Fan talk: Early-season optimism, Jarvis for Heisman, praising Bobo and more!

Get to the game early to celebrate the coronation of Uga IX. (John Kelley / UGA)

Get to the game early to celebrate the coronation of Uga IX. (John Kelley / UGA)

I don’t know how many fans will still be in the stands at the end of Saturday’s money game against Florida Atlantic, but this is one game where you don’t want to be late. Beloved interim mascot Russ finally will assume the title of Uga IX during a special ceremony that the university says is scheduled to take place with about 11 minutes remaining on the pregame clock. Kickoff is set for 7:35 p.m.

So get there on time for a rousing chant of “damn good Dog!”

Speaking of DGDs, Herschel Walker steals the show in the new Heisman TV spot. Check it out.

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

Beach Dawg Living Among Gators writes: Bill, as always appreciate your on the spot insight on all things Dawg. People seem to be all giddy about Saturday’s win, but I’m having a hard time seeing that game as a defining moment. In fact, it gives me concern. Looking at the stats Mizzou played us pretty much even. Look at yards gained: Passing/rushing/returns — UGA: 113/242/110, total 465; Mizzou: 102/269//106, total 477. Remember that Buffalo also gained a bunch on our highly rated defense. Are we really ready for the more “seasoned” SEC teams? Your thoughts?

I’d say if you come out of a game where the stats were pretty even with a 21-point win, that’s pretty encouraging and shows you’ve got a team that a) doesn’t give up and b) has big-play capability. You’re right, there’s plenty of room for improvement. But as I noted in Thursday’s Blawg, I thought Georgia’s defense did a remarkable job controlling a fast-tempo spread offense considering four starters missed the game. With the exception of a couple of breakdowns largely attributable to the absence of suspended players, the D did a nice job of keeping Mizzou in check. And while there were plenty of mistakes on offense (the many false starts being the most obvious and irritating), I was very pleased that the Dawgs were able to answer with their own scoring drive every time the Tigers went ahead. Would Saturday’s effort have been good enough to beat South Carolina? Probably not. But Georgia’s defense should be back to full-strength by then and the offense hopefully will be a bit more consistent. So while I’m not giddy, I’m feeling better about this team than I was a week ago.

Danny Brown writes: Bill, What do you think of the talk this week about Jarvis Jones possibly figuring in the Heisman race? I know the odds are against a defensive player winning the trophy, but what are his chances of making the list of players invited to the Heisman ceremony?

You’re right that any defensive player is a long shot, as LSU’s Honey Badger found out last year, since Charles Woodson is the only defender who’s ever won the Heisman Trophy. But if Jones keeps up the pace he’s been on so far, winning multiple national player of the week honors, he’s as likely as any defensive player to make it to the final group of contenders. As Jones said this week in response to various websites listing him among the Heisman top 10, “Just to be in New York, man, it would be a great accomplishment.” Of course, it’ll help his case a bunch if Georgia has a big season.

Mike in Woodstock writes: Bill, I love your blawg. Any idea why the referees didn’t call that blatant horse-collar on Mizzou at the end of [Todd] Gurley’s big run in the 4th quarter? Did they change the rule in the offseason and I missed it?

Thanks, Mike. No, they didn’t change the rule. That was a blatantly illegal tackle, as replays confirmed. I assume the refs either didn’t see it clearly or thought the tackler had him by the jersey (which would have been legal). You could make the case that such instances show a need for video review to include rectifying missed calls, but that probably would slow games down even more, so I don’t think it’s likely to happen.

Mike Bobo made good adjustments in the Missouri game. (University of Georgia)

Mike Bobo made good adjustments in the Missouri game. (University of Georgia)

Matt in Starkville writes: I’m increasingly confused about the [Mike] Bobo controversy. Half the detractors say he’s too predictable; the other half say he never sticks with what’s working. Obviously, you can’t stick with anything and not be predictable. So what gives? I find the complaints pretty contradictory. I happen to think Bobo is darn good, although I can’t imagine why there was not more running attack @ Mizzou.

The complaints from past seasons about Bobo’s playcalling being predictable in certain situations (mostly third and long) and the complaints about him too frequently departing from something that’s working aren’t contradictory. Both have been valid complaints at various times. But I have to say that for the most part I’ve thought Bobo has done a pretty good job so far this season and I was particularly impressed with the adjustments he made in the Missouri game, going to the four- and five-receiver shotgun formation heavily in the second half.

Scott S. writes: Hey Bill, Love the column and your insight. Does it seem that our offensive linemen are always really packed in tight to you?  It seems that way to me and I have always wondered if that might have something to do with our running game woes. We haven’t always had the brightest running backs (Ealey, C. King, Carlton Thomas, Crowell, etc.) but they do seem to have some talent yet we almost always seem to have trouble establishing a consistent run game going back several years. With all the huge guys up front and the large defensive linemen, it’s difficult to create much space in the short amount of time it takes to hand the ball off. We mostly run up the middle and the other teams have keyed in on that and often load the box. Keith Marshall seems really talented but has not had much room to break anything yet this year. Anyway, just wanted your thoughts on that. Are our line splits tighter compared to other teams? Could we create more space by spreading out some?

Offensive line splits seem to be a matter of coaching philosophy. Some teams use wide splits, but most teams feature tight splits, because it makes it easier to double-team rushers and prevent blitzes up the middle. It also helps set up runs or passes to the outside. You tend to find wider offensive line splits with option teams and, of course, teams running the spread. You can find a good explanation of the pros and cons of both approaches at Smart Football.

Paul Suttles writes: Hi, Bill. Enjoy reading your blog on the AJC. I just had a thought concerning the balance of power in the SEC. We’ve heard all about the dominance of the SEC West over the last few seasons, and it’s hard to argue with that considering the success of LSU, Alabama and Auburn. However, have you noticed the polls lately? The SEC West has two teams (LSU and Bama) in the top 25 while the East provides four (Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee). I’d say that, as it stands at this particular moment in time, the West is top heavy with LSU and Bama, but the balance of power just might be swinging back in the other direction towards the East. Time will tell. A lot of it depends on how good Florida and Tennessee can be this season and if they have their programs turned around … but for all the talk in the off-season about the murderer’s row that is the SEC West intra-division schedule, it’s looking like the SEC East intra-division schedule might be more difficult than expected. I’m a Georgia fan, so I’m admittedly more concerned about how Georgia’s season will play out, but I will say that the Dawgs 2-0 start is a good sign for the program considering the fact that UGA has improved as a team as the season has gone on (if recent history is any indication). Should that be the case this year, and should South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee all improve over the course of the season as well, I think a valid argument could be made that the SEC East has once again become the dominant division in the best conference in the nation. Thoughts?

You make a good point, assuming Tennessee and Florida do indeed prove to be stronger this year than last. I think with the apparent decline of Arkansas and Auburn, the SEC East is probably overall the stronger division top to bottom this season, though Bama and LSU are still probably the two best teams in the conference.

Ray Drew's progress up the depth chart has been slow. (University of Georgia)

Ray Drew's progress up the depth chart has been slow. (University of Georgia)

Justin Cade writes: Bill, For all the accolades that followed prize recruit Ray Drew to Athens when he signed with the Dawgs back in 2011, we sure haven’t heard his name called very much. Why do you think that is? From all we’ve read about him, he sounds like a classy young man with a Pollack-style motor on the field. He had a solid game at Vandy last year, racking up a few tackles, but I wholeheartedly believe he’s capable of a lot more. I’m not trying to take anything away from the starters as I believe Georgia has one of the best defensive lines in the country, but it seems to me like an increased role for a player the caliber of Ray Drew could only help. Also, how is Ms. Olivia liking her first year at UGA? Keep up the good blawgin’!

