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 Marshall Morgan was arrested this past weekend on a charge of boating under the influence, it looks like Richt will have to come up with a new kicking plan for at least the opening game against the Tigers and possibly the second game against Spurrier’s Gamecocks as well. (It all depends on whether a panel of senior UGA administrators decides that “BUI,” which isn’t covered in the student-athlete handbook, is handled the same way as a DUI infraction, which merits sitting out two games.)

At least other members of the Georgia football team who apparently were at Lake Sinclair with Morgan didn’t get in trouble for anything. Just think how bad it could have been!

Of course, losing any starter is a problem, and that’s especially the case when it’s a position where you only carry one scholarship player and the backups are walk-ons, which is the situation at place-kicker.

Steve Spurrier likes facing Georgia early in the season, when the Dogs are usually missing a few key players. (Associated Press)

Steve Spurrier likes facing Georgia early in the season, when the Dogs are usually missing a few key players. (Associated Press)

But the loss of Morgan for a game or two might not be quite as crucial as it would have been in some past seasons. He wasn’t exactly money in the bank his freshman season — eight of 14 on field-goal attempts and 63 of 67 on extra points — and as the season wore on Richt called on him less frequently for field goal attempts. His loss might be felt more keenly in kickoffs, though even last year he kicked off fewer times than then-backup Jamie Lindley, who unfortunately has graduated.

Morgan’s primary backups now are sophomore Patrick Beless and redshirt freshman Thomas Pritchard, both of whom kicked field goals and extra points in the G-Day game.

Starting punter Colin Barber also has place-kicking experience, but I think the Georgia coaches might not want to disrupt his routine by adding that to his plate. They might well opt instead to go with junior Adam Erickson, the backup punter, who also had a field goal on G-Day and who would be former kicker and now NFL Pro Bowl player Blair Walsh’s choice. Walsh told Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald: “As far as the next guy in line goes, I have worked with Adam Erickson for three years and I have great confidence that he will be able to step in and do the job. I also am confident that coach (John) Lilly and coach Richt will handle the situation perfectly. Adam has a smooth swing and a confident attitude and I believe the situation will be hashed out through competition during camp.”

Bottom line, though, is that if Georgia is having to kick field goals against Clemson, the Dogs will probably be losing the game anyway. Better to think nothing but touchdown, and if the PATs get shaky, tell Aaron Murray to go for 2.

But beyond how to handle the likely absence of Morgan for a game or two, the bigger picture is that this has become an annual problem for Richt and that doesn’t seem likely to change in the future. So UGA officials need to deal with that reality.

Here’s one suggestion: If Georgia does schedule any other top-level nonconference opponents in the future — which Greg McGarity has indicated probably won’t happen often if the SEC goes to nine conference games — they might want to reconsider whether those teams should be scheduled at the very beginning of the season, when the suspensions are usually enforced. Better to open with a cupcake when you have starters sitting out.

And it wouldn’t hurt to do some lobbying in Birmingham to get South Carolina replaced as Georgia’s usual conference opener by, say, last year’s opener, Missouri, and have the Gamecocks moved to midseason.

Just think, it would give Spurrier something else to whine about!

WELL DONE, ALLISON!

UGA's Allison Schmitt is SEC Female Athlete of the Year. (Associated Press)

UGA's Allison Schmitt is SEC Female Athlete of the Year. (Associated Press)

Congratulations to UGA swimmer (and Olympian) Allison Schmitt, who was named SEC Female Athlete of the Year Tuesday.

Schmitt won three gold medals, one silver medal and a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, and then returned to Athens to help lead the Lady Bulldogs to the NCAA and SEC swimming titles.

She won the NCAA championship in the 200-yard freestyle and helped the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays win victories. At the SECs, she picked up titles on the 200-, 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays. Schmitt also earned the Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top swimmer.

Schmitt is the fifth UGA student to earn SEC Female Athlete of the Year recognition, having been preceded by golfer Vicki Goetze (1992), basketball player Saudia Roundtree (1996), swimmer Kristy Kowal (2000) and gymnast Courtney Kupets (2009).

