Archive for November, 2011

Fan talk: How about a little Bulldog love for Russ?

Should Russ be named official mascot? (University of Georgia)

Should Russ be named official mascot? (University of Georgia)

Saturday’s game against Kentucky is the last chance to see the Dogs play Between the Hedges this season and a limited number of unclaimed UGA student tickets went on sale to the general public Thursday morning. If you’d like the chance to see Georgia try to clinch the SEC East in person, Georgiadogs.com has the details.

Now, let’s get to some Junkyard Mail. …

Brady Johnson writes: I heard one of the guys on the post-game radio show speculate after the Auburn game that if Georgia wins the SEC Championship that Russ will earn full “mascot” status and be buried inside Sanford Stadium with his forebears when he goes on to that great fireplug in the sky. Since it’s pretty obvious the new Uga isn’t going to be introduced this season, what do you think is the likelihood of that?

I don’t know if Russ will ever be declared on official mascot, but if Georgia wins an SEC championship on his watch I think he certainly deserves …

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How will Dogs handle life in the driver’s seat?

SEC-Football1It was amusing to hear Kentucky coach Joker Phillips telling about getting a text from the 803 area code (South Carolina) offering him dinner “anywhere in the world” if Kentucky upsets Georgia, but it also brought home how good it feels for the Dogs to control their own destiny, as the sports cliche goes, in the battle to play in the Georgia Dome.

Dawgs fans can relate to what South Carolina fans are feeling right now. Remember how frustrating it was for most of the season when we knew that no matter how well Georgia played, all the Gamecocks had to do to get back to Atlanta was win out in the conference?

Now, the roles are reversed and Carolina fans who were crying “War Eagle” last week are desperately cheering this week for Big Blue (a nickname more commonly applied to the Wildcats in basketball).

I know a lot of Georgia fans are concerned that with the point spread approaching 30 for this game the Dogs might come out complacent or lose focus looking ahead, and that’s …

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Offensive line play a big factor as Aaron Murray hits his stride

Aaron Murray has his best game as a Bulldog. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Aaron Murray has his best game as a Bulldog. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

As we look ahead to the chance to clinch the SEC East against Kentucky, here are a few more thoughts on Georgia’s big win over Auburn. …

The Dogs’ offensive line had its most consistent game in ages and at times looked dominating. One of the results is that Aaron Murray appears to have more confidence in them, isn’t rushing passes as much as earlier in the season and consequently is much more accurate. Yeah, Murray was sacked three times, but he still looked extremely comfortable in the pocket and had probably his best day as a Bulldog against the Tigers.

Kudos also to Mike Bobo, who must have noticed a susceptibility on the part of the Auburn defense to the “back shoulder” pass, in which, with the ball in the air, the receiver suddenly stops running or even comes back to get a deliberately underthrown pass, leaving the defender out of the play. Murray threw three of those perfectly Saturday, two for big …

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A statement game from Mark Richt’s Dawgs

Michael Bennett's touchdown catch was a highlight on a great day for the Dogs. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Michael Bennett's touchdown catch was a highlight on a great day for the Dogs. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

So much for questioning the Vegas odds wizards installing a double-digit point spread for Georgia over a ranked SEC rival.

The Dogs didn’t just cover the spread, they buried it deeper than Jimmy Hoffa as they demolished Auburn convincingly and set themselves up with a chance to clinch the SEC East title next week.

Georgia’s’ blowout win over the defending national champion was the sweetest moment Between the Hedges since the 2007 Blackout win over the Tigers, and the home crowd deserves some of the credit for making Sanford Stadium as noisy as it’s been since then.

They had a lot to cheer about, though.

The offense and defense both played lights-out ball Saturday. How about 528 yards of offense with two running backs topping 100 yards and little Carlton Thomas averaging 8.5 yards per run. Four touchdown passes for Aaron Murray as he passed Matthew Stafford for the UGA …

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Georgia-Auburn: No longer a ‘friendly’ rivalry?

John Jenkins and the Georgia defense need to keep Auburn's running game in check. (University of Georgia)

John Jenkins and the Georgia defense need to keep Auburn's running game in check. (University of Georgia)

Vince Dooley, an Auburn grad who made UGA his home, likes to refer to the Georgia-Auburn rivalry as “feuding cousins,” but there’s always been a sizable contingent in the Bulldog Nation that thinks more like freshman running back Isaiah Crowell, who said this week, “I never liked Auburn. Point blank, I never liked them.”

After last year’s contentious game — what with Nick Fairley’s unpunished dirty play, Gene Chizik stirring it up on the sideline during the fracas at the end of the game and assistant coach Trooper Taylor and rent-a-quarterback Cam Newton strutting around like playground bullies — a lot of UGA fans no longer view it as a “friendly” rivalry.

Has Georgia-Auburn gotten uglier? Is it still feuding cousins or pure hate now? I put that question to fans following the Junkyard Blawg’s Facebook page and Twitter feed this week.

Darrell Huckaby said the …

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Fan talk: How would late-season Dawgs match up with Boise State?

The Dogs looked bad in those awful uniforms and played even worse when they met Boise State. How would they do now? (Brand Sanderlin / AJC)

The Dogs looked bad in those awful uniforms and played even worse when they met Boise State. How would they do now? (Brand Sanderlin / AJC)

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 …

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Mark Richt faces tough decisions for Auburn game

Should Carlton Thomas get the No. 2 tailback spot in the Auburn game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Should Carlton Thomas get the No. 2 tailback spot in the Auburn game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

It’s no surprise that Mark Richt has indicated Isaiah Crowell likely will step right back into his starting tailback spot coming off a one-game suspension.

The coach said that if Richard Samuel were not injured “it certainly would have been a good competition” for who would start, but “right now … I’d say the first snap we take Isaiah would be the No. 1 tailback. In practice I’m saying.”

Crowell may still have some growing up to do, both in terms of physical stamina and emotional maturity, but he leads the Dogs with 689 yards rushing and it’s obvious that when he’s healthy and fresh he gives the Georgia offense a dynamic that it otherwise lacks.

But what about the backup spot behind Crowell? With a starting back who spends as much time on the sideline as he does in the game, the No. 2 tailback at Georgia gets used quite a bit this season. Should junior Carlton Thomas, coming off …

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Dogs vs. Aggies: Slaughter on Sanford Drive

Brandon Harton made the most of his chance at playing time, running for 98 yards. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Brandon Harton made the most of his chance at playing time, running for 98 yards. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

The location might have differed, but the Redcoat Band’s halftime performance of music from “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” proved a fitting soundtrack for Georgia’s Homecoming win over New Mexico State, as nine different Bulldogs scored touchdowns Saturday in the bench-emptying victory.

Although Georgia scored 63 points and had 627 yards of net offense, the game actually got off to a pretty tentative start for the Dogs as Mike Bobo held off going with his fifth- and sixth-string running backs in the wake of this week’s suspensions, giving the start at tailback instead to defensive crossover Branden Smith, who ended up scoring the first touchdown, juking the only defender who had a shot at him on a 56-yard run.

Early on, Bobo had Aaron Murray throwing a lot of short passes, and when Brandon Harton fumbled at the NMS 3 after a 9-yard run on his first carry, you had to …

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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 …

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Dawgs find a way to make the New Mexico State game interesting

Brandon Harton probably would have gotten quite a few carries against New Mexico State anyway. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Brandon Harton probably would have gotten quite a few carries against New Mexico State anyway. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Well, you can say this about Georgia’s suddenly thinned out tailback corps: At least it’s managed to generate some interest in Saturday’s nonconference game against the 3-5 New Mexico State Aggies (for which tickets are still available).

Mighty mite sophomore former walk-on Brandon Harton (5-6, 174), who had 11 carries against Coastal Carolina, is the likely starter, backed up by freshman walk-on Kyle Karempelis (5-9, 180), who gained 5,756 yards and scored 93 touchdowns last year for Wesleyan, a private Christian school in Norcross that plays Class A ball. The other scholarship back, former walk-on Wes Van Dyk, reportedly is injured.

So Mike Bobo admitted Tuesday that he’s likely to get creative in backing up Harton and Karempelis. Of course, defensive backs Brandon Boykin and Branden Smith have been used occasionally on offense, but in a game against a team …

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