Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Tuberville to Arkansas?

Friday November 30, 2007

There’s a big part of me that wonders if Tommy is looking across the state at a $4 million dollar 6-6 coach of a program he’s beaten six straight times and thinking that the price of 7-in-a-row has just gone up a bit.

While we’re on the subject of coaches, is Randy Edsall the next Bill Lewis about to turn his first winning season in three years into Tech gold?

Post Getting a shot at that natty

Friday November 30, 2007

SI.com asked some Georgia and Ohio State players what they planned to do this weekend, and Georgia senior Marcus Howard used a term that I hope will stick.

"I’m going to just be doing what everybody else on the team is going to be doing," Howard said. "We’re going to be glued to the TV, just watching the games hoping West Virginia lose and Missouri lose so we get a shot at that natty."

That’s a step up – most college students plan their weekend around a case of Natty Light.

Post At least he shaves and showers

Friday November 30, 2007

Some things can only happen in Alabama, and for that reason it hardly raises an eyebrow when they do happen.

Tuscaloosa News sports editor Cecil Hurt is in a bit of hot water for a $4,000 loan application that was cosigned by Alabama booster Ray Keller. Keller is no run-of-the-mill small booster – he was named directly by the NCAA when they announced sanctions against the Tide earlier this decade, and he is currently suing the NCAA for defamation. The details of this loan application came out as a result of that case.

Hurt has covered UA athletics, primarily football, men’s basketball and baseball, since 1982 according to the Tuscaloosa News. Executive Editor Doug Ray explains the heart of the matter:

As our lead columnist and reporter on UA sports, he also is very influential within collegiate sports in Alabama. That elevates the importance of maintaining independence from his sources and the institutions he covers.

Hurt denies that the relationship influenced his coverage, and I have no evidence to argue otherwise. Still, not exactly a rock of journalistic credibility.

Post Hoops update

Friday November 30, 2007

First, a word to those who might have found this site in the past few months. I grew up much more of a college hoops fan than a football fan. That’s changed, but I still love to talk basketball – mens and womens – here. Being a Georgia fan makes that tough sometimes, but we get through it.

Yesterday’s article by Chip Towers detailing the academic mess in the men’s program illustrates how at times it can be so trying to follow this program.

(The headline has been changed from “Basketball academics ‘a slow-motion train wreck'” to “Dogs addressing basketball ‘train wreck'”.  Paints a little different picture right off the bat, no?)

As Georgia basketball has struggled towards respectability on the court, we took some comfort knowing that the coach was at least committed to doing things the right way. If you read just the first bit of Towers’ story, you probably get the contrary impression – things are out of control. But as we read on, we learn that the staff and administration was aware of the issue, stayed on top of it, tried several times to address it, and finally just had to cut their losses.

To put it a lot more bluntly: Georgia had a couple of guys who blew off their academic responsibilities. If you read between the lines, some of them are no longer part of the team. The problem was not one of oversight, neglect, or program priorities – it was all about players who didn’t give a damn.

In fact, Georgia’s efforts in academics will result in the second-best APR in the SEC for basketball programs. Make no mistake, Felton is still ultimately going to be judged by his ability to deliver a winning product on the court. But my faith in his approach and priorities off the court is not shaken one bit.

Scoring drought hits Athens

Felton’s first few teams set the standard for offensive futility, but points are also proving scarce for this year’s team. That’s reasonable given the unexpected departure of the team’s top two returning scorers. Sundiata Gaines is a wonderful point guard, but he hasn’t yet settled into the scorer’s role into which Rashad Wright transitioned as a senior. The trio of Gaines, Humphrey, and Woodbury now must be the scoring core of the team, and they’re not there yet.

As a result of the attrition, Georgia has used its five freshmen liberally. They’re as promising a group as Felton has had, but of course they’re still freshmen. Price, Jacobs, and Swansey look the most polished so far, but Barnes and Brewer will have a role this year too.

One area in which the Dawgs will especially miss Mercer and Brown is assertiveness on the offensive end. Offensive rebounds and trips to the foul line came easily against lesser competition, but crashing the offensive glass and drawing fouls has been much more difficult in the past two games against better teams.

