Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Dawgs and Hokies

Friday December 29, 2006

It’s easy to overanalyze bowls when so much of them come down to motivation and momentum. In the case of Virginia Tech and Georgia, both finished the regular season pretty well. Both are also looking to get some momentum into next season with their young quarterbacks. These are two teams used to being on top of their conferences and playing in January, so we’ll see which comes out more ready to play. Here’s what I’m looking at in all three phases of the game:

Can Georgia hold its own against a good and opportunistic defense? Virginia Tech gives up the fewest yards per game in the nation, and it starts with a strong front line. Georgia’s offensive line comes and goes, and they’re dealing with another numbers crunch this week. They’ll need a very motivated performance from the offensive line in order to have any room in which to operate.

Can they avoid mistakes and turnovers? Georgia has been much better in their two recent wins when it comes to catching the ball and avoiding interceptions. Virginia Tech thrives on turnovers and momentum.

How will Bobo do with the spotlight on him? It’s a tough situation in which to make a debut as offensive coordinator, but Georgia fans will be scrutinizing the playcalling and offensive scheme used to counter VT’s strengths on defense.

Virginia Tech has a capable offense, but much like Georgia it hasn’t been particularly highlight-reel quality most of the season. Ore is as good of a tailback as Georgia has seen this year, and Glennon has cut down on mistakes at quarterback. Georgia gave up big rushing yardage to Tashard Choice in the season finale, but they held Auburn’s potent attack in check. VT’s offense is much more effective when aided by field position and momentum from defense and special teams, so it’s important for Georgia to make VT work for every yard they get. VT’s offense can be good, but Georgia can’t allow them to be spectacular.

Special teams:
This is expected to be an area of strength for Virginia Tech, but Georgia can have something to say about that. Brandon Coutu is back as the reliable placekicker, and we’ll see how he is able to perform in his first game back since October. The real question I have is the impact of Coutu’s return on punter Gordon Ely-Kelso. Ely-Kelso has had to handle placekicking duties down the stretch, and his punting has suffered, particularly in the Georgia Tech game. He has been an outstanding punter in the past, and Georgia will need him at the top of his game. Georgia’s return units have also made big plays this year, and one in this bowl game could dramatically change things.

I’ve already said it a dozen times in this post, but Virginia Tech thrives on momentum. When they get a head of steam from turnovers or big plays on special teams, they can be very hard to stop. Georgia went through a phase earlier in the year where punt protection was a big problem. They can’t afford to give the Hokies even an inch of opportunity in this area, or VT will take it.

Everyone is expecting this game to be close and low-scoring, but either team has the ability to blow the game open. Georgia showed their potential at Auburn, and VT has explosive potential from the defense and special teams. They have each also shown the ability to get blown out this year. The Peach…er, Chick-fil-A Bowl is usually one of the most competitive and interesting bowl games, and they have two similar teams lined up for this edition.

Post Bowl games as conference barometers

Friday December 29, 2006

Since most of the bowls have nothing at stake, we have to make up some kind of competition. So we’ll use the win-loss records of conferences in bowls to say which conferences are better.

Make sense? Not to me.

Bowl games are all about matchups and motivation. The third place team of conference A playing the fifth place team of conference B tells us about as much about the respective conferences as the quality of the cheerleaders. It says plenty about those individual teams of course, but Alabama losing to Oklahoma State doesn’t mean the SEC is down any more than Kentucky beating Clemson means it’s the best conference out there.

On a related topic, I also don’t buy into the conference loyalty thing. I’m supposed to cheer for SEC schools. Sorry…can’t do it in most cases. These are opponents on the field as well as in the year-round sport of recruiting. I don’t want our competition having more feathers in their caps. The quality or shortcomings of teams are obvious on their own. I don’t need the rest of the SEC doing well in bowls to validate Georgia.

Post Ugly night for Georgia hoops

Friday December 29, 2006

Both the men’s and women’s Georgia basketball teams saw turnovers and lack of offensive firepower doom them to losses on Thursday night.

The Georgia men had a season-high 26 turnovers in a 75-60 loss to #21 Clemson. “We haven’t taken care of the ball as well as we could this year, but today was exceptionally bad,” said coach Dennis Felton. With point guard Sundiata Gaines still hampered with an ankle injury, Georgia remains lost on offense. Where the trio of Mercer, Gaines, and Stukes produced 65 points against Gonzaga earlier in the month, they combined for just 21 against Clemson. For a team that lives and dies with guard play, they are in a world of trouble without consistent production from those three. Mercer is just 6 for his last 23 attempts.

Takais Brown and Terrance Woodbury had solid nights with 13 and 14 points, but their opportunities to do more were limited by the turnovers. Georgia attempted only 56 shots (Clemson had 67) and got to the line only 6 times all night. Clemson, according to Felton, scored a third of their points off of those Georgia turnovers.

The news doesn’t get better for Georgia. We learned after the game that Gaines has torn ligaments in that injured ankle. With a team that is so dependent on Gaines just to get a shot off, that news spells big trouble. Georgia’s next two games are against Top 5 opponents Wisconsin and Florida. Without Gaines in top form, it’s looking more and more as if that win over Gonzaga was an upper limit for how well this team can play rather than they effort they are able to give consistently against top competition.

It wasn’t a much better night for the women, and their problems seem just as systemic. The story sounds much the same – George Washington scored 23 points off 24 Georgia turnovers en route to a 66-54 win. Only one Lady Dog starter scored in double-figures, and the team as a whole shot 39%. Georgia was strong inside – Tasha Humphrey scored 16 and Angel Robinson 15 – but guard play fizzled. Normally reliable Cori Chambers shot 2-of-12 and finished with only six points. Ashley Houts and Megan Darrah didn’t score. In fact, this might have been one of Darrah’s worst games in her three years in Athens. She was 0-for-7 shooting and had a team-high five turnovers. Houts is in a bit of a slump – she hasn’t scored in double-figures since the Georgia Tech game at the beginning of December.

It’s hard to put a finger on it, but the Lady Dogs haven’t looked really solid all of December. Much of it has to do with integrating Tasha Humphrey back into the lineup, but the problems are across the board. The team seems plagued by slow starts. Guard play is spotty, especially at the point guard position. The team just hasn’t looked as impressive as you might have expected when you added Humphrey back in to the lineup that beat Rutgers and Stanford. They have a consolation game against Brown this weekend, and then they’re right into the SEC schedule with Florida and LSU. There’s not much time left to figure it out.

Post Confirming all you thought about these guys…

Wednesday December 27, 2006

Post Back at it

Wednesday December 27, 2006

After a break for Christmas, it’s time to catch up.

The Dawgs are heavy into Chick-fil-A Bowl preparations. So far, the big stories are Seth Watts joining Ian Smith in the Suspended Linemen Club, leaving the Dawgs with only six OL for this game, and the news that Brandon Coutu will be available to kick. More on this game tomorrow.

Men’s hoops
The loss to Tech was disappointing on several levels. I know that they were without Gaines, but no one really stepped up into that void. The team was incapable of getting into the offense at times, and the shot selection wasn’t what it needed to be. Though a lot of people are dwelling on the absence of Gaines, I was also a bit surprised by how poorly Georgia played on defense. Young and Dickey had it far too easy from the opening possession. The help defense was also missing inside as Tech time after time penetrated and dished for an open dunk.

Gaines should be good to go this week, and we’ll need him against Clemson and Wisconsin. Clemson is undefeated as they were last year when Georgia won in Athens. They really haven’t played any top teams so far, but they have some very capable players. James Mays will be a handful inside, and K.C. Rivers will be another challenge for the wing defense as a 6’5″ guard.

Then it’s Wisconsin. The Badgers are looking like one of the nation’s best teams so far, and it will be as big of a challenge as #2 Pitt coming in to Athens in 2002. All-American candidate Alando Tucker leads the Badgers, and the 6’6″ forward will be the best test yet for Georgia’s frontcourt defense. Tucker can go inside or outside. Ideally you’d want someone with Woodbury’s build and speed to defend Tucker, but so far Woodbury’s defense hasn’t caught up with the offensive glimpses he’s shown. Of course a team with the ranking of Wisconsin has to have some other elements, and they do. Kammron Taylor is capable of putting up big numbers from the guard spot, and 6’11” Brian Butch prevents interior defenses from focusing solely on Tucker.

That New Year’s Eve clash with Wisconsin will be big, but Georgia won’t have much time to either enjoy or recover from that game – next week it’s off to Florida to open the SEC season.

Women’s hoops
The Lady Dogs had a relatively uneventful tour of Virginia last week beating James Madison and Richmond easily. Along the way, Andy Landers won the 750th game of his career and also beat protegee Michael Shafer at Richmond. If there has been a concern lately it is slow starts. Against both Richmond and TCU, Georgia was punchless for the first eight minutes. Cori Chambers shot them out of the funk in both games, but they’ll need to hit the court harder in future games. They’ll also need more production from the other guard spot. Ashley Houts hasn’t had a double-figure game since the Georgia Tech game in early December.

They head out to the west coast this week for a tournament in San Diego. They’ll play George Washington and then likely tournament host San Diego State. Georgia should win both games before opening the SEC slate with Florida next Thursday.

Post Drunken teens attack Hairy and Spike

Thursday December 21, 2006

That’s a headline I thought I’d never write.

The ABH writes that Charlie Taylor Douglas of Reynolds and Richard Alexander Perry of Fort Valley were arrested Tuesday on charges of battery, reckless conduct, underage possession of alcohol, public drunkenness and carrying a weapon on school property.

Immediately after the halftime show [of the men’s basketball game against Jacksonville], thousands of fans at Stegeman Coliseum saw the teens run from their seats to the court floor and, according to a UGA police report, “attack two University of Georgia mascots.”

I’m glad these bits of trash were arrested, but I’m disappointed that other fans didn’t apply some justice themselves. Of course there were 63 people at the game, so it might have been that no one was within a section or two.

They messed with the wrong mascots though. Hairy has a background in law enforcement, and Spike is usually packing heat.

Hairy Law Enforcement

Already interviewing the usual suspects.


Can kill a man.

Post Ineligiball

Thursday December 21, 2006

It hasn’t been Reggie Ball’s month. A month ago, he was the senior quarterback of the team on top of the ACC standings. His team was expected to end the losing streak to Georgia and win the ACC title.

In that month since, Ball has:

  • Turned in a 6-for-22, 2 INT performance against Georgia to finish with an 0-4 career record against the Dawgs.
  • Followed that up with a 9-29, 2 INT performance in the ACC title game loss to Wake Forest.
  • Become academically ineligible for Tech’s Gator Bowl appearance against West Virginia.

I would never pull for Ball on the football field, but this complete fizzle to the end of his career just makes you cringe. Four years of eligibility was just too much to ask for Mr. 4th Down.

Post Happy JUCO Day

Wednesday December 20, 2006
Vince Vance…all 6’7″ of him

It’s been a while since Georgia has signed a junior college football player, but that has changed in a big way. Today is the first day that JUCO transfers can sign with a program, and Georgia has received three signatures so far.

OG/OT Scott Haverkamp, DE Jarius Wynn, and DT Corvey Irvin signed with the Dawgs today. Two other JUCO offensive linemen, Vince Vance and Joe Blaes, are also expected to sign within the next day or so. All will be enrolled for spring semester and will be able to provide depth during spring practice. The Dawgs needed some immediate help on the offensive line particularly, and these junior college transfers give the Dawgs some older and more physically-mature players than the typical true freshman at a position where that really matters. Now they have about eight months to get up to speed and hopefully contribute to Georgia’s depth for the 2007 season.

UPDATE: Chad Simmons of UGASports.com is reporting tonight ($) that Blaes will not sign with Georgia at this time because the Dawgs apparently ran out of room for mid-year enrollees. It is possible that Blaes still could sign with Georgia in February and enroll in the summer, but he is weighing his options and considering a couple of other schools where he could enroll mid-year..

Post Cutting off the nose to spite the face

Wednesday December 20, 2006

The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics has proposed a ban on the use of male practice players for women’s teams. You might or might not know that it’s a common practice to augment the practice squads of women’s teams (mostly basketball, but others do it also) with men, usually volunteers, in order to improve the level of competition in practice.

That’s apparently an abomination.

The thing about this recommendation is that the committee seems so rabid about the gender issues involved that they completely missed how these practice squads are used. Coaches and players from across the country have chimed in over the past week setting the record straight. The opposition is nearly unanimous. Did the CWA even research the issue?

I’ve seen Georgia practices where there were only eight or so scholarship players, and the managers and coaches – male and female – had to be pressed into service while the starters and reserves rotated in and out. Even when there are enough players for two squads, you want your starters and reserves running your plays while a practice squad simulates the opponent. You also have to consider that you often won’t have a full squad able to go full-speed in every practice because of injury or fatigue. This isn’t football where you have entire practice squads of freshmen and walk-ons. Either the reserves must take time away from their development to be the practice dummies, or you can get outside help. Why not use women volunteers? Quick – find a female on campus to simulate Candace Parker. You won’t find many men who can do what Parker does, but at least you might find a few 6’4" guys with decent basketball skills. Any female who fits that bill is probably already on the team.

Don’t take my testosterone-clouded word for it. How about two women who have been advocates of the game for decades? Ask All-American Ivory Latta. "Love ’em. That’s how they make us better. They give us attitude. They give us the killer instinct." Even the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, hardly timid when it comes to sticking up for the women’s game, is opposed to the proposal. "It’s mind boggling that this is what’s getting all the focus,” said WBCA president Beth Bass. But of course they’d oppose the proposal. The WBCA represents the coaches – the people who understand how these practice squads are actually used.

The CWA’s response to the criticism is hilarious. "There are many ways (training, nutrition, etc.) that female student-athletes can work on getting faster and stronger," they replied. Sure. You can also build strength by chopping wood, but most student-athletes prefer the weight room. Coaches and players in the women’s game have found a technique which they feel best trains them. The CWA continues, "Athletes at every level have continued to evolve through drills and practice without including bigger, stronger and faster opponents in these drills." Right again. But when those "bigger, stronger and faster opponents" are available, you’d be a fool not to make use of them.

For the sake of gender purity and not equity this committee would retard the growth and development of female athletes and women’s sports. This is what happens when you have academics and social scientists making uninformed policy decisions for athletics. They’re willing to deny a proven and valuable training tool in order to address a problem that doesn’t exist – as if there were scores of female student-athletes sitting wistfully a few rows up in the gym every day wondering if this might be the day that Coach lets them practice. Of all of the issues facing women’s sports, they’ve chosen to attack a positive force helping the development of those sports. Michigan State coach Joanne McCallie is exactly right: "It’s absolutely absurd. It’s short-sighted. It’s got nothing to do with equity and everything to do with politics." It makes you wonder what kind of research and thought went into some of the other regulations that govern college sports.

Post Bobo promoted to offensive coordinator

Tuesday December 19, 2006

In a move that doesn’t surprise many people, Mark Richt has promoted quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo to offensive coordinator. Richt had already turned over the playcalling reigns to Bobo, and this move was an expected progression in Bobo’s career. The departure of offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Neil Callaway to UAB opened up the position.

The coordinator position is a lot more than playcalling. He’s responsible for installing and executing the offensive package for each game including scouting, practice schedule, play scripting, and so on. While Richt called the plays, the coordinator still had a large role. Now it looks as if both that role and the playcalling role will go to Bobo. For everyone who has been critical of Callaway and for Richt holding on to too much control, it’s now Bobo’s show.

Post Good news – sort of – for Ian Smith

Monday December 18, 2006

Marc Weiszer of the ABH reports that Smith, arrested for his second alcohol-related offense, won’t be suspended by the University. The next offense would result in expulsion though, and any Code of Conduct violations not alcohol-related could result in suspension.

That leaves the ball in Mark Richt’s court. Smith has already been suspended for the next six football games which includes the Chick-fil-A bowl and the first five games next season. Smith had been expected to move into the starting center position next year, but Georgia will have to find an answer.

The question remains what this will mean for Smith’s career. After five games next year, Georgia will have a starting center established and probably won’t be likely to move him aside for someone with Smith’s experience level. Then would he be good enough to supplant that starter in 2008? This great opportunity has been slammed shut for now, and it will be a long road back to the starting lineup.

Hopefully the end result of the suspension and everything else is for Smith to get straight and finish out his college career. Whether that includes meaningful contribution to the football program is up to him now.

Post Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.

Monday December 18, 2006

Dennis Felton has had several big wins at Georgia. He has beaten Georgia Tech twice. He’s beaten Kentucky in Rupp Arena. Last season’s win against an Alabama team that went deep into the NCAA Tournament is very underrated. So to immediately label Saturday’s win over Gonzaga as the biggest in Felton’s four years at Georgia or to claim it as a sign that Georgia has arrived might be getting ahead of things. The thing about those other impressive wins was that they stood out in seasons of frustration. Nice wins were followed by puzzling losses or even slumps that went on for weeks. We even got so impressed with ourselves early last year that a trip to the postseason seemed a foregone conclusion. Oops.

That’s not to downplay Saturday’s win. It was magnificent. Gonzaga didn’t play poorly. Georgia did so many things well – the biggest of which was keeping up the intensity. Scoring droughts have killed many a promising Georgia game, and the Dawgs more or less avoided them in this game. A Gaines layup in the midst of a Gonzaga run ended the Zags’ biggest push of the second half, and the Dawgs didn’t let them get on another run the rest of the way. It’s possible that we might not have even seen Georgia’s upper limit on Saturday – the three-point shooting wasn’t that good – but at the very least we know that Georgia is capable of some very good basketball against quality opponents.

