Archive for December, 2010

Dogs’ bowl showing pretty much sums up the season: Lousy

Aaron Murray saved his worst game of the season for the Liberty Bowl. (Associated Press)

Aaron Murray saved his worst game of the season for the Liberty Bowl. (Associated Press)

A mediocre season came to a pathetic end for the Georgia Bulldogs Friday as a talent-loaded SEC offense that had prided itself on regularly scoring 30 or more points a game failed to even score a single touchdown against Central Florida of Conference USA.

Unlike most of the rest of the year, Aaron Murray, wearing gloves in a game for the first time this season, looked every bit the freshman in the Liberty Bowl, throwing two interceptions and nearly throwing two or three more picks.

An offensive line that had underperformed most of the season turned in one of its worst outings, especially in the second half.

And playcaller Mike Bobo made no sustained attempt to establish a running game, allowing the Knights to blanket the Dogs’ receivers for much of the day when they weren’t blitzing Murray as he searched in vain for an open man.

Of course, maybe Bobo was taking a cue from his boss, Mark …

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Dogs’ bowl history includes some unforgettable games

Has a Georgia team ever looked better than the Dogs did against Colt Brennan and Hawaii? (Associated Press)

Has a Georgia team ever looked better than the Dogs did against Colt Brennan and Hawaii? (Associated Press)

Skipper’s Knights might consider Friday’s Liberty Bowl game against Georgia their “Super Bowl” and the biggest game in Central Florida history, but from a UGA perspective it’s the same sort of scenario as last season’s Independence Bowl. In other words, not likely to go down in UGA annals as one of the Dogs’ more celebrated postseason match-ups.

Last year, as Georgia prepared to cap off another mediocre season with a mediocre bowl trip that nobody could get excited about (but which actually saw UGA sell more tickets than this year’s game!), I reminisced about my favorite bowl wins by the Dogs besides the obvious choice of the national championship win over Notre Dame. I opted for the Jan. 2, 1984, upset of the undefeated, No. 2-ranked Texas Longhorns in the game that spawned the oft-used phrase, “it’s still 10 to 9 in Dallas.”

This year, I decided to let some other UGA …

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Is it tough to get excited about a 6-6 Georgia team’s bowl trip?

LibertyBowlI’m always grateful for another chance to see the Dogs play football, but it appears a lot of UGA fans are having some trouble getting excited about this week’s Liberty Bowl match with Central Florida.

Only 4,800 tickets have been sold so far, despite Memphis being a definite step up in bowl destination from last year. (At least the Dogs didn’t find out, like Tech did, that if there’s anything worse than playing a bowl game in Shreveport, it’s losing a bowl game in Shreveport!)

Still, a bowl game, any bowl game, is a plus for any season, right?

Well, not in the eyes of my pal Scott, with whom I had an interesting discussion last week. Scott said he is “philosophically opposed to playing in this bowl.” He takes the point of view that UGA should refuse to participate in lower rank bowls in order to make the point to the players that they’re serious about setting a higher standard in Athens.

Scott says that if Mark Richt “really wants to hammer home the ‘this is uncceptable’ …

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If A.J. Green leaves early, what’s his place in UGA football lore?

If the quarterback could get the ball anywhere near A.J. Green, he usually came down with it. (Associated Press)

If the quarterback could get the ball anywhere near A.J. Green, he usually came down with it. (Associated Press)

A.J. Green tweets he isn’t gone yet, no matter what Channel 2 reports, but you’re not likely to find many observers of the Georgia football program who expect A.J. to be putting on the red No. 8 jersey next season.

He’s already considered a lock to go in the first round of the NFL draft, so about all he could do by returning for another season in Athens is run the risk of an injury that could endanger his pro career.

Oh, I’d love it if he came back. And if he shocks the world and does that, he’ll instantly elevate himself to the highest level of Bulldog Nation folk hero status. But I don’t expect it to happen.

So, assuming Green is gone after this season, what will be his place in Georgia football history? As was the case with Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, he won’t have helped bring a championship to UGA before leaving early. And generally it’s the players who …

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Who’s up for a trip with the Dogs to Ann Arbor?

A trip to the Big House certainly would be memorable for Dogs fans. (University of Michigan)

A trip to the Big House certainly would be memorable for Dogs fans. (University of Michigan)

Returning from vacation for the short holiday week, I’m greeted by lots of rumors about one or two Bulldogs players likely being academically ineligible for the bowl game (is that why Caleb King was working as the fourth-string tailback in Monday’s practice?) and talk of Greg McGarity possibly scheduling some big-name Midwestern teams down the road.

Since we don’t yet have any official word on the former, let’s talk about the latter.

In a story first reported by the Dawgs247 site, McGarity confirmed that preliminary discussions have taken place with Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State about the prospect of one or more of them scheduling a home-and-home series with Georgia in the future.