Much of November and December will be about finding out what kind of team we have without its two leading scorers. As you might expect, so far it looks like a team of role players without that consistent leading force. Gaines might be the player most likely to be that force, but he’s not going to be able to do it all every night.

Lady Dogs

Consistency on offense has also been a problem for the women. Two of the team’s better outside weapons graduated, and Andy Landers is starting a relatively unheralded freshman, Angela Puleo, at the shooting guard. Though the Lady Dogs have several players who can hit the outside shot, they haven’t been consistently effective enough as a team to distract defensive attention away from Tasha Humphrey. They shot just 3-of-16 against Temple and 2-of-21 against Southern Cal.

It’s no coincidence that Georgia has scored under 60 points in their two games against quality opponents, Temple and Southern Cal. Fortunately Georgia played well enough on defense to win both of those games, but neither team will be mistaken for the top competition in the SEC. The Lady Dogs survived another close game against Oakland last night.

Georgia’s toughest test to date comes Sunday against Georgia Tech. The Jackets are coming off arguably the best season in program history, and most of the key pieces return. Stopping Tech means stopping two seniors – forward Janie Mitchell and sharpshooting guard Chioma Nnamaka. Freshman guard Alex Montgomery, at 6’1″, was one of the top prospects in the nation and will be a matchup problem for the small Georgia backcourt. Georgia should have a serious advantage inside and on the wing, and Tech will rely on pressure defense to keep the ball from going to Robinson and Humphrey. Christy Marshall shone as a freshman against Tech last year, but she has struggled to find minutes this year.

Post Hard to say they don’t have a point

Thursday November 29, 2007

We Recycle

I usually treat as noise complaints by the BCA about the lack of minority (read: black) head coaches. But at the risk of sounding like Terence Moore, even I thought these quick, one-man searches at Texas A&M and Ole Miss smelled a little funny. At least the schools could have pretended to go through the motions of a proper search.

To get away from the issue of race, is it wise for these programs to conduct brief “searches” that consisted of a flip through the AD’s Rolodex? Both schools are replacing what turned out to be pretty poor hires. Forget that they didn’t interview minority candidates. How about that it didn’t take either but a few days to dive headfirst into the coaching recycling bin?

Put another way, are Ole Miss and A&M fans convinced that their administrations took enough steps to find the right answer at head coach? There are millions of dollars at stake in these decisions. I don’t deny that even thorough and drawn-out searches can produce some pretty awful results, but processes like these only give groups like the BCA more standing.

Post Are you kidding me? I’m the HEAD coach!

Thursday November 29, 2007


You can’t blame Les Miles for being a little snippy this week. How many teams get a second chance when it comes to the national title? Not many get a third.  Miles is a bit upset that Georgia stands a better chance than LSU of making the national title game even if the Bayou Bengals win the SEC this weekend.

“I certainly think the champions in that position should be allowed every opportunity to play in the most prestigious bowl and certainly be the highest ranked,” Miles said. “I would like to envision an opportunity for the team from Louisiana that, if fortunate enough to win the conference championship and who played the schedule that we did with the victories that we’ve achieved and not lost a game in regulation yet, to have that opportunity.”

You’ve got to love the spin. His Tigers are certainly tops in the Regulation Championship Series standings. I understand and accept the sentiment that a conference title should be a requirement for the BCS championship participants, but it’s not – even though more and more people think it’s OK to change the rules on the fly.

If all this sounds familiar, it should. Miles has been positioning and campaigning for his team since the summer when he stood on the shoulders of the SEC to take shots at Southern Cal’s schedule. Alas, the dream matchup between USC and LSU won’t happen, but Miles is still leaning on his schedule to make the case for his team now that the results of the season aren’t on his side.

The irony is that LSU handled (barely) the “stiffer competition” at the top end of the SEC in 2007. Auburn and Florida were nice wins. LSU’s two losses came at the hands of a pair of teams at or below .500 in SEC play – teams that Miles probably would have mocked Southern Cal for playing.

