Fan talk: Hungry Dawgs, defensive doldrums, Samuel L. Jackson and more!

Fans want the Dawgs ready to play but don't want Aaron Murray too hyped up. (Associated Press)

Fans want the Dawgs ready to play but don't want Aaron Murray too hyped up. (Associated Press)

In the wake of the opening game, there was quite a bit of Junkyard Mail this week. Let’s check out some of it. …

Andrew Smith writes: Hey Bill, I just watched the Mothership’s view of what to watch for in Week 2. Todd McShay conveyed that he wants to see more hunger out of the Dawgs this week. With all of the hype and pressure Mizzou is placing on this game, do you think the captains and leaders of this team have everyone ready to play? If you imagine Munson asking that question it seems even more intense.

That’s the big question, Andrew, and I’m imagining you giving it a desperate growl like Munson. Sometimes Mark Richt’s Dawgs show up for these games loaded for bear (or Tiger), as in the first half of the SEC Championship. Other times, like last year’s Georgia Dome game with Boise State, they look like they’d rather be somewhere else. We don’t want them too ramped up (in particular, we don’t want Aaron Murray so hyped he’s overthrowing his receivers again), but a fast start to take the crowd at the Zou out of the game definitely would be a big plus.

Jim P. writes: Saw news and notes about all the new bells and whistles at the stadium. Gotta be honest, I don’t attend a game to watch it on TV or be distracted with social network garbage. Nice to hear UGA has all these new gadgets, but the only thing I would be interested in is typical game information, out of town scores and an occasional replay for questionable plays and exciting highlight. Guess I’m “old man” football!

The social media aspect of game day at Sanford Stadium is not intrusive; at the first game it mainly consisted of voting for what song you wanted played in the fourth quarter and some fan pictures. It was refreshing to have more replays of controversial calls, though. You may like your game day experience old-school, but a lot of younger fans see tweeting and texting as a part of even attending a football game. And the reasoning behind the SEC loosening up on replays and highlights is to encourage fans to show up. They realize they’re in competition with big-screen high-def TVs (along with cheaper food and more comfortable seats) in fans’ own homes, so it’s an effort to entice you to experience the game in person without losing those frills. If it helps fill empty seats, it seems like a good idea.

Dale Shirley writes: Bill, I noticed that Zander [Ogletree] didn’t play vs. Buffalo. Something going on or has he just fallen out of favor?

I haven’t seen a report of any trouble involving him, though with UGA’s stealth suspension policy I suppose it’s always possible that he was held out but no one noticed because he wasn’t expected to play much any way. Basically, Zander was an undersized fullback who got considerable playing time last year because Georgia was shorthanded at the position. With the rise of former walk-on Merritt Hall, the arrival of highly touted true freshman Quayvon Hicks, and veteran Richard Samuel getting time at fullback, Ogletree has simply been beaten out on the depth chart.

The showing by Todd Grantham's defense in the first game alarmed some readers. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

The showing by Todd Grantham's defense in the first game alarmed some readers. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Several readers were alarmed by Georgia’s mostly lackluster defensive showing against Buffalo in terms of what it means for the Mizzou game. Let’s start with Brian Davis, who writes: Bill, I was at the game Saturday and our lack of overall defense concerned me. I was very disappointed in the lack of push from the defensive line and the lack of blitzes from Coach Grantham. I was disappointed by the play of our secondary as well. Most of the guys on defense seemed to be walking around like they were not mentally into the game rather than playing with the emotion they played with most of last season. Do you think the performance of the defense can be attributed to a lack of interest in the opponent or is our defense simply average without Ogletree, Rambo and Mitchell?

First, keep in mind that just as Georgia was deliberately running a pretty vanilla offense against Buffalo to avoid giving Missouri valuable game film to watch, the same appeared to be true for Todd Grantham’s defense. It was scaled back. Yes, the absence of starters in the secondary and, especially, Alec Ogletree in the middle, was definitely a factor, but the defensive line clearly didn’t play its best. The heat and humidity might have been a factor there, but it’s also likely they weren’t taking the Bulls very seriously and simply didn’t bring their A game that day. If we see the same thing this Saturday, we’ll know Grantham has a real problem — but I don’t anticipate that happening.

Next, J McKinney writes: Hey, love your Blawgs! Amazing stuff. My question is, do you think we were holding back purposely [against Buffalo] since we have Mizzou this weekend? And what are your thoughts on how Richt has been handling the questions/concerns on the suspensions/injuries? Do you think Rambo/Ogletree will play this weekend?

OK, check up above for the answer to your first question. As for the lack of information provided on suspensions and injuries, I know it bothers the folks who cover the UGA beat, but I can see the UGA coaches’ reasoning: If you’re not required to provide the information to the press (and your upcoming opponent), why not keep them guessing? Frankly, I doubt the uncertainty over which defenders Georgia will have on the field will be much of a factor for Missouri, but there’s always a chance it could be. I think the odds are we won’t see Bacarri Rambo this week, but since this is Alec Ogletree’s first violation of the drug policy, there’s a chance his suspension might have been just for the Buffalo game. At least, I hope so.

And Nick, who describes himself as Georgia’s #1 fan stuck in Rocky Top, writes: How concerned are you with Georgia’s defense going into the Missouri game considering they allowed Buffalo to score 23 points? What key players will be coming back from suspensions against Missouri?

We won’t know all the suspended players until kickoff, but it’s definite that we won’t be seeing Sanders Commings and Chase Vasser. As for how concerned I am about the defense going into the Mizzou game, I’d certainly much rather Georgia was at full-strength for what looks on paper like one of the season’s bigger challenges. But even with the missing players the Dogs’ defense should be pretty formidable up front, especially against Missouri’s somewhat makeshift offensive line.

Just how long will Bacarri Rambo be suspended? Mark Richt isn't telling. (Associated Press)

Just how long will Bacarri Rambo be suspended? Mark Richt isn't telling. (Associated Press)

James, UGA Class of 2011, writes: Hey Bill, I love reading your columns on the Dawgs. Obviously everyone is all abuzz about player suspensions and the ambiguity of when those suspensions will be up. Coach Richt has been pretty tight lipped about the subject. Has anyone given any thought to asking Richt if this is Rambo’s first failed drug test? Because if I recall correctly, Rambo was never suspended last year for a failed drug test. Remember, he was speeding, pulled over by a police officer, and his passenger was arrested for possession of marijuana. Rambo was merely suspended for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If this is Rambo’s first failed drug test, University policy is that he be suspended for 10% of his team’s schedule which for football is? That’s right, one game. Seems to me Rambo’s already served his time after missing out last week against Buffalo. You think he’s in this Saturday?

Rambo’s first go-round last year apparently was considered a violation of the UGA drug policy, even if it wasn’t his marijuana in the car, so this is considered a second offense and it’s likely his suspension this time around will be for more than one game. His high school coach said the initial ruling was four games, as reportedly mandated by the UGA policy for second offenses, but Rambo planned to appeal that. If he did, he probably made an argument similar to the one you offer. Since the Georgia coaching staff isn’t talking, it’s unknown at this point whether any appeal was successful and whether the suspension was reduced. Even if it was, I have a feeling we won’t see him against Missouri.

Trevin Bernarding writes: Bill, I have sat in Section 108 since 2000, and my first visit to the stadium was in 1976 at Georgia Tech game. The amenity improvements the past few years have been outstanding. … Simple things like having family restrooms for those of us with little ones makes the game day experience that much better. And fried Oreos! But I was disappointed this past Saturday on two fronts. With it being so hot, drinks were obviously much needed. We did not have a single vendor hawking drinks in our section the entire game. Looking across the way, I saw plenty of bright yellow shirts in the stands. Did you have vendors come down into Section 104? Where was this 20% increase of vendors? What is going to happen when we have a sellout? This caused another undesirable effect in that the concession lines both at the top of 108 at the plaza, and the lines under the bridge, were incredibly long. Fortunately, standing in line now allows you to watch the game on TV, another recent improvement. But this didn’t make up for the thirsty people sitting in the hot sun waiting for me to get back. I enjoy your blog! I read every entry.

Good question, Trevin, about the announced increase in vendors. I wondered where they were, too. I saw a couple of folks selling cold drinks in our section early on, but they weren’t in evidence for most of the game. Hopefully, there won’t be any other games this season that are as hot and muggy as last Saturday, but in general I get the impression that the distribution of vendors is uneven — too many in some sections and hardly any in others. Let’s hope the stadium concessions folks continue to work on that problem.

Summing up the game against Buffalo, Steve Segrest writes: The Bad: pass protection. Seeing the young backs miss blocks is understandable (and surely they will improve) — but seeing [center David] Andrews getting mauled numerous times and knocked backwards by a non-SEC caliber tackle is troublesome. The very good: Michael Bennett is such a great football player. Not the 5-star blazing speed athlete, but if everyone had his dedication and work ethic, the Dawgs would go 12-0.

