Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Vandy tickets on sale to Hartman Fund donors

Monday September 29, 2008

Beginning Monday (today) at noon, donors can order tickets to the October 18th Vanderbilt game (which is shaping up to be interesting, to say the least). You have until Wednesday at noon to order. If the Central Michigan game is any indication, any remaining tickets would then be opened up to the general public on Wednesday.

A limited number of tickets to the Georgia vs. Vanderbilt game on Saturday, October 18, will go on sale exclusively to William C. Hartman, Jr. Fund donors beginning Monday, September 29 at Noon. Hartman Fund donors will have until Wednesday, October 1 at Noon to order.

William C. Hartman, Jr. Fund donors will be sent an email at Noon on Monday, September 29, that will feature a direct link to the Gorgia-Vanderbilt ticket sales. The tickets can also be purchased online via the link included on the email or by calling the Athletic Association’s ticket office toll free 1-877-542-1231. There is no limit per order.

These remaining tickets are $45 each plus a processing fee. All orders will be mailed out on Wednesday, October 8.

Post Tennessee game set for 3:30, CBS

Monday September 29, 2008

The University has announced that the Tennessee game will be the 3:30 CBS game on October 11th.

It will be Georgia’s second appearance on CBS this year and the first at Sanford Stadium. CBS broadcasted the 14-7 win over South Carolina.

CBS hasn’t been as kind to Tennessee; they were there for the Vols’ losses to Florida and Auburn. Gary Danielson had better enjoy being elsewhere this weekend.

Post The first curveball of the 2008 season

Friday September 26, 2008

Congratulations to Oregon State.

The upset does open the door for UGA (and everyone else), but there’s a lot of football to be played yet. If anything, the game should serve as a sobering reminder that there’s an urgency to every game when an undefeated season is the ticket to the title. You can beat Ohio State one week and lose to Oregon State the next, and no team is safe. A lot was made over Georgia’s scant 14-7 win at South Carolina, but you take conference road wins however you can get them.

For Southern Cal, the letdown occurs again against a lesser conference opponent. Losses to a bad Stanford team last season and an ordinary UCLA squad in 2006 kept them out of the last two national championship games. Will another bad loss cost them the title shot nearly everyone assumed was theirs after the convincing win over Ohio State, or will they be able to run the table, remain in the picture, and work their way back in through the repechage?

The SoCal loss will surely ignite the “who’s #1” debate, and it will naturally be a hot topic when Gameday comes to Athens this weekend. For now, it doesn’t matter. This won’t be the last or next-to-last curveball that the young season throws us. Two weeks ago, the Southern Cal – Ohio State game was touted as a national championship-caliber game. Now where are we? Georgia just needs to make sure they take care of business and avoid nights like this one.

Post One last ASU item

Thursday September 25, 2008

This was too good not to mention. Life is back to normal in Tempe.

Police say members of an Arizona State University fraternity vomited milk from a campus bridge and caused a car crash that injured two people.

Post Ground game will likely tell the tale

Thursday September 25, 2008

A lot of people are asking this week how Georgia should attack Alabama’s formidable defensive front. Quinton does a good job of illustrating the importance of winning individual battles in the passing game against the cornerbacks along the sideline. Others like Bruce Feldman place the game on Knowshon’s capable shoulders.

Of course a one-dimensional offense is going to struggle against a defense of any decent quality, so the Dawgs are going to need plays from both the passing game and on the ground. But which is more important? While the best scoring chances might come through the air, Mark Richt’s history against Nick Saban suggests that the margin of victory will be more closely reflected in the rushing totals.

During the 2003 season, Georgia and Saban’s LSU team met twice. Georgia actually passed for more yards than LSU in both games, but LSU came away with both wins. In the first meeting in Baton Rouge, the rushing totals were low and roughly even (105 LSU to 97 UGA), and the game was tight all the way, low-scoring, and decided at the end. The second meeting in Atlanta was all LSU. The Tigers racked up 293 yards on the ground, most of it from Justin Vincent, and the Dawgs eeked out 50 yards rushing. The score was predictably lopsided.

Fast-forward to 2004. Though the story of the day was David Greene’s record-setting five touchdown passes, he only completed ten passes in the game for 172 yards. LSU had more passing yards but lost the game by 29 points. The disparity in the score was again reflected in the rushing yardage – 221 for Georgia to just 67 for LSU.

Just eleven yards of rushing separated Saban’s first Alabama team and Georgia a year ago (164 Bama to 153 Georgia). The result was a score in the 20s with another close finish.

The happiest person over the emergence of A.J. Green has to be Knowshon Moreno. Whether it was defensive fatigue or adjustments to cover Green or some combination of the two, Moreno did most of his damage in the desert after Green had established his presence during that late first half drive. Bama might be tough up front, but the running game cannot be abandoned. Clemson sealed their fate by surrendering way too early to Bama’s run defense, and Georgia can’t get caught in that trap.

Georgia might get their big plays through the air, but the game will be won on the ground. Whether it’s establishing tempo early or keeping control of a lead later in the game, Georgia’s going to have to run the ball one way or the other even if it takes big passing plays to open things up.

Good blocking plus a little Knowshon can get it done.

Post What is it with Bama and funerals?

Tuesday September 23, 2008

Last year Alabama defensive end Wallace Gilberry said he had to “know where to send the flowers (to Matthew Stafford) after the game.” I assumed he was asking about sending condolences and not getting to know Stafford socially, but you never know. (By the way, neither Gilberry nor any other Crimson Tide defender registered a sack in the game.)

This year Bama strength coach Scott Cochran is the one talking about funerals (because Georgia’s wearing black! Get it?) in his own colorful language.

Everyone’s going to post this video, so I might as well too. The interesting part is around 1:04, and you need to turn your speakers up to get it.

Post So what was Munson’s final great call?

Monday September 22, 2008

There are no shortage of Munson highlights from over the years, but now that the sun has set on his career in the broadcast booth, was this 2006 call his last signature moment?

Post The end of an era

Monday September 22, 2008

Larry Munson
We knew this day would come, but we hoped it never would. Larry Munson is retiring; the Central Michigan game was his last painting the picture for Georgia fans.

Legendary University of Georgia football play-by-play announcer Larry Munson, who began broadcasting Bulldog games in 1966, has announced his retirement from the booth.

Munson has done only home games thus far this season and in 2007; however, he has decided that the Central Michigan broadcast on Sept. 6, was his last. The current road game booth crew of Scott Howard and Eric Zeier will finish out the 2008 season handling home and away games.

“I can’t express enough my deep feelings toward the Georgia football fans,” said Munson. “They have been so friendly especially during this most recent period of time. I feel I owe them so much more than I can give. I’ll remember all the great times with the Dogs and have the fondest wishes and good luck toward them all.”

“Larry made the decision over the weekend after consultation with his family, doctor, and close friends,” said Michael Munson, Larry’s son. “The Munson family would like to thank Cox Radio, the University of Georgia and the Georgia people who have been so supportive of Larry throughout his long career and especially the last several months following his surgery in April. Larry plans to celebrate his 86th birthday this weekend watching the Alabama game with family and close friends.”

Michael Munson also indicated that after 60 years in broadcasting, Larry told him “There are lots of things I still want to do.”

“I want to thank Larry Munson on behalf of this great university for 42 dedicated years of delivering the Georgia Bulldogs to fans on fall Saturday’s around the world,” said UGA Director of Athletics Damon Evans. “I truly appreciate his return at the start of this season from surgery to give us all another opportunity to hear him describe the tradition and pageantry of Georgia football as only he could do it. This is a day that we all knew would come for the Bulldog Nation, Larry Munson is and will always be a part of what is great about being a Georgia Bulldog.”

Wearing black to Saturday’s game just became a million times more poignant.

Post West bound and down

Thursday September 18, 2008

I’m among those heading out to Tempe today, so it’ll pretty much be radio silence over the weekend. A few things I’ll be thinking about on the plane…

Next in line. The shuffling of the offensive line about which we speculated earlier in the week is underway. It looks like a starting unit of (L-R) Vance-C Davis-Jones-Boling-Anderson will take the field. There are concerns with three of the new starters – Vance’s speed and agility, Jones’ experience, and Anderson’s grasp of the assignments – that have been present since the staff began evaluating the line in the sprint.

