Archive for November, 2012

Upcoming schedule both helps and hinders Atlanta-bound Georgia defense

sec east tshirtThere are two ways you can look at the scheduling quirk that has Mark Richt’s Bulldogs facing the triple-option offense on consecutive Saturdays to wind up the regular season before heading to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

On the one hand, playing FCS power Georgia Southern this week will give Todd Grantham’s defense an edge in preparing for in-state rival Georgia Tech since both of those schools use a run-heavy triple option. The Eagles might be from the lower level of Division 1 but they managed to run for 302 yards and score 21 points in a losing effort against Alabama last season and they’ll give the Dogs a much better look at that rarely seen offense than Georgia’s scout team could hope to replicate in practice.

Of course, UGA sees Tech’s triple-option running attack every year and did a pretty good job containing it last year. But the extra experience against that scheme is bound to help.

As Richt noted Sunday, “We’re going to play defense so completely different …

Continue reading Upcoming schedule both helps and hinders Atlanta-bound Georgia defense »

Dawgs exact sweet payback in return to Jordan-Hare Stadium

Mark Richt has a team headed to the SEC Championship ... again. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt has a team headed to the SEC Championship … again. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

What a difference two years can make.

The 2010 Georgia Bulldogs lost a tough, bruising, ill-tempered game to a Gene Chizik Auburn Tigers team that was on its way to a Cam Newton-led undefeated national championship season.

The 2012 Dawgs returned to Jordan-Hare Stadium with the scenario not completely flipped, but close enough, as Georgia hammered the Tigers 38-0 in taking their second consecutive SEC title and notching their fifth trip to the conference championship game in the past 11 years.

Maybe the been-there-seen-that crowd that constitutes a vocal minority of the Bulldog Nation and measures the worth of a program strictly in how many crystal footballs you’ve won doesn’t find that particularly impressive.

But while Georgia might face long odds in their hopes of making this year’s BCS game, even if they win out and beat Alabama in the Georgia Dome, I think anyone who doesn’t consider …

Continue reading Dawgs exact sweet payback in return to Jordan-Hare Stadium »

Fan talk: A Georgia-Auburn game with a difference

georgia auburn helmetsYou know it’s not your typical Georgia-Auburn game when I get a “Go Dawgs” note from a die-hard War Eagle devotee, saying they want to see Georgia wrap up the SEC East on Saturday!

But two years on from the Tigers’ national championship season with their rent-a-QB Cam Newton, it’s not your typical Auburn football season, and I have a sneaking suspicion the Tigers fan who wants the Bulldogs to win the 116th meeting of the two programs is hoping a loss to Georgia will hasten the rumored departure of Gene Chizik.

You think the Georgia fan base is quick to turn on its coaches? We’ve got nothing on the folks in the Plains.

But that’s what happens when an Auburn team enters its annual game with Georgia winless in the SEC.

Jonathan Wallace is Auburn's third starting quarterback this season. (Associated Press)

Jonathan Wallace is Auburn's third starting quarterback this season. (Associated Press)

The Tigers have been a bad football team this season. They’ve lost their six conference games by an average of 17.3 points, with the nadir being a 63-21 drubbing by Texas …

Continue reading Fan talk: A Georgia-Auburn game with a difference »

Will this year mark another game for the ages in Georgia-Auburn rivalry?

Michael Bennett makes a great touchdown grab last year against Auburn. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Michael Bennett makes a great touchdown grab last year against Auburn. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

As I note every year around this time, the Georgia-Auburn series is my favorite of UGA’s football rivalries.

While it’s been a rocky relationship at times, particularly when the Dawgs are playing at Auburn, the rivalry that Vince Dooley once called “feuding cousins” has always been very intertwined. Dooley went to Auburn. Legendary Tigers coach Pat Dye played at UGA. Even this year, the Dawgs face two former UGA defensive coordinators in Brian VanGorder and Willie Martinez.

But probably the biggest reason I’m partial to the Georgia-Auburn rivalry is the way the Dawgs have clinched so many SEC championships — or, in more recent times, SEC East titles — against the Tigers. And in keeping with the absurdly even nature of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, many of those big wins for UGA have come at Auburn, as the visiting team frequently has the upper hand.

Once again this year …

Continue reading Will this year mark another game for the ages in Georgia-Auburn rivalry? »

Highs (and lows) from a Saturday win Between the Hedges

Damian Swann recovers one of the two fumbles he grabbed Saturday. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Damian Swann recovers one of the two fumbles he grabbed Saturday. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A few more thoughts and observations following Georgia’s come-from-behind blowout of Ole Miss. …

What was really impressive about Aaron Murray’s play against the Rebels was the way he maintained his composure in the midst of those five early sacks. I think I only saw him make one really bad pass all day, when he overthrew Chris Conley. And his touchdown passes were all literally “SportsCenter” highlight material, particularly the laser shot that a scrambling Murray zipped to Tavarres King to put Georgia ahead at the end of the first half. …

In addition to the standouts I mentioned Saturday night — Murray, the Ogletree twins and Todd Gurley — several Dogs deserve special mention for their efforts against the Rebels. Cornerback Damian Swann had two fumble recoveries, a sack, broke up a pass and made three tackles. He’s developed quite a knack for being in the right place at the right …

Continue reading Highs (and lows) from a Saturday win Between the Hedges »

Dawgs stumble early but roar back to finish off Rebels with style

Aaron Murray was sacked five times in the first half but came back to have a big day throwing the ball. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Aaron Murray was sacked five times in the first half but came back to have a big day throwing the ball. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

After playing another mostly dismal first half that saw Georgia trailing 10-0 at one point, their quarterback sacked five times, and the two teams committing four turnovers in a five-play sequence, the Dawgs finally got on track and pulled away from Ole Miss for a convincing SEC win.

Successful adjustments by both Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham were a key. In the second half, Ole Miss never again got to quarterback Aaron Murray, allowing the Bulldogs to rack up 533 yards of offense. And after having trouble early on with the Rebs’ short passing game, the Dawgs defense shut down Mississippi in the final 42 minutes of the game.

Once he was able to stay on his feet, Murray went on a tear, completing of 14 of his next 16 passes. For the day, he was 21 of 28 for 384 yards and four touchdowns. One of those scores came on a nearly perfect execution of the old …

Continue reading Dawgs stumble early but roar back to finish off Rebels with style »

Fan talk: Will Dawgs let another lesser foe hang around?

Georgia faces another dangerous quarterback in Ole Miss' Bo Wallace. (Associated Press)

Georgia faces another dangerous quarterback in Ole Miss' Bo Wallace. (Associated Press)

Georgia comes home Between the Hedges this week with a clear mandate: If the Dawgs win their next two games they get to return to the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship.

The question worrying Bulldogs fans all week is whether that will be enough to keep Todd Grantham’s mercurial defense fired up like it was against the Gators, or whether this will be another of too many games this season in which the Bulldog defenders sleepwalked through the first half and let a lesser team hang around much closer than they should.

Yes, Georgia is the better team Saturday, which is why the point spread is a couple of touchdowns. But Ole Miss isn’t the jabroni of the SEC West like they were under Houston Nutt. After being embarrassed by Texas, the Rebel Black Bears made a respectable showing against mighty Alabama, holding the Crimson Tide to to just 305 yards of offense and managing to score twice in a …

Continue reading Fan talk: Will Dawgs let another lesser foe hang around? »