I’m also a big fan of Bennett as well as Chris Conley, who had a nice catch and also blocked a punt on special teams. You’re right about the offensive line being less than impressive, though in fairness it was their first outing. That’s why the tight ends were mostly kept in to block and didn’t get involved in the passing game.

After Samuel L. Jackson visited the Dawgs, he tweeted this shot. (Samuel L. Jackson)

After Samuel L. Jackson visited the Dawgs, he tweeted this shot. (Samuel L. Jackson)

Finally, Cheryl Stephens writes: Bill, I really enjoy the Blawg and especially the Junkyard Mail. So here’s my question: Was that really Samuel L. Jackson narrating one of the videos shown on the scoreboard before last week’s Georgia game? It sure sounded like him and one of the people sitting next to me said it was him. I know he had visited one of the Dawgs’ preseason practices. If it was him, that’s so cool! Do you know where we can see the video other than at Sanford Stadium?

It was indeed the “Pulp Fiction” legend providing the voiceover for the new “Commit to the G” video. And you can check it out online here. As a bonus, you can find another fun video that former UGA quarterback Matt Stafford did for ESPN here. It’s good to see Stafford doesn’t take himself too seriously.

I’ll answer more Junkyard Mail next week. Do you have something you want to discuss concerning the new football season or UGA athletics in general? Got a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? If so, send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

95 comments Add your comment

Old Man Football

September 6th, 2012
10:37 pm

FIRST! Go Dawgs

Gurley gonna bust some Mizzou heads with UGA’s brand of Old Man Football!

coondawg69

September 6th, 2012
10:41 pm

GTAccChamps

September 6th, 2012
10:45 pm

Hey pups – the Buffalo just scored AGAIN on your defense.

ROFL! Most over-rated team in America.

Mountain Dawg

September 6th, 2012
10:46 pm

Go “Gurshel”!

ConyersDawg

September 6th, 2012
10:51 pm

Hey techie, shouldn’t you be browsing through your pics from Dragon-Con instead of trolling on a UGA message board? Last I checked Paul “Turkey Neck” Johnson’s bunch is 0-1 while the Dawgs are riding high.

Congratulations on Tevin “Poor Man’s Reggie Ball” Washington throwing it up for grabs yet again!

bigcalidawg

September 6th, 2012
11:03 pm

Mountain Dawg
September 6th, 2012
10:46 pm

Go “Gurshel”!

Now that there has a ring to it. Better than Super Gurl his teammates keep calling him.

Malinda

September 6th, 2012
11:46 pm

When Poss’s ran the Sanford stadium concessions, there was always lots of cold drinks to buy in the stands. What is the problem?

Huh?

September 7th, 2012
12:46 am

Todd Gurley looks like the next Herschel Walker….there…it has been said.

It sure worked for Sanks, Ealey, King, Crowell, etc. I’m sure it will work again.

joe cox

September 7th, 2012
2:00 am

man i love them dogs

Fred ™

September 7th, 2012
2:40 am

GTAccChamps

September 6th, 2012
10:45 pm

Hey pups – the Buffalo just scored AGAIN on your defense.

ROFL! Most over-rated team in America.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well no one for sure has over rated the Jackets. They are unranked as they should be. I understand your pain and frustration and juvenile need to bad mouth your betters.

I’ll pray for you.

Just Sayin

September 7th, 2012
6:21 am

@ GTAccChamps
Do you know where the ACC keeps the conference trophy they took away from you for cheating? Do they give it to the 2nd place team who GT stole it from? Just curious

All Saints

September 7th, 2012
6:50 am

In tribute to our beloved martyred Saint Jan Kemp, let’s all bow our heads for a few moments of silent prayer. Thirty years ago, this courageous young lady risked everything to expose the corruption and academic fraud instigated by Vince Dooley, sleazy practices that continue to this day under Mark Richt.

And now, let us all pray for Saint Jan…
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Thank you, you may now resume your normal activities.

DawgNation

September 7th, 2012
7:11 am

Who is Jan Kemp??????????

bubba4dawgs

September 7th, 2012
7:31 am

It is enlightening and encouraging to read Bill’s comment about how the DAWGS played the Buffalo game by not showing their “A” game plays. It was evident that Rambo and Tree weren’t on the field though. Hopefully, one of them will be this week against the zou. The DAWGS D line should do well against the zou’s O line. The DAWGS need to bring their “A” game and teach’em some old man football. Good luck, DAWGS!!

Old Dog Class of 1980

September 7th, 2012
7:40 am

“Who is Jan Kemp??????????”

You are showing how young you are. Jan Kemp blew the whistle on UGA’s using the Remediation program to keep athletes (football players) eligible when they weren’t technically academically eligible. Just like ever other major football college in the USA. The bad news was when she brought it up, the stupid UGA President FIRED her. That is when she took it to court, won a major million-dollar settlement, and saddled Georgia with a lot of self-imposed rules that took us out of competition for many years (some say even today – why is our drug policy different from other schools?). Other colleges continued doing what everyone had always done.

Hint: if you are doing something unethical, when someone brings it up, the WRONG thing is to retaliate – the right thing would have been to buy her off and silence her.

Samuel L Jackson

September 7th, 2012
7:41 am

? Did you say “Old Man Football”,… Say “old Man Fooltball “Again I Dare you I DOUBLE DARE YOU!

Old Dog Class of 1980

September 7th, 2012
7:43 am

Oh, and to complete the story of Jan Kemp, she blew the million dollars and is now dead.

Bama Fan#2

September 7th, 2012
7:45 am

If the dawgs had all of the players back from the suspensions
this game would be a blowout victory for the dawgs!! Alabama
plays the tigers in October and will take care of business!!
GOOD LUCK GEORGIA!!

old man

September 7th, 2012
7:54 am

@ All Saints: First, I’m changing your moniker to All Mouth. Secondly, in case you’ve forgotten, when we bow our heads, it’s to look at yet another tech weenie lying on the ground after a pummeling at the hands of the Dawgs.

ugab

September 7th, 2012
7:59 am

keep in mind dawg fans, missouri is on a win streak, and they have beatn some pretty good teams. I hope we have something for this hot team.

DawgNation

September 7th, 2012
8:02 am

Old Dog Class of 1980. Yes I know all to well about Jan Kemp. My point to the idiot All Saints is no one cares about that any more. It was resolved and the changes that were made after were for the better. She did what everyone figured she would do with her money. He has that stupid post saved on his computer and posts it on almost every Georgia blog he can find. We are but only two years apart as my best guess in age.

AltamahaDawg

September 7th, 2012
8:33 am

The starting D-line did very little strategically different but play thier assignment slightly better and held Buffalo to 16 yrds, 1 first down, in the second half.

I can’t believe D-line worries are still a part of the conversation.

T-Dawg

September 7th, 2012
8:38 am

I remember Poss’s had an ad right on the scoring table at basketball games!

Resident Georgia Fan

September 7th, 2012
8:38 am

@GTAccChamps … when you win a game come back and run your mouth.

Dave

September 7th, 2012
8:42 am

D has gotta play lights out and we gotta corral Franklin. It seems that running quarterbacks always give UGA trouble (unless they pay for Ga. Yech). I’m really nervous about this game and hope to see UGA play mostly mistake free and put the hammer down. Talent wise, we should win by 2-3 touchdowns, but we seem to play to our opponent’s level or just can’t get over the hump in our biggest game. Of course, if we don’t win by 4 touchdowns, the Richt haters will vomit that we have no killer instict. I don’t care if it’s by a field goal or 51-7, just get out of Columbia with a W. GO DAWGS!

RHall55

September 7th, 2012
8:53 am

Hope this game is the case of what UGA has happened in the past…outcoached or undercoached!! Nuff said….c’mon man!!!!

RHall55

September 7th, 2012
8:54 am

Not the case!!!

dawgfan

September 7th, 2012
9:03 am

I’m sure we kept it pretty vanilla on defense, but the troubling thing is that we didn’t physically dominate them like we should have. I’m sure that’s what the coaches were banking on. Not a good sign.

As for our center getting his tail handed to him by Buffalo, what else is new? If you’ve been watching UGA football for the past 5 years that’s just par for the course folks. Once again another bad sign. That Sheldon Richardson fella is supposed to be pretty good. He probably ran his mouth because he didn’t see anything that concerned him. And I’m sure Florida, South Carolina, Auburn, etc. can match whatever Buffalo brings to the table too. That’s the understatement of the century. Andrews needs to get his act together.

Thanks.

DIT

September 7th, 2012
9:03 am

I hope both offensively and defensively we come out on fire. The best thing UGA can do is go up a quick 14, 17 points to keep the crowd out of it. Any new info on the the suspensions? Thanks

AirForce1

September 7th, 2012
9:08 am

Run, Run, Run Dawgs! long drives, open up play action pass, keep our defense rested so as not to get gassed in the fourth quarter. The D will have to be top notch to minimize Mizzou’s bubble screen pass plays. Maintain and contain. GO DAWGS!

Dave

September 7th, 2012
9:10 am

I just heard it from Chip Towers on the radio. Neither Rambo nor Cummings even made the trip to Columbia. Didn’t say anything about Ogletree.

DIT

September 7th, 2012
9:13 am

Thanks. Kind of new that Rambo was not going. Hows Mitchel’s ankle? Is he at full strength?

AirForce1

September 7th, 2012
9:20 am

How can you ever to claim to be a high caliber, high profile team when your players cannot stay out of trouble? It hurts the TEAM. No more excuses Dawgs, just get it done now!

Drago

September 7th, 2012
9:22 am

Bill, I appreciate that Zander O. gor beat out for position on offense, but he had played every game last year on special teams. For him to not play at all is surprising.

AltamahaDawg

September 7th, 2012
9:25 am

I’ve been watching Georgia football for the past 5 yrs and center play has not been the issue.

Dave

September 7th, 2012
9:26 am

Mitchell is practicing unhindered, but when the bullets start flying, he’s still more apt to re-injure the ankle than normal and he’ll have to get over the mental aspect. Chip said that he’s probably at 80% right now.

obama SIN LADEN

September 7th, 2012
9:26 am

just get a “w” .

Dave

September 7th, 2012
9:29 am

AirForce1, it’s not just the players on UGA that stay out of trouble. If you’ve kept up with the sports pages, it’s all over the college football landscape. Idiot teenage kids is not something that UGA has cornered the market on. It just seems that way because the only team we care about or pay attention to is UGA.

dawgfan

September 7th, 2012
9:31 am

“I’ve been watching Georgia football for the past 5 yrs and center play has not been the issue.”

Then you need to take off your homer rose colored glasses and take another look. You simply have no credibility whatsoever if you think our O-line has been matching up well physically with the good defensive fronts that we face. NONE. And don’t try to spin your way out of this. My comments were clearly not limited to the center position, although I do think Ben Jones was a tad overrated.

Dave

September 7th, 2012
9:31 am

Opps….I meant to say “It’s not just players on UGA that get INTO trouble”….

Paddy

September 7th, 2012
9:31 am

Dave……….I would imagine Vasser should have been included in that report from Chip also. That AO was not mentioned seems significant. If he had been on that plane Chip would have known about it. He does a great job of sniffing out the important details for us.

AirForce1

September 7th, 2012
9:38 am

Dave…you are correct. But we as UGA fans and grads have really high expectations. And rightly so. A lot of talent comes through Athens, therefore the disappointment factor always seems to be a little high as well.

Swami Sez

September 7th, 2012
9:39 am

Mizzou will be Richts waterloo……. Book it!

Red-N-Black

September 7th, 2012
9:40 am

GTAccChamps
September 6th, 2012
10:45 pm

Hey pups – the Buffalo just scored AGAIN on your defense.

ROFL! Most over-rated team in America.

Yeah, and VaTech just put another one through – HAHAHAHAHHAHAAH – GT = 0 -1 :(

Tom Dawg

September 7th, 2012
9:44 am

Love the excuse as we’ve heard once so many times before”We didnt show much” In Reality what we saw is what we got… another lackluster and underachieving team with Richt.

AltamahaDawg

September 7th, 2012
9:46 am

“As for our center getting his tail handed to him by Buffalo, what else is new? If you’ve been watching UGA football for the past 5 years that’s just par for the course folks”

My bad. Sure sounded like you were talking about our center(s) getting whipped for years.

Now that you have informed me that “centers” is so clearly meant to mean LT and RG, I can assure you that the countless times that MYself and others have posted about the various parts of our offensive line being a weakness, was not done through any rose colored glasses. Since that wouldn’t make any sense.

The Truth

September 7th, 2012
9:51 am

Is this the same samuel l jackson who doesn’t like paying the IRS!??

Dawg Tired

September 7th, 2012
9:52 am

After the Buffalo game, it seems fairly obvious that our center can not play effectively in the SEC. I had previously bought the hype abput his grit and fight and determination, etc., but he was overwhelmed by d linemen from Buffalo! Not a good sign. In addition, it is absolutely inexcusable for a program with these so-called top 10 recruiting classes to be so undermanned in the OL.

AltamahaDawg

September 7th, 2012
9:56 am

Maybe you aught to just say what you mean, instead of all the hyperbole, that is often completely inaccurate. I think you might be surprised how often I agree with you.

damngooddawg!

September 7th, 2012
10:01 am

Hey, GTAccChamps, get after those Blue Hose….Are Blue Hose plural. Is the singular Blue Ho’? Techies should never talk smack. It sounds so lame coming from people whose team is a middle of the pack Acc also ran. What happened to that ACC championship season???