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, [Christian] Robinson and [Ben] Jones to really step up and show our younger guys what to do.”
Meanwhile, Dawgs 247 reports that prior to the Albany appearance Richt talked a bit about how big John Jenkins and an improved Kwame Geathers might both play on the defensive line at the same time. Richt noted that last year in passing situations Georgia usually pulled its nose guard and went with two defensive ends and the outside linebackers applying pressure “because we didn’t really have that nose guard.” But if the nose guard is “worthy of staying in the game and rushing the passer, you might have those two big o’l boys in there” as the interior linemen in the nickel package, he said, referring to Jenkins and Geathers.
DREW READY TO PUSH
We talked yesterday about which of Georgia’s incoming freshmen might push for early playing time. The Athens Banner-Herald talked with one of them, the Rev. Ray Drew, who noted, “just because I’m a freshman doesn’t mean I’m going to come in and sit back. Every football player, if you ask them, they’d rather be on the football field than on the sideline any day. That’s really what I want to go in and do.” As for starting outside linebacker Cornelius Washington, Drew said: “I want to at least push him for it a little bit. Let him work for it.”
GOOD SECOND-PLACE FINISHES
Sometimes coming in second isn’t so bad. Considering what an off year the marquee football team had, it’s noteworthy that UGA still managed to take second place in the SEC all-sports competition sponsored by the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group, finishing behind only Florida. The Dogs were second in overall men’s competition and third in women’s and were helped by SEC championships in men’s tennis and women’s swimming and diving. Georgia last won the All-Sports Trophy in 2005-2006. … Meanwhile, the UGA football team tied Florida for second place behind Vanderbilt in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate listings released Tuesday. Eight UGA teams were among the top three in the conference in the APR scores, which measure eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. All of Georgia’s teams were well above the cut-off that triggers penalties.
I don’t watch talent competition shows on TV and only ever caught one of Hines Ward’s performances on “Dancing With the Stars” when I was at someone else’s house, but I’m very happy Ward won the competition Tuesday. And I’m also pleased that after he did so he gave a shout out to the Bulldog Nation as well as to Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Classy move, Hines.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg