Logan Gray isn't the starting quarterback, he'll likely remain Mr. Fair Catch. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

If Logan Gray isn't the starting quarterback, he'll likely remain Mr. Fair Catch. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Punt returns were an up and down thing last season for the Dogs.

While Prince Miller was always a threat to break a long one and did just that a few times, Georgia spent a good portion of the season not even trying to return punts, sometimes even sending backup quarterback Logan Gray in to fair catch when he wasn’t backed up deep in his own territory. And everyone in the stadium knew Gray wasn’t going to even attempt a return.

Will we see improvement in that aspect of the game in 2010? Hard to tell from the way Mark Richt was talking Tuesday as spring practice resumed in Athens.

On the one hand, Richt indicated that speedy but undersized Carlton Thomas, who is working No. 3 at tailback behind Caleb King and Washaun Ealey, is likely to be used on both kickoff and punt returns. That sounds like a great move, as Thomas is most dangerous in open space.

But at the same time, …

Continue reading Logan Gray still might be fielding punts? Really!?! »

Who should Dogs play at Georgia Dome?

Damon Evans thinks Mark Richt would be on board for a Kickoff Classic. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Damon Evans thinks Mark Richt would be on board for a Kickoff Classic. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

As UGA beat reporter Tim Tucker notes, athletics director Damon Evans talked on this week’s “Bulldog Hotline” radio show about wanting at some point for the Dogs to open a football season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. “It’s something I’m definitely interested in,” Evans said, adding that coach Mark Richt, who sometimes chafes at some of Evans’ scheduling, “has some interest in it as well.”

He recognizes that schools like Alabama that have played in the classic get a recruiting edge out of an Atlanta appearance and the uncontested prime-time TV spot.

UGA and Georgia Tech turned down a chance to move next year’s in-state rivalry game to the Kickoff Classic, so unless the Dogs were to dump their scheduled 2011 opener in Athens against Louisville — highly unlikely since giving up a home game would cost UGA money and alumni good will — it’s going to be …

Continue reading Who should Dogs play at Georgia Dome? »

Is season ending too soon for basketball Dogs?

Travis Leslie is going to have more big nights for the Dogs. (University of Georgia)

Travis Leslie is going to have more big nights for the Dogs. (University of Georgia)

Third time was the charm for Vandy in the SEC tournament Friday night after splitting regular season games against Mark Fox’s team.

The Dores had fretted aloud this week that they didn’t match up well with the Dogs, but they astutely applied what they’d learned in their two previous meetings, primarily by smothering Trey Thompkins with their zone. Thompkins, normally Georgia’s most consistent player, didn’t look that sharp anyway this particular night, but the Vandy defense didn’t give him much of a chance, holding him scoreless in the first half and to just 13 points on the night.

Add the Commodores’ domination of the boards and a string of 3’s that allowed them to pull away in the second half after the Dogs had narrowed their lead to 2, and that was pretty much the story, despite Travis Leslie wowing everyone with his career-high 34 points. But it wasn’t enough. Leslie “is a great player in …

Continue reading Is season ending too soon for basketball Dogs? »

Red? Orange? Dooley’s latest color is green

Vince Dooley will lead Atlanta's St. Paddy's Day celebration. (Like the Dew)

Vince Dooley will lead Atlanta's St. Paddy's Day celebration. (Like the Dew)

Forget all that fuss about whether Vince Dooley will wear orange when watching son Derek’s Tennesee Vols play. The UGA legend’s latest color is green.

I don’t know if he’ll be wearing one of those odd green Georgia T-shirts that the athletic association sells this time of year, but Dooley is the grand marshal of Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is set for a noon start on Saturday at the corner of Peachtree Street and Ralph McGill Boulevard and then will proceed to Underground Atlanta.

Also, Dooley’s celebrated green thumb will get its due in April when Looking Glass Books/John F. Blair publishes “Vince Dooley’s Garden: A Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach,” his latest collaboration with Steve Penley, who did the illustrations for “Dooley’s Playbook.”

Like the Dew provides an update on the latest activities of the old coach, who marks his 50th wedding anniversary with Barbara next …

Continue reading Red? Orange? Dooley’s latest color is green »

Should Georgia and Clemson play a spring football game?

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney would like a spring exhibition game. (Associated Press)

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney would like a spring exhibition game. (Associated Press)

Whenever talk of Georgia’s traditional football rivals comes up, I like to point out that there was a time not so long ago when the rivalry with the Clemson Tigers was as big as, if not bigger than, the annual game in Jacksonville or even the in-state battle with the Yellow Jackets. Then conference scheduling difficulties made it no longer possible for the Dogs and Tigers to meet every year — a definite loss for the two fan bases of the neighboring schools.

When Georgia and Clemson do play, it’s more than just your typical nonconference game. So as a longtime proponent of playing Clemson more than just a couple of times per decade, I was pleased to be tipped off by the Senator to an idea Tigers coach Dabo Swinney has about livening up spring practice by emulating the NFL and having Georgia and Clemson play an exhibition game.

Talking with the Charleston Post and Courier, Swinney noted that in …

Continue reading Should Georgia and Clemson play a spring football game? »

Bulldog Bites: Florida game key to Dogs’ season?

CollegeFootballNews.com looks at the upcoming season for Mark Richt’s Dogs, noting that “there’s speed and athleticism across the board,” some playmakers in A.J. Green, Ben Jones and Justin Houston, and “the schedule isn’t all that bad, with the toughest road game at Auburn and the second toughest at South Carolina.”

georgia helmetExpectations aren’t all that high, CFN says, so the Dogs will be “flying under the radar” and “the rest of the conference isn’t going to be jaw-dropping good and the East is going to be as light as it’s been in years. If Georgia can take advantage of Florida in its transition period (which might only be one year) and can pull off the Cocktail Party win, it might really be just good enough to play in the SEC title game. … The schedule really is favorable enough to have a monster season, but Georgia has to be ready to rock right away with three road games in four weeks at South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Colorado wrapped around a home date with …

Continue reading Bulldog Bites: Florida game key to Dogs’ season? »

Dogs need better showings in big games

Mark Richt's program has slipped the past couple of years against Top 25 opponents. (University of Georgia)

Mark Richt's program has slipped the past couple of years against Top 25 opponents. (University of Georgia)

I wrote last week about how Georgia’s win-loss record over the past decade looked pretty good overall and against nonconference and BCS conference opponents. But if there’s one area that gives credence to the notion that Mark Richt’s program has slipped a bit, it’s in the big games, the ones against teams that finish the season ranked. In that regard, the Dogs have been only middling.

Chris Low of ESPN.com has taken a look at how SEC teams have fared over the past five seasons against teams that finished in the Top 25 of the final polls, either the AP or the coaches’ poll. As a whole, the SEC, generally considered the strongest football conference by just about any criteria, didn’t show up as well as you might have expected, with only two conference teams, Florida (14-9) and LSU (13-11), having winning records against Top 25 teams in the final polls.

Meanwhile, Arkansas, …

Continue reading Dogs need better showings in big games »

Still a UGA fan favorite: Goooooold-berg!

Bill Goldberg as the WCW champion.

Bill Goldberg as the WCW champion.

If you’re looking for the most popular and best-known former Dawg (besides Herschel), you’re probably talking Bill Goldberg, who’ll be seen starting next week on NBC’s latest “Celebrity Apprentice” series.

An all-SEC defensive lineman for the Dogs in the mid- to late 1980s, Goldberg had an injury-plagued NFL career (including a stint with the Falcons) before emerging as a pop culture phenom as a pro wrestler in the late ’90s, becoming the fastest rising superstar in the glory days of Ted Turner’s old World Championshp Wrestling and then moving on to the dominant WWE.

Goldberg’s wrestling heyday coincided with the peak of wrestling success on television and also with my son’s greatest interest in pro wrestling. Young Bill recognized that this particular brand of “sports entertainment” was scripted, but he and his junior high pals were drawn to the outlandish characters, comic book-style story lines and amazing physical feats, scripted or …

Continue reading Still a UGA fan favorite: Goooooold-berg! »

Amid all the first-day confusion, one certainty: Rambo!

Bacarri Rambo is locked and loaded. (University of Georgia)

Bacarri Rambo is locked and loaded. (University of Georgia)

Most of what went on during the first day of spring practice was pretty predictable. The new coaches were noticeably vocal, snaps were divided evenly between the three quarterbacks, the defensive players looked pretty tentative as they found out putting the new 3-4 scheme into practice isn’t as easy as the Dallas Cowboys made it look on film, and everyone talked about how excited they were to be back on the field and looking ahead to a new season.

But there were a few reports that caught my eye. The Dogs had only four healthy scholarship wide receivers, as Israel Troupe and Marlon Brown wore noncontact jerseys (due to hamstring problems from the mat drills, Rentavious Wooten told the Athens Banner-Herald). Last year it was having a thin tailback corps that complicated spring practice; this year looks like it’s going to be the receivers.

The new-look defense didn’t just confuse the defenders. Brandon Boykin told The …

Continue reading Amid all the first-day confusion, one certainty: Rambo! »

Richt: Ealey even better, but QB may not surface until bullets are real

Washaun Ealey is only going to get better, Mark Richt says. (Georgiadogs.com)

Washaun Ealey is only going to get better, Mark Richt says. (Georgiadogs.com)

As spring practice gets under way, Chris Low of ESPN.com has been visiting Athens and posted some interesting quotes from Mark Richt in which the coach touched on a number of topics, including his “gut-wrenching” decision to fire most of his defensive staff after last season.

But the two comments that jumped out at me were dealing with subjects near and dear to Dogs fans’ hearts: the quarterback battle and tailback Washaun Ealey.

Richt again said that he’d love to have the starting QB settled after spring practice but “chances of that are going to be fairly slim.” The main problem, he said, is that the quarterbacks aren’t hit in practice, so you don’t know how they’ll do in a real game. “Now, if we decided to make every quarterback live, we’d probably know a lot more about him at the end of the spring. But it’s not worth taking that risk.”

And the matter won’t necessarily be closed when a …

Continue reading Richt: Ealey even better, but QB may not surface until bullets are real »