Archive for July, 2010

Which UGA home game are you looking forward to the most?

I wonder if Vince or Barbara Dooley will be sporting a tag like this on their car come Oct. 9.

I wonder if Vince or Barbara Dooley will be sporting a tag like this on their car come Oct. 9.

I was checking out my newsfeed on Facebook last night and came across a poll being done by Georgiadogs.com’s fan page. The question: Which UGA home football game are you looking forward to the most?

Naturally, a couple of games immediately came to mind, but I decided to go game by game and look at why a Bulldogs fan might particularly look forward to each particular home date on the schedule.

OK, so we start with Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4, a game that when I last checked had drawn zero votes in the poll. On the one hand, I can see that. It’s a minor opponent and a noontime kickoff in the summer heat. While games like this are a financial necessity — and more pleasing to Mark Richt than opening on the road against a major nonconference opponent like last year — nobody really gets excited about playing the likes of the Ragin’ Cajuns.

And yet … it is the first game of the season, …

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Justin Houston expected to rise above rest of Dogs’ defense

Todd Grantham is expecting big things from Justin Houston. (Georgiadogs.com)

Todd Grantham is expecting big things from Justin Houston. (Georgiadogs.com)

A lot of folks are expecting pass rusher Justin Houston to become a break-out star this season, and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is one of them. Grantham, in an interesting interview with ESPN.com’s Chris Low, says he’s looking for Houston to rise above the rest of the Dogs’ defensive players.

“I’m expecting a big year out of him and have talked to him about that,” Grantham says. “Everybody on your team isn’t the same, and he’s got to be one of those guys who rises above for us. We need to expect more out of him. You have to manufacture production from your linebackers in the 3-4, particularly your outside guys, because that’s where you generate your pass rush. I think Justin is made for the 3-4, and it’s a very good fit for him.”

No pressure.

Other notes of interest in the Grantham chat include him seeing cornerback as the most competitive position on the Georgia defense … mentioning …

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Untold Bulldogs history: The UGA helmet that almost was

Vince Dooley gave us one of the best-looking helmets in college football. (AJC staff)

Vince Dooley gave us one of the best-looking helmets in college football. (AJC staff)

I heard someone asked Mark Richt about the infamous black helmets at the Atlanta fan gathering the other night. Richt, having picked up on the fact that a lot of fans hated the helmets, noted that ideas like that are “good when you win, but not when you lose.”

I think it’s safe to say that the black helmets would have gained more fans had the Dogs upset the Gators last year while wearing them. But even then I think there would have been some resistance to them, simply because Georgia’s iconic red helmets with the elongated black “G” on the side are among the best-looking headgear in all of college football. In all of sports, for that matter.

They’re a tradition and part of a beloved uniform with the red jerseys and silver britches. My son tells me that many young fans aren’t aware there was a time the Bulldogs wore anything else.

The pre-Dooley silver helmet. (NCAA)

The pre-Dooley silver helmet. (NCAA)

And yet those red helmets …

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Injury could put a dent in development of UGA defense

Lost practice time for Akeem Dent (far left) could hinder the development of Georgia's defense. (Pouya Dianat / AJC)

Lost practice time for Akeem Dent (far left) could hinder the development of Georgia's defense. (Pouya Dianat / AJC)

I’m just back from a brief family trip to Nashville, where we had a nice reunion with an old friend, saw a great concert (Paul McCartney) and began a day with the jarring sight of a guy at the hotel breakfast buffet strolling around in a bright orange UT shirt and green pajama pants. It was like passing a wreck on the highway; I had the urge to tell the kids to look away.

Catching up on the news, I see nothing really surprising came out of the Atlanta fan gathering, which is probably a good thing. And it’s also no big surprise that the NCAA wants to talk with only one UGA player. Most folks always assumed that. But at least now we know that coaches need to pay attention to whether they’re answering an e-mail or a text from a prospect. Mind-boggling.

Meanwhile, the news about inside linebacker Akeem Dent being sidelined four to six weeks because of toe surgery is …

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Talking the talk: Bulldog week in quotes

Mark Richt on A.J. Green: "He's as good as I've seen." (Associated Press)

Mark Richt on A.J. Green: "He's as good as I've seen." (Associated Press)

Thanks to a newsy week in the Bulldog Nation, including SEC Media Days, there were quite a few quotes that caught my eye or that I particularly enjoyed this week. Check them out, and if any of them inspire you, have at it in the comments section. …

“Never.”

A.J. Green when asked if he’s ever been to Miami

“Hahaha. This talk about A.J. is hilarious. That country boy ain’t never been to Miami!!! You can put those rumors to rest.”

— Former teammate Michael Moore on Twitter after reports Green is the subject of an NCAA inquiry about the infamous “Agentgate” party in South Beach

“You know, with me being a veteran and helping Aaron out, I believe I can instill that confidence level that he needs to throw the ball and just to know that he has that primary receiver out there. Whenever he’s in trouble, he can just throw it. It don’t have to be a great ball, it can be whatever, and I can make a play on it.”