Back in July when Miles was making his case, Stewart Mandel had a perceptive angle on Miles’ strategy: CYA.

Yep. That’s right. Miles’ comments were one big excuse-in-the-making. He’s seen the prognostications. He knows the experts are projecting a USC-LSU matchup. He knows his fans are foaming at the mouth for just such an outcome. And he’s trying to diffuse those expectations — and temper the possible letdown — by saying, “Hey, I’d love to play USC, too, but if they get there and we don’t, it’s because we had to play Florida while they got to play Stanford.”

Miles’ ridiculous “haven’t lost in regulation” line is just more of the same: CYA. Since October 1st, the BEST DEFENSE EVAR (werewolves, chainsaws, etc.) has given up at least 24 points in every conference game. LSU has won several big games this year, but reputation-wise the case could be made that they are still coasting on the first three games of the season. Even a one-loss LSU team would be far and above ahead of Southern Cal and Georgia right now regardless of schedules. The tough schedule and close games are a convenient crutch for Miles, but one wonders what he’d use for an excuse in Ann Arbor.

I really want to like LSU. I was fine with them as the standard-bearer for the conference and thought they’d make a proper national championship contender. They have a silly amount of talent, playmakers all over the field, and enough heart to win a lot of close SEC games – some in which they had to overcome a late deficit. But wouldn’t it be something to see them lose in overtime again this weekend and keep that all-important regulation streak alive?

Post Youtube Goodness

Wednesday November 28, 2007

While we kill time this week waiting for our bowl fate, let’s look at some football eyecandy.

First is Thomas Brown’s game-sealing touchdown from the Tech game with Munson’s call. Note how Southerland dispatches not one but two Tech players to clear the way:

Next is a clip of Stafford’s highlights from the game. He didn’t have the best start, but not many people can make some of these throws:

Another clip making the rounds on the boards is this one-handed catch by incoming WR A.J. Green during a recent playoff game. Lest you wonder why he’s possibly the best WR prospect in the nation:

Finally, if you missed why Tech’s #74 was ejected from the game, CSS caught his flagrant clip on video. Watch around the 50 yard line.

Post How one man might impact Georgia’s bowl

Monday November 26, 2007

pwd is on top of our bowl fortunes, and I can’t disagree that a trip to the Orange Bowl against the ACC champion is probably our most likely destination.  But he mentions that the Rose Bowl is another possibility, and that news has Georgia fans rightfully excited.  Georgia hasn’t played in the storied Rose Bowl since 1943 where they beat UCLA 9-0.  Charlie Trippi ran for 130 yards on 25 carries, and Frank Sinkwich put the game away with a touchdown run despite an injury.  Short of a national title, I could think of no greater possibility in the twilight of Larry Munson’s career than his first trip to The Granddaddy of Them All.

First, the details:  Southern Cal needs a win over UCLA this weekend to clinch the Pac 10 title.  That seems likely, but no one expected the UCLA upset last year either.  Ohio State is the Big 10 champion.  Traditionally, those two teams would meet in the Rose Bowl.  A Missouri loss in the Big 12 championship game would move Ohio State to the  BCS Championship Game, and the Rose Bowl would have to replace the Buckeyes with another BCS at-large team.  So why not Georgia?

On the surface, a SoCal – UGA Rose Bowl matchup would seem to be fantastic for all involved. Though I admit my Georgia bias, I’m not sure if another BCS bowl, even the national title game, could produce a more compelling pairing. These are two programs dripping with tradition playing good football at the end of the season. SEC vs. Pac 10. What’s not to like? Of course it can’t be that simple, and it isn’t.  How could 9-3 Illinois get the nod instead of 10-2 Georgia?