The story is as it has been for a couple of years now. Georgia will play as its guards play. The three top guards combined for 65 of Georgia’s 96 points. Stukes ruled the first half, Gaines took over in the second, and Mercer was…well, just watch this:

The difference this year is that the rest of the team isn’t a liability. Whether it’s Jackson’s incredibly clutch back-to-back baskets down the stretch, Newman’s five assists, or Brown and Bliss playing strong under the basket, other players are finding roles and not killing the team with mistakes. Make no mistake – the Dawgs still need those three guards to play at that kind of level to have much success this year. The guards just won’t have to do everything.

The question the team has to face is, "now what?" It’s great that we’re not sitting here on Monday knowing that Georgia can’t compete with good teams and hoping they can salvage something from the season. Georgia can play. Now with games coming up against Tech, Clemson, and Wisconsin, we’ll see if the Dawgs use the opportunities opened up by this win to go into SEC play with a head of steam and take a real step forward on the program’s path back.

Otherwise, it was just another isolated upset win.

Post A new era for the Georgia offensive line

Sunday December 17, 2006

It’s official – Neil Callaway will become UAB’s new football coach. Congratulations to him. If you have to lose assistants, you want to see them moving on to better things instead of having to fire them. It’s a sign that you’ve hired well. That’s certainly been the case with Georgia’s last few departures. Van Gorder and Smart both went to the NFL, and now Callaway leaves for a head coaching opportunity.

UAB Blazers
Callaway’s a Blazer.

Callaway, fairly or not, has been somewhat of a lightning rod for fans during his entire time here. Fans have projected their distaste for Richt’s offense or the zone blocking schemes onto Callaway. His role as offensive coordinator has never really been understood fully when Richt calls the plays. When Greene was sacked mercilessly in 2003 or when Georgia’s “three-headed monster” of tailbacks didn’t run wild, fans pointed the finger at Callaway.

The results speak for themselves though. Callaway’s line has won the SEC East three times and the SEC twice. He’s done that at other schools too. It’s run-blocked for Verron and Musa, and it’s pass-blocked for three of the most exciting quarterbacks to come through Athens. Even this year with very little depth and some polarizing starters, the Dawgs ended up with the second-fewest sacks allowed in the SEC. Not bad at all. The OL under Callaway has taken a lot of shots, probably far more than their share. Now his detractors have their wish.

Callaway’s replacement will be starting over in many respects. Not only will the offensive coordinator position and the very nature of the offense be in question, but it will be a fresh start in terms of personnel too. There are a handful – only about three or four (depending on Ian Smith’s future) – returning with any experience next year. There are at least nine newcomers on the way from junior college down to true freshmen. There are several redshirting freshmen who haven’t seen playing time yet. New coach, new players. He’ll have a fresh start in terms of the fans too, but we’ll see how long that lasts.

People are already putting together wish lists of who should replace Callaway. Is it someone with an FSU connection or a UGA past? Is it a well-known name? Knowing Richt, it’s just as likely to be someone no one mentions until the connections are put together after the fact. In many repects, this new offensive line coach will be coming into a much better situation than Callaway inherited. He will have a group of about 13 or more with which to work, and the classes will be somewhat staggered. Georgia also has a stronger position in terms of prestige and recruiting.

This really is a great opportunity for the right coach. Best wishes to Coach Cal, but it will be exciting to see how the new guy puts together the incoming talent and keeps the pipeline open. Job #1 is keeping the current commitments on board, and then it’s time to start building. The bar has been set a bit higher than most people realize.

Post LSU parents worried – that Maravich guy is taking too many shots

Sunday December 17, 2006

Anyone familiar with – scratch that – anyone who has heard of Arkansas football knew four things were true about the Razorbacks entering this season:
1) They were absolutely loaded in the backfield with Darren McFadden – the SEC freshman of the year – and Felix Jones.
2) Arkansas ran the football because they could.
3) Their returning quarterbacks weren’t very inspiring. The job might be handed to a true freshman right out of the gate.
4) When they did throw the ball, there was a very capable (and very tall) guy named Marcus Monk already established as the go-to guy.

