Fan talk: Burning questions for spring, ending the Dogs-Jackets rivalry and more!

Getting Isaiah Crowell back on track is a top priority for UGA. (Associated Press)

Getting Isaiah Crowell back on track is a top priority for UGA. (Associated Press)

If your bracket’s already broken, perhaps some spring football is just what you need! Mark Richt’s Bulldogs begin practice Tuesday and will hold 15 practices over a four-week period, winding up with the annual intrasquad G-Day Game at 3 p.m. April 14 at Sanford Stadium. If you’d like to check out the 2012 roster and other tidbits about the team, you can find the 2012 Spring Media Guide online here.

Now, let’s dip into some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. …

Ricky Pepper writes: Bill, it’s that time when all the sportswriters are trotting out their “burning questions” for the spring, so what do you think are the burning questions facing Mark Richt and his team? Mine mainly concern the running game and depth in the secondary.

I think you’re on the mark, Ricky. Boosting the running game is indeed a major item on Richt’s 2012 to-do list, and that involves not just seeing whether the addition of competition from Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley (when he arrives in the fall) spurs some mental and physical toughness on the part of Isaiah Crowell, but also how good a job Will Friend does replacing three starters on what was already an inconsistent offensive line. If Friend’s able to get improved OL play, that’ll also help Aaron Murray. And with two starters likely out for the first couple of games, developing some depth in the secondary is definitely the biggest task awaiting Todd Grantham’s defensive staff. Along those lines, a lot will be riding on how well Malcolm Mitchell handles a potential two-way role. Plus, there’s interest in seeing how Christian LeMay looks at backup QB after his redshirt year. And then there’s the need to revamp special teams, which thankfully appears to be a high priority with Richt this year, and not just because Georgia has to replace the starting punter and placekicker. I was encouraged that the head coach said recently that he’d brought in several NFL coaches to talk about special teams strategies and practices and that the Dawgs will devote more time to that this spring. And I like that he’s talking about loading up special teams with starters, though I think (hope) he was joking when he said he even told Murray “he may be covering kicks.”

VidaliaDawg writes: I was interested to see a discussion on one of the Nerds’ bulletin boards about whether Georgia Tech would be better off ending its every-year series in football with UGA. It appears some of their fan base, mainly younger ones, thinks Georgia has too many advantages in recruiting and the Jackets will never be able to get the rivalry back on an even keel, while the older GT fans can’t imagine not playing Georgia. Others said they want to keep playing Georgia but would rather it not be at the end of the season. Labor Day was mentioned as a good time for the two schools to play. I mentioned this to some of my UGA friends and they surprised me by saying they don’t consider the in-state rivalry a must any more and would rather give up Tech as a yearly rival than Auburn. Georgia not play Tech? That makes no sense to me! What’s your take on this?

I’m with you. I know some fans of both schools think the rivalry is not what it used to be, but for the most part in recent years the games have been close, exciting affairs, even if Georgia has won most of them, and the rivalry between the two schools is one of the most storied in college athletics. On the subject of moving the game, I know that has come up occasionally in recent years with the rise of conference championship games, but I don’t think that’s really a major problem. I can see how having the two schools open their seasons against each other might please the TV folks, but I really prefer to keep it as the regular season finale. As for having to drop either the Georgia-Georgia Tech or Georgia-Auburn rivalry, that’s a tough choice I hope UGA never has to make.

Justin Cade writes: Bill, As we all know, Rodney Garner is Georgia’s recruiting coordinator. However, I’ve noticed that most signees cite their relationships with Coaches Bobo, Grantham and/or Richt as being instrumental in their decision to sign with the Dawgs. Coach Garner’s name is hardly ever brought up unless it’s by a defensive lineman. I’m not suggesting that Coach Garner is doing a bad job, but rather just wondering what exactly his position as recruiting coordinator entails. Any idea?

From what I understand, the assistant coaches are the primary recruiter in their own area and Garner, as the coordinator (since 1998), simply oversees it all. If one coach is going to be considered the “point man” overall in recruiting, it’s Richt. He’s generally the one who closes the deal with recruits’ families.

Michael Foster writes: Which Dream Team members who were freshmen last year do you think will have the biggest impacts? I know Ray Drew’s name has been completely drowned out by the success of Jarvis Jones and the emergence of Cornelius Washington as a sure starter. When and how often will we see Drew? And Artie Lynch is projected to start at tight end. Is it realistic to think Jay Rome won’t see more than 50-50 playing time this year?

I’ll be surprised if both Ray Drew and Jay Rome don’t see considerable playing time this year, though I think perhaps Drew stands to see more reps early on. Of the other second-year Dream Teamers, everyone, of course, is hoping Crowell matures into the superb, game-changing back he showed flashes of last season (and that he manages to stay on the field more than last year). John Jenkins should have a big year on the defensive line and on the OL David Andrews may wind up as the starting center and Watts Danztler likely will see quite a bit of playing time. Mitchell will be a big performer, splitting time between offense and defense, and with Malcolm playing two ways Chris Conley might see more balls thrown his way.

Steve in Roswell writes: If you haven’t already done it, rank the games this year in order of difficulty. Personally I’m thinking the Mizzou road game Sept. 8th may be the toughest this season, but it would be interesting to read your perspective.

It’s kind of early to be handicapping the season, but at this point I’d say South Carolina definitely looks like the toughest game. Because Missouri is the conference opener and Georgia will be missing a couple of starters, that road trip could be the next toughest game. Florida in Jacksonville is always a challenge. After that, I’d say Auburn, Tech and Vandy would be the next toughest remaining games, with Tennessee possibly creeping into that group depending on how they do early in the season.

Norman Jones writes: Bill; I sat down in front of you (Row 46) for 36 years till I gave them up last year. Having to park futher and futher away, expense, and other interests finally got me to reluctantly let them go. I’m about your age and wondered what you think about these young bloggers who demand we challenge for a national championship every year and want Mark’s head otherwise. I want to win as much as anybody, but at what cost? We saw Vince field a few weak teams, but he always got us back on top and did it the right way. I think we have a coach now that is probably the envy of 90 percent of D-1 programs. I feel so lucky to have a coach who is such a class act that good kids want to come to Athens to play for. The what-have-you done-for-me-lately crowd drive me nuts, especially when they don’t have nearly the financial investment in the program us old timers do. Thanks for letting me vent.

I think those who were calling for Richt to be replaced after a couple of disappointing seasons should look at what has happened in Knoxville since Phil Fulmer was deposed.

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

245 comments Add your comment

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
11:06 am

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
11:06 am

Not going to happen.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
11:08 am

Dwags scared of TECH or something and want to end the game? So scared this year you are playing Ga Southern for practice the week before.

Bill King

March 17th, 2012
11:16 am

Let’s be clear about this: The discussion about ending the rivalry started among Georgia Tech fans.

ty webb

March 17th, 2012
11:22 am

don’t end the uga-tech game, instead, let’s stop calling it a “rivalry”.

Fridawg

March 17th, 2012
11:23 am

I thought the SC game got moved later in the season. If so, Mizzou could be the toughest just because it will be an early test.

Score Check

March 17th, 2012
11:24 am

GSU will provide tougher competition than gt for the Dawgs.

Score Check

March 17th, 2012
11:27 am

Fridawg is correct. Mizzou is our conference opener this year. usc has been moved to October 6th.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
11:28 am

I have a serious man-crush on Coach Paul “Man-boobs” Johnson

DAWGS RULE

March 17th, 2012
11:30 am

Ga Southern will be tougher than tech should reverse them for practice before Ga Southern

Coach Sick Satan

March 17th, 2012
11:30 am

Tweak your knee and I will leave you twisting in the wind.

GT is a 4th rate high school team

March 17th, 2012
11:31 am

Looks like the jokers are finally replacing UGA with a GHSA team. It just fits them. LOL

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
11:33 am

If I promise to clean up the basement my mama is going to let me attend the t-day game this spring.

ScoutDawg

March 17th, 2012
11:35 am

Who let the Trolls out, Who let the trolls out?

Score Check

March 17th, 2012
11:37 am

Seems like a “4th rate high school team” is a bit generous in describing the YELLOW jackets.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
11:38 am

Bill KING show a link to the blog where TECH FANS were calling to end the UGA v GT game. I saw the discussion from UGa fans saying they want to drop TECH instead of losing AUBURN. I want to see PROOF where a tech Blog said tech wants to end it. tech has been trying to get the Vols to play the jackets. Bama game was to to farther in the future. Tech gets Auburn every so often. I don’t know where Tech has ever wanted to end the UGa game.

Please Show a link so that I may read it.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

March 17th, 2012
11:39 am

UF will beat your behind as usual. For a team that has won what 3 games in 30 years vs UF and now you win one so you’re king of the Hill…only the UGA fans or AU fans play at such a level in their mind. The trophy case doesn’t back your Mouth! UGA football the best football team in America from March until August…then you have to play. Ruff Ruff……..

Steve

March 17th, 2012
11:43 am

I don’t know why UGA would want to drop Tech. Easy win every year!

Frank Lane

March 17th, 2012
11:43 am

Always great to hear from you, Bill. I am getting really steamed up about next year. there is not reason that we will not be great.

Mad Dog One

March 17th, 2012
11:45 am

Bill I think that the addition of Marshall & Gurley will have a very posative impact on our O. Just the threat of that speed and down hill running can give D’s a big problem. Our secondary makes me toss and turn at night. Watched Conley play at N. P. as a senior he will be a good one. As for not playing G.T. or moving the game what next will people want to move Christmas to June or just call it off?

SSIgator

March 17th, 2012
11:46 am

“we have a coach now that is probably the envy of 90 percent of D-1 programs”

Yeah, I am sure 90% of the D-1 programs wish they could spend the millions of dollars every year for:

1) A coaching staff that gets trounced by teams with better records.

2) A head coach/minister that cannot decide what he wants to do in life

3) Needing an attorney on call 24/7 for the “young men of character” he recruits

But hey, what’s a few million dollars a year between friends? After all he IS such a nice guy. One other thing though, you have to make sure if your school is one of the “90%” that want this kind of a coach, make sure the Kool-Aid machine comes along as part of the deal. If not, the illusion will wear off very quickly.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
11:49 am

First mention of the GT v UGa game was on your Auburn v UGa blog by a dWag fan.

Concerned
February 9th, 2012
11:41 am

Play 9 conference games. The fans are constantly getting screwed. Home games last year v Coastal Carolina & New Mexico State. This year games v Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, & Ga Southern.

Whether we play 9 SEC games or not, get rid of the Tech game…or at least move it to the first game of the year…or play them occasionally…or play them 2 at home for every 3 games.

They bring nothing to the table. We don’t need them, but they need us.

They can’t fill their stadium. We have a chance to completely bury their program…make them even more irrelevant.

Tech is the game that should be on the chopping blocks…not Georgia v Auburn.

DrFutBol

March 17th, 2012
11:55 am

Burning questions?
Why 2-9 vs. ranked teams?
Why 4 years in a row negative to margin vs. ranked teams?
Why no special teams coach?
Why settle for less than a National Championship with 10 years of top 10 recruiting talent?
Why does the defense give up 40 points a game vs. ranked teams?
Why does Murray commit so many turnovers in big games?
Why does the team play so bad in the 2nd half of games?

Mitchell was the star last year, Crowell shined at times.

South Carolina and Florida are the 2 most important games, because you have to win the East to get to the SEC Championship, and those are the 2 best East teams.

Auburn, Tech, Tenn, Richt almost always loses 1 of those 3 games.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
11:58 am

Childish DWAG fans posting crap under another bloggers name. Your fans are just children. DOES THE MORON POSTING ABOUT MOM’S BASEMENT AND GAY BARS REALLY THINK HE IS COOL OR FUNNY OR THAT PEOPLE READ IT AND THINK THE named blogger REALLY SAID IT?

GROW UP YOU CHILD.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:01 pm

Sorry UGA fans. I just have no life so I wait for a new UGA blog to come out so I can post comments. Trust me, it’s rough being a virgin for life.

Greg

March 17th, 2012
12:03 pm

UGA would never think of giving up the Tech game. Guaranteed win and playing them at the end of the year makes some folks think Tech might actually be a quality opponent after playing their flag football rivals in the ACC.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:06 pm

Still@theKool-aidBAR
March 17th, 2012
11:28 am

I have a serious man-crush on Coach Paul “Man-boobs” Johnson

Still@theKool-aidBAR
March 17th, 2012
11:33 am

If I promise to clean up the basement my mama is going to let me attend the t-day game this spring.

Still@theKool-aidBAR
March 17th, 2012
11:41 am

Any single boys out there please let me know your e-mail address. I need some action ASAP!

S SIgator
March 17th, 2012
11:49 am

Which gay bar in Atlanta is the best one to go to?

This is the Grown-up crap a UGa fan posts. If you want to be childish just use your regular blog name. It is not like we would lose any respect for you because we don’t when you act the child.

Why don’t the Good Christian UGA Men (Richt and Adams) have a Come To Church Meeting with Don Leebern and tell him to Do Right by his wife or Yoculan? UGa wants only good CHRISTIAN Boosters to represent UGa and he is so low class he needs to take his money somewhere else.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:11 pm

Flag football like Ole Miss, Vandy, UT, Buffalo, Ga Sou, Kentucky, Florida, Miss St, Coastal Carolina, New Mexico St?

bucket

March 17th, 2012
12:13 pm

Burning question: Since UGA is so irrelevant, why are we subjecting daily to the juvenile drivel of GT, Florida, Alabama, SCU, AUB, Tennessee, etc. fans on the Junkyard Blawg? I don’t visit the blogs of other schools everyday. Obsessed much?

bucket

March 17th, 2012
12:14 pm

oops! “subjected” not subjecting!

Steve

March 17th, 2012
12:15 pm

Kool-aid loser, guess what? The SEC is 100 times better then the ACC. Please don’t try to compare UGA’s SEC schedule vs. Tech’s ACC schedule. Vandy could easily beat Tech.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:16 pm

I’m consumed by my hatred for UGA.
I have no life.
I lone for the days (before my time) when gt football was relevant.
I have a serious man-crush on cpj because he beat UGA a few years back
I used to post under the name of Saint Simons

Greg

March 17th, 2012
12:17 pm

New Mexico State and Coastal Carolina worried me more than Tech.

Don’t come to another teams blog talking trash when your team is OWNED.

Bill King

March 17th, 2012
12:18 pm

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:21 pm

@Steve you are just DUMB. Go check what TECH did to VANDY. We didn’t needed LUCK to beat Vandy and our players never felt the need to TRASH TALK the Vandy sideline during a game.

Greg

March 17th, 2012
12:26 pm

Tech sucks so bad that they had to give their flag football trophy back for cheating.

Anyone who makes an attempt to compare ACC football to SEC football has gone full retard. Remind me again, what is the ACC’s record in BCS games? West Virginia just scored again..

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:28 pm

Bill King you see that YOUR blog started the discussion not TECH. The Hive article was way after your blog on Feb. 9th where the discuss started over the Auburn v UGa game.

Your blog started it FEB. 9th and UGa fans calling for it to end is what drove the hive blogger to present the question to Tech fans MAR. 7th.

