UGA football. Athens. What’s not to love about G-Day?

Don't look for any surprises from Aaron Murray and Mike Bobo in Saturday's G-Day game. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Don't look for any surprises from Aaron Murray and Mike Bobo in Saturday's G-Day game. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Athens, where we were pretty much immersed in all things UGA 365 days a year, but I never understood why a lot of folks in the Bulldog Nation don’t get too excited about the spring G-Day game.

OK, granted, it’s really just a glorified scrimmage and the plays called are either ultra-vanilla or throwaway bones for the crowd you’ll never see during the regular season like Mike Bobo briefly trotting out the wishbone a few years ago.

And quite often the “stars” that shine the brightest in the intrasquad game don’t go on to make much of a mark that fall when the competition is real. Remember Carlton Thomas tearing it up at tailback a couple of springs ago?

Still, I love the G-Day game and always have.

The main reason can be summed up in three words:

Georgia. Bulldogs. Football.

Doesn’t matter what time of year it is or whether everyone’s wearing the school colors. It’s a chance to watch the Dogs play in Sanford Stadium (where you can sit on the 50-yard-line if you get there early enough!). It helps if it’s a glorious spring day like the past couple of years, but even the cool, drizzly G-Days I’ve sat through (and there’ve been several) have been mostly enjoyable outings.

Of course, some G-Day games are more interesting than others. Last year everyone was focused on the quarterback battle between Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Logan Gray, though even then the spring results (Mettenberger looked like he ought to be the starter) didn’t pan out in the long run.

Vince Dooley used to like to gimmick it up on G-Day, with the Dogs playing against alumni teams sometimes, while Mark Richt has mostly kept his games akin to a controlled scrimmage in the past. Sometimes that produces a snoozefest, like the ESPN-televised game two years ago, and other times you get a lot of scoring like when Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno led the Reds to a 34-21 win over the Blacks in 2007.

This year, however, Richt has dumped the No. 1 offense vs. No. 2 defense and No. 1 defense vs. No. 2 offense approach he’s used in the past and allowed the teams to be drafted by players.

Unfortunately, some of the fun of that approach has been dampened by all the injuries, with 10 players — including tailback Washaun Ealey — unlikely to make it onto the field Saturday. The plan is for them to play 12-minute quarters, but the last time the Dogs had a G-Day game with severe depth problems in 2008, the announced 10-minute quarters got cut back to just 8 minutes. Hope that’s not the case Saturday.

Richt has said the teams are free to use any plays Georgia has already used in the past and the defense can blitz as much as it wants, but there’ll be no hits on the quarterbacks, of course, and no live kickoffs or rushing the kicker on field goals and PATs.

Still, we will get to see whether Hutson Mason really looks like the clear choice as backup to Murray over Christian LeMay, and the wide-open competition at receiver is of interest. Marlon Brown, here’s your latest chance to show some sign you’re finally going to live up to your advance billing.

G-Day never has been a stadium-filling proposition like the spring games at Bama, but since they went to free admission (with canned food donations encouraged) a couple of years ago the games have drawn in the 40,000 range.

And if you’re looking for a family outing, springtime in Athens is hard to beat, plus you can make a full day of it as part of the “It’s Great to be a Bulldog Weekend.” The stadium gates will open at 11, the lettermen’s flag football game with great Bulldog names from the past is set for 11:15 and the Red and Black teams will play at 1 p.m., with former UGA quarterbacks Stafford, D.J. Shockley, David Greene and Eric Zeier participating in a skills competition at halftime. Then there’s a softball game at 2:30, an open house at the renovated Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall from 3 to 5:30, a tennis match at 3:30, and the Diamond Dogs take on Florida at 5 p.m. at Foley Field.

If you still can’t get motivated to join me in making the trip to Athens despite all of that, the G-Day game will be televised live by CSS and will be available online via ESPN3 in areas outside the CSS footprint. It’ll also be carried on most of the usual Georgia Bulldogs radio network, including WSB-AM.

Big deal or not, I’m looking foward to it.

Go Dogs!

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

96 comments Add your comment

11Dawg

April 15th, 2011
10:56 am

How about the fact that we’ll be missing our entire starting secondary?

