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

mike

February 6th, 2011
10:09 am

Noticed Steve Hummer had a nice article on the recruitment of IC. He brings the family end to his office overlooking the field. Then has the offensive walk out line up without a running back and places a jersy with #1. CMR says I see you taking that first handoff out of the Isiah formation in the Dome against Boise State. According to Ms Crowell that sold her son.

Nick Saban meets with the family at nursing home where Ms Crowell works signs autographs for all the senior citizens. No promises of starting or recreating the game just for him. Only development of character, competitor and graduating. Per Ms Crowell ” In the end the family preferred Alabama but Isiah after that last visit was all Georgia and we will support him”

To quote Marcus Dupree after he decided on Oklahoma over Texas. ” I always will regret that I did not listen to my mother”

saban

February 6th, 2011
10:14 am

Hope the dream team is not as inbred as UGA.

Puppies the nightmare begins with the boys from Boise State.

50-8

saban

February 6th, 2011
10:20 am

I believe the Titanic left port with the same optomistic beliefs. One iceburg later reality sank in.

Max

February 6th, 2011
10:26 am

THE YEAR OF THE DAWG IS HAVING A GREAT START!! GOOOO DAWGS!!!

Dogs Smell

February 6th, 2011
10:57 am

Watch how quick this dream turns into a nightmare !

John

February 6th, 2011
11:29 am

Meanwhile, SC has quietly assembled another very solid class. And, if they land Clowney on the 14th, which I believe they will, SC will have a great class. It’s just like when SOS was at UF. He recruited very solid classes that were always ranked below UGA, Bama and LSU. He’s got some serious talent now. I saw a mock draft for Spring 2012 showing 3 SC players in the top 12 picks. Not too shabby.

showmedog

February 6th, 2011
11:56 am

Not a victory of any kind! A victory happens on the field. We have had recruiting classes equal or better than this class several times.
CMR lost 7 games last year. Unbelievable! Inept! Why waste any more time on this coach?

Dumb Dogs

February 6th, 2011
12:31 pm

Wish we had something to be proud about at Tech but there is nothing!!!

Prince of Alabama

February 6th, 2011
12:33 pm

Our players at Bama and Auburn learn how to cook BBQ because there is nothingelse if they don’t make it in the Pros!

Inlet Dawg

February 6th, 2011
12:44 pm

Big name recruits don’t win games,it is what they do with them after they get there.Past history says doing less with more than most any other program.So,our 2012 staff will at least have something to work with.

Joey

February 6th, 2011
12:57 pm

Been a long time supporter of Mark Richt, but in the past year I’ve been a vocal critic, until today.

A couple of weeks ago, a son of a Charlton County High teammate of mine (from the mid-70s), and a teammate of Jay Rome and Malcome Mitchell at Valdosta High drowned in a duck hunting accident. He didn’t have a scholarship offer from UGA but had decided to walk on in the upcoming season.

Mark Richt sent a letter to be read at the kid’s, James Eunice, funeral in which he told James that he had “made the team,” as well as “God’s team.”

Richt also sent a UGA game jersey with Eunice’s name on the back, which was displayed at the service.

I have always thought of Mark Richt as a coach who just was not a good enough sideline coach to compete with the Sabans and Myers, but when a man displayed a heart of gold like he did in this situation, it’s hard to feel anything but admiration for him.

Mrak Richt didn’t do this for exposure or somebody in the media would have learned of it, but just to do what he could for grieving parents and friends.

I will never have a negative thing to say (or write) about this fine man again.

Nothing but the Truth

February 6th, 2011
1:06 pm

Here we go again with all the hoopla about UGA’s stellar recruiting class. But once again they will finish in the middle of the SEC, an average team with great players on paper but average results. It is similar to marrying the beauty queen with a knock out figure only to find out she is frigid in the sack!

DawgVoiceofReason

February 6th, 2011
1:46 pm

This is a great recruiting class but everyone (Dawg fans) need to give them time to develop. Even Florida, which had the number one (by most estimates) recruiting class last year, did not see that immediately turn into success in 2010.

DawgVoiceofReason

February 6th, 2011
1:59 pm

Nothing but the Truth,

Maybe your handle is not so accurate. First of all, all of the teams in the SEC, including UGA, are competing against the very best teams in the country. So, even with some very good recruiting classes for UGA, those classes recently have not been as good as Alabama’s, Florida’s, and last year, Auburn’s (which saw immediate success due to Cam). And last year was not a very good class for UGA. You are false to imply that we are always “middle of the pack” in our results during the season. The Dawgs have won 2 SEC championships in the last 8 years. There is reason to be excited about this class for the future and to expect great things from these guys. Of course, the real test will be how they do on the field.

GATA

February 6th, 2011
2:11 pm

All sounds great, but what about the O-line? Other than getting that giant nose guard for the 3-4, that will be the most critical part of the team that needs improvement. Crowell and Murray are great, but not if it’s jail break every down.

DawgVoiceofReason

February 6th, 2011
2:32 pm

Mike,

That was a bit of an embellishment, don’t you think? There is nothing in the Hummer article to indicate that Coach Richt referred to an “Isiah formation” (sic) and nothing to say that sweet, innocent, Coach Saban approached him or his family with “No promises of starting or recreating the game just for him. Only development of character, competitor and graduating”. While Coach Richt perhaps went beyond his normal approach, he is not turning over the team to Crowell and you better believe that Saban gave his best shot (whatever that means for him) to get him.

1970Dawg

February 6th, 2011
2:43 pm

Joey, Thank you for your post at 12:57. It just shows once again that CMR is a class individual who just doesn’t “talk the talk” but who also “walks the walk” in his daily life. He leads our football program with integrity and I for one am PROUD to have him as our coach.

1970Dawg

February 6th, 2011
2:52 pm

Mike,
It sounds like you are a little bitter about losing IC. Maybe he saw the opportunity to play early at UGA as an incentive. Alabama already had Richardson back next year as well a 4* recruit (Hart?). Saban can offer them all but he can’t sign them all.

Ceasar

February 6th, 2011
3:17 pm

Anything short of a NC in 2012 is a failure!!!!!!!!!

Mex

February 6th, 2011
3:54 pm

Now we just have to hope they all qualify. Crowell sounded like he may be able to give Yech’s former Michael Johnson a run for his money in a spelling contest.

the truth hurts

February 6th, 2011
4:47 pm

You dumb dog muts done get it– Richt had ANOTHER top 10 recruiting class…………..duh. WHAT’S NEW?! Like this is something new??? With the copy cat Auburn “ALL IN” stuff, aka “dream team” he was able to impress 17 year olds like Crowell (lololol- I thought that show-boating with the kid on the in door field was an NCAA violation, but who cares) Richt covered his a___ for the spring, but its the SAME ole undisaplined coach, with lousy strength and conditioning, and a penchant for choosing kids who love to drink and drive more than play football. You know what “stupid” is??? Doing the same damn thing, over and over and over again, and expecting a different result. There are 4 teams in the SEC west that can clean your clock the next 2-3 years, so you best hope Richt can find a way to beat UF and SC……..enjoy a great recruiting class– let me know the first time he translates that top 3 talent into something special. Aint seen it yet, and while you dogs chew on the bones he has thrown you, Bama, Florida (twice), LSU, and even AUBURN have won National Championships since his arrival at dog patch central. Good luck. wuff wuff

UGAgrad71

February 6th, 2011
5:09 pm

Maybe the new O-line coach can build a fire under those 300 pounders and UGA mans-up. Use JJ as a blocker in short yardage and goal-line plays with BF 265 pounds also blocking. Nothing like moving the pile back 5-7 yards per play and controlling the clock. The other team cannot score without the ball. Personally, I would be happy to see the dogs win and do it because they have the socalled talent and are coached up and play to expectations.

RAID

February 6th, 2011
5:16 pm

Will Friend to be named next OL coach….Most likely tomorrow…..I for one am happy with it…..

Dawg Tired

February 6th, 2011
5:20 pm

As a Dawg stuck up in a foreign nation called North Carolina, I’m hoping what I’m seeing in NC State basketball is not what I’m seeing in UGA football. NC State just had a top 5 recruiting class in basketball that has turned to mush because of absolutely no coaching. It seems clear that Sidney Lowe is in his last year as State’s BB coach because he has been unable to win with what all the so-called experts said was a very talented recruiting class. Is it possible we are about to see the same thing with Coach Richt? I hope not (and actually am inclined to think not because CMR has been a winner most of his time at UGA), but it seems the question is worth asking. Searles leaving is a good thing IMHO. Not happy about the linebacker coach bailing out after one year. Are these defections indicative of things to come?

Dawg Tired

February 6th, 2011
5:25 pm

Obviously the blogger known as THE TRUTH HURTS has some difficulty with writing the English language. However, my real concern is just what is he doing on this site which is quite clearly aimed at UGA fans, which just as clearly he is not. Maybe he also has trouble comprehending the English language.

NOBODYYOUKNOW

February 6th, 2011
5:55 pm

I’m no dog hater or lover, but its good to see the UGA fans are optimistic. Howver it is not likely the freshman class is gonna come in and blow everybody away. Its a building process. This great recruiting class just shows the respect and appreciation these kids have for UGA and the SEC. I often wonder why some UGA fans can’t seem to get their pokes in at GT. That program is not even CLOSE to the caliber of any SEC program. If you kick GT’s but as you usually do its no big deal folks. Its like beating Buford H.S. No wait, Buford could most likely beat Tech. G.T. needs to drop football and start a chess team or maybe stick ball. But anyway good luck next season dawgs.

uga's girl

February 6th, 2011
6:02 pm

Dawg Tired, I was thinking the same thing. He attempted to “WOW” us with the word penchant, but could not spell or form a complete sentence. I found it quite entertaining.

So “The Truth Hurts”, please have some knowledge of what you speak before blabbering. I will give you a hint, it’s the “definition” of insane, not stupid. Maybe we will work on your spelling & grammar after the Super Bowl. :-)

tell me again

February 6th, 2011
6:09 pm

this is a great class and there is much to be excited and pleased about – but I tell you what, the biggest plus for us right now is Coach Terschinski in the weight room working these kids butts off. HE is going to make a difference in getting these kids built up and ready to play football. Our conditioning goals have been misguided the last few years / lots of impressive numbers on walls that did not translate into football performance – Coach T will get us back to being big, ugly and mean……GO DAWGS!!!

Disgruntled yellow Jacket

February 6th, 2011
7:01 pm

I gave head to Vince Dooley!

bruce mac

February 6th, 2011
8:31 pm

According to all of you idiots 96 wins in 10 years, 2 SEC Championships, 3 appearances, 7 wins in 10 bowls, more NFL players than any other team, etc. etc. is nothing. God, you people are so ignorant it is embarrasing.

Boolean Logic

February 6th, 2011
9:28 pm

I’m sure I’ve seen this goon’s mug on a poster in the post office.

Richt better alert the bail bondsmen in Athens.

TheItalianDawg

February 6th, 2011
9:30 pm

Im not buying all this hype and frankly not very optimistic about the next season. I will when Georgia start 2-0. talk to me then.

Arabica

February 6th, 2011
9:31 pm

It’s kind of sad to see all the Dawg fans getting so excited this year (just like the year before, the year before that, etc.). How long is it going to take for UGA fans to realize that UGA is simply no longer relevant in the SEC? In the national picture, UGA isn’t even a blip on the radar, and hasn’t been since the preseason #1 ranking two years ago.

Sit back and be grateful for the six or seven wins you’ll get every year. Coaching genius Mark Richt may take you to 8-4 or even 9-3 occasionally, but Florida will still win the SEC, meaning no BCS bowls and no top 10 final ranking. Most years, UGA will be very lucky to finish in the top 25, and only after a big bowl win over a nobody opponent.

It’s a different world now, and Dawg fans need to adjust their expectations downward to reflect reality.

Unfortunately nothing is going to change until UGA changes its mediocre coaching. That’s where the difference is, and that’s why everyone outside Dawgtard Nation just laughs at Dawg fans getting so excited year after year about what a great recruiting class UGA gets. It doesn’t matter how many blue chip high school players go to UGA, they simply don’t get the coaching they would get at Florida or Alabama, to name two schools whose programs are far ahead of UGA. And that’s not going to change as long as Mark Richt is in Athens.

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality. And mediocrity and irrelevance. 