7576DAWG

March 17th, 2012
12:33 pm

Many years ago Tech chose not to be in the SEC so if it comes down to losing the Tech game or the Auburn game it is a no brainier. Georgia might as well quit the SEC if we choose Tech over Auburn because choosing a not very exciting out of conference game over a very exciting in conference rival game just wouldn’t make sense.The Tech game just doesn’t mean anything when you come down to it after THEY decided the ACC better fit them. Maybe we will be able to keep both games which would make this a none issue .

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:34 pm

Greg can the SEC players even count the number of games in a season? Living on the Best 3 or 4 SEC teams doesn’t UGa Vandy Ole Miss Miss St USC Kentucky UT national powers. It just makes you YOU losers to UCF and MSU in bowl games. Please stop thinking UGa is bigger than you are. Nobody outside of the South knows much or cares much about UGa in football or education.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:37 pm

7576 true but the SEC is not wanting to go to 9 games yet so it seems possible a choice may have to be made if the SEC wants the cupcakes and fewer SEC games.

Mad Dog One

March 17th, 2012
12:42 pm

Let drunk at the bar rant UGA fans you can’t fix STUPID. as always GO DOGS & GATA and to day TO HELL WITH gt

dawgfan

March 17th, 2012
12:45 pm

All I know is we beat the Techies in 2009 and then fired half our coaching staff. We beat them in 2010 and had a losing season. We beat them in 2011 and then immediately dropped in the polls.

I guess what I’m saying is that there is absolutely nothing to gain by playing Georgia Tech anymore. They are a total joke. We might as well play New Mexico State. If it means keeping Auburn on the schedule I would be all for kicking Tech to the curb. They need us more than we need them.

Thanks.

Ghost

March 17th, 2012
12:54 pm

I think Georgia should never play Tech at Grant Field, play every year in Athens,if not play the Tech home games at the Ga. dome, or treat them like Ga> Southern play them once every 4 years in Athens. It has become an win situation playing them, (yawn)win and your supposed to , losing to Tech is just embarrassing , Now that they have PJ they stand no chance at all. They missed their golden opportunity in 2009 and 2010 to make it a rivalry again.If tech is dropped I would hope they would be replaced by an SEC team or a quality OOC game.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
12:58 pm

Ghost I guess that is Why UGa fans were so happy not to have Bama this year. With Bobo and Richt you don’t stand a chance against Bama or LSU.

Ghost

March 17th, 2012
1:04 pm

Still, tech play Vandy and MIss state in down years , both program s have improved and would rip Tech if theyt were to play, as would tenn and florida. Tech struggles to beat Duke , but you infer they could compete with Florida , they don’t have the Athletes or the coaching to compete in the SEC.
PJ belongs in the southern conference coach ,Tech victoires swindle as gailey recruits leave.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
1:05 pm

Ghost QUALITY OOC?
Boise St LOSS
Michigan St LOSS
Colorado LOSS
UCF LOSS
Okie St LOSS
Arizona St Win
Texas A&M Win

Why would YouGeeA want quality OOC games when you lose to people that are not cupcakes or the weak SEC teams?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
1:06 pm

My goal is to the exceed the 1,234,904 posts I made on Georgia blogs last year. I’m ahead of schedule.

Ghost

March 17th, 2012
1:06 pm

Still, May I borrow your Chrsytal ball, Richt is 2-2 vs miles and 2-3 vs Saban, Unlike tech we have the talent to compete with anyone in 2012.I will give you Tech and 16 points today , for next November.

Paul in NH

March 17th, 2012
1:07 pm

“If tech is dropped I would hope they would be replaced by an SEC team or a quality OOC game”
—–
And there was me thinking that the number of conference games (and who you play in conference) was set by the SEC.
I’d guess a quality OOC game would be something like UGA-Oregon

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 17th, 2012
1:08 pm

Of Course GHOST it was a down for those teams and the last 2 times we beat Auburn those were down years too right? Give it UP. MISS ST war all the HYPE and going to be good when tech beat them. Vandy is Vandy well unless Bobo and 35:55minute Murray the Heisman Candidate are playing Vandy.