With health and spirit, ‘we’ll be much improved on defense’

  A year ago, Georgia’s football team was preseason No. 1. A year later, that seems like a long time ago.

   So, minus Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, what is the general feeling about where the Bulldog program is today?

   Coach Mark Richt tackled that question this week (and you’re welcome to do so below).

   “I think in our building [the feeling] is very good,” Richt said. “We know we have a lot of guys who have been in our program for a while, you know, preparing for their opportunity.

   “I think fans really know your starters pretty good and know your signing class pretty good, and they tend to forget about everybody in between that’s working their tail off for their opportunity. I think we as coaches know we’ve got a lot of guys in that category.”

  Ask about any of the question-mark positions, and Richt mentions someone he sees as eminently capable of providing the answer.

   Defensive end? Richt thinks Rod Battle is capable of a big senior season,  ”and I think [Demarcus] Dobbs was really having a fantastic spring before he got hurt. I think Dobbs has matured a lot. He’s become a good leader for us and got to the point he has really bought into the Georgia way.” (Dobbs broke a bone in his foot during spring practice but is expected to be 100 percent come August.) Richt also reiterated the plan  to use linebacker Darryl Gamble as a pass rusher in nickel situations. “We’re excited about him helping us in that department.”

   Tailback? Richt doesn’t know who’ll be the starter, but he spoke highly this week of Caleb King’s progress as a pass protector and in understanding the system. Plus, “he’s an outstanding runner.” Still, the coaches are looking forward to seeing Richard Samuel, Dontavius Jackson and incoming freshman Washaun Ealey compete in preseason practice, too.  “We’re just all going to observe and try to decide who deserves to start and who deserves the most amount of carries,” Richt said. “The big thing for all of them — Washaun especially — is to really get serious about pass protection.”  Richt added: “I do think our running backs and quarterbacks will benefit from a strong, more veteran offensive line than Stafford and Moreno had the last couple of years. So I think that will help whoever plays that running back spot.” Richt has said it doesn’t matter to him whether one back gets the bulk of the carries or whether it’s tailback-by-committee.

  The defense in general? “Jeffrey Owens, I know, is going to be huge for us to get back,” Richt said. “He’s an outstanding player, but he’s also a very spirited player — a guy who can rally people around him. And I think Rennie [Curran] has grown into his position now where he has the ultimate respect of his teammates. And you get that strong leadership right up the gut, it helps very much. And Reshad Jones and Bryan Evans.  Right up the heart of our defense, there are a lot of veterans everybody respects and who are outstanding leaders for us. If we stay healthy and play with the type of spirit I know we can, we’ll be much improved on defense.”

 

   Now, changing the subject to a couple of non-football topics:

  – The baseball draft:  The 11 UGA players picked in the MLB draft were the most from any school this year. Florida and Ole Miss had 10 each.  And Georgia’s 11 were by far its most ever. Previously, the most Bulldogs chosen in one draft was six, most recently last year. Of this year’s 11 drafted Dogs,  eight are juniors, meaning they could opt to return for one more season in Athens.  Slugging 1B Rich Poythress has made it clear in a couple of recent conversations that he intends to sign with Seattle and get his pro career started. He points out he’ll be 22 by the end of the summer and figures this is his time.  It’s also expected that closer Dean Weaver (seventh-round pick) and OF Matt Cerione (13th round) will sign pro contracts. But it’ll be interesting to see what the other five juniors, drafted in the 17th through 47th rounds, do –- stay or go? (I’d guess stay, in most cases.) Georgia also had six signees drafted. Here are the lists of drafted Dogs (with overall selection number):

 UGA PLAYERS

 51. Rich Poythress (Seattle Mariners, 2nd round)

  81. Trevor Holder (Washington Nationals, 3rd round)

  202. Dean Weaver (Washington Nationals, 7th round)

  383. Matt Cerione (Seattle Mariners, 13th round)

  506. Jeff Walters (Baltimore Orioles, 17th round)

  771. Michael Demperio (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 25th round)

  787. Alex McRee (Los Angeles Dodgers, 26th round)

  901. Bryce Massanari (Colorado Rockies, 30th round)

  966. Will Harvil (Arizona Diamondbacks, 32nd round)

  1232. Joey Lewis (Kansas City Royals, 41st round)

  1405. Justin Earls (Pittsburgh Pirates, 47th round)

  UGA SIGNEES

  404. Zach Dotson (New York Mets, 13th round)

  798. Miles Head (Boston Red Sox, 26th round)

  838. Eric Swegman (Atlanta Braves, 28th round)

  925. Zach Taylor (Pittsburgh Pirates, 31st round)

  958. Jake Montgomery (Atlanta Braves, 32nd round)

  1016. Malcolm Clappsaddle (Baltimore Orioles, 34th round) 

    – NCAA track and field: The only person in the history of the UGA men’s track and field program to win the NCAA championship in the javelin, Chris Hill, will try to do it again tonight. (Here’s a story on Georgia’s unknown national champ.)  Hill, who won the event last year, needed just one throw to qualify for this year’s finals at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. His opening throw of 234 feet, 4 inches was the second longest of the qualifying round Wednesday night. USC’s Corey White had the longest qualifying throw (254-10). Hill’s longest throw this season is 265-10. Six UGA athletes have won NCAA individual championships during the 2008-09 school year, led by gymnast Courtney Kupets, who won four. Four swimmers and one equestrian rider won NCAA titles in their events. A swimming relay team also won a title. Hill tries to add to the impressive list tonight.

   (And with that, I’m off to vacation. Back on June 22.)

 

171 comments Add your comment

athensdawg

June 12th, 2009
7:05 am

we will find out if this improved health and spirit is worth anything when we go to stillwater.

Fools Gold

June 12th, 2009
8:07 am

Until better recruiting,coaching and strength and conditioning vastly improves its SOS for UGA football.

weatherdawg

June 12th, 2009
8:24 am

I have no doubt that if the majority of our players are healthy, we will be ready to roll. There is a ton of talent on this roster and if everything clicks–who knows.

Gold foolishness—you are just a sad and pathetic individual. I actually feel sorry for you.

MiltonDawg

June 12th, 2009
8:41 am

I like our setup going into the season. the pressure is off us from being a #1 ranking. IF we can keep our lines healthy everthing else will fall into place. King will be probably be named starter for Ok St and we’ll see what happens from there. Rennie will be great this year and hopefully the captain on D along with Owens. We’re in good shape folks, i wouldn’t over analyze everything.

You

June 12th, 2009
8:50 am

PTC DAWG

June 12th, 2009
9:07 am

Cue the GT fans that show their love here often…

Paddy

June 12th, 2009
9:14 am

Fools Gold… you must be watching some other team, not the Dawgs. No comment in the recent past has been so far off base. My guess you are an Arkansas fan and love your “no backbone” coach.

Saint Simons

June 12th, 2009
9:17 am

45-42!!!!!!!! hahahahahahaahahaahahahahah

Otto

June 12th, 2009
9:21 am

Looking forward to UGA’s second home coming party of the season in Bobby Dodd!

DawginLex

June 12th, 2009
9:25 am

Gold Fool,

You ever done a mat drill? You don’t know squat about anything inside the UGA football program and you never will. you are just another nerd Techie who is a UGA wannabee. Our program is a consistent winner and jealous haters like you can’t stand it. If that is SOS, I’ll take it: 82 wins in 8 years, 2 SEC titles and finishing in the top 10 most years under Richt.

Gold Fool=Big Tool

BugKiller

June 12th, 2009
9:35 am

The funny thing Mark Richt NEVER wants to talk about is the statistical trend following his Bulldog defense since the incompetent Willie Martinez, his BFF, took over in 2005.

You know, the trend that points down, EVERY YEAR, for four straight years.

Meaning one year of bad injuries is NOT the aberration Richt lies to us and tells us it is.

Every year, the defense has gotten worse in points allowed, yards allowed, and penalties accrued.

If they kept a stat for missed tackles, I’m sure that’d be up there, too.

11 games giving up 30 points or more in 4 years under Martinez. That’s a Georgia football record! Way to go, Coach! You deserve a raise! Wait a minute…

3 games giving up 40 or more points in ONE YEAR. That too, is a Georgia football record.

Do you know how many times in BVG’s four years that the Dawgs gave up 30 or more points?

ONCE. In the 2003 SEC Championship Game.

ONCE.

Willie Martinez is incompetent and a disgrace to Bulldog Football.

As long as he is mismanaging the defense, the Dawgs have NO SHOT.

He personally ruined what probably was one of the greatest seasons ever by a Bulldogs offense.

FIRE WILLIE MARTINEZ!!!

DawginLex

June 12th, 2009
9:43 am

Richt knows WM is under the microscope. He is not stupid. You really believe it was all WM’s fault last year? Missing all the players with injuries didn’t contribute? Stafford throwing dumb interceptions didn’t contribute?

m

June 12th, 2009
9:48 am

I hope ugag improves a lot so that they can give Paul Johnson and Tech a decent game. PJ doesn’t like to play patsies.

45-42…how sweet the sound.

bigdawg01

June 12th, 2009
9:52 am

Saint Simons,
It is really getting old. Get some new matierial. Hope you enjoyed your once a decade win.

BigMike

June 12th, 2009
9:55 am

It’s simple! Look at the top players from the dogs last year. R .Curren, Knowshon, Stafford, A.J. Green, and Geno Atkins, they all looked physically superior to there teammates. Get stronger, get faster, win CHAMPIONSHIPS. P.S. Ask Tebow, Harvin, and B. Spikes. And I hate the Gators!

BugKiller

June 12th, 2009
9:55 am

How many of those “dumb” INTs did Stafford throw when the Dawgs were down because Willie’s incompetent preparation and handling of his defense led to the need for the offense to make a comeback?

Stafford threw one horrendous INT all year. One.

Willie Martinez, over four years, has had a trend you can follow, that you can make graphs of.

Go look up the numbers for yourself. They, again, point to the fact that last year’s injuries WERE NOT an aberration.

The defense has been getting worse and worse, EVERY YEAR, under Martinez.

That’s why it’s called a TREND. It supersedes and overrides things like “one” bad year, or “one” injury-filled year.

Again… go look up the numbers yourself. The two most important statistics for any defense are points allowed and yards allowed.

Go see how they’ve gotten worse, EVERY year under Martinez.

Then go see how stupid his defenses play under him because of lack of preparation and terrible in-game management on his part in the amount of penalties (specifically 15-yard killers like roughing the passer) his defenses have gotten.

Willie Martinez is incompetent.

Willie Martinez got a raise from his BFF, Mark Richt… and Bulldog Nation needs to be asking WHY?

Why, Tim Tucker, has the worst defensive coordinator in Bulldog History (on numbers and performance alone) gotten a pay raise?

Why, Tim Tucker, does a guy who’s defenses have given up a Georgia record 11 thirty-point games in a four year period, get a raise and not a boot out the door?

It couldn’t be because he’s best friends with the Coach? That they used to be roomies together at Miami? Could it?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Much in the way Bobby Bowden let his emotional attachment to his son destroy his once proud football program, Richt, a Bowden Disciple, has let his emotional attachment to his friend pull this team down, again and again.

The only difference is, Richt doesn’t have two national titles he can fall back on.

As long as Richt refuses to fire Martinez for the good of the program, his seat deserves to be getting warm.

swimdawg68

June 12th, 2009
9:59 am

Hey Saint Simons, UGA 7 trade school 1 under CMR, hahahahahahahahahaha Will become 8-1 in Nov.

BigMike

June 12th, 2009
9:59 am

Hey Bulldog nation, there is a NFL defensive co-ordinator with the HOUSTON TEXANS, named Frank Bush from Athens Ga. Might think about bringing him home. Just a thought! Still in his 40’s to!

Saint Simons

June 12th, 2009
10:01 am

I hate myself.

reservoirDAWG

June 12th, 2009
10:14 am

Is it football season yet?

UGA Belle

June 12th, 2009
10:16 am

If you think injuries, interceptions (& fumbles), and terrible special teams had no influence on our defensive performance last season, you must not have been watching UGA. Also, lets not forget that these are kids playing a game. Support them or find something else to do!

the real Athens Dawg

June 12th, 2009
10:43 am

Hey Bug, I’m a season ticket guy since ‘86, and am as huge a Dog fan as anyone, but seriously dude, calm down.

Georgia News - 6/12/09 | MrSEC.com

June 12th, 2009
10:57 am

[...] Here’s whazzup in the Peach State this morning:Mark Richt says that he’s going to “give a lot less of my opinion.”  Some fans and writers have said the coach has come across as whiney in recent weeks.  “A lot of times, I will say things pretty tongue-in-cheek, but it doesn’t read that way.  So I’ve just got to guard my words.”Richt did share this opinion: “If we stay healthy and play with the type of spirit I know we can, we’ll be much improved on defense.” [...]

SavannahDawg

June 12th, 2009
10:58 am

Hey bugkiller, its time to get out of the sandbox and take your toys and go home. You sound like a spoiled child; if you are a Dawg Fan then you know that Coach Richt said long ago that when he chose BVG as defensive coordinator that BVG & WM were both capable of running the defense. And if you think lousy special teams play and turnovers did not affect the defense, you don’t know football! Stop your tired chants of FIRE WILLIE and support the dawgs of STFU!

nola dawg

June 12th, 2009
10:59 am

where is chip? did he get let go by the AJC?

