Fan talk: Are this year’s Dawgs on a roll like the 2007 team?

Would Mark Richt still get a thumbs up if the Dogs win out but don't take the SEC East? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Would Mark Richt still get a thumbs up if the Dogs win out but don't take the SEC East? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

As part of the Walk With the Dogs to School event, UGA student-athletes were due to walk groups of children Friday morning to Athens’ Barrow Elementary School, “the best old school I know,” as fellow Barrow alums will remember from the distinctive school song. Barrow is located right across the street from Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.

The idea is to encourage kids to walk to school whenever they can, said Robert Miles, the UGA Athletic Association’s director of CHAMPS/Life Skills. “The kids love to see a Bulldog in a jersey and the parents remember when our student-athletes take time out of their schedule to visit with the kids, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

You might remember Miles as a member of the 1980 national championship football team, and one of his teammates, Scott Woerner, will be signing autographs and promoting the new “1980 Dawgs” DVD in Athens before and after this weekend’s homecoming game. Woerner will be at the Red Zone at 155 E. Clayton St. 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. You can see a clip of Woerner from the video here.

Speaking of Homecoming, the annual parade is Friday evening from 6 to 7 p.m. in downtown Athens.

And now on to some Junkyard Mail. …

Michael Foster writes: Love following you on Facebook and ajc.com! [I've noticed] how similar this season has been, so far, to 2007. Two early season losses (1 being at home to South Carolina), nearly losing the game in Nashville to Vanderbilt, beating Florida in a heated game where Florida fans blamed an injured quarterback for the loss (and amount of sacks). Now, thanks to a sophomore quarterback and a freshman tailback, this team really looks way different than it did in at the start. And the defense, just like 2007, has been GREAT. Fans at the beginning of the season said we basically had to win the SEC East for Richt to save his job. But, what if we go 10-2 and still don’t make the SEC title game? What if we finish 11-2? I’d say, if we do, Richt has the Dawgs right back where we want them.

Well, I’m not ready to count victories the Dogs haven’t earned yet, but I have to agree with you, I don’t think there’d be too many complaints about a two-loss season that saw the Dogs win 11 straight. And, yes, that probably would mean Georgia would wind up with a pretty decent showing in the polls and also, like 2007, would prompt a high preseason ranking next year (though probably not No. 1 like happened in 2008).

J.S. writes: I have a great question for you to pose to the DAWG Nation: As a DAWG fan, if you could pick 1 game for a victory this week, would you choose UGA over New Mexico State or Arkansas over S.C.? My position is Arkansas. It would hurt to lose to New Mexico State, but it is not a conference game and that would allow us to win the SEC East. Otherwise, we are putting our hopes on UF. I do not think that we have a chance to lose to New Mexico, even with the running back issue. However, the question is indicative of DAWG fans’ views between a solo victory and overall success.

I can see your reasoning, though the Bulldog Nation’s howls of anguish and calls for heads to roll in Athens that would accompany a loss to the Aggies of the WAC might put such a damper on the season that winning the SEC East would be all but forgotten. Still, if I must choose, I suppose I’d rather have the conference win.

Steve writes: Some people have stated that UGA’s athletic department’s drug violation policy is the toughest in the SEC. The claim was that every other SEC school allows for a 1st offense without game suspension, and UGA does not. A claim is made that if UGA’s three running backs played for UF, Alabama, Auburn, LSU then they would not have been suspended. Is this true? Find this hard to believe.

It’s true. UGA’s disciplinary guidelines call for players to be suspended from 10 percent of the season (one game) on the first offense. The penalty increases to half the season for a second offense and dismissal from the program for the third offense. A recent survey of SEC athletic departments by Brett McMurphy of cbssports.com shows that in the SEC only Kentucky joins UGA in suspending players for the first drug offense. The other schools do not suspend players until at least the second offense, and Ole Miss waits for the third. Overall, Georgia is one of only six BCS schools with such a strict policy. So, yeah, if those running backs played for the schools you mentioned, they wouldn’t have been suspended and we likely never would have heard a word about the failed drug tests.

Aaron Murray has had trouble with the long ball this season. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Aaron Murray has had trouble with the long ball this season. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Jeremy Gamiza writes: Why can’t we throw the ball deep? Is it Mike Bobo?

Funny, the complaint I’ve heard most often is that Bobo calls too many deep routes, especially on third down, forcing Aaron Murray to stand in the pocket too long. As for Georgia’s relative lack of success with the deep ball this season, I don’t think you can pin that on Bobo. He doesn’t throw the passes. Murray has, for whatever reason, been extremely inconsistent on long passes this year.

Ralph Jackson writes: My question is simple, should this current situation with our tailbacks help us land a major running back? I mean, I’m thinking, if I were considering the Dawgs and I notice [Isaiah] Crowell having issues, plus taking himself out of games, that would encourage me to go to Georgia, because Crowell might turn out to be his own worst enemy. What do you think? And for heaven’s sake why doesn’t Richt let [Brandon] Bogotay try a few field goals?

Well, let’s hope you’re right, since Georgia is considered one of the favorites in the recruiting battle over 5-star running back Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C. As for placekicking, Richt appears committed, at least for now, to Blair Walsh. From what I’ve heard, Walsh, for all his misses in games, is still the most consistent kicker in practice. We’ll just have to wait and see how long Richt’s patience will last with Walsh, who himself said this week, “It’s nice to have his backing, his confidence, but I’m not oblivious. That does run out, I’m sure.” Bonus points to him, by the way, for using the word oblivious.

Also on the subject of kickers, Paula B writes: Hey Bill! LOVE reading your blawg! As much as it breaks my heart to see Blair Walsh and Drew Butler have a tough game (and a tough season overall for Walsh), I’m fascinated to wonder what could possibly be the cause of such a nightmarish turnaround for each of them. What do you think? Is this a result of a lack of coaching by CMR? What is the cause (if any) and what should be done by CMR? Obviously special teams can make or break us in any game. I’ll be at the game on Saturday with my two nieces from Virginia (16 and 19 years old) — their first big college game! GO DAWGS!!!

Hope your nieces enjoy the game. As for the kickers, it’d help, I’m sure, if Georgia could still have a coach who concentrated on them like the late Bill Hartman did back in the Vince Dooley era, but the NCAA put an end to those volunteer coaching spots. Butler has been pretty great this season, so I think we can write last Saturday off as the odd bad day. Walsh’s problems seem more akin to when a golfer suddenly has problems with his swing or a batter goes into a slump in baseball. It might be a technical problem that can be corrected. Early in the season, Walsh indicated he’d watched film and fixed a few little hitches. But he’s still missing kicks, so chances are it’s become more a mental thing. He’s proved in the past he’s a great kicker so it’s just a matter of him working through this. As I noted earlier this week, Kevin Butler thinks he’s just been kicking too much in practice and in warm-ups and needs to pull back. Let’s hope he does so before he runs out of season (or Richt decides to go with Bogotay).

Kelvin Phillips writes: Bill, do you have any idea why we line up in the spread so much? With a 280-pound fullback who can actually block and an offensive line as big as ours, and with Crowell, why do we not line up in the I and run the ball?

The plan was for the Dogs to use the shotgun spread formation more this season as part of their no-huddle offense, in an attempt to get more offensive plays (which has been successful). Also, the idea behind using the spread generally is that it literally spreads the field for the wide receivers and takes some pressure off the offensive line. At times, Isaiah Crowell has actually looked more comfortable running out of the spread than the I, but generally I think the Dogs do better with play-action in their traditional pro set, particularly in the red zone.

Jeremy Floyd writes: Am I the only one wondering about (not questioning yet) Crowell’s toughness? [Richard] Samuel filled in admirably, especially with his effort and hard running. But is Crowell that banged up that he couldn’t play against Florida?

Crowell did get banged up against the Gators, but was able to return to the game. However, Samuel played more in the fourth quarter, apparently because the coaches decided his downhill running style suited what they needed at that time. But, no, you’re not the only one questioning (or at least wondering about) Crowell’s toughness. I’m not sure it’s his toughness as much as it is his conditioning, which apparently was pretty poor to start the season. He was hurt last year in high school and doesn’t seem to have worked hard enough during the offseason. He also, frankly, seems a bit immature in his attitude. Before we write him off as a part-time back, though, let’s let him get through his first season and give the UGA conditioning staff a chance to build up his endurance and also give him some time to grow up.

OkieDawg writes: Hi Bill, by looking at your photo, I assume we attended UGA about the same time. I graduated in 1975 and I am a lifelong Bulldog. I love UGA. I read that in 2010, UGA was #4 in gross revenues @ $65.2 million and #2 in net revenues @ $45.4 million. UGA is profitable due to an excellent brand image that has been built over a long period of time. Are the negative things that have occurred both on the field and off the field going to adversely impact our brand image and thus our continued ability to be one of the most profitable football programs in the nation? In both football and business, the brand is everything. It cannot ever be compromised, it must be protected by all means necessary. Is it properly protected?

