What did we learn about the 2011 Georgia Bulldogs during spring?

In case you missed it, I wrote a piece for the print section called “What We Learned in the Spring” on Georgia football. You can CLICK HERE to read it now. I also put together a quick, early preview of the Bulldogs’ 12 games this season.

You can see there what I think, but I’m interested in hearing what you think. So you tell me what you thought were some of the revelations about Georgia during the spring? Who showed you something and who disappointed? And looking at the schedule, what do you believe is a realistic outcome for the Bulldogs in 2011?

Also, one of the more popular features I did while writing the AJC Recruiting Blog was “The Mailbag.” I don’t see any reason why we can do the same thing over here at the UGA Blog. So if you have a specific question about Georgia athletics you’d like to ask me, send it to me directly at UGAmailbag@yahoo.com or to my AJC email account, ctowers@ajc.com. Be sure to let me know how you’d like to be identified. Your questions and my answers will appear in The Mailbag on Fridays (as long as we have enough reasonable queries and there is not any breaking news that day). If I don’t have an answer for you right away, I’ll track it down and post it eventually.

Meanwhile, be sure to let me know what other stories and profiles you’d like to see here. I’ll be putting up something later on linebackers Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones. As always, your feedback and participation.

– Chip Towers, The UGA Blog

43 comments Add your comment

Fact and Law

April 19th, 2011
10:45 am

The defense looks extremely sharp and they seem to finally be making the turn. I am confident in CTG’s ability to turn this defense into a machine…this could be the start.

The Offensive line is where the rubber meets the road for 2011. Aaron Murray and company should be able to post some pretty solid numbers. However, a lot of the offense’s success will depend on the improvement of the OL during the summer. We have a fairly suspect OL and very little depth. I am confident in Coach Friend….let’s just see what happens and hope for the best.

Here is to 2011!! Go Dogs!!

Jamaica Dawg

April 19th, 2011
10:49 am

Excellent article on Richard Samuel by Steve Hummer – keep up this quality journalism!

Paul N Destin

April 19th, 2011
10:52 am

UGA needs a big dose of tuffness if they want to compete. Perhaps TG and the assistant coaches (some) can supply what the HC wouldn’t.

It Ain't Rocket Science

April 19th, 2011
10:59 am

Agree with you 100% Fact and Law about the O line being the missing cog for the offense. I think we will have the Rb’s, although they need to pick it up somewhart, and I also think a WR or two will step up to the plate. We have good depth in the tight ends, and I think it is safe to say the fullback position is in good hands. O line has to step up to the plate and at the very least, control the line of scrimmage. Don’t think they will necessarily have to be able to blow the defense off the line, but they need to control the line and give the plays time to develope and be successful. Ball control will be paramont this year, since I beleive that the defense will get a fair amount of 3 and outs against their opponentsw.I think people fail to realize that the DAWGS were truely embarrassed by last years performance and they want to get some of their pride back. Sometimes that spurs players to play a little above themselves and I think this bunch of DAWGs, will play with a little bit of nasty and meaness to get back up to speed. If the S and C coach can keep them on a good training regiment, we DAWG fans might just be surprised about our O line. They do have some big old bodies that will have to step up and do the job. Not as much experience as one would hope for on the o line, but they can mature quickly with the right coach teaching them.
GO DAWGS and let the negative comments from the outside begin.

PaleRider

April 19th, 2011
11:00 am

Simple. If we do not beat Florida this year, we never ever will again. We will never beat the Gators again, ever. Period. Never.

It Ain't Rocket Science

April 19th, 2011
11:13 am

Really good article on Samuels for sure. He has already been through a lot, just coming to the states and he sure seems to have a good academic record. I sure hope he shines this year for the D. He is a feel good story and a lesson for all young kids who aspire to play college sports. Get those grades up and remainn humble. You eventually will be rewarded for you hard work. He may never get a chance at the Pros. but this young man will succeed in life for sure. I wish college footbal could have a lot more Samuels on thier teams. He is what college sports is all about or at least what it should be all about.

Chip Towers

April 19th, 2011
11:33 am

PaleRider: Something tells me “we” is not the pronoun you seek.

Dawg Gone

April 19th, 2011
12:00 pm

Agreed the O line will be a big question mark next season. However I think the Dawgs have some good talent in place and having a good D line to go against every day in practice will help flatten out the learning curve. All in all I think it was a good spring for the D and I’m fired up for 2011…Go Dawgs!

Dan

April 19th, 2011
12:14 pm

We must establish a power running game and Malcome could be the answer. Crowell will provide speed on the edges but until we line up and shove the running game down the opponents throat, we can continue winning 6-8 games a year.

The defense will be much improved and very few people have noted we will have the largest front 3 and front 4 in the SEC and possibly the nation. These big bodies have talent too. Add with that LB’s that can run and a secondary that is in year 2 of development and this group could be special. The coaching is there, just hope the development and talent is.

Mobile Dawg

April 19th, 2011
12:46 pm

My biggest concern lies with CMR and Mike Bobo, their ability to manage the players they have to get the most out of them. I do believe Richt plays favorites and is “married” to his “philosophy” regardless of whether the personnel fit it or not.

Obviously the “perceived” improvement of the defense is the most optimistic part of this spring.

AthDawg

April 19th, 2011
12:51 pm

Things to address:

1. The last time Ga blocked a punt?
2. The last time Ga faked a field goal?
3. The last time Ga used clock management to score with a minute to play before the half?
4. The last time Ga ran the No Huddle?
5. The last time our Head Coach showed some motivation, fire and enthusiasm in the locker room and on the sidelines?
6. The last time Ga showed a creative offense?
7. The last time our Coaches took the blame?
8. The last time we did the unexpected, instead of the obvious.
9. The last time Richt actually said in public the words “win a Championship”?

1eyedJack

April 19th, 2011
1:07 pm

Run the ball on offense.
Stop the run on defense.
Play sound special teams.

Billy The Kid

April 19th, 2011
1:13 pm

With a name like Bonner, what can you expect?

Dan

April 19th, 2011
1:21 pm

Hey AthDawg,
What does faking FG’s have to do with winning?

If you have listened to Richt any in the past couple of years you may have heard him mention that he believed the SEC officiating crews ended his no huddle offense by how slowly they were lining the ball back up for play. He actually commented again on it in his GDay presser. Pay attention.

I can only assume you’ve been in the locker room to see CMR’s lack of motivation, fire, & enthusiasm?

Creative offense? We scored more points in 2010 than we have in years. We scored more than 30 in more consective games than any UGA team in history. Creative offense? The problem last year and post Van Gorder is stopping the other team from scoring.

Your comments are lame. Try watching the game and listening to press conferences, you might even learn something.

Dawg Gone

April 19th, 2011
1:23 pm

AthDawg I got my trolling pattern down….

1eyedJack

April 19th, 2011
1:26 pm

Whew! Dodged a bullet with the Bonner kid. Let’s hope IC has more brains and class.

WIN WITH RICHT

April 19th, 2011
1:28 pm

Dawgs’ defense should be a lot better in 2012. The players will be familar with 3-4 and will have a nose guard this year. If Jones, Samuel, and Olgetree play well, it could be a dominating defense.

51WTGW50

April 19th, 2011
1:28 pm

We learned DEION BONNER doesn’t know “It Ain’t Rocket Science”. I bet he was going to be a Housing Major with a Minor in Botany. He would sit around the dorm all day smoking stuff and getting ready to steal some other stuff when people left for class.

51WTGW50

April 19th, 2011
1:31 pm

UGA’s Defence is so good that they don’t put LOCKS on their Lockers. Those guys must be TUFF if they trust people to be so scared of them not to steal their stuff.

Dawg Gone

April 19th, 2011
1:38 pm

51WTGW50 got any updates on how your team did during spring drills…or does your team even run spring drill?

51WTGW50

April 19th, 2011
2:00 pm

Dawg Gone
My boys have been Drilling all Spring and Laying yards and yards of Pipe.

RxDawg

April 19th, 2011
2:27 pm

Well welcome back to the UGA blog Chip =D

Dawg Gone

April 19th, 2011
2:35 pm

51WTGW50 nice to know your boys still maintain that close “special” relationship they are so well know for.

Steve

April 19th, 2011
2:53 pm

AthDawg, while I think your list is decent, you did go a little over the top. All that trick and gimmick stuff is what underpowered teams use to level the playing field. UGA should NOT have to be stooping to that.

My list would be:

1) Make a stop on third down. I have no idea how many times we had good defensive plays on first and second down only to give up a play on third that killed our momentum from the first two plays. In my opinion, ‘win the drill’ this year should not be to ‘play for four quarters’ but to play for FOUR DOWNS. If you break the game down that way it’s like the way Stan Musial used to break down batting .. every at bat was a war … NOT the LAST AT BAT .. not a games worth of at bats .. but each and every at bat. Football is a little different, but this ‘play all four’ mentality is useless compared to breaking each first thru fourth down into a mini ‘at-bat’.

2) Run the ball. PERIOD. I don’t care that we scored 30 points a game. We were only good when we were scoring AND CONTROLLING THE CLOCK. Heck, the Falcons gave the blueprint on how important controlling the clock is. In the June Jones and MV3 era, we had no clock/ball control and the defenses suffered from it. Running the ball cannot stop just because you have one bad series, because the overall effect on the other team as the game wears on is of vast importance. RUN, RUN, RUN and RUN some more. Mix in a pass every now and then to keep the opponent off-balance. I would shoot for a minimum 60% run. Florida, Auburn, Alabama and LSU all won championships by running far more often than passing. Yes, a QB running the ball is still a run.

3) No more reverses. We had to run at least two a game last year and we never broke a big play and just going off memory I would bet we had a negative yardage total. WHY ARE WE DOING THAT STUPID TRICK PLAY??

4) Work on our HB screen plays. After watchign other teams annihilate us with them for the first half of the year and realizing our execution of the same play was terrible .. its obvious we need to work on this and use it as a weapon. Maybe our offense practicing this play would also help our defense to recognize and stop it. On a side note, we used to use shuffle passes and also two-tier middle routes with a TE clearing out the middle and a RB sliding in … what happened to those two plays?

5) More power running and fewer toss sweeps. This ain’t the Herschel Walker days of the 80’s. This is thirty years later and the pverall speed of players across the board has drastically shrank the width of the field. Stop trying to hit the corner on toss sweeps that are easily sniffed out. Run and run with authority .. right up the middle. Look above for the benefits of running, but add on to it that it pulls the LB’s and safeties up and leaves the middle wide open for deep strikes instead of only the sidelines.

6) Gain some sort of identity. Anything. Give our LB core a nickname and make them WANT to be proud of it. Or our linemen a nickname or something. I have always noticed that units with nicknames seem to play above their heads as ar as intensity goes. Sure, they might still make mistakes, but quite frankly, our intensity the last half decade after Pollack and Davis left has been for ….

BigGAdawg

April 19th, 2011
3:01 pm

51WTGW50, They do not normally need locks on their lockers as the building is quite secure. This occurred during an open house of the new facilities. If they lived in the hood like you gnats I am sure they would have locked lockers at all times.

Now on to something important: I can’t wait to see Kwame Geathers, John Jenkins and DeAngelo Tyson lined up together in the center.

at least we're better than tech.

April 19th, 2011
4:00 pm

I agree with ATHdawg about not attempting to block punts (ever) and not trying to score with less than a minute before halftime (ever). UGA is perhaps the most unaggressive team playing college football today. Where’s the attitude? Where’s the sense of urgency? This team doesn’t play to win. It plays to not lose.

Frank Lane

April 19th, 2011
7:21 pm

I read my program from the G Day game today, and I WAS OFFENDED AS A NON-DENOMINATIONAL FAN.

The program was wholly inappropriate for a publication from a public university (so to speak). It was like a program dedicated to the Fellowship for Christian Athletes. I think that our quarterback is Jewish. I know Bill Goldberg was. Musa Smith was Muslim. Did anyone else notice? Is Richt coaching a football team or running a church?

Dawg89

April 19th, 2011
7:49 pm

What did we learn? We are indeed screwed.

cadawg

April 19th, 2011
8:07 pm

i learned we have a chance to be a good football team, and that’s all you can ask for coming out of spring practice after a 6-7 season. i learned branden smith looks like a baller, as do samuel and both ogletrees. i also learned that carlton thomas will never again see meaningful minutes in a georgia uniform.

Cant Beat Gatuah

April 19th, 2011
8:15 pm

UGA fans learned once again that the offense is still vanilla and less than handful of players looked like the new S&C program has really improved or helped them. Mark down another loss to the Gators and Muschamp come October.

Steve Superior

April 19th, 2011
8:17 pm

You are what your record says you are and UGA is a 6 – 7 football team right now.

Swami Sez

April 19th, 2011
8:36 pm

This is Mark Richts last year at UGA.

PowerDawg

April 20th, 2011
12:44 am

Nick Marshall in the game on offense. Wildcat? He11 no!

End around or fake end-around, pull up, 50 yrd bomb to TK in the end zone.

Six points…guaranteed.

That’s all the trickery we will ever need. Ever.

Columbus Dawg

April 20th, 2011
5:41 am

Hey Florida boy, don’t look now but UGA is about to take the series back, and that very mediocre, former UGA player/coach will be the source of much gator hatred in no time. The worst team Georgia has had since the Goff days in 2010, and still took your gators down to the wire. Many believe that this was exactly why Meyer suddenly had to reinstate Rainey, the fine young man that he is, to make the difference for him. It worked. Muschamp won’t have a clue what to do when the Dawgs commence to whuppin’ on them gators early and often. Dawgs dominated Muschamp’s D when at Auburn. Can’t wait till Jax.