Now armed with that information, any drooling ward of the state could figure that Arkansas would probably still run the ball a bit this year. Yes, they had a nice haul of receivers and a QB in the most recent recruiting class. Usually, it’s understood that it takes a year or two for most newcomers, even potential stars, to make an impact. Not so with three Arkansas freshmen. Now all three played as true freshmen which says a lot in itself. And it’s not like they didn’t contribute. Mitch Mustain started more games than any other Arkansas quarterback. Damian Williams was second on the team in receiving…as a true freshman. But that wasn’t good enough. The players grumbled because Arkansas won with their strengths in the backfield and not on recruiting promises. Williams will transfer, and the parents of the players have embarassingly inserted themselves into the story.

Sgt. Hartman
Coach Nutt wonders if he can be in charge for a while.

Two of the parents opened their mouths and showed us the real source of the problem here.

  • Rick Cleveland. He’s the father of tight end Ben Cleveland. His greatest contribution to this story? This line: “Our boys are used to catching 60 passes a year.” Do you know how many SEC receivers caught 60 passes this season? Five. Total. Marcus Monk, the junior already established as Arkansas’ leading receiver, caught 49 passes this year in 13 games. Rick Cleveland believes that these incoming players were sold “a bill of goods” as a result. Yes, Mr. Cleveland…Arkansas will shelve the Heisman runner-up to have a true freshman throw the ball 60+ times to your son and some other true freshman.
  • Finally, we have Beck Campbell, Mitch Mustain’s mom. She makes a very profound statement that will surely affect the coach-parent relationship everywhere. “It was agreed by all parties involved that the head coach has the valid right to determine the direction of the program and the manner in which the team would develop.” I’m glad the parents had that meeting to iron out what every other coach, player, and parent has accepted throughout the history of organized football. In the words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, ” Well thank you very much! Can I be in charge for a while?”

With parents like that, is it any accident that their children are throwing tantrums?

Post Back in action

Friday December 15, 2006

Exams are over, many Georgia student-athletes are graduating (congratulations!), and it’s time to catch up with the three sports getting back into action this week.


The big stories:

Coutu kicking is pretty significant. We need Ely-Kelso to focus on punting which was sub-par against Georgia Tech and has been shaky for much of the season to be honest. Virginia Tech is known for nothing if not special teams, so any advantage we can get in that area is meaningful. It’s likely to be a ball-control field position kind of game, so we need Ely-Kelso 1) getting the punts off in the first place and 2) hitting them well enough to be a strategic weapon in that style of game.

Men’s basketball

The Dawgs aren’t messing around – Gonzaga is their first opponent after the exam week break. The problem with Gonzaga is that you can’t really talk about one player. You might mention point guard Derek Raivio. Freshman Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin have contributed right away, and Bouldin is a matchup nightmare for a Georgia defense that has been very generous to opposing wings. Those are just the guards. Forward Josh Heytvelt is versatile and quick and will severely test Georgia’s young interior defense.

The game at the Gwinnett Center will be a homecoming of sorts for Mike Mercer and Billy Humphrey. The two guards are among Georgia’s top three scorers, and they’ll need big games to beat Gonzaga. The key is consistency from Stukes, Mercer, and Humphrey. All are capable of getting hot, but all are equally capable of disappearing for long stretches. The Dawgs will have to get the right ones in the game when they’re hot and get steady contributions from Bliss, Brown, and Singleton inside.

They should have a relatively easy game against Jacksonville next week, and then they’ll face Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Friday. Tech is loaded with some good young talent, but they’ve dropped a few games lately. The series has been pretty even since it went home-and-home over ten years ago, and Georgia’s 75-70 win in Atlanta in 2000 was the sole road win by either team.

Women’s basketball

The Lady Dogs have had to stew over their first loss of the season for over a week. They are essentially starting over by trying to work Tasha Humphrey and some other players back into the rotation. A team that was only six deep a few weeks ago and learned how to prosper in that situation now has eight or nine players to deal with.

Georgia will have a painfully easy game against Savannah State in Savannah on the 15th and then they’ll have a bit of a test against TCU on the 17th in Athens. TCU rose to become a moderately strong team a few seasons ago when they had star center Sandora Irvin, and they’re trying to sustain something in her wake. They have a quality squad this year that just knocked off Florida. With the exception of a rout of a bad Memphis team a few weeks ago, Georgia has been pushed pretty hard recently by teams like Davidson, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, and of course MTSU. How they handle a challenge from TCU will say a lot about their progress and cohesion since the return of Humphrey.