Dogs know all too well spring can be a mean season

Zach Mettenberger wound up playing junior college ball in Kansas after his spring break transgressions last year. (Butler Community College)

Zach Mettenberger wound up playing junior college ball in Kansas after his spring break transgressions last year. (Butler Community College)

The Georgia Bulldogs are on spring break, and for those of us who are emotionally invested in the fortunes of the Red and Black football program it’s sort of like waiting up for your teenager to make it home safe and sound on New Year’s Eve.

Mark Richt’s team has scattered far and wide (which, come to think of it, is probably a good thing, as away from UGA they’re much less likely to run afoul of campus cops lurking to find unsuspecting athletes breaking rules about emerging from alleys and such). So far, thankfully, the only report we’ve gotten from any off-campus adventures is the four Dawgs who stopped to help at a wreck on on I-95 outside Miami on their way to Key West.

But while the alleged robbery crew from Auburn appears to have assured UGA of not winning a second consecutive Fulmer Cup, we all remember last year and the kind of havoc spring break can wreak on a depth chart. And so it is that Zach Mettenberger, whose height and big arm looked so promising in last year’s G-Day game, now resides on the roster of the LSU Tigers after spending the past season throwing for 2,678 yards and 32 touchdowns in leading Butler Community College to the JUCO national championship game.

It’s been a quiet year so far for the Bulldogs (knock on wood), with the only real eyebrow-raiser of late being Washaun Ealey’s brief suspension from the team for missing some early morning running. Richt said the suspension was aimed at getting Ealey’s attention, but I suspect it also was meant to send a message to the rest of the team that the coach known more for spreading love than invoking fear isn’t messing around any more when it comes to discipline.

A good example of the benefits of emphasizing the tough in tough love, came up in the basketball Dogs’ pre-NCAA press session in Athens Wednesday. Mark Fox and some of his players talked about the mess the coach inherited from Dennis Felton, who seemed to constantly be having to kick players off his team. Trey Thompkins noted that when Fox first arrived “we were a team full of problems. We had little things as far as academics and taking care of stuff off the court. Coach Fox came in and helped us fix it.”

The fix involved Fox taking his team to Sanford Stadium and making them run the steps. Said Thompkins: “That was enough for all of us to wake up. … He took us to the stadium and we ran all of our problems off.”

Fox said he thinks that’s one reason Georgia is back in the NCAA tournament. “You can’t be successful consistently on the basketball court if you’re not successful off it. I think there’s a real correlation between guys who can function as students and as good citizens also play[ing] well. I think if you have issues off the floor, all it does is take your time and energy and focus away from playing the right way on the floor. So we did talk a great deal about trying to become issue-free, socially and academically.”

Substitute football field for basketball court and the same thing applies. I don’t think it’s at all coincidental that the past two disappointing seasons of play by Richt’s Dogs also saw a rash of disciplinary problems away from the field.

Let’s hope while the players are enjoying spring break they keep one thing in mind: Coach Joe Tereshinksi and those Sanford Stadium steps await back in Athens.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

131 comments Add your comment

Wilbur

March 17th, 2011
10:53 am

Wilbur

March 17th, 2011
10:53 am

HECK YEAH SON!

KingDawg

March 17th, 2011
10:54 am

Running those steps seperates the problem children from the real Dawgs

Greg

March 17th, 2011
10:58 am

1 day away from the beginning of the tourney and you are bloggin about football players on spring break?

Delbert D.

March 17th, 2011
11:04 am

Zach Bieber?

Nick

March 17th, 2011
11:09 am

Nope, off the field problems don’t mean you can’t win on the field. I remember the Miami Hurricanes, and how they were crazy off the field, but on the field were winners. Meyer’s Championship teams have been among the most penalized teams in the NCAA and he had a lot of off the field problems. This is one of those myths that don’t lead to wins. If this myth were true, Army, Navy, Air Force would win the Championships each year.

C Town Dilly

March 17th, 2011
11:13 am

Right on there Bill. Richt was makign an example out of Washaun Ealey, for sure. How do you explain a missed run warranting an indefinite suspension otherwise. Ealey happened to be the guy Richt wanted to send a message though to the rest of the team. Will it translate to a better season? I doubt it. Richt kicked Mettenberger off the team last year, sending a message, and the team went 6-7.

Athens= God's Country

March 17th, 2011
11:15 am

One week after our boys were good samaritans and the readers get a Link. I repeat, a link. How about a story? Thats right good news is boring and bad news is what sells papers. Barf

Nick

March 17th, 2011
11:19 am

Yessiree, Florida has been the 11th or 12th MOST penalized team in the SEC 4 out of 5 last seasons. Also led the SEC in off the field arrests. Meyer went on a pretty good run during those years. This is one of those myths that Richt spends a lot fo time correcting, that don’t translate to wins.

mgdawg

March 17th, 2011
11:20 am

At every college, holidays are a scary time for coaches. No matter what fans want to think, coaches can’t control everything a player does, and recruits that are perfect human beings and great athletes are very few, usually you have to give up a little on one to get more of the other. Winning cures all, if richt can pull out a good season next year, you will hear a lot of this stuff dissapear.

Nick

March 17th, 2011
11:21 am

Navy has among the least penalized teams almost every year. No Championships yet.

D A DoubleU G

March 17th, 2011
11:22 am

Being on Spring Break this week, I open the AJC and the Red & Black cautiously every morning.

Tgeezy

March 17th, 2011
11:28 am

Read their twitter posts! It will be a miracle if none of them go to jail. They are tweeting about using drugs, binge drinking, and women….Richt needs to ban twitter….and obviously…from the posts I’ve seen….football is the last thing these kids care about….hopefully the freshmen come in and make a difference because these upper classmen just dont get it….

Spanky

March 17th, 2011
11:29 am

Delbert, I was thinking the same thing! LOL

Does anyone know when Big-Bad Jon J gets in the mix? I saw an interview of him, and this guy is just itching for gameday! Kwame also bulked up and will be ready, so the D-line should be hot!! Go Dawgs!

D A DoubleU G

March 17th, 2011
11:32 am

Tgeezy…..

Please link examples of the twitter posts you speak of…….

Thought so.

By the way, your Techies have lost 9 of the last 10 to the Dawgs.

D A DoubleU G

March 17th, 2011
11:33 am

Tgeezy……

You know what the difference in a UGA player’s twitter post and a Tech player’s twitter post is??…….

Well, you said it yourself…. “women”.

Ed (The Original)

March 17th, 2011
11:42 am

I believe that Georgia, Florida, and many other schools (especially in the SEC) purposefully recruit the talented bad boys so they can win. The formula worked for Oklahoma in the 70s and 80s, Miami and FSU in the 80s and 90s, and Florida in the 00s. For whatever reason it has not worked that well for Georgia, except for a short run in the last decade. I had hoped that Richt’s recruiting philosophy would change a bit – keeping in mind the definition of insanity – but I’m not sure it has.

Dean Tate

March 17th, 2011
11:43 am

Nick

March 17th, 2011
11:50 am

Georgia’s problems are not penalities and arrests, Florida has won doing both.

dawgfan

March 17th, 2011
12:10 pm

If a UGA football prospect or player tweeted about drugs and binge drinking it would be plastered all over the front page of the AJC and Schultz would have wrote 4 blogs about it. Give me a break. Check the front page of the AJC right now. Donnan is a creditor in some bankruptcy case and it makes the freaking front page? My God who cares. How is that even news? I bet if Mark Richt farted in public it would make the front page of the AJC. It is out of control.

SSIgator

March 17th, 2011
12:11 pm

“But while the alleged robbery crew from Auburn appears to have assured UGA of not winning a second consecutive Fulmer Cup, ”

Good grief Bill, this is only mid-March. UGA has plenty of time to catch and pass Auburn in that regard. Come on boys – win another one for Damon.

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
12:21 pm

“C Town,”
Richt “made an example” out of Ealey? Really? How exactly?

By DOING NOTHING to Ealey after Ealey basically spat in Mark’s face?

Mark gave punishment to Ealey (about darn time), and Ealey just ignored it…if I had done the same to any of the coaches I’ve ever had, I’d have been dismissed, immediately!

Mark is soft and so is his team…yet all of you keep making excuses for him…

HOW MUCH MORE MEDIOCRITY DO I HAVE TO WATCH???

teewest

March 17th, 2011
12:36 pm

Yeah Bill mean season pppfffttt!!! Never mind that, Bill what the hell was the “Slippery Slope” nonsense about. You got Saban, Miles, CHIZIK and Spurrier AND you had URBAN and you are saying Richt is on a slippery slope???? OK OK Billy look at me here buddy, listen very closely. The next time someone tells you that you need more readers on your blog. Try something other than serving us fried richt it does not taste good and besides Markus Bradley has exculsive rights on that!! and about today’s blog yeah spring mean….. spring bad wooo

Columbus Dawg

March 17th, 2011
12:36 pm

Surely this gator can’t be this frigging stupid. We will see how the very average, pos EX- Bulldog Muschamp does with the group of felons in the mosquito dump known as Gainesville. FU is about to become a has been program with this clown and fatboy Weiss. LMFAO.