“For Allison to be selected as the most outstanding athlete in our league is quite an accomplishment,” Georgia swimming coach Jack Bauerle told Georgiadogs.com. “She really did have a great year with the Olympic medals, the team titles and the individual titles. She’s a special young lady who has meant so much to our program.”

Special, indeed!

JUNKYARD MAIL CALL

Got something you want to discuss concerning the upcoming football season or UGA athletics? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

69 comments Add your comment

Bulldawg35

July 3rd, 2013
9:31 am

We just make things much harder than they have to be! A proud UGA tradition geez

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
9:47 am

I know it sux having guys getting arrested and suspended but it isn’t because the Dawgs have discipline problems. Scoff all you want but it’s the truth. The issue lies in how these matters are handled. In Athens (as underscored by JSW’s tweet yesterday) matters are NOT swept under the rug. We have to realize that kids screw up… it doesn’t matter how well they were taught, how strenuously they are reminded of their responsibility, they WILL screw up.
At other competing schools this matter would have been handed off to the coach to handle. A few stadium steps and gassers later the kid considers himself disciplined and that is that. NOT IN ATHENS! Georgia authorities do not look the other way when football players are involved. Instead they slap the kid in cuffs and send notices out to all the news outlets trumpeting their triumph. The University does not look the other way and place WINNING football games above all else. They could but they DON’T. Marshall Morgan will get no less than a 1 game suspension and probably 2 games. Maybe Kentucky would do this but no one else would in the SEC.

Competitively, it sux that UGA players don’t get away with it but you have to ask yourself this question” Is it better that they get busted and serve penance or skate by never facing the consequences of their actions and end up being charged with murder some day? I don’t know about you but I learn more from my mistakes than I do from my successes. I learned more from my failures than I ever did from the things I got away with. I screwed up, you screwed up too. These KIDS are no different than you and I. They are falliable human beings and they WILL screw up. It’s just a matter if they get caught. Plain and simple.

Skokie Dog

July 3rd, 2013
10:19 am

Two-game suspension is warranted for Mr. Morgan’s unwise choice. People get killed or badly injured sometimes by impaired boaters and, yes, even jet skiers and, yes, even underage drinkers operating motorized vehicles. I realize that this incident is publicized because the accused person is a student-athlete, but we shouldn’t rush to excuse this behavior simply by claiming that all young people make dumb mistakes. I’m guessing that almost all of Morgan’s teammates weren’t driving while impaired this past weekend.

USC Jimi

July 3rd, 2013
10:52 am

Bill, I enjoy reading your comments. They seem to be written by someone who truly cares about their school and it’s athletes as oppose to someone trying to sell advertising and newspapers. That being said, it seems to me that the only one whining is you!

Back River Dawg

July 3rd, 2013
10:56 am

Bill, disappointing news yet again regarding player suspensions. Thankfully most of what our guys are doing can be chalked-up in the bonehead column as opposed to hardcore criminal behavior (though BUI is serious and can certainly lead to catastrophic consequences….seen it happen). Regardless of the legal severity of their infractions though, the fact remains this behavior continues to negatively impact the team.
I have an idea to fix the ongoing problems. CMR, McGarity, whoever, needs to create a new staff position and hire a retired Sergeant Major, Gunnery Sergeant, or Senior Chief out of the military who has experience dealing with and leading groups of men in their late teens & early twenties.
We don’t need someone to come in and teach football skills and fundamentals. We need a man on staff that is there purely to lead and mentor these kids on life fundamentals. I’m not talking about a 24/7 hard-a** who’s going to get in players faces and scream (though it may be necessary sometimes), but rather a man who is skilled in teaching a group of young guys how to bond as a unit and collectively “keep their s#!+ together” as my 1st Sgt used to tell us.
It’s not about room inspections, busting heads, or marching to class of course. The type of individual I’m thinking of has a wealth of knowledge (discipline, responsibility, duty, honor, etc) that he can impart to these young men and has vast experience having done just that for 25 or 30 years in the military. I envision this man as more of a counselor than a drill instructor. He has the skills and experience to keep the guys on the straight and narrow…..go to class, pay your bills, update your license, don’t hangout with scumbags, use your brain!!!!
Get a man that knows how to relate to these kids, a man they can respect (and who in turn respects them) and the vast majority of this Mickey Mouse crap will end.

TheBuckeye

July 3rd, 2013
10:57 am

The BUI! BUI! in the SEC! SEC! is a dead horse.

I preferred the digital scale story.

dawggirl

July 3rd, 2013
11:34 am

Good column, Bill. We’ve heard it all before, and we go through the same song and dance every time – is there an overall problem with discipline, etc. I do like Back River Dawg’s idea. I think it might be the only way to get through to these kids.

Jake the Snake

July 3rd, 2013
11:39 am

Gainesville, Florida….enough said.

Matthews Dawg

July 3rd, 2013
12:00 pm

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!! Yes, this is dumb mistake and could be very costly if there had been an accident. Again, these are college students and they make dumb decisions. As said on radio here in Charlotte today, “some college towns sweep these things under the rug, because football is more important than anything else”. That comes from a guy who does NFL talk radio. I hate that this happens, but this a problem in society as a whole. Go Dawgs and we only kicked 14 field goals last year. Just score more TD’s and problem solved!

SCseas

July 3rd, 2013
12:04 pm

“At other competing schools this matter would have been handed off to the coach to handle. A few stadium steps and gassers later the kid considers himself disciplined and that is that. NOT IN ATHENS! ”

Geez, another “UGA is so much more pure and righteous than all you other heathens” post.

Of course, if this was even remotely accurate then here is a newsflash….you have the stupidest players around because even knowing that they should walk a straighter line, they still break rules like the armies of Genghis Klan and guess what your much ballyhooed “discipline” hand delivered from on high is NOT WORKING at all.

This arrest was not even in Athens, so now the “conspiracy” is statewide .

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
12:11 pm

There is no excusing anything. The entire point is that it happens EVERYWHERE and it doesn’t get reported. It’s not a discipline problem… the discipline is being applied and it might be cutting down but it WILL NOT eliminate it.
The only way to do that is to treat the athletes like prisoners. Trying recruiting with THAT hanging on your program when NO ONE ELSE is doing it.

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
12:17 pm

Case in point… this crap happens all the time on and around military bases. The Uniform Code of Conduct clearly states the penalties yet soldiers do it anyway. Their father’s did it too and their father’s father’s… The military is ALL about discipline, right? So why does it STILL happen? The answer is the same as it is for college athletes. Human beings screw up, do stupid irrational things, do inexplicable things, all the time.

Driver 8

July 3rd, 2013
12:18 pm

MM hasn’t set the bar real high – We should be able to find someone who struggles with extra points. If either game come down to a field goal (or EP) there was a pretty good shot MM would come up short anyway.

Oh and yes, schedule one or two cupcakes max and move them to the front of the schedule. Think the displine standards are fine, but knowing this isn’t a level playing field, let’s not make it worse by scheduling some of our tougher games while inevitably short-handed.

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
12:20 pm

BTW Coach Richt laughed because he knows why Spurrier can say that. It happens at his school and he just brushes it under the rug but Georgia doesn’t do that so he can guarantee a few player will be suspended just on the percentages.

AltamahaDawg

July 3rd, 2013
1:14 pm

IF we need to call on a back-up to kick a bunch of PAT’s, then it really won’t matter.

AltamahaDawg

July 3rd, 2013
1:29 pm

MM was perfect on PAT’s in his last 7 games (some big games) to end the season. His FG issues (as a TF) were all from outside of 45 yrds. So let’s not exaggerate that he would not come through for us anyway. He will end his career as one of our better PK’s.

