Archive for April, 2010

Talent not enough to win championships, Saints’ Stinchcomb says

Jon Stinchcomb was named to the Pro Bowl this past season. (New Orleans Saints)

Jon Stinchcomb was named to the Pro Bowl this past season. (New Orleans Saints)

UGA football fans’ favorite brothers, the Stinchcombs, were at the Touchdown Club of Athens meeting this week, Matt on hand to introduce featured speaker Jon of the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints.

As you’d expect with brothers, there was some good-natured sibling rivalry. Matt told the assembled fans that he’d been excited to be asked to speak to the club … until he discovered it was just to talk about his little brother.

Jon, a Pro Bowl selection who looks to be about twice the size of Matt these days, was there to talk about what makes a championship team. He recalled his sophomore year at UGA when the 2000 roster was loaded with NFL-caliber talent, with the likes of Quincy Carter, Marcus Stroud, Richard Seymour, Charles Grant, Jonas Jennings, Boss Bailey, Kendrell Bell and so on.
Coach Jim Donnan told the team that “if you can’t win a national championship with talent like that, you …

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Richt not giving anything away in talk to fans

Coach Mark Richt told fans in Athens he liked what he saw this spring. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Coach Mark Richt told fans in Athens he liked what he saw this spring. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

While it’s billed as Mark Richt’s annual “State of the Bulldog Nation” address, his appearance at the Touchdown Club of Athens spring meeting at the Athens Country Club Monday night was really just a relaxed overview of the progress the Dogs made this spring.

Richt was talking with the friendliest of audiences — at one point he scanned the crowd and said, “Hi Dad. I love that guy” and at another point looked over at Bulldog fixture Loran Smith and teased, “Wake up, Loran!” But the coach still played it close to the vest on the upcoming post-spring depth chart at quarterback. “I’m not going to give away anything, because it’ll be all over the Internet,” he said with a grin. (Smart man.)

He alluded to the lack of a clear-cut starter at QB, however, by saying, “I think we have more than one answer at that position.”

And he offered an assessment of each of the quarterbacks’ performance …

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If G-Day fans could pick, Dogs would have a QB

Zach Mettenberger presents Georgia's coaches with something of a dilemma. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Zach Mettenberger presents Georgia's coaches with something of a dilemma. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

As the Diamond Dogs and Ole Miss battled in extra innings about three hours after Saturday’s G-Day football game, a guy sitting behind me hollered at a friend who was leaving the baseball game.

Naturally, he wanted to talk football.

“If we had to play tomorrow, who’d be the quarterback?” he asked.

His friend didn’t hesitate. “Mettenberger!”

The guy behind me concurred. “That’s what everyone’s saying.”

And, indeed, Zach Mettenberger’s showing at G-Day was the talk of the folks all around us as we filed out of Sanford Stadium Saturday afternoon and walked through campus to the baseball field.

The consensus was pretty clear: Mettenberger, who absolutely cannot start the first game of the season because of a suspension and who was denied a chance to play with the first-string offense on Saturday, nevertheless won the game and was the people’s choice as the quarterback who ought to …

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What do fans really want out of G-Day?

Logan Gray and Zach Mettenberger, along with Aaron Murray, will play for both teams on G-Day. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Logan Gray and Zach Mettenberger, along with Aaron Murray, will play for both teams on G-Day. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

The G-Day game has always been a fan favorite. After all, as we liked to joke as kids, it’s the one game of the year Georgia is guaranteed to win.

I’m not sure when they actually started using the name “G-Day,” though at an auction a couple of years ago I saw a program from one of Wally Butts’ spring games from the early 1950s that was labeled the “Red vs. White” game. (As long as I’ve been going, the teams have always been called the Red and the Black, though only last season did the Black team actually wear black jerseys.)

The first G-Day I can actually remember attending was one of the early ones during the Vince Dooley era, when I went with my friend Chipper and his dad, who was part of the UGA press box crew. We actually watched that game from the press box and had fun fooling around on the old teletype machine. I remember a big deal was made of the fact …

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Richt has brought something more important than a BCS title to UGA

Mark Richt draws praise from outside the Bulldog Nation for the way he's handled recent events in Athens. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt draws praise from outside the Bulldog Nation for the way he's handled recent events in Athens. (Associated Press)

If you haven’t checked out MrSEC.com’s tribute to the kind of coach — and, more importantly, the kind of man — Mark Richt is, you definitely should. The headline sums it up pretty nicely: “RICHT CONTINUES TO SHOW THAT HE’S THE CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE.”

Knoxville-based John Pennington, who writes the blog, says that “for my money, there is no better representative of an SEC university than Georgia’s Mark Richt.”

Amen.

This testimonial from outside the Bulldog Nation is prompted by a couple of things. First, the restraint Richt showed in dealing with the media flap over incorrect claims that some of his football players had harassed a couple in an Athens taxi. As Pennington puts it: “Rather than bark about the media or point a finger at a writer, Richt kept his cool and discussed the dangers of rushing to judgment in our instant-media …

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Don’t let spring break stop the Dawg talk

georgia logoI know a lot of you are off this week because many schools are on spring break. I’m taking off the first half of the week, but the Blawg will return on Thursday as we get ready for the G-Day game at Sanford Stadium in Athens.

In the meantime, keep checking out those spring practice reports in Tim Tucker’s beat blog, and feel free to continue talking UGA sports right here.

Until Thursday …

Go Dogs!

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How long is too long for three quarterbacks?

What if Zach Mettenberger wins the QB race but has to sit out the first game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

What if Zach Mettenberger wins the QB race but has to sit out the first game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

I’ve heard several fans complaining about the way Mark Richt and Mike Bobo are handling Georgia’s search for a starting quarterback.

The gist of the complaints seems to be an assumption that the coaches are artificially maintaining the three-way race between Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Logan Gray, treating them equally in spring practice, when it seems hardly likely that all three are still completely even. And, so the thinking goes, if one of them is clearly more advanced than the other two (most folks assume that would be Murray), why continue to give the others the same number of reps with the first-string offense? Why not go ahead and annoint him the leader and give him more work so that he’ll be further along come August?

I find it hard to believe that’s what’s going on, though. More likely, I think, is that while the battle might not be a dead heat between the …

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Let’s slow down rush to judgment on taxi incident

Mark Richt is right to take a wait-and-see attitude on the taxi cab case. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt is right to take a wait-and-see attitude on the taxi cab case. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

While coverage of the reported taxi cab incident in Athens allegedly involving four UGA football players has been pretty restrained in-state, the smear on Mark Richt’s program already is under way elsewhere.

Just check out this teaser headline early Friday on the Sporting News Today site: “UGA players attack fellow cab passengers.”

So much for due process and sticking to the facts.

And the most salient fact in all of this so far is this: Even assuming the incident actually took place as described in the police report, we don’t know for sure that the offending individuals actually were UGA football players. One of the victims says they were football players but he didn’t know their names, and in the police report, which wasn’t filed until several days after the alleged incident, he doesn’t say how he knew they were football players. Let’s hope he was basing that assumption on more …

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Good news on pass defense: We be jammin’

Secondary coach Scott Lakatos is teaching a more aggressive style of pass defense. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Secondary coach Scott Lakatos is teaching a more aggressive style of pass defense. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

One by one, the new defensive staff at UGA appears to be addressing the most frequent complaints heard from fans over the past few seasons.

For those who thought Willie Martinez didn’t call enough blitzes (he actually called a fair number, they just weren’t successful all that often), Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme promises a blitz-your-brains-out approach.

If it drove you crazy the way the Dogs’ cornerbacks tended not to look back for the ball, we’ve already heard that new secondary coach Scott Lakatos is addressing that.

And then there’s probably the No. 1 lament about Georgia’s defense heard in the stands in recent seasons: that soft “prevent” or “bend but don’t break” zone that the Dogs played, with defenders often giving receivers a cushion of 10 yards or more at the line.

The results last year were less than stellar, with the Dogs ranking 10th in the SEC in pass …

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