Archive for May, 2011

Which season has been the high point of the Mark Richt era?

There’s no question the national championship season of 1980 was Vince Dooley’s best, and the relatively slim pickings from among the Ray Goff and Jim Donnan years make picking their best seasons pretty easy, too: 1992 for Goff, when the Dogs finished 10-2 and beat Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl, and 1997 for Donnan, also with a 10-2 record that included beating Florida and a win over Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.

But looking back over the past 10 years of Mark Richt at UGA, the choice of best season isn’t quite so clear-cut. The 2002 and 2005 teams won the SEC while the 2007 Dogs wound up the season ranked No. 2 in the country and with so much momentum that next year’s team was the preseason No. 1.

Dayne Young of HolyTurf.com tackled the question recently in his overview of the past decade. He noted that the most impressive season of nonconference play for Georgia under Richt was probably 2007, when the Dogs beat Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech and a highly touted Hawaii in the …

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McGarity learned ‘art of scheduling’ well at Florida

Some thoughts coming out of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors spring meeting at SSI …

You want early evidence that Georgia made a wise choice in calling Athens native Greg McGarity home from Florida as athletic director? Just look at the fact that following a losing 6-7 season and an absolutely dismal and dispiriting bowl showing by Mark Richt’s football team, Bulldog Club/Hartman Fund contributions actually increased $300,000 to $23 million this year.

A major factor in that apparently was McGarity’s decision to schedule the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game opener with Boise State. Anyone contributing at least $100 to the Hartman Fund was eligible to buy tickets to the Georgia Dome game and UGA fans snapped up all 53,000 that were available.

McGarity is a smart man.

DOING IT THE ‘FLORIDA WAY’

Speaking of which, McGarity announced that David Perno will be returning as UGA’s baseball coach, which is as it should be. Despite the tragic injury to Johnathan Taylor, the …

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Richt addresses tailbacks, nose guards at fan gathering

Some quick hits from across the Bulldog Nation …

Mark Richt laughed off Florida coach Will Muschamp’s guarantee of a win over Georgia this year when asked about it Tuesday night at a fan gathering, the Albany Herald reports. “I thought that was a good thing coming from him,” Richt said at the Doublegate Country Club. “I heard about it right away, but I also know how those things happen. That’s why I don’t answer some questions.”

Richt did answer other questions, though, including addressing the status of running back Caleb King: “We expect Caleb to be here in the fall.” And as for walk-on Brandon Harton, who was a surprising third on the tailback depth chart released this week, Richt said, “Our best runner in the spring was Harton. Is he ready for the SEC? We’ll see. But we expect him to compete for a job.”

The key to success for the 2011 Dogs, Richt said: “We have to stay healthy. That, and we need some of our upperclassmen like [Orson] Charles, …

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UGA depth chart shows opportunities for incoming ‘Dream Team’

Officially the football depth chart released Monday by UGA is labeled “post-spring,” but it might as well be designated the “placeholder” chart.

As was painfully clear if you read past the top names at several positions (and even if you only read the top names at a couple), there are going to be chances for some members of Mark Richt’s “Dream Team” to battle for playing time early in their collegiate careers.

Mostly, the depth chart played out like you’d expect from what the coaches have been saying since G-Day, but one of the eye-openers was tailback, where Caleb King was listed as the starter, as expected, with diminutive Carlton Thomas (5-feet-7, 163 pounds) next, followed surprisingly by equally diminutive walk-on Brandon Harton (5-feet-6, 174 pounds) ahead of the much talked about redshirt freshman Ken Malcome. This could, of course, merely be a reflection of hard-working Harton having made a really good showing in the spring while Malcome was hobbled with hamstring …

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Rapture Saturday: Jake Scott, Will Muschamp and Kelley’s Boys

The UGA sports communications folks finally wrangled a media op Friday with new College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jake Scott, and the Athens Banner-Herald and Dawgs 247 have some interesting comments from the reclusive Bulldog legend.

Scott, who left UGA early after a falling-out with his coach, was asked about Vince Dooley calling him the “most gifted all-around athlete” he ever coached. “I don’t know if I blackmailed him or something that he would have to say that,” Scott joked, “but I appreciate that. We had some great players come through Georgia and play for coach Dooley. … I’m not sure it’s true, but I appreciate it.”

Reminiscing about the 1968 season when he was SEC Player of the Year, Scott noted, “We got lucky and tied Houston. They just kicked the hell out of us. Coach Dooley said, ‘I hope we can meet them in a bowl somewhere.’ Brad Johnson and I looked at each other and I said, ‘I guess he wasn’t at the same game we were at. I don’t …

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Twice a decade not enough for Georgia-Clemson!