But if we are depending on a solid PK game to win, then a bunch of guys are coming up short. A far bigger issue than who is the back-up PK. We aught to be able to down the PAT’s and still outscore everybody we play.

AltamahaDawg

July 3rd, 2013
1:38 pm

I don’t think anyone is excusing anything. In fact, nobody is excusing him for this. He did it, he got caught, he pays the price. None of that is in dispute.

The side discussion is IF UGA has a bigger problem than others, and the point is that that this stuff DOES happen in reality, but if we didn’t know about it….then it NEVER happened in perception.

bardawg

July 3rd, 2013
1:48 pm

Kids are gonna be kids, but this one sure needs a belt to the seat of his pants!

AltamahaDawg

July 3rd, 2013
1:51 pm

SC sea, I don’t think very many UGA fans are blaming conspiracy against our players. That vast majority of UGA fans I know openly would tell you that our policies bring this on ourselves. It’s just the inevitable by-product. So, Not sure what you’re driving at there.

Then you went on to advocate the advantages of having less strict rules.

I really don’t think you even know what your point was.

Bulldawg35

July 3rd, 2013
1:58 pm

Clemson 45 UGA 21
SC 31 UGA 21……. Book it!!!

AltamahaDawg

July 3rd, 2013
2:18 pm

So book it in a different ledger where you said we would lose to Clemson?

Bulldawg35

July 3rd, 2013
2:29 pm

Yeah bro, book whatever score you want….I bet u this will be the next to last season for Richt next year starting a new qb will be Richts last.

AltamahaDawg

July 3rd, 2013
2:37 pm

So, in your mind, we needed to have fired Richt this past January?

dawgfan

July 3rd, 2013
2:41 pm

I think a 1 game suspension is appropriate. He immediately admitted to drinking and his BAC was not that high. He had drank one or two beers tops. Despite the mugshot the AJC insists on showing in a pathetic attempt to get mouses clicking, this is barely even a criminal act.

Clemson is a soft as linen poser ACC team anyway. We won’t need him. Unless they’ve got Bama-type beef up front, which I’m sure they don’t, we should be able to run the ball on them and expose their one dimensional offense for what it truly is: Another ACC fraud.

Thanks.

Bulldawg35

July 3rd, 2013
2:48 pm

You can’t comprehend very well…so here it is written out for you….hopefully you will understand old boy! 2014 will be Richts last season!

Bulldawg35

July 3rd, 2013
2:53 pm

Tj Yeldon will lead the sec in rushing…he is quicker and faster…has more natural instincts than gurley does….
Thanks

Bulldawg35

July 3rd, 2013
2:55 pm

Spurrier s mike Davis will have more rushing yards than gurley will…when we face them head to head! SC always will shut down UGA RB’s or force them to fumble
Thanks

AltamahaDawg

July 3rd, 2013
3:05 pm

Speaking of comprehension……….. I didn’t ask you when you thought other people would force him to leave, did I? What did I ask you?

AltamahaDawg

July 3rd, 2013
3:13 pm

OR is it your take that you really want Coach Richt here right now, given that you predict the next 2 years will be down.

Grantrham's The Man

July 3rd, 2013
3:27 pm

I like the idea of not playing SC early in the season.

Why give SC such an advantage when Spurrier refuses to suspend any starting player for almost anything?

As far as the ”discipline problem at UGA” goes. The number of arrest show that UGA is one of the very few who actually have any discipline at all.

Meyer even let Aaron Hernandez play after he punched a restaurant manager in the head. Hernandez didn’t want to pay for his drinks. The Manager was paid off. We never heard about it and Hernandez got to play.

Meanwhile Meyer, Spurrier, Saban, Chizik and many more keep buying these players out ot trouble.

Who really has a lack of discipline?

UGA boys get in trouble for doing the same things that players at Alabama, Auburn, Florida and South Carolina always get away with, but they don’t commit Muggings and they don’t commit Armed Robbery.

Letting them get away with all those small things leads to more serious crimes. Richt is doing it the right way, and it shows.

