Archive for October, 2009

Adams resigns key NCAA post

UGA President Michael Adams resigned this week as chairman of the NCAA Executive Committee, the powerful group that ultimately will choose a successor to the late Myles Brand as NCAA president.

Although the move probably will further fuel speculation about Adams as a candidate for the president’s position himself, he said on a teleconference that he stepped down with six months left on his term to ensure that those who choose the next president will be the ones still in place to work with him or her.

“It is time for new leadership at the executive committee level,” Adams said. “I feel very strongly that the group of the executive committee who will work with the next NCAA president needs to be the ones in charge of the search and in charge of that process.

“I feel like, frankly, that I have done what I came to do, and I have done what I promised Myles I would do. . . . And after almost three years of this, and particularly the amount of time it has required of me the last nine …

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A.J. Green and the record book

Something a bit different today. . . .

My AJC colleague Matt Dempsey has been crunching numbers and has come up with some interesting perspective on where A.J. Green stands in the UGA record book.

Based on Green’s statistics for the first seven games of the season, Matt found six  UGA single-season or career lists on which the super sophomore could reach the top five by the end of the regular season.

Here’s what he came up with (Green statistics are through the Vanderbilt game). Hope you enjoy:

Pass Receptions, season

Name                                                   Number          Year

1.  Brice Hunter                                  76                 1993

2.  Terrence Edwards                       59                 2002

2.  Brice Hunter                                  59                  1994

4.  Mohamed Massaquoi                 58                  2008

NR A.J. Green                                      41                  2009

Note: With 17 more …

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Gators favored by 16; does the bye week matter?

A few notes on Monday of Georgia-Florida week:

— Oddsmakers have made Florida a whopping 16-point favorite over Georgia on Saturday, even though the Gators have won their past three games by an average of 7.7 points — 10 over Mississippi State, 3 over Arkansas and 10 over LSU.

— As you know, Georgia is coming off a bye week and Florida is not. So here’s the data on open dates as they relate to the Georgia-Florida series: Georgia is 3-2 vs. Florida when coming off a bye week, while Florida is 14-4 vs. Georgia when coming off a bye week. The Bulldogs’  most recent win over the Gators -– in 2007 -– followed a UGA open date. That’s the only time since 1991, until this year, that Georgia had an open date before the Florida game. Florida, on the other hand, has had a bye week before playing Georgia 13 of the past 16 years.  For whatever all of that is worth.

– Mark Richt was asked Sunday about  the impact  of the bye week. “With this game or series, I think there’s probably a …

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When Urban Meyer was ‘a huge Georgia Bulldog fan’

Athens — Florida coach Urban Meyer made a confession on the SEC coaches’ teleconference this week:  He once was an avid Georgia football fan.

“I was a Herschel Walker fan, like nuts about him, when I grew up,” Meyer said. “He was [at Georgia] right at the point I was in high school [in Ohio], and I was actually a huge Georgia Bulldog fan because of Herschel Walker.”

As you’ve probably heard, Meyer’s quarterback, Tim Tebow, is one rushing touchdown shy of matching Walker’s SEC career record of 49, achieved in 1980-82.   Tebow could be in position to tie or break the record against Walker’s old team next week — unless he does both against Mississippi State on Saturday night.

Said Meyer: “Since my era was Herschel Walker, [I'm] a little bit –- and I don’t want to say it too publicly –- in awe of here’s Tim Tebow, a guy I get to see every day, and you mention him in a rushing record [with] Herschel Walker. That’s pretty powerful.”

Couple of other notes:

– A.J. Green said he was …

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On White’s move to fullback — and Samuel’s future

Mark Richt’s weekly radio call-in show was much tamer last night. Whereas a week before most callers vented about Georgia’s performance at Tennessee,  last night’s callers mostly commended the win at Vanderbilt.

A couple of interesting items from Richt’s comments, which came by phone from his pickup truck in a Columbus parking lot after a speaking engagement:

On last week’s practice-field move of backup linebacker Charles White to fullback: “[He] hasn’t been getting a lot of reps at the linebacker position, and we feel the best chance he can help this football team in the future is at fullback,” Richt said. “So we have made a change for him to play fullback in mid-season because we don’t believe we are pulling away from the defense and he can still play special teams. We will have two senior fullbacks next year [Shaun Chapas and Fred Munzenmaier], so we need to cultivate another fullback.”

White, a redshirt sophomore, has two years of eligibility remaining after this one.

– …

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Emptying the notebook . . .

Stray notes and quotes to start the week:

– If you lost count, Georgia had eight players run the ball and 10 catch it in Saturday’s win at Vanderbilt.

Prince Miller’s punt-return stats for this season before Saturday: nine returns for 63 yards. Miller’s stats on Saturday: two returns for 95 yards. “We did the same thing we’ve been trying to do all year,”  he  said. “But we got some opportunities, and guys made great blocks.”

– UGA’s 34 points were the second most scored against  Vandy since the start of last season, topped only by Florida’s 42 last year.

– On the occasion of Georgia’s bye week, Mark Richt was asked on his teleconference Sunday what he likes most and what concerns him most about this season so far. What he likes most:   “I would say I like the players themselves as far as they are staying together, they are battling away, they are keeping the faith and they keep grinding.” And what concerns him most: “The thing I haven’t liked so much is just the inconsistent …

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First practice for Fox’s first team

Athens — Mark Fox’s first Georgia basketball team opens preseason practice at 5 p.m. today.  “Certainly, we’re excited about the start of our season –- the chance to do what we all love to do, which is get into a gym and coach our players and train our team,” he said.  In a meeting with the media this week,  Fox  touched on these topics:

The benefit to Trey Thompkins of playing on the U.S. Under-19 team that won a gold medal at the World Championships in New Zealand over the summer: “He was able to play on Team USA . . . a privilege few of us ever have a chance to experience. I think he was really able to gain an appreciation of that. But also playing for [the team's coaching staff of] Jamie Dixon [Pittsburgh], Chris Lowery [Southern Illinois] and Matt Painter [Purdue], he was able to play for three proven defensive coaches, proven winners, and I think get a taste of different philosophies that will improve him. Jamie is a long-time friend of mine, and he was very pleased with …

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Running game desperately needed

Athens -– So many things need fixing on Georgia’s football team right now, as you’ll glean from this mid-season report, but one thing that absolutely has to get fixed if the team is going to have any significant success in the second half of the season is the running game.

The Bulldogs are the only SEC team averaging less than 100 yards per game rushing (97.2). Heck, four SEC teams are averaging over 200 yards per game rushing. Florida is averaging almost 300 (284.6).  Nationally, only 16 of 120 major-college teams have run for fewer yards than Georgia this season.

I asked Mike Bobo on Tuesday night what has to happen to turn this around.

“We need to play with more passion up front. We need to finish blocks. And we need to have a sense of urgency when we’re running the football,” Georgia’s offensive coordinator answered. “That’s offensive linemen. That’s tight ends. And that’s running backs.

“You’ve got to take pride in it, and you’ve got to play hard and physical.”

The …

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A player’s post-game tweet to Bulldog Nation

Athens –  As soon as his  plane landed in Athens from Knoxville on Saturday night,  UGA wide receiver Michael Moore made a plea to Bulldog Nation -– or at least to that part of the populace that follows him on Twitter.

He tweeted: “All I can say 2 the dawgnation is don’t turn your backs on us. That’s it. We need u to support us and times like this is when we need u the most.”

I asked him Sunday what prompted the post.

“It’s just what was on my mind. I’m always on my Twitter. I’m talking about everything,”  Moore  said. “And at the time I was just thinking . . . the negativity was about to start brewing and I didn’t want fans to turn their backs on us. So that’s just why I put it out there. I got a positive response from it.”

Moore said he was  gratified by the supportive replies,  which came in  stark contrast to the frenzy of blistering comments on some message boards and talk shows in the aftermath of Saturday afternoon’s 45-19 loss at Tennessee.

“The way I feel is, we’re …

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Monte Kiffin compares A.J. Green to Terrell Owens, Randy Moss

Monte Kiffin, Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, reached for the stars when discussing Georgia’s A.J. Green with  reporters in Knoxville after practice Thursday.

“I’ll tell you what, Green is something else,” Kiffin was quoted as saying by the Knoxville News Sentinel and utsports.com.    “He’s special now.  I told our guys this:  ‘Terrell Owens in his heyday,  Randy Moss, that’s what this guy is.’  You just throw it up and he’ll go get it.”

Kiffin, the longtime NFL defensive mastermind and father of Tennessee’s head coach, added:  “I do believe you can double guys, but it’s hard to do against [Georgia].  We don’t plan on doing it, because they’ll just go to the other side.”

He cited Tavarres King as a receiver who has “really come along,” but apparently had not heard that King suffered a concussion last week. Mark Richt has said “it’s very unlikely [King] will travel” to Knoxville. Kiffin also praised the pass-catching abilities of Georgia’s tight ends, Aron White and Orson …

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Answering questions about Tech-Georgia and the Dome

Athens – By now, I’m pretty sure there’s been a lot more talk in the blogosphere than between the actual parties about the possibility of a Georgia-Georgia Tech football game in the Georgia Dome in September 2011. But, what the heck, let’s talk about it a bit more. . . .

So what would be the advantage for each party?

For the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff Game: an attractive matchup in a year in which it currently lacks a matchup. Organizers have LSU-North Carolina lined up for 2010 and Tennessee-N.C. State for 2012, but need a 2011 pairing.  Atlanta Sports Council president Gary Stokan has talked to just about every program  in the SEC and ACC and a good number of programs in other conferences,  but Tech-Georgia would be hard to top.

For both schools: a payday of $2.3 million or so. That’s no more than Georgia makes from a home game in Athens –- actually, it’s probably less –- but if the $2.3 million came without giving up a home game, it’d be a windfall.

For Tech: To better …

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Emptying the notebook . . .

Duly noted:

– Everyone knew  Knowshon Moreno was a special running back who gained many yards on his own, but this Georgia season is re-proving the point. While Georgia’s offensive line clearly has not created the rooming room that was expected, Richard Samuel and Caleb King haven’t been able to generate much on their own, either.  Saturday was a low point for the running game (just 45 yards  on 24 attempts, just one first down rushing) -– a performance brightened only by the promising debut of freshman tailback Washaun Ealey. Mark Richt said after the game Saturday and again Sunday that Ealey will get more playing time, although he said the staff isn’t ready to “change up the depth chart this second.”  Richt didn’t, however, rule out the possibility of that happening in the days ahead.

– And watching Charles Scott break loose from several would-be tacklers on LSU’s game-winning touchdown Saturday also reminded you of what Georgia hasn’t been  getting from its tailbacks …

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Wooten’s debut . . . dancing Dogs . . . and stray facts

One ball was thrown to him in the Arkansas game. Overthrown, actually.  Then Rantavious Wooten made his first reception for UGA in the second quarter of the Arizona State game, a spectacular catch for a 27-yard gain on 3rd-and-12.

“When I caught it,”  Wooten  said a couple of days ago, “it felt like having a burden lifted off my shoulders. I felt relieved, and I felt excited. I just wanted to keep playing.”

He made the second catch of his collegiate career late in the fourth quarter, a crucial 11-yard gainer on 3rd-and-4 early in the drive that led to the game-winning, game-ending field goal.

Obviously, Wooten had gained the coaches’ confidence with his work on the practice field — a  prerequisite for a freshman to be called upon in a tight game, let alone in a game-deciding drive.

“I knew what I had to do, and I focused and worked real hard and did my best every day to prove to the coaches that I can make the plays and am ready to play,” Wooten said.  “That is what I’ve had …

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No. 4 LSU is underdog to No. 18 Georgia

Athens — Georgia ranks 14 spots behind LSU in this week’s Associated Press college football poll.

And yet oddsmakers have No. 18 Georgia as a 3-point favorite over No. 4 LSU on Saturday.

Anybody else find that strange?

I asked Mark Richt after practice Wednesday.

“Who’s favored? We’re favored?” he replied.  ” I didn’t know we’re favored.  I guess it’s just the home field –- I guess [that] is what they’re thinking. I think they think both teams are good football teams.”

Or maybe, given that four top-10 teams lost last week, there’s a sense that there’s not much difference between No. 4 and No. 18 anyway?

“This time of year, you don’t know,” Richt said. “We’ll find out Saturday. We’ll find out Saturday.”

————————

A voter in the USA Today coaches’ poll, Richt admits he had a hard time filling out his ballot last weekend.

With the four losses among top-10 teams,  he grabbed some scratch paper and started trying to rank teams as if there had been no previous polls this season.

“I …

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