Fan talk: What’s needed for the Dawgs to finally win another national title?

bcs logo for 2014Let’s jump straight into some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. …

David Rosenberg writes: I’m 43 and a 3rd generation Bulldog. I take pride in the fact that Georgia plays in what many consider to be one of the toughest conferences in football. However, I take no joy in bitter rivals like Auburn or Florida winning national titles; or even having the opportunity to play for one. Do I have respect for their accomplishments? Sure. Do I relish the idea that the “SEC” has a team in the game?  If it is not Georgia? No! Georgia last played for a national title 30-plus years ago. The loss to Alabama in the SEC title game in 2012 crippled their best shot at a title. The 2013 Dawgs beat South Carolina, LSU, Tennessee, Florida, and Tech! Now, if someone would have told me those wins would be on our schedule before the season started, you would have thought Georgia would be headed to Pasadena. But again, it is not to be. The season is not over and Richt and Grantham look like they will be …

Continue reading Fan talk: What’s needed for the Dawgs to finally win another national title? »

Dawgs must shake ‘been there, done that’ mindset against Cornhuskers

gator bowl logoA Georgia team that has suffered through extremely slow starts in its past couple of games now must get ready for yet another Florida bowl game against the same team they played on New Year’s Day last year.

They’ll be going up against a Nebraska team that also might not be thrilled with its bowl assignment, but which would like to avenge last year’s loss and end a three-bowl losing streak.

Will that make the Cornhuskers the more motivated team in Jacksonville?

True, the Bulldogs are now all talking the talk like the coaches want about respecting Nebraska and being excited about playing in any bowl game, but you’ve got to wonder how many of them are really thinking like receiver Michael Bennett initially did when he learned of UGA’s bowl opponent and tweeted: “Nebraska again? You kidding me?”

Michael Bennett initially wasn't too rah-rah about a rematch with Nebraska. (Associated Press)

Michael Bennett initially wasn't too rah-rah about a rematch with Nebraska. (Associated Press)

Bennett subsequently pulled that tweet down and now is on the bus, noting that he didn’t play …

Continue reading Dawgs must shake ‘been there, done that’ mindset against Cornhuskers »

Not a lot of fan happy talk when it comes to Todd Grantham’s defense

A lot of UGA fans aren't happy about the way Todd Grantham is running the defense. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

A lot of UGA fans aren't happy about the way Todd Grantham is running the defense. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Let’s get straight to some of this week’s Junkyard Mail, which was dominated by concern over the state of Georgia’s defense and the future of coordinator Todd Grantham. Here’s just a representative sampling. …

Cohen Moore writes: Hey Bill! I’m a current Grady [College] student at UGA and next football season will be my final one in Athens. I just wanted to say that after watching Georgia play this season, the lone reason we have four losses is our defense. I blamed injuries for a while. But even with all those injuries, we still put up 30-something points a game. If a defense can’t keep opponents under 30, that’s a huge problem. I tend to be optimistic every season, so I think that if UGA can SIGNIFICANTLY improve the defense (which I think will happen), then next year should be nothing short of a BCS bowl. I would love for Richt to stay for the long haul and get our …

Continue reading Not a lot of fan happy talk when it comes to Todd Grantham’s defense »

Should Bulldog Nation consider 2013 season a success?

Chris Conley plants the school colors on Grant Field. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Chris Conley plants the school colors on Grant Field. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

I know there are lots of UGA fans out there who look at the Dogs’ just-completed 8-4 record and fume about another year without Mark Richt bringing an SEC championship or that elusive national title to Athens.

A season that, at the end of September, looked so promising with a Top 5 placement, huge wins over a pair of Top 10 teams and BCS championship chatter ended up so-so by UGA standards — in large part due to an unusually large number of injuries to key offensive players that put the kibosh on Georgia’s plan to outscore everyone while an inexperienced defense learned the ropes.

It definitely was a schizophrenic kind of year. On the one hand, no season that includes a loss to Vanderbilt (even the new, improved James Franklin brand of Commodores football) and doesn’t include a trip to the SEC Championship Game is going to sit well with most of Bulldog Nation. While Richt hasn’t made a habit of …

Continue reading Should Bulldog Nation consider 2013 season a success? »

Key to beating Tech in overtime: Give it to ‘Big Boy’

When in doubt, put the ball in the hands of Todd Gurley. (Jason Getz / AJC)

When in doubt, put the ball in the hands of Todd Gurley. (Jason Getz / AJC)

A Dawg fan’s confession: During that nightmarish first half of Saturday’s game at Grant Field, in which Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 20-0 lead and it seemed nothing could go right for Georgia, I thought we were looking at a potential blowout. I mean, a Tech team that makes its living running the ball in the triple option was just plain embarrassing the Dogs’ suspect defensive secondary through the air!

But as tough as it was to watch the Jackets having their way with the Dogs early on, I wouldn’t take anything for the way it ended, with Georgia and its rookie substitute quarterback storming back to once again break the Jackets’ hearts, this one in double overtime.

Spotting Tech three scores and still winning — it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

As Hutson Mason noted after the game, the first 28 minutes weren’t pretty. The worst part definitely was the play of the Georgia secondary, …

Continue reading Key to beating Tech in overtime: Give it to ‘Big Boy’ »

Even the loss of Aaron Murray shouldn’t derail the Dawgs

Hutson Mason should be fine in his first start for the Bulldogs. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Hutson Mason should be fine in his first start for the Bulldogs. (Jason Getz / AJC)

You sometimes don’t know how much you’re appreciated until you’re no longer there.

Take Aaron Murray, for example. Despite all those impressive numbers No. 11 has wracked up over the past four years, a lot of college football observers outside the Bulldog Nation have tended to take him for granted. Good, solid quarterback, they’d grant, but he only ever danced around the edges of Heisman conversations.

However, now that his final season playing for Georgia has ended prematurely, these folks are coming out of the woodwork to hail Murray’s importance to the Bulldog attack, reminisce about his ownership of rival Georgia Tech, and to declare that without him playing behind center UGA will be hard-pressed to continue its dominance over the Jackets Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Some Vegas pointsmakers took as much as a touchdown off the projected point spread for this game in the wake of Murray’s …

Continue reading Even the loss of Aaron Murray shouldn’t derail the Dawgs »

For Bulldogs and Jackets, ‘Hate Week’ never goes out of fashion

georgia vs tech punchSomeone once dubbed the in-state rivalry between Georgia and Georgia Tech “Clean Old Fashioned Hate.”

Visit the putrid environs of the Yellow Jacket discussion boards, where Tech students and fans make ridiculously tacky comments about the state’s flagship university and its fans and athletes, and you might question just how “clean” it is.

But old fashioned? No, the rivalry between the Bulldogs and the Insects is as current as any social media meme: Check Twitter or Facebook or just talk to a supporter of either school during what’s known as “Hate Week.”

Yes, UGA has other football rivalries that mean more to the program since they’re conference games — Florida, especially. And the series hasn’t been as competitive as some of our other football rivalries in recent years as the Bulldogs have dominated the annual meeting with the North Avenue Trade School.

But despite that, the game with Tech is the one that the players and the Bulldog Nation least want to lose, which in my book …

Continue reading For Bulldogs and Jackets, ‘Hate Week’ never goes out of fashion »

Saturday night’s alright with Todd Gurley, ‘Free Bird’ and Goooooldberg!

Todd Gurley looks to be nearly back at full speed. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Todd Gurley looks to be nearly back at full speed. (Jason Getz / AJC)

A few more observations from Saturday night’s bittersweet win over Kentucky and a couple of early thoughts on this week’s game against the erstwhile Golden Tornado …

Shaking off the disappointment over the loss for the rest of the season of Aaron Murray, it was impressive enough that 11 different Bulldogs caught passes Saturday night and nine different players ran the ball. But I especially liked it that, besides placekicker Marshall Morgan, six different Dogs scored against the Wildcats: Rhett McGowan, Todd Gurley (twice), Artie Lynch (twice), Hutson Mason, J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas. Gurley seems to be nearly back at full speed, which is the best news the Bulldog offense has had in weeks. …

The awfulness of Kentucky made it a bit difficult to judge just how much improved the Georgia defense was, but they did manage to hold the Cats to 211 yards of offense, and as Todd Grantham pointed out, 69 of those …

Continue reading Saturday night’s alright with Todd Gurley, ‘Free Bird’ and Goooooldberg! »

Aaron Murray went down as he has always played — battling like a warrior

Senior Night saw a great performance by Aaron Murray end prematurely. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Senior Night saw a great performance by Aaron Murray end prematurely. (Jason Getz / AJC)

The future of Georgia football at quarterback arrived a bit earlier than any of us expected Saturday night at Sanford Stadium as the latest player to go down in an injury-plagued season was the seemingly indestructible Aaron Murray.

Having already injured his left knee earlier in the second quarter on a 29-yard QB keeper, Murray refused to be taken out of the game and continued to play, though it was obvious something was wrong. Then, on an interception resulting from a tipped ball, Kentucky defensive end Za’Darius Smith hit him (perhaps a tad late) and Murray didn’t get back up.

He wound up being taken to Athens’ St. Mary’s Hospital for an MRI, the results of which had not yet been announced at this writing, though Coach Mark Richt indicated it was unlikely Murray would be able to play in next week’s game against Georgia Tech.

Watching him carried off the field by two Georgia trainers and …

Continue reading Aaron Murray went down as he has always played — battling like a warrior »

UGA fan talk: Dawgs’ defense, Todd Grantham, Aaron Murray, Penn Wagers, uncalled targeting and more!

Todd Grantham is on the hot seat with a lot of Bulldogs fans. (Associated Press)

Todd Grantham is on the hot seat with a lot of Bulldogs fans. (Associated Press)

Let’s get straight to some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. There were a lot of letters from anguished fans wanting to vent about the way the Auburn game turned out, and especially about Todd Grantham and the defense in general. We’ll start off with a representative sampling of those. …

Craig A. Howard writes: Watching the Dawgs attempt to play defense is very frustrating. The defense has not improved all season. Before every play they never appear to be set to play football. For SEC defenders they are the worst tackling team in the league. I have never seen a Dawg defense so undisciplined, poor fundamentally and unable to get turnovers or get off the field in third down. If Todd Grantham and the linebackers and defensive back coaches are not fired at the end of this season every young man that has committed to come to UGA to play defense should decommit and go somewhere else to play football. … …

Continue reading UGA fan talk: Dawgs’ defense, Todd Grantham, Aaron Murray, Penn Wagers, uncalled targeting and more! »