Tim – like the topics you pick, but get involved in the discussion man… see DOB, Sekou, Led, Mark B, etc…

DR

June 12th, 2009
11:10 am

Saint Simons your team won 1 game in the past 8 years. I guess you are real happy?

HH

June 12th, 2009
11:12 am

If UGA has a season that doesn’t meet expectations this year any better then last, then there will be no point in blaming Willie or Bozo or any other member of the coaching staff any longer. The blame will have to be laid squarely where it should be: on Coach Overpaid and Overrated. This will be the year that shows Georgia fans whether Richt is worth 2.9 Mil or about 29 cents. No offense to the Richt lovers.

reality check

June 12th, 2009
11:34 am

There is no question Georgia’s defense was a problem last year, and a lot of that was due to injuries.

The poular view on this blog seems to be that Martinez is the cause of the problem and there is longing for the days of Brian Van Gorder. The reality is that the defensive statistics under Martinez are an average of 298 yards per game during his tenure. Van Gorder? 296 yards per game during his tenure. Even though I acknowlege the defense was a disappointment last year the average yards per game weren’t that far off – 314 yards per game.

Penalties last year were a problem on both offense and defense. Georgia also suffered from a negatve turnover ratio. I think we have a chance for a big improvement this year if players stay healthy.

One other thing I will mention is that Samuel could turn out to be a beast at running back. Last year he averaged over 5 yards a carry and he really improved his body lean as the year went on. He is by far the fastest Georgia back and now 225 pounds. He has just turned 18.

Will

June 12th, 2009
11:50 am

Remeber this name as well….Marcus Washington. The run-stopping linebacker will make a huge difference with Jeff Ownes. You had better have a hell of an offensive line to be able to push these boys around.

TW

June 12th, 2009
11:51 am

BugKiller – I feel your pain man. I feel for Willie’s D the same way I felt about Donnan’s Off, back when Tenn owned us for a decade and Jasper and Q weren’t doin’ jack squat.

And that they somehow PROMOTED Jancek, the LB ‘coach,’ is enough to make me sick.

We better have a GREAT off, cuz we gonna need 50s on a regular basis.

Huh?

June 12th, 2009
12:04 pm

I challenge anyone making excuses for the defense to re-watch the Kentucky and Georgia Tech games. I then challenge you to explain to me how injuries, the lack of a pass rush, or any other lame excuse you can come up with had anything to do with those sad and pathetic performances by our defense. Why pray tell do we need a pass rush against two teams with running QB’s that rarely pass? Nesbitt and Randall had only a combined 26 passing attempts against us and they only completed half of them. Yet their offenses still dropped 80 freaking points on us. What shred of good would a pass rush have done us against those guys? Get real people. And what pray tell do injuries have to do with the guys out there playing? They weren’t injured, but they still couldn’t tackle a granny in a wheelchair. You could make a two hour highlight film of all their whiffed tackles last year. Once again, get real.

Its hardly a bold proposition to suggest that our defense will improve in 2009 after the way they closed out 2008. The only way to go is up.

gTa==RaMbLiNg WrEcK

June 12th, 2009
12:09 pm

Yall are overrated every single year! When will you puppies realize that you are always going to be that 9-3 sec team for as long as richt is there! If richt was going to win a National championship he would’ve done years ago! UGA WILL ALWAYS BE A 10-2, 9-3 Team for as long as CMR is around! But that might not be too long if he keeps losing to florida, and Georgia Tech!

ceph

June 12th, 2009
12:21 pm

In Richts next press conference would someone please ask him what he means when he says,”The Georgia Way” he is constantly saying this but for the life of me I have no idea what he means (secretely I don’t think he does either) I don’t think he has a definitive answer but I would like to hear him explain it!!!!

REX FERAL

June 12th, 2009
12:22 pm

Tech fans would sell their slide rules to be a 10-2 team year after year.

Biscuit

June 12th, 2009
12:39 pm

Can’t wait for November in Bobby Dodd…i think im gonna go to jail for punching out every pansy in a golden tie I see, that is if they can fill the stadium. techies, your losers and wimps, all of you.