Hankie Aron

March 17th, 2011
12:39 pm

Back at it again SSIgator- don’t you have a UF blog to attend or are you a closet Dog fan?

DC

March 17th, 2011
12:54 pm

Bill..seems you can’t keep AU out of your mouth…I know its tough knowing the last time you saw your boys win the NC you had color in your hair….

1eyedJack

March 17th, 2011
12:54 pm

Spare the rod and spoil the child….but then again, boys will be boys. Keep your fingers crossed or better yet, find a red-haired boy and rub his head.

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
1:03 pm

Why is our fanbase so pathetic?

All I hear is “At least we don’t pay our players lol!” or “At least our players aren’t arrested for REAL crimes!” or “At least we can beat Tech!”, etc.

The FACT is, our players have no discipline, and more importantly, WE CAN’T BEAT ANYONE OF NOTE!

Alabama and LSU are among the cleanest programs out there, and they are also MUCH better than we are. Do they have more talent? No way!

They have better coaches!

RICHT IS A LOSER! Quit defending him!

IRISH DAWG

March 17th, 2011
1:11 pm

AUBURN THE CRIMINAL UNIVERSITY, 4 FOOTBALL PLAYERS ROBBING THE POOR. AUBURN THE FULMER CUP WINNER FOR ALL TIMES.

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
1:15 pm

Auburn also won the MNC, “Irish Dawg!”

And to be honest, I could stomach having guys do something completely crazy like this in a completely isolated incident compared to the stuff we have in Athens…guys who constantly break the law, repeat offenders for “minor” stuff. Sure, it may not be anything major, but it shows that they don’t take Mark seriously when (if?) he threatens them with punishment.

The only guys he has truly punished are bench-riders and freshmen.

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
1:16 pm

Don’t misunderstand me…I don’t want any of our players to commit any crimes, much less violent ones.

My point is an isolated incident like this is less indicative of “loss of institutional control” than numerous “minor” transgressions, including repeat offenders.

dawgfan

March 17th, 2011
1:30 pm

Timbodog=TECHIE. I must admit that his disguise is better than most, but all the tell tale signs are still there: 1). Can’t get his facts straight. Repeat offenders? What the hell are you even talking about clown? 2). An oddly random reference to wins over Georgia Tech. 3). Stating the obvious by talking about how a bunch of other SEC schools have won national titles while UGA has not, as if UGA fans are completely oblivious to this point.

He sounds exactly like a Techie. Its really not that difficult to sniff these dolts out folks.

Thanks.

saban

March 17th, 2011
1:32 pm

Any losing system puppies. Not enough krispy kreme`s in Athens to eat.

Boiss State 50 Dawgs 8. And Boise State only has 2 star players.

saban

March 17th, 2011
1:32 pm

A 4 win season with a loss to Coastal Carolina.

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
1:37 pm

Yeah, wanting for us to win OBVIOUSLY makes me a “Techie.”

Your fellow loser “DA DOUBLEU” was the one who, FOR NO REASON, listed the fact we beat Tech all the time. As if I care.

TECH SUCKS…I honestly could not care less about their POS program. They’re not close to our level in any respect, except wins/losses, which is PATHETIC.

Please prove my arguments wrong rather than attacking my supposed allegiance. I have not missed a home game since I attended school in Athens (class of ‘99). But this is getting old…

The rest of the conference is leaving us IN THE DUST

UGA Insider

March 17th, 2011
1:41 pm

Boosters keep telling me that this summer will be the Summer of Scandal in the SEC. There will be recruiting violations, firings and many many suspensions. It’s going to be sad to see but coaches say that Auburn and UT and in the NCAA crosshairs and are going down but they will shed a black eye on all SEC programs. Everyone I talk to says the upcoming months will be the darkest ever for the SEC and will change everything including Mike Slive, who will be picking up trash this time next year. Sorry SEC fans but please brace yourself…it’s going to get ugly.

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
1:43 pm

As for repeat offenders, ever heard of Caleb King or Washaun Ealey?

Both guys have run afoul of program rules (not necessarily the law) more than once, yet where is Mark’s punishment?

But again, the discipline and “Fulmer Cup” crap are all beside the point. If we were WINNING (thank you Charlie Sheen), I would not care.

But we’re not. We can’t win on the field and the players have NO respect for the coach…everyone pats Mark on the back for recruiting well, but where the heck else are all these great players from the state of Georgia gonna go? Only so many can go to Alabama and Auburn.

Loran, Whatayagot?

March 17th, 2011
1:49 pm

Richt and Fox are in the “Tough Love is the Real Love” camp. Unfortunately, the players (athletes) do not see that until a few years later. Pray for them to make wise choices during spring break.

DC

March 17th, 2011
1:50 pm

UGA insider..you aren’t inside anything…kinda like a tech fan…

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
1:52 pm

Particularly sickening to me was the story confirmed in a police report that Caleb King refused to pay back a young woman who loaned him $500 then threatened to post nude pictures of her online if she didn’t leave him alone.

Mark just swept it under the rug, just like his mentor, Bobby “boys will be boys” Bowden. I used to expect more out of Mark, especially as a man who has a daughter of his own.

Just a sick story, but when you don’t expect your players to act like men, this is what happens.

dawgfan

March 17th, 2011
2:10 pm

Oh, so you’re sickened by that but not by 4 men robbing some people at gunpoint in their own home? I see. offenders.”

ven if you aren’t a Techie, a point I refuse to concede, you are a joke and need to shut your piehole.

Thanks.

1eyedJack

March 17th, 2011
2:12 pm

Somebody forgot to take his lithium this morning.

Anybody who would loan $500 dollars to Caleb King or anybody else for that matter without a receipt and collateral is an idiot and deserves to lose their money, and shouldn’t be surprised when they do.

Ballgame

March 17th, 2011
2:14 pm

Hey “Timbodog” take a zanny and calm down

Ohio-on-the-Gulf Dog

March 17th, 2011
2:16 pm

Thanks, Bill. Good article.

Neither Richt nor Fox can turn back the clock to the 1960s, but disclipline and stronger and better conditioned players will translate into a surprisingly great 2011 for Georgia.

Fox has already accomplished much. Richt seems to be leading his Dogs in the right direction as well.

I am impressed, too, with what the players themselves are saying. Even the “Dream Team” seems mostly quite well grounded and not so arrogant as previous years’ recruiting classes.

Reading what I see out of Athens these days makes me optimistic and engaged in ways I have not been in a long, long time,

Spanky

March 17th, 2011
2:17 pm

Can anyone here stick to the subject?! Sheesh!

7576DAWG

March 17th, 2011
2:30 pm

UGA Insider
This is one time I hope what you are saying comes true. Auburn has been getting away with major violations since the Shug Jordan days. Even though they have been punished in the past for their transgressions Auburn continuously breaks the rules in order to compete. What amazes me the most is how they can have even an average recruiting year. It defies logic why some of these 4 and 5 star recruits still sign with Auburn.
It’s time the NCAA got some backbone and cleaned up College football. The SEC governing body were bought off years ago. They are a none factor in this and are worthless.

Frederick L. Fine

March 17th, 2011
2:31 pm

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
2:31 pm

I’m embarrassed that someone who calls Athens home would carry himself in that manner.

1eyedjack,
I’m sure your daddy taught you better than that. If not, then I feel sorry for you.

Alphare

March 17th, 2011
2:36 pm

“The fix involved Fox taking his team to Sanford Stadium and making them run the steps”.

“That was enough for all of us to wake up. … He took us to the stadium and we ran all of our problems off.”

Bill, it’s so easy! why don’t you tell CMR about it?

Timbodog

March 17th, 2011
2:37 pm

Bottom line: none of this matters if we’re WINNING.

Short of an all-out crime spree, no lack of discipline would make waves if Mark were winning like he SHOULD be.

We are the ONLY school in the state. The only SEC school with a better talent base than us is Florida, but they have to compete with FSU and Miami, not to mention UCF (who now owns Mark) and other smaller schools. WE ARE THE ONLY MAJOR STATE SCHOOL. We have nearly-unlimited resources, unbelievable fan support, great facilities, and everything else you could possibly want.

Why are we losing to Auburn and Alabama and giving ground to SOUTH FREAKIN CAROLINA?