It’s been an interesting month in Bulldog Nation, I’d say. So before moving on to February, let’s revisit January.
THE MONTH’S TOP FIVE UGA SPORTS STORIES:
1. The defensive coordinator search: For some reason –- maybe the Internet/information age in which we live, or maybe the widespread exasperation with two years of declining defense -– Mark Richt’s search for a defensive coordinator drew more attention than any assistant-coach hiring I can recall. Kirby Smart’s rejection of the job roiled Bulldog Nation, which was calmed four days later by the hiring of Todd Grantham.
2. Big basketball upsets: Entering the month, the Bulldogs had not beaten a ranked opponent in men’s basketball in almost three years. But they beat two this month, first Georgia Tech and then Tennessee. The second came in front of a sellout crowd, of all things, in Stegeman Coliseum.
3. Lady Dogs over Lady Vols: Georgia’s women’s basketball team upset No. 3-ranked Tennessee in Stegeman Coliseum, the Lady Dogs’ first victory over the Lady Vols since 2004. The win gave credence to a resurgent season for Georgia’s program.
4. Early exits: In what has become a rite of January in Athens, two Georgia players left school early for the NFL draft. Linebacker Rennie Curran, the team’s MVP last season, and safety Reshad Jones decided to skip their final seasons of college eligibility. The departures, while unsurprising, add to the rebuilding job on defense.
5. Start of a new era: Georgia’s 10-time NCAA champion gymnastics team began the Jay Clark era, opening a season without Suzanne Yoculan as head coach for the first time in 26 years.
AND IN THEIR OWN WORDS . . .
Notable quotes from the Bulldogs beat this month:
Todd Grantham, speaking on his first day on the job in Athens:
“I have always believed -– and I believe to this day -– that if we took the best players in the state of Georgia and within a five-hour radius of our school, if they come to the University of Georgia, then we can win the SEC championship and compete for a national title. And I think you can be better than Florida, you can be better than Texas, and you can be better than Southern Cal if those players came to the University of Georgia.”
The chants in Stegeman Coliseum late in the men’s basketball victories over Georgia Tech and Tennessee, respectively:
“Just Like Football!”
“Lane Kif-fin, Lane Kif-fin.”
Georgia safety Jakar Hamilton, a JUCO transfer who enrolled at UGA this month, on his aggressive, hard-hitting approach to football:
“I’m one of those players who just don’t care. I’ll throw my whole body even if I have to break something to do it. . . . If I have to catch a concussion, I’ll do it.”
A Mark Fox tweet on Twitter:
“My 9yr old asked why DAWG fans don’t do the right/left/right … sit down cheer when an opponent fouls out. I said, we need ‘em 2 foul out 1st.”
And, of course, Alabama coach Nick Saban’s comment that was widely interpreted as pointed advice to Kirby Smart that he shouldn’t leave the Crimson Tide for the Georgia DC job:
“I’m not pleased when guys make lateral moves because it’s a little bit human nature to think, like my dad used to say, the grass is always greener on top of the septic tank.”
YOUR THOUGHTS . . .
So what has jumped out at you about UGA sports in the first month of 2010? Or what do you see ahead for February?
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