Disgruntled Dog Fan

February 6th, 2011
10:02 pm

We got the best recruits in America. We will win the National Championship next season. If we don’t “fire the “suntanman”, fire the cheerleaders, fire the equipment man, fire the strenght coach, fire the maintainance people, fire the crimmnal justice teacher. No excuse for not winning the SEC EVERY YEAR. Pay the Athens Clarke County cops off and tell em to leave our players ALONE! We’re JAWJA. Damn good DOGS.

damngooddawg!

February 6th, 2011
10:07 pm

The best signee for the Dawgs since Reggie signed at Tech.

David Granger

February 6th, 2011
10:42 pm

We sure needed some good news, and it’s nice to see something go right for us. But that being said, when was the last time we DIDN’T have a good recruiting season? Being a good recruiter is one of the things Mark Richt has always done well.
Now we need to see it pay off:
1. OFF the field, with a big reduction in our players having legal troubles, and
2. ON the field, with the talent translating into WINS!

hunker down

February 6th, 2011
10:57 pm

I think Jenkins is the missing piece and I think it is a hand and glove fit. He can get immediate playing time in the SEC and a program with a history of putting players in the NFL.

UGADawg83

February 6th, 2011
11:21 pm

Folks Richt is the coach we have. Nothing is going to change that between now and the end of the 2011 season. So its time to quit the fussing and moaning and get behind the team and the coaches. True Dawgs will want the team to succeed. What do you moaners want more a good 2011 season or a new coach? As for me and most sane Dawg fans I think a great 2011 is the answer.

DAWG555

February 6th, 2011
11:23 pm

@Arabica….How many different names have you used to copy and paste this same post? Who do you think you are fooling? haha

Preston

February 7th, 2011
12:39 am

Does anyone know how many seasons Jenkins played at MGCCC? I hope just 1 so he’ll be here for at least 2 seasons.

UGA FRIEND

February 7th, 2011
3:54 am

Steve Hummer wrote an interesting article describing how CMR used a dramatic ploy to get Crowell. Anyone know why he does not allow comments?

UGA FRIEND

February 7th, 2011
4:11 am

CMR pulled a great dramatic ploy in geting Crowell to sign. Although, other coaches may have used it in the past, this is the first time I have seen a coach set up an offensive formation, dress the recruit in helment and jersey and ask him if he is ready to fill in the missing player in the backfield.

Dawg79

February 7th, 2011
6:22 am

Friend, you like that ploy? Or does it embarrass you, like it does me. 6-7 for a school like Georgia, in the great recruiting grounds of GA, and you all think it’s a turnaround, they got this great class? It’s just the result of a crap season, and coaches selling immediate playing time. But I have to say these kids do seem like quality guys all around, we are lucky to have them, but it’s not because of the coaches doing a great job. Well maybe they did great cause their jobs depend on it big time.

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

February 7th, 2011
8:44 am

Coaches gotta coach:
Come on Dude, you telling me 90 wins in 9 years, think that probably exceeded expectations…Nobody could satisfy you, not even the blow out of Hawaii….Got to agree with tech people who come on here, we do have some stupid fans….

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

February 7th, 2011
8:47 am

Arabica:
You sound like another Lonesome Loser…Who did that song with you in mind, maybe the Little River Band…..

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

February 7th, 2011
8:51 am

Dawg79:
Go ahead and give the coaches their due…With the season we had last year and to be able to recruit a group like this, WOW…says alot about Georgia and our coaching staff….Don’t be a Lonesome Loser like Arabica….

Paul

February 7th, 2011
10:27 am

To compare Mark (what have I ever won) Richt to Paul Bryant is crazy. If you ever win anything you need to still keep your mouth shut. If you win a lot then comeback and tell us all about your trophies. UGA is the best at winning the mouth trophy. You can see that …can’t you?

DawginLex

February 7th, 2011
10:45 am

What no one is talking about is the fact that UGA 2011 will have some seriously talented depth on the defensive line.

That is what it takes to win in the SEC. I don’t believe we have had it since 2003 quite honestly. We have had some talent but I am talking talent and depth.

Sven Ottke

February 7th, 2011
10:47 am

Congrats UGA! Preseason National Champs for 23 years in a row. Then reality sets in…..and every other program laughs at your gimics. Dream Team? What a joke.

bill

February 7th, 2011
11:27 am

No, beating Florida is a major victory for UGA (& CMR)…would like to see it happen again before I get old!