A good first step on Dogs’ long journey back

A win definitely worth celebrating, whether it sets a new template for the team or not. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A win definitely worth celebrating, whether it sets a new template for the team or not. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Whether Saturday’s win over Tennessee was the beginning of a season turnaround for Georgia or just damage control for Mark Richt’s program will become evident over the next six games.

But one thing’s for sure: If the Dogs are to turn things around, the convincing win over the Vols was, as Kevin Butler said on Sunday’s “Bulldog Brunch,” a good first step toward regaining opponents’ respect.

Could the Dogs possibly win out? Sure, though that would require a consistency that might be a bit beyond their grasp. Georgia has talent; the team just hasn’t played up to its potential most of the time. That’s what made the four-game collapse so maddening.

On Saturday, however, they lived up to their preseason billing, making an already glorious fall day even more enjoyable in Athens, named this week by the Associated Press Top 25 voters as America’s best college town.

A few more thoughts and observations from the game:

The play of the Dogs definitely was more physical than in recent weeks, and if that was at least in part due to Richt toughening the teams’ preparation with a full-contact Monday practice, it was probably worth the injuries sustained. Reportedly, Richt doesn’t plan to keep the bloody-Monday regimen going this week, and if that proves to be the case I hope that decision won’t come back to bite him. …

One of the most pleasant surprises from the game concerned punt returns, and I don’t mean A.J. Green returning the first one. That’s probably only going to be an occasional thing. Rather, I mean Logan Gray actually returning the kicks! He showed flashes of potential there, especially on the very nice return that unfortunately was negated by a block-in-the-back penalty. This is an aspect of the game Richt has been ignoring for too long this season. …

Aaron Murray's passing was nearly as impressive as his running. (John Amis / AP)

Aaron Murray's passing was nearly as impressive as his running. (John Amis / AP)

Aaron Murray’s fakes are getting more and more impressive with each week. He had a couple Saturday that were reminiscent of the Great Faker himself, David Greene, particularly the throw to Kris Durham and the almost rooskie-like play in the second quarter that Aron White took down to the UT 7-yard line. …

Speaking of White, both he and Orson Charles had a couple of very nice catches. The return of Green definitely seems to have opened up some opportunities for the tight ends. …

Aron White shows extra effort after the catch. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Aron White shows extra effort after the catch. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

When A.J. momentarily got the air knocked out of him after a big catch, he provided a prime example to his teammates that you can take a big hit and still hold on to the ball. Hope Washaun Ealey was watching. …

Just as impressive as Murray’s scrambling and running Saturday was the pinpoint nature of several of his passes. The completion to A.J. sandwiched between two defenders was right on the money and the touchdown where Murray rolled out to his left and threw across his body to Rantavious Wooten in the back of the end zone was a big-time throw. Yes, he got away with another couple of could-have-been interceptions, but the redshirt freshman was eight-of-eight in the third quarter and is getting better every week. …

The two biggest concerns present in the win over the Vols? The still sputtering ground attack and the continued passing coverage mistakes by the safeties. …

More Redcoats is always a good thing. (Associated Press)

More Redcoats is always a good thing. (Associated Press)

I know Greg McGarity is looking at revisions to the student ticketing policies for next season to try and alleviate the problem of thousands of seats going unclaimed. But if possible something should be done immediately for this year’s last three home games to put more bodies in the student sections, especially the North side upper deck that tends to get shown on TV. Those unfilled seats may be paid for, but they look really bad. …

There seemed already to be less of what McGarity called “canned music” Saturday, and was it my imagination or had the volume really been turned down a notch?

Anything that lets us hear more of the Redcoats is definitely a good thing. Brother Jon (a Redcoat alum) and I really enjoyed the band’s performance at the Dawg Walk Saturday morning and the post-game concert, which lasted a bit longer than after the previous game (maybe because we won). But what has happened to “Tara’s Theme”? I don’t think I’ve heard it this season. (UPDATE: Some band members have assured me in the comments section that they do indeed still play “Tara’s Theme”. That’s good news. They must have continued playing after I thought they were  finished. Go Redcoats!) …

Russ got to go out a winner. Damn good dog! (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Russ got to go out a winner. Damn good dog! (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Finally, I’m really glad interim mascot Russ got to end his brief reign with an even record. The losing streak was bad, but Russ will always have Atlanta. …

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197 comments Add your comment

5150 P.O.A.D

October 10th, 2010
3:02 pm

4-4 Russ the Dawg players did something nice for a change.

becareful

October 10th, 2010
3:17 pm

the big bad Vandy dores are coming to town to ruin Uga VIII’s homecoming dance.

squarebush

October 10th, 2010
3:18 pm

“…especially the North side upper deck that tends to get shown on TV.”

No, you could definitely see it on TV.

squarebush

October 10th, 2010
3:19 pm

Obviously, my reading comprehension is failing me this afternoon. D’oh. That’s what I get for taking the time to comment on ajc.com.

Drinks are cheaper

October 10th, 2010
3:22 pm

during the game so the students just hang at the Bars getting drunk and watching on TV.

11Dawg

October 10th, 2010
3:24 pm

I’m in Redcoats. We’ve done Tara’s theme every game, win or lose, including yesterday.

buffdawg

October 10th, 2010
3:24 pm

I wish Aaron Murray was the only problem we have, could he possibly play defensive back(I think he could as well as a couple we have).This is going to be an interesting SEC this year, we are not finished with upsets.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Stick With Richt, Bobo Gotta Go

October 10th, 2010
3:41 pm

Two problems with the student tickets. As you mentioned before, the student tickets are now on student I.D.s, so they can’t give their tickets to friends at the last minute if they can’t make it to the game.

The other problem is that they opened up all student sections to ALL students. Before this year students had to sit in their assigned section, even if they didn’t have a seat number. This year there are no assigned sections, so all the students cram into the lower sections leaving the upper deck empty. (This was already a problem in the past with students “passing back” tickets to get their friends in the lower sections, but it is way more of a problem now that section assignments have gone totally out the window).

CONFEDERATE DAWG

October 10th, 2010
3:41 pm

LETS KEEP IT UP DAWGS!!

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[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrew DeMillo, AJC Junkyard Blawg and Tim Tucker, Gordo. Gordo said: DawgFan A good first step on Dogs’ long journey back: A win definitely worth celebrating, whether it sets a new te… http://bit.ly/aISele [...]

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Drinks are cheaper

October 10th, 2010
3:58 pm

So UGA students PLAY by the RULES and sit in the seats were they tickets are. Wow who would have thought that UGA students din’t think the rules apply to them. The University has never been real big on applying rules anyway. I am sure the latest Top Party School ranking makes all future employers of UGA students think twice before giving them jobs.

ca dawg

October 10th, 2010
4:03 pm

oh god. thank god. impressed with physicality of front 7 on defense. UT was clearly targeting rambo, and it worked. UT is obviously not a very good team, and they were flat after last week’s tough loss at LSU, but we kicked them around and it was nice to see.

and bill, i think richt said they would go full pads on tuesday (though not monday, as you indicated), and stick with helmets and shoulder pads on thursday. he said it helped with tempo, intensity, and focus. we continue to need help in all those areas. happy to get off the schnide… time to get ready for vandy. go dawgs!

Hogwash

October 10th, 2010
4:07 pm

The DBs need a lot of practice. I don’t know if it’s the S or the CBs, but someone needs to do a better job of coverage. I know Grantham is big on Rambo, but it seems to be in his area a lot and if he cannot do pass coverage, then Ogletree needs to be given the opportunity to play. The change in the OL looked better and now we need to bring in at least two top quality RBs that can hold onto the ball and can dish out punishment when they run the ball. The recuiters may have to do a national search for top RBs. This program should have a better selection of RBs and maybe with a better OC, he will do a better job of recruiting. Bobo only knows how to find a QB here or there and it is more to the offense than recruiting QBs. Great job Saturday UGA. I hope we continue to build from this win. Defense looked better up front but, the secondary has to get better by next week with a dual threat QB coming in. Lakatos is supposed to be a great secondary coach and we need to see that on the field. Hopefully we will be in pads again this week and doing some big time hitting to get ready for the next game.

DawginOH

October 10th, 2010
4:08 pm

Good to see the Dawgs finally come out with some intensity. And thanks to Russ for his service. DGD! Looking forward to next week. Wow, hadn’t said that in a while. Go Dawgs!

1eyedJack

October 10th, 2010
4:14 pm

Good win. Get ‘em next week too!

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

AltamahaDawg

October 10th, 2010
4:23 pm

Good points except for the hard to understand shot at the punting situation.

