Fan talk: Looking ahead to Missouri … and LSU?

Zach Mettenberger had another good spring game ... this time for LSU. (Associated Press)

Zach Mettenberger had another good spring game ... this time for LSU. (Associated Press)

Todd Grantham revealed this week that he’s already got his troops preparing for Missouri, whether they know it or not, and fans are also thinking about the trip to Columbia and beyond, as we find out when we check this week’s Junkyard Mail. …

Jon Wilhoit writes: Bill, How much fun would it be to have UGA and LSU back in the Dome for the SECCG? Murray vs. Mettenberger. Good vs. evil, and all that. Would be a lot of great conversation. Of course, if Mettenberger had the better game there would be a lot of Georgia fans second-guessing Mark Richt’s move to dismiss him — a no brainer then and now.

I’m not sure I’d quite classify it as good vs. evil, but, yeah, that would be a lot of fun. I first saw Mettenberger play when he was in high school in Oconee County and was a UGA commitment and I was impressed then with his size and arm. Then, two years ago, he outshone Aaron Murray and Logan Gray in the G-Day game, only to wind up being dismissed from the team by Richt shortly after that because of his own poor decision-making off the field. As Artie Lynch, who caught a 39-yard scoring strike from Mettenberger in that G-Day game, put it: “The kid’s been gifted with an NFL arm and NFL size.” Mettenberger reportedly had a strong day in LSU’s spring game last week, completing 14 of 25 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns after getting off to a slow start. More notably, he allowed LSU’s offense to stretch the field in a way they haven’t been able to do over the past couple of years, completing four passes of 32 yards or more, including a 49-yard scoring strike. Having him start against his old team would be a great storyline, especially since he and Murray used to be roommates at UGA and are still friends, so I’m sure a lot of media types will be rooting for Georgia and LSU to have a rematch in Atlanta this year.

Scott writes: Hey Bill, Love your column and great insight. Like a lot of Dawg fans I’m sweating the trip to Missouri. It’s scary with the departures and suspensions in the defensive backfield going up against Missouri and its pass attack and their new receiver. However, it occured to me the other day maybe Mizzou will really want to test the Dawgs deep, which will give more time for the Dawgs’ pass rush to get to the QB. What do you think about that idea?

Assuming that Mizzou QB James Franklin is fully recovered from recent shoulder surgery in time for the game with Georgia (which the Missouri coaching staff officially believes is likely but some other observers think may be questionable), he might indeed test a Dogs secondary that will be missing some starters. But I think you’re right that Jarvis Jones and company are likely to give Franklin fits. And from what I saw of Missouri last season, I frankly doubt their defense is going to be of SEC caliber right away. So while that game looks like a bit of an early challenge for UGA, I don’t believe the Bulldog Nation needs to be shaking in its collective boots just yet. (A few more suspensions of key players and I’d be willing to revisit that opinion.)

Bailey Carter writes: So much is being made of some of the Dawgs supposedly flunking tests for marijuana use after spring break, which drives me crazy. If the UGA student body as a whole had been tested the week after spring break, what do you reckon the failure rate would have been? At least half, I’d say. Why are they even testing for pot use? It’s not like it’s a performance-enhancing drug!

The overall mandate for strict anti-drug policies at UGA — including drug-testing and harsher penalties than at other SEC schools for the athletic program — comes from the top. Faced with some high profile incidents and a growing party school image, President Michael Adams decided a crackdown on drug use at the university was in order a few years ago. I agree with you that perhaps marijuana use shouldn’t be something football coaches have to worry about, but the rule’s in place and the players know it and were warned not to get out of line during spring break. So if they got caught, it’s their own fault.

Monty Kennedy writes: So the Gators’ A.C. Leonard drags his girlfriend out of his apartment by her hair and took a nolo plea on a misdemeanor battery charge, and Will Muschamp still hasn’t decided whether he’s going to suspend him from any games. Meanwhile, Sanders Commings was only accused of pushing his girlfriend (and even that was disputed) and hadn’t even had his day in court but Mark Richt went ahead and suspended him for two games. What’s wrong with this picture?

In a completely fair world, UF and UGA would have the same sorts of punishments for similar infractions. But that’s not the world we live in. I have to say, though, if I were allowed to choose which coach and which approach to punishment I’d prefer to have, I’d stick with Richt, who’s not afraid to bench a starter for behavior he deems inappropriate. That’s something that has proved all too rare in recent years in Gainesville.

Jim Parry writes: I’d hate to see the promise of our 2012 season slip away before summer and fall camp arrives. Where are all the so-called upperclassmen leaders I’ve been reading about on this team this year? I love our Dawgs and remain optimistic, but this is starting to bring me down (and BTW, I support Coach Richt 100% — I’m in no way wanting anyone to blame him or call for his job over these off field issues). Also, a quick question on the viability of school presidents of SEC and other conferences developing an equal policy for drug tests and punishments. I love that UGA has higher standards than most every school in its discipline policies. But wouldn’t it be fair if other schools raised their standards to at least UGA’s level? It certainly would be nice to bring out in the open other schools’ violators and point out the hypocrisy of UGA haters and their schools.

And Eddie Whitaker writes: Hey Bill, Where is our senior leadership? I swear, every year is the same drill with arrests, suspensions. I know this is “broken record” stuff … but if I were a senior on this team, I swear I would go ballistic on these idiots!!!!!!

I agree that it would be more fair if all SEC schools had the same rules on punishments, particularly for common violations like failing drug tests, but I don’t think that’s very likely to happen unless the NCAA gets involved. As for senior leadership, well, maybe this current group is a bit lacking in that department. After all, Branden Smith is a senior and he’s been suspended. Ditto Bacarri Rambo. But there are seniors among the more vocal team leaders, including linebacker Christian Robinson and defensive end Cornelius Washington, and I’m hopeful they’ll have some serious come-to-Jesus moments with their teammates. Like I’ve said before, the coaches can’t be with these kids 24 hours a day. But in college peer pressure still carries considerable weight, especially in a team setting. Robinson has already said that after spring practice “we’ll definitely sit down as a group and lay down what our expectations are as far as holding each other accountable.” As he notes, “We have such a great opportunity. We don’t want to throw it away.” And as Washington put it: “You’ve just got to bring the guys in and tell them, ‘Look, you’ve got to eliminate the outside distractions and focus in on what’s most important, which is try to get to Miami next year.’”

Don Joel writes: If you take a look at five major sports at UGA — football, men and women’s basketball, baseball and gymnastics — only the latter has produced consistently with championships. And that’s one major reason why our program generally, excluding all teams but the above, is a trainwreck. Yes, I am aware of the SEC Championship game last year. I saw LSU devour us with 45 straight points, too. And it is my thinking that we have to win the SEC next fall — have to — because there is little opposition except for USC, maybe Florida in the schedule. Our schedule is a joke and I think encourages fans to think we’re a Top 5 team. Against Boise State, South Carolina, LSU and Michigan State (MICHIGAN STATE????) we were 0-4. Wow.

Remind me to ask Greg McGarity not to hire you as a motivational speaker. I’ll grant you that the football Dawgs’ 10-win run last season can’t disguise the fact that they lost to the four best teams they played, but winning the SEC East is the first step in any championship run and they accomplished that. Men’s basketball is admittedly an up-and-down affair at UGA, but while Andy Landers’ Lady Dogs haven’t won any championships lately, they still play at a fairly consistently high level. The Diamond Dogs have had a few off seasons but have also been pretty regular at making the NCAA tournament and it hasn’t been that long since they played for the national championship. The Gym Dogs might have fallen off from the pace of the Suzanne Yoculan era, but they’re still an elite program. Yes, there’s certainly lots of room for improvement, but I hardly think UGA’s athletic programs as a whole can be characterized as a “trainwreck.”

Would a retro UGA helmet be a big seller?

Would a retro UGA helmet be a big seller?

Lee Kennedy writes: Bill, I, like much of Bulldawg Nation, have not been a big fan of all of the “special” uniforms we have tried in the last few years. However, there is one uniform option that I have long thought would be a nice change of pace. For the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, I think it would be cool for both UGA and Auburn to wear throwback uniforms. I think this would be a “change” that the old timer die-hard fans could still appreciate, as well as the newer generations of fans. Also, it would help remind us all (especially the SEC scheduling department) of what a great and storied rivalry this is. What do you think?

I kind of like the idea of retro uniforms for Georgia-Auburn, and certainly many other schools have tried them. But I think one of the main reasons schools go retro is to spark replica sales, and that might be one reason UGA hasn’t gone at route so far. Aside from a plainer red jersey and silver britches, the most distinguishing element of a true retro UGA uniform would be the silver helmet, which wouldn’t feature the familiar “G” and thus would be less marketable. During the years after leather helmets gave way to hard ones, but before Vince Dooley introduced the red helmet the Dawgs still wear, the UGA helmet was usually plain silver (except in three games during the 1962 season when they affixed a square block G to the sides). I don’t know if the UGA Bookstore could sell many of those. Still, I’d love to see the old silver lids revived for a special retro game. And Georgia-Auburn seems like a great occasion for it. What do the rest of you think?

Ashley Sammartino writes: What are your thoughts on the possibility of Hines Ward to UGA? Good fit or not enough experience yet?

Ward’s years in the NFL might not equate exactly to coaching experience, but UGA has certainly hired assistants in the past who don’t have much on their resume (I’m thinking running backs coach Bryan McClendon). And Ward’s playing experience surely has taught him valuable lessons that he could impart to Georgia players. If he really wants to move straight into coaching, I think he’d be a valuable addition to UGA’s staff (assuming there was an opening). But I have a feeling Hines is more likely to show up in a broadcast booth before he winds up in coaching. Still, as he said after a recent visit to a Georgia practice, “I think I have a lot to give back to my alma mater and I want to see the Georgia Bulldogs win a national championship. So any experience or knowledge I can give to the football team to help them to get to that goal, so be it.” Go Hines!

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

137 comments Add your comment

John

April 7th, 2012
10:53 am

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 7th, 2012
11:03 am

Murray vs. Mettenberger. Good vs. evil?

Mettenburger is the GOOD but is 35:55minute Murray really EVIL? Well. I guess he is cause he Kills UGa’s chances to win Big games.

zzggyy

April 7th, 2012
11:06 am

And FSU’s James Wilder, arrested for resisting arrest & battery on a police officer was able to plead to a reduced charge & won’t miss a game.

http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/37999/fsus-wilder-jr-returns-to-practice

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 7th, 2012
11:09 am

I frankly doubt their defense is going to be of SEC caliber right away.

SO? The SEC defenses haven’t been the dawgs problem. Now the GOOD SEC D’s yes. Boise St, UCF, and Michigan St didn’t have SEC Defenses and didn’t seem to have much problem beating the dawgs.

UGA fAN fOREVA

April 7th, 2012
11:09 am

UGA fAN fOREVA

April 7th, 2012
11:10 am

Nevr mind…..

BankerDawg

April 7th, 2012
11:12 am

Great piece Bill! And yes, I (being a fan of the newer look and Nike pro combat stuff) love the idea of the retro looks for the Rivalry Game. Great idea

Old Dawg

April 7th, 2012
11:13 am

So the defense is getting ready – how about the offense? It seems I remember it was the OFFENSE that gave away so many games last year. Who will be our QB this year…oh, that is right – Aaron Murray. Good, bad, or mediocre, it will be Murray to the end, because that is how Richt operates. Winning be damned.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 7th, 2012
11:21 am

Why are they even testing for pot use?
It Is ILLEGAL?

Why do the players even have to go to class? Class doesn’t matter either I guess. Going to class takes the guys away from practicing FOOTBALL and we KNOW the only thing that matters is winning football games.

Fans can’t Praise Richt for his Christian beliefs and then complain that he brings the Hammer of God down on players that don’t live up to his beliefs. Pres. ADAMS is a Church of Christ man. Read about the Church of Christ and you will understand his policies. ADAMS came from Pepperdine a Church of Chris school.

young dawg

April 7th, 2012
11:30 am

Hines should be a recruitor for UGA, he would be a recruiter that the parents and the kids would know

Raleigh

April 7th, 2012
12:03 pm

I just want the dawgs to get back to elite status again

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 7th, 2012
12:06 pm

I want a Bugatti too but that ain’t happening either.

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can stop it

April 7th, 2012
12:20 pm

Wow a UGA article concerning great expectations.

Get your defense together first, if you want to win the SEC. 42 points to a team that could barely cross the 50 against a quality defense will not cut it.

Italian_29

April 7th, 2012
12:21 pm

Bill, I know that sometime you respond to posts, so I wanted to ask. Have you heard anything about Hines Ward being at UGA’s practice to help with a more run based offense like the Steelers run? There were some rumors that is the reason that he was there. I think it would be a good move, you hardly ever see Big Ben give a game away, like Murray has been known to do, and I think with IC and KM, not to mention Malcom, Gurly, and our other running backs, we could use a more clock eating offense. I think that would serve a few purposes, one it would keep the oppositions’ defense on the field longer, two it would allow our defense to stay fresh, and three it would take some of the pressure to be superman off of Murray. What do you think, is there any truth to the rumor?

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can stop it

April 7th, 2012
12:21 pm

Raleigh, when where they ever elite?!?

Big Crimson 75

April 7th, 2012
12:28 pm

Billy — maybe you & the rest of your red-neck brethren would like to see UGA & LSU again in the SEC CG.
Sure, Everyone loves BLOW-OUTS, especially in Championship Games when 1 Team can sleep through a Game & still destroy their opponent!!

Italian_29

April 7th, 2012
12:32 pm

Wow, imagine that Tidey Bowl Fans on a blog that has absolutely NOTHING to do with “their team” just to spout GARBAGE.

SSIgator

April 7th, 2012
12:40 pm

“Jon Wilhoit writes: Bill, How much fun would it be to have UGA and LSU back in the Dome for the SECCG?”

Uh, Jon, LSU would think it would be great. Only DWAG fans high on the KoolAid would want another piece of that.

Italian_29

April 7th, 2012
12:42 pm

That is TOO FUNNY BC75, a Bama Fan calling someone else rednecks.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 7th, 2012
12:44 pm

Hahaha BC75 and Italian..ANYBODY in the Special Education Conference talking Education or calling other fans redneck is Funny

SSIgator

April 7th, 2012
12:46 pm

“Ashley Sammartino writes: What are your thoughts on the possibility of Hines Ward to UGA?”

It would be wonderful Ashley. He could not only coach UGA in dirty play tactics like he was known for in the NFL, but he could also be the entertainment coach for the happy hour get togethers at the local bars. Ol’ Hines certainly knows how that works and he also knows his way around the police station booking room for DUI’s. A win-win for all.

SSIgator

April 7th, 2012
12:53 pm

Don Joel -

Sorry Don, only positive comments are allowed on UGA sites. Anyone who dares to speak of and deal in realities will be shunned and ridiculed. Don’t fight it, have a tall, cold glass of Kool-Aid. Pretty soon all of your worries will wash away. Mark Richt says so.

ElvinBishopBand

April 7th, 2012
12:57 pm

Neither UGA nor LSU will be at the SECCG unless you buy a ticket. Keep talking because that is what you do best and your record documents just that. Ruff Ruff. 1980.

Nick Saban is the Man and nothing you leg humpers can do about that but talk!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 7th, 2012
12:59 pm

BILL KING………..Is that CUZ’s daughter BAYLIE? Is she doing well?

Italian_29

April 7th, 2012
1:13 pm

Wow, I am OUT. There are more Techies, Tidey Bowl, and Lizard fans on the JUNKYARD Blog, than there are GA fans. You guys are UNREAL, Happy Easter and good luck next season.

BigDawg

April 7th, 2012
1:52 pm

They have nothing better to do!

Red Stick

April 7th, 2012
2:43 pm

The SEC will be as competitive as ever this year. LSU, Alabama and Arkansas are the class of the West. Any of those teams could win the division; yes even Arkansas as I don’t see them firing Petrino over his indiscretions.

There is no doubt Georgia is a favorite in the East but SC will be tough and I expect Florida to bounce back. Don’t be surprised if UT is in the mix too.

Pago Pago Dawg

April 7th, 2012
2:54 pm

We’re trying to remember how many good college/pro players made good coaches.
Can only think of two, Saban and Holtz…oh and Capt. Superior.

LakeDawg

April 7th, 2012
4:31 pm

I’ve taken my fair share of well-earned shots at CMR, but those taking shots at Murray really do need to learn a little football. Yes, he tries to do too much during big games. However, the Dawgs are so overwhelmed offensively against the best defenses, that its either Murray try to pull a great play out of his jock or the Dawgs may as well just punt on 1st down. Murray’s mistakes show competitiveness. The fault lies with BoBo and Richt and their inability produce a true physical running game.

Bill King

April 7th, 2012
5:32 pm

Kool-aid:

Assume you’re talking about letter writer Bailey Carter. No, he isn’t Cuz’s daughter.

Bill King

April 7th, 2012
5:35 pm

Italian:
Hines was at practice again, but he’s not allowed to do any coaching and so I don’t think those rumors about him helping with a run-based offense have any substance. Just fan speculation.

red&black

April 7th, 2012
5:44 pm

I think the “throw back” uniforms would be a great idea. The Auburn game would be perfect for that to happen. I know times changes, and with that come other changes. But some of the uniforms I’ve seen in the last few years like Maryland, Oregon and Georgia’s Power Ranger garb are just plain god awful.

FLA DAWG

April 7th, 2012
5:46 pm

Hey Bill,
Then why would he be at another practice unless a contract was forthcoming?

Dawg Haus

April 7th, 2012
6:19 pm

I’m all about the throwback uniforms for Georgia-Auburn.

Ringleader

April 7th, 2012
6:58 pm

Mike Adams wants to work on the “drug problem”???? Let him start at the top, give a hair sample, and require the entire faculty and all athletic department employees the same. Then publish the results for the public to see the results.

He would never, never, never agree to that.

Old Dawg

April 7th, 2012
7:02 pm

I apologize to Aaron Murray for making comments about his turnovers. Yes, I agree that more of the fault lies with the offensive line for not protecting Murray more or for Richt not having a better backup quarterback to help so Murray doesn’t have to go it alone. Murray should learn just to drop and protect the ball or throw it away when pressured, rather than turn it over with an interception or a fumble.

dan

April 7th, 2012
8:34 pm

Murray: 59 TD’s and 22 INT’s in 2 years
Stafford: 51 TD’s and 33 INT’s in 3 years

Not making this up folks. Give Murray a break. Let’s hold off judgement until we’ve seen the full body of work.

I think we all need to acknowledge that the 2010 season was doomed from the start( AD getting fired in the off season, losing AJ Green for the first 4 games, breaking in a new DC, breaking in a new QB). Expecting a freshmen QB to come in and overcome all those problems is a lot to ask.

The 2010 squad was an 8-4 team that was snakebit early on and underachieved. Consequently, the 2011 squad was an 8-4 team that overachieved due to a weak schedule.

I think the 2012 group has the weapons in place to be a 9-3 team at worst.

Also, I put absolutely ZERO stock in spring games. Mettenberger is overrated. He’s got a nice arm, but he’s slow ,unathletic in the pocket, and has MAJOR character issues. We’ll see how he does at LSU, but in regards to him being released by UGA, Richt made the right decision. Besides even if Mettenberger was good, he no doubt would have done something idiotic that would have gotten him kicked off the team sooner or later. No sense in crying over spilled milk IMO.

NCDawg

April 7th, 2012
9:05 pm

I think the Mizzou game will be a major benchmark. We have it all over the Tigers defensively even w/o the suspended guys. Mizzou is replacing both of their guards. They play that wide split scheme on their O-line. Geathers and Jenkins are going to give that center some pure hell because with those guards split that far away he will be on an island. If Franklin is ready to go at QB he may not last long. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of our NG’s chucks the center back into his chest.
Offensively if we can establish even a decent running game we will win. Otherwise it will be tedious for sure.

kybodawg

April 7th, 2012
10:01 pm

the one big worry about keith marshall is that all speed guys have trouble with their hammys. just wondering if the new speed guy on s and c will help.

A Father

April 7th, 2012
10:07 pm

why you delete post correcting false claims in your article? Sanders Commings hit the girl very hard and I know two of the students who witnessed the assault. Sanders pleaded guilty as he should. Bill King your wife and if you have daughters need to be aware that you condone assaults on women and lie to protect the guilty from the truth by not correcting the claims made in your article. Very poor of you.

A Father

April 7th, 2012
10:11 pm

I do apologize for reposting, thought you had deleted original post.

SEC Fan Club

April 8th, 2012
12:16 am

gonna be great seeing zach mett vs. usa east in the dome…good luck uga against a tough so. miss squad in the liberty bowl…please don’t embarress us again…

Attention, Walmart shoppers (aka UGA fans)

April 8th, 2012
8:18 am

I just want the dawgs to get back to elite status again.

Just keep swilling the Kool-Aid, and you’ll be just fine.

You do know they sell adult diapers, don't you?

April 8th, 2012
8:23 am

Did Richt ever get some adult diapers for Cornelius Washington to keep him from peeing in public?

Bigdsel5556

April 8th, 2012
9:05 am

Why are all these sister loving bama fans posting on our website. Does Alabama not have it’s own news source. I don’t go looking to bash your club on your websites. They must be worried about the dawgs getting back on top of the sec.

harold

April 8th, 2012
9:12 am

NICK SABAN HAS MORE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS THAN UGA. RICHT IS ONLY 24-16 HIS LAST THREE YEARS! HE HAS NEVER EVEN BEEN IN THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. GLAD UGA FANS ACCEPT “A VERY MEDICORE” ABOVE AVERAGE COACH!

WHILE RICHT “DREAMS” OF IT SABAN AND MILES—EVEN FLORIDA—TENNESSEE–AND AUBURN HAVE ALL WON A BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

Saban Never Sleeps

April 8th, 2012
9:16 am

Yawn!!! The usual off season BIG TALK from the Leg humper crowd. Drive to T-town if you want to see the crystal.

AF Pilot

April 8th, 2012
9:54 am

The reason Muschamp hasn’t done any sort of punishment while Richt has is that Muschamp understands his job is about winning, not being a father figure.

Silver lids

April 8th, 2012
12:44 pm

UGA in red jersey, white numerals, with the silver helmet but w.o. that goofy block G and silver britches would look great. Yes, the AU game would be a perfect venue or vs Tech.

Like to see Tech in their old early 60s uniform that Dodd used with Chick Granning, Lenny Snow, Billy Lotheridge, Billy Martin, Ted Davis and Joe Auer. Yes, as a kid in metro Atlanta back then, I pulled for BOTH schools and 50/50 even when they played, until I went to UGA.

gooooooooooooooooo Dogs.

Gump

April 8th, 2012
12:48 pm

Mmmmmmmmmm. I love humpin my sister on Easter Sunday. Roll tide.