Archive for June, 2012

Fan talk: Richt vs. Crowell, wayward tailbacks, armed Dawgs and Grantham’s future!

Was there more to the Isaiah Crowell story than we knew? (Associated Press)

Was there more to the Isaiah Crowell story than we knew? (Associated Press)

Let’s get right to some timely Junkyard Mail …

Bobby Dupree writes: Bill, I have to say I was shocked by the speed with which Mark Richt dismissed Isaiah Crowell from the team after his arrest. And I’m a little bit baffled. Why would the coach move so quickly to kick the kid off the team without even waiting to see if the charges stick or get reduced?

I’ve had that question from several fans, and unless Richt fills us in on why he acted so quickly, whatever we say is sheer speculation. I had expected Richt to wait to see what happened with the charges and then, if they were dismissed or reduced to misdemeanors, suspend Crowell for half a season. Depending on how the player reacted to that, I figured the coach would then either reinstate Crowell or dismiss him. But with Richt moving so quickly to get rid of Crowell on the same day he was arrested, I’ve got to figure that Isaiah was already on thinner …

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Crowell’s story all too familiar for UGA fans (UPDATED)

Isaiah Crowell's time in Athens was troubled from the start. (Associated Press)

Isaiah Crowell's time in Athens was troubled from the start. (Associated Press)

Seems like we’ve been here before.

Another Georgia tailback’s career derailed — probably ended — by his own actions. This time it’s Isaiah Crowell, arrested early Friday morning on three weapons charges.

For Crowell, his immediate suspension from the Georgia Bulldogs is the least of his troubles. Two of those charges are felonies.

Update: Crowell has been dismissed from the team according to an announcement Friday afternoon by Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt. “We have a dedicated and committed group of men who are working hard to prepare for the coming season,” Richt said. “Our total focus will be directed toward the team and this effort.” That was the coach’s only comment.

The 19-year-old from Columbus came to Athens as one of the most heralded recruits signed by the Bulldogs since you know who, but almost from the start the vibes were bad.

Word leaked out last summer that Crowell wasn’t in good …

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Which true freshmen are likely to be impact players for the 2012 Dawgs?

True freshman Keith Marshall started school early and went through spring drills. (University of Georgia)

True freshman Keith Marshall started school early and went through spring drills. (University of Georgia)

It’s that time of summer when various media outlets start predicting which true freshmen taking the field this fall will have the greatest impact.

Last year at this time, it was Isaiah Crowell and Malcolm Mitchell who rightly were predicted to be impact players as freshmen for the Georgia Bulldogs. When it comes to Mark Richt’s 2012 Dawgs, the two names that you’ll see most often as these lists roll out are highly rated tailback Keith Marshall and offensive lineman John Theus, both of whom are seen as being among the top new talent in the SEC.

The speedy, elusive Marshall, who started school in January and went through spring drills, is expected to push starter Crowell for playing time, while Theus, a Parade All American, is seen as a virtual lock to start at left tackle on the rebuilt Georgia offensive line — a rarity for a true freshman. Both have the potential to be …

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Fixing the Dawgs’ ‘scary’ special teams

If Blair Walsh was rushing his kicks, why didn't anyone on the coaching staff notice it? (Associated Press)

If Blair Walsh was rushing his kicks, why didn't anyone on the coaching staff notice it? (Associated Press)

Along with the lack of experienced depth in the secondary and the rebuilding project on the offensive line, the aspect of Mark Richt’s Bulldogs causing the most offseason apprehension among fans is special teams, where Georgia will be starting brand-new kickers and trying to turn around last year’s dismal performance.

Plus, doing all of that without the benefit of a special teams coach or coordinator, as Richt stubbornly sticks to the Bobby Bowden model of going without one.

That’s a decision that many have questioned, and the topic came up again over the weekend thanks to a report out of Minnesota, where the Vikings are betting they can fix what was wrong with placekicker Blair Walsh during his disappointing senior season at UGA.

The Vikes’ special teams coordinator, Mike Priefer, told 1500espn.com that after working with Walsh and studying film of last season, he’s …

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Fan talk: Matt Stafford, UGA’s cupcake schedule and more!

A new Matthew Stafford action figure is expected to look something like this. (McFarlane Toys)

A new Matthew Stafford action figure is expected to look something like this. (McFarlane Toys)

For those of you who enjoy Georgia Bulldog-related collectibles, a new action figure coming from McFarlane Toys and Clarktoys.com in September is available for pre-order: Matthew Stafford in his Detroit Lions uniform.

