G-Day: Not much of a game, but there’s still a good team here

Athens — If you saw the game, be it live from Sanford Stadium or via the high-def glory of ESPN, you’re wondering how in the world Georgia is going to beat Vandy. And here, being the committed contrarian, is where I say: Relax. Georgia is going to be fine.

It’s not going to win the national championship in 2009, but it’s not going to collapse under the cannonade of verbiage emanating from little Lane Kiffin. This is a very good program that will continue to be a very good program. (And, as measures go, spring games offer zilch. Remember how awful Georgia Tech looked 12 months ago? Remember that same Tech winning between these same hedges on Nov. 29, 2008?)

Yes, Matthew Stafford is gone, and no, there’s no more Knowshon Moreno, but Georgia under Mark Richt has suffered other losses — David Greene and David Pollack and Thomas Davis and Brian VanGorder in the span of one offseason — and chugged ever onward. You know all those recruits about whom folks get so excited? They’ll keep the Bulldogs on track.

More important, Georgia learned last season that skill alone guarantees nothing. “It doesn’t matter how talented you are,” said Rennie Curran, the gifted linebacker. “We’ve definitely got talent, but it’s going to be the intangibles, the leadership, the discipline and the technique that makes this a team.”

That didn’t happen in 2008, when a multitude of penalties and three protracted defensive lapses undid the team voted No. 1 in August. Said A.J. Green, the splendiferous receiver: “We’ll be real good if we play as a team, and we’re pushing each other harder.”

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Was such urgency not in evidence a year ago? Green again: “Yeah, just a little bit, probably. We maybe believed the hype. But [not being ranked No. 1] is a better place to start — it gives you something to work for.”

Nothing happened Saturday to make Bulldog Nation stand and shout, “Hurrah!” Big deal. When you’re playing yourself, there really can’t be a winner.

Said Joe Cox, the new No. 1 quarterback: “If the offense goes up and down the field, people would be talking about how bad the defense did. It’s a grind going against each other every day in practice, and this was just the last day of it. We just did it in front of a bunch of people.”

The offense didn’t go up and down the field. There were 18 first downs made and 329 yards gained, and the game’s only touchdown came on the final snap. Cox and Logan Gray, the second-stringer, looked OK. (The early enrollee Aaron Murray looked quite good.) Lots of passes were dropped. And the great Green caught a flea-flicker from Cox on the game’s first play and then nothing else.

Again, it’s April. Were this September, the Bulldogs would have been more assiduous in the attempt to feed their best player. But September is five months off.

Is this team apt to win the SEC East? Not with Tebow and the reigning BCS titlists still sitting there, no. But these Bulldogs will build the bridge to the post-Tebow years, and it will be a sturdy structure. They’ll go 9-3 and position themselves for 2010 and beyond.

184 comments Add your comment

Not Disappointed

April 11th, 2009
5:12 pm

True Jacket Fan here! Logan is going to be a decent qb. Ramblin Wreck!

Lee Dawg

April 11th, 2009
5:14 pm

I thought Logan Gray looked real good, A real gamer!

corn30

April 11th, 2009
5:30 pm

georgia has solved the qb issue. cox and gray both looked sharp. florida isnt gonna be any better, even with all the returning people they have. there speedsters arnt so bad and tebow isnt any better

boots

April 11th, 2009
5:43 pm

In San Diego today and the game wasn’t on ESPN. Really disappointed, but it won’t be too long before we take on Ok State and get a chance to make the (hate the cliche) statement to the national market. These dogs have a lot of solid pieces, and the typical SEC championship is one won by a great TEAM, not the one with a few amazing players. Dawgs win 10 and surprise people.

dan

April 11th, 2009
5:48 pm

It’s hard to gauge a spring game because it typically takes the offense longer to gel. I thought Joe Cox’s arm looked great today. He has the arm strength to make the throws. Cox doesn’t quite have Stafford’s ability to lace a ball between two defenders, but other than that I felt he looked solid. His receivers will need some work in the summer but TE Aron White looked pretty good catching the ball. Joe will need to be the leader with this group of receivers and set the example by encouraging them to work out with him in the summer to get their reps in. Carlton Thomas looked good as well. He doesn’t have Knowshon’s burst when he gets to that next level, but he certainly deserves a spot in the RB rotation. I was pretty dissapointed with Caleb King today especially with him dropping some passes. I feel he can be a real threat in the passing game, but he’s got some work to do if he wants to be the 1# RB. On defense, Justin Houston and Marcus Washington looked good. They will need to work at getting off blocks. But if they can do that, UGA will be much improved at the DE position this season. Overall, I agreed with Kurt Herbstreet’s assessment of the team when he said that UGA isn’t going to be dominant program like Florida clearly will be, but they have enough of a nucleus that if they can put it all together for a game or two, they will beat some teams they shouldn’t beat or at the very least be a tough out. I thinking 9-4 or 8-5 for the season.

1970dawg

April 11th, 2009
5:49 pm

Cox isn’t the answer, and if BOOBOO and Richt had any balls, they would allow Murray a chance to win the starting job at Q.B. Cox is no better than Joe T., and we all know what happened to him. Yet Richt stood by JOe T, because he was a senior, and he had all the knowledge of the system. Who cares if Cox has knowledge, the fact is the kid doesn’t have the talent to win in the SEC. Murray has the talent, and if given the chance, he will win as a q.b. in the SEC. Besides, what good will it do the program to start a fifth year senior, with no experience, and then have to start a soph next year with no experience. The UGA coaches have proven time and again, that they have no idea what to do with talent. A.E. redshirted Moreno, when he was clearly the best running back on campus. He only got to play when Brown and other backs were hurt. Anyway, that G-Day game was pathetic to watch as far as the offense is concerned. UGA doesn’t have the talent at the skill positions to compete in the SEC. There is no running back, Q.B., and only one wide receiver that could compete in the SEC. Wonder how long UGA fans have to sit here and watch wide open receivers drop passes. This has been going on for the last 3 or 4 years, yet there is never any improvement. Oh well, once again, there is no coaching available to make these kids focus and concentrate. nor is there any coaching available to help them improve. Didn’t Richt just switch his receivers coach with a former running back that had never coached or played wide receiver. Typical lack of management from a head coach. You will see how good of a coach Richt, BOOBOO, and the clown Martinez are this year when they have less talent than their opponents. BOOBOO, will look like the overrated O.C. he is when he doesn’t have 2 of the top 10 offensive players to bail him out time and time again this year. He will look like a deer in the headlights on the sidelines this year, when he is constantly getting out coached, and when his predictable play calling is getting stuffed. But, good ole boy Richt will sit there and defend him and Martinez until his is gone.Which, by the way want be very much longer. When he goes 6-6, or 5-7, for the next couple of years, I can only say I told you so.

Kendall

April 11th, 2009
5:50 pm

Number one question was answered, and the answer was Justin Houston. The number two question was answered in two parts…Israel Troupe and Aron White. You know the questions. I am happy.

Coon Dawg

April 11th, 2009
5:52 pm

Dude, what were you drinking? Logan Gray looked great. His presence was great, his passes were right on the money although 4 were dropped and he made the right decisions. This report isn’t worth reading if you are that lost.

Gator Teach

April 11th, 2009
5:57 pm

Lindsey Scott

April 11th, 2009
5:57 pm

We looked completely awful. If things don’t improve we’re loking at 6-6 next fall, Uf and Gt will kick out behinds and it may be time for a change in the program.

jarvis

April 11th, 2009
6:02 pm

1970 Dawg….5-7? Really? Don’t think I won’t remind you of that every week after game 8 next year. Just remember that “told you so” comment every single time I remind this blog of what a jacka$$ pessimist idiot you are.
It’s in my blackberry. Enjoy it.

dan

April 11th, 2009
6:04 pm

1970dawg,

You’re wrong about Joe Cox. Cox is much better than Joe T. Will there be games that he will struggle? Yes. But I think his arm is just as good as David Green’s. You are right about the receivers dropping balls. The running backs need to catch the ball better too, because I think we’ll throw to them more than we have in the past. I think Murray can be good, but he’s not ready yet. And Logan Gray played well, but he’s definately the 2# QB. UGA always wins a game every year that they shouldn’t win. I thought we’d be 6-6 in 2006 after losing to Vandy and Kentucky. But then they blew out Auburn in Auburn and beat Tech to finish out the season 9-4. This team will have to scratch and claw for every win this year. 10-2 is probably a bit too optimistic, but 6-6 and 5-7 is being pessimistic. I say 9-4 or 8-5.

Charlie

April 11th, 2009
6:09 pm

Kirk Herbstreit asked his announcing partner what he thought of Georgia’s prospects as the game ended. “Not good” was his answer when comparing them to powerhouses in the SEC. Kirk found a nugget, suggesting Georgia wouldn’t be burdened with high expectations this year and could surprise some. It speaks volumes about a program when you wilt because of a #1 ranking. The Dawgs have always been a 9-3 or 8-4 program except for Herchels short career in Athens. Many compare Georgia to Michigan State when comparing history.

Aaron Murray threw a couple darts. He looks like the future for Georgia. Richt has always prepared his quarterbacks well. #30 finally had a couple good runs as the game ended. Caleb King didn’t impress. His brother/agent might need to find him a gig outside the SEC. After all the talk about the OL leading the 2009 team. It wasn’t impressive for much of the game. Sturdivant is out, but we have been told by Barnhart & other Georgia backers this is a deep & talented line. To be continued.

urban's husband

April 11th, 2009
6:15 pm

Went to the game and the defense was dominant. That’s usually a good sign. Too many dropped passes too. Overall I liked what I saw. O-line protected pretty well and our D-line pass rushed okay a few times. With 2 heathy lines and depth there I think the Dawgs will be better than people think. I like being under the radar much better than the team with a target on their chest. Have faith Dawg Nation!!

La Jolla Dawg

April 11th, 2009
6:19 pm

Boots, the game was on here in San Diego at 10:00.

I think Herbstreit’s assessment was similar to Bradley’s, he said if they were playing with the exact team that dressed out today their chances at being a powerhouse in the SEC were not good. He noted that the Dawgs have a lot of injured players who won’t suit up until summer as well as new players coming in at that time and that the team that will play in the fall does have what it takes to compete. That said, somebody better do something about the dropped passes and soon…

pdawg

April 11th, 2009
6:19 pm

1970dawg…..man come on!!!!!!!! Coach Ball who is the receivers coach now was actually a receivers coach when he was hired to be a running back coach. Just wanted to let you know. I understand your frustration but i think you are taking it too far.

Scott

April 11th, 2009
6:21 pm

Murray was impressive to me and I thought Logan Gray looke pretty good. Cox did not impress me but he did not look terrible. Not sure what the people that though White looked good were watching, he dropped several passes in the first half that hit him in the hands (along with most of the other recievers). It is just a scrimmage so we will see how it works out but this group seems to need a lot of work on offense. I thought the defense played well enough. They seemed to be in position to make plays with a few excpetions. Run game was really non existant, which was really pretty scary. Other than a couple of runs, the late on by Clayton seemed to me more that the black team was ready for the game to be over. Oh well, it is just a spring game. They know what they need to work on now to get ready for fall.

Ray

April 11th, 2009
6:22 pm

Start Aaron Murray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The kid is a beast and will be better than Stafford!!!!!!!!!

Fools Gold

April 11th, 2009
6:34 pm

In a nutshell it really wasnt much of a football team or a program for that matter. I mean all these heralded QBs with no one who cant even catch a cold. Poor planning on UGA to have the game on Easter and Masters weekend. But it was really a blessing in disguise so not many would see how pathetic this team is going to be. Dont worry dawg fans about making another trip to the Crapital One Bowl CUZ you might not even get a bid this year…….

Bobby J.

April 11th, 2009
6:37 pm

1970dawg you are a true idiot. You obviously don’t know squat about football.

Paul

April 11th, 2009
6:40 pm

‘Twill be a whold fifferent world when all the starters return in the ‘fall’.

Bobby J.

April 11th, 2009
6:41 pm

Fools Gold is obviously a tech fool.

Deep Ball

April 11th, 2009
6:43 pm

I’m amazed by the ignorance of so many bloggers. It’s a spring scrimmage–no matter what we were going to be disappointed in either the offense or the defense. Coming off of last year’s poor defensive showing, I was pleased to see the defense getting after it today. Plus don’t forget the 25 players that didn’t play due to injuries and the incoming talent. We WILL be fine this year dawg fans. Ok St, LSU, Florida, and GT will be the toughest games, and I think we should win 3 of those 4. Don’t give up just yet…

Supes

April 11th, 2009
6:43 pm

There is no reason why UGA will not win 10 games next season. Team Health is the biggest factor here. If they don’t lose key players, it will be another good season. Not great, but good. Then you look toward the future with Gray, and Murray at QB.

FLA will be the only dominant team in the SEC.

Paul

April 11th, 2009
6:43 pm

Please excuse my sticky key board.

Twill be a whole different world when all the starters return in the ‘fall’.

Linda Lovelace Dawg

April 11th, 2009
6:49 pm

Oh you Logan Gray you are so Loooooogan! mmmmm :)

true fan

April 11th, 2009
6:52 pm

1970 dawg, you might either be a bandwagon fan or just a total idiot, cause you sound like both. you have no to clue about football. did willie martinez miss those tackles against tech? was martinez in bad position against UF? no, our players didn’t step up, they didn’t make the plays. I m tried of you so called fans dogging WM. Give him break. Our D will definitley be better with Ownes back. We got a chip on our shoulder, watch and see.Youu honestly think we are going to be 5-7 or 6-6 the next couple of years? Are you smoking crack? we average ten wins each year. someone else respond to this moron cause that’s the dumbiest thing I’ve ever heard.

jpay

April 11th, 2009
6:53 pm

Great Point – this was just a spring scrimmage – from most of the post it appears you never played ball in your life – it is a lot different playing in a real game and just scrimmage – either way the game went – you always have the haters – for a scrimmage it was not bad but again you could not tell much either

GTwinsNC

April 11th, 2009
6:55 pm

The players ended practice with a “breakdown” chant of “1, 2, 3 … national championship!” Said defensive end Anthony Egbuniwe, “That’s what we need to do this year, is win the national championship.” … Tech hosted about 200 junior recruits and their families at the practice. … Tech will conclude spring practice next Saturday with the annual T-Day Game at noon Bobby Dodd Stadium. The game is free and open to the public.

GT has potentially the greatest team ever to lace cleats hitting the field in 09. You mutts are nothing but practice fodder for us now. No SEC coach is good enough to even sniff the great Paul Johnson’s jock strap.

Festus

April 11th, 2009
6:56 pm

Aw Shucks youins mean to tale me thait them thare doagies caint ketch? Them thare Floorida gaitters sure cain ketchum. I thank ole Willie got a fawlse impresshun on thait defanse todaiy. Not reely much to look at I thawts.

Jeff

April 11th, 2009
7:01 pm

Without a doubt..Logan Gray was looking really good. He should be given the shot to take the #1 spot. His arm is really good as well. Cox has issues getting the ball past 30 yards. I know you had to see that one down the right sideline where he was WAY short and he had no pressure on him. That was lame. SEC opponents have got to be licking their chops for balls like that to be thrown. With Logan, we have a LEGIT double threat AND a better Arm…

Second, Aaron Murray is not ready yet for this year. He will step it up next year…

dd

April 11th, 2009
7:12 pm

Tech & Gator women are ugly

Dangerous

April 11th, 2009
7:16 pm

Injuries undid last years team, not a couple of penalties!

johnboy

April 11th, 2009
7:18 pm

Logan Gray was impressive to me

everyone's a critic

April 11th, 2009
7:19 pm

“splendiferous receiver”? Really?

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
7:19 pm

If A.J. Green catches one pass against Oklahoma State, then we’ll know something’s wrong with the offense. But I think he’ll catch 10. And I’m guessing the offensive line will be good.

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PTC Jacket

April 11th, 2009
7:22 pm

Wow, this isn’t what I would expect to hear from UGA fans/alumni/students. Don’t be disappointed yet. If any of yall watched Tech’s spring game last year, you should remember how horrible we were, yet we ended up being decent team. Spring games are taken too seriously.

2x4Dawg

April 11th, 2009
7:25 pm

1970Dawg, Put down that crack pipe you’re smoking.

Preston

April 11th, 2009
7:26 pm

I’m not worried about the Dawgs at all folks. We are one of the best programs in the country year in and year out and I kind of like the low expectations this year. Stay under the radar and mow them down one at a time.

Eddie

April 11th, 2009
7:34 pm

The fake fans and delusional Tech fans on here are laughable. This “game” today was nothing more than the final scrimmage of spring practice. The group you saw today and the group that shows up this summer(will include 45-50 players returning from injury and freshman) will not resemble each other. There is plenty of talent and if we avoid the injury bug, we will win around 10 games. Don’t over react–it’s all good! Go DAWGS!!

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
7:35 pm

Regarding arms: I’m afraid Matthew Stafford spoiled things for all of his successors. He has one of the best arms ever. Joe Cox’s isn’t bad, but it’s not Stafford-like.

Jacket since 1997

April 11th, 2009
7:41 pm

yeah i agree ptc a spring game is what it is, georgia will be ok but being a tech fan i want them to lose every game but i know they wont. IF UGA EVER WENT 6-6 OR 5-7 CHANGES WOULD BE MADE IMMEDIATELY BELIEVE IT!!!!! GO JACKETS CANT WAIT TO SEE THE GAME SATURDAY!!!!!

ceph

April 11th, 2009
7:42 pm

LOGAN WAS THE BEST

Logan is the best QB at UGA and it doesn’t take a genius to see this, plus you would have seen just how good he is if they had made the QB live. As Pete Carroll says, “I will take talent over experience any day of the week” and you know what so would I. Unfortunately Richt won’t see it this way and we will be stuck with Cox!!!!

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
7:47 pm

No quarterback looked fabulous. No quarterback looked awful. It’s a spring game. Nobody looks great in the spring. On the live blog, I asked Vince Dooley who was the best performer he’d ever seen in a spring game. He couldn’t think of anybody who stood out.

KNelson

April 11th, 2009
7:47 pm

You can sum up todays G-game with one word, BORING! No one can catch, the best QB appears to be a freshman and the ground game is sad! You can say the offensive line has improved but there would have been 5 sacks today if you could do more than tag the qb.
This should make for another typical year for UGA football, finishing 3rd.

ed

April 11th, 2009
7:49 pm

All Qb.s could play in the SEC but Murray is the Dogs future. King
somewhat disappointing but a great defense may have something to do with
that. Thomas will surprise a lot of people;tremendous acceleration.
Tight ends will be invaluable. Good idea to protect quarterbacks.Bad
idea to have 8 minute quarters to showcase our program. Doubt we’ll
be invited back.

KNelson

April 11th, 2009
7:52 pm

Preston ???????? UGA is one of the best programs in the country? Good lord, you must be drinking the same Kool-Aid the Obama voters had. When has UGA last won a NC? How many other SEC teams have won since UGA? Georgia’s season will be no better than last year and I expect them to lose their opening game.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
7:52 pm

It’s hard to get a running game going in 15 spring practices. But now, if you’re asking me if I’ve seen anything in Caleb King that makes he think he’s another Knowshon, the answer would be, “Not yet.”

Dawg Tired

April 11th, 2009
7:58 pm

While I agree with several folks assessment of the validity of 1070 Dawg’s comments (clearly appears to be either clueless or a Tech fan in disguise – both of those are bad things to be), he seems to know more than Charlie who says UGA has been a 9-3 or 8-4 team since Herchel. The first year H was gone was probably one of the best teams ever – beat Texas in a bowl game. Plus, unless my math is crazy, Coach Richt is the winningest Coach in the SEC since he’s been at Georgia and is averaging about 10 wins a year. What am I missing?