Live from G-Day: Stafford, Moreno return! (But only to coach)

Athens – I apologize in advance. There’s every chance I will, during the course of today’s live blog, refer to Joe Cox as Bobby Cox. Due to the two-hour rain delay Friday night and Mike Gonzalez’s extremely odd blown save early Saturday morning, I didn’t get home from Turner Field until 2:07 a.m. EDT. I left for the Classic City at 9:07. Full disclosure: I took a half-hour nap in the car, though not while driving.

So here I am. I just spent 40 minutes fooling around down on the field taking pictures and shooting video, some of which will be posted here as the afternoon proceeds. I talked to Garrison Hearst, who was playing in the alumni flag football game, and he said Knowshon Moreno was a better collegiate back than he ever was. (I don’t know about that. Hearst was really good himself.)

Speaking of whom … Moreno is “coaching” one side in the spring game today, and his partner-in-yardage Matthew Stafford is “coaching” the other. Moreno showed up wearing a visor, just like Spurrier. Stafford showed up wearing shorts, though not jean shorts, which makes him not quite like a hated Gator.

Follow along as the day progresses and I’ll keep you apprised of any other fashion developments. And I’ll try to get around to football at some point.

Halftime update: It’s 3-all at the break, and I’d have to say this isn’t even the worst spring game I’ve seen in the past year. (Nothing will ever top, if that’s the right word, Georgia Tech’s wretched display of April 2008. And let the record reflect that the team seemed to do quite well once the real football began.)

I’d have to say Logan Gray looked a little better than Joe Cox that half, which probably doesn’t mean much. And I’d have to say Willie Martinez’s defense didn’t give up a touchdown, which is a heck of a lot better than it did when last Georgia played on this field. (I believe Tech was involved in that game, too.)

And I just saw Mark Richt leaving the WSB radio booth and I told him that was the best-coached half of Georgia football I’d seen since Jim Donnan left. “That’s because I was up here,” Richt said. We both laughed. (For the record, I was kidding. I’m a kidder.)

Second-half update: The legendary Vince Dooley is sitting behind me, and I asked him to name the greatest spring-game performance he ever saw. He couldn’t think of even one. I asked him if Herschel Walker ever played in a spring game.

Said Vince: “I don’t even remember.” He turned to the legendary Dan Magill and said, “Dan would remember.”

Magill, who knows everything about every Bulldog ever, said Herschel did not participate in any G-Day festivities. He was always off running track or signing with the USFL.

Final recap: Andrew Jensen kicked a 48-yard field goal to put the Red team ahead with 5:47 left, and Carlton Thomas ran 20 yards for a touchdown on the game’s final play to seal it. Red 13, Black 3. Not the best spring game ever played, but not the worst, either.

Writing a column now. (With more Bradley video to come!) I’ll keep checking back here periodically to see if fisticuffs have broken out. And thanks for hanging with me so far.

101 comments Add your comment

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
1:13 pm

Joe Cox completes his first pass, a 35-yarder to A.J. Green off a flea-flicker. But the drive fizzles.

Logan Gray completes his pass, too, for a first down. Game on!

Joshua

April 11th, 2009
1:18 pm

Hey Mark…..whats the energy look like on the field. It seems pretty lethargic…..and sloopy. Hope this is a preview of the 09′ campaign.

Joshua

April 11th, 2009
1:18 pm

Hey Mark…..whats the energy look like on the field. It seems pretty lethargic…..and sloopy. Hope this isn’t a preview of the 09′ campaign.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
1:19 pm

I’m in the press box now. But the crowd is pretty subdued. It is a spring game, remember.

Good crowd, though. Most all of the lower-tier seats between the goal posts are full.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
1:22 pm

Joe Cox, famous receiver? Caleb King just threw off another gadget play — who’s coaching this, Jerry Glanville? — to Cox for a nice gain, but the play was overturned on an illegal-receiver penalty. And no, Joe Cox wasn’t the illegal receiver.

UGA Student

April 11th, 2009
1:23 pm

Most students left town yesterday for Easter or the Masters.

BugKiller

April 11th, 2009
1:26 pm

The Dawgs will lose to OSU, LSU, Florida, and Tech for sure before the bowl game.

Then out of Carolina, ASU, and Tennessee, we will lose one other game.

Why?

Because Willie Martinez is as inept a defensive coordinator as Bobby Cox is an October manager.

Because Mark Richt refused to fire his thoroughly mediocre and in-over-his-head former college roommate in his fourth year of declining returns as defensive coordinator (quick fact: Georgia has gotten worse, every year, in yards allowed and points allowed, the two most important defensive stats), much like Richt’s mentor, Bobby Bowden refused to fire his mediocre son as offensive coordinator.

Here’s some more Martinez fun facts: in four years alone, his defenses have allowed 11 30-plus point games. Including, for the first time in Georgia history, gave up 40 or more points in 3 games in one season.

The number of 30-plus games given up by Van Gorder? ONE.

Willie Martinez continues to be the weak link of the Georgia Bulldogs because he is best friends with the head coach.

It is high time that Damon Evans steps in and does what the head coach is far too close emotionally to do, and do the right thing for this football program…

… much like the FSU administration was forced to do in the Jeff Bowden situation.

Willie Martinez = Jeff Bowden. If not much, much worse.

You look at Willie’s career as defensive coordinator, the fact that the defense has NEVER improved under his watch, in fact, gotten worse every year. The fact that his defenses have given up 30 or more points 11 times in 4 seasons, including 3 40 points or more games last year…

… add all of that up, and Willie Martinez is probably the worst defensive coordinator in Georgia history.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
1:29 pm

And Georgia is on the board! Blair Walsh kicks a 51-yard field goal. Red (Cox’s team) leads 3-0 with 7:47 left in the second quarter.

I predict this team will win the BCS title.

I’m kidding! KIDDING!

DawgsRUs

April 11th, 2009
1:30 pm

Well said BugKiller

DawgsRUs

April 11th, 2009
1:33 pm

Defense leaving Receivers/TEs wide open and they drop the ball. Scary on both sides right now.

Joshua

April 11th, 2009
1:34 pm

Mark who is #33 running the ball on the Black team?? He has had a few good runs and ESPN has not called his name at all…..Logan looking actually more sharp than Cox. Can’t wait to see Murray in there.

Joshua

April 11th, 2009
1:36 pm

Receivers, aside from Green, look like garbage as usually……thought these guys were on scholarship.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
1:40 pm

No. 33 on the black team is Kalvin Daniels, a junior from Eastman, Ga.

Black team is inside the 10, fourth-and-two. Gray has had a couple of nice completions on this drive.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
1:43 pm

Jamie Lindley kicks a 23-yard field goal. Scored tied at 3, 2:41 left in the half. I tell you, it’s like two heavyweights feeling one another out.

Or something.

David C

April 11th, 2009
1:45 pm

Michael Adams should make his budget based on an exterminators opinion

Chuck

April 11th, 2009
1:46 pm

Mark, do you know who was injured and had to be carted off during the alumni game? They mentioned it on ESPN, but didn’t say who was injured.

Dennis

April 11th, 2009
1:47 pm

with Joe Cox at helm, they win SEC and play in National Championship game…Joe has leadership qualities Stafford never had which will be THE difference this year…Bradley (Mark) my words

Chip Towers

April 11th, 2009
1:47 pm

This is pretty cool. I’m watching the G-Day game on an Augusta National computer monitor and following Mark Bradley’s blog on my computer while viewing the Masters on closed-circuit television and monitoring the giant scoreboard in the press center in Augusta. FWIW, Tiger Woods doubled No. 1, parred the par-5 second hole (yet again) and birdied No. 3.

Chip Towers

April 11th, 2009
1:49 pm

My two cents — I’ve been really impressed with Logan Gray at quarterback. Without the two drops he’d really be lighting it up!

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
1:49 pm

Just for your benefit, colleague Chip, I’ve posted a video clip of Garrison Hearst above. Please excuse the fingers you see in the frame for about five seconds. They happen to be mine.

DawgsRUs

April 11th, 2009
1:50 pm

Chip, not sure if you need a life or have too much of one…lol

brewdawg

April 11th, 2009
1:54 pm

I still feel like this team will be better than last years, but I’m obviously not basing it on this performance. Not looking good at all, and I certainly don’t see anything that would sway a recruit to come here. Additionally, the receivers are in mid-season form with the drops. It is, like Mark said, only a spring game. Remember a few years back when Nebraska went crazy because the first play of the spring game was a touchdown pass? That wasn’t exactly a foreshadowing of things to come.

CCF Dawg

April 11th, 2009
1:57 pm

Looks like we’re in for another run n shoot year with little or no defense.

Chip Towers

April 11th, 2009
1:59 pm

DawgsRUs: While this is indeed great fun I’d much rather be rolling around in the floor with little boy. But it beats a real job!

BugKiller

April 11th, 2009
2:03 pm

CCF Dawg… you mean what’s known in these parts as the Willie Martinez Special?

Hey, I know Chip refuses to talk about the truth about Martinez, but why aren’t smart guys like Bradley, Schultz, or Moore breaking down Martinez’s thoroughly mediocre performance as Georgia’s defensive coordinator over 4 years and actually saying something about it?

Why is Willie Martinez getting the Bobby Cox White Glove Treatment from the AJC?

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:07 pm

Imagine how upset people would be about Georgia’s defense if, like, somebody had actually scored a touchdown in the first half.

Big Al

April 11th, 2009
2:08 pm

Bradley, you’re on a roll.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:09 pm

Boy, am I slow. I just now got that line about “an exterminator’s opinion.”

I might need more caffeine.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:14 pm

Thanks, Big Al. But I’m not on a roll. In a fog would be more like it.

brewdawg

April 11th, 2009
2:15 pm

It’s probably all in my head, but following the interview up in the booth, CMR didn’t exactly give Herbstreit the warmest of handshakes. Not Urban Meyer cold after the 49-10 beatdwon level of course, but Herbstreit has notoriously bad-mouthed the Dawgs, though in recent years, it hasn’t been as bad.

CCF Dawg

April 11th, 2009
2:15 pm

Somethings get better with age, like good scotch. Somethings just go flat, like coke left out overnight. Martinez is definitely not in the good scotch category.

DawgsRUs

April 11th, 2009
2:18 pm

Bradley, dropped passes prevented the 1st half TDs. Not tough defense.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:18 pm

I could be wrong, but I don’t believe a defensive coordinator has ever been fired after a spring game.

Oh, and Willie’s lousy black team defense just made an interception. Bryan Evans did the deed off Zach Mettenberger’s pass.

Mark

April 11th, 2009
2:20 pm

Bryan Evans made a great read from his safety spot on his INT. Offense looks pretty sloppy, though.

brewdawg

April 11th, 2009
2:21 pm

Great throw by Murray, only to be wasted with a turnover. Our receivers get a big F for this game. Next year will be an interesting battle for number 1 QB. Gray? Murray? Zach M? My guess is Gray, with Murray next in line.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:23 pm

I could be wrong about this, too, but we might be headed to overtime.

No, no. They don’t play OT in spring games. That was another little Bradley joke.

MT

April 11th, 2009
2:25 pm

I remember watching Mississippi State’s spring game last year and it did go into overtime at 0-0. Not even joking.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:25 pm

This is just me, OK? And I’m not Mel Kiper Jr., OK? But Aaron Murray looks pretty darn good for a guy who was in high school four months ago.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:26 pm

And you watched the whole thing, MT?

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:28 pm

Still 3-3 after three quarters. And Georgia just introduced Mark Fox, the new basketball coach. He got a nice hand. He’s now waving to the fans. He seems pretty excited.

brewdawg

April 11th, 2009
2:28 pm

Aw, Mark, we wouldn’t trade you for all the Mel Kiper Jr’s in the world. He wouldn’t be as fun to rag on after yet another failed prediction. (All in good fun of course!)

Joshua

April 11th, 2009
2:31 pm

And why is ESPN having Colt McCoy doing a crappy telephone interview during GEORGIA’S spring game?? This is why I can’t stand ESPN…..lousy commentating as usually.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:33 pm

Thanks, BrewDawg. I’m touched.

And you’re forgetting the obvious Colt McCoy/Georgia connection, Joshua. He once changed planes in Atlanta.

MT

April 11th, 2009
2:35 pm

I was flipping channels (could not watch the whole thing because the offense looked so ugly) and never actually thought spring games would go to overtime. Hopefully the Red team will put this one away.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:40 pm

You might be right, MT. Cox just hit tight end Aron White for a first down. (Cox’s best throw of the game, I’d say.)

Red has it at the Black 44, 4:33 to go in this titanic struggle.

Boss Hogg

April 11th, 2009
2:40 pm

Joshua: To keep the audience from falling asleep. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING

Dawg stuck in Bham

April 11th, 2009
2:42 pm

Mark,
Should I be worried at how poor the offense has looked so far? Lot’s of dropped balls and little fumbles.

brewdawg

April 11th, 2009
2:45 pm

You make me chuckle Mark. Your grumpiness is just oozing out today.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:46 pm

You should not be worried just yet, Bham. I remind you again of Tech’s spring game. Here was my take on that travesty.

Mark Bradley

April 11th, 2009
2:48 pm

Grumpy? Me?

Actually, I’m getting my second wind. Thirteen Cokes can have that effect.