Nation

June 12th, 2009
12:40 pm

The only good thing about Tech is that you can walk to the Varsity from the campus. I still don’t understand why NERDS comment on our page? Can someone please explain that to me? I have never, and will never read or comment on a NERDS page/blog. It’s pathetic that NERDS would rather read about their rivals than their own team. Go write a stupid comment on your Facebook page – you are not welcome here.

Ely-Kelso

June 12th, 2009
1:04 pm

Saint Simons,
Overall 59-39-5
This decade 7-2
Past 20 years 15-5

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Let's Go Bravos!

June 12th, 2009
1:04 pm

I’m hoping we are going to be like Tennessee in 98, when Peyton Manning left and Tee Martin came in and led them to a National Title!! However, it’s possible that we lose to Florida, LSU, Oklahoma State, and maybe one more. I’m hoping that for the first one though!!

JaxDawg

June 12th, 2009
1:06 pm

Reality Check – good points, also a big difference is the field position the kicking game put us in as well. Penalties and turnovers left the defense with short fields on several occasions.

Also with the injuries, the thing we were missing last year that we haven’t missed in many years was a dominating defensive lineman that warranted a double team. Owens would have definitely been that guy last year before he got injured. Geno Atkins got a ton of great experience last year and I look for Owens and Atkins to a be a great tandem like Stroud & Seymour.

Having Marcus Washington back will be huge as well.

We should have a pretty good idea of what kind of team we’ll have after the first two games.

OkSt will let us know how good the D will be and SC will give us an idea of how strong the offense will be.

JaxDawg

June 12th, 2009
1:10 pm

Nation – you obviously haven’t taken a visit to the techies’ blog! go visit it for a few minutes and you will quickly understand why they hang out here!

GATOR CHOMP

June 12th, 2009
1:11 pm

Quit dreaming losers the Mutts will be lucky 2 win 7 games this year and thats being nice. Book It

Saint Simons

June 12th, 2009
1:18 pm

Rody jones just scored again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nation

June 12th, 2009
1:33 pm

JaxDawg – I’ll take your word for it. Regarding this season: 11-1 is very realistic if everyone stays healthy.

Pi$$onaDAWG

June 12th, 2009
1:34 pm

See you in the getto(hahaha)! I hope the athens rednecks can figure out how to get in/out of the big city. We don’t let MULES pull wagon homes through the city anymore.

Pi$$onaDAWG

June 12th, 2009
1:38 pm

11-1 what are you growing in your class? 0-1 to start and you think you will win the rest? HAHAHAHAH. I will use the old USC bumber sticker Line “you can’t lick our Cox”, but Arron will be the starter after 1 loss and a close game. Game 3 will be a loss but A. Murry looks like the man.

Roaddawg80

June 12th, 2009
1:40 pm

BuG Killer=Moron

You keep posting that about CWM. WHy? Have you looked up the numbers. Actually, CWM had better numbers than CBV did. You go look the figures up you incompatant idiot.

Not to include BVG did all his numbers over 3 years only with a control QB in David Greene. What does this mean? IT means Greene never turned the ball over and put his D in bad situations. He also had a veteran D for 2 out of the 3 years he was there.

Now CWM hasn’t had that luxery. He had Joe T at quarterback.(no offense to Joe) He also had to live through Staffords Freshman year where he threw 18 INT.

SO actually you idiot I am tired of illiterat Bulldog fans bashing something they don’t know. CWM has had better numbers than CBV overall. He had one bad year and it really was nothing he could do.

People like you Bug Killer are the reasons why I hate these posts. You are probably the guy that yells out stupid stuff in the stands(if you even go to games) that gives bad names to UGA fans.

ADAMT

June 12th, 2009
1:51 pm

Thanks for the suggestion, BigMike. In order to get rid of Martinez it’s going to have to come from the administration….Richt will never fire anyone. I’m for Willie this year, and hopefully that won’t have to happen.

Fools Gold

June 12th, 2009
2:27 pm

Seems like Bug Killer understands the state of UGA’s football program under CMR. I predict at least two games the mutts will allow 30 points and over. Too many kool aid drinkers just dont see the trend. Sorry dawg fans but get ready for the Stillwater blues.

dUmB dAWg

June 12th, 2009
2:33 pm

i SuRE hOPe dAwGs dOnt dRink ToO mUCh sPiriTs oN dEFenSE. tHey alreAdY loOkeD drUNk eNough uNdEr WiLlIE lASt yEar.

BruffDawg

June 12th, 2009
2:47 pm

Score from still water UGA 35 OSU 17. Write it down.