Fan talk: Will UGA keep on rolling as Tight End U?

Artie Lynch is big ... and grumpy! (University of Georgia)

Artie Lynch is big ... and grumpy! (University of Georgia)

Spring practice shifts into high gear Saturday as the Dogs put on full pads for the first time. This is when the serious hitting starts and the competition for starting jobs really heats up. Speaking of which, a reader has a question about one of the more interesting spring battles as we dip into some of this week’s Junkyard Mail …

Poposhandarius writes: How are the tight ends looking? Will Lynch and Jay Rome be splitting snaps?

A lot of folks might have assumed that Rome will ascend to the starting spot this season since he was ESPN’s top-rated tight end prospect when he signed last year with Georgia (sometimes known as Tight End U). Rome redshirted last year and spent time on the basketball team. But towering New England Yankee Artie Lynch, a redshirt junior who has waited his turn behind Orson Charles and Aron White, isn’t going to step out of the way. Lynch told The Red and Black: “My goal is to be the starting tight end for Georgia for the next two seasons.” This should be one of the more competitive positions for the Dogs. You’d have to figure Lynch as the more solid blocker, but he showed at G-Day a couple of years ago that he can make big catches, too. “Artie’s made some huge plays, caught like a 40-yard touchdown [on] a little post pattern,” quarterback Aaron Murray told the R&B. As for Rome, Murray said, “Jay’s looking awesome. You always want him to be here for workouts and throwing, but I definitely think he got quicker [and] more fluid with everything just doing so many basketball workouts, so he looks good.” Lynch, who has started out the spring at No. 1 on the depth chart, is banking on keeping the job by proving to Mike Bobo that he’s dependable. “To be honest, I really just want to gain the respect and confidence of Coach Bobo,” he told the R&B. “You depend on the dependable. You don’t depend on the undependable, which sounds pretty basic, but it’s really the truth. I think if I can show him that I have the knowledge of the offense and he’s able move me around to different spots, I’m more than happy to do that.” Actually, that attitude on Lynch’s part could wind up giving Rome more playing time at TE, as backup QB Hutson Mason told The Athens Banner-Herald this week that Lynch is getting some reps at fullback as well. “He knows tight end really well since he’s been here for so long, so he’s learning fullback, just seeing how he handles it. As a quarterback, you always want some guys in the backfield that are going to be able to protect and pick up the blitz. You never worry when Artie’s back there if you’re going to get smacked in the backside. He’s 280 pounds, and he’s grumpy.” Lynch said he’s also been lining up in some formations as an H-back, a hybrid of fullback and tight end. Whether it’s at TE or FB, I like the sound of big and grumpy. Right now, I’d say Lynch is likely to be the starter at tight end but he and Rome should split the playing time. And that looks like a good plan.

Barry Marshall writes: I know Alabama and LSU and USC are the teams getting mentioned most often so far as likely contenders for this year’s BCS national championship, but I’m thinking if the Dawgs win the East again as expected and can put together a full four quarters against LSU or Bama in the Dome and win the conference, they might actually wind up with a pretty good shot at the crystal ball. Am I just having your typical spring dream, Bill? Does anyone else give Georgia props in the BCS?

Actually, Bruce Feldman of CBSsports.com ran down some of the dark horse contenders this week and noted that Vegas has the odds for Georgia at 14-1. Said Feldman: “There is a lot to like about the Dawgs in 2012: Aaron Murray is back for a third season as the starting QB; they are deeper at RB and almost everyone from a nasty defense returns. Another huge factor of why I’m thinking of boarding this bandwagon is the schedule: You realistically cannot get a much more manageable route as an SEC team that what Georgia has this fall: They avoid Bama, LSU and Arkansas, the league’s three most talented teams; they traded Boise State for Buffalo in the non-conference; they get Ga. Tech in Athens. And Florida and Tennessee are still sorting out rebuilding issues. The one snag is an October trip to South Carolina. Oh, and they have the SEC juice of six BCS titles in a row. I still think Bama and LSU have better shots to win it all, but at 14-1, the Dawgs would be a tempting pick.”

Steve Segrest writes: Several weeks ago you had a discussion on the low student attendance at games. When I walked around campus in visiting my daughter, I was amazed at the number of women, saying to myself, “It’s like UGA has become a school for women.” My daughter was just never really interested that much in sports. The high number of women at UGA probably answers your question on attendance.

UGA says that 60 percent of its fall 2011 total enrollment of 34,765 was women. Now, granted, some of them probably aren’t as interested in football as guys, but I’ve known quite a few female students at UGA that were ardent football fans — and some guys who weren’t. The demographics might be a slight factor, but from what I’ve heard from UGA students the main reason for the empty seats at games is students’ inability to resell their tickets since they went to loading them electronically on the ID cards. When they could resell hard tickets easily, the seats were full. Now that they can’t, you sometimes get several thousand empty seats. Seems like there’s a pretty simple solution there that the athletic association is avoiding because they don’t like students scalping their discounted tickets.

Andy Landers' Lady Dogs had a disappointingly early end to their season. (Associated Press)

Andy Landers' Lady Dogs had a disappointingly early end to their season. (Associated Press)

David Rosenberg writes: Love your column. I am a third-generation Bulldog. With the Lady Dawgs getting bounced from [the NCAA] Tournament and occupying the same conference as the great Pat Summitt, it begs the question: HAS ANDY LANDERS UNDERACHIEVED AT UGA? I love Coach Landers and think he has done a very fine job building this program, but it seems as though they cannot take the next big step. We want ALL our teams to do well, so I ask this question as part of wanting excellence in all our sports.Interested in your opinion.

Along the same lines, Rakkasan Dawg writes: I think it’s time Andy Landers retired from UGA and here is why. Not since Miller twins has UGA been remotely competitive. They’ve steadily fallen off the top tier of NCAA teams. Even in the SEC Kentucky has surpassed the Lady Dawgs. I don’t see a competitive team at the school anymore and I think this stems from the top. Coach Landers is no longer getting the competitive Georgia players and none nationally that are as impactful as that 02-03 class. UGA is in danger of becoming an also-ran team if there is not significant shakeup at the top. … What say you?

I think a good case can be made that the Lady Dogs basketball program has reached a plateau over the past several years and this year’s team was certainly a disappointment, having been expected to at least put Georgia in the Sweet 16 again. Still, Landers remains an enthusiastic coach and he has a veteran team returning next year, including four starters, plus four of the incoming freshmen are four-star recruits, so it’s not like Georgia has fallen off the map in that regard. And that should help with the lack of depth that was a problem this season. So I don’t see any immediate change on the horizon. You also have to keep in mind that Landers built the UGA women’s program from scratch and has had a lot of long-term success, which athletic director Greg McGarity is well aware of, having worked with Landers as the team’s sports information director years ago. You don’t push out a Hall of Fame coach casually. Still, if the Lady Dogs continue to just barely make the NCAA and not advance, I wouldn’t be that surprised to see Landers and McGarity have that discussion in a couple of years over whether it’s time to retire.

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

123 comments Add your comment

DawgfaninFL

March 24th, 2012
11:03 am

Fred Sylvester

March 24th, 2012
11:09 am

FIRST! The best is yet to come for the UGA Football Team! GO DAWGS!

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

March 24th, 2012
11:25 am

UF will win the East with USCe and UGA #2. LSU wasn’t even interested in the SECCG last year and it showed for a short while. Your goal should be to beat someone that has beaten somebody! You haven’t done this in years but you already know that yet you continue your denial.

SSIgator

March 24th, 2012
11:27 am

“if the Dawgs win the East again as expected and can put together a full four quarters against LSU or Bama in the Dome and win the conference, they might actually wind up with a pretty good shot at the crystal ball”

Yeah, and if I buy enough lottery tickets, I will win it one day. Dream on.

damngooddawg!

March 24th, 2012
11:28 am

There are legit questions about Women’s Basketball, but there is also a need to address the lack of good recruiting in the men’s program. Georgia never gets the top tier players. Why is that? As for Lynch, I think he’s going to bring some heart and experience needed particularly in pass blocking. Can a tall guy really be a good fullback, though?

damngooddawg!

March 24th, 2012
11:30 am

Hey Wet Willie, I beg to differ. Florida WILL NOT win the east this year. It’s either Georgia or USC.

SSIgator

March 24th, 2012
11:31 am

“Will UGA keep on rolling as Tight End U?”

Probably, since that is about as far as Murray the Midget can through the football with any accuracy.

damngooddawg!

March 24th, 2012
11:32 am

SSigator, if you can’t admit that Georgia has a legit chance of winning the east this year, you’re just a hater and know nothing about football. But we already know that don’t we, looser!

damngooddawg!

March 24th, 2012
11:33 am

Nah, gator, you’re just an idiot!

Joey

March 24th, 2012
11:33 am

Play Lynch and Rome at the same time – they are both huge targets for Murray.

And is anybody suprised that a Landers team “got bounced” early again?

Snoop Dawg

March 24th, 2012
11:33 am

Folks here’s the deal. Landers isn’t going anywhere, even though he can no longer compete with the elite. All the UGA bigwig want is money, and the UGA fan base is more than happy to throw big bucks at them in return for mediocrity. You see, UGA is the second most profitable athletic program in the NCAA, behind only Texas.

So the alumni and fans get exactly what they demand–mediocrity. Andy Landers seems just the man for the job, as does Mark Richt.

damngooddawg!

March 24th, 2012
11:34 am

By the way, if UGA isn’t Tight End U in the SEC, who is? Florida????Hahahahahahahahahaha!

Jeremy Wallace

March 24th, 2012
11:40 am

As a rabib Golden State-based Bulldog fan,I’m always looking for any mention of my team locally.Using our tight ends a lot more(i’m talking to you CMR and Bobo), seems to me, would open up oppurtunities for other positions(i.e. wide-outs) to make deep penetrations into enemy territory. Please mix up the play calling more this year!!!

Joey

March 24th, 2012
11:40 am

That’s a good point, Snoop, comparing the two coaches. They’ve both had teams highly rated-nationally multiple times, that didn’t even win their SEC division.

Landers has made some good runs in the Big Dance a few times. We used to be able to count of Richt to salvage some respect by winning our bowl game, now, we can’t even depend on that.

Underachievers both the past few seasons.

Joey

March 24th, 2012
11:42 am

Jeremy Wallace: “Please mix up the play calling more this year!!!”
*****************************************
Mark Richt, in a post-game radio show: “I like the way Bobo calls plays.”
*****************************************
Sorry, Jeremy.

Dallasdawg

March 24th, 2012
11:46 am

SSI gator…sometimes just let people think you are dumb instead of opening your mouth to prove it… it is throw not through..lol..always have been and always will be a gator hater!!!!

Jay in VA

March 24th, 2012
11:49 am

Fascinating give and take about lower attendance among students. I have wondered for years why our stadium doesn’t seem as loud as I once remembered. I’ve been to other school’s games at stadiums smaller than Sanford which sound louder. Case in point – Virginia Tech. 66,000 seat stadium but the noise there is ear splitting! I have generally observed that the crowd at VT games look younger than at our games. Seems like we have more old fogies (I’m 56 so I guess I now qualify, although I try to be loud at all times!) at our games. I never considered the percentage of women enrolled as a possible factor. I agree that women can be as good a fans as men, but aside from the empty seats it has to be conceded that women can’t typically yell as loud as men and the pitch of their voices is certainly different. A possible explanation, at least in part? All that said, I sure wish 60% of the student body had been female back when I attended! :-)

The Goat

March 24th, 2012
11:54 am

UGA’s administration really screwed the pooch with this ticket/ID card deal. I was there from ‘05-’10 and if you didn’t want to go to a game you just sold your tickets. It got crazy when Alabama came to town and freshmen had to pay $100 to go to that game, but freshman only get half the games now anyway. The whole system is a big bureaucratic joke meant to minimize the student section (more $$$ for UGA Athletics) by wrapping them in so much red tape they can’t possibly fill the seats. Truly a shameful course of events.

ARdawg

March 24th, 2012
11:56 am

I’ve never been a big Andy Landers supporter per se’ but he has done a good job over the years but, has mired recently in mediocrity. I used to follow the Lady Dogs with interest but for the last 7-8 years there has been nothing interesting about the Lady Dogs. They do what we expect. Decent seasons, disappointing post seasons.

I expect Landers is around as long as he wants to be.

brian

March 24th, 2012
12:11 pm

SSI its throw not through u retard

SnakeDog4

March 24th, 2012
12:16 pm

I put the onus on the defense to step up in the big games, and shut down offenses. Look at how Grantham’s defense performed in big games.

Gave up 42 in the SEC Championship to LSU, 45 against South Carolina, and 33 in the Bowl game, and 35 to Boise State. We went 0-4 when the defense gave up more than 30 points.

Yet we went 10-0 when the defense held offenses to under 30 points.

If the defense starts holding ranked teams down around 20 points per game, like Bama & LSU do, I don’t think we’ll lose one in 2012.

BirmyDawg

March 24th, 2012
12:18 pm

Great post Snakedog, right on, 10-0 when defense plays well, 0-4 when they don.t

MuttBarker

March 24th, 2012
12:21 pm

Snakedog is on to something. The defense gave up 39 points against ranked teams, that’s got to drop under 20 to be Championship level. D got to step it up, or no trophy. Offense is rolling, and scoring well against ranked teams, got bout 26 a game last year.

Jay in VA

March 24th, 2012
12:22 pm

Wasn’t aware of the new policy regarding student tickets before reading all this. Goat’s comments are telling, and give me further reason to question the stewardship of our athletic program. Keep on screwing the students, and you will continue to negatively impact the degree of loyalty from them to their school and their team. Not to mention water down the game experience so that Sanford Stadium becomes a mediocre home field advantage. Seems like we have decided to accept second tier status and let Alabama, LSU and others be the big dogs.

Dap01

March 24th, 2012
12:24 pm

Students in the seats equals more noise. Get the money making profit out of the decision making and the empty seats will take care of themselves.

How can someone pay so much for all of the seats in the stadium yet there are empty seats.

Quit being greedy and make it possible to go to an UGA game.

SnakeDog4

March 24th, 2012
12:34 pm

Now, I’m certainly not blaming Grantham alone for the 4 losses against ranked teams last year. But his red zone defense is about the worst in the nation.

But the offense has to help the defense by not turning the ball over. The 10 offensive turnovers didn’t help the defense in those 4 games. Granted, Grantham still has to improve in the red zone, but if the offense is 10 giveaways in the 4 biggest games in 2012, can’t throw it all on Grantham.

So, here’s the championship formula:
D + A + W + G = Championship

D, defense has to be stout in the red zone, punt/kick return defense stout, force turnovers
A, Aaron Murray has to stop turning the ball over against ranked teams
W, win the turnover battle, 10-4 when we did, 0-4 when we didn’t
G, Grantham hold teams to under 30 points a game, 10-0 in 2011 when he did, 0-4 when didn’t

SnakeDog4

March 24th, 2012
12:36 pm

I would add an ‘S’

Scoring margin, lead the SEC in scoring margin against ranked teams

D-A-W-G-S

BirmyDawg

March 24th, 2012
12:39 pm

We were actually 10-0 when we won the turnover battle in 2011, not 10-4. 0-4 when we lost the turnover battle.

I would say that’s No. 1 thing to emphasize.

Pago Pago DAWG

March 24th, 2012
1:14 pm

Saban had over 1,000 high school coaches from all over the USA at his practice the other day….a great pr move.
The coaches were very impressed with intensity, tempo and seeing how the # 1 team practices.

Joey

March 24th, 2012
1:33 pm

SnakeDog4, BirmyDawg, MuttBarker, dang, did y’all even watch the games last season? The D didn’t give up all those points.

Spurrier’s offense only scored 24 on our D – 17 if you don’t count the one SC possesion that started on our own 3 yd line.

LSU had a whopping 237 offensive yards and 28 points against out D, with 3 of their drives starting inside our 20, due to turnovers and runbacks. MSU scored 20 points vs our D, with the difference in the game yet again our QBs turnovers and TDs allowed by special teams.

The Boise game was probably our D’s worst game, but didn’t have Ogletree but for a couple of series and Rambo not at all. Out STs put our D in poor field position several times, and Bobo’s hurry-up (and punt), 3 and out offense, kept the D on the field for the last 2 1/2 quarters.

If y’all ain’t gonna watch, at least read the box scores the next day . . .

7576DAWG

March 24th, 2012
1:44 pm

Pago Pago DAWG
I like Sabans ability to focus and sense of urgency to fix what’s wrong and to make what’s right , better, knowing there is always more room to improve. CMR has definitely been too stoic with no emotion. He needs to show more intensity. When you look at all the coaches who have moved up to head coach or are coaching Pro ball who learned under Saban over the years, he has proven to be one of the best that ever coached college football.

SnakeDog4

March 24th, 2012
1:54 pm

Georgia Defense struggled against ranked teams in SEC:
12th in fumbles recovered
7th in turnover margin
7th rush defense
12th in sacks
11th in scoring defense
10th in tackles for loss
12th in punt return defense
12th in kick return defense

that’s why we went 0-4 against ranked teams.

Joey

March 24th, 2012
2:03 pm

All that may be, but this was the statement I was contesting:

“Gave up 42 in the SEC Championship to LSU, 45 against South Carolina, and 33 in the Bowl game, and 35 to Boise State. We went 0-4 when the defense gave up more than 30 points.

Whiznot

March 24th, 2012
2:14 pm

UGA is a women’s school. That is why (according to Aaron Murray) Saint Richt is teaching his players to be better wives.

dawghater

March 24th, 2012
2:19 pm

Who Cares! Must be a slow sports day for the AJC

Gotta get this straight

March 24th, 2012
2:20 pm

LSU treats their students worse in terms of student tickets than UGA or any other SEC school. Most of my family has attended LSU and they screw their students so bad when it comes to tickets its not even funny. A lottery just to get half of the home games, thats all they have. All the other tickets are given to alumni and other well-to-do folks, as well as corporations and govt. officials. Michigan, on the other hand, gives every student a voucher for a free ticket to every home game. Not saying they are right, but UGA isn’t doing anything different than other SEC schools, screwing the students.

derekross

March 24th, 2012
2:30 pm

Did you guys even watch the games last year? It was Bobo’s offense against good teams that scored points for our opponents.

The defense played pretty well. When Murray wasn’t throwing pick 6’s or giving the other team the ball in their side of the 50.

7576DAWG

March 24th, 2012
2:45 pm

Joey
I still say that our defense was great in 2011. A lot of yardage and points were given up just after our defense stopped the other team cold and then the offense gave the ball right back to the other team. Our defense was great but we didn’t have the depth to be able to over come turnovers. Poor play by the offense and no running game was our problem. Also the South Carolina and Michigan State games were lost because our SENIOR field goal kicker couldn’t kick under pressure a 40 yard field goal. In the South Carolina game our defense only gave up 17 or 18 points , the rest was because of special teams. Remember this was Grantham first full year with his recruits and retraining EVERYBODY to play the 3-4. You will see a great, better defense this year because the depth is more ready to play SEC football.

Joey

March 24th, 2012
2:50 pm

7576DAWG, you’re just agreeing with me. Check out my post at 1:33.

I especially like the way Grantham makes adjustments – it’s obvious he’s a pro. Too bad we don’t have an OC who can adjust on the fly when an opponent’s D starts shutting us down.

7576DAWG

March 24th, 2012
2:52 pm

Whiznot
Well I will admit there are young women everywhere at Georgia. You should see it in the spring when all of them are laying out trying to get a tan. 60% female just isn’t fair. I would always take my easiest classes in the spring. Mama didn’t raise a fool.

7576DAWG

March 24th, 2012
3:00 pm

Joey
I agree but I think Bobo’s connection with the Dooley’s has taken Bobo about as far as it can without him showing he deserves to be Georgia’s offensive coordinator. Only a fool would think the experts don’t agree with that, when he is making half of Grantham’s salary, and that is generous so UGA won’t be embarrassed and nobody is asking UGA permission to interview Bobo for openings. I go back to having trust that McGarity will do the right thing.

Some of you are in denial

March 24th, 2012
3:14 pm

Delusional fans at all schools, but you don’t have to be an expert to see the Dogs are headed back to competing for the SEC title on a regular basis. SEC can be harder to win than a NC, as Nick has won 1 SEC title in 5 years, with 2 NCs, so it is quite an accomplishment to be called SEC champs.

Attack - U - Dawg

March 24th, 2012
3:20 pm

I hope the trailer trash team from Tuskuloosa wins the west so that the DAWGS can stomp them 42-3 in the SEC Championship game. Two Thousand Twelve (2012) is the YEAR OF THE DAWG!!!!

Joey

March 24th, 2012
3:21 pm

McGarity ain’t gonna do it. He said he would never for changes to one his coach’s staff. New 5-year deal validates Richt, and he sure ain’t gonna do it.

I just think back to the Boise St game – the less talented, and smaller offense kept adjusting and finally found our weakness with the short passing game, as well as the hurry up offense.

Meanwhile, our offense got smothered for the last 2 1/2 quarters, and killed our own D with all of those 3-and-outs. No adjustments.

Worst of all, guess where those 2 OCs are today? UF got Boise’s OC.

We still got Bobo. I don’t want to see Bobo fired – just moved back to QB coach. Then get a OC who can actually game plan and make in-game adjustments for gosh sake . . .

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 24th, 2012
3:22 pm

Attack–U—put down the Bong, the Makers Mark and move to the sofa to pass out until reality sets in.

Joey

March 24th, 2012
3:23 pm

…never force changes to a coach’s staff….

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

March 24th, 2012
3:39 pm

The last thing UGA needs is to play Alabama! The ash whipping you got in 2008 will be light to what you will get in 2012 if you’re lucky enough to get to Atlanta even with your weak schedule. Then again go for it! You’re still the team to beat from March until August! Always have and always will!

Ringleader

March 24th, 2012
3:49 pm

Two major problems with the student tickets and both were caused by the athletic department, McGarity gets the blame, but it is directed by Adams,
First, give the students a paper ticket that they can sell, give away or whatever.
Second, why have you split the students, give them the east end zone, and put the band back where it belongs.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 24th, 2012
3:54 pm

Ringleader if they still had paper ticket then these 2 issues would not happen at UGa.

http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/16924927/uga-gsu-students-top-list-of-growing-clients-on-sugar-daddy-dating-site

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 24th, 2012
3:55 pm