Archive for May, 2010

Could Gray staying at UGA be a turning point for Dogs?

Logan Gray putting the team first might pay off down the road. (Associated Press)

Logan Gray putting the team first might pay off down the road. (Associated Press)

The reality for Logan Gray is that, barring injury to someone else, he’s probably not going to get a whole lot of playing time at either quarterback or receiver.

And yet he decided to remain a Georgia Bulldog. And that’s great news.

In part, Gray’s decision should be welcomed because of the depth Gray adds to both positions. Mark Richt said on Wednesday that in his mind Gray is the second-team quarterback. Whether that remains the case after true freshman Hutson Mason arrives on campus and Gray spends most of his practice time on receiver remains to be seen, but having an emergency signal-caller who has some game experience can’t be a bad thing.

As for receiver, what are Gray’s chances of passing some of the six current players at that position on the depth chart? Early on, probably pretty slim. But as people get dinged up and Gray gets the routes down, who knows? He didn’t get much of a chance …

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Two UGA teams get some preseason attention

A.J. Green makes preseason first-team All-America. (Photo by Olivia King)

A.J. Green makes preseason first-team All-America. (Photo by Olivia King)

With the exception of the AP and coaches’ polls, preseason rankings don’t really mean much other than to give you an idea how media types are thinking about a team. Still, it’s worth noting that according to an early posting on a UNC athletics site, the Dogs did manage to crack the Lindy’s Top 25, which hasn’t hit newsstands yet. Georgia placed No. 21.

The same site includes Lindy’s preseason All-Americans, and three Dogs were selected: Wide receiver A.J. Green and punter Drew Butler on the first team and placekicker Blair Walsh on the second team.

Although I expect the Dogs to make a few (though certainly not all) of the preseason rankings still to come, there’s no denying that Mark Richt’s team will be operating way under the radar as this season begins. Too many question marks, what with an inexperienced quarterback and revamped defense.

But it won’t take long for the Dogs to start getting some …

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Is Herschel right about the key to winning in the SEC?

Herschel Walker is still on top. (MMA)

Herschel Walker is still on top. (MMA)

UGA legend and current MMA fighter Herschel Walker talked with the press while in Chattanooga for the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. While his comments dissing Lane Kiffin and praising Derek Dooley have drawn most of the attention, the quote from No. 34 that caught my eye was this one in the Times-Free Press in which he explained why he thinks the SEC is the ultimate college football conference:

“You can’t do the Run and Shoot or California offense in the SEC,” Walker said. “The SEC is about blocking and tackling and running the football. Line it up and go get it.”

And, you know, despite all the variations on the spread and some pretty gaudy passing numbers that have been showing up in recent seasons, I think Herschel is right on the money. As Bama showed last season with Mark Ingram, there’s nothing like a terrific tailback to elevate what otherwise would be just a good offense.

The Dogs certainly will be counting big-time on …

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Favorite moments Between the Hedges don’t just involve football

As proud families of some 4,000 students fill Sanford Stadium again this evening for graduation, it reminds me that for many UGA families, one of their best memories Between the Hedges doesn’t involve football.

Many families have fond memories of graduation day at Sanford Stadium. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Many families have fond memories of graduation day at Sanford Stadium. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

I know that’s certainly the case with me, as my own son walking out onto the field in the procession of graduates in 2007 as we watched from the East end zone seats is one of my favorite moments at Sanford Stadium — even more so than my own graduation there in 1974.

James Brown provided a great UGA memory. (Associated Press)

James Brown provided a great UGA memory. (Associated Press)

Just about all the rest of my Sanford memories do involve football, of course. Here, off the top of my head and in no particular order, are some of those favorite moments I’ve experienced in the stadium. …

The flea-flicker play to beat national champion Alabama in 1965. One of the most unexpected and exciting plays in college football history. The Sanford …

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Who’s likely to be the Dogs’ next star out of nowhere?

Will Kris Durham become an SEC star this season? (AJC staff)

Will Kris Durham become an SEC star this season? (AJC staff)

Asked in a mailbag column what SEC players he sees coming “out of nowhere to be star players this year,” ESPN.com’s Chris Low included Georgia wide receiver Kris Durham, returning from a year off due to injury, along with South Carolina safety DeVonte Holloman, Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette, Tennessee running back Tauren Poole, Florida linebacker Jon Bostic, Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan and Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf.

Low’s opinion of Durham jibes with my own, which was reinforced by watching Durham make some really impressive catches in the recent G-Day game. With coverage focusing on A.J. Green, Georgia’s other wide receivers are likely to get some nice opportunities this season, and lanky No. 16 seems ready to rise to the occasion in his senior year.

But do you see any other Dogs making such a move out of the shadows into the spotlight? We’re not talking established stars like Green and …

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Will anything less than a New Year’s Day bowl for Dogs be a ‘mega-disappointment’?

Justin Houston is seen as a big weapon for the Dogs' defense. (Georgiadogs.com)

Justin Houston is seen as a big weapon for the Dogs' defense. (Georgiadogs.com)

If you haven’t yet checked out CollegeFootballNews.com’s preview of the 2010 Georgia Bulldogs, by all means do so. It’s a remarkably optimistic and yet balanced look at the strengths and weaknesses of Mark Richt’s team.

Writes CFN’s Pete Fiutak: “Georgia can absolutely win the East and it can absolutely rise up at the right time to win the conference championship if everything breaks right. And lately, if you win the SEC Championship, big things tend to follow. No, this isn’t a national title team, but that’s not to say it can’t come back and rebound in a huge way.”

Fiutak correctly pegs the health of the veteran offensive line as a key to the season and says it might be “the best in America” if injuries are avoided. He thinks turning NFL prospect Justin Houston loose to harass quarterbacks will help ease the transition to a 3-4 defense.

And he notes that the team will be better than last year’s if …

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Dogs a Top 25 team? Depends on who’s picking

A.J. Green is just one reason for Dogs fans to be excited about the coming season. (Associated Press)

A.J. Green is just one reason for Dogs fans to be excited about the coming season. (Associated Press)

Spring summaries of the college football landscape are popping up all over the place this week, and there’s been a good bit of head-scratching in the Bulldog Nation over Sports Illustrated snubbing the Dogs by not even including them in the also-considered category for its early Top 25.

On the other hand, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, who follows the UGA program a lot more closely than anyone at SI, has Georgia at No. 20 in his post-spring To 25.

Here’s what Schlabach has to say about Mark Richt’s team: “Georgia’s recipe for 2010: keep quarterback Aaron Murray healthy and play better defense. Georgia might go into the season without a proven backup quarterback if junior Logan Gray decides to transfer. Murray beat out Gray and freshman Zach Mettenberger for the starting job before Mettenberger was dismissed from the team after his arrest during spring break. Georgia figures to rely on …

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On Mettenberger and way-out bowl predictions

Zach Mettenberger hopes for a second chance somewhere other than UGA. (wsbtv.com)

Zach Mettenberger hopes for a second chance somewhere other than UGA. (wsbtv.com)

Well, one thing we know for sure about Zach Mettenberger: He won’t be transferring to Valdosta State, as some had speculated, since he’s banished from the town that calls itself Winnersville.

Monday’s news that the former UGA quarterback had pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery stemming from the spring break bar incident in the Valdosta area frankly came as no big surprise. As I said on the day news of Mettenberger being kicked off the Bulldogs first broke, the fact that Mark Richt had taken such drastic action pointed to more than just underage drinking. And, for once, the most prevalent rumor on the grapevine — which I first heard literally minutes after the news of Mett’s dismissal — pretty much was on the money.

A couple of other thoughts on the Mettenberger situation: He indicated in his statement taking “responsibility” for his actions that he hopes to get “a second …

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LeMay’s a big catch, but UGA shouldn’t declare QB recruiting over

Will Christian LeMay be the only QB that UGA signs next year?

Will Christian LeMay be the only QB that UGA signs next year?

A few random thoughts on Christian LeMay, one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects, declaring he plans on attending UGA:

Mark Richt’s oft-noted professions of faith certainly didn’t hurt with this preacher’s son and were, in fact, mentioned by LeMay as one of the reasons he wants to go to school in Athens. But just as important (and perhaps more important) was the fact that Richt runs a pro-style offense at Georgia. LeMay has played in the spread in high school but recognizes that’s not the best offense for a QB who wants to play in the NFL. …

LeMay also is a big fan of Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, which might give a moment’s pause to those UGA fans who are constantly calling for Bobo to be replaced. As our Chip Towers reported, LeMay said on Friday, “Georgia is the school I plan to enroll in unless something drastic happens. Unless Coach Richt or Coach Bobo is gone or something crazy like that, I’m …

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