As the Dawgs prepare to travel to Nashville for the Vandy game, it’s time to answer some Junkyard Mail. …
Bob Leonard writes: Bill, we’re midway through the season (wow, seems like it’s just flown by) and I’m starting to be optimistic, which worries me since I normally like to under-expect when it comes to the Georgia football program. (Less heartbreak that way.) I think the defense has improved greatly and the offense looks really good in spurts, usually when Isaiah Crowell is in there. But Georgia still doesn’t look like a team that’s quite ready for prime time. What do you think’s missing?
The biggest thing that’s missing, I think, is the ability to put away even a lesser opponent in the fourth quarter. Of course, the situation has improved from last year, when Mark Richt’s Dogs were flat-out getting beat in the fourth because they were plainly out of gas. But the Dogs are still getting outscored in the fourth. Part of it is Mike Bobo’s desire to keep the ball on the ground, avoid an interception and eat up clock. And he’s certainly done that, with a fourth quarter drive against UT last week that ate up more than 8 minutes despite the Dogs ending up fourth-and-56 and with no points. Likewise, against Ole Miss there was quite a lengthy drive that produced no points. But there were also a couple of three-and-outs in the fourth quarter against the Vols and Richt himself noted after the game that puts more pressure on the defense and, “If we’re in that situation again, we’d better be able to put it away.” Bobo at times seems to be playing not to lose rather than playing to win. Down the stretch, that’s not going to cut it.
OkieDawg writes: When Georgia decides to run outside the tackles, they almost always run to the short side of the field which is normally to the left. The RB gets bottled up along the out of bounds and can’t really make any cuts. There are so many big bodies on the outside that there are just no running lanes and our backs run into their own blockers as often as the opponent’s defender. Crowell has the speed, if given the room, to run on the perimeter and turn up field with a couple of moves and make a long run. I know our strong side of the line is to the left, but there is a way to make that the wide side of the field. I really haven’t heard anyone else complaining about us running to the short side. Is this a legitimate observation/concern? And, if so, why do we do it so often?
I think two things are at play here. First, as you noted, Georgia’s offensive line is stronger on the left side, and that’s what running backs tend to follow. Also, though, in the Tennessee game, where Georgia’s penchant for running to the left was particularly noticeable in the second half, I think Crowell’s injured right wrist was a factor.
Allen Kennedy writes: Bill, what do you think about the attitude of the team? By that I mean, do we have the mentality to compete with Bama or LSU should we make it to the SECC. Does this team have the attitude, “Bring it on Bama,” or are they going to be like, “We made it here, we’ll be content with this.” I believe if [Todd] Grantham is more involved, we will dare them to get on the field with us. What do think, by end of year will the Dawgs be mentally ready for an Alabama?
I think you’re jumping the gun just a bit, what with four regular season conference games still to play, one of them in Jacksonville. But I do think this year’s team has a much better state of mind than last year’s. The fact that they didn’t let an 0-2 start derail their season is testament to that. If Georgia does manage to make it to Atlanta, taking on either Bama or LSU will be a daunting prospect, but assuming the team is healthy, I think they’d have good reason to feel up to the challenge.
BJOHNDAWG writes: Bill, Most people want to work at something they enjoy, but once they get home just want to relax and avoid talk of their job. While I know you are a UGA fan like the rest of us, is covering the Bulldogs as a job too much of a good thing and take the fun out of being a fan of UGA? For example, like debating UGA football with your friends and family?
Interesting question. Of course, I don’t actually “cover” the team in the sense that a beat reporter does. I get to write about the Dogs from the point of view of a fan, which is what I’ve been all my life. I also split my time between blogging and working as a story editor at the AJC, so I’m not focusing on UGA all day long. So, no, doing this blog hasn’t taken the fun out of being a fan and I still talk Dawgs with family and friends every chance I get!
Jim from the Class of ’84 (still the best record of all UGA classes!) writes: Whatever happened to Leonard’s Losers? The old original is probably not around, but what happened to him? Wasn’t he a UGA man? I would read those picks every Saturday for the humor and his choosing of losers instead of winners. Has anybody else ever taken over the name and use?
Many football fans have fond memories of “Leonard’s Losers,” particularly in the South. Athens native Leonard Postero, better known as Leonard “Postosties,” was the voice behind the colorful hillbilly-styled college football prediction show, which at its peak was syndicated on something like 1,400 radio stations, including Armed Forces Radio. He also had a Leonard’s Losers column in one of the Athens papers and for a while published a weekly newsletter. Postero also provided the voice of his sidekick, Percy Peabody. He main claim to fame, of course, was picking the losers rather than the winners, but his offbeat nicknames for teams also were memorable. He usually referred to Georgia as the Red Clay Hounds. Postero died in 2001, and for a while the show continued online with Leonard’s “nephew,” but it ceased production in 2005 and the website is no longer active.