Logan Gray has 5 punt returns already, 1 less that Smith, why is that such a surprise? Last year he was sent in only in a situation when no return was set up. Why make the comparison this year, he is used in a different situation now? He has also had a good deal more training for it in his WR role, so it’s likely he is much better at it now that he would have been previously. I doubt that the staff just finally figured out to let him advance the ball.

Plus hasnt UGA been at or near the top team in the league as far as punt returns yardage in the past few years. That’s doesnt seem much like something that was getting ignored.

And as pointed out the full pads was just a different day. It’s usually Tuesday. He just made a point to go Monday to get attention. The point has already been made and that was to amp up the intensity and attention during the week of practise. Hopefully the win will serve as that example and attention grabber now, not the day of the week that they go full pads.

Stick With Richt, Bobo Gotta Go

October 10th, 2010
4:24 pm

@Drinks are cheaper
October 10th, 2010
3:58 pm

That’s just it. There are no seating assignments for students. All the student sections are open. It’s first come first serve. And all the students cram into the lower sections.

This isn’t the student’s problem. It’s the Athletic Association’s problem.

They need to issue paper tickets, and assign seating and enforce the seating just like they do all over the stadium.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Dawg14

October 10th, 2010
4:27 pm

Also in the band, Tara is always the last thing we play before the chant at the end, every game.

Stick With Richt, Bobo Gotta Go

October 10th, 2010
4:29 pm

@Drinks are cheaper
October 10th, 2010
3:58 pm

What do you mean, “The University has never been real big on applying rules anyway.”?

Did you attend UGA?

Trust me there are lots and lots and lots of rules the University applies. And a police force to apply them. And Deans of colleges to apply them.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Josh

October 10th, 2010
4:30 pm

buffdawg, you’re an idiot. How about you compare wonderboy Matthew Stafford’s freshman numbers to Aaron Murray’s? Think about how highly regarded this offensive line was prior to the season. They have exemplified underachieving. You’re just another piece of the Walmart side to UGA’s fan base. Do me a favor and stick to jawing with your buddies around the fire in the trailor park.

Mr. SEC

October 10th, 2010
4:41 pm

I know Tenn. is no powerhouse this year, but the Ga. team demonstrated what they are capable of. Its now proven that the big mouth gators can be had. SO, GO GET EM DAWGS! But be careful of Auburn, and Vandy. and those “sleepers”. Yea I know Auburn is no sleeper.

RAID

October 10th, 2010
4:43 pm

Somebody please reply on this one….I’ve often thought this….Since student tickets are attached to their ID cards making those tickets unsellable for proffit if the student is not going use them, does this kind of fall into the AJ Green selling his jersey for proffit thing?…..Is it just a NCAA thing?…..The reason I ask is because of years ago the NCAA said that athletes cannot be housed in an athletic dorm but must be amongst the student population and that athletes ca’nt be treated in a manner any different than the rest of the population…….Would that be hippocritical to allow the students to sell university property when the athletes cant?….They can make a profit when the athlete cant?……Just wondering how all this wourks cause I would bet they’re connected in some way

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

NeoDawg

October 10th, 2010
4:56 pm

Bill – Don’t know how you missed Tara – I was standing next to the hedges and it sounded as good as ever. I have to say Richt looked pretty relieved when he came over to salute the Redcoats and the players coming over after the game was good to see again as well.

Drinks are Cheaper – but not as cheap as your shots at UGA students. You are wrong and either grow or clam up – your choice, but we all will be the better for it – you included.

For the first time the Dawgs looked like they cared – hope it is an indication of things to come and not an isolated incident. Sounds like they should give a game ball to Boss Bailey.

Stick With Richt, Bobo Gotta Go

October 10th, 2010
4:58 pm

@RAID
October 10th, 2010
4:43 pm

I don’t think a ticket to a collegiate sporting event is technically university property. It’s admission to a university sporting event.

There is plenty of hypocrisy involved in college sports, but I don’t think this is one of those cases.

DAWG without a bag over his head

October 10th, 2010
5:00 pm

Bill,

My daughter, who’s in the Redcoats, and 11Dawg above both confirm that Tara’s Theme has been played after every game this season. How could they not play it?

Hopefully this win has restored order in the universe.

HBTD

Bill King

October 10th, 2010
5:05 pm

11Dawg and others:

Glad to hear “Tara’s Theme” is still played in the postgame concert. I guess the band wasn’t finished playing when I thought they were.