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
4:07 pm

SCseas – you only see self righteousness in it because you know Spurrier does not suspend starters for any reason other than SERIOUS crimes. If you doubt it just look at how he handled Garcia. Go ahead tell me how that fits in with TRUE discipline? Isn’t your supposition that your players have BETTER character and therefore don’t get arrested and suspend? That is always the assertion and that is SELF RIGHTEOUS delusion.

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
4:18 pm

I have been watching this for years… it ramped up in the 90’s. College campuses have been wild for years. What do you think animal house was about? It happens everywhere and people can throw out the “party school” crap all they want because there is a very small difference between any major school’s level of “partying”.
The difference is the local authorities perception of the problem and their affiliation with the school. I

God, I wish I could take leave of absence from my job and do the leg work on this because I can guarantee that I could prove what I am saying beyond a shadow of a doubt. Sure, it might get hairy in a few places because of the level of fanaticism surrounding the program but it would be worth it to bring down a few people off their imaginary high horses.

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
4:20 pm

Bulldawg35 – take your meds…

GTBob

July 3rd, 2013
4:35 pm

Who really has a lack of discipline?

Lack of discipline isn’t your problem. Lack of character is. If you guys were a bit more selective in recruiting then you would have less issues.

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
5:28 pm

GTBob – so tell me about character? Do you think that ONLY the guys with poor character choose the University of Georgia over say Alabama or South Carolin or Florida? How about Auburn? Seems that most of these schools AND sometimes GT heavily recruited pretty much the same guys. Some of these kids went to the same school and hung out together. So tell me all wise one… how is it that the UGA players get in trouble and the other guys don’t? Are you really trying to say that players CHOOSE the Bulldogs over GT and other schools because they have CHARACTER flaws that make them choose Georgia?

How utterly laughable. You are a joke. The Atlanta police are too damned busy to even bother with Tech players. They have to REALLY screw up to get any attention. If you don’t know this then you are a naive FOOL. Some of them were recruited by Georgia as well. They don’t just start smoking pot or stop smoking pot based on the school they chose. Get a new mantra Bob… the character arguement leaks like a sieve.

C'mon Man

July 3rd, 2013
5:38 pm

@ Grantrham’s The Man…

Maybe UGA should address the problem at home rather than deflecting the issue is that other schools don’t have same level of discipline.

Yes Garcia did a number of boneheaded things but if you get facts straight you’ll see that he was suspended for much more than a game or 2. Also – you’re out of your mind if you really think that Spurrier and Meyer are the same in their approach.

Meyer’s blind eye to thuggery is a topic throughout national news today in case you have not noticed.

He may not be “Saint Mark” but Spurrier runs a clean program and maybe, just maybe, it’s about looking at a kid’s record off the field rather than just being blinded with all the 4 and 5 stars.

Bill – scheduling USC later in the season sounds a little weak. How about fault the program / behavior and not the schedule??

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
5:42 pm

Here is how asinine that arguement is. By your logic Malkom Parrish has a character flaw that made him choose UGA over GT. He will automatically START smoking pot as soon as he steps foot in Athens. Whereas, if he had chosen GT, he would stop smoking pot ( if he ever did ) and be a model citizen that never gets in trouble.

If you can read that and not see how absolutely absurd the character arguement is then you need serious help.

Yes.. that is a very simplified example but it is more than enough to blow a gaping hole in the concept.

NCDawg

July 3rd, 2013
5:52 pm

C’mon Man – the discipline is being applied… that is what the angst is about in case you didn’t notice. The only way to stop this from happening is to hold the athletes prisoner. Do you advocate holding kids in lockdown ALL year long? Give me a break…
These issues are at EVERY school… it is a part of the american culture… you cannot change the culture to that degree without help from the families, friends, and especially the schools. These kids are treated like gods at the High School level. They can do whatever they want and as long as they win football games it doesn’t matter.
You want to place blame, ok, well here it is. It’s OUR problem… we the people… as parents and role models that have to change. WE have to demand accountability from EVERYONE for their actions before this will change. Do you see that happening anytime soon?