Newman

April 15th, 2011
11:10 am

No rushing PAT or field goals? We never do…

Athens= God's Country

April 15th, 2011
11:11 am

Bulldogs don’t get too excited because the game has been played during The Masters. About time they fixed that.

Ween tonight–> G Day tomorrow. Come on 5:00!

Dawg Gone

April 15th, 2011
11:12 am

The best thing about G day is that is ends the spring session, everything from now on it heading toward fall and the season OPENER! Go Dogs!

CHDawg

April 15th, 2011
11:14 am

Bill might have missed the memo: GDay is cancelled this year between the hedges. It will be held at the hospital instead.

ut96

April 15th, 2011
11:18 am

I wonder if the conference would ever consider allowing teams to play a non-conference opponent for the spring game, maybe someone that you never play, even it’s in a controlled scrimmage type environment. it would generate alot of interest, no to mention revenue for the SEC.

Ed (The Original)

April 15th, 2011
11:22 am

“but I never understood why a lot of folks in the Bulldog Nation don’t get too excited about the spring G-Day game.

“OK, granted, it’s really just a glorified scrimmage and the plays called are either ultra-vanilla or throwaway bones for the crowd you’ll never see during the regular season like Mike Bobo briefly trotting out the wishbone a few years ago.”

Bingo.

Brett

April 15th, 2011
11:22 am

Used to go to G-Day, until I figured out, it doesn’t matter to Richt. Bill, so true, Mettenberger sure did terrific last Spring games, including a bring the house down G-Day performance, then of course, as we all suspected, Richt basically said “Oops, I wasn’t serious about G-Day and Sprign games mattering to anyone. Murray will be our starter, and would have been, regardless of what happened to Mettenberger”.

So, I don’t go anymore. No one I know is going this year, after the 6-7 season, and 3 seasons in a row of less wins, we’re just waiting out Richt’s ultimate firing.

Brett

April 15th, 2011
11:26 am

Looks like the plan is for Bobo to try and impress everyone with Murray’s accruacy and ball protection this Spring, instead of Murray’s scoring prowess.

Look for Murray to throw 20 passes, 5 yeards or less, complete 70%, o int’s, and maybe 1 td. That’s what he’s done in the other 2 Spring games so far.

Those kind of results, 1 td a game, won’t win Georgia any games this season.

Painful Truth

April 15th, 2011
11:28 am

What’s not to love? Well, let’s see…

1. Four different SEC teams have won the last five BCS championships.

2. UGA was not one of those teams.

3. During that period, UGA did not win the SEC championship.

4. During that period, UGA did not even win its SEC division.

5. Red panties.

In other words, UGA has sunk into total irrelevancy both regionally and nationally.

Did I mention the Fulmer/Richt Cup!

So why is UGA paying Mark Richt millions of dollars a year?

Dawg Gone

April 15th, 2011
11:35 am

Painful Truth..the Painful Truth is we will again beat you and the Bugs like rented mules…Brett could you be a bigger tool? Mett assaulted a woman and then lied to his coach about it….his not playing had nothing to do with football and favorites.

Rad Penties

April 15th, 2011
11:39 am

Dawg Gone needs to get out of his mobile home and try to get his old job back at the Waffle House.

Or sell red panties at Sanford Stadium.

Brett

April 15th, 2011
11:46 am

I can already hear Richt sppech before July.

“Even though Mason played amazing in all 3 spring games, and Murray couldn’t score, Murray played better in the practices no one saw. So Murray will be the starter.”

Reall, that’s the only thing Richt can say, because we all know, when it counts, the team Murray’s on, in a pressure game, always loses. 0-7.

G-Day? Loss. 0-1.
6 ranked teams Murray started against. 0-6.

Murray’s record in pressure games so far:
0-7.

Brett

April 15th, 2011
11:48 am

It’s so painful watching the Dogs lose so many games with Mason & Lemay on the roster.

Terry

April 15th, 2011
11:51 am

NCAA investigating Auburn’s ‘Tiger Prowl’

The Birmingham News made an open-records request to Auburn seeking documents related to any individual NCAA violations from last year’s Tiger Prowl, the attention-grabbing recruiting practice that Auburn coaches used while traveling the state. Auburn denied the request, saying that Tiger Prowl is the subject of a “pending investigation” and that Alabama law therefore does not require release of the records at this time.
“The NCAA is not reviewing Tiger Prowl as individual violations. They are reviewing the entire event as a whole,” Auburn Senior Associate Athletics Director Scott Carr wrote in response to The News’ request. “Therefore, the investigative phase of this event is still on-going and we are currently working with the NCAA.”