“We’d love to do a home-and-home with a Big Ten or Midwestern school that has a rich tradition,” McGarity said. “We’re going to work as hard as we can to make that happen. …

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Putting a UGA slant on all these coaching changes

A former UGA player coaching the Gators ... who'da thunk it? (Associated Press)

A former UGA player coaching the Gators … who'da thunk it? (Associated Press)

Will Muschamp, huh? Like just about everyone else, I didn’t see that coming. It’ll be interesting to watch what having a former Dawg in charge in Gainesville does to the rivalry.

And if Muschamp manages to lure Kirby Smart away from Alabama for a lateral move as defensive coordinator, as rumors have him trying to do, what would that say to Mark Richt, who was unable to do the same with Smart last year? Think that would get Smart drummed out of the Georgia Lettermen’s Club?

It’ll be fun to see where Gus Malzahn winds up, too. And how long Dan Mullen remains at Mississippi State.

Meanwhile, what did you think of the UGA team of the decade they announced Saturday night? Do Ben Jones and Clint Boling from the underperforming current offensive line really belong on that list?

So there’s a lot to talk about and you can continue to do that here, even though I’m on vacation this week. The Blawg will return …

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What’s first-year verdict on Grantham’s defense?

Was it just a personnel problem, or should the Georgia defense have made more progress this year? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Was it just a personnel problem, or should the Georgia defense have made more progress this year? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Whether you tend to spin these things positively or negatively, Mark Richt pretty well summed up the defensive picture for the Dogs this week when he said Georgia still has “a ways to go” and “we’re still not playing championship-level defense right now.”

Since the end of the regular season, there’s been a lot of discussion among fans about the Georgia defense this year and the fact that its only real improvement over the Willie Martinez era was in takeaways.

All the offseason talk about a more “aggressive” style of play got fans excited about the arrival of Todd Grantham, but overall, the stats this season weren’t much different from the year before. Aside from Justin Houston, the Dogs weren’t very successful pressuring opposing quarterbacks. And Georgia ended the year dead-last in the conference in third-down defense.

Granted, the personnel wasn’t ideal …

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What does Urban Meyer’s departure mean for UGA?

Mark Richt probably won't miss his annual Jacksonville meetings with Urban Meyer, but is the Florida coach quitting really good for UGA? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt probably won't miss his annual Jacksonville meetings with Urban Meyer, but is the Florida coach quitting really good for UGA? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

As word spread Wednesday afternoon of Urban Meyer’s resignation and speculation began centering around Dan Mullen heading the list of potential replacements, I noted on Twitter and Facebook that I was unsure whether this turn of events was good for UGA or not.

The feedback I got from fellow Bulldogs fans pretty much ran along the lines of this being possibly good for Mark Richt’s program in the short-run, but not good long-term.

Here’s the thinking: No matter who takes over at Florida, there’ll be at least a year of transition, even if it’s Mullen, who has only been gone from the program a couple of years and is considered by many to have been the genius behind Meyer’s phenomenal success there as well as at Bowling Green and Utah, where he also worked was Meyer’s key assistant. Some recruits might get jittery and if …

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Latest installment in Clean Old Fashioned Hate (Updated)

Clean Old Fashioned Hate reigns every week. (Collegeflagsandbanners.com)

Clean Old Fashioned Hate reigns every week. (Collegeflagsandbanners.com)

I’ve seen this referred to as Hate Week II since Georgia and Georgia Tech meet in men’s basketball tonight, the Lady Dogs already having fallen to the Lady Jackets on Sunday.

But let’s face it, when it comes to the Dogs and Jackets, every week is Hate Week.

You’ve no doubt seen the supporters of the Institute show up in this forum from time to time, taking their shots at UGA. A year ago most of their posts were ridiculing Georgia’s bowl game destination: Shreveport.

Typical was a comment from a GT fan calling himself Toe Meets Leather, who opined: “I think the greatest challenge facing UGA will be concentrating on Texas A&M, given the tremendous distraction posed by leisure time in the great metropolitan area of SHREVEPORT! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

Funny, I’m not seeing too many posts comparing the respective teams’ bowl destinations this year. Both teams finished with 6-6 records, but …

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Picking the highlights of a frustrating season for Dogs

A.J. Green's touchdown catch against Colorado was one for the ages. (Cliff Grassmick / Dailycamera.com)

A.J. Green's touchdown catch against Colorado was one for the ages. (Cliff Grassmick / Dailycamera.com)

Can you think of 10 really great plays by UGA’s football Bulldogs this year?

In a 6-6 regular season, the honest answer is probably not. But that hasn’t stopped the official UGA Web site, Georgiadogs.com, from letting fans vote in a countdown to select their 10 favorite plays of this season, which will be shown on the Dec. 26 edition of “Inside Georgia Football With Mark Richt” and posted online Dec. 28. You can see the 25 nominated plays (yes, they actually came up with that many!) and vote by going here.

The first play listed is pretty much a lock to finish No. 1 and that, of course, is A.J. Green’s amazingly acrobatic one-handed circus catch for a touchdown in the otherwise eminently forgettable game against Colorado. That one will be on UGA highlight reels for decades to come.

The other nominated plays are:

Justin Houston recovering a fumble forced by Akeem Dent and then …

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