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 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.

Departing senior tight end Aron White majored in management/kinesiology. (University of Georgia)

Departing senior tight end Aron White majored in management/kinesiology. (University of Georgia)

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.

Recruiting remains the biggest challenge for Mark Fox. (AJC file)

Recruiting remains the biggest challenge for Mark Fox. (AJC file)

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!

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

174 comments Add your comment

NC Dawg

February 16th, 2012
10:43 pm

Alaska Dawg

February 16th, 2012
10:55 pm

Snoop Dawg

February 16th, 2012
10:59 pm

Ignorant UGA hallucinators. You heard it first from Snoop Dawg. Richt and Bobo will lose the game with Missouri next year.

Take it to Vegas and make some money with it….

raleigh

February 16th, 2012
11:07 pm

how bout them dawgs

TossSweep

February 16th, 2012
11:15 pm

Snoop Dawg has been snorting some snow again. Bowowow yipee yo yipee yay. Awww yeah!

FLA DAWG

February 16th, 2012
11:20 pm

I’ve been watching Mizzou for the last five years or so and I’ve commented to buddies that this university can compete in The SEC.

Ironically they’ve entered our arena. I must admit I don’t know what kind of team they will field this season but they’ve been a smashmouth, in your face, line-oriented team that reminds me of the old Dawgs from years ago.

I think Mizzou beats our Dawgs first time out …………. regrettably…………but true.

In any case, welcome to The SEC Mizzou – you more than deserve entry.
Tell your boys that several of our teams are down lately but we will reload and you guys are in for the ride of your lives!

Best Wishes!

FLA DAWG

Class of ‘79

Mountain Dawg

February 16th, 2012
11:27 pm

It’s Mizzou that should be afraid. VERY AFRAID!

michael g.

February 16th, 2012
11:47 pm

Please stop with the call for starters to be put on special teams. I still have nightmares of losing Boss Bailey to a season-ending knee injury on the season opening kickoff!

Coach Bobo's Playbook

February 16th, 2012
11:48 pm

If Coach Bobo FINALLY decides to play 4 quarters of aggressive offense (think of the Oregon Ducks, for one), we will beat Missouri with no problem. BUT, if we get a 10 point lead and do our usual “Let’s Play Not to Lose” thing in the 3rd and 4th quarter, we won’t deserve to win…….. GO DAWGS!!!!

GTBob

February 16th, 2012
11:53 pm

So UGA fans are afraid of a team that went 8-5 last year and lost 11 of its starters? Most of which were on the offensive and defensive lines? Not a lot of confidence in your supposed top 10 team I guess.

RED DOG 77

February 17th, 2012
12:18 am

Georgia afraid of Mizzou? Phooey!…………For the love of real football, Dog Nation, lighten-up on the nervousness……….Yea, we lost a couple young players that might have contributed later in the season, but folks…………….Our Defense is LOADED !!!…………..We are capable of moving this guy from here to there and that guy from there to here, and aside from Sanders Commings, all of our starters are in place…………and by the time the ball really begins to fly, Commings will be back…………….What’s more, I think Georgia will be playing a little “Run the Pigskin at ‘em” this year which will give us a huge advantage………All season long!!…………GO DOGS !!!………..RED

boykin

February 17th, 2012
1:01 am

Dawgs will pound Mizzou!!!!

Mountain Dawg

February 17th, 2012
2:06 am

Fear not, GRBob, top 10 team or not, the Dawgs will always have enough to put away your Humble Bumbles. Put that in your pipe and smoke it as you sip on your cup of bile.

Jimmy

February 17th, 2012
3:08 am

Mizzou shouldn’t be a problem for the Dawgs pass defense. Franklin isn’t a very accurate QB. Of course he’s very mobile so that could be a concern in their version of the spread. The Dawgs better be hyped because Mizzou certaintly will, being that it’s their first SEC game.

That game will probably be a night game on ESPN2 I’m thinking, w/ the Gators/A&M game on the mothership at 7:45. I don’t think CBS televises SEC games until week 3 w/ the Gators/Vols matchup?

Great work as always Mr. Bill.

Jimmy

February 17th, 2012
3:12 am

Sooooooo, I just posted but for whatever reason it didn’t go through. I must have said one of the phrases that Delbert describes as being put on the NSA watch list??? haha

Anyway, let’s try this again. I don’t think the Dawgs pass defense has to worry much about Franklin as he’s not a very accurate passer. That plus UGA’s pass rush should have him on the run the entire game. Of course that might be a bad thing as Franklin is a very mobile QB who likes to run in Mizzou’s version of the spread.

This game will probably be placed on ESPN2 as one of their night games, w/ Florida/A&M on the mothership at 7:45. I don’t think CBS televises SEC games until the third week of the season beginning w/ the Florida/Tennessee game?? They do that because of tennis, which is beyond me.

Anyway, hopefully this goes through this time, and great work as always Bill.