I stress again that some of the line positions were close battles to begin with. Jones had been pushing Davis at center since the spring. Cordy Glenn’s rise to the starting lineup was one of the surprises of August’s preseason camp. Ability has never been the question with Justin Anderson; it’s only been a question of understanding the scheme. I don’t necessarily see this shakeup as a desperation move. The line did perform poorly last week, and that might have tipped some of these positional battles that were close to begin with. Tripp and Glenn aren’t going anywhere, and we should see each in the game on Saturday.

Where’s the hype? Maybe it’s a lack of perspective after the blitz for the SoCal-Ohio St. game, but is it just me or have things been pretty quiet this week? Oh, you’ve had a few nods to Georgia’s first trip out west in decades, and the Arizona press has done their part to spotlight the crazy SEC fans coming to town. You just don’t get the sense that there’s much buzz on the national scene for this game, and that’s not good news for a Georgia program hoping to grow its brand and national reputation through games like this.

In fact, if I go to ESPN’s college football page, I’m reminded that the national focus this weekend is back in the South and the SEC. Gameday will be at LSU-Auburn. Florida @ Tennessee is also getting plenty of play because, well, I guess we missed talking about Florida during their bye week. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being South Carolina-Wofford and 10 being Beanie Wells’ ankle, this game is only a 6 or 7 on the hype meter right now.

Something to prove? Though Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno put up some good numbers and highlights in Georgia’s first couple of games, their first performance last weekend in front of a national audience was pretty lackluster. The Georgia offense produced just one touchdown, Moreno was held well under 100 yards, Stafford was bailed out of his first INT of the season, and, worse, the Georgia coaches more or less surrendered to the fact that the line was getting beat and didn’t even let Moreno try to put the game away on their final two drives of the game.

It’s not that Stafford or Moreno have played poorly. Stafford is as good as he’s been at Georgia, and Moreno has 7 touchdowns already. But as Chase Daniels begins to pull away from the pack in the Heisman race, Georgia’s stars on offense could really use a big game in a high-profile setting. Of course they can only perform as well as the line and the hands of the receivers allow.

Getting pressure. The pass rush has been a hot topic this week, and it doesn’t help that the Dawgs are now down two starters. The loss of Jeff Owens got tons of attention in the first week, but defensive end Rod Battle missed the South Carolina game and is also out for Arizona State with a neck injury. The depth on the line is thin enough, and now half of the starting unit is unavailable. We made a lot out of Arizona State’s sack total last year, but they’ve been much better so far this year giving up just five sacks through three games. Whether that’s a factor of the competition, better-than-expected play from the patchwork line, or the result of scheming around the weakness, the job of getting to and disrupting Carpenter doesn’t seem as easy as it might have in July.

For everyone headed out to the game, be safe, and we’ll see you here on Saturday.

Sun Devil Stadium

Post Opponent watch

Thursday September 18, 2008

Georgia Southern (1-1) —

Central Michigan (2-1): The Chippewas bounced back from the Georgia loss by winning their conference opener at Ohio, but it wasn’t easy. CMU fell behind 14-0, recovered to lead 31-21, and had to hold on for the 31-28 win. In fact, CMU had to force a fumble on their own goal line to stop a late Ohio drive (sound familiar?). Next they get a chance for revenge against a team that beat them not once but twice last season. THIS WEEK: @ Purdue

South Carolina (1-2): It’s possible to attach too much significance to the loss to Georgia, but at 0-2 in the league the Gamecocks might already be reduced to a spoiler role in a year where people are beginning to question the direction of the program. Two easy games should have the Gamecocks back over .500 soon, but then what? THIS WEEK: Wofford

Arizona State (2-1): Whether the loss to UNLV was a case of looking ahead or a sign of bigger problems, it wasn’t how the Sun Devils wanted to go into this weekend’s big game. The bloom is off the rose somewhat with ASU dropping out of one poll, but they are still a very dangerous team. Everyone is focused on the matchup of Arizona State’s passing offense against the Georgia defense, but the Bulldog offense should also be in the spotlight after managing a single touchdown and just 14 points last week. THIS WEEK: Georgia

Alabama (3-0): The Tide had no problems dispatching Western Kentucky, and their 3-0 start has earned them a spot in the top 10. They will put that ranking to the test and start the SEC schedule with consecutive road trips. Arkansas shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but they can’t get caught looking ahead to Georgia. THIS WEEK: @ Arkansas

Tennessee (1-1): As expected, the Vols had little trouble with a horrible UAB team and earned their first win. The win still wasn’t enough to erase concerns with QB Jonathan Crompton, and he’ll be squarely in the spotlight for the SEC opener against Florida. Tennessee has to draw some confidence from Miami’s ability to keep Florida off the scoreboard (for a while, anyway). If they’re to have a chance, they must have at least as much success against the Florida offense, and the ground game that was abandoned at UCLA has to show up. The Vols were able to win the SEC East despite losing this game a year ago, but a 1-2 start with Auburn and Georgia coming up soon would put Tennessee in a tight spot. THIS WEEK: Florida

Vanderbilt (3-0): Halfway to bowl eligibility. Again they were outgained but came away with another win. They made up the difference in return yards and defensive adjustments that shut out a quality Rice offense in the second half. Their next four games include both Mississippi schools, Auburn, and Georgia. THIS WEEK: @ Mississippi

LSU (2-0): Les Miles was itching to play a game, and I guess playing North Texas qualified. The Tigers have had two lightweight warmups and a third delayed when their stadium was damaged by a hurricane. Was it enough to prepare the defending champions and their new quarterbacks for the SEC? We’ll find out right away – there’s a lot at stake and some history to overcome in their first conference test. THIS WEEK: @ Auburn

Florida (2-0): The Gators have had two weeks to prepare for the Vols, and that doesn’t seem to be a good omen for this weekend’s hosts. Percy Harvin is back, but the story so far has been the Florida defense. They’ve been stifling in their first two games, and if they can continue to remain strong against the Tennessee ground game, Florida should come away with the early advantage in the SEC East. THIS WEEK: @ Tennessee

Kentucky (3-0): I thought last week that Kentucky’s game against MTSU might be more interesting than it seemed, and it definitely was. Rich Brooks – stolen signs or not – is getting proper criticism for nearly blowing the game, but the Wildcats narrowly avoided becoming MTSU’s second BCS conference victim. So here they are at the bye week, undefeated, and will likely head into October without a blemish before the meat of the SEC schedule. THIS WEEK: BYE

Auburn (3-0): Everyone has had a laugh at the expense of Auburn’s 3-2 win at Mississippi State, and playing against the LSU defense isn’t a good prescription for an anemic offense. No one’s laughing at the Auburn defense, and they’ll be counted on to rattle an LSU quarterback making his road debut. Brad Lester’s status for the game is still up in the air, and his absence would be a big hit to Auburn’s chances. LSU’s stable of tailbacks and receivers should give them the edge, but the home crowd and a big play or two by the defense could flip the advantage. THIS WEEK: LSU

Georgia Tech (2-1): For the second week in a row the Yellow Jackets went on the road and played a tight, competitive ACC game. This time, at Virginia Tech, they came out on the losing side. The Paul Johnson offense has struggled to get out of the upper teens against conference competition, but the defense has kept the games close so far. The over/under for their next game might be in the single digits. THIS WEEK: Mississippi State

Post Tailgating reminders for ASU

Wednesday September 17, 2008

UGA has published a set of tailgating reminders for Georgia fans heading to Tempe. Some of the rules seem a little nanny-ish, but others are based on common sense due to the fact that YOU ARE TAILGATING IN A #$@*ING DESERT.

In other words, it’s not a good idea to sit outside from 8 AM on and pound Jim Beam. There are plenty of watering holes in the area to set up shop for the day and stay out of the sun. The UGA Alumni Association will be taking over Gordon Biersch (420 South Mill Ave), and there are several other good options elsewhere along Mill Ave.

Here is the law of the land:

  • Tailgating may occur in the ASU’s parking lots and structures 3.5 hours preceding football games (1:30 p.m. [local time] for this Saturday’s game against Georgia).
  • The consumption of beer and wine is permitted but under Arizona law, the consumption of liquor is not authorized.
  • Individuals consuming beer or wine must be of legal age, i.e., 21 years of age or older.
  • Formal organized events, such as when a company plans and has catered an event with food and alcohol, are required to obtain an alcohol permit.
  • Grilling may be done in open parking lots and on the roof of parking structures. No charcoal grills are allowed.
  • ASU police encourages the use of cans or plastic bottles.
  • No one can bring any alcohol inside the stadium.
  • Drinking games and binge drinking are prohibited. Other recreational games such as bean-bag toss, football, etc., are permitted as long as a competitive drinking aspect is not involved.

Post OL changes on the way?

Tuesday September 16, 2008

Mark Richt hinted at possible changes in Tuesday’s press conference. The unit as a whole was underwhelming on Saturday, and Richt admits that the time has come to “probably experiment a little bit.”

It’s not the end of the world and wouldn’t be unprecedented. History has nothing but good things to say about the 2007 line and Stacy Searels’ job getting the young unit to perform, but we also saw an early season shake-up last year. Anyone remember Scott Haverkamp?

We’ve now had a few games to see how individuals perform, and remember that some of these positional battles were neck-and-neck to begin with before the Sturdivant injury caused some shuffling. The changes in 2007 made way for players like Clint Boling, and if there are changes coming this week, it might be time for Justin Anderson or Ben Jones to shine. At least the staff finally has some options to consider up front.

Post A solution in search of a problem

Tuesday September 16, 2008

We want to increase Georgia’s national exposure. What Georgia fan could disagree with that goal for the program? We want Bulldog football to be popular, ubiquitous, and successful like Coca-Cola, Google, Toyota, or any other respected and well-known brand. It’s a business, Georgia football is a brand, and Damon Evans, like any good manager, wants to grow that brand.

My only question – and it’s one that I’ve asked since we first learned about this road trip to Arizona – is this: is Georgia’s national exposure really a problem that needs attention?

  • Recruiting: Georgia has had a recruiting class among the national top 10 (according to Rivals.com) for several years running. They have the advantage of being the flagship public school in a talent-rich state. Additionally, they have landed elite national prospects from as far away as Texas and New Jersey without playing in or near those states.
  • Popularity: Georgia is among the 10 top-selling institutions represented by CLC. Georgia merchandise is in demand. Season ticket interest is through the roof.
  • Reach: Thanks to the SEC’s popularity, over half of Georgia’s games this year will be on major national networks. Others will be on regional networks but available in homes and sports bars elsewhere through ESPN’s GamePlan. This isn’t 1940 or even 1985 when watching a team in person might be your only opportunity to get a look at them. It’s possible that interested persons in Gov. Sarah Palin’s town of Wasilla, Alaska, were able to pick up last Saturday’s game against South Carolina on rabbit ears via KTVA-TV in Anchorage.
  • Finance: Georgia’s financial success is well-documented and a credit to the management of Damon Evans and his predecessor. No issues here.
  • Reputation: If Georgia gets knocked for being a "regional program", it doesn’t show up in the polls. Silly issues like Knowshon’s hurdle aside, it’s hard to argue that Georgia gets slighted.

What am I missing here? I’m not impressed with the cliches – "in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best." It’s not about ducking quality competition, but there are very real consequences to the team when you drop a trip to Tempe in the middle of the SEC schedule.

If Evans and Richt really see a perception and image problem with the Georgia brand, how about a national title or two first?

Post Jean Russell, Erk’s widow, passes

Friday September 12, 2008

The First Lady of Georgia Southern football passed away on Thursday, according to the Statesboro Herald. Recall that Erk passed away just two years ago around this time.

“I don’t know if Jean ever recovered from his loss,” (friend Mary Lou) Robins said. “She was his biggest fan and supporter. His loss was almost more than she could bear.”

Our sympathies again go out to the Russell family.

Post Developing: SC football players allegedly involved in campus fight

Thursday September 11, 2008

The State is reporting news of a brawl on campus this afternoon allegedly involving South Carolina football players. Details are still thin, and a University spokesman adds that, “campus police are investigating the incident, but no charges have been filed.”

UPDATE: Looks as if this story is a non-issue. If you buy the sanitized version of the story that’s coming out, some off-campus troublemakers came into a campus food court, started something with a few football players, and that was the end of it. Of course that’s a common problem these days on any campus – random people coming in off the street and starting brawls with the football team over lunch. “The only thing I think I know about it is we’re victims,” said SC defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.