You remember Big 10 commish Jim Delany. We’ve discussed him here before. He’s been called “the most powerful figure in college athletics.” Delany helped to secure some relevant concessions for the Rose Bowl in the current BCS arrangement:

  • The waiving of a $6 million BCS entry fee.
  • A separate and extremely rich (eight years, $300 million) television deal with ABC. All other BCS games – Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl and BCS championship game – are broadcast on Fox.
  • Favored status in the team selection process that encourages the Big Ten vs. Pac-10 matchup that features the kind of tradition-rich, major-market powerhouses, such as this year’s Rose Bowl participants Southern California and Michigan, that almost ensure high television ratings.
  • An escape from ever having to select a non-BCS conference team such as Boise State, which despite its Fiesta Bowl heroics this year is a potential ratings and revenue risk for a bowl game.
  • Exclusivity to the coveted late afternoon New Year’s Day time slot.

“It’s a matter of independence and control,” Delany said.

Control indeed. Illinois is hardly “tradition-rich” next to a program like Georgia, but they are a major-market team. The Big 10, like any conference, wants two teams in the BCS, and I expect Delany to do everything he can for that additional $17 million.

Right now, Illinois isn’t even eligible for the BCS. That could change this weekend, and all it might take is a Tennessee loss to LSU. Should the Fighting Zooks end up among the top 14 in the final BCS standings, the power play could be fascinating to watch. In one corner is Jim Delany. In the other is the SEC, certainly with plenty of clout of its own. In the middle is one of the most valuable and recognizable events in all of sports. Then there’s ABC with its investment in the game.

Let me clarify that I don’t blame Delany. It’s his job to represent the Big 10 and its membership. It’s not his job to worry whether the Rose or any other bowl has the best possible or most interesting pairing of teams.

I see a lot of excitement not only among the fans but also coming out of Athens for the possible Rose Bowl bid. I just hope we don’t set ourselves up for disappointment. Bowl success seems to depend so much on attitude. There’s no way to prove a correlation, but I’ve seen the Dawgs drop two bowl games (2001 and 2005) where the players and/or fans were less-than-pleased with the bowl or the opponent.

Less than two months ago we were scoping out 1-star motels off the exit ramp in Bossier City, La. in anticipation of an Independence Bowl bid. It seems unthinkable that people could be let down by getting “just” an Orange Bowl bid, but that is a vibe I get underneath the excitement of the Rose Bowl possibilities. Earning a spot in the BCS, regardless of the destination or opponent, means a big-time game in the national spotlight against a quality team. It is also a chance to position the program for the next season. I hope we – both team and fans – fully embrace whatever opportunity we get and just play ball.

UPDATE:The AJC’s Tony Barnhart weighs in today on Georgia’s Rose Bowl chances and recognizes the very real possibility of Illinois getting the bid.

Post Savoring seven

Monday November 26, 2007

Kyle described my feelings exactly. Only rarely (think 2002) has a win over Tech been more joy than relief for me. It’s a game that means so much to me that every imperfection gets magnified. Only a glaring drop on Tech’s first possession kept their weak passing game from hitting a home run – something we just couldn’t have. The special teams miscues were uncharacteristic and dreadful. What were we thinking? Stafford started 5-of-13 and threw one right at Adamm Oliver which was fortunately dropped.

But Georgia proved to be better than their mistakes. For all of the imperfections, the Dawgs put up 31 points and 432 yards of offense. Georgia had averaged 16 PPG against Tech since 2004. The defense did it again and all but shut down Tech in the second half. Stafford’s passes went from dumbfounding to astonishing. Even Georgia’s mistakes provided opportunities to shine: Knowshon Moreno’s recovery and hustle after a botched lateral cost Tech a touchdown (and a serious momentum shift).

Tech’s defense lends itself to a lot of ugly offense with just a handful of opportunities for big plays. Georgia has had the ugly offense part down for several years, and they hadn’t been much in the big play department. I noted last week that Georgia had a single play longer than 20 yards in last year’s 15-12 win. This year Georgia was better able to capitalize on those big play chances. On each of their four touchdown drives, the Bulldogs had a play of at least 30 yards. They were able to connect through the air to both Massaquoi and Bailey, and Brown also contributed a few long gains on the ground.

Credit to Bobo for sticking with the running game. Even with Moreno’s frustrating day and Tech’s constant harassment behind the line of scrimmage, Georgia was able to break a fair number of plays as the game wore on. Though Stafford’s ability to hit some passes downfield was significant, generating over 200 yards on the ground paid dividends late in the game. ABC noted how Georgia was able to keep up a steady rotation of defensive players throughout the game, and Tech had no such luxury especially with Oliver hurt.