Rossville Bulldog

July 3rd, 2013
7:12 pm

Who doesn’t drink and boat at the same time? This is a complete over reaction to someone having a good time. There is no need to get in a boat unless there are water skis, inner tubes, fishing poles, hot ladies, beer, and/or weed. Not necessarily in that order.

whiskeybreath

July 3rd, 2013
10:49 pm

NCDawg, you are a woman on here appearing to be a regular guy arent you?
You can tell by your writing style. You give every excuse know to man except taking responsibility
for your actions. That is what women do. From now on, I will treat you accordingly.

RHall

July 4th, 2013
6:02 am

Back River Dawg…..why is it that Dave VanHalenger has no accountability in this matter….did a poor job in his last years as S&C Coach (lacked the up to date knowledge and the desire to change….was waxed by Alabama’s and SC’s S&Cprogram….just can’t do mat drills!!!)…and for accountability now: Director of Player Development:would he not have programs that address these issues. have mentors to these guys, assign responsible players to other players as a guide….whatever he is not doing, it is not working @ 4-5 times per year…CMR, why are you not assessing his performance on this matter…should he not be attacking this issue…set him a goal:TO GO ONE FULL YEAR W/O A SUSPENSION: A PERFECT RECORD:if it cannot be done, find a replacement for him before it is really too late…CMR, you should have acted on Willie Martinez’s performance and Rodney Garner’s lackadaisical attitude (his last 3 years @ UGA) sooner…CMR, you are the CEO of UGA Football…treat it that way!!!

Buzz-off

July 4th, 2013
6:36 am

RHall,

What are you smoking this morning? No coach can have a perfect discipline record. Even GT had a player accused of purse snatching last year. No way to keep 100% of the players out of trouble.

Buzz-off

July 4th, 2013
6:40 am

@GT Bob (yesterday at 4:35)

Are “character flaws” what led GT players over the past few years to be arrested for purse snatching, bar room brawls (in Athens), obstructing NCAA investigations, murder, etc.?!?!
Please quit casting stones in your North Avenue Glass House!!!!!

dawgfan

July 4th, 2013
8:11 am

The biggest difference between Georgia Tech football players and UGA football players is that our players are good at football and theirs are not. That’s really about it. Everything else is just a lie that bitter crybaby Techies made up because they cannot beat us. The words “sore” and “loser” immediately come to mind.

Arguing with a Tech fan is about as productive as arguing with a brick wall. Please don’t waste your time. There is no argument, just crying and whining.

Truth hurts.

Jag Dawg

July 4th, 2013
8:22 am

A name to remember as a PK is Brice Ramsey. He was the PK at Camden Co. as well as QB and was a damn good one. He has a very strong leg and can kick them from overb 50 and has kicked game winners.

NCDawg

July 4th, 2013
8:30 am

whiskeybreath – LMFAO! Think what you will. I write well so you think I am a woman. What a joke. I take responsiblity for EVERY ONE of my actions. Do YOU?! I can admit when my judgement is compromised by my emotions. Can you?! NO. If you were able to do so, you could see the absolute truth in what I am saying. Instead you just see that it might imply that Alabama football MIGHT have the same “character” issues that everyone else has.
You would be hilarious if your delusion wasn’t so fricking sad.

NCDawg

July 4th, 2013
8:34 am

Jag Dawg – Brice has been mentioned but I wouldn’t want to burn his redshirt so he could be a placekicker. That would an emergency ONLY situation.

NCDawg

July 4th, 2013
8:36 am

the is a “be” in there somewhere… damn

Bulldawg35

July 4th, 2013
12:05 pm

Michael carvell said that baker is a 3 star! So what is the truth??? 3 star or 4 star??? Somebody answer me…before I go out to the car and tear the motor up and bash my windows out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NCDawg

July 4th, 2013
12:33 pm

Bulldawg25 – forgot the meds again? What does it matter, you want Richt out so you probably like it to be 2 stars.