Archive for November, 2010

Not all wins over Tech are created equal

The best thing about this season for UGA: The development of Aaron Murray at quarterback. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

The best thing about this season for UGA: The development of Aaron Murray at quarterback. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Some more thoughts on Georgia’s 42-34 victory over Georgia Tech …

As anyone in red and black knows, any win over the trade school is a good win, but judging from the postgame conversations and chatter on the radio and online, Dogs fans left Saturday’s game without nearly as positive an attitude as after last year’s “I run this state” victory in Atlanta.

Part of that likely is tied to the overall frustration with a 6-6 season and the graphic evidence provided on the field Saturday that Georgia’s defense has a long way to go before it gets back to respectability. Any team running any semblance of an option running attack piled up the yards this year, with Tech being just the most notable example.

Also a factor in the postgame quibbling was the way Mike “Balance for the Sake of Balance” Bobo once again seemed to take his foot off the pedal once the Dogs got up a …

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For the Dogs, an ugly win definitely worth celebrating

Jusatin Houston seals the Dogs' win with an interception. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Jusatin Houston seals the Dogs' win with an interception. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Watching the dancing Bulldogs players crowding the cheerleader stand in front of the UGA student section after Saturday night’s game in Athens, you would have thought you were seeing a team celebrating a victory of major consequence rather than one slightly luckier mediocre team overcoming another mediocre team in an error-plagued match that proved defense is a lost art in this state.

But this was Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, after all, and with the season the 2010 Dogs have endured, taking a tough rivalry game that almost got away from them probably should qualify as a major victory.

With fumbles flying loose with alarming frequency on both sides, the Dogs and Jackets were uncharacteristically charitable in keeping each other in the game, though Georgia was more adept at capitalizing on the turnovers it was given.

For most of the night, Georgia had only sporadic success running the ball but seemed …

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Sound off on Dogs and Jackets

The Junkyard Blawg will be back late tonight with commentary on the game. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

The Junkyard Blawg will be back late tonight with commentary on the game. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Since tonight’s game between Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs and Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets doesn’t kick off until 7:45, it will be quite late when I get back from Sanford Stadium and my initial post-game Blawg goes up.

So until then feel free to comment here on the game, whatever the outcome.

Go Dogs!

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Dogs fans worry about the defense but have faith in the offense

Whether he's handing off or throwing, Aaron Murray should be able to lead the Dogs to scoring success against the Jackets. (Associated Press)

Whether he's handing off or throwing, Aaron Murray should be able to lead the Dogs to scoring success against the Jackets. (Associated Press)

In my conversations with UGA fans about Saturday’s game against the Jackets, two general themes have emerged.

The first is a conviction that whether Mike Bobo chooses to emphasize the run like last year or have Aaron Murray toss it in A.J. Green’s direction every chance he gets, the Dogs can score points on an inconsistent Tech defense.

The second is a real concern over whether Georgia’s own inconsistent defense, which has had trouble stopping running offenses and running-oriented quarterbacks all season, can handle Paul Johnson’s triple-option rushing attack.

Last season in the upset win over the Jackets at Grant Field, the middle of Georgia’s defensive line came up big, keeping Tech’s Jonathon Dwyer from becoming much of a factor in the game and the Jackets were held to just 205 yards rushing. This year, the undersized middle has been …

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10 favorite Georgia wins over Tech gets an updating

Caleb King runs away from the Jackets in the 2009 win at Grant Field. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Caleb King runs away from the Jackets in the 2009 win at Grant Field. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Last year, in the afterglow of my unexpectedly enjoyable journey to Grant Field, I said I’d have to adjust the list of my 10 all-time favorite Georgia victories over Tech in order to accomodate the Dogs’ 2009 upset win over the No. 7 ranked Jackets.

There are a lot to choose from in compiling such a list, fortunately. As I noted last year, I’ve been fortunate to have followed the Dogs through a wonderful era beginning with Vince Dooley’s first team that has seen Georgia dominate Tech 34-12, with the Dogs twice running off seven wins in a row while the Jackets have three times won two in a row and had one streak of three in a row over Jim Donnan. So there have been many more great days for the Red and Black in the in-state rivalry than there have been bad ones.

But these are the wins over the insects of which I’m especially fond …

1964: Georgia wins 7-0 in Athens. The first of Dooley’s …

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Weighing pros and cons of Dogs opening up against Boise State

Today's Boise State isn't the same program that fell to the Dogs in 2005. (Associated Press)

Today's Boise State isn't the same program that fell to the Dogs in 2005. (Associated Press)

So Georgia’s going to swap out a home game against Louisville in order to open up next season against Boise State in one of those Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

I’m not sure I think this is entirely a good idea, though I can see some of the logic behind it. Georgia gets to dump a weak home-and-home series against Louisville arranged by Greg McGarity’s predecessor, will open the season in the national spotlight (keeping one of its SEC rivals from occupying that spot, though I don’t know how big a deal that really is, recruiting-wise) and will pick up a nice piece of change in the process.

But on the debit side, the Dogs give up a home game Between the Hedges (which is the biggest negative about it from my view as a season ticket holder) and will have to open up what needs to be a crucial turn-around season for Mark Richt’s program by facing one of the hottest …

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Bulldog Bites: Talent drop-off, JUCO players, Dogs winning SEC East in 2011, Blackout and more

Justin Houston is drawing NFL draft attention, but generally Georgia's talent level on defense is down. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Justin Houston is drawing NFL draft attention, but generally Georgia's talent level on defense is down. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Some bye-week discussion points. …

The drop-off in talent for the Bulldogs, particularly on defense, has been the subject of several discussions of late on Sunday’s “Bulldog Brunch,” and The Macon Telegraph provides some context by noting that during Mark Richt’s first five years, when the Dogs were 52-13 and won two SEC titles, Georgia had 32 players drafted by the NFL, 15 in the top three rounds, while in the past five years, with a 42-20 record, only 15 players have been drafted, five in the top three rounds. On the current team, only juniors A.J. Green and Justin Houston are considered first- or second-round picks, if they enter the draft. Senior offensive lineman Clint Boling is seen as the next most draftable player, but as a late fourth- or early fifth-round pick. The drop-off has been especially hurtful on defense. Do you agree that Georgia’s …

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Did anyone really expect the SEC to come down hard on Auburn?

Gene Chizik, getting a Gatorade bath from Cam Newton and other AU players, has taken the "friendly" out of the rivalry with UGA. (Associated Press)

Gene Chizik, getting a Gatorade bath from Cam Newton and other AU players, has taken the "friendly" out of the rivalry with UGA. (Associated Press)

Auburn looks like the SEC’s best shot at having a team in this year’s BCS championship game, which also would help the conference’s chances of getting two teams into BCS bowls. And that translates to a lot of dollars for the conference.

Nick Fairley is a big part of Auburn’s success on the field.

So should anyone really be surprised that the SEC chose not to suggest Auburn suspend its defensive headhunter for the blatant spearing in the back that was only the most egregious of several late hits he delivered to Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray?

Instead, the conference is handling the matter “internally with the institution.” That means any disciplinary action is up to Gene Chizik, the same guy who during the fracas at the end of the game with the Dogs was stirring it up on the sideline and allowing Fairley and one of his assistant …

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Mike Bobo and Mark Richt aren’t why Georgia lost to Auburn

Auburn might have had more sacks had it not been for Aaron Murray's scrambling ability. (Associated Press)

Auburn might have had more sacks had it not been for Aaron Murray's scrambling ability. (Associated Press)

Some more thoughts on Georgia’s loss to Auburn. …

As I mentioned briefly Saturday night, you can quibble with some of Mike Bobo’s calls in the game against the Tigers, particularly when he tried things (I’m thinking Branden Smith in the wildcat or screen passes to the short side of the field on third-and-long) that seemed to have much less of a chance of working than simply throwing it in A.J. Green’s direction.

And while Auburn hitman Nick Fairley (I feel the need for Purell hand sanitizer after just typing his name) is more than a handful to block, the Dogs’ pass protection faltered a bit too often Saturday. The Dogs only gave up four sacks, but that amount might have been close to doubled had it not been for Aaron Murray’s elusiveness and scrambling ability. And besides taking a lot of late hits, Murray was hurried on some key plays, like the too-high pass to Kris …

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A great quarterback and a dirty defender prove too much for Dogs

Auburn's Nick Fairley with one of his hits on Aaron Murray that likely would have drawn a fine in the NFL. (Associated Press)

Auburn's Nick Fairley with one of his hits on Aaron Murray that likely would have drawn a fine in the NFL. (Associated Press)

I don’t think there are many people who would have predicted that after the first quarter of Saturday’s Georgia-Auburn game that Mark Richt’s 5-5 Bulldogs would be leading the No. 2 team in the country by two touchdowns.

While Auburn’s sensational Cam Newton led his team in a quick scoring drive to open the game, the Tigers generally played tight in the first quarter and made mistakes that Georgia capitalized on in answering with three scores.

Unfortunately, the Dogs, who had not been out in front of a good team all season, didn’t quite seem to know how to handle their early success, losing some of their spark offensively in the second quarter as the Auburn offense continued to pound away at a Georgia defense that clearly could not stop Newton consistently.

Still, thanks to stellar play by quarterback Aaron Murray and receiver A.J. Green, the Dogs …

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