Here’s the company’s spiel for Stafford: “The former Georgia Bulldog QB, drafted #1 overall in 2009 by the Detroit Lions, had been plagued by injuries in his first two NFL seasons, only playing 13 total games over the course of two years. In 2011, with the injuries behind him, Stafford put together the greatest quarterback performance in the history of the Detroit Lions. The 2011 season was the official ‘I have arrived’ party. Stafford threw for more than 5,000 yards (only the 4th QB in NFL history to do so), with 41 touchdowns, and led the Lions to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. He currently holds the Lions franchise record for passing yards, passing …

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Playoff would have given UGA several more shots at national title

oval G logoAssuming the Big 10 representative to the BCS presidential oversight committee doesn’t manage to derail things, it looks like we’re headed toward a seeded four-team tournament for college football with the teams picked by a selection committee.

The committee will be charged with taking conference championships and strength of schedule into account, so there’s no guarantee that the teams that finish 1-4 in the polls will be selected, but more often than not that’s likely to be the case. In some instances, though, a team ranked #5 (or lower) might squeak in.

The real plus of such a system is that at the end of the regular season four teams have a shot at the national title instead of just two, which set my son Bill and I to wondering if such a playoff process had been in effect in the past, how often would Georgia have had a chance to play their way to a national championship?

Looking back, it turns out the Bulldogs would have made the playoff or been in contention for selection …

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Extreme college football fandom can get ugly, but more often is something to celebrate

Georgia fans in D.C. put their lawn mower to good use. (Special)

Georgia fans in D.C. put their lawn mower to good use. (Special)

We’ve seen the ugly side of extreme fandom recently with jury selection under way in the trial of Harvey Updyke, the Bama fan accused of poisoning the trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner, and the photo circulating online of a particularly graphic “roadkill” version of UGA’s mascot apparently served up as the tasteless groom’s cake at the wedding of a couple of fans of some other school.

Football rivalries sometimes even result in violence, as has happened with fans fatally shooting each other over the outcome of Clemson-South Carolina and Alabama-LSU games.

But college football’s superfans are more likely to be hosting elaborate and expensive tailgate feasts before a game or hitting the road for weeks at a time in a Winnebago festooned in school colors to catch all their team’s games, home and away, wracking up years of perfect attendance.

Many other fans emblazon their cars or trucks with elaborate portraits of …

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Fan talk: With or without Derrick Henry, Dawgs are stacked at running back

Competition should help spur Isaiah Crowell to greater heights this season. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Competition should help spur Isaiah Crowell to greater heights this season. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Let’s see what folks are talking about in the Junkyard Mail. …

Garrett Kee writes: Hey Bill, fall is getting closer and closer and I’m getting more excited as each day passes by, just gotta get through these DAWG days of summer! I wanted to see what you thought about all of our RBs. First off, right now do you think any will be redshirted? I keep telling people who are doubting the Dawgs this year to just watch out and I use the LSU of last year as my example. As LSU used a running back by committee and had four RBs each get 7 TDs a piece, my question to you is can Georgia sort of repeat that? Obviously with the MANY talented RBs we have, Crowell, Marshall, Gurley, Samuel, Harton, and Malcome can Georgia achieve such success you think? Even though our O-line is in question (isn’t that every year), I feel that if all our RBs can be effective, we can wear down many SEC defenses …

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Bulldog Nation Attitude Check: Gamecocks or Gators? And back in black?

georgia floridaTaking the temperature of UGA fandom on a couple of issues …

For years, it’s been a given that the conference game that Dawgs fans most obsess over is Florida in Jacksonville. But with the rise of the Gamecocks program under Steve Spurrier and the intensifying of the battle for the SEC East, it’s a more complicated picture now.

Both Florida and South Carolina are SEC East teams, so technically the two games are equally important (though past experience has shown only beating one of them is absolutely necessary in order for Georgia to win the division).

Looking at the 2012 season, though, which would be worse? Losing to South Carolina for a third consecutive year or once again failing to beat the Gators in back-to-back years?

In other words, which do you want more, a win over South Carolina or a win over Florida?

Considering the scheduling scenario again favors Georgia in that South Carolina must face two tough teams from the West (LSU and Arkansas) that the Dawgs don’t have to …

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Dawgs as consensus favorites: ‘A lot of pressure on us’

Vegas thinks Mark Richt will be striking this pose after every regular season game in 2012. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Vegas thinks Mark Richt will be striking this pose after every regular season game in 2012. (Jason Getz / AJC)

We’ve already established that Vegas oddsmakers like the 2012 Dawgs, but it turns out they’re so high on Mark Richt’s upcoming team that the folks who come up with point spreads have installed UGA as the early favorite in every game on the schedule.

At the Golden Nugget, Georgia is a 3-point favorite over Missouri, a 13.5-point favorite over Tennessee, a 2.5-point favorite over South Carolina, a 4.5-point favorite over Florida and a 6-point favorite over Auburn. And Pregame.com rates Georgia as the favorite in every game on its schedule.

Of course, as has been discussed here, Richt teams have had a disturbing tendency in the past to falter under high expectations, and playing as the favorite every week is going to be as big a challenge this season as rebuilding that offensive line and getting the special teams to quit rolling gutter balls.

The Athens Banner-Herald

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