Pendar Khosravi writes: Bill, I just wanted to preface this message by saying that you truly are a damn good dog and that I enjoy the passion and emotion that you put into your writing in regards to your beloved Bulldogs. With this said, I have a quick question for you and wanted your opinion on a play call at the end of the UGA vs. UT game last weekend. With UGA leading 20-12, and having just recovered an onside kick at the UT 35, UGA opted to run the ball 3 times to run out some clock at the end of the game. We had gains of 1 yard, 0 yards and 4 yards on the first three downs, putting us at the UT 30 with the clock running down. As we know, coach Richt decided to punt the ball on 4th down and Drew Butler kicked his 4th down punt well into the end zone (I’m guessing to alleviate the concern for a punt return TD) putting UT at the 20 with :18 seconds remaining in the game. My question to you is why do you not attempt the 47 yard field goal in this situation? … If you try the field goal and make it, you’ve automatically won the game and don’t have to worry about hail mary’s or trick play touchdowns going for 80 yards in the last 18 seconds of the game and crazier things have happened (just look at Notre Dame). … Do you not agree that a field goal attempt to win the game would be more beneficial than pushing Tennessee back 10 more yards? Now I understand that there is always the risk of having the field goal attempt blocked and returned, but in my opinion going for the points and the win would have been the smarter move. What is your opinion on this play call?
Thanks! You’re correct that a field goal would have definitely iced the game at that point, but I think considering how little time was left on the clock, punting it into the end zone was the safest call. Had there been a couple of minutes left, a field goal attempt would have been the smarter move.
Casman writes: Bill, It seems like we are “thin” (not much depth) at a lot of positions, i.e. LB, DL, RB, and OL. Seems to be okay at QB, TE, and DB. If UGA has been recruiting correctly over the years, why are we so thin at so many positions? Or is that the problem, and how many kids do we anticipate signing this winter with all of the attrition over the last year?
A combination of injuries and players departing the program unexpectedly resulted in Georgia being ultra thin at several positions this season. And, yes, perhaps not enough recruiting in those areas the past couple of years. The OL is still thin, though with Chris Burnette and Kenarious Gates both semi-healthy now Will Friend can at least do some rotating. And the backups at linebacker have come on so strong that once Alec Ogletree returns the Dawgs will have a surplus of talent there. I don’t know exactly what the breakdown is of players Georgia is recruiting, but you’ve got to bet that offensive linemen and running backs will be in the mix.
Luke Ellington writes: As a longtime Dawg fan, I am ready for our next Uga. I really appreciate what Russ has done for our team and fans, but it is time for the next Uga to be introduced to us. I would like to see the next Uga as a pup and be able to watch him grow into our mascot. I understand there are a lot of things to consider when picking a mascot, but as a fan I think everyone would love to watch Uga grow up. Can you explain the process of picking the next Uga and is there a chance of Uga being a puppy and using Russ until Uga is ready for job? Great job. Go Dawgs! P.S. I can see Uga pup being introduced at halftime of the Auburn game.
Sonny Seiler and his family provide the mascot and they choose the new Uga, who will somehow be part of the same bloodline. No word yet on when Seiler will unveil Uga IX, but the Auburn game seems like a likely choice. Last I heard, they were considering a pup who’s all white except for black around one eye. That would be a first for the Uga line, which has always been all-white, but Seiler seems less married to the all-white idea than in the past, and I actually think a Georgia Bulldog with a “black eye” would look pretty cool. What do you think?
Randy Brock writes: Why did they move the band out of the student section and to the end zone?
Athletic director Greg McGarity thought the band would be audible to more people in the stadium from the end zone, and he’s probably right. They just need to move the visiting band elsewhere (I’ve heard reports they’ll wind up in the old Redcoats spot next year) and move more of the student section around the band.
Bryan Grantham writes: Bill, I want to expand on the student ticket situation. The reason that UGA dried up the secondary ticket market was simple: Student tickets are at a reduced price and subsidized by student athletic fees. I was a senior in 2002 and on Student Government. That year, all upperclassman got tickets but there were only something like 1,000 tickets for the entire 4,000 person freshman class. Thus, not all students who wanted student tickets got them. This was because, in part, students were buying tickets just to scalp them. So, it was not UGA being miserly — it was actually a policy that students demanded. So, we worked with the UGAA to have the policy changed to make it harder for students to scalp tickets. The reason was because not every student who wanted tickets could get them. This worked great in 2002-2008 when the team was good and the demand exceeded supply for students. However, now, it leads to a half empty upper level student section.
Thanks for the background on the decision. I’m sure the Dawgs winning big on the field would take care of a multitude of problems, including student attendance at games.
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