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 Washington at LSU and Florida at Texas A&M, one of which probably will get the other national spot. Anyway, yeah, the combination of Commings sitting out the game and Georgia being thin in the secondary will probably have Tigers QB James Franklin slinging the ball pretty frequently to T.J. Moe and Marcus Lucas, regardless of whether DGB makes it onto the field that early in the season. Fortunately, I don’t think Missouri’s defense is going to be anywhere near as tough as Georgia’s, so Aaron Murray is likely to do plenty of slinging on his own. And if the Dawgs also manage to get their running game on track, they should be able to give the Tigers the same sort of welcome to the SEC that South Carolina got in 1992. It’d sure be nice not to start out conference play 0-1 like the past two years!
Brett Miolen writes: What’s going on with our secondary? With the 2-game suspension of Sanders Commings and Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders being booted from the team, our DB situation is at DEFCON 4. What can we do to be ready for some of the passing offenses we will face this season? Should we move guys around or just try to use who we have? Either way it’s not a great situation.
I don’t think Buffalo, the season opener, will be much of a threat. Aside from the Missouri game, when Commings will be serving his suspension, Georgia will have one of the nation’s best starting secondaries, and as long as no one gets hurt it shouldn’t be a major problem. For Missouri, I imagine the Dawgs will make do with the supporting cast of Damian Swann, Marc Deas, Corey Moore, Quintavious Harrow and Devin Bowman, with incoming freshman Sheldon Dawson a longshot that early. I don’t really see the Georgia coaches using ace receiver Malcolm Mitchell on defense unless the situation gets really dire later in the season.
Jake Fleming writes: Why is it taking so long to extend Mark Richt and Todd Grantham’s contracts? Do you feel those contracts hurt us on this year’s recruiting?
Why is it taking so long? Lawyers. Last I saw, though, it was reported they were 98 percent there on the contracts, and the 2 percent still to be hammered out was minor stuff. What hurt in this season’s recruiting was all the Mark Richt “hot seat” talk early in the season. But UGA is on record as wanting both coaches to have contract extensions, so I doubt very much the recruiting situation for next year will be impacted at all.
C.A. Hopkins writes: Asking, because I don’t know: Is it possible to “major” in football? This is a serious question as the sport has evolved into a huge business. Not just the NFL, but all over the world. Billions of dollars in revenue. There needs to be classes on agents, finance, facilities, etc. The people that love the sport and are focused on that as a major part of their life should be able to get a focused education on making them professional, educated football graduates. It may sound silly, but years ago, being an Internet analyst was silly.
I don’t know about other schools, but UGA doesn’t have a football major, though there are sports-related majors, including exercise and sport science, athletic training, and sports management (which is really aimed at preparing future coaches/administrators). The closest to a football major is probably what Isaiah Crowell and Alec Ogletree are taking: health and physical education. Otherwise, Georgia’s football players have a pretty diverse list of majors. The nonsports majors showing up most frequently appear to be journalism, psychology, speech communications, housing, and child and family development, but you also have players majoring in international affairs, business/management, anthropology, family financial planning, health promotion, finance, biology, pre-med, economics, athletic training, management information systems, agricultural engineering, risk management and insurance, marketing, real estate, biomedical engineering, sociology, agricultural and applied economics, agricultural and environmental sciences, education, history, consumer economics, criminal justice, recreation and leisure studies, forestry and natural resources, and theater. As for whether a true football major might develop in the future, I’d say that’ll probably only happen in the unlikely event that the NCAA OKs paying the players.
Andy Trundle writes: Other than a soft schedule and some quality players returning, what actually justifies our high preseason ranking in football? Of course, preseason rankings are somewhat bogus, but how high do you honestly feel we should be ranked before play even starts?
The combination of a relatively soft schedule and quite a few quality players returning is as good a reason for a high preseason ranking as any. It all comes down to execution, of course, but I think the 2012 Dogs are easily a Top 15 team and if they play up to their full potential should manage to keep the Top 10 ranking that they’re likely to start out with.
Travis Hill writes: Special teams … I have no clue what or how this is going to change. Since Warren Belin left for the NFL we have had a drop-off for sure. This has to be addressed. I am interested in what Richt will do … if anything? This is especially scary since we will have a freshman kicker and punter.
Richt hasn’t indicated what he’s going to do but he has indicated that special teams will be a priority, so I imagine we will see some sort of change. Whether he names a position coach to also serve as special teams coordinator or simply loads up the special teams with starters and devotes more time to preparing them in practice, you’re right that Georgia can’t afford to let the status quo continue in that very important aspect of the game.
Garrett Kee writes: Hey Bill! Hope you’re doing well! Again, condolences to you family for the loss of your father. He seemed like a great man and a Bulldog till the end. I wanted to kind of change the subject around from the traditional football talk to the action on the hardwood. Since it is basketball season and getting close to March, wanted to get your opinion on our basketball team this year. Do you think Mark Fox is the man who can lead this program to something more then an afterthought when college football ends to something to occasionally to watch before spring practice starts? Let’s face it, Georgia is a football school and will always be one; it’s our bread and butter. Fox has done tremendous things since he has gotten here. No doubt with the departures of [Travis] Leslie and [Trey] Thompkins, Fox was dealt a huge blow for this season, mainly no big threat in the inside. My question to you is do you think Fox can get this program to a point where every year an NCAA tourney birth is expected and occasionally a Sweet 16 birth is not a bizarre thought? [Kentavious] Caldwell-Pope and [Nemanja] Djurisic look to be great building blocks for the future. With our facilities and the talent that is in the state of Georgia for basketball, I don’t see why we can’t be with the Floridas of the world who are successful at football and basketball. Disappointment [this week] with the 1-point loss to South Carolina off the huge weekend upset of Mississippi State. Hopefully they can regroup and finish strong. Go Dawgs!
Thanks. You’re right on the mark when it comes to my Dad. As for Georgia basketball, I really like Mark Fox. I think he’s a good game coach, and I think if he’s able to put together a team with more than just one or two quality players, Georgia can indeed become a regular in the NCAAs. But that’s the big question mark still looming over Fox — his ability to recruit at the level needed to move the program up into the top half of the conference. I think he’s still got a year or two to get it done before Greg McGarity starts to get impatient for more progress.
Finally, our Redcoat Band buddy Brett Johnson writes: Hey Bill, If you haven’t heard or seen the news about the Band Bowl, the UGA Redcoat Band dominated a team wearing white who all coincidentally participate in the Georgia Tech band 21-6. Fox 5 did a very fun piece.
Yes, I did see that, Brett. I don’t know what your major is, but if it’s not public relations you’re missing your calling. You did a great job of getting the word out and drumming up interest in the Band Bowl. Congratulations on yet another UGA victory over the guys from the NATS!
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg