A caller to the “Bulldog Hotline” this week suggested a “Redout” by fans for Saturday’s game against Tennessee. Mark Richt has enthusiastically endorsed the idea through social media and in an athletic department press release in which he said, “We need the Bulldog Nation to get there early on Saturday for the Dawg Walk, wear red, and get loud enough to shake the Hedges.”
So there are your marching orders, Bulldog Nation.
Now, let’s get to some of this week’s Junkyard Mail …
Travis Cole writes: Hey Bill, I love the Blawg! Two things. First off, I have to say that I have been thoroughly impressed with Coach [Mike] Bobo’s play calling this year. At times it has seemed like the same old Dawgs, get a lead, run the clock. But in the last two games, especially, Bobo has seemed much more willing to be aggressive in his play calling and I think the players are responding. Second, I have had the good fortune to attend five games in Athens and have always enjoyed myself. But my friend Charlie has never been able to see a game in person because of health issues, despite being a Dawg fan for the better part of 50+ years. He is confined to an electric wheelchair and I was wondering what sort of accommodations Sanford had for wheelchairs and such. If there is anything you know and could point me in the right direction I would be extremely grateful since Charlie was a HUGE influence in me becoming a proud Georgia fan.
Thanks, Travis. As I’ve noted several times this season, Bobo’s play calling has been pretty impressive. And he’s also mixing it up a bit more than last year, when ESPN’s Todd McShay called his offense “vanilla,” adding in four- and five-receiver “rifle” alignments, adopting the sort of toss LSU uses in lieu of a handoff, and most recently putting Aaron Murray in the short shotgun formation known as the “pistol.” So far, so good, as Georgia leads the SEC in scoring offense and total yards. Receiver Marlon Brown was asked this week by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer what has gotten into Bobo and he replied, “I don’t know, but I like it, whatever it is.”
I do, too.
Murray said he thought Bobo was simply adapting to the talent he has. “You run an offense based on what you have, and if we have tons of receivers, which we do, you want to spread teams out and be able to use your weapons. … I think right now we have so many options, so much talent, he has the ability to spread things out and try new things.”
As for your friend, UGA does indeed sell wheelchair tickets and it makes allowances for patrons using the chairs. You can check out the rules here. Hope Charlie gets to go to a game!
Scott Watson writes: Hi Bill, With the “Red Out” being pushed by Coach Richt, do you think we will see any uniform variations for this Saturday’s game?
I doubt it very much. The call for Georgia fans to wear red fits in with the Dawgs’ standard home red jerseys. By the way, on the “Bulldog Hotline” radio call-in show where the idea originated, Richt was asked if Georgia would wear black jerseys at any point this season and he said no, because “we didn’t order any this year.”
Andrew Smith writes: Bill, I am taking the liberty to think ahead to USC, or just SC as Dabo would say, even though we have to beat Tennessee first. I see the matchup as very even in most regards if not slightly in favor of the Dawgs. As you have mentioned, one thing that scares me is the tendency of Spurrier’s minions to make the most of a special teams hiccup. I am particularly concerned in punt receiving/returns. I hope that Malcolm Mitchell will make more seasoned decisions and wisely chooses when to display his athletic ability.
Richt expressed concern this week about both the decision-making on punt returns and about Marshall Morgan banging in PATs off the goalposts, so the issue is definitely on his radar. Richt indicated that if Mitchell continues to make questionable punt-receiving decisions, Rhett McGowan (who also has received punts the past couple of games) might get the nod as the regular return man. Based on what I’ve seen of him so far, I’d have no problem with that at all. But whoever they put back there, it’s mainly a matter of not being indecisive and always being aware of where you are on the field. Mitchell needs to improve on both counts.
Stewart Hunt writes: Bill, Coming into this season, two of the major concerns were the offensive line and tight end positions. So far, the OL has answered the call. However, against Vanderbilt, it looked like Arthur Lynch missed a few routes and was chastised for it by Murray (in addition to dropping a well thrown ball by Murray). The TV commentators even mentioned it at one point. This week no one has addressed it in the media. What is your take on our TE situation? Big fan of your blog. Go Dawgs.
Thanks, Stewart. I think tight end is still a work in progress for the Dawgs. In the short term, Lynch is likely to remain the starter because he’s the more experienced blocker, but both Lynch and Jay Rome have been doing good work blocking, especially for the running backs. As the season progresses, Bobo may have greater need of the option of throwing to the tight ends and that’s where Rome might get the chance to shine. His development no doubt was hampered by a hamstring injury in preseason practice, but he caught a 15-yard pass in the Missouri game and those of us who were at the G-Day game remember the athletic catch he made on a long touchdown pass.
AMR writes: Whoever is responsible for keeping the [Georgia] players’ helmets from flying off should be commended. Last year it was commonplace and I can’t recall it happening once this season. Hopefully Aaron Murray’s helmet doesn’t come off prior to a crucial 3rd or 4th and 12 and he has to come out of the game, [but if it does], who comes in, [Christian] LeMay or [Parker] Welch? Does using a timeout allow the player to remain in the game? By the way, I hate the rule. Perhaps one or two warnings per game before missing a play would be more fair.
The intent of the new rule, to prompt players to buckle up those helmets tighter so they don’t get a serious injury, is good. But in practice it’s become the most hated rule in college football. (I expect it will get tweaked for next season.) From what I’m told, you can’t use a timeout to cancel out the offending player having to sit out a play. I don’t know whether Georgia has just been lucky in that regard or has put greater emphasis on keeping helmet straps tightly snapped. If, however, Murray were to be in the situation Mizzou’s James Franklin found himself in and have to leave the field on a key down, you raise an interesting question about his replacement. It probably would depend on the play call. For a quarterback keeper, Bobo might want to go with LeMay. If a pass was necessary, Welch might be the better choice. And then there’s always the possibility of a direct snap to a running back or one of the Dawgs’ two-way players if it’s a short-yardage situation. Anyway, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
L writes: I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in our end zone student section before games. When opposing teams are warming up and practicing kicking field goals the ball sails into the stands. The managers and trainers ask for the ball back and most students just throw it back. Some get a little funny and purposefully toss the ball away from the manager. Yes, it’s funny to see them run all over the field. But recently I’ve witnessed students intentionally throwing the football at the opposing players. Not only is this dangerous and could cause an injury but at Georgia we are classier than that. I wanted to pass that along as something I don’t want to see in “my” Sanford Stadium, and I know you certainly don’t want to see that, either. Thanks Bill, keep up the good work.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard complaints about obnoxious behavior in the end zone student section this season. I don’t know what’s up there; perhaps they’re just mad they have the worst sightlines in the stadium. You’re right, though, that throwing balls at opposing players is way out of line. From what I hear, there’s more security in the student sections than in other areas of the stadium, and I would hope if those folks see such behavior that they’d eject the offending fan.
Dean writes: Hi Bill, The Dawgs must be getting it together if the only thing that concerns me from Saturday night is how the fans behaved. During the Florida Atlantic game and continuing into parts of the Vandy game, large swaths of fans seemed to be wanting to sit down to watch the game. At the FAU game this didn’t bother me so much, but during the Vandy game I was a bit more concerned (it’s an SEC game, after all). Apparently it bothered some other folks as well … a group below me got pretty heated over the subject. I know there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer here, but all things considered, I’d think that folks should be prepared to either stand up or not hassle those who choose to do so. Considering that players are regularly motioning to the fans to get up, I just don’t understand how people could be so worried about sitting down. What’s your take on this? What would you do if/when fans near you start arguing over the subject?
While it’s the tradition at Georgia for the students to stand for the entire game (which isn’t always the case at other schools), fans in other sections generally sit when nothing important is going on and stand when it is, which sounds like a reasonable approach. If you like to stand, be mindful that there are folks behind you for whom that might be a problem. There are older fans in the stadium who can’t necessarily stand for the entire game, and children and shorter folks whose view is blocked by a large person constantly standing in front of them. Those who can’t or don’t want to stand are free to politely request folks in front of them to sit at least part of the time. If the folks standing refuse, probably the best bet is to simply stand up during the few seconds a play is running and then sit back down. If that’s too much physically, they probably should be home watching it on TV. As for fans arguing, if you’re not involved, it’s best to stay that way. But if it’s disrupting your enjoyment of the game, try to get the attention of one of the event personnel so they can intervene.
Christian Jolly writes: I have a question about the side of the field UGA stands on for home games. I notice this varies widely across all of college football … some teams take the opposite side of the field, and they are therefore directly across from the main bank of TV cameras, leading to more onscreen time and exposure. UGA has always — at least to my memory — taken the near side, which means that the visiting team at Sanford Stadium is onscreen during the game, across from the press box. Any reason for this that you’re aware of, and any considerations about the potential impact on recruiting for one side or the other? Thanks!
First of all, I doubt this has any impact on recruiting. And I don’t know that the coaches are looking for any more screen time. Have you noticed how they all tend to cover their mouths with a play sheet or something when they’re talking on the headset so that their lips can’t be read? Also, most networks covering games use multiple camera angles, so they’re not really limited to focusing on one side. Generally, they point their cameras where the story is. As for why Georgia’s home bench is on the south sideline, I’ve no idea, but that’s the way it’s always been as long as I can remember. Perhaps they chose that side in the early days because they played mostly in the afternoon and it had more shade.
I’ll answer more Junkyard Mail next week. Do you have something you want to discuss concerning the current football season or UGA athletics in general? Got a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? If so, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg