Archive for October, 2010

An SEC shutout is always something to be savored

Washaun Ealey had his best day of the season by far against Vandy. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Washaun Ealey had his best day of the season by far against Vandy. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

That’s how homecoming games are supposed to go.

Except, of course, I couldn’t be there.

It was kind of weird watching a game live from Sanford Stadium in my own living room due to my kidney stone trouble this week, but I couldn’t have asked for a much better outcome.

Despite a slow, balky start where you weren’t sure everyone in red was on the same page, Georgia finally got on track Saturday against outmanned Vanderbilt and ended up with an impressive blowout that also was a shutout — no mean feat in SEC play, no matter who the opponent is.

Offensively, the Dogs misfired occasionally, having to settle for field goals and a miss on three of their red zone trips, a tendency they need to get out of as we return to more serious opposition.

But the rushing offense managed to overcome the loss of suspended starting tailback Caleb King, with Washaun Ealey not only holding on to the ball but …

Continue reading An SEC shutout is always something to be savored »

A week wearing the noncontact jersey

Big Bad Bruce, indeed. (University of Georgia)

Big Bad Bruce, indeed. (University of Georgia)

I’ve been out of commission this week battling a big, bad kidney stone. If you’ve ever dealt with that, ’nuff said. Hopefully there’s now light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

Even while hurting, I got a kick out of the reaction my UGA shirts drew at Piedmont Hospital, from the orderly on the elevator who lamented how the season has gone thus far to the urologist sharing skybox gossip from the win over UT.

Anyway, I’m catching up with what’s been going on and am pleased to see what a good-looking dog Uga VIII is, and of course I’m concerned what Caleb King’s stupidity is going to mean for the Dogs’ season. The Kentucky game already looked tough and it’s likely to make the difference between UGA keeping its bowl streak alive or not.

Time to step up big-time, Washaun Ealey.

I won’t be making it to Sanford Stadium Saturday for the Homecoming game against Vandy (the brothers will be using my seats) but I’ll be watching and …

Continue reading A week wearing the noncontact jersey »

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 …

Continue reading A good first step on Dogs’ long journey back »

Dogs had too many weapons for Vols

Blake Sailors has his helmet yanked off after covering a Tennessee fumble. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Blake Sailors has his helmet yanked off after covering a Tennessee fumble. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

That felt good, didn’t it?

The Georgia team that fans had expected to see this season finally showed up Saturday Between the Hedges after being largely missing for four weeks, and put a big-time hurt on Tennessee, thanks to the usually stellar play of A.J. Green, the continuing development of Aaron Murray as a legitimate dual-threat QB, and the Dogs finally flipping the turnover ratio on a major opponent.

Not that we should let ourselves get too giddy about this win. The Derek Dooley-led Volunteers team that Georgia beat Saturday was thoroughly mediocre.

But, hey, after losing to mediocre teams the past two weeks, having a game go the way it appeared like it should go on paper is a major turnaround for a UGA program that was beginning to look lost in the wilderness.

Basically, the die was cast in the first half, which was a game of turnovers, with the Big Orange handing it over …

Continue reading Dogs had too many weapons for Vols »

Dogs vs. Vols: Is view from Rocky Top too optimistic?

As goes A.J. Green, so goes Georgia's offense. (Associated Press)

As goes A.J. Green, so goes Georgia's offense. (Associated Press)

Two desperate college football programs meet up Between the Hedges this week, the first meeting between the teams when both have losing records since 1906, and while the Vegas oddsmakers have the Georgia Bulldogs as a nearly two-touchdown favorite, most fans on both sides are expecting something a lot closer.

For the Volunteer view of this matchup, I turned to my friend Joey Ledford, who lives here, sent his daughter to UGA and admits he roots for Georgia “ALMOST every week” but proudly proclaims, “my blood has always run Orange.” (I think an iron supplement might take care of that, Joe.)

Anyway, here’s what Joey has to say:

“I’ve been very encouraged by the play of the Vols this season despite our 2-3 record. We knew this would be a rebuilding year and we would be playing all the kids we normally redshirt due to the attrition and lack of depth created by two coaching changes in two years. We’ve played 17 true …

Continue reading Dogs vs. Vols: Is view from Rocky Top too optimistic? »

Turn it down! And you kids get off my lawn!

Greg McGarity wants to hear the Redcoats, not canned music. (Georgiadogs.com)

Greg McGarity wants to hear the Redcoats, not canned music. (Georgiadogs.com)

A student representative at this week’s meeting of the UGA athletics board raised the issue of some of the commercials on the Sanford Stadium video board being ill-timed and “killing the atmosphere,” which is a complaint I’ve had this season.

