Mark Richt’s Dream Team a major victory for UGA

John Jenkins will be a Dog! (File)

John Jenkins will be a Dog! (File)

It’s been a roller-coaster week in the Bulldog Nation.

From the still exhilarating high of Isaiah Crowell topping off a terrific National Signing Day for the Dogs (good work, Mike Bobo!), we dipped down with the unexpected departure of inside linebackers coach Warren Belin (apparently prompting a reshuffling of the defensive staff), plunged a bit with the quick death of another young mascot (R.I.P, Bruce) and then soared again today with the announcement from badly needed nose guard John Jenkins that he’s signing with UGA.

Jenkins may not be as highly rated in terms of stars by his name as some of his brethren in this Bulldogs recruiting class, but at 6-foot-4 and 340 pounds he looks to be one of the key pieces as the lack of a big nose guard who can command two blockers was the central weakness of Todd Grantham’s debut UGA defense.

Yes, it remains to be seen whether all these guys who signed on with the Dogs will pan out, but there’s no way to overemphasize how important this recruiting class was to the psyche of the Bulldog Nation.

It won’t count in the record book, but Wednesday saw the first victory of the season for UGA, and a mighty big one at that. Just a month ago things were looking pretty bleak, as the Dogs had turned in an excruciatingly bad bowl performance, whiffed on a couple of all star recruits and been dumped on verbally by a big-name football alum.

Then the Dream Team thing got back on track with Jay Rome and Malcolm Mitchell and picked up momentum with Ray Drew, and before you knew it the Dogs were a preseason ESPN Top 20 team and fans had something good to hold them over until the revamped team takes the field.

The offseason turnaround is a biggie for Mark Richt because after a losing season that ended in dismal fashion he was starting to lose even his dwindling hard-core supporters in the fan base. Richt and his staff still have to coach ’em up and somehow put an end to the off-field discipline troubles that have plagued the program, and his job likely still will be on the line this fall. But at least the fan base won’t have been damaged by eight months of nonstop moaning.

As the Sporting News’ Dave Curtis put it after Crowell’s signing, “Georgia enjoyed its best football day since its 2008 Sugar Bowl blitzing of Hawaii.”

The glass-half-empty crowd can note such a statement actually is a backhanded indictment of how bad things have been since that Sugar Bowl team finished No. 2 in the country and Georgia entered the next season atop the rankings, only to disappoint.

The rest of us will enjoy the good feeling engendered by the Dream Team and hope that Richt really does prove to be the next Comeback Kid.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

171 comments Add your comment

George

February 5th, 2011
1:31 pm

Jenkins is as big as Shaun Rogers or almost as big as Ted Washington, 6′ 4”, 340, this guy is athletic as Mt. Cody.

Exactly what Coach Grantham needed to improve the run defense. It’s year 2, and like Alabama did by getting Cody, expect Georgia’s run defense to really improve, we’re talking top 10 in the country as a genuine possibility.

With Crowell improving the run offense, 2011 is looking like it just might be the kind of year Richt’s been dreaming about for a long time.

UGA Alumnus

February 5th, 2011
1:34 pm

JDAWG

February 5th, 2011
1:34 pm

FIRST!!! GO DAWGS THEY WILL BE A BEAST HOPEFULLY IN THE EAST NEXT YEAR!!

L-Dawg

February 5th, 2011
1:34 pm

GLORY GLORY TO OLE’ GEORGIA!!

CONGRATULATIONS TO MARK RICHT AND HIS STAFF FOR THE HARD WORK THIS RECRUITING SEASON.

WELCOME TO DAWG NATION ALL YOU YOUNG PUPS!!!

210 DAYS TIL KICKOFF!!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!!!

SouthSide Dawg

February 5th, 2011
1:34 pm

Congratulations to the UGA Coaching Staff for a job well done. Go Dawgs!

