Archive for March, 2010

Fox has Dogs fans and players believing again

Mark Fox isn't Mark Who? any longer in the SEC. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Mark Fox isn't Mark Who? any longer in the SEC. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

As the men’s basketball Dogs prepare for their final regular-season game at the Steg tonight against high-flying Kentucky (8 p.m. on Peachtree TV), I think it’s safe to say most of the fans who felt let down by Damon Evans’ announcement of the relatively unknown Mark Fox as head coach last spring are now feeling pretty good about the hire.

The Dogs might not have a winning record (yet), but what Fox has accomplished in his first season in Athens is pretty amazing. True, the cupboard wasn’t entirely bare when Dennis Felton departed UGA — Trey Thompkins had future star written all over him and Travis Leslie had shown flashes of potential, though he had to sit out the last five games of the 2009 season to concentrate on classwork.

But if not at an all-time low, the program was pretty near it a year ago. The fans had lost interest and, more importantly, the players looked poorly coached, unmotivated and …

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Who will be spring’s breakout Dawg?

Carlton Thomas was last year's spring sensation. (Photo by Olivia King)

Carlton Thomas was last year's spring sensation. (Photo by Olivia King)

There’s usually at least a couple of breakout players every spring, though that doesn’t necessarily translate into anything big come the season, as Carlton Thomas found out last fall. Amid a reduced roster of running backs, the diminutive Thomas turned a lot of heads last spring and was just about the only offensive highlight of the G-Day game with his 20-yard TD run just before the final whistle.

But come the fall and the early-season problems with the offensive line and the running game, Mike Bobo didn’t seem to quite know what to do with Thomas. He played in just seven games and his big days for the season were running six times each against South Carolina and Vandy for 22 and 27 yards, respectively. He also caught a handful of passes.

Of course, this year’s spring breakout star might have more luck and play a bigger role in the coming season.

Looking at the roster and trying to figure which player …

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