Archive for February, 2012

UGA’s McGarity between rock and hard place on SEC scheduling

SEC round logoThe SEC’s athletic directors are meeting this week in Nashville on what to do about the football schedule in the wake of expansion, and it sounds like UGA’s Greg McGarity is beginning to waver in his opposition to adding a ninth conference game each season.

That’s because, basically, the SEC schools giving up a cupcake nonconference game is the best, least disruptive way to ensure that the traditional cross-divisional Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Tennessee rivalries are maintained as an annual fixture.

Up to now, McGarity was like most coaches and AD’s in the conference: opposed to a nine-game conference schedule — despite the fact it would most likely draw more TV money — because they consider it tough enough to survive eight SEC games and don’t want to give up one of those sure home wins they buy from lesser programs hungry for the bucks.

Plus, they say, playing nine conference games would make it very difficult to pull the trigger on the occasional nonconference game …

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Fan talk: Offseason concerns and looking forward to G-Day

Jarvis Jones could lose playing time if his helmet comes off as frequently this season as it did last year. (Associated Press)

Jarvis Jones could lose playing time if his helmet comes off as frequently this season as it did last year. (Associated Press)

Saturday morning musings: With an NCAA rule change mandating that players who lose their helmets in a game must sit out for at least one play, I’m wondering if Georgia’s equipment managers will be trying hard to come up with a new strategy for keeping the lids on Jarvis Jones and Isaiah Crowell, who ended quite a few plays topless last season. … Another rule change has teams kicking off from the 35-yard line but touchbacks being brought out to the 25, which is likely to make high, shorter, directional kicks the vogue with some coaches. Somewhere Jon Fabris must be smiling. … And in the case of an arrested UGA soccer player, I’m left wondering: Where exactly does one hide stolen hash browns in one’s pants?

With that image stuck in your brain, let’s dip into some of this week’s Junkyard Mail ….

First, a little social media feedback. This week, I asked on …

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All hands on deck: Richt sounds ready to shake things up

Malcolm Mitchell will get a look as a two-way player, Mark Richt said. (Associated Press)

Malcolm Mitchell will get a look as a two-way player, Mark Richt said. (Associated Press)

It’s the time of year in college football when all teams are undefeated, most fans are optimistic, and coaches talk a lot of ideas designed to get those fans excited (though in many cases they never pan out). There might have been some of that in a few of Mark Richt’s comments to reporters Thursday, but I still found a lot to like in what he said.

Richt sounded a lot more flexible in terms of shaking things up and making the best use of Georgia’s talent base with position switches and two-way players than he has at times in the past.

Malcolm Mitchell playing offense and defense?

“Quite frankly, we’re going to experiment with that a bit,” Richt said.

Same with Richard Samuel possibly playing fullback. And there’s not a lot of difference in Todd Grantham’s defense between Ray Drew playing outside linebacker and defensive end, he said. Versatility is a hallmark of defensive players under …

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Will multiyear scholarships give Dawgs a recruiting edge?

Mark Richt has always viewed scholarship offers as a multiyear commitment. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt has always viewed scholarship offers as a multiyear commitment. (Associated Press)

The proposal to allow schools to give student athletes multiyear scholarships, instead of annual scholarships that must be renewed every year, was upheld (just barely) last week in a vote of the NCAA membership, despite quite a few coaches not being on board with the idea.

Mark Richt is totally on board, though, because that’s the way Georgia’s been operating unofficially under him all along. As he said last month, “When we sign a young man, we expect him to see through to graduation. I know contractually it is one year at a time, but from what’s in my heart and from what’s in the heart of the University of Georgia is for these guys to make it all the way through to graduation. It means a whole lot to us. I don’t think it will change the way we view taking care of these guys.”

In fact, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald that Georgia is likely to offer …

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Fan talk: Thin secondary has some UGA fans worrying about Mizzou

Missouri's James Franklin will be facing a depleted Georgia secondary. (Associated Press)

Missouri's James Franklin will be facing a depleted Georgia secondary. (Associated Press)

The disciplinary action taken by Mark Richt against starting cornerback Sanders Commings suddenly has UGA fans viewing that early-season trip to Columbia, MO, in a different light. Along those lines, let’s dip into some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. …

Travis Gordon writes: With transfers, dismissals and little depth at cornerback, and also the suspension of Commings, should we be worried about Missouri’s air attack and DGB?

That SEC opener certainly is looking a lot more interesting than we first thought, isn’t it? In fact, it’s likely that it’ll wind up getting one of the conference’s Sept. 8 national television slots because of the high interest generated by it being Mizzou’s first SEC game, the possible playing debut of the nation’s No. 1 receiver prospect, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Georgia likely being a Top 10 team. The only other SEC games of national interest that week will be …

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Should UGA season ticket holders be satisfied with a diet of cupcakes?

georgia bulldog clubIf you’re a Georgia football season ticket holder and you haven’t made your annual contribution to the Hartman Fund, better get down to the post office, go online or get on the horn to the Georgia Bulldog Club offices in Athens, because today’s the deadline. You can find out all the details here.

Contributions sent via snail mail must be postmarked no later than Feb. 15.

Even if you’re not going for season tickets, a minimum $100 contribution to the Hartman Fund will get you a 2012 football ticket application and will make you eligible to request single-game tickets to five of the seven home games. With the Dawgs looking to open the season as possibly a Top 5 team, some folks might want to scramble aboard the bandwagon.

Then again, whether you can find five home games on Georgia’s 2012 schedule that you consider worth the cost of the ticket plus a contribution is another question.

Along those lines, I had a note from reader SavannahDawg, who was going ahead and making his …

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UGA and that school from Atlanta meet again on gridiron

band bowl IIIGeorgia and Georgia Tech will meet again in football Saturday in Athens — sort of.

Brett Johnson and Paul Floyd of UGA’s Redcoat Band tell me that the Redcoats’ football team will be playing something called the White Team, an unofficial aggregation allegedly consisting of band members from that school on North Avenue, at noon Saturday at Southeast Clarke Park, 4440 Lexington Road in Athens.

Just in case you might be one of those folks who mistakenly considers the members of the band to be anything less than gung-ho iron men, you should know that they play full-contact tackle football and, Brett noted, like rugby, “the only padding is a mouthpiece and hopefully forgiving grass.”

Sounds like the sandlot games my brothers and I used to love playing with our friends when we were kids (only we didn’t even bother with the mouthpieces).

Saturday’s game, dubbed Band Bowl III, is the third annual clash since the series was revived after an undertermined number of years off (no one …

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Dumping Georgia-Auburn rivalry would be bad for college football

georgia-auburn rivalryAs I’m sure you’ve seen, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity talked with reporters Wednesday about the possibility of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry between Georgia and Auburn falling victim to the revised schedule the expanded SEC is likely to undertake after this coming season.

Basically, what it comes down to is this: The permanent cross-divisional rivalries could easily be maintained if the SEC went to a nine-game conference schedule as other conferences, including the ACC, are doing. But SEC athletic directors prefer to stick with eight conference games in order to maintain more scheduling flexibility (meaning they can schedule the occasional nonconference BCS game and still feast on at least two cupcakes per season).

That’s an even bigger factor for teams like Georgia, Florida and South Carolina that have BCS in-state rivals permanently locked in on their schedule.

The future of the Georgia-Auburn rivalry is endangered because, with that game and Alabama-Tennessee being …

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A few reasons for UGA fans to look on the bright side

UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has been named one of the nation's Top 25 recruiters. (University of Georgia)

UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has been named one of the nation's Top 25 recruiters. (University of Georgia)

The gray skies outside have reflected too much of how my winter has gone so far, so it’s time for a few mood brighteners, of the red and black variety.

Some might choose to be focusing on those potential signees that Georgia didn’t manage to flip last week, but the Dogs still will have some pretty impressive fresh blood coming to Athens, and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham reportedly had a big hand in making that happen. Rivals.com has noticed, and named Grantham one of the nation’s 25 best recruiters, which bodes well for replenishing the senior-laden defensive secondary after this season.

Speaking of which, David Ching of ESPN’s DawgNation notes that while Georgia could have depth problems in its defensive secondary in the wake of last week’s dismissals, the returning starting lineup is pretty awesome, with Bacarri Rambo, Shawn Williams, Branden Smith and …

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A Georgia Bulldog to the very end

William D. King was a Georgia Bulldogs fan his entire life. (Photo by Bill King)

William D. King was a Georgia Bulldogs fan his entire life. (Photo by Bill King)

We laid my Dad, William D. King, to rest in Athens’ Evergreen Memorial Park Wednesday, and it being national signing day much of my Bulldog-centric family naturally had one eye on ESPN while we got ready for the funeral at First Baptist Church.

Dad wouldn’t have minded in the least. I’ve written in the past about his devotion to the University of Georgia, and several favorite family stories of Pop involve the Dawgs. Such as how he came to stand on the sideline as a “high school prospect” when the 1942 national championship team met Alabama in Atlanta. And how he nervously ate his way through almost an entire bag of oranges as Georgia beat Auburn for the SEC title in 1959 — a tale that seemed to resonate with quite a few readers who’ve mentioned it to me over the years.

It was a burial befitting a lifelong Bulldog, and not just because of the beautiful plant bedecked with a red and black ribbon, …

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