CSA

February 5th, 2011
1:34 pm

This guy is probably the most important recruit for immediately improving our defense in 2011. Great job to the coaches and school.

JDAWG

February 5th, 2011
1:35 pm

Okay Third! Still not bad

The Hedge

February 5th, 2011
1:37 pm

Love it – Jenkins will contribute immediatly, not so sure with Crowell…hope so…

tuck fech

February 5th, 2011
1:39 pm

Nice to have something positive happening in the football program for a change. Now if we can just get a mascot to live longer than two years…

Coaches gotta coach.

February 5th, 2011
1:40 pm

This is the first time I can recall anything about UGA’s football program exceeding expectations since Richt won his first SEC championship nearly a decade ago. Finally, something good is going on in Athens.

St. Bernard

February 5th, 2011
1:41 pm

glass half full: I hope he doesn’t get chop blocked versus Boise.

Michael

February 5th, 2011
1:41 pm

This may sound crazy, but

with this recruiting class, everyone doubting us, having Aaron Murray in year two, and a home opener coming in the Georgia Dome against Boise State, I dont think ive been more excited about georgia football…

who was that guy who wore #8 for us last year? no…not the dog…the receiver

D A DoubleU G

February 5th, 2011
1:42 pm

So is this class signed/sealed/delivered, or are there any other players out there we are waiting to possible hear from??

OoltewahDawg

February 5th, 2011
1:42 pm

Great pickup for the Dawgs. Might move them up a spot in the recruiting rankings. As for the discipline problem, anyone breaking the law should be forced to go one-on-one against Jenkins! That would put a stop to a lot of the shenanigans!

Dumb dawgs

February 5th, 2011
1:42 pm

“Mark Richt’s Dream Team a major victory for UGA”

Nothing like UGA claiming a “moral” victory OFF the field.

D A DoubleU G

February 5th, 2011
1:44 pm

Michael….. your sentiments are shared with me.

I cannot wait for the beautiful Spring day in April, to attend G-Day and have a Terrapin Rye Pale Ale in downtown Athens after the game.

Optimism is high in Dawg Nation. The best thing you can do is ignore the haters (pure jealousy right now) this offseason. They cannot stand the fact that even in our down times, we find ways to LOVE our program.

GO DAWGS!!!!

TampaDawg

February 5th, 2011
1:46 pm

Gotta say I’m extremely excited about Jenkins, Crowell, Drew, Mitchell, Swann, Rome, etc but now that we have them all, time to see what happens on the field. If the DAWGS can go 2-0 beating Boise and USC then they have an excellent chance to have a special season.

Kdawg

February 5th, 2011
1:47 pm

I think we should have faith in our coach just like these young men showed.

GO DAWGS!

Yamadawg

February 5th, 2011
1:52 pm

Ditto L-Dawg and South Side Dawg! Thank you players for choosing to become the future of the Red and Black!

GO DAWGS!!!! GATA!!!

Palm City Dawg

February 5th, 2011
1:58 pm

This is BIG for Grantham and the DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Disgruntled Yellow Jacket

February 5th, 2011
2:01 pm

But….. but…… um…… I mean…… um……… but…….

Paul Johnson beat you in 2008!!!!!!!

Brucerugby79

February 5th, 2011
2:02 pm

stay positive and get behind em-the Georgia dome will be rocking-like I said before it is all about momentum rip UGA8 GO DAWGS!!!!

Disgruntled Yellow Jacket

February 5th, 2011
2:03 pm

We got Vad Lee!!!!!! He once threw a complete pass in a Middle School scrimmage!!!!!!

tony

February 5th, 2011
2:04 pm

The West(Ala,LSU,AU and Miss St) is getting stronger every year so maybe the Dawgs will be the team to save the East.

Cuz

February 5th, 2011
2:05 pm

Now that we have the Serial Killer Nose Tackle, let’s see what this 3-4 can really do.

