As we gear up for the renewal of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, it’s time to answer some Junkyard Mail. …
Clark Colwell writes: Bill, I know it doesn’t mean much now, but I can’t help but wonder. If UGA played Boise State now instead of at the beginning of the season what kind of game do you think we would see? The defense is without question much better now. Team confidence is much higher. [Aaron] Murray and the offense are playing better. What do you think?
Georgia clearly played its worst game against the Broncos at the Georgia Dome to open the season and is a much better team now than it was then. Boise’s a really good team and clearly is still the best the Dogs have faced this season. But I think if they met now, it would be a much closer game. Vince Dooley said the other day that “if we played Boise State four times … maybe we’ll beat them once.” I think the odds might be a bit better than that. I’d take Georgia in an upset if they played now. Especially if the Dogs weren’t dressed like Power Rangers.
Chad Moon writes: Hello Bill, love your blog. I was born and raised a Bulldawg fan living just outside of Athens in Winterville. Oglethorpe County Class of ’92. But I now call Shreveport, Louisiana, home. My question to you is this … how crazy of a notion would it be for CMR to be named the SEC Coach of the Year? Saban, Miles, and that team quitter coach in Arkansas were all “supposed” to have good if not great teams this year anyway, right? After starting 0-2 everyone outside of the Bulldawg Nation had written off the Dawgs; but here they are at 7-2, (6-1) seven straight victories later. Granted, the teams they have beaten don’t have the most impressive records and Georgia hasn’t had to play the big three from the West Division, but you can only play the teams that fall into your schedule, right? I stand on my soap box now and declare IF Georgia wins the East division and goes to Atlanta that CMR should win the SEC Coach of the Year Award. What are your thoughts?
ESPN.com’s Chris Low doesn’t think it’s such a crazy idea. In his latest SEC superlatives tracker, he lists potential SEC coach of the year candidates as: 1. Les Miles, LSU. 2. Mark Richt, Georgia. 3. James Franklin, Vanderbilt. Assuming LSU wins out, I think Miles is probably a lock, even if Georgia wins the East. But if the Dogs were somehow to win the conference championship, I believe Richt would be the likely winner of coach of the year honors for his team’s remarkable turnaround from an 0-2 start. And he would deserve it.
Lucas Golub writes: Hey Bill, any chance there’s a fan Blackout of the Auburn game? I hate it when the team messes around with the uniform colors, but I love the visual of the whole stadium in black as well as the symbolism of solidarity and support for the team. This would be the perfect way to show the nation that Richt’s seat isn’t nearly as hot as the media has tried to make it all year and that the Bulldawg Nation is behind this team 100%.
Richt hasn’t called for a Blackout and I don’t think he’s likely to at this late stage. And so far I haven’t seen any fan momentum for one, either. While I like the black jerseys on the players, I think the whole Blackout thing involving the crowd was overdone. Georgia fans just getting there early and staying loud for the whole game is what Richt and the team need from us Saturday.
Hal Welch writes: Bill, just finished reading the mail blog again. In particular the part on [Isaiah] Crowell. A couple things people need to know and keep in mind when questioning his conditioning/toughness, etc. were the injury last year and the badly bruised rib in the Carolina game that the staff worried might even be cracked initially. He played the next week with the bad ribs, gathering some toughness votes from me. But beyond that, if you’ve never had a bruised/cracked rib what you need to know is that you just about cannot breathe, certainly can’t get a deep breath without extreme pain, so he probably did suffer some conditioning fallback there. In addition to that, the new high speed offense (which we begged for since David Greene left) is rattling off nearly 20 more plays a game than before. Crowell could carry the ball 25-30 times a game, which is a workhorse’s load, and still be off the field for 50+ plays. Give the kid a break (not you, other fans). Let’s let him get a full season under his belt. At one point a couple weeks back he was actually on a higher pace thru 6 games than [Marcus] Lattimore was in his freshman year according to another reporter I follow. Let’s not run him off and sour him before he turns 19, OK. GO DAWGS!
I agree that it’s way too early to be judging Crowell on anything other than his obvious lack of maturity. And you’re right about the nagging injuries holding him back. Let’s let him finish his first season before drawing any conclusions. And I still feel a whole lot better about Georgia’s offensive chances when he’s on the field!
Sands Orris writes: Why did [Mike] Bobo not start [Brandon] Harton at tailback the first series [against New Mexico State]? The kid works hard all season and finally gets his chance to start and they put [Branden] Smith back there. Just not cool!
I’m not sure why Smith started at tailback over Harton, but I think it likely was because he’s more experienced, even as a part-time offensive player. Bobo didn’t wait too long to give Harton the ball and didn’t hesitate to come back to him even after he fumbled on his first carry (which was still a terrific, extra-effort run). So I don’t think it was a knock on Harton that Smith started.
Steve Segrest writes: Hi Bill, could you write about our D.E.’s, they appear to be having very good seasons — but they rarely get any press compared to N.G.’s, LB’s, and secondary. Are they pro football material?
While the linebackers and defensive backs lead the Dogs in tackles made so far this season, the defensive ends have both been solid. Abry Jones is seventh on team with 15 solo tackles, 13 assists and four tackles for loss (sixth on team in that category). I don’t really follow NFL scouting, but I know some observers think he has pro potential. The other DE, DeAngelo Tyson, is 10th on the team with 11 tackles and nine assists (3.5 tackles for loss, good for eighth on team). I’ve seen him on some NFL watch lists as a player who could compete for a backup tackle job in the pros. Combined with John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers at nose guard, Jones and Tyson have given the Dogs a much improved defensive front this season, particularly against the run. It would be nice to see them create a bit more pressure on the quarterback, though.
Jeff Walker writes: What ever happened to Ken Malcome as far as talent? Last year Coach Richt said there were times he wished he had put him in, and pulled his redshirt. Now we hear about him in all this trouble with the other backs. I was just wondering was he out because of an injury or just didn’t produce this past off season?
Malcome is a bit of a mystery. He was plagued by nagging injuries but even when he has been healthy he obviously hasn’t impressed the coaching staff and was passed on the depth chart by Harton. The abortive departure from the team and now the recent suspension certainly haven’t improved his standing. You’ve got to wonder if he might not consider transferring after this season.
Sonya Graham writes: Can you tell me the best spot to tailgate?
It depends on whether you’re willing to haul your tailgating gear onto campus or prefer to eat near where you park. If it’s the latter, any of the church or school lots selling game day parking near campus are a good bet. But if you want to be actually on campus, the choicest spots are along Lumpkin Street and in the Meyers quadrangle, which has become ground zero for tailgating since the restrictions on North Campus drove most tailgaters out of that former hot spot.
Billy Johnson writes: Hi Bill. A few years ago I remember reading somewhere about expansion thoughts at Sanford Stadium. I know they mentioned not wanting to block the bridge in any expansion plans. I think they had talked about drawing up a plan to leave a gap for the bridge to still be visible, but closing in that end by building above that and having kind of a cut-out for the bridge. Have you heard anything else about any of this? I know we lose a lot of crowd noise (which we really need at home games) by having that end of the stadium open. I think AD Greg McGarity has noticed some issues with our lack of noise by tinkering with the band and student sections.
Actually, the long-range seating expansion plans unveiled in 2008 were for the east end of the stadium, not the bridge end, though I know someone did draw up a mock-up for an expansion that would allow a “window” into the stadium at the bridge end. Problem is, it would ruin the view out of the stadium, which UGA officials have indicated they’d like to preserve. So apparently if and when they get around to it, they’ll add more suites and upper level seating on the east side. The proposed addition would bring the stadium’s capacity to 101,766. No word on when they might get to this plan.
John from Cairo writes: We have the best look in football, but I’d wear white pants with red jerseys and red pants with white jerseys (Herschel in Tennessee). Can the silver britches.
Wash out your mouth! Got to disagree with you about the silver britches, though I wouldn’t mind the occasional revival of the red pants for road games. (They still look good in those clips of Herschel Walker wearing them as he plows over Bill Bates!)
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