Archive for March, 2011

Questions loom as Dogs open spring practice (updated)

Marlon Brown, your time is now. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Marlon Brown, your time is now. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Well, the Ray Drew affair has reinforced one thing for us. Just as the rule in nutrition is that if it tastes great, it’s usually bad for you, the same goes for college football: If it’s something that would make a fan smile and say, “That’s great,” then it probably violates some NCAA rule.

So now we know: A recruit isn’t free to have whoever they want at their signing ceremony. Next thing we’ll hear is that the bulldog puppy Isaiah Crowell held up has been declared a “representative of the university’s athletic interests.”

But enough of that. Drew and the rest of the 2011 recruits who didn’t enroll early won’t be around yet, but Mark Richt’s Dogs begin spring practice Thursday, followed by an 11-day break before the sessions pick up again, finally culminating in the G-Day game on April 16. And while the ultimate answers to some of the compelling questions looming over the state of the program won’t be answered until the …

Continue reading Questions loom as Dogs open spring practice (updated) »

File the latest Ohio State absurdity under Believe It Or Not!

Jim Tressel apparently outranks Ohio State University's president. (Associated Press)

Jim Tressel apparently outranks Ohio State University's president. (Associated Press)

I’m sure I wasn’t the only colllege football fan left slack-jawed while reading about the latest scandal involving future UGA opponent Ohio State.

And I’m not talking about Jim Tressel being suspended for a measly two games and fined $250,000 by his school after it came out he’d conducted a massive cover-up last season of NCAA violations by five of his players — the same five Tressel lobbied the NCAA not to suspend until this season so he’d finally have a chance to get a win over an SEC team in a bowl game.

And my amazement wasn’t even due to the incredible disparity between the protracted, kid-gloves handling of the OSU investigation compared with the speedy hammering of A.J. Green by the NCAA for a similar infraction as committed by the Buckeye players, resulting in Mark Richt having to open a season without his main offensive threat while Tressel got to arrange his team’s sanction so …

Continue reading File the latest Ohio State absurdity under Believe It Or Not! »

Which Bulldog belongs in the College Football Hall of Fame?

Jake Scott is again on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame. (University of Georgia)

Jake Scott is again on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame. (University of Georgia)

The National Football Foundation has released the names of the 79 former players and nine coaches on the ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, and three Georgia Bulldogs are included: Jake Scott and Scott Woerner, both defensive backs, and offensive lineman Matt Stinchcomb. All have been nominated before.

The ballots will be distributed to more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers. Their votes will be tabulated and submitted to the organization’s Honors Court — made up of athletic directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and members of the media — which will make the final selections for induction, to be announced in May. Usually a dozen or more players are named each year to the Hall of Fame, which is moving from South Bend to Atlanta in 2013.

To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named to one of the First Team …

Continue reading Which Bulldog belongs in the College Football Hall of Fame? »

Bulldog quotables: On fourth-quarter struggles, suspensions and more

Mark Richt still thinks Washaun Ealey can be great. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt still thinks Washaun Ealey can be great. (Associated Press)

It was an interesting week for the Bulldog Nation, with a big win for the basketball Dogs, some personnel moves in football and the first fresh comments we’ve had in a while from Mark Richt and his team as they get ready to start spring practice on Thursday.

Here are a few Bulldog quotes from the week that stuck with me, some of which might prompt further discussion …

“We didn’t do mat drills this year because the workouts kind of eliminated that. Every day is a mat drill. Every day you’re working hard. Doing these workouts, we’ll definitely be a stronger fourth quarter team. If you look at last year, we really couldn’t finish in the fourth quarter. I feel like these workouts will eliminate that fourth-quarter struggle.”

— Tavarres King discussing Georgia’s new workout regimen, which made the old mat drills obsolete, and confirming what we’d all concluded last season: The Dogs were not in good shape …

Continue reading Bulldog quotables: On fourth-quarter struggles, suspensions and more »

Moving Ogletree leaves a big question mark in Dogs’ secondary

The move of Alec Ogletree to linebacker leaves a big question mark at safety. (Associated Press)

The move of Alec Ogletree to linebacker leaves a big question mark at safety. (Associated Press)

The personnel moves announced Thursday in Athens cleared up some questions and raised others that will linger well into August and possibly on into the season.

Not surprisingly, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is already counting on recently signed JUCO player John Jenkins to plug the middle at nose guard, meaning DeAngelo Tyson moves to his more natural position at defensive end. That’s good for the pass rush.

The most notable switch, though, is Alec Ogletree going from the safety spot he won late last season to inside linebacker, which will allow Jarvis Jones, the much heralded transfer from Southern California, to play outside linebacker.

This ups the speed quotient considerably at the depleted linebacker position and, as Grantham said, moves “two guys that can make plays closer to the ball. Kind of around the action a bit more.”

That sounds good, but the departure of …

Continue reading Moving Ogletree leaves a big question mark in Dogs’ secondary »

UGA needs to be more than a ‘basketball’ or ‘football’ school

The Dogs won big despite Trey Thompkins being hobbled by a toe injury. (Associated Press)

The Dogs won big despite Trey Thompkins being hobbled by a toe injury. (Associated Press)

Wednesday night’s 20-point win over LSU to close out the home schedule at the Steg was a big step on the road to where UGA athletics needs to be.

With Trey Thompkins hurting from a toe injury, Mark Fox’s Dogs flipped their usual scenario of playing great in the first half and collapsing in the second half. Instead, Georgia started cold, missing all but two shots and falling behind 13-4 before coming back to lead 30-25 at halftime and then blowing out the Tigers in the second half, led by Gerald Robinson’s 16 points.

That ensures a winning SEC record for the Dogs, gives them their first regular season 20-win finish that counts since Tubby Smith’s final year as coach and all but locks up an NCAA tourney spot.

It’s not a sure thing until the bracket is announced (unless you win your conference tournament), but as Fox put it after the game, “Nine wins with a chance of 10 in this league, OK? …

Continue reading UGA needs to be more than a ‘basketball’ or ‘football’ school »

Washaun Ealey still has a big role to play for the Dogs

Washaun Ealey still looks to get valuable playing time for the Dogs. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Washaun Ealey still looks to get valuable playing time for the Dogs. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Thank goodness “indefinite” turned out to mean less than three weeks when it came to Washaun Ealey’s suspension. Now let’s just hope that this very public dressing-down got Ealey’s attention and he continues to “take care of his business” in what Mark Richt calls “the Georgia way.”

Because despite having the future star lined up in Isaiah Crowell, the Dogs very much need Ealey on their roster this season.

The most obvious reason is because you can never have too many tailbacks, as Ray Goff learned during the nightmare season of 1995 that ended his coaching career, when he went through half a dozen backs because of a ridiculous string of injuries. Crowell missed games in high school due to injury, so even if he does emulate Marcus Lattimore and surge to the top of the depth chart right away, having an experienced, talented (albeit underperforming) junior like Ealey next in line is a big …

Continue reading Washaun Ealey still has a big role to play for the Dogs »