Archive for March, 2013

Fan talk: Bulldog quarterbacks past, present and future

Brice Ramsey shows a lot of confidence for a true freshman quarterback. (Associated Press)

Brice Ramsey shows a lot of confidence for a true freshman quarterback. (Associated Press)

The varsity football team holds its second scrimmage Saturday, but that won’t be the only gridiron action for UGA, as Tony Floyd, captain of the Redcoat Band’s team, tells me they’ll take on the Georgia Tech band again in Band Bowl IV, this time in Atlanta.

The game will be held at 3 p.m. at Central Park, 400 Merritts Ave. N.E.

I wrote last year about these full-contact tackle games played by the two musical organizations, and UGA took the 2012 game in Athens by a score of 21-6. If you’re in the area Saturday, check it out.

And go Redcoats!

Now, on to some Junkyard Mail …

HamDawg writes: Bill, we all know about Aaron Murray spending spring break in Oklahoma honing his game, and how Hutson Mason is the solid No. 2 behind him and the likely starter next year. But what about that No. 3 spot? Are we likely to see the “quarterback of the future,” Brice Ramsey, get into any games in mop-up …

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Dogs’ spring scrimmage spotlight falls on a couple of longtime backups

Hutson Mason has chafed at waiting for playing time. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Hutson Mason has chafed at waiting for playing time. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Quite often, too much is made of player stats in scrimmages, particularly in the spring, which is why the numbers handed out by Mark Richt after Georgia practices are labeled “unofficial.”

But since they involve players with whom some UGA fans seem obsessed, it’s worth noting a couple of story lines coming out of the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage of the spring Tuesday.

On a day when starter Aaron Murray was absent with permission for an awards ceremony, longtime backup Hutson Mason got his first ever undisputed shot at running the first-string offense.

Mason has never made any secret of chafing in his perennial backup role behind Murray. When the starter decided to return for his senior year, Mason admitted he was “frustrated,” and Tuesday he joked with reporters that he ought to get Murray signed up for some more banquets.

Given a chance to run the No. 1 offense, Mason’s numbers were decent but not …

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NCAA change: Call it the Aaron Murray Rule

Quinton Dial checks out the results of his controversial hit on Aaron Murray. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Quinton Dial checks out the results of his controversial hit on Aaron Murray. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

All those who were disappointed Alabama defensive end Quinton Dial wasn’t punished for his cheap-shot hit to the helmet of Aaron Murray in last season’s SEC Championship Game may take a measure of satisfaction from the fact that the NCAA rule on such plays has been toughened considerably.

As Tony Barnhart details in a column for CBSSports.com, henceforth a quarterback who has thrown an interception will be considered a defenseless player and any shot above the shoulders will result in a penalty and a possible ejection.

Murray’s name isn’t attached to the new rule, but it might as well be.

Previously, targeting the head of a defenseless player with the crown of a helmet was supposed to result in a 15-yard penalty. Dial, who argued it was a clean hit, didn’t even get that after ramming Murray. The ruling on the field was that once he’d thrown the interception, Murray became a …

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Murray, Jenkins bolster spring hopes for the Dawgs

Aaron Murray isn't satisfied with his gaudy passing numbers. (Associated Press)

Aaron Murray isn't satisfied with his gaudy passing numbers. (Associated Press)

It’s good to have the football Dawgs back from spring break and in full pads in Athens.

On offense, the week off from school allowed running backs Keith Marshall and Brandon Harton to return to the field having only missed three practices, and already some spring superlatives are being thrown around on the young defense, with Josh Harvey-Clemons, Tray Matthews and Sterling Bailey drawing favorable mention.

And Mike Bobo sounded confident and comfortable talking with reporters (though I hope he isn’t really giving his children the idea that a sausage biscuit and a Yoo-hoo is the breakfast of champions).

As usual, spring practice is a time when optimism among the fan base runs pretty high, but even taking that into account I’m pretty pumped about a couple of Mark Richt’s likely playmakers and the way they’re approaching the coming season: Aaron Murray and Jordan Jenkins.

Let’s face it, when it comes …

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Would it be best for KCP to give Georgia ‘one more year’?

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named the SEC's player of the year. (Associated Press)

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named the SEC's player of the year. (Associated Press)

As the UGA student section’s recent “One more year!” chant at Stegeman Coliseum indicates, the question of whether the basketball Bulldogs’ Mr. Everything, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, should return to Athens next season was already being tossed around even before the sensational sophomore was named SEC player of the year Tuesday by the conference’s coaches.

KCP, who also was named first-team All-SEC, is the league’s second-leading scorer with an average of 18 points per game and ranks among the conference leaders in nine of 13 individual statistical categories. He was without a doubt Georgia’s MVP, also leading his team in such categories as rebounds, steals and free-throw shooting. This season he is one of just 10 players in the country to have scored in double figures in every game.

With Georgia preparing to start SEC tournament play in Nashville Thursday, the star player, not surprisingly, …

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Fan talk: Can 2013 Dawgs defense outshine heavily hyped predecessors?

Damian Swann looks to be a defensive leader for Georgia this season. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Damian Swann looks to be a defensive leader for Georgia this season. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail …

WinderDogg writes: Bill, am I crazy to believe that despite losing John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, that this year’s Dawg defense might actually play better than last year’s? I know part of the problem early in the season was lack of continuity and rusty players as a result of the suspensions, but with the exception of a couple of games (mainly Florida and Auburn), I thought last year’s D never really lived up to its advance billing. And the run defense consistently was poor from the opener against Buffalo on through the game against Bama. My thinking is that all that hype went to their heads and they didn’t play as hard as they could. This year, with a younger and hungrier crew, I’m thinking the defensive performance might actually more closely resemble the defense we saw much of the …

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Will Dawgs’ defense be ready for prime time against Clemson?

Tajh Boyd and the Clemson passing attack will be a major challenge for Georgia's defense. (Associated Press)

Tajh Boyd and the Clemson passing attack will be a major challenge for Georgia's defense. (Associated Press)

The news that ABC plans an 8 p.m. national telecast of the Aug. 31 Georgia-Clemson game means Mark Richt’s 2013 team will kick off its season on the road in a prime-time matchup of what probably will be two preseason Top 10 teams.

Yeah, that’s a pressure-packed way to get started, but with South Carolina coming to Athens a week later and LSU closing out September Between the Hedges, it’s shaping up to be a month that will make or break the Dawgs’ championship hopes.

So, which game will be the toughest? The opener at Clemson? Steve Spurrier and South Carolina? The return of Zach Mettenberger to Sanford Stadium with LSU? Or the traditional pick of Georgia fans when asked this question each year: Florida in Jacksonville?

I put that question to several UGA fans Tuesday and I couldn’t get a consensus. The answers were all over the place, an indication of just how daunting a …

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Fan talk: A ‘perfect’ Stegeman moment, spring football concerns and more!

Georgia gymnastics great Karin Lichey was the star of Stegeman Coliseum's greatest moment. (University of Georgia)

Georgia gymnastics great Karin Lichey was the star of Stegeman Coliseum's greatest moment. (University of Georgia)

Two items of note to start us off: Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs begin spring practice Saturday (more about that below), and the votes have been counted from the eight weeks of 50th anniversary online balloting to pick the greatest moment in Stegeman Coliseum history.

Out of all the many memorable times at the Steg, the one that has been picked as the single greatest is Gym Dog Karin Lichey scoring a perfect 40 on her four events in a meet against Kentucky in 1996.

Lichey’s feat, getting a perfect 10 score on each event, is unequaled in NCAA gymnastics history. It drew nearly 70 percent of the vote (including mine), beating out the Georgia men’s basketball team’s 2004 upset win over No. 3-ranked Georgia Tech.

GTV talks to Lichey and former UGA gymnastics coach Suzanne Yoculan in a special video feature that includes footage from that unforgettable night. Great …

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