Auburn did not say what the NCAA is investigating in relation to Tiger Prowl. Auburn declined to comment further.

jay

April 15th, 2011
11:54 am

I always go as one never knows when it might be the last time to
sit in Sanford Stadium.

Dawg Gone

April 15th, 2011
12:01 pm

Rad Penties really… listen you toothless wonder, your Mama called and needs you to bail Pa out of jail..again.so leave the blow up doll alone for a little while, head on out of the basement, fire up the 1992 Pinto and enjoy the day.

Top Row Dawg

April 15th, 2011
12:13 pm

Damn good read Bill. Look forward to all Dog news.

DawginLex

April 15th, 2011
12:13 pm

SSDD

Trolls need to get some new material.

Of course, they aren’t too bright so they don’t realize.

tide roll

April 15th, 2011
12:13 pm

Ya’ll have got to be concerned about your offensive line depth. You’ve suffered significant losses over this year and last and counter it with the 9th rated offensive line class in the SEC. You can’t continue to ignore the problem and win. Bobo needs to set aside his personal preferences and go after these in state studs.no matter what the color.

Mountin Dawg

April 15th, 2011
12:14 pm

Not able to make the G-Day game due to sitting with elderly parent. Have to settle to watching it on the tube. Go DAWGS! Looking for a whole lot better in 2011.

DawginLex

April 15th, 2011
12:15 pm

tide roll you are an ignorant racist

1eyedJack

April 15th, 2011
12:24 pm

Strap ‘em up boys, and let’s get after it.

dawgfacedboy

April 15th, 2011
12:26 pm

Lemay needs to redshirt. Is it just me or do they never throw to Marlon Brown?? I guess maybe he isn’t doing much in practice?? Either way, as much as he was hyped…a jersey is being wasted.

"Good People"

April 15th, 2011
12:27 pm

Now with spring practice over the players can concentrate on catching up in the Fulmer
cup standings.

Terry

April 15th, 2011
12:30 pm

Mettenberger has already been anointed “The Mett-siah”, a sophomore with promise and Newton-like measurables (6-foot-5, 250 pounds), a gift dropped into the laps of the Tigers. Mettenberger is There only because he was kicked off Georgia’s team a year ago. He eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual assault after being arrested outside a Valdosta, Ga.-area bar. A judge said Mettenberger touched the breasts and buttocks of a female student.
Jefferson’s biggest threat enrolled at the semester. Mettenberger, like Newton, arrived as a No. 1 JUCO prospect. Last season he threw 32 touchdowns against only four interceptions for Butler County (Kan.) Community College. While he has three years of eligibility and plenty of promise remaining, Mettenberger is still third on the depth chart. Who knows about his ability to check off at the line against an SEC blitz? At first glance on Saturday, his balls seemed to linger in the air a bit too long.

DawginLex

April 15th, 2011
12:33 pm

Mett will NEVER play at LSU.

He is 3rd string for 2011

He has been recruited over for next year.

Murray is better. So is Lemay. So is Mason.

George Stein

April 15th, 2011
12:38 pm

Let them get their work in, have some fun (fans and players), and, most importantly, get out healthy.

Best of luck to y’all this year. I hope the rain gets out before the game tomorrow.

Louie Kablooie

April 15th, 2011
12:41 pm

I cant wait to see Boo Boo’s new wrinkles in the 3rd and long draw plays. Hope it will be displayed at the G day game come saturday.

Gypsies, Mutts and Thieves

April 15th, 2011
12:46 pm

Hope things will be secured for the G day game. One thing is for certain no coaches or spies from other teams will need to be there to steal our play book because nothin has changed in that dept..

Joe

April 15th, 2011
12:46 pm

Brett: Hopefully you wont be going to any games this fall either….it’s so called fans like yourself that make us true fans want to puke! You are a moron….find another team jerk!

Gypsies, Thuggs and Thieves

April 15th, 2011
12:48 pm

I like this handle better!

