Let’s open up by noting that, again, due to unclaimed UGA student tickets, a limited number of tickets to Saturday’s football game against Mississippi State went on sale to the general public starting at 9 a.m. today and can be purchased until 3 p.m. Friday online or by calling the Athletic Association ticket office at 1-877-542-1231. Tickets are $45 each.
Now, let’s get to some Junkyard Mail …
Gerry Archer writes: Seems like every week we hear that it’s a “must win” for the Dawgs, and they’re saying it again as the Bizarro Bulldogs come to town. What’s your take on the importance of this week’s game?
When Georgia loses the SEC opener to South Carolina, it automatically ratchets up the importance of all the rest of the games on the Dogs’ conference slate. Toss in the heat under Mark Richt’s seat caused by an 0-2 start overall, and every week becomes a referendum on his future, at least in media terms. So, yes, just about every game becomes a must win if the Dogs are to contend for the SEC East. I think this game is particularly important, though, because it’s the last home game for a while and it’s probably the toughest opponent the Dogs will face until Florida. Also, judging from what Richt has said, last year’s game against Mississippi State still really rankles with the UGA program. It was a game Georgia should have won and didn’t. I’m hoping that means we see the Dogs come out Saturday determined to wipe away those bad memories and take the next step on reclaiming a season that started out in a hole.
66DAWGnNC writes: I recently read where there has been 14 or so players from last year’s team with eligibility remaining that are no longer on the roster. I understand that some left on their own accord (e.g. AJ, Houston, etc.), but many were “encouraged” to leave. Why has there been so much attrition and how does this affect recruiting? It seems to me that if there are issues with the coaching staff (or strength and conditioning as was one reported case), then as a recruit I would look long and hard about committing to the DAWGS. If it is because of depth issues or lack of playing time, then that is on the player and not the staff. I would be interested in your take on that. Understand I am one of the few on these blogs that support Richt, Bobo, and the rest of the staff. I do not think we are that far away from returning to prominence in the SEC and the nation. We lack depth this year at key positions due to this attrition. I believe if all this “fire Mark Richt” talk dies down we will see another version of the Dream Team in next year’s recruiting class. Obviously they did quite well last year and that is why I believe they are in position to be pretty good in 2012. Just my thoughts.
Actually, I think only a handful of the departed players were actually encouraged to leave, and I believe the team is better off without them. Likewise, with those players like Derek Owens, who appears to be leaving the program mainly because he is discouraged with his playing time and lack of progress on the depth chart. (Update: Ken Malcome also fit into that category, but today he changed his mind and asked to be reinstated, and was.) As Richt said, “sometimes they see the mountain as too high to climb and they decide to go somewhere else.” But as he also said, “I think there’s value in fighting for your job.” Those who aren’t willing to stick it out and fight for the right to start don’t add much to the program. I have no idea how a 17-year-old recruit views all this, but I would hope they’d see playing at UGA or any top school as a challenge rather than looking for the easy way to a starting position.
Jax Dawg writes: Why are the special teams underachieving this year? With no Jon Fabris for some fans to blame, who needs to get the unit back on track?
I understand that Richt doesn’t believe in devoting one of his limited and valuable assistant coach positions to a full-time special teams coach like some programs do, but I differ with him there. I think the glitches in punt coverage (or, in previous seasons, kickoff coverage) that seem to crop up fairly regularly with Georgia are probably attributable to the fact that special teams coaching is an add-on that the various position coaches do in addition to their regular job. Likewise, while I admire Richt’s devotion to giving walk-ons a chance, I still think the Urban Meyer approach to special teams — making them truly special and an honor to serve on, with the emphasis on schlarship players and starters, might pay dividends in the long run.
Lindsey Portmann writes: My family and I just returned from a great trip to Oxford, MS. So happy the Dawgs got a SEC win, I hope they keep getting them! I have grown up going to UGA games every Saturday in Athens and I love it, we have always tailgated around North Campus. Athens is a beautiful place but over the past years I feel the school is making it harder and harder to tailgate. I really saw the difference between Oxford and Athens. I know there is a much bigger Athens crowd but walking through the beautiful Ole Miss campus I noticed there were trash cans everywhere as well as bathrooms, and it was an 11:30 a.m. game. When I got to the stadium we were allowed to get pictures on the field before kickoff and they came around offering sweet tea and lemonade to drink. Plus I got to keep the top to my water bottle! From a fan who sits on the end seat by the aisle, my water bottle always gets kicked over and spills on my purse during the UGA game. Friday night the tailgaters were allowed to start setting up their tents and Saturday at The Grove police officers were walking around, kind of patrolling the area. I think it kept people from doing what happened to North Campus a few years ago. My question is, do you think UGA will relax a little more on tailgating any time soon? It feels like they always want more money in donations but they don’t encourage the Saturday experience by locking building doors for rest rooms, not having enough trash cans for later games, etc. Any thoughts and GO DAWGS!!
As you noted, UGA deals with much bigger crowds than Ole Miss, so I don’t think you’re going to see fans allowed on the field before the game or have anyone passing out sweet tea! But I do believe that there’s a happy medium between the out-of-control tailgating that used to take place on North Campus and last year’s harsh crackdown that basically killed tailgating there. We’ve already seen UGA relax the rules for North Campus this year and tailgating pick up a bit there. UGA also has increased the number of trash and recycling receptacles. Upping the number of portable toilets would also be a big help, and I think having police officers routinely patrol the area would be a great idea. I don’t believe the UGA administration is really anti-tailgating; I think they just overreacted to a bad situation.
Mike in Senoia writes: With the way Georgia has been playing what is the likelihood of going 9-3 and how does a 13-team conference next year affect our schedule?
I think 9-3 is a reachable goal for the Dogs, considering the remaining schedule. As for next season, until the SEC hashes out how it’s going to handle a 13-team league and unbalanced divisions, we can’t say for sure how it will affect the Georgia schedule, but chances are at least one of the games against an SEC West oppoent will be changed. I think Georgia-Auburn is safe, so the games in question next year are the trip to Alabama on Oct. 6 and playing host to Ole Miss on Nov. 3. I know which one I’d rather see swapped out from the viewpoint of making the schedule as winnable as possible!
Robert Law writes: Bill, I am sure you were watching the SEC networks telecast of the Ole Miss game on Saturday. I am also sure you were as upset and horrified as me when they did the “spotlight” on Herschel Walker and his amazing 3 seasons at UGA. You see they correctly spoke about his fantastic career, all of his record breaking performances, and his continued stewardship of the game. However, when talking about his Heisman season in ’82, the announcing team stated “in 1982 when he won the school’s first and only Heisman.” Even though I am of the younger generation (26), I was shocked and amazed that they would forget about Frank Sinkwich. An NFL MVP and member of the College Football Hall of Fame. I know that It was all the way back in 1942, but how can you forget about Frank!
Yes, that was a pretty egregious oversight on the part of announcer Dave Neal, but give him credit for coming back a few minutes later and correcting his error. Still, I think if was unfortunately indicative of the second-rate efforts we all too often get from the SEC Network.
Cleveland Williams III writes: The Dawgs’ passing reminds me of Florida State, Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears. They all run long deep routes that take a long time to develop (hence sacks and hits on the quarterback). Any chance Georgia goes to more crossing patterns, more screens and more routes to the backs out of the backfield?
I agree that Mike Bobo too often has had Aaron Murray waiting in a collapsing pocket for longer pass routes to develop rather than dinking and dunking. It cost the Dogs big-time several games last year, including Arkansas. But I was encouraged by the second-half drive against South Carolina when Georgia did indeed move down the field using the short passing game. I’m hopeful we see more of that.
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