Archive for July, 2013

Fan talk: Trap game for Dawgs, special teams, defensive line, silver helmets and more!

Could the trip to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville be a potential trap for the Dogs? (Associated Press)

Could the trip to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville be a potential trap for the Dogs? (Associated Press)

Let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail …

Eastside Dawg writes: Bill, we all know what the toughest games will be this season for the Dawgs: Clemson, South Carolina, LSU and Florida. But looking at the 2013 schedule, which game strikes you as the potential “trap” game, where Georgia gets caught coming down from a high or looking ahead and gets tripped up by a team they ought to beat? I’m thinking Vanderbilt, how about you?

You’re not alone in picking the Oct. 19 game against Vandy as a potential trap game for Mark Richt’s Bulldogs. I’ve seen at least a couple of pundits saying the same thing. But I have to disagree. I don’t see the Dogs suffering any sort of letdown after playing Missouri in Athens the previous week. And while some of them might be thinking about Florida, as long as James Franklin is coaching the Dores I don’t think Georgia’s players are likely to overlook or …

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Opening game may be Dogs’ toughest since another Georgia-Clemson clash

georgia-clemson flagWith Clemson the media pick to win the ACC, Georgia the media pick to threepeat as SEC East winner, both teams likely to have preseason Top 10 rankings, and a national television audience watching, the Aug. 31 game in Death Valley between the Bulldogs and Tigers may well rank as UGA’s toughest season opener ever.

A win by the Dawgs might well put the game up there with all-time favorite openers ever for UGA, alongside Herschel Walker’s debut at Tennessee in 1980 and the shocking flea-flicker upset of defending national champion Alabama in 1965.

Of course, there’ve been other very tough openers for the Bulldogs, including big games Georgia hasn’t won. Besides the more recent examples of the debacle in the Power Rangers uniforms against Boise State in the Georgia Dome in 2011 and the 2009 team’s flop opener on the road against Oklahoma State, there was the opening game of the first “Junkyard Dawg” season in 1975, when the Bulldogs faced Johnny Majors’ Pitt Panthers and running …

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Legacy of loss to Bama: Mark Richt’s program ‘back on the map’

Aaron Murray and his teammates are still seeing dividends from their losing battle with Alabama. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Aaron Murray and his teammates are still seeing dividends from their losing battle with Alabama. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Falling just five yards short of making the national championship game against Alabama in what many considered the best college football game played last year hurt Bulldog players and fans. A lot.

But in the long run it appears to be paying off for Georgia’s football program.

Eight months later the game is still being discussed outside the Bulldog Nation — even if many do still maintain Mark Richt should have spiked the ball.

“People are still talking about it, everywhere I go,” Richt said Thursday at SEC Media Days. “Not just in the South.”

On top of that, the Dawgs are the overwhelming SEC media pick to be playing Bama again this year in the conference championship game.

The vote wasn’t even close, with Georgia taking 149 votes to runnerup South Carolina’s 75.

Of course, that same media poll sees the Crimson Tide once again winning the SEC over the …

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South Carolina’s Clowney tells Georgia players what they must do: ‘Block me’

Steve Spurrier said South Carolina has been "pretty fortunate" against Georgia. (Associated Press)

Steve Spurrier said South Carolina has been "pretty fortunate" against Georgia. (Associated Press)

It was South Carolina day Tuesday at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., which for Georgia fans meant expecting the Ol’ Ball Coach to deliver a few verbal jabs to the Red and Black.

Actually, Steve Spurrier was pretty restrained in his comments about Georgia. Asked why he’s been able to game plan against Mark Richt’s team so well in recent years, he said: “We’ve been pretty fortunate. Last year Georgia, they didn’t play very well at all. The first play of the game, their kid was getting ready to intercept it, and Damiere Byrd sort of plucked it out of their hands, we went down and scored. Everything went our way the first half, second half. But then they came back.”

As Spurrier noted, “you got to give Georgia credit” for still winning the SEC East the past two years. “We’ve beaten them the last two years, then they’ve won all their conference games. That game is important, but it …

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Countdown to Kickoff: Remembering a very special group of Georgia Bulldogs

The play that made David Pollack a UGA legend. (Associated Press)

The play that made David Pollack a UGA legend. (Associated Press)

The signs that football season is almost upon us are coming thick and fast: The Georgia Football Media Guide arrived in the mail this week, a few days behind the annual Bulldog Club packet (which this year includes both red and black “I Commit to the G” pins), and the Countdown to Kickoff day put on by Matt and Jon Stinchcomb and David Greene will see players past and present mingling with fans Saturday at the Woodruff Practice Fields in Athens from noon to 3 p.m.

(Admission is $25 per person or $75 for a family four-pack and benefits the Georgia Transplant Foundation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, among others. This year, Countdown is expected to top $1 million in total money raised over the past eight years.)

The 2013 Countdown to Kickoff fan day honors the 11th anniversary of the 2002 SEC champions (OK, so they’re a year late!), of which Greene and Jon Stinchcomb were prominent members.

The 2002 team …

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Picking the all-time greatest Georgia Bulldogs

David Greene gets my starting nod at quarterback on the all-time UGA team. (Associated Press)

David Greene gets my starting nod at quarterback on the all-time UGA team. (Associated Press)

The guys over at ESPN.com have been having some midsummer fun this week drafting all-time rosters for various SEC teams, with Mark Schlabach, David Ching and Josh Kendall doing the honors for the Georgia Bulldogs. You can even vote on which of them you think came up with the best team.

Using their basic template, I’ve come up with my own all-time UGA football team, with a few asterisks that I’ll explain below. I should note that at some positions there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from, and on another day a few of these spots might be filled differently by me. But for today, here goes …

OFFENSE

QB: David Greene / Fran Tarkenton *

RB: Herschel Walker / Charley Trippi *

RB: Frank Sinkwich / Mack Strong *

WR: A.J. Green

WR: Hines Ward

TE: Randy McMichael

C: Ray Donaldson

OL: Matt Stinchcomb

OL: Royce Smith

OL: Eddie Weaver *

OL: Mike Wilson / Joel Parrish *

K: Kevin Butler

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Fan talk: Should versatile Malcolm Mitchell be shared with the defense again?

Should Malcolm Mitchell be used to help out the thin Georgia secondary again? (Associated Press)

Should Malcolm Mitchell be used to help out the thin Georgia secondary again? (Associated Press)

Let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail. …

Dillon Brinson writes: Hey Bill, I really enjoy reading your Blawg. Due to suspensions, injuries and lack of experience in the secondary, any chance the coaches will move Malcolm Mitchell back to defense at least for the opening game, kind of like last year?

While the Dogs’ secondary will be thin to start out the season and such a move would certainly be in keeping with Mitchell being named this week to the watch list for this year’s Paul Hornung Award, given annually to college football’s most versatile player (previously won in 2011 by two-way Georgia player Brandon Boykin), I doubt the Georgia coaches are seriously considering loaning Mitchell to the secondary this year. Mitchell will be expected to take up some of the load in the receiving corps previously handled by the departed Tavarres King. Plus, Mitchell is coming off …

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UGA football sings same old summer song

Place-kicker Marshall Morgan seems likely to miss a game or two on suspension. (University of Georgia)

Place-kicker Marshall Morgan seems likely to miss a game or two on suspension. (University of Georgia)

A certain inevitability seems to have set in when it comes to Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs opening the season with some key players sidelined by suspensions.

Steve Spurrier got laughs — even from Richt — with his jibe last year that he likes facing UGA in the second game of the season “because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”

Many a truth is spoken in jest, and when it comes to Georgia football it appears to be the irresistible force — college students will act stupidly and break the rules even when they know the punishment — crashing against the immovable object — UGA’s strict policy on handling infractions by athletes involving drugs or alcohol.

The Dogs already were headed into the heavily hyped season opener against Clemson minus starting safety/nickel star back Josh Harvey-Clemons, and now with word that starting place-kicker …

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