Yes, we were at UGA at the same time. I graduated in 1974. As to your question, I think off the field, the brand is in great hands with Mark Richt. Most of the off-field discipline problems in recent years have been relatively minor, though irritating, and as we noted earlier, UGA has a tougher drug policy than most schools. But when it comes to profitability, I believe winning is the most important factor in protecting the brand. A sustained period of lousy seasons might diminish the gross revenues, but I don’t think Greg McGarity would let it get that far. So as far as the brand is concerned, I’m not worried.

Brent Jarnicki writes: Bill, like you, I’m a UGA alum and a die-hard Dawg that enjoys discussions not only about the X’s and O’s, but the “intangibles” of Georgia that we love. I’m writing to you about an issue that’s recently really bothered me: the major changes to the field paint design at Sanford. Hopefully you’ve noticed that since 2008, our field’s paint design has been greatly minimized. From about 2005 to 2007, we had a solid 3 foot red outlining of the entire field. I thought it looked very bold and sharp. This was taken away in 2008. But this year more changes have been made that just completely took away all of Sanford’s tradition and originality. For example, the yardline numbers no longer have the red shadowing, which were around when Herschel played (I’ve watched all the highlight videos and the numbers were shadowed even back then). The endzone lettering is now totally bland, with only a thin red line around the letters (it used to have 3-D lettering, and then a thin red and black outline, which I thought looked best). Finally, this year the field no longer has the Georgia oval G’s at the goaline. These G’s were so unique to Sanford, and really was a nice touch. Now, other than the midfield logo, there is nothing that distinguishes our field, and that really bothers me. Gameday in Sanford has so much tradition and uniqueness that sets it apart from other venues, and I considered the red shadowed numbers and especially the goal line Georgia G some of these cool nuances. Please let me know your thoughts.

I have to say I had not noticed the changes you mention, but I also agree that your description of the way it used to be done does sound more attractive. I’d be interested in hearing if anyone else noticed these changes and what they think of the way the field looks now.

Black jerseys made their debut against Auburn. Should they return? (Associated Press)

Black jerseys made their debut against Auburn. Should they return? (Associated Press)

Josh Johansson writes: Having been a UGA fan since I was born in 1991, and going to games since 1992, my favorite game has been the Blackout against Auburn. Sanford Stadium, that night, was probably the loudest and most excited I had ever seen it. The fans and more importantly the players were so pumped. I know we’ve worn the black jerseys since then (and other, not as popular, variations of black uniforms) but I really feel like it could be a great tradition for us to where those black tops against Auburn, every time we play them at home. It would be similar to the way Notre Dame wears/wore the green jerseys against USC. I think it would be awesome because it wouldn’t be every year. It wouldn’t seem like a “gimmick” against some random team. Those would be THE Black Jerseys that we wear when we play Auburn. What are your thoughts?

I loved the way the black jerseys looked. But I think maybe Richt went to the Blackout well a bit too often in 2007-2008 and after the blowout loss to Bama our superstitious fan base soured on the black jerseys. I’d love to see them brought back at some point but have wondered what would be the best way to do that. Perhaps wear them with no prior notice and without the attendant Blackout hooplah? But I think you might be on to something in your suggestion that they be designated the home jerseys against Auburn. Black jersey fans, what do you think?

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

383 comments Add your comment

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 4th, 2011
12:45 pm

DawginLex

Thanks so much for dropping in and adding some of your valuable comments. We are going to drill Auburn, then GT, then either Alabama or LSU in the SEC, once the Ole Ball Coach drops a game.

I am sick and tired of all the attacks on our program regarding the drug screen issues, and I am confident you are also.

We have a stellar program, with top-tier coaches, a top-tier athletic director along with the finest facility D-1 has to offer. Why anyone would attack our program is unknown to me.

Go Dawgs!!!

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
12:46 pm

Never said we would beat LSU or Bama

I would like to get to play one of them.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 4th, 2011
12:47 pm

CMR called them in 2007, and quite frankly I have no issues with Bobo, it is the defensive side of the ball that concerns me. Grantham had every right to use the choke sign in the Florida game, and basically start a brawl at the Vandy game. We Dawg fans don’t take nothing off nobody!!!

Vandy torched us, but I am confident we will run the table from this point forward.

Clean Up

November 4th, 2011
12:48 pm

Crowell needs to clean up his act…get rid of the nasty, nappy hair and work on his attitude!!!

LagDawg

November 4th, 2011
12:48 pm

The offense is too lethargic and Murray cannot thow the deep ball. His accuracy is horrible. No matter what happens, the offense needs a new leader. Bobo doesn’t have a clue and he is not getting all that he can out of the offensive players. Too much talent for the offense to look this bad. They look out of sync all the time and the line is pathetic. CMR needs to revamp the O like he did the D, but he needs to let the OC do his job and stop trying to hold them back so that UGA looks like a missionary squad. This is football in the SEC and we play like we are in the WAC. The experiment with Bobo has gone on for too long and at this point if he can’t do it with the weapons that he has now, he will never do it. The O needs new leadership.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

I say we can beat Alabama or LSU, and I want a shot at them. NMSU, Auburn and those Nerds on North Ave. have no idea what is coming at them….the pain train baby!!!

The pain train is coming!!!!

Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

Either the interception dude is trying to be cute or someone has spiked his handle.

Either way, funny stuff!

Blackoutfan

November 4th, 2011
12:51 pm

The black jerseys should be a reward for beating Florida. If we win, the team can wear them against Auburn or GT at home. If the team likes them, and wants to wear them, earn them.

Whopper Dawg

November 4th, 2011
12:51 pm

RE: On a roll

It is the schedule, stupid. And like I feared, the weakest schedule we have had in decades has folks thinking this team and program is in a place where it is not.

ARdawg

November 4th, 2011
12:56 pm

DawginLex

The interception dude would appear to be on drugs. Somebody test him

how2fish

November 4th, 2011
12:56 pm

@The Orginal WDE I think we play the schedule given us by the SEC. We lost twice to teams ranked higher than we were and we have not lost to an unranked team. Looking forward to seeing your team in a couple of weeks. But first we need to see to N Mex St this week.

ARdawg

November 4th, 2011
12:57 pm

I really have reservations to even post on a blog discussing uniforms

GT Joe

November 4th, 2011
12:59 pm

LOL. UGA has SEC wins against teams with a combined 4-22 record in SEC play.

Yeah. On a roll.

David Granger

November 4th, 2011
1:01 pm

Lord, I hope this year is NOTHING like 2007. The success we had that year…and the following aspirations…just about ruined the team and the fan base, both. All the UGA fans started talking smack…sounded about like that FSU scum. And considering the talent we had, 2008 was absolutely wretched.
Was nice to see Richard Samuel have a good game against the Gators. He’s been a “damn good Dawg” since he got there. Got shifted around a lot, and worked hard wherever they put him. (Was a 5-star recruit at running back, but they moved him to LB because they thought we were well-stocked there with Caleb King and Washaun Ealey…and because he didn’t have the flat-out “burner” speed that they thought a RB needed.) Sorry to see him get hurt, if only because it takes his attitude out of the game.
Crowell has talent…but so did King and Ealey. Sure wish we had a real strict disciplinarian head coach. That would solve a lot of our problems…both on and off the field.

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
1:03 pm

GT lost to Miami and to virginia.

Miami lost to Merryland and virginia was taken to OT by Idaho and lost to NC State that lost to Cincy by 40 who lost to UT by 30.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

The Orginal WDE

November 4th, 2011
1:03 pm

@ how2fish

You’re unlike the spirit of this blog or the normal UGA fan. Thank you for not getting ahead of yourself like the rest of your sidewalk fanbase.

Geaux Crimson

November 4th, 2011
1:04 pm

Mike Bobo will be the first one who craps in his pants! Doesn’t matter which team you leg humpers play…your’re going to get clocked by both teams!

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
1:05 pm

GEAUX TIGERS

Geaux Crimson

November 4th, 2011
1:06 pm

Seriously….are you measuring your worth by a win over the worst Florida team in decades? I kind of like that. You’ll never see it coming when Murray is laid out flat on his back staring up at stars.

Josh Rosen

November 4th, 2011
1:06 pm

Don’t even start talking about uniforms and blacking out ANYTHING. Mark Richt will get so giggle-sissy worked up over that, he’ll be squealing and rubbing his thighs together in ecstasy…we’ll be lucky to beat even a “thump-a-chump” team like NM State.

GT Joe

November 4th, 2011
1:07 pm

UGA has beaten:

Ole Miss: #12 in the SEC
Tenn: #11 in the SEC
Vandy: #9 in the SEC
MSU: #8 in the SEC
Florida: #7 in the SEC

Gets to play UK: #10 in the SEC

Which basically puts UGA at #6 in the SEC out of 12 after they lose to Auburn.

Another mediocre season for UGA. Yawn.

daddo

November 4th, 2011
1:07 pm

I’m sure Alabama would love to see Georgia again in a black jersey, too.

how2fish

November 4th, 2011
1:10 pm

@The Orginal WDE I’m thinking UGA/Auburn will be a war this year, I think both teams could win but not in a blowout. I think both squads are better than they were when the season started.

GT Joe

November 4th, 2011
1:10 pm

Lex: UGA lost to SC who barely beat Navy by a FG who was DESTROYED by WKU (what’s a hilltopper?) who got shutout by Florida Atlantic!

BWUAAYAHAHAHHAH!!!!!!!

ARdawg

November 4th, 2011
1:12 pm

Ah Geesh. Tech bloggers on a lunch break. Really, is there anything worse? Let’s re-think this immigration position and let the illegals take the Tech grad jobs

GT Joe

November 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

Jesus, I just looked at UGA’s 2012 schedule. After this season’s cupcake walk, next year looks just as easy.

So much for that “vaunted” SEC competition. Snoozefest.

Restore UGA

November 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

@Clean Up
Crowell needs to clean up his act…get rid of the nasty, nappy hair and work on his attitude!!!

That would be a great start. I am sick of the dirty dreds. It is a fad that I can’t wait to see fade.

GT Joe

November 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

ARdawg: the illegals already took the UGA grad jobs. Janitors. landscapers, etc.

Restore UGA

November 4th, 2011
1:14 pm

@GT Joe,

We should drop GT to improve our SOS.

GT Joe

November 4th, 2011
1:15 pm

Sure Restore: then you’d have just 2 ranked teams on your sked. LOL.

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
1:15 pm

GT Joe proves his knowledge of college football by stating that Georgia going to Tuscaloosa in 2012 to play Alabama is an easy game

WDE

November 4th, 2011
1:15 pm

@GT Joe so when we yet again pound the Bugs your all out of excuses correct??

George Stein

November 4th, 2011
1:16 pm

I’m a Tech fan so feel free to dismiss me if you want. But just trash the black jerseys. The red ones look sharp and are your tradition. Don’t turn into Oregon.

ARdawg

November 4th, 2011
1:17 pm

George Stein

I would agree with you sir

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
1:18 pm

agree on the jersey too

George Stein

November 4th, 2011
1:18 pm

I could understand paying homage to the old teams with a white jersey and red pants every now and then though, ARdawg. I never thought they looked good but I could at least understand that.

GT Joe

November 4th, 2011
1:19 pm

DawginLex once again proves his poor reading abilities. I said easy schedule. I didn’t say bama was an easy game. Didn’t even mention bama.

2012 is probably easier than 2011. If ya’ll don’t win the East next year, sheesh.

GT Joe

November 4th, 2011
1:20 pm

How sad would it be if the 6th best team in the SEC goes to the SECCG? Sham.

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
1:21 pm

Bama being on the schedule makes for an easy schedule?

AT SC
AT AU
Florida
AT Bama

Restore UGA

November 4th, 2011
1:21 pm

All, quick one or the other poll question;

Use Black Jerseys or Keep Mike Bobo

George Stein

November 4th, 2011
1:21 pm

Enough, GT Joe.

Restore UGA

November 4th, 2011
1:22 pm

Black Jerseys

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
1:23 pm

Wasting your time George.

He is a paid AJC employee on commission for creating blog hits.

Doesn’t he spew similar garbage on the GT blog?

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
1:23 pm

I say keep Bobo but re-assign him to QB coach and Richt goes back to full time playcalling

George Stein

November 4th, 2011
1:23 pm

I generally just scroll past all that garbage, Lex. I just wanna talk football.

Geaux Crimson

November 4th, 2011
1:25 pm

I kind of have to agree with GT Joe. SEC West is going to embarrass SEC East AGAIN in the dome this year…just like Auburn did to Spurrier last year with a one-sided score!

George Stein

November 4th, 2011
1:25 pm

Someone is hijacking my handle…

DawginLex

November 4th, 2011
1:25 pm

Football talk it is

I want to see these 2 young men run the ball for UGA tomorrow. I would also like to see Nick Marshall in the Wildcat with run/throw option.

George Stein

November 4th, 2011
1:26 pm

About y’all’s schedule, Lex. No one can deny y’all got lucky with the schedule. But I can’t understand the criticism and I don’t think y’all should apologize for it.

Plus, out of conference, UGA (to their credit) played a top 5 team and, if we hold up our end of the bargain, another roughly top 15 team. There’s nothing wrong with that schedule.

George Stein

November 4th, 2011
1:26 pm

That post at 1:25 does not belong to me.