Archive for August, 2010

Revisiting the heartbreak of the Dog House of Pain

Herschel Walker's great career ended on a losing note in a definite House of Pain game. (File)

Herschel Walker's great career ended on a losing note in a definite House of Pain game. (File)

As much as college football fans love to relish great wins from the past, they also can’t help reliving the big ones that got away. It’s an intrinsic part of sports, as the old ABC “Wide World of Sports” opening so vividly summed up with the line about the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

Along those lines, ESPN.com has been revisiting what it calls the House of Pain, with a list of the 50 most painful outcomes in college football history. Now, any loss is painful to a fan, especially games like the Dogs losing to Vandy in Athens in 2006. But that’s not what ESPN was going for here. Rather, they’re talking about losses where the stakes were high, the rivalry was intense and the pain and humiliation was long-lasting.

It’s only been a couple of years, but the 2008 “blackout” game against Alabama is more like it.

Still, there’ve been games for the Dogs that were higher on …

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Blitzing excites fans but carries big risk for Dogs

Justin Houston and company need to get to Stephen Garcia ... fast. (Associated Press)

Justin Houston and company need to get to Stephen Garcia … fast. (Associated Press)

In a recent blog, Buck Belue strikes a sobering note amid all the talk about the Dogs’ new 3-4 defense being aggressive and heavy on the blitzing.

Remembering when Donnan’s Dogs went blitz-happy under the not-ready-for-prime-time Kevin Ramsey in 1999 and got burned on lots of big plays, Belue notes that NFL veteran Todd Grantham is no Kevin Ramsey and “surely his plan involves covering [wide receivers] downfield.”

Still, Belue says, “Spurrier is probably thinking this: Blitz us and we’ll have Garcia throw it out to 6′5″ Alshon Jeffrey, who’s working on 5′10 Brandon Boykin, 5′11″ Vance Cuff, or 5′10″ Branden Smith. Dog CBs might have tight coverage, but can they defend the jump ball? Just saying. Might want to get to the QB fast.”

A good point, and one that Mark Richt himself has made about the 3-4 defense. If you go after the quarterback and don’t get him, you put a lot more pressure on your …

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Bulldog buzz words: Pounding the rock, attacking, aggressive, versatile … party!

Washaun Ealey will get plenty of chances to "pound the rock" this season. Don't you love that kind of talk? (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Washaun Ealey will get plenty of chances to "pound the rock" this season. Don't you love that kind of talk? (Curtis Compton / AJC)

OK, countdown to kickoff of the season is 30 days, and the anticipation is building. Some quotes to get Dawg fans even more revved up:

“We’re definitely going to use them a lot this year. They’re going to get plenty, plenty, plenty of touches. If we have to pound the rock, we’re going to pound the rock. Our running backs are tough enough, and we’re going to be able to methodically march down the field.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray talking about how he’ll rely on tailbacks Caleb King and Washaun Ealey this season. For old-school Georgia football fans, this kind of talk is almost like porn.

“It feels great knowing that I’ve got just one assignment: to attack. It takes a lot of pressure off you knowing there’s one thing you’ve got to do and you can focus on that one thing and be great at it.”

Linebacker Justin Houston on his role in …

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Mark Richt knows a thing or two about coaching quarterbacks

Mark Richt instructs freshman quarterback Hutson Mason in practice. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Mark Richt instructs freshman quarterback Hutson Mason in practice. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Let’s face it, UGA fans would be a whole lot more worried about starting the season with a quarterback who’s never taken a snap in a college game if it weren’t for all the experience surrounding Aaron Murray on the offense. The line is the most veteran and battle-tested in the conference. The Dogs have the nation’s best wide receiver. The tight end corps is as talented and deep as anyone’s, and the running backs tandem ended last season looking really good.

And there’s one other old hand from whom Murray can draw, a guy who before he became top Dog was one of the best quarterback coaches in the country: Mark Richt.

Reading the various summaries of the second day of preseason practice for the Dogs, an item in The Red and Black’s roundup made me smile. It said that while offensive coordinator Mike Bobo worked with the freshman walk-on QBs Tuesday, it was Richt doing some hands-on coaching …

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Good news, old news on Dogs’ kickoff coverage, UGA partying

The great Aaron Murray glove controversy has been laid to rest. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

The great Aaron Murray glove controversy has been laid to rest. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

I don’t think many of us expected any surprises from the media day that accompanied Georgia’s first preseason practice, and that’s certainly how it turned out. I mean, when the hottest chatter is about the fact that Aaron Murray has discontinued his spring experiment of wearing a glove …

(By the way, last week’s extensively reported black eye suffered by Murray in a conditioning drill was not much in evidence. Whew.)

Naturally, much of the focus was on the youth of the Dogs’ quarterbacking corps, with a redshirt freshman starter backed by a true freshman and two freshman walk-ons. I don’t know if the QB meeting room is really the youngest in the history of college football as Mark Richt put it on Monday, but they’re definitely Bullpups at this point.

As for those who wondered just how serious Richt was about giving Logan Gray a chance at receiver, I think the fact the titular No. 2 QB is …

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