Archive for February, 2011

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 …

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Richt dangles possibility of Dome start for Crowell

Isaiah Crowell could start in the first game of the season, Mark Richt says. (Associated Press)

Isaiah Crowell could start in the first game of the season, Mark Richt says. (Associated Press)

Most of the time, college football coaches downplay the possibility of true freshmen competing right away, or hedge about it at best.

Mark Richt wasn’t doing any hedging Wednesday when he talked with ESPNU about running back Isaiah Crowell, who had just signed to become a Georgia Bulldog.

Richt said Crowell will contribute “heavily” this coming season.

“I expect him to come right in and compete right away,” the coach said. “I wouldn’t be shocked to see him running that rock in the Dome against Boise State on the opening play if he does what he’s supposed to do.”

Talk about giving an incoming player some incentive …

Some might see going with an untested back in a big, nationally televised game as a gamble. Will he have picked up all the nuances of Mike Bobo’s offense by then? Can his pass protection possibly have progressed enough strictly in practice?

Probably not. Doesn’t …

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Dogs fans able to ‘Dream’ again

Welcome to the Bulldog Nation, Isaiah! (Associated Press)

Welcome to the Bulldog Nation, Isaiah! (Associated Press)

Will Isaiah Crowell start as a freshman and do for the Georgia Bulldogs what Marcus Lattimore did for South Carolina last year?

Or could he wind up as one of those highly touted recruits who never live up to their potential like Jasper Sanks, an earlier five-star running back UGA signed out of Columbus’ Carver High School?

There’s a third scenario, of course. Crowell could wind up as another in a long line of great running backs on mediocre teams. After all, as great as Crowell looks, he still has to run behind mostly the same underperforming offensive line that Washaun Ealey and Caleb King have played with the past couple of seasons. Who knows, maybe the new OL coach or the beefed up conditioning program will make a difference this year.

We have no way of knowing which way Crowell’s career at Georgia  will go, but for today it’s time for big smiles across the Bulldog Nation.

And not just because of the signing of …

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UGA’s McGarity not ‘caught up’ in recruiting hoopla

Greg McGarity points out that National Signing Day is just part of the process of turning things around at UGA. (Associated Press)

Greg McGarity points out that National Signing Day is just part of the process of turning things around at UGA. (Associated Press)

I’m not generally a recruitnik, but I’ll admit I’ve gotten a lot more wrapped up in the countdown to National Signing Day this year than in most seasons past.

It’s funny, because only a handful of the incoming freshmen who’ll sign with UGA Wednesday are likely to have a chance to make an immediate impact on the field this coming season. But two of the positions where that’s most likely just happen to be in areas of the game where the Dogs drastically need an upgrade — on the defensive line and in the running game.

So while I’m not one of those fans who subscribe to recruiting services and spend all year fretting or celebrating the utterances of 17- and 18-year-old kids, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mark Richt’s recruiting efforts of late and names like Isaiah Crowell and John Jenkins.

Georgia needs those guys to play right away. And beyond …

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