—A …

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Florida paper slams Dogs again: Most overrated ever

Buck Belue's touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott was a "fluke" play, the Orlando Sentinel says. (University of Georgia)

Buck Belue's touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott was a "fluke" play, the Orlando Sentinel says. (University of Georgia)

Say this for the Orlando Sentinel: They’re at least consistent in their orange and blue advocacy.

You’ll recall that the Sentinel, whose sportswriters appear to operate as an unofficial arm of the Gators sports information program, drew headlines a while back for ranking the Georgia Bulldogs as only the 64th best team in the country this season.

Before that, the Sentinel had been among the first of the media outlets in states surrounding us to get the Mark-Richt-on-the-hot-seat bandwagon rolling. And, of course, they did it in typical hyperbolic style, noting in complete disregard to the facts that “It seems almost every season Richt’s name comes up as being on the hot seat.”

Now the Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi has taken another flying leap into absurdity. In writing about the SEC Media Days, he opened his latest blog saying, “Keep hearing and reading about how …

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Don’t look for fake ‘outrage’ from Mark Richt

Why are some college sports observers so anxious for Mark Richt to fall? (Associated Press)

Why are some college sports observers so anxious for Mark Richt to fall? (Associated Press)

Anyone expecting the NCAA “inquiry” in Athens to prompt Mark Richt into jumping on the anti-agent “pimps” and “predators” bandwagon with Nick Saban and Urban Meyer doesn’t really know Richt.

Situational (and not very convincing) outrage trotted out for the TV cameras isn’t his style. (Does Saban think his own agent is a pimp? Just wondering.)

While Richt currently is limiting his comments regarding the NCAA to “we’ll see what they gather,” even after the investigation is concluded and he can talk, it would be a major surprise for him to come out pointing fingers and threatening to ban agents or NFL scouts — actions that are highly unlikely to really be taken by Saban and Meyer in any event. (What a recruiting tool that would be for major talent: Come to Alabama, where we can guarantee you won’t be seen at practice by pro scouts. Please.)

Yes, the current situation with agents trolling …

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A.J. Green in the Wild Dawg or is Bobo just teasing us again?

Is Mike Bobo serious about direct snaps to A.J. Green? (Associated Press)

Is Mike Bobo serious about direct snaps to A.J. Green? (Associated Press)

It would be easy to get all excited about Mike Bobo’s recent comments indicating he might use A.J. Green in some new ways this season.

Talking with the Macon Telegraph, Bobo said he was considering sometimes using Green as a running back or having him take direct snaps in what some call the “Wild Dawg” formation.

“That’s what you do as offensive coaches — you identify who you think the playmakers are and then you find a way to get them the ball, and obviously he’s our No. 1 guy,” Bobo said. “Really every game we go into it, we think, ‘How do we get A.J. the ball out of this set? Is there something new that we can do?’”

But we should keep in mind that all during the 2009 preseason, Bobo kept teasing us with comments about special offensive packages that we might see, including some involving Logan Gray and the Wild Dawg offense.

As it actually played out, Gray’s “special packages” consisted of being …

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A Bulldog family’s favorite time of year begins

My daughter snapped this shot of A.J. Green at last year's Countdown to Kickoff after quite a lengthy wait in line. (Photo by Olivia King)

My daughter snapped this shot of A.J. Green at last year's Countdown to Kickoff after quite a lengthy wait in line. (Photo by Olivia King)

Can you feel it?

Today marks the unofficial start of the Georgia Bulldogs football season as the Stinchcombe brothers and David Greene put on the Countdown to Kickoff fan day at the Woodruff Practice Fields in Athens.

Unfortunately, I can’t be there today, but if you are in the vicinity this afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m., I encourage you to swing by. Tickets cost $25 and benefit a group of children’s charities, and it’s generally a fun day (even with the occasional thunderstorm). You can meet and get autographs from the current players (if last year is anything to go by, the line for A.J. Green will be WAY long) as well as Dogs from the past, and the Redcoats and cheerleaders and Hairy Dawg are on hand. Lots of activities for the kids, too.

Next up will be all the coverage from SEC Media Days and then the Dogs open preseason practice on July …

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Playing the ‘what if’ game cuts both ways for Dogs

What if Lindsay Scott's famous touchdown hadn't happened? (Associated Press)

What if Lindsay Scott's famous touchdown hadn't happened? (Associated Press)

I’m generally not real big on debating “what if” scenarios in sports, largely because there are so many moments in close games where a key play or two could have made the difference.

What if that player didn’t hang on to the ball? What if that tackle wasn’t missed? You can look at just about any big win or loss that wasn’t a blowout and see how the outcome could have changed if only something had or hadn’t happened.

But many fans enjoy these forays into alternative history, which is why ESPN’s “College Football Live” delves into such topics as the recent “Who wins the 1980 national title if Georgia’s Lindsay Scott doesn’t score vs. Florida?”

Those voting in the poll on ESPN.com for the most part concluded that Lindsay’s famous touchdown not happening would have meant the Dogs wouldn’t have won the 1980 championship, with 43 percent saying Pitt would have taken the title and 37 percent opting for …

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