After a few days for it to soak in, this was a much better win than I thought at the time.

Thomas Brown

Georgia hadn’t managed over 106 yards rushing as a team against Tech since 2002. Brown had the most impressive day by a Bulldog against the Yellow Jackets since Verron Haynes went for 207 in 2001. With 706 yards on the season, Brown now has 2,573 career rushing yards. He needs only eight yards to pass Kevin McLee for fifth place on Georgia’s career rushing yardage list. Moreno is definitely a key to the success this season, but Saturday was the hometown senior’s chance to shine.


A pivotal, if not the pivotal point in the game came at the end of the first half, and it centers around a coaching decision which might ultimately cost Chan Gailey his job.

Georgia had just scored but missed the extra point and led 16-14. Tech quickly got the ball inside the Georgia 40 and, with two timeouts remaining, seemed to be in a position to at least get a field goal and go into the locker room with the lead. Tashard Choice had become increasingly effective in the second quarter, particularly when taking the direct snap. Surely with two timeouts a few runs by Choice could get the ball inside the Georgia 30 and have Tech in a spot for a reasonably certain field goal. The Tech offensive coaches outfoxed us all and called for three consecutive passing plays. The first two were incomplete, natch. The snap of the third was mishandled by Bennett, and he was sacked and injured diving on the loose ball. Instead of a likely go-ahead field goal, Tech actually lost yards on the series and came up just short on a 62-yard field goal attempt. Georgia kept the lead, and they wouldn’t surrender it in the second half.

As much as I have a problem with sports columnists capriciously playing off-with-their-heads when real careers and lives are involved, this was one clear example where coaching mattered and let the Tech team down.

UPDATE: Well, Gailey is out now. On one hand, he did lose six straight to Georgia. On the other hand, I’m mostly serious when I say that six straight bowl bids, winning seasons, an ACC divisional title, and a relatively clean program is likely going to prove to be a tough act to follow. Was this move Georgia firing Donnan or Ole Miss firing Cutcliffe? Tech fans probably have these two questions, and you can debate the order of importance: 1) who’s the next head coach, and 1.0000001) what does it take to keep Tenuta if he’s not the next head coach?


  • Southerland was instrumental in so many key plays. I hope to have one of them up later.
  • As much as we wanted a shot at the national title, I’m not sure I would have liked our chances with an injured Brandon Coutu.
  • Rashad Jones atoned for a pass interference penalty with a nice leaping interception. After missing a couple of chances earlier in the year, he made a good play on the ball. He also got a little talking-to after a personal foul penalty for removing his helmet. There’s no question that Jones will be a solid member of the secondary going forward.
  • I’m hoping that the next member of the secondary to take a step forward is Prince Miller. He’s been picked on more than anyone this year. It’s no sin for a sophomore cornerback to have his struggles, but eventually you hope for signs of progress. We got just that against Tech when Miller made a great play to get a hand in to knock away a likely long reception.
  • If there’s a tackle for a loss by the Georgia defense, I first look for Curran and Atkins.
  • Massaquoi has become as rock-steady a receiver as Georgia has had in years. After struggling with the drops last season, he is money when the Dawgs have to have a catch. I know everyone is already looking forward to the incoming receivers, but MoMass will be the star of the passing game next year.
  • Is it just me, or did Georgia run the same 2-point conversion they used against Tech last year? In 2006, Stafford hit the man in motion (in that case, Massaquoi) at the goal line. This time, as the play went right, Stafford found Kenneth Harris back across the grain in the back of the endzone. It was good to see the senior Harris make a play; he had another meaningful catch as well.

Post It’s not profit if you’re a non-profit!

Monday November 26, 2007

Somehow I missed this story about the owner of an Atlanta bar and party bus facing charges for selling alcohol on campus.

I’ll leave the central legal issues for the experts, but this line from UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson just couldn’t go without a comment:

Tailgating should be enjoyed by friends and families, not as a profit-making venture, Williamson said.

I’ll remember that the next time I drive by an Athletic Association permit-controlled lot on gameday or pay $20 or more for a spot in a University parking deck.

Post Yet another difference between Tech and Georgia

Sunday November 25, 2007

Georgia looks to have played itself into a BCS Bowl:  a game in the Bowl Championship Series.

Tech seems headed for a BSC Bowl:  a game played Before Santa Claus.

Post Tailgating for a Purpose on Saturday

Thursday November 22, 2007

On this Thanksgiving Day where we reflect on our blessings and express gratitude, our health and the health of our children is probably close to the top of the list. For some, that’s unfortunately not the case, and Dawg fans can do something about it this weekend.

What: Tailgate For A Purpose benefiting the IMRI Fund at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the name of Chayton Williamson, son of Hacker Dawg of the DawgVent.

Where: In the parking lot behind the Varsity on North Avenue (look for the Children’s Healthcare banners)

Why: To help wipe out this terrible disease that affected one of our fellow Dawg’s son and so many other children in our community and state.
This Intra-operative MRI is a specialized piece of equipment that will actually allow the neurosurgeons at CHOA to perform a very delicate and complete MRI DURING brain surgery. This allows the surgeons to get ALL of the tumor in real time and not have to close up, perform the MRI and then re-open if anything was missed. Surgeons will actually be using this IMRI on young Chayton early next week. It was not in place at the time of Chayton’s last surgery, so this is a blessing.
CHOA has donated an “Official” UGA Game Ball autographed by Coach Richt to be raffled off during our tailgate. This ball cannot be purchased at a retail store and is available only to the University of Georgia football team for their use. We will have the ball at our tailgate site Saturday for your personal inspection and someone can take it home with them Saturday. A Commemorative Autographed Wheaties Box signed by Coach Richt will also be one of the raffle items.
Here’s the deal: We will be raffling this ball off at our Tailgate For A Purpose Saturday. Raffle tickets will be $20 each or three tickets for $50 – SO BRING CASH!!!!!!!
We will hold the drawing at 2:45 p.m. You do not have to be present to win. (You can put your name and number on the back of each ticket and we’ll get the ball to you if you’re not there).
** Of course, donations will be accepted and CHOA will give you a letter of acknowledgement and appreciation for your tax records for any donations.
Any questions? Contact resa.wilhite@gmail.com.

Post Richt calls for Atlanta Dawg Walk

Wednesday November 21, 2007
Gate 10 at Bobby Dodd Stadium

Mark Richt is calling on Georgia fans to meet the team for an impromptu Dawg Walk on Saturday. By the way, Gate 10 is the southeast corner of the stadium at North Avenue and Techwood (in the same corner where our band usually sits). It’s the first gate you come to if you head over from the Varsity area.

Once again Richt was summoning the Bulldog Nation for support Tuesday. The Bulldogs coach wanted to get the word out that the team would arrive at Gate 10 of Bobby Dodd Stadium at about 1:40 p.m. on Saturday.

"I thought Bulldog fans might want to show up and say hello as we’re getting off the buses," Richt said. "It could be similar to a Dawg Walk. I don’t know if I would call it a Dawg Walk, but fans might call it that."

Tech fans aren’t too pleased. We’re drafting letters of apology as you read this.

Post First thoughts: Georgia Tech

Wednesday November 21, 2007

A few thoughts on several of the storylines in this weekend’s game:

  • 19, 14, 15. Georgia had more points against Georgia Tech in 2002 (51) than in the aggregate from the past three meetings. Credit Tenuta’s defense, but lesser opponents have had better success over the same span of time. Two things have been problems for Georgia in those games. First is the running game. We’re kind of used to Knowshon getting his 100 now, but Georgia failed to break the century mark as a team against Tech last year. In 2005, it was almost a big deal when Kregg Lumpkin managed a few runs of more than a couple of yards. Georgia is averaging just 62 yards of rushing over the last three meetings. Second is the deep pass. Georgia had only one completion over 20 yards in last year’s game – a 25-yarder to Kenneth Harris.

    It’s no coincidence that an effective running game as well as a few well-timed completions downfield played a big part in Georgia’s wins over Florida and Auburn. They’re pretty common indicators of success and should be against Tech as well. Boston College and Virginia Tech had success moving the ball against the Yellow Jackets. The Hokies had two long touchdown passes and rushed for 185 yards. Boston College threw for over 400 yards.

  • Stopping the Tech running game. Easier said than done of course. Choice deserves every bit of his reputation, but the Jackets also have a quality change of pace guy in freshman Jonathan Dwyer. Dwyer was second only to Caleb King when it came to in-state tailback prospects a year ago, and he has only lived up to that billing as a true freshman. Choice shredded the Georgia defense for over 150 yards last year, and one might even argue that the imperative to get the ball to Calvin Johnson actually took Tech away from a winning strategy had they used Choice more. Choice was particularly effective in the second half.

  • Matching Tech’s intensity. At some point this week, the staff will remind the players that while some might not consider Tech Georgia’s biggest rival, there isn’t a player in the other locker room who doesn’t consider Georgia the biggest game of the year. They can expect Tech to approach this game with the emotion and desperation that Georgia brought to Jacksonville. A sharp, turnover-free start is almost a must in this game.

  • Taylor Bennett It’s important to make sure that an opponent’s weaknesses remain weaknesses and don’t turn into strengths. One of the most disappointing developments in the Tennessee game was the ease with which the Vols ran the ball. We knew they could pass well, but an effective passing game combined with a power running attack was too much to match. We know that Tech will at least try to establish a running game. Taylor Bennett won’t win this game by himself, but he will take a few shots downfield, and Tech will also mix in some play-action to see if they can catch Georgia paying too much attention to Choice. Tech’s passing game might hit a few plays, but Georgia cannot afford for it to turn into a big threat.

  • It seems that every team now has some kind of quarterback/tailback gimmick, and Josh Nesbitt fills that role for Tech. Recruited as a safety by UGA, Tech promised him a shot at quarterback and is using him situationally. Typically he’ll get the snap and just take off running. There is one play to watch for with Nesbitt where he fakes the run, pulls back, and launches a deep pass. Only a slight overthrow kept it from working against the Hokies (and might have changed that game dramatically), and it did succeed last week against UNC.

  • Will Gailey’s job status be a factor? Possibly. I can see some players trying to make that an issue, but among fans Gailey is more tolerated than supported. The analogue to Phil Fulmer’s situation is close but not quite complete. Fulmer has (check with us again on Sunday) at least some core of support. There are no former players with the status of Peyton Manning taking out full-page ads to support Gailey. Gailey’s status might even become a negative if Georgia can get out in front. As Tech was floundering against Virginia Tech a few weeks ago, fans booed even the anti-drunk driving PSA featuring Gailey. If Tech falls behind by a few scores, the home crowd could turn ugly (uglier).

Post Hoops update: Humphrey reinstated

Wednesday November 21, 2007

Billy Humphrey was reinstated to the Georgia men’s basketball team yesterday, and it was just in time: Humphrey scored a team-high 18 points as Georgia began the post-Mike Mercer era with a 76-65 win over Elon. The Dawgs led by as many as 18, but Elon made a bit of a game of it near the end before Georgia put it away. Coach Felton was pleased with the defensive effort, but rebounding and free throw shooting were weak points.

Humphrey came in off the bench and had an immediate impact. He had been suspended pending felony charges related to a knife found in his dorm room. The junior guard was reinstated after agreeing to a pre-trial diversion deal that will see the charges dropped if he meets the conditions and completes some community service.

The Dawgs are 3-0, but the competition gets turned up this weekend as Georgia heads up to Wisconsin to complete the home-and-home series. The Badgers won a closer-than-expected game in Athens last year.

The Lady Dogs will be in the Bahamas this weekend for a four-team tournament. They survived a scare from Temple last week, but spotty shooting has been an issue early in the season. They face Prairie View A&M in the opening round, but the second round game against Southern Cal or Virginia Tech should be a much better test.