Columbus Dawg

April 20th, 2011
5:41 am

Hey Florida boy, don’t look now but UGA is about to take the series back, and that very mediocre, former UGA player/coach will be the source of much gator hatred in no time. The worst team Georgia has had since the Goff days in 2010, and still took your gators down to the wire. Many believe that this was exactly why Meyer suddenly had to reinstate Rainey, the fine young man that he is, to make the difference for him. It worked. Muschamp won’t have a clue what to do when the Dawgs commence to whuppin’ on them gators early and often. Dawgs dominated Muschamp’s D when at Auburn. Can’t wait till Jax.

AltamahaDawg

April 20th, 2011
7:14 am

Every coach in the country plays favorites. Why in the world would they not? It’s thier job to put who they think best on the field.

It Ain't Rocket Science

April 20th, 2011
10:15 am

I have learned one thing from the “G” day game. Wait and see how it looks when the real pre-season preparation starts in the fall. This is a fan game, with certain people picking their favorites to play with them regardless of who the better players are at that point. It is a fun game designed to let the fans see all of the DAWGS, but is meaningless due to rules installed and vanilla game plans. You get a glimpse of some of the athletes that could stand out for the team, but remember, they are basically restricted a lot by the rules put into play for a practice game. You most likely will not see the majority of the players that played, start for the DAWGS this fall, although some of them may get playing time. The players are not going to kill themselves in this game and the coaches are going to control, the pace, game plan, and rules of the game.

Old Dawg

April 20th, 2011
4:55 pm

Chip, as far as stories ideas go …
If possible, how does the coaching staff select players to attend summers camps and what is the evaluation process while they’re at the camps

A few weeks ago there was a story on Notre Dame using a camera on QB’s helmets that assisted the coaches with their evaluations of progressions and decision-making.

The strength and conditioning and nutrition issues are very interesting. A feature on that and how the players think it is helping them would be nice.

Lastly, a piece on the overall recruiting landscape in Georgia. A lot of people complain about in-state players from Georgia signing with out of state schools, but the fact UGA can only sign 25 annual and have 85 total scholarships is always missed. The point that needs to be drive home is that recruiters go after specific needs, and UGA has academic issues that other schools don’t.

Thanks, Chip. Keep up the great work!

Jim

April 20th, 2011
10:22 pm

Chip,

I break the 12 game sinto 3 levels.

Level 1’s are Inferior Opponents:
Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Coastal Carolina & New Mexico St

Looking at 4-0 against these 4 teams. If Richt loses 1 of these games, he’s fired.

Equals are Unranked 6-6 teams:
Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Tenn

All 3 games are a toss up, going with 2-1 here.

Superior opponents are all top 25 ranked teams:
Florida, Auburn, South Carolina, Boise State, Miss St

Richt’s been killed by ranked oppoonents last 2 years, 2-9, going with 1-4 record against these 5 ranked oppoenents.

7-5 season.

And Richt and the whole staff are fired.

JE

April 20th, 2011
10:32 pm

Why do so many rave about how many points we scored last year. Would you look at who we scored most of them against. We were 6-7. Does that not tell you something? Our defense stopped no one. Our offense put pressure on the defense because some of those games we lost we got outscored……Well that is a profound statement…..Our defense gave up so many points the offense had to score all those points to keep up to possibly win. Forget what our offense did last year. Look at the time of possession. Remember Auburn We were up 21-7 then they just ball controlled us to death and wore our defense out. That happened several times last year. Just look a the time of possession. The opponent had the ball almost thirty minutes more that UGA had the ball last year. Very possibly because the clock stops when you have an incompletion. Three incomplete passes and a punt probably takes up around 40 seconds. Most running teams run 40 seconds off the clock per play. In that case time of possession is around three or four times greater with a running team. We were perdictable.

John Gordon

April 20th, 2011
11:43 pm

I love my Dawgs! I always read this blog…and when I’ve had my fill of sports I read Twenty-First Tycoon. It’s an awesome site, and it’s based out of Georgia…which is better than supporting some stupid New Yorker!

AltamahaDawg

April 23rd, 2011
11:07 am

3 or 4 times? I don’t think so. A decisive victories is more like 33-37 minutes of the game. Nobody in the country reached 35 minutes last year. You are saying a running team can control the clock for 45-48 minutes of a 60 minute football game?

BTW, Georgia lead in time of poss. last year, both season and SEC games. Not sure where the 30 minutes less came from, even though if that were true, it’s 2.5 minutes a game more, % points more, not 3X.

LSU was the top team in rushing attempt , and UGA beat them in clock control, so out with that theory.

*** Auburn actually was , but that was a very unusual situation with Newton, and they still only controlled the clock about a minute longer than thier opponents. (36 second longer then UGA)

clyde poore

April 23rd, 2011
12:54 pm

did hutson mason really throw for 5 or 6 touchdowns,does this concern th db coaches&lb coaches,i would be happ for hutson mason,but extremly upset about the defense.