Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post 5 questions heading into the Liberty Bowl

Friday December 31, 2010

Can Georgia score over 30?

It’s the stat you’ve been hearing about since late October: Georgia hasn’t scored fewer than 30 points since their trip out to Colorado.  It’s impressive that the streak has occurred during the meat of the SEC slate, and it’s been a result of the rapid development of Aaron Murray.  That production hasn’t always been enough for a win, though.  Georgia has dropped two of the seven games in which they’ve scored 30+.  They’ll go up against a UCF defense that could be better than most Georgia fans expect.  They’ve held both of their other AQ opponents, N.C. State and Kansas State, under 30, and they stifled June Jones’ SMU offense in their conference title game. UCF leads their conference in most defensive stats, and they’re top 20 nationally in both scoring and total defense.  They haven’t always been consistent, though.  They gave up at least 30 in three straight games to some sub-par conference opponents during the middle of the season.  DB Josh Robinson will be key in keeping A.J. Green from having a big day.

Can Georgia keep UCF under 30?

The flip side of Georgia’s productive offense is this: the Dawgs have given up at least 30 to their last three FBS opponents.  Giving up 30 to Auburn is no indictment of a defense, but the other two games aren’t feathers in Todd Grantham’s cap. Steve Spurrier mentioned yesterday that he had watched Florida try to rotate three quarterbacks this year.  “I think it worked in one game,” he said.  We all know which game that was.  Georgia Tech’s option offense can be explosive, but Duke did a better job keeping the Yellow Jackets in check.  Central Florida presents a familiar style of play that has caused Georgia problems: a mobile quarterback and an effective running game.  They don’t have the scheme of Mississippi State or the power running of South Carolina, but they can move the ball on the ground, move the chains with an efficient passing game, and their quarterback can scramble and turn third down stops into frustrating and drive-sustaining first downs. Georgia’s defense will have to focus on finishing off those third downs and getting off the field – something they’ve struggled with for much of 2010. 

Which freshman QB will have the better day, and will it matter?

The showdown between two of the nation’s best freshman quarterbacks is one of the big storylines of this game. Though the two have similar attributes in terms of a good arm and great mobility, their roles differ. Murray has become the unquestioned centerpiece of the Georgia offense.  Thanks to A.J. Green and a solid receiving corps, Murray’s development has turned an offense that was supposed to lean on the running game into an offense whose identity starts with the pass.  The numbers back it up:  Murray is on track to break 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns passing for the year.  He’s not just breaking records for Georgia’s freshman quarterbacks; he’s flirting with team records.  UCF’s Jeff Godfrey is also a productive passer, but his role is more about efficiency.  He’s the nation’s leader among freshman quarterbacks in efficiency, and he completes 68.4% of his passes.  He’s only thrown 13 touchdowns, compared with 24 for Murray.  That matters less because UCF can run the ball.  They’re 25th in the nation with 192.46 yards per game on the ground.  Godfrey doesn’t have to throw for 300 yards and 3 TDs in order to be effective; he just has to be efficient in those situations when he’s asked to pass, and he has to use his mobility to create yards on the ground or get out of trouble.  That’s just what he’s done this year, and it’s why UCF is where they are.

What impact will the weather have?

Storms are forecast for Memphis this afternoon, and rain can turn the best intentions of a game plan into a muddy slugfest.  There’s no end of discussion whether rain would help an offense or defense or slow everyone down, but it looks as if a wet track and a strong southerly wind will be a factor in this game. 

Can we expect the unexpected?

We’ve seen everything this bowl season from fake kicks to flea-flickers to the surreal ending of the Music City Bowl.  And that was just yesterday.  That’s not unusual; teams often pull out all the stops for their bowl game.  Big turnovers or special teams plays can either blow a game open or keep an underdog’s hopes alive.  Last year a series of plays from the return game and punting miscues turned the Independence Bowl from a nail-biter into a rout.  In a game with no turnovers and relatively benign special teams, you like Georgia’s chances in this one.  But what are the chances of ending up in that kind of game?

Post Now you’ll have to find another excuse to skip G-Day

Tuesday December 28, 2010

There’s no sense in having a schedule conflict if it can be avoided, so I’ll join the chorus of approval for moving G-Day a week after Masters weekend. At the very least, maybe we’ll miss the early April cold snaps that have been brutal the past couple of years.

But something tells me it wasn’t the Masters keeping D-Day attendance down under a half of Sanford Stadium’s capacity. This change will surely matter to a handful of people, and, again, there’s no use of having a conflict just to have one. I just think that any increase in attendance will be incremental rather than substantial. It’s still a vanilla and heavily-scripted scrimmage that also happens to be on TV.

Post Our Dawgs of the Decade

Thursday December 23, 2010

At the 2010 football gala earlier this month, UGA used the occasion to name the Team of the Decade to coincide with Mark Richt’s tenth season as Georgia’s head coach. Over 37,000 online votes came up with this group:


DE: Charles Grant and David Pollack
DT: Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins
OLB: Rennie Curran and Boss Bailey
ILB: Dannell Ellerbe and Odell Thurman
CB: Tim Jennings and Asher Allen
FS: Thomas Davis
SS: Greg Blue
P: Drew Butler

C: Ben Jones
OG: Fermando Velasco and Max Jean-Gilles
OT: Jon Stinchcomb and Clint Boling
TE: Ben Watson
WR: Mohamed Massaquoi and A.J. Green
FB: Brannan Southerland
TB: Knowshon Moreno
QB: David Greene
PK: Blair Walsh

Not bad. A little heavy on more recent players, but that’s to be expected. