Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Going back

Friday August 31, 2007

I want to go back to U-G-A,
Back to dear old Athens town,
Back where we say “To Hell with Tech!
Back to where I spend my check.
Want to go back to U-G-A,
Back to dear old Athens town
Want-a go back,
Gotta go back
To U-G, U-G, G-E-O-R-G-I-A.

I was going to add some last minute insignificant analysis, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Athens calls. We’ll see you post-game with thoughts, stats, and hopefully a little video. Whatever happens this season, enjoy the trip the Dawgs take us on, and remember why we keep going back.


Post The X-factor

Thursday August 30, 2007

Kudos to Marc Weiszer of the ABH for raising this topic. Often a game that is hyped as a showdown between units or players ends up turning on something else entirely. A great pitcher’s duel turns into a slugfest. A basketball battle between dominant centers is won by outside shooting. Happens all the time. There are other people on the field, and the real opportunities and threats can come from places other than the matchups in the spotlight.

Weiszer highlights OSU tight end Brandon Pettigrew as a possible x-factor in Saturday’s game. A good mix of size and speed comparable to Leonard Pope, Pettigrew could present matchup problems for linebackers and defensive backs in the middle of the field. That’s a good pick by Weiszer, and we’ll have to add the tight end now to the list of things to watch.

We’ve been over the Dawgs so many times that it seems like a wasted effort to try to uncover that hidden angle. You could mention Georgia’s placekicker Brandon Coutu, but he’s hardly a secret weapon. With Matthew Stafford in the spotlight on offense, one might even pick a running back like Thomas Brown or Knowshon Moreno as Georgia’s x-factor. Weiszer went with OSU’s tight end; will Georgia’s be as much of a concern for the OSU defense?

Since I don’t know what I’m talking about anyway, I’m going to go out there and make my pick of middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe as Georgia’s x-factor in this game. He’s played well enough on the inside during the preseason to make the coaches scrap their Brandon Miller experiment. Against a diverse and balanced offense, the man in the middle will be put under tremendous pressure, and I look for Dannell to come through.

Post Gameday experience notes

Thursday August 30, 2007


Construction is a given on campus, and this year’s construction will impact the gameday experience for many fans.

Work continues on the new art school on East Campus. I believe this construction was already underway last year, but the lot below the Performing Arts Center is still unavailable. If you have any questions about parking or similar topics, visit the Gameday Gameplan Web site.

The biggest change will be the work on the Tate Center expansion and addition. A large parking lot adjacent to Sanford Stadium (at the site of the former Stegeman Hall) is unavailable during this construction. The project will create an underground parking deck on top of which the Tate expansion will sit. This construction will especially impact the DawgWalk. While the lane from Lumpkin Street to the stadium is still there, there is much less space in which to congregate and move around. If you’re planning on being part of the DawgWalk (scheduled for 5:05 p.m.), allow extra time to get around the construction and find a place.


  • Moe’s and McAlister’s Deli will open locations in the stadium. Moe’s will be in the west endzone concessions, and McAlister’s will be up on the 600 level.
  • Stadium souvenir cups will honor Larry Munson this season with a set of seven cups featuring seven of his most famous calls.
  • For more stadium-related shopping and eating enhancements, read this press release from the University.


Finally, congratulations to my friend Thomas Lanford for well-deserved recognition in the Atlanta paper today. He puts an incredible amount of work into hosting a tailgate party for each game, and a group of some great people has been built up and sustained for some ten years now around his generosity and effort. While they might not all have the culinary chops of Thomas, many of us have those people in our tailgating groups that hold things together. They might cook. They might be the first ones there at the crack of dawn to grab the traditional spot. They might open up their RV as home base for the day. We wouldn’t enjoy nearly the gameday experience we do without these people. Football season is in part a chance to reunite with some friends we see all too infrequently, and the reunions begin this weekend.

Post Flushing Meadows Bark

Thursday August 30, 2007
Isner US Open
Good job, John – now about the yellow…
(Photo: USOpen.org)

This weekend’s football season opener is an obvious reminder of what drives the Bulldog identity, but the US Open tennis tournament is showing us just how transcendent that identity is.

John Isner, the Bulldog tennis star I’ve mentioned a time or three here, is already making an impact on the professional tour. Earlier in the summer he advanced to the finals of one of his first professional tournaments. Now under the spotlight of the US Open, he’s continuing that success, winning over the crowd, and bringing the sounds of Athens to New York City.

Last night, in front of a partisan crowd, Isner recorded a straight-set second round win over South African Rik de Voest to advance to the round of 32. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Isner’s next opponent is Roger Federer, currently the most dominant men’s tennis player in the world. Isner will take his imposing serve and a shot of confidence into the match. "I’m going to believe," Isner said. "I’m not saying I’m going to win, but I’m going to believe."

Win or lose this weekend against Federer, Isner is already turning heads. It might be too soon to annoit him the next great hope of American tennis against the European juggernauts like Federer and Nadal, but Isner’s stock is on the rise. Easily likeable and fun to watch, he is a fresh face on the scene with a growing and distinctive cheering section. The US Open is already known as a place where tennis lets its hair down, but the barking for Isner is noticed even against that backdrop. His school ties are getting as much press as his serve:

He’s a Georgia Bulldog all the way, backed by barks each time he plays. A few months ago, Isner finished his senior year by leading Georgia to the NCAA team title. He proudly wears his school hat, the one with the giant G, every chance he gets.

With Isner’s match of a lifetime against Federer set for Saturday, it’s likely that most Bulldog fans will have Athens and football on their minds. But in Flushing Meadows, Isner and a small group of red-clad barking fools will be hunkered down in their own battle, and we congratulate them and wish them all the best. A great career is just getting started.

Post Difference #1,485,032 between Tech and Georgia fans

Wednesday August 29, 2007

Most decent Georgia fans would try to convert the poor, lost souls of Iowa instead of the other way around. (h/t CFR)

A Georgia Tech fan in Iowa named Rex is looking to become a true Iowan in choosing to become a fan of either Iowa State or Iowa. To determine which school, he’s having a charity auction. Whatever fan base earns the most bids ($) wins his support. All donations go for funds for a community outreach event for Iowa kids.

Visit here for more details and to drop in a few bucks.

Sounds like a good cause to me. I don’t blame the guy for wanting to shun his current allegiance, but do the fans of the Hawkeyes and/or Cyclones really want damaged goods?

Post Revisiting the depth chart by class

Wednesday August 29, 2007

Back in May, I took a look at the post-spring depth chart according to class. It was obvious even then that the 2007 Georgia team would rely on a lot of young players. The caveat back then was that the depth chart could and would change before the season, and it has. We’ve also added in the true freshmen and will count on some of them. Based on the most recent changes, here is a revised look at the depth chart according to class. The youth movement underway is even more apparent now. Over a third of the two-deep are newcomers (freshmen / redshirt freshmen / JUCO and prep transfers), and over half are underclassmen.

1st-teamers are in solid red, 2nd-teamers are highlighted in back, other scholarship players are in gray, and walk-ons are unshaded. We allow for 24 players on each unit (11 offense, 11 defense, a punter, and a placekicker) with these exceptions on the offensive line: Justin Anderson is currently listed as the backup at both guard positions, and Chris Davis is the backup center. The freshmen shaded in green are expected to redshirt (not greenshirt). I have removed Oliver, Coates, and Ian Smith.

As usual, corrections are expected, welcome, and will be made as soon as possible.

Freshman Redshirt Fr. Sophomore Junior Senior
T – Sturdivant G – C. Davis QB – Stafford G – Haverkamp WR – S. Bailey
TE – Figgins TE – Ward DE – Battle FB – Southerland T – Adams
LB – Curran FB – Chapas DT – Weston DT – Owens C – Velasco
G – Anderson LB – Dent LB – Dewberry LB – Ellerbe RB – Brown
P – Butler SS – Banks CB – Evans FS – Byrd CB – Flowers
T – Boling FS – Jones T – Vance P – Mimbs WR – Henderson
CB – Cuff DE – Dobbs QB – Cox WR – Massaquoi DE – Howard
TE – A. White C – Perez DT – Atkins DE – Lomax LB – B. Miller
DE – Ball G – J. Davis CB – P. Miller LB – Washington SS – Johnson
LB – Houston T – Tripp CB – Allen WR – Harris PK – Coutu
S – Knox FB – Munzenmaier WR – Durham DT – Irvin PK – A. Bailey
G – Strickland RB – Moreno WR – Moore QB – Barnes RB – Lumpkin
WR – Troupe LB – Gamble CB – Baldwin TE – Chandler TE – Watson
WR – Hill WR – Wilson DT – Taylor WR – Goodman WR – Bryant
LB – C. White DT – Crawford WR – Spellman DE – Wynn WR – Gartrell
RB – King DT – Wood TE – Potterbaum CB – Brown FS – Williams
QB – Gray DE – Lemon DE – Gully LB – Pittman SN – Henson
C – Harden TE – Potterbaum DE – Jacobs LB – Boyd RB – Johnson
G – Little G – White LB – Watkins FS – Francis LB – Gaunder
  TE – Nickels   PK – Wilson LB – Williams
  QB – deLaureal   SN – Fowler WR – Croffie
  RB – Parker     DT – Lyles
  G – Speight      
  TE – Lane      
  LB – Fields      
  MLB – Sullivan      
  WCB – Gloer      
  SS – Johnson      
  SN – Willis      

Post Bulldog team captains named

Tuesday August 28, 2007

Seniors Thomas Brown, Fernando Velasco, Brandon Miller, and Kelin Johnson will be the team captains this Saturday in Georgia’s season opener against Oklahoma State.

Much more from Mark Richt’s first game-week press conference of the 2007 season should be out shortly.

Post CSS replays moving to Monday

Monday August 27, 2007

If you’re used to catching CSS’s replays of Georgia games on Tuesday, get ready to tune in a day earlier:

Comcast / Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and the University of Georgia Athletic Association announced Monday a new UGA Encore Game night. The delay telecast of the Georgia football games moves to prime time on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET (from it’s 2006 time slot on Tuesdays). The change also includes a daytime airing at 12 noon ET every Monday.

The Mark Richt Press Conference coverage will continue to air live on CSS Tuesdays at 12 noon ET.

“We’re excited to feature one of the top programs in the country on Monday nights which is a prime viewing slot for sports fans all around the Southeast,” said CSS GM Mark Fuhrman.

Post Heartbreaking injury on the practice field

Monday August 27, 2007
Antavious Coates
Antavious Coates (Photo: UGASports.com)

Antavious Coates was exactly what you wanted as a safety.  He had the prototypical NFL safety build.  He had good football skills.  He had a love for contact.  He had the kind of work ethic you want.  Unfortunately, what he didn’t have was the knees to play college football.  Coates had already missed his first two seasons at Georgia due to knee injuries, and for the fourth time in his football career, he has torn an ACL.

UGASports.com reported this afternoon that the injury occurred on Saturday and has all but ended his career.  It was one of those injuries that didn’t seem that severe at the time, but an MRI on Sunday confirmed the tear.  Georgia will apply for a medical disqualification for Coates.

Because Coates wants to get into coaching, he will serve as a student coach this year (similar to a graduate assistant).  “He’s going to get a really great head start in that area,” said Coach Richt.  “He’s still an inspiration to this football team.”

Richt summed up the most unfortunate part of the story for someone who was entering his third year at Georgia with a dream of playing for the Bulldogs.  “He never got to play Between the Hedges.  That really hurt.”

Post Guest commentary: Lauren Caitlin Upton on Blake Mitchell

Monday August 27, 2007
Miss SC
We ask the tough questions – without math.

South Carolina starting quarterback Blake Mitchell was suspended for this weekend’s season opener, and that suspension has been upheld after an appeal. Mitchell’s suspension was the result of missed classes over the summer. Now the temptation to blow off a few classes, especially during the summer, can be too much for any of us to take. It takes a special kind of person to understand those temptations and relate them to larger societal issues around the globe.

We turn to correspondent Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina, for her unique perspective as a young woman all too familiar with competitive pressures and the spotlight. Lauren, can average Americans possibly comprehend the internal struggle of the high-profile student-athlete as he attempts to fulfill his academic obligations and avoid the trappings of college life and summertime in the South?

I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., er, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children.

Well put, Lauren. Next up: Miss Upton’s thoughts on North Korea and Senator Blutarsky’s 10 questions for the 2007 Georgia season. In a just world, she’d be added to the College Gameday crew this season. It would be worth it if only for the point-counterpoint with Lou Holtz.

Post Welcome to game week

Monday August 27, 2007

The Georgia Sports Blog  discusses today what I think is one of the most important questions of the season opener.  As pwd notes, the improvements made by the new OSU defensive coordinator is the big unknown.  He’ll likely bring a better defensive game plan,  but will the execution be there in the first game?

The conventional wisdom says that this game could likely end up giving the scoreboard a workout.  Everyone’s heard about OSU’s potent offense with its effective running and passing attacks.  OSU’s defense in recent seasons has had trouble stopping people.  Sounds like the recipe for a high-scoring game, right?  

I think the question under the surface is this:

Do you feel confident in Georgia’s ability to emerge from a shootout?

I’d have to admit that I’d rather it not get to that point.  It’s not that Georgia doesn’t have the ability to score points or that it lacks playmakers.  My questions are ones of consistency and experience.  You like your chances with Stafford under center.  Then it gets foggy:

  • Only one returning receiver with more than 15 receptions
  • Unsettled rotation at tailback with a history of inconsistency
  • Starting tight end out of action
  • Mostly-new offensive line with a couple of freshman starters

That last one is the key of course.  Without a functioning offensive line, the rest of the offense is handicapped.  Again, it wouldn’t faze me to see Georgia put up some points.  We’ve seen what guys like Lumpkin, Brown, Massaquoi, Bailey, and Henderson can do.  I just can’t bring myself to say that we can rely on that level of production yet.  Hopefully at some point this season we can.  Getting into a shootout is playing OSU’s game, and the Bulldog defense should have enough talent to present OSU’s offense with a serious challenge.  If they can take some of the pressure off of the Georgia offense and hold OSU under 20, the Dawgs should be in good shape.

Post Richt offers an unnecessary apology

Sunday August 26, 2007

Mark Richt, in a moment of frustration, had some strong words about an indoor practice facility on Friday evening.  He cleared the air on Saturday and apologized for the tone of his remarks:

When I actually read my comments late in the day on Saturday I was very disappointed in what I said and the way I said it. It appeared to be someone who was ungrateful for what he had and that is certainly not the case. For that, I want to apologize to President (Michael) Adams, (athletic director) Damon Evans, and the Bulldog Nation.

Of course anyone with some perspective and understanding about the issue knows that Richt has been working with Damon Evans and University administration on this issue for some time.  Granting him frustration over lost practice time, we recognize that he has been pragmatic and has prioritized such a facility correctly among the projects currently on the table.  I’m glad he is passionate about the facility – he will likely need that drive when it comes time to beat the bushes during fundraising for the building which might one day bear his name.

Post More Western Carolina tickets on sale Monday

Sunday August 26, 2007

A limited number of single-game Georgia football tickets are still available for the upcoming home game against Western Carolina (Sept. 15).

Beginning on August 27 @ 9:00am, these remaining tickets can be purchased online www.georgiadogs.com or by calling the Athletic Association’s ticket office toll free 1-877-542-1231. There is no limit per order.

Tickets are $40 each plus a processing fee and orders will be mailed out the week of September 3.

Post Commitment

Sunday August 26, 2007
Roderick Battle
Roderick Battle (photo: UGASports.com)

Sophomore defensive end Roderick Battle was asked an interesting question last week by UGASports.com.  More experienced players are expected to bring the younger players along, but they’re still competing for playing time.  Battle is expected to be a starting defensive end this season, and there are several players pushing him for that starting job.  He was asked if he ever felt that he was “giving away your tricks of the trade” and putting his own chances at a disadvantage by helping a younger player.  His response was great:

You might think that there would be, but I would not say so. Over the summer, we all tried to get each other out here to do extra work. In the end, it is not about me, and I would rather this team win without me than lose with me. That’s how I feel.

Meanwhile, the adjusted weekend schedule due to Friday’s storms meant that cornerback Ramarcus Brown would have to miss a family wedding. He might have been allowed to attend, but he didn’t even ask.

“He did not ask permission to get out of it,” said Richt. “He said that his family understood.”

Those of you with familiy members inconsiderate enough to schedule a wedding during football season would do well to follow Brown’s example.

Post Indoor facility redux

Saturday August 25, 2007

Mark Richt made his most passionate plea yet for an indoor facility last night as a thunderstorm canceled practice.  You can just hear the frustration dripping:

“It’s a royal pain to have to deal with this kind of stuff,” coach Mark Richt said. “It would be nice to have an indoor facility nearby where you wouldn’t have to spend your whole life trying to figure out a new plan. It gets very frustrating and very old and I’m about tired of it. Maybe one day we’ll get that done.”

It’s a theme that comes up on the rare occasions the Dawgs have to change venues or cancel practice outright due to weather.  Back in 2004, Richt was beating the drum:

”I’d like to have an indoor facility,” Richt said Tuesday. ”That’s No.1 on my list right now.”

You have to hand it to him – he knows how to play the situation to his advantage.  A canceled practice at this stage of the season can really mess up game preparations.  The Dawgs will practice twice on Saturday to make up for the lost time.  And his appeals are guaranteed to find sympathetic ears from fans who will turn around and scream, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GIVE THE MAN WHAT HE WANTS!!!”

But get Richt away from the frustration of an altered practice plan, and his tone becomes much more pragmatic.  Other priorities emerge.  Just a year ago, Richt admitted that he’d rather have a weight room expansion at the Butts-Mehre building before an indoor facility.  The utility to the program is just that much more. 

Another issue is the scale and location of the facility. 

If UGA does build one, “it would be something that will be scaled down, not one of these enormous facilities,” he said.  And it would likely be built somewhere on South Milledge Avenue, away from the main UGA campus, Adams said.

Richt is aware of those considerations and admits that those issues could be delaying the project. 

We have to decide exactly what we want and also have to decide where to put it,” Richt said. “That’s kind of slowed it down. You want it all together if you can get it. We could just put an indoor facility and stick it out by Soccer/Softball (on Milledge Avenue) and say we have an indoor facility, but I want it to be more than that. I want it to be convenient, also.”

I’m not going to argue the merits of a facility (though I tend to agree with pwd there.)  If Richt wants it, he wants it.  Just remember the more measured side of Richt the next time he sounds as if he’s at the breaking point.  Fans could use a dose of that themselves when it comes to the indoor facility.