Macclenny_man

February 5th, 2011
2:09 pm

This is the best signing of the group. This group is a great class. Richt and company I really didn’t think you had it in you. But now no more excuses!! Got to GATA on the field and that means coaching also. No more Mr. Conservative. Go all out on every play!!! But this could mean a 7 new starters on defense!!! We really could have used another big DT in this class in case of injuries.Richt now we have the ammo lets us the gun!!! New slogan for this year PTA!!! Pound Their A__!!!!!!!

ColoradoDawg

February 5th, 2011
2:09 pm

No prima dona’s here. All these kids know they have to perform on the field. One thing I have noticed from watching these kids interview is character and respect. I’m glad Dickson and Bray went elsewhere cuz I saw none of that with them. We need leaders on the field in the huddle something we havent seen or had since the Davids. Great day and week for the Dawgnation even all the way out west.

Go Dawgs!!!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather Reilley, Bryan Madden, Sean Womble, Eric McDonald, AJC Junkyard Blawg and others. AJC Junkyard Blawg said: Mark Richt’s Dream Team a major victory for UGA http://bit.ly/eIGm2a [...]

Snotbubble

February 5th, 2011
2:13 pm

Another great sign……..don’t forget about Jarvis Jones. Go Dawgs !!!!!!!!

D A DoubleU G

February 5th, 2011
2:14 pm

When will Jenkins enroll?? Will he be available for Spring practice. We need to get him as many reps and practice time as possible before the Dome.

Seabass

February 5th, 2011
2:14 pm

Guys I love it….what a class. Down here in Gulf Shores all we’ve heard is War Eagle and Roll Tide. Well now we’ve got a lot to yell about. And you can bet we will. Cam, pay me now, and Nick the penalty freak are gone. It’s our time. So let’s really stand tall for Georgia and help the team knock those chin straps off. Glory – Glory – Glory………..GEORGIA

Gravy Train

February 5th, 2011
2:17 pm

Bill,
You are the biggest of the drama queen flip-flopper contingency of so-called Bulldog fans. Get on board and support the current players and coaches or get gone. You also would really be better suited by getting a hair cut and a shave. Based on your current picture, you fit the bill to a tee for the description of the negative stereotype Bulldog fan.
Maybe this year you can refrain from embarrassing yourself and the Bulldog Nation by picking personal vendettas with college aged athletes and coaches for a sport that has passed you by. This is not 1980.

Sam

February 5th, 2011
2:17 pm

Before everyone gets too excited, UGA still needs an OL coach that can get those guys ready to play. If Crowell is that good, he will make an avg line look good, but if the line is bad, Crowell is not going to be able to save the day.

ColoradoDawg

February 5th, 2011
2:18 pm

Only Lemay and Connely can participate in Spring D a dub u g

Enasty357

February 5th, 2011
2:20 pm

Seems like everybody hates to see the the DAWG fans happy! Florida fans always talkingt on OUR blawg talkin, about our team. If you are a true fan ( GA or FLA fan), you would know that as dominant as the gators have been the the last twenty years, GEORGIA still leads the series!! This is why i’m so puzzled. I’m a Athens, Ga born and breed fan and I can’t understand what other SEC teams get out of posting negative hate on the AJC. Most live in Georgia anyway (All of the ALA/AUB fans lining in GA). DAWG fans we do know we have the best state in the SOUTH period. We’ll get our time when the good lord gives it to us!! We all bleed RED. WELCOME Big John Jenkins!

GO DAWGS and thanks again Mr. Bill King!

ColoradoDawg

February 5th, 2011
2:22 pm

i hear you d a dub u g about reps for Jenkins but he already has a leg up because he’s been in the 3-4 d for 2 years. He knows his gap assignments already. I have a good feeling about him.

Disgruntled Yellow Jacket

February 5th, 2011
2:24 pm

We beat Duke last year!!!!!!

