Archive for July, 2012

Fan talk: Toughest defense UGA faces, Richt’s reversal, running game concerns and more!

The Georgia Bulldogs will meet the fans again at the annual Picture Day. (Brant Sanderlin/ AJC)

The Georgia Bulldogs will meet the fans again at the annual Picture Day. (Brant Sanderlin/ AJC)

UGA’s annual Picture Day for fans will be held Aug. 18 in the Reed Plaza area of Sanford Stadium, with Mark Richt, his players, other Bulldog athletes and “interim” mascot Russ on hand.

Special ticket coupons will be required for access to Russ and Richt. Those tickets will be distributed to the first 150 fans lining up at 8 a.m. at the East End ticket windows on East Campus Road.

The UGA cheerleaders and Hairy Dawg will be available from 1 to 5 p.m. Russ and other University of Georgia sports teams will be available from 1 to 3 p.m. Georgia football players will be on hand for photos and autographs from 3 to 5 p.m. in Reed Plaza on the north side of the stadium between Gates 2 and 4. Richt will also be available from 3 to 5 p.m. for those with ticket coupons.

Fans will be able to enter Reed Plaza through Gate 2 across from the Tate Student Center and Gate 4 through the East Campus …

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Some Vols fans apparently not up for the trip to Athens

georgia bulldog clubAs a Bulldog Club member/Hartman Fund contributor, I got an interesting email Tuesday offering additional tickets to the Sept. 29 Georgia-Tennessee game in Athens.

It seems Vols fans didn’t buy up all the tickets to the game that UGA sent them.

According to the email, “Tennessee recently returned a limited quantity of tickets priced at $70 each. We are extending the offer for you to purchase up to 4 tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. Contractual agreements stipulate that, for home events, schools may charge visiting teams the ticket price our patrons pay at the visiting team’s stadium. The visiting school may return unsold tickets to the home school. Those tickets are to be sold at the face value that is charged to the visiting team.”

The returned tickets that were available are located in the 600 level of Sanford Stadium, and I picked up a couple for one of my brothers.

Anyway, Tennessee returning tickets for a major road game made me wonder if the Big Orange fan …

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UGA to Penn State players: Come on down!

Mark Richt was unusually open about his interest in Penn State players. (David Tulis / AJC special)

Mark Richt was unusually open about his interest in Penn State players. (David Tulis / AJC special)

While Mark Richt has perhaps been the most up-front about his interest in picking up some of the Penn State players who are free to leave the NCAA-hammered program and play immediately elsewhere, Georgia certainly isn’t the only SEC school looking at that possibility.

In terms of players currently on the Nittany Lions roster, this is likely to play out rather quickly, as most schools will be starting preseason camp soon — UGA on Aug. 2 — and in order to have a realistic shot at anything close to immediate playing time a transfer would need to be on campus by then.

It’s not surprising that Richt is interested, but what did widen a few eyes among college football observers was how he wasn’t at all coy about it when addressing the subject at Monday night’s UGA Day fan gathering. In fact, he volunteered the news that as soon as they heard about the NCAA sanctions against PSU, the …

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Fan talk: Richt’s problem isn’t discipline or risky recruiting, it’s perception (Updated)

Was it "risky" for UGA to recruit Isaiah Crowell? (Associated Press)

Was it "risky" for UGA to recruit Isaiah Crowell? (Associated Press)

So, SEC Media Days have come and gone, Mark Richt will be making his annual visit to the Cobb Galleria Monday, and season tickets will go into the mail the second week of August. Now, it’s starting to feel like football season! So let’s check the Junkyard Mail. …

EarthDawg writes: Bill, what do you think of these critics who blame Mark Richt’s recruiting for the disciplinary problems at Georgia, saying he’s taken too many risks and ignored “red flags” with players like Isaiah Crowell. They act like Richt is cruising reform schools looking for junior hoodlums. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Crowell recruited by just about every major football program in the country? Aside from a reputation for taking himself out of the game a lot in high school, I don’t recall any red flags raised in advance about Crowell.

You’re right. Alabama, Florida, Southern Cal, Auburn and other schools offered a scholarship to …

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Amid all the SEC Media Days distractions, a little bit of focus on football

Amid all the talk of disciplinary problems, Mark Richt did touch some on football. (Associated Press)

Amid all the talk of disciplinary problems, Mark Richt did touch some on football. (Associated Press)

Most of the coverage of Mark Richt’s appearance at SEC Media Days predictably focused on Georgia’s disciplinary problems and possible suspensions, even though the coach and the players he brought with him didn’t really have much new to say on that front.

Much more interesting to me were the comments from the press conference and Richt’s chat with UGA beat writers that give some indication of what we’re likely to see on the field this fall.

On the subject of projected two-way star Malcolm Mitchell, for instance, Richt indicated that early in the season, when heat and humidity are major factors, Mitchell is likely to play mostly as a defensive back.

“Early in the year you’ll see a whole lot more of Malcolm on defense percentage-wise,” Richt said. “As the season rolls along, you’ll see … closer to 50/50 offense and defense. I also think early in the year he’ll be able to play …

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Sounds like Spurrier might be a little scared of LSU

LSU seems to weigh heavily on Steve Spurrier's mind these days. (Associated Press)

LSU seems to weigh heavily on Steve Spurrier's mind these days. (Associated Press)

Some random thoughts and impressions while we wait for Georgia’s turn Thursday at SEC Media Days …

Some things are as predictable as a summer afternoon thunderstorm in Atlanta, and Steve Spurrier is one of them. So no one was surprised when he took another shot at the difference between the respective SEC West opponents of Georgia and South Carolina again this season: “You think I make the schedule? If I made the schedule, Georgia would be playing LSU, and we’d be playing Ole Miss.” Funny guy. Except you’ve got to wonder whether him continually harping on his displeasure at having to play LSU might not be planting some doubt in his players’ minds about whether their head coach believes they really have no shot at beating the Bengal Tigers. …

Give Spurrier credit, though. He did come up with a great shot at Saint Nick: “It’s easier to win the national championship than the SEC. Ask Nick Saban.” …

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Fan talk: Pressure on Richt, how UGA ranks nationally and more!

What does Mark Richt have to do to shut up the naysayers? (Associated Press)

What does Mark Richt have to do to shut up the naysayers? (Associated Press)

Let’s get straight to some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. …

Matt Barrett writes: It seems that over the past week I’ve started seeing a return of the meme among national sportswriters about Mark Richt still not being completely off the hot seat along with questions being raised about whether Isaiah Crowell’s arrest is an indication that discipline is one of the head coach’s major weaknesses. I don’t get it. He kicked his top tailback off the team the same day the kid was arrested, without even waiting to see what happened to the charges in court. The other disciplinary problems this spring have mainly been attributable to Georgia having one of the strictest drug test policies in the country. How much tougher can you get? As for the hot seat, Richt won 10 in a row last year and took the SEC East. Bill, what does Richt have to do to put this “hot seat” nonsense to rest?

Basically, in order to shift the …

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Pooch kicks: Dogs dominate All-SEC defensive picks

Jarvis Jones made the preseason All-SEC first team. (Associated Press)

Jarvis Jones made the preseason All-SEC first team. (Associated Press)

No real surprises in Georgia’s showing on the 2012 coaches’ preseason All-SEC team announced Thursday: The Dawgs had six defensive players selected, but only two offensive players and none on special teams.

Two Dawgs made the first team: outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and senior safety Bacarri Rambo. On the second team were quarterback Aaron Murray and nose tackle John Jenkins. Making the All-SEC third team were receiver Malcolm Mitchell (who’ll start out the season playing primarily on defense), defensive end Abry Jones, linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Sanders Commings.

Georgia’s six defensive players picked is tops for the conference. Florida and South Carolina had five defensive players each named. Overall, Alabama and LSU both had 11 players named, followed by Arkansas with 10, and Georgia, Florida and South Carolina with eight each.

RUSS NOT DONE YET

Georgia will open the season with Russ still as interim mascot. (University of Georgia)

Georgia will open the season with Russ …

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Which game (besides South Carolina) will be Georgia’s toughest?

Marcus Lattimore is one of the reasons South Carolina looms as Georgia's toughest opponent in 2012. (Associated Press)

Marcus Lattimore is one of the reasons South Carolina looms as Georgia's toughest opponent in 2012. (Associated Press)

This time last year, I conducted what had become our annual survey to see which game you thought would be the toughest for the Dogs, other than the showdown in Jacksonville.

Because of the Florida game’s history over the previous couple of decades, I had decided to put it in a category all its own. It was, of course, the toughest game Georgia would face. The monkey on their back. The discussion was over which game was the next toughest.

But no longer. I think it’s fair to say there’s been a sea change in the SEC East over the past couple of years and, at least for now, I don’t believe the Florida game qualifies any longer as the automatic biggest hurdle on the Dawgs’ schedule.

Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks have taken over that spot.

Consider: South Carolina, which last year was picked by 65 percent of Junkyard Blawg readers voting in the poll as the likely …

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Fan talk: Bashing Cornelius Washington, roster attrition and more!

2012 uga media guideLike many of you I had some time off this week, but let’s get back in gear with a look at the cover of this year’s UGA football media guide, which is now available for perusing online. And if you’re one of those folks who still want a printed hard copy, you can order one from the Georgia Athletic Association. Just send a check for $18 to: UGA Media Guide, P.O. Box 1472, Athens, GA 30603-1472.

Now, let’s get to some Junkyard Mail. …

Terry Perkins writes: Bill, did you see Cornelius Washington’s comments on Facebook bashing the UGA fans who were criticizing Isaiah Crowell after his arrest? I couldn’t believe his disrespectful attitude toward the fans any more than I could his blind support of his former teammate, the accused felon. Do you think Washington is typical of the sort of players Mark Richt has brought to Athens, and if so does that at all disturb you?

Terry is referring to Washington’s Facebook post in which he said fans “think you know so much, but in reality you know …

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