7576DAWG

February 17th, 2012
3:26 am

Can’t wait for spring practice. I want to see how good the Freshman punter and kicker is going to be. With the new rules hopefully Morgan Marshall will kick into the end zone a lot and there won’t be very many return’s. Just that will solve a lot of our special team’s problem’s without even addressing the issue. With no coaching changes or reshuffling the existing coaches job’s apparently CMR think’s last year strategy will work better in 2012. With new rules only a slight change can have totally different and better result’s.
Also maybe we will see some changes in spring practice. I sure hope so because our failure’s on turnover’s and bad special team’s play was a pattern not an isolated thing and not to have some changes would be crazy.and irresponsible.

tony

February 17th, 2012
5:16 am

I’m not concern about our players but I am somewhat concern about Mr Richt and his eagerness to give the game away.
.

OkieDawg

February 17th, 2012
6:21 am

I’m not concerned about the players UGA will put on the field. Our guys are as good as any program in the nation. My concern is in the coaches booth, high above the field…that is where you will find The Bobo.

RedandBLackDAWG

February 17th, 2012
6:57 am

A couple of things to remember is that Missouri will be replacing 3 people on their Offensive line and three people on their defensive line. UGA is much better than Missouri on defense, and UGA should be able to exploit the OL of Missouri. UGA is replacing three OL’s as well, but Missouri is replacing three DL’s so there just may be a stand off there.
Their really talented receiver that is new to the class of 2012 will still be learning how to play in college football, and should not be that big a factor in his second game in college. Though thin in the secondary, UGA does have experience back there and should be able to handle their receivers. Missouri is also replacing their RB, so will lack experience there as well.
If UGA can put pressure on the QB, it could be a long day for Missouri. Make their QB worried in the pocket, and give him happy feet.Even if they had three experienced linemen, UGA has a great pass rush and adding our Line backing corp. in the mix, UGA should be able to control their offense.
UGA is perfectly capable of scoring on them, even though we are young at a couple of positions, as long as our OL is able to hold it’s own. They will be young, but they are good athletes and if they can jell as a unit, they will be fine. The RB corp is full of potential and they will be ready to go. They are capable of being one of the strongest, if not the strongest tandem of RB’s UGA has seen in quite a while.

WDE

February 17th, 2012
7:26 am

Well ol Bob of the Bug U crowd we are a heck of a lot more scared of Mizzou that Bug U…and we aren’t scared of them.

bubba4dawgs

February 17th, 2012
7:32 am

I checked my calendar and noticed that it’s a long way til game time! The DAWGS generally beat themselves up in practice which thins out several positions. Crowell will probably get that started! I bet there are some unsung players who will add depth and strength to the secondary and are eager to get on the field! GO DAWGS!!

no dog

February 17th, 2012
7:37 am

LeMay will pull it out…

RedandBLackDAWG

February 17th, 2012
7:46 am

No Dog,

LeMay will pull what out and from where?

SC Fan

February 17th, 2012
7:53 am

Georgia has a unique opportunity. The dogs can lose TWICE in Columbia this year.

Macclenny_dawg

February 17th, 2012
7:53 am

As long as our conservativec play calling continues with a young o-line I am worried!!! Still think we beat Missouri but it will be close!!! No killer instinct in our coaches!!!

RedandBLackDAWG

February 17th, 2012
8:11 am

S C fan,

Too bad they will not use that opportunity. Your team is going down in October.

GO DAWGS and GATA

DYNAMICBIGBOY

February 17th, 2012
8:24 am

Hey Andy Trundle, if you have one of the top, if no thet top, defenses in the country and all your skill players back coupled with a favorable schedule then you are probably going to be ranked high. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that one.

Lingon Berry

February 17th, 2012
8:25 am

I expect Missouri to do quite well against Richt’s illiterate thugs and woman-beaters.

Serena

February 17th, 2012
8:29 am

God bless Jan Kemp for exposing the sleazy practices at UGA. She will be remembered far longer than crappy jerks like Mark Richt who are a mockery of everything good and decent.

Jacket99

February 17th, 2012
8:32 am

Bill…you forgot to list one of the more discussed majors for athletes, Magazines.

Recreation and Leisure Studies sounds like a cool major. Would one get class credit for goof-off time?

WDE

February 17th, 2012
8:35 am

@Lingon Berry do us a favor bet your house on Mizzou and let us know how that works out for you..

WDE

February 17th, 2012
8:36 am

@Serena …Jan who??

DawginLex

February 17th, 2012
8:47 am

snoop

Place your bet.

UGA 42
Mizzou 17

Franklin can’t throw from his back.
Will be close in the 1st half, about 21 14 UGA, then the D will take over and we will destroy them.

dawgfan

February 17th, 2012
8:51 am

I think we’re going to be a little overrated going in to this season. The preseason prognosticators always ignore the O-line. As always, we’ve got major problems there. And we shouldn’t get a bump in the polls for an easy schedule. I’ve always hated that. We could go 11-1 on our schedule and still get our brains beat in by the West champ in the SECCG.

I just think this team still has ALOT to prove after a season in which we didn’t beat a single ranked team. We weren’t even competitive with Top 5 teams Boise or LSU. If we had played Bama it would have been even worse in my opinion. They are a very physical team. We still have a looooong way to go to get where everyone wants us to be. I’m afraid a lot of you don’t understand that. I’m afraid our players don’t understand that.