Ray Drew’s progress up the depth chart has been slow so far, but keep in mind that he outgrew his original linebacker spot and is now a defensive end, plus he missed some time in preseason camp with a concussion. And he’s got Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington ahead of him on the depth chart. Still, I have a feeling that by season’s end Drew will become more of a factor. And my daughter Olivia is so far very much enjoying being in Athens. Thanks for asking.

Phillip Joiner writes: One of your readers mentioned this a few weeks ago and I was really hoping you might revisit it. The old “Herschel” on one side and “Walker” on the other was an obvious and clear tribute by the Sanford fans to the greatest dawg … but another reader wrote to you that a “Richard” and “Samuel” chant might not be such a bad idea. After all he has sacrificed for the program, and not getting a single carry the veteran makes the biggest special teams play in recent memory. I figure a chant for Samuel Saturday would let the younger players really “feel” how much the fans respect a team oriented warrior who leads by example. A Jarvis Jones chant will probably happen regardless — and deservedly so.

I don’t know whether either of those chants is likely to break out spontaneously, but if the cheerleaders want to mix things up a bit, I think that would be a good way to get the crowd more involved.

Scott Watson writes: Hi Bill! Why don’t we have the sidelines from the 20 and around the end zone framed in red (for the red zone) like we had at one time? The Auburn game in 2007 comes to mind. I think it really makes the field pop with color but we seem to have done away with this look. I have noticed so many other teams have adopted this design but was curious who makes that decision and why don’t we splash a little color too?

I put your question (which I’ve had from a couple of other readers in the past) to UGA sports information chief Claude Felton, and he replied: “I think the simple answer is we have decided on a field with less paint and a cleaner look. A significant amount of paint, especially dark colors like red and black, is especially hard on the grass.” So now you know.

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

76 comments Add your comment

Beat Burrowing Owls

September 14th, 2012
10:53 am

I am a HUGH critic of Bobo but all-in-all we are averaging 43+ points a game, something that Auburn cannot say.

FIRST!

King Bill

September 14th, 2012
10:58 am

Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dawwwwwwwgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ray Drew Fan

September 14th, 2012
11:07 am

Ray Drew will end up as one of the greatest talents ever to wear the G.

Mel Kiper said 9 out of UGA’s 11 starters on D will be drafted by the NFL, so it is just taking some time for Drew to make a name for himself. I full expect him to dominate his junior & senior seasons like Davey Pollack did.

RxDawg

September 14th, 2012
11:14 am

Save the grass!

homer

September 14th, 2012
11:15 am

is there seriously a stadium-wide herchel/walker cheer at uga games? are you kidding me?

step back for a minute and imagine your response if florida did the same thing w/ tim/tebow.

herschel was 30+ years ago. it’s time to move on, pups. by all means, put up a statue, or hang his number up in the stadium, but he’s sure as heck not going to be scoring you anymore touchdowns or winning you anymore games. let it go.

Bill King

September 14th, 2012
11:19 am

No, the Herschel Walker cheer dates back to his playing days. It isn’t a current feature of games at Sanford Stadium. The reader is simply suggesting the same sort of cheer for Richard Samuel.

GATiger

September 14th, 2012
11:24 am

Mel Kiper Jr. also said Jimmy Clausen would be the #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft.

UGA Insider

September 14th, 2012
11:26 am

Abry Jones is tough to beat out.

homer

September 14th, 2012
11:27 am

phew. you guys had me worried there for a minute. carry on.

Dawg Haus

September 14th, 2012
11:29 am

I’d love to see more of Drew this season. Jones and Washington are doing a heck of a job thus far, but there’s nothing wrong with giving them a play or two off to get guys like Drew and Smith in the mix.

obama SIN LADEN

September 14th, 2012
11:29 am

homer – that was done in hershels day. I dont think we’ll be chanting rs in 30 yr from now. Mail – If dawgs win by 1 would you still be complaining? probably. gata junk yard dogs! get the “w”.

SSIgator

September 14th, 2012
11:37 am

Early-season optimism, Jarvis for Heisman, praising Bobo
___________

a) There always is every year
b) Sorry Jarvis – it won’t happen
c) Until they play a ranked team

SSIgator

September 14th, 2012
11:43 am

Beach Dawg Living Among Gators -
_________________

Relax, have some more Kool-Aid, enjoy it while it lasts

Cincinnati Dawg

September 14th, 2012
11:44 am

The reason the field is so bland now is primarily out of laziness by the field staff. I have contacted Kenny Pauley, the head UGA turfgrounds manager numerous times about the changes to the field. They have completely eliminated all of the unique aspects of the field design, including the classic red shadowing of the yardline numbers (which were around when Herschel played) and the signature Georgia G at the goalines. Mr. Pauley simply stated that they wanted a more simple look. However, I believe this is an excuse to just save them a lot more time and work on the field, as there’s so much less to paint. The excuse about the paint being bad on the field is also bs. Many stadiums (Bama, FSU, Tenn) etc have much, much more paint in the endzones and on the field. I find it hard to believe that most Dawgs fans prefer the current bland look with no uniqueness—-it’s the same field numbers and design as an ordinary plain field anywhere.
I’d urge other fans (Scott Watson) who agree with me that our older field design (shadowed numbers, Georgia G on goalines, red outline around the field, etc) should email Kenny Pauley at kpauley@sports.uga.edu; and voice your opinions. Again, the change to the current “simple” field design is just laziness on the staff as it cuts their work time on the field significantly.

Desert Fox

September 14th, 2012
11:46 am

GA loses 2 in a row, result, Bobo (et al) has to go; GA wins 2 in a row, result, Bobo’s not doing too bad. Moral of the story? Just keep winning and all will be fine, otherwise, the wolves will be at your door (again).

WDE

September 14th, 2012
12:02 pm

Oh look SSIgator is back…yawn……

DIT

September 14th, 2012
12:03 pm

I will admit the team has much better chemistry than this time last year. However, I’m not ready to make evaluations or predictions until after the SC game. Us Dawgs people saw the character this team has last week, but we will not see how good they are until they visit the other Columbia.
It should be an incredible game.
Of course if they end up losing any of the next 3 games, no knock to the teams they are playing, we will know how good/bad they are before SC.
Go Dawgs!

DIT

September 14th, 2012
12:04 pm

@WDE – Agreed!

ATLNative

September 14th, 2012
12:10 pm

@Desert Fox You are correct. Just ask CGChizik.

ARdawg

September 14th, 2012
12:14 pm

SSIgator is his usual pragmatic self I see

da' rick

September 14th, 2012
12:25 pm

yo ssigator…y’all be gettin stomped up in dem hills dis weekend. i be takin bobo over dat clown in g’ville, son.

Truthiness

September 14th, 2012
12:27 pm

Stats aside, I think the best thing about last week’s win is simply that the game set up to be the kind Georgia has recently been losing. Overcoming that alone should make us believe there may be something special in this team. No doubt there are still apparent weaknesses, and several areas need to show real improvement before we can declare the Dawgs to be championship caliber, but the ingredients seem to be there.

Vance Duly

September 14th, 2012
12:28 pm

So far this year, Coach Bobo has avoided most of these past tendencies:

1. 1st and 20 after a penalty = run play up the middle, leaving us 2nd and very long.
2. Using a play fake that fools nobody in a long yardage situation, but leaves Murray with less time to survey the field.
3. Incomplete pass on 1st & 10 = run up the middle on 2nd down, leaving us 3rd and long.

But, he has continued these to some degree:

1. No quick-hitting running plays to surprise the defense.
2. No use of the fullback to run.
3. Few outside running plays, especially toss sweeps.
4. Mostly deep routes on 3rd and short pass plays. (especially vs. Buffalo).

One key test of Bobo’s improvement will be when we take a 10-17 point lead on a team in the early or middle part of the game – will we keep a foot on the gas and remove all doubt, or get conservative and plod along, allowing the opponent to hang in. Another key test will be if we have a game where the other team simply can NOT stop either our running or passing game, will Bobo stick with it, or stop ourselves BEFORE the opponent does? That plays into the idea of keeping the foot on the gas. …. GO DAWGS!!

Wayne

September 14th, 2012
12:29 pm

First some of my statements from 10 years ago. 1) GA will never win a NC with Mark Richt. 2) The GA team has no inspiration. 3) We have wasted enough talent to field 5 national title teams. That said, I cannot understand the enthusiasm everyone is exuding. Personally we have looked terrible on both sides of the ball. Take away Jones and Gurley and there would be nothing to glorify. Missouri was not ranked and I saw why, what a terrible team, and we gave up how much yardage? And just how many points can be attributed to Jones himself? Best defense in the country or even conference (please!). As much as hate to say it we will be exposed, from the poor secondary to the JC type play from our quarterback. There is a slight possibility we will go undefeated through the schedule (after seeing SC earlier, but by no means a gimmee). But when the SEC championship roles around you can count on either the game looking like it is fixed (see last years game) or we will again be humiliated (see last years game). We should be ranked around 20th, and we’ll possibly get their soon.

DIT

September 14th, 2012
12:53 pm

Wayne – It’s called claiming a team as your own, in my case an Alumnus, and sticking with the even if they don’t win a NC. To be a follower of a team you always hope there is that chance of your team pulling it all together.
Sorry, you don’t get the enthusiasm from us Dawgs people here. If you are only looking to follow teams that win NC’s then go ahead and change teams every year for you would not be a true football fan. Good grief, bring that statement on a Chicago Cubs blog and they would tar and feather you!

AltamahaDawg

September 14th, 2012
12:57 pm

What was the “predictable” call on 3rd and long, that folks used to complain about?

Evansdawg

September 14th, 2012
1:06 pm

Wayne….please…I doubt you’re a Dawg fan. If so…please leave. Go pull for the Gators or something. Just….renounce your loyalty to our program. You are an idiot. You are as informed as a 10-year old. Mizzou was unranked, but the Dawgs have not won games like that one lately. It was a huge monkey off our team’s back and they did it while missing 4 def. starters. Herbstreit and Desmond Howard both picked Mizzou. The line was 2.5 points. “There isn’t a team in the country that could be missing 4 def. starters and beat Mizzou.” -KH, defended by DH. Now, we have backups that have real game experience to rotate with the returning starters. I’d say we got a whole lot better as a result and the coming games will prove it. That Mizzou game helped our program BIG TIME. Enjoy it, or change colors.

AltamahaDawg

September 14th, 2012
1:12 pm

Wayne was too busy flexing in the mirror, to read that responce DIT.

dawgfacedboy

September 14th, 2012
1:24 pm

Teams are not going to look like a National Championship team every week. There was definite room for improvement after the Buffalo game. They improved. They didn’t look too hot in the first half of the MIzzou game. They made adjustments, football coaches do it every week. Go look at the 1980 team. They didn’t dominate both sides of the ball, for 4 quarters, every game. Good grief, just look at the Belue to Scott play in that Florida game. Talk about saving your arses!!

Point is, you want to see improvement each week. You want to see adjustments made throughout the course of a game, or week to week. UGA should not be dominated by any team, based on talent on the field. We fight for every recruit with other top tier teams, we get some, we lose some. If Bama has better perceived talent it is because their coaching staff does a better job.

UGA needs to decide if they are content with winning 10 games a year and playing in the Capital One bowl or are their expectations to compete at a much higher level than that. Time will tell.

dawgfacedboy

September 14th, 2012
1:32 pm

2 things I wish would happen: 1) Bring back the “Finish the Drill” mentality that was in Athens during the Pollack and Greene days. 2) Put teams away, go for the throat, keep your foot on the gas (however you want to put it).

Heck, 3) Be a little creative sometimes. That play they ran in the Buffalo game (was it a WR screen and then a pass down field??

Say What?

September 14th, 2012
1:49 pm

SSIGaytor says “beat a ranked team”

Something the QB challenged Gaytors have yet to do either

What a moron

Say What?

September 14th, 2012
1:52 pm

Take away Jones and Gurley and there would be nothing to glorify.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

So we win by 21 on the road in a SEC opener before a jacked up crowd and you want to take away 2 of our players and complain about how the game would have gone if they weren’t there?

Geez, you are dumb

TallyDawg

September 14th, 2012
2:37 pm

Take away Jones and Gurley and there would be nothing to glorify.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Add back our suspended players and hold them to six points…

SSIgator

September 14th, 2012
3:10 pm

ARdawg -

September 14th, 2012 – 12:14 pm

SSIgator is his usual pragmatic self I see
—————————————–

Wouldn’t you rather be pragmatic than a conundrum wrapped in an enigma like most of the people that post on Bill’s site? Or would that phrase more aptly apply to the UGA coaching staff?

SSIgator

September 14th, 2012
3:13 pm

Say What?
____________

Try reading the post again.

Al

September 14th, 2012
3:15 pm

We will not here much from the Gators with Muschamp at the helm. It will be Ray Goff football at its finest.

ARdawg

September 14th, 2012
3:28 pm

SSIgator

As you are well aware, I was being quite facetious. You exude your hatred for Georgia as you spew your vitriol although, with relative orator class. Albeit low :)

Larry

September 14th, 2012
3:59 pm

Enter your comments here

Stay off the Boo Boo Kool Aid

September 14th, 2012
4:01 pm

We havent faced a good defense yet so dont buy into the Bobo Kool Aid just yet.

Nick

September 14th, 2012
4:07 pm

P.S., there were two horsecollar tackles not called. I figured they are just not illegal in college as they are in NFL. Perhaps I am wrong.

ARdawg

September 14th, 2012
4:17 pm

Kool-aid

Bullkaka. Mizzou’s defense wasn’t anything to sneeze at. Certainly not the best of defenses but, by crackie, they do blitz with the best of them. I thought their interior line was pretty stout. Their cover guys were somewhat slow but, an overall decent D

ActuaryDawg

September 14th, 2012
4:18 pm

Bobo Kool Aid and Grantham Crackers. Ummmmmmm!

RiffRaff

September 14th, 2012
4:31 pm

It’s always easy to rag Bobo when the game doesn’t go our way. But really, the two games the Dawg should have won last year ( SC & MSU ) can’t be pinned on Bobo. Nope, they had chances to win. Turnovers, lousy Special Teams doomed ‘em.

SSIgator

September 14th, 2012
4:39 pm

ARdawg -

That is being a little hard on MO, I would give them at least a D+

NC Dawg

September 14th, 2012
4:40 pm

There’s no excuse not to at least have the Georgia “G” at the goal line instead of a bland, generic G.

Stay off the Boo Boo Kool Aid

September 14th, 2012
4:55 pm

Bobos playing calling is sometimes bland…… just sayin

ARdawg

September 14th, 2012
5:26 pm

SSI
Mizzou’s defense in the 4th quarter lacked depth plus their backs were to the goal line on two of those late TD’s. Mizzou’s defense is better than you’re giving them credit for. I expect they will spank ASU this week. Give credit where it’s due. Mizzou has a pretty good team. Not top shelf SEC but certainly not bottom

ARdawg

September 14th, 2012
5:30 pm

Kool-aid

Sometimes you are correct. He does lack imagination and vision. Other times he’s limited by personnel. Sometimes, he surprises me. The most aggrevating thing about him is changing from what works to something that doesn’t and then sticking with that

joe jenkins

September 14th, 2012
6:12 pm

their is no way we win the sec… we couldnt even stop buffalo

ugab

September 14th, 2012
6:47 pm

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