Hankie Aron

April 15th, 2011
12:57 pm

Brett- Affixing all of UGA’s struggles on Murray is ASININE! Murray was the most consistent performer last year, and oh yeah has better 1st year starter number than ANY other QB in UGA history….. yes that includes Stafford, Greene, Belue, Bobo, and Zeier. Please try to watch some games this year before you spout off some Toro Dung about Aaron Murray.

Hankie Aron

April 15th, 2011
12:58 pm

aw

April 15th, 2011
1:05 pm

Just transfer Marlon!

RichmondDawg

April 15th, 2011
1:30 pm

This year, it seems the kids who haven’t enrolled yet might make a bigger difference than some of those playing tomorrow, like Crowell, Swann, Mitchell, Drew, etc…

Atlanta87

April 15th, 2011
1:37 pm

Is it too early to start saying, “Maybe next year!” ?

Ca dawg

April 15th, 2011
1:38 pm

Brett: just put your head down on your desk and take a nap, as you won’t be missed at the g day game. If you hate Richt more than you love Georgia, you might consider investing in a GT sweatshirt.

Coachdawg 2000

April 15th, 2011
1:50 pm

Want to see Samuel bust heads and watch Malcome tote the rock before Crowell assumes his rightful position as beastmode TB.

RxDawg

April 15th, 2011
2:02 pm

This biggest reason I love the spring game? You can walk in for next to nothing and have a seat on the 50 yard line. It’s laid back and informal, compared to the jarbled mass of rabid fans come fall it’s kind of nice to just kick back and watch the boys play.

UGASlobberknocker

April 15th, 2011
2:19 pm

I have season tickets but I never go to the Spring game. In addition to the reasons Bill mentions,(all which are part of it), it is also normal that a lot of players are hurt and don’t play. There will be some strange rules defining scoring so who knows who is winning? plus its usually either too hot or its raining..I can live with heat and rain for a real game, but not for a glorified practice.

Brett is a hater

April 15th, 2011
2:21 pm

@ Brett . Quit whining or go to the Tech blog . If things are that bad for you then leave..no one will miss you, I promise.

brokebackvol

April 15th, 2011
2:25 pm

Isn’t this aka “The Mark Richt Farewell Tour” warmup?

Nick the king Saban

April 15th, 2011
2:26 pm

I wonder if this 2nd rate program will fill their stadium with 100,000 fans like we do? Nahhhh. For one they don’t hold 100k or more. And no. 2 they just aint very good to begin with. Who really wants to watch a team with a losing record that can’t beat Central Florida?

Nick the king Saban

April 15th, 2011
2:26 pm

Yes indeed. This is the beginning of the end for Mark Richt.

BFDog

April 15th, 2011
2:29 pm

Bill… Never been to G-Day. Graduated in 87 but been following the dogs since I was a small pup. Used to go with my Grand mother… She worked at the A&A Bakery… How’s that for Old School.

Will

April 15th, 2011
2:30 pm

Let’s get serious Dawg fans….. The real reason why people go to the game is the tailgating. The beer is cold and the women are wearing practically nothing! That is not only the students but their mother’s as well. Only at PC do yo see more cleavage. The game….who cares. It’s the women and libations. Also, I will be picking up after myself if Mike Adams is reading this.

UGAgrad71

April 15th, 2011
2:44 pm

I think the G-day game should be played by the brain dead bloggers on this blog. They seem to know more about how to organize and coach a team than the UGA coaches do. It takes REAL COURAGE to hide behind a screen name and a computer keyboard.

Ben

April 15th, 2011
2:50 pm

Bill, I’ve been a Dawg for 30 years and there was a time when I shared your enthusiasm for G-Day but until Richt can prove he can get it turned around I fail to believe any of the lip service and same old cliches we continue to hear out of Athens. We’ve heard it time and again the last couple of years and things have only gotten worse. None of the new recruits will be playing, 20 are injured including Ealey, and it’s supposed to rain. Why should I drive from Atlanta for that? Only reason I can think of is to hit up one of Hugh Acheson’s joints for dinner.

I predict one of the lowest turnouts in 15 years unfortunately.

Burma Shave

April 15th, 2011
2:51 pm

Don’t be
So touchy-feely.
It’s time to
Get rid of Ealey.

BURMA SHAVE