Thanks.

RedandBLackDAWG

February 17th, 2012
8:59 am

Andy Trundle

February 17th, 2012
9:07 am

Hey DYNAMICBIGBOY, it’s going to take a brain surgeon to put you back together after I whip your bigboyass.

WDE

February 17th, 2012
9:14 am

@Andy Trundle so your today’s tough guy with a keyboard I take it?

DawginLex

February 17th, 2012
9:33 am

Anyone notice that SC and spurrier are in California today answering to the NCAA about all the charges?

Yeah

They in trouble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

G-Dawg

February 17th, 2012
9:44 am

Everyone is kung-fu fighting this morning!!!

G-Dawg

February 17th, 2012
9:45 am

Lex…up next…hopefully Bama.

Joshua

February 17th, 2012
9:56 am

I’m not a fan of an easy schedule, and would prefer to go to a nine game conference schedule. However, I think we will be in better shape this year against Missouri, because we do have an opening game against Buffalo. The easy opponent will allow the team to get into game speed and gain some momentum going in to Missouri. It will also help the young line gain experience and be better ready for the rest of the season. Unlike last year with Boise State, where the team came out over hyped and then collapsed and had no momentum going into South Carolina, and ended up playing like they were inferior to SC at times. I think the 1-0 team will go into the opening conference game in better shape than last years 0-1 team. I don’t mind the opening game to a lesser opponent, but I think it should be our only non-conference lesser opponent other than Tech, and I think is should be a closer school like GA Southern, GA State, or a school like UAB that is close in proximity and has a good relationship with the University.

Another thing question I have is why don’t we hire a special teams guy in the strength and conditioning staff. There are two jobs available there, and without getting rid of a coach on the field their is no room for one there. So having a special teams expert on the staff would be beneficial, in my view. It wouldn’t help with in game field adjustments, unless they made them from watching a tv and calling in, but just having better prepared special teams would put us in better shape than last year. It will also give someone who knows how to fix the problem between games, so they don’t linger throughout the season, and cause the nations best kicker to perform like the worst. It would have to be better than not having anyone.

On a final note I am not worried about the defense. I believe coach Grantham will have the boys ready. He proved last year that he could have them ready to play with anyone. In fact last year our defense outplayed South Carolina and Michigan State, and LSU and Boise for a half. The biggest questions in the games we lost was could the offense keep the defense off the field and sustain drives, and could special teams not collapse? These will be the same questions this year. The secondary and defense are the least of my worries, I believe Grantham will have them ready.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 17th, 2012
10:00 am

Serena: Just thought that I would inform you that Jan Kemp was ruled legally insane. She deserted her husband and her family after she got her big payoff in court and she went NUTS!!!!

Italian_29

February 17th, 2012
10:02 am

Wow, all it takes to be the baddest dude on the planet is a little anonymity and a keyboard, who knew.

G-Dawg

February 17th, 2012
10:02 am

Joshua…i could be wrong, but since we went to the 3-4 defense..we added a position coach to the defensive side of the ball, which takes away an extra coaching position from another area. Guess Richt and Company felt they could sacrifice a ST coach….and coach by committee in that area. Think the new rules limit the amount of coaches you can have on the team and S/C program. Many someone can clarify it a lil better though.

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

February 17th, 2012
10:15 am

This may be a shock to some of you, but I agree with GTBob.

Yeah, you don’t want to underestimate an opposing team, but Mizzou’s lost a lotta starters, and Georgia’s got one of the best defenses in the country. Yeah, they have a true freshman receiver with a lot of potential, but how’s the QB gonna throw it to him when he’s on his back all day because we’re plowing through their line?

I don’t see where all the doubters are coming from. I see UGA winning 35-14.

Go Dawgs!

LogicalUS

February 17th, 2012
10:20 am

Way to early to worry about the games in September.

And it is a virtual certainly that UGA will lose more players over the spring\summer so the team which all the beaners are promising are going to destroy Mizzou will not even be on the field come September.

It is a long, boring summer in Athens with lots of time for boneheaded players to get themselves in trouble.

G-Dawg

February 17th, 2012
10:22 am

Mizzou will have plenty of time to become a contender in the SEC. they play good football and basketball. And Dawgs usually start out slow on road games. Thank goodness its early in the schedule, and not during late fall, early winter. BRRRRRRR! LOL

FLA DAWG

February 17th, 2012
10:29 am

Serena,

I’m no Richt fan but you are so far off base it’s not worth explaining it to you.

Rough Neck

February 17th, 2012
10:50 am

We cannot let Missouri beat us! To always be the team that Missouri got their first SEC win on would be horrendous. Missouri isn’t used to the SEC speed and strenght. We’ll win by 2 touchdowns. They’re really not that good. Our secondary will be fine.

Rough Neck

February 17th, 2012
10:53 am

Missouri doesn’t have the O-line or the D-line to compete with UGA. They’ll wear out. We have 9 out of 11 starters back on defense. That’s basically the same defense that finished top 5 in the country last season. These guys are going to work hard in the off-season in the 2nd season under Joe T and his workouts, get more conditioning, and be ready to go.