The Real SugarHillDawg

October 10th, 2010
5:08 pm

I’m GLAD Russ is retiring. Every time the camera pans to him he’s in that dog house snoozing. What a LAZY dog.I hope UGA VIII has more vim and vigor and will walk outside his house every now and then. Russ needs to be checked for worms.

buckeyedawg

October 10th, 2010
5:21 pm

Go dawgs, have faith, the start of more to come. Cmr will turn this around

T-Dawg

October 10th, 2010
5:23 pm

BloBlo for President!!!

T-Dawg

October 10th, 2010
5:25 pm

1) ATHENS, GA. The residents might not be in the best of moods these days, with their beloved Georgia Bulldogs slumping, but Athens is still the coolest town in the Southeastern Conference. Famous for its music scene, R.E.M. and the B-52s have Athens roots, Athens is bicyclist-friendly and home to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.

Yeah, I used to hang at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia every Friday night…. uhhhh….

ARdawg

October 10th, 2010
5:27 pm

Is it early or realistic that the Gator and Bama trolls don’t show up today? Of course we’re still left with the bugs

Sandman053

October 10th, 2010
5:36 pm

Bill, I’m taking my daughter to the Vandy game. I was only excited about seeing UGA VIII crowned…er…I mean “collared”. But now after yesterday’s performance, I’m looking forward to some football!!! HBTD!

The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award

October 10th, 2010
5:41 pm

Why cant UGA fans get it going in Sanford Stadium ? WHY ?…. Did any of you watch the South Carolina game ? They stood up the whole game waving those white hankies to the Sandstorm. Even Clemson fans get loud no matter who they play. Im tired of the hand sitters at UGA. Please give us your tickets !!!!!

Bride of Chucky Knapp

October 10th, 2010
5:44 pm

Josh: it’s spelled “trayler”.

Party in the UGA

October 10th, 2010
5:47 pm

We need more loud “get crunked ” videos on the jumbotron. Gets the students into the game. The old folgy traditional music is lame….. just saying

Pago Pago Dawg

October 10th, 2010
5:52 pm

It’s an insult to The Red Coats to have that loud “canned music(?)”! Somebody needs to wake up…

Einsteindawg

October 10th, 2010
5:53 pm

What is this crap, “A good first step on Dog’s long journey back, AJC…”

Stick With Richt, Bobo Gotta Go

October 10th, 2010
6:01 pm

@The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award
October 10th, 2010
5:41 pm

I agree. I grew up an Auburn fan because of family ties, but I was raised in Georgia and hold a degree from UGA. I am a Dawg fan now. But I must say, Georgia fans kind of suck. We always had season tickets to Auburn games and I remember sitting in Jordan-Hare stadium many a saturday and everyone in the place getting loud and staying through to the end. Auburn has a true home-field advantage. UGA does not. Maybe there’s a reason Richt has a better record on the road? (cause Georgia fans are demoralizing?)

I wish Coach Richt would speak to this. He acts like our fans are the best in the country, but he knows that’s not true. Dawg fans act like we’re terrible when we win 8 games and they’re ready to burn all their UGA shirts when the season starts poorly like it did this year.

I’m a Dawg fan, and I wear my UGA shirt proudly (even after the Colorado loss).

Have some loyalty people. We don’t have to win every game to be proud.

This is a call to arms. Don’t let the opponents silence Sanford Stadium. We’re suppose to get our boys back in the game, yet we expect the players to get the fans back in it. That is lame.

Get Loud, Stay Loud, And Stay To The End!

Go Dawgs!!!

brokebackvol

October 10th, 2010
6:13 pm

Congrats on the win, Dawgs. Course, it was a lot easier having the VOLS give up so many points on turnovers, but they are young and thin. Enjoy it, but lets see how things go the rest of the way. We knew going in it would be a rough season for Tennessee, and only the TRUE fans will hang with a team when times are tough. Good luck the rest of the way.

Stick With Richt, Bobo Gotta Go

October 10th, 2010
6:13 pm

p.s. I started going to Auburn games in the 80s and I remember in the 90s when they installed the new score board. It has a sound meter on it that responds to the decibels in the stadium. The indicator is in orange and moves up and down each side of the score board as the noise rises and falls.

We all took it as a challenge, and we were set on keeping that meter maxed out at the top of the board! And Auburn went undefeated that year (1993). I still remember those games.

Sanford Stadium could use one of those decibel meters. I guarantee you it works.

Are you listening Greg McGarity?