The folks in the booth running the board at times seem completely clueless as to what’s happening on the field, letting promotional spots drown out the Dogs’ pregame “Krypton Fanfare” walk toward the end zone, for instance.

The complaint prompted new AD Greg McGarity to say he thinks the way-too-loud “canned music” needs to be cut back some, too. As he put it, “I’m pretty much a traditionalist. If the band’s there, I want to hear the band playing. I think our fans do, too.”

I’m with Greg. How about you?

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

Continue reading Turn it down! And you kids get off my lawn! »

Mike Bobo’s stats beat Mark Richt’s except where it matters: Wins

Mike Bobo's numbers beat Mark Richt's, except when it comes to the bottom line. (Associated Press)

Mike Bobo's numbers beat Mark Richt's, except when it comes to the bottom line. (Associated Press)

You can get a pretty good debate going among UGA fans by asking which has been more responsible for the decline in Bulldogs football over the past five years, the implosion of the defense under Willie Martinez that they’re still trying to recover from, or the play-calling of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

With Willie gone, Bobo has been the favorite whipping boy this season. And he’s certainly made himself a natural target with his tendency to be predictable, his insistence on running tiny Carlton Thomas into the middle of an underperforming line, Georgia’s red zone woes, and so on.

A lot of fans have called for Mark Richt to take back the play-calling duties. But has Georgia’s offense really been worse under Bobo than it was when Richt was calling the plays? UGA football historian Patrick Garbin has crunched the numbers for Bobo’s 46 games as play-caller and Richt’s last 46 …

Continue reading Mike Bobo’s stats beat Mark Richt’s except where it matters: Wins »

How can embattled Dogs compete with Bama for a top recruit?

Isaiah Crowell's assessment of UGA right now was pretty devastating. (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)

Isaiah Crowell's assessment of UGA right now was pretty devastating. (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)

If you’re a Georgia Bulldogs fan and prone to depression, you probably don’t want to read what five-star running back Isaiah Crowell of Carver High in Columbus had to say after his visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend.

And I’m not talking about the fact that he’s now leaning toward going to Alabama over UGA. It’s what he said in explaining why even the prospect of more playing time sooner in Athens might not be enough to make him a Bulldog:

“Well, they’re losing a lot of games and have a lot of people getting arrested. There’s just a lot of things going wrong. I do want to play right away but I also want to be where it’s disciplined and they win championships.”

Ouch. A pretty devastating assessment.

So if you’re UGA’s recruiters, how do you counter that? Um, home state loyalty? Naw, that doesn’t count for much these days. Mark Richt as a better shaper of young men than Nick …

Continue reading How can embattled Dogs compete with Bama for a top recruit? »

How will Sanford Stadium crowd react if Dogs perform poorly again?

black G logoAre Georgia fans resigned to this season being a disaster or could anger over the Dogs’ subpar performances surface in Athens this weekend in the form of booing?

Hard to tell at this point. My son was among the UGA fans in close proximity to Mark Richt and the Dogs as they left the field in Colorado Saturday night and he confirmed other accounts that there wasn’t any noticeable booing. Some fans applauded, though not real enthusiastically. At least one guy hollered something, but most of the Georgia supporters were feeling sort of numb and just stood there.

Emotions have been quite a bit more raw in the blogosphere, where the calls for Richt to be gone are rising.

(A side note: A few readers tried to twist what I wrote Sunday about this team continually finding a way to lose into a call for the head coach to be fired. Let’s be clear: I didn’t write that and I don’t think there’s much chance of Richt being fired this season. I think a guy who’s won 90 games in nine years has …

Continue reading How will Sanford Stadium crowd react if Dogs perform poorly again? »

Take away A.J. Green and you have a team that’s good only at finding a way to lose

Blair Walsh is getting the call way too many times inside the red zone. (Associated Press)

Blair Walsh is getting the call way too many times inside the red zone. (Associated Press)

The past few weeks amid all the plugs for the Hilltop Grille in Athens on the Georgia football radio network’s “Bulldog Brunch” Kevin Butler has been lamenting that this year’s Dogs, specifically the offense, have yet to find their identity.

Unfortunately, I think he’s wrong. They have found their identity; it’s just not one that the Bulldog Nation wants to acknowledge:

This is a team that in the face of impending victory will find a way to lose.

It used to be if a Mark Richt team was within a score of the lead and got the ball back with 3-plus minutes on the clock, everyone (including opponents) had a fairly certain feeling the Dogs would prevail.

This year, they get the opportunity to win a game and you find yourself sitting there thinking, “How are they going to screw this up?”

I hate that.

Where once there was hope, now there’s mostly resignation. And the way …

Continue reading Take away A.J. Green and you have a team that’s good only at finding a way to lose »