The news this week that Georgia and Clemson finally have set the dates for their 2013-2014 series and will open those seasons against each other has gotten a lot of us longtime fans nostalgic for what was once one of football’s greatest, most hotly contested rivalries.

The Bulldogs have met the Tigers 62 times on the gridiron, second only to in-state rival Georgia Tech among nonconference foes, and they played every year except two between 1962 and 1987, before conference schedule requirements got in the way.

While Georgia leads the series 41-17-4 and has won the past five meetings, the rivalry was dead even during its glory days in 1977-87 — a period that saw each school win a national championship — with the two teams going 5-5-1.

Younger fans probably may not appreciate just how big the Georgia-Clemson rivalry used to be, but I think a good argument can be made that in that decade the close proximity of the schools and the parity between them on the field made Clemson …

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All UGA fans need to know the original ‘Wild Dawg’

For Georgia fans of my generation, the announcement that Jake Scott is being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame elicits a response along the lines of “About time!”

But my son pointed out to me that for many younger fans, Scott is just a name they hear the old folks talking about. Even his fame with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and as a Super Bowl MVP is distant history. And that’s a shame.

Part of that may be because the maverick Scott, who lives in Hawaii, has kept a determinedly low profile for years. Although he’s been a frequent social visitor to Atlanta and Athens over the years and has maintained steadfast friendships with former Dawgs teammates, Scott has never been part of the coterie of former UGA stars trotted out for charity events and banquets and media appearances — by his choice.

Scott fell out with Vince Dooley over the coach’s decision to send the 1968 SEC champions to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans rather than the team’s choice of the Orange Bowl in …

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Preseason rankings and greatest Dogs of the modern era

We’ve already had a discussion of whether Mark Richt’s 2011 Dogs should be a preseason Top 20 team and, if so, how high, but it’s worth noting that magazine publisher Athlon Sports has tagged Georgia at No. 14 in its Top 25 countdown and sees the Bulldogs winning the SEC East.

Athlon’s optimism about the Dogs ” rests with the influx of recruits [as in Isaiah Crowell], the return of [Aaron] Murray, the second year in the 3-4 defense, and a favorable league schedule that does not include Alabama or LSU — the two top teams in the West. This might not be a vintage Georgia team that is capable of competing for a national title, but the Bulldogs should be in the hunt to win the relatively mediocre SEC East.”

Sounds like a pretty fair assessment, though I’m not sure I’m ready to predict the Dogs winning the division.

Meanwhile, Athlon also takes a shot at listing the Top 10 Georgia Bulldogs football players of the “Athlon era,” which goes back to 1967 (meaning no Frankie Sinkwich, …

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What will be the Dawgs’ biggest ‘don’t miss’ game?

I saw where ESPN.com’s SEC blog was polling readers about the biggest in-conference “don’t miss” game of the 2011 season.

Last I checked, LSU at Alabama was way ahead of the pack with 48 percent of the vote, followed by Alabama at Auburn (19 percent), Arkansas at Alabama (14 percent), South Carolina at Georgia (10 percent) and Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville (9 percent).

I was a bit surprised that the South Carolina-Georgia game, which many observers figure could be a big factor in deciding the SEC East this year, didn’t draw more votes. Looks like a lot of SEC West fans read that blog.

Anyway, that got me to thinking about which of UGA’s games (including nonconference foes) should be considered this year’s don’t-miss game.

What is Georgia’s biggest “don’t miss” game in 2011?

  • Boise State in the Georgia Dome
  • South Carolina in Athens
  • Florida in Jacksonville
  • Auburn in Athens
  • Georgia Tech in Atlanta

View Results

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It’s tough to narrow it …

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Wild Dawg or not, Richt should use defensive talent on offense

We’ve been down this road before, with Mike Bobo teasing us in seasons past about possible scenarios for the “Wild Dawg,” only to see it rarely used by Georgia and even more rarely used effectively.

Two years ago it was Logan Gray who was supposed to be a threat in Georgia’s version of the single-wing formation and all that ever produced was a few highly predictable QB option runs. Last season Washaun Ealey occasionally took the direct snap, again without much success.

But, like most college football fans, I’m a sucker for a coach touting some possible new wrinkle in the offseason, so I could’t resist getting a little pumped up about Mark Richt telling UGA fans in Greenville the other night that we might see incoming freshman quarterback-turned-cornerback Nick Marshall taking snaps in the Wild Dawg formation.

As Richt himself put it, having Marshall run the formation would add a new dimension to what Georgia has tried in the past. “We’d stick Washaun back there or Caleb …

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