Destin Dawg

February 5th, 2011
2:24 pm

Get behind MARK RICHT !!!! these kids have…. Bear Bryant had a couple down years when he delegated too much to his asst’s.. win the 1st 2….. it’ll be a special season… Go Dawgs !!!

Gravy Train

February 5th, 2011
2:25 pm

And if the support for coach Richt is so diminshed then why isn’t it showing up on the ledger books? I’m just happy that the people in charge pay little regard to your rants and moans. Furthermore, I’m certainly glad that the best high school talent in Georgia doesn’t listen either.
There is a word for your type Bill: troglodyte. There’s time to change, but after 40+ years of clinging to the past, I doubt it will happen.

ARdawg

February 5th, 2011
2:40 pm

As glad as I am with this class I still can’t go “all in” because I have never thought talent was the problem. It’s still coaching in my mind but, I’m glad Jenkins is aboard. Hopefully, at least at Nose we’ll see some immediate impact. Richt has a tendacy to withhold and attempt to save freshman talent.

Welcome aboard John. I look forward to seeing you make a difference.

GO DAWGS!!

D A DoubleU G

February 5th, 2011
2:40 pm

Gravy Train,

Get over yourself, scout. Bill is the FAN-blog writer, where he is required to write from the perspective of the fan, not the unbiased writer.

If you do not want to hear what he has to say, then you shouldn’t go out of your way to click the link which opens his blog, and then read the material written, then read the comments, take the time to comment, then keep hitting “refresh” to see if you got a response.

So to save yourself the anger and stress……….. go away.

Thanks,
Dawg Nation

DawginOH

February 5th, 2011
2:41 pm

Man, is this huge for our defense!! I can’t even express how excited I am for kickoff. HBTD!!!

Palmetto State Dawg

February 5th, 2011
2:54 pm

When can JJ join the team? He needs to start working out hard now to be ready for the season. He and Geathers will be a nice rotation at the nose position. Now we can move Bean Anderson back to OL where belongs. Can someone tell me what our starting O line will be in 2011?

Exley DAWG

February 5th, 2011
3:09 pm

awesome job coacing staff!

Exley DAWG

February 5th, 2011
3:09 pm

coaching ……..that is

extrapoint

February 5th, 2011
3:10 pm

Thanks to the coaches and new recruit Drew for your great recruiting. I
still feel that Coach Richt and Ex-AD Evans never meshed which had an effect on his coaching. Looking over one’s shoulder at the person who holds your job in their hand, can cause problems with your concentration.

D A DoubleU G

February 5th, 2011
3:15 pm

The team this will help us outthe most against is Georgia Tech.

We did a pretty good job of shutting down their Option last year, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KDrPUcUsFY

Where Tech (much like South Carolina) got us last year was running their big men (Anthony Allen and Marcus Lattimore) straight up the gut, chipping away 5 and 9 yard pickups at will.

With Jenkins at the Nose, and Linebackers like Richard Samuel and Jarvis Johns blitzing up the middle, that type of run game will not happen against us.

This was the most important recruit in terms of instant impact. AND WE GOT HIM!!!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!

jalexan49

February 5th, 2011
3:19 pm

Good job Coach Richt and staff. It is nice to be a die-hard Georgia fan and I’m really excited about the possibilities.

I believe with what you have coming back, and thank God for the juniors who returned, coupled with projected talent that is in this class, if they can blend well together, stay focused, committed to each other and the program along with zero, zero, infractions and/or violations(distractors) it could be something special this year and for years to come.

I can’t help but feel that the”Junkyard Dogs II” have just arrived and it’s exciting!!!! Best of luck next year and beyond……

H-Town Dawg

February 5th, 2011
3:20 pm

Great, let’s get to work now. CAN HE TRANSFER NOW AND GET IN THE OFFSEASON PROGRAM OR DOES HE HAVE TO WAIT TILL THE SUMMER?????

Disgruntled Yellow Jacket

February 5th, 2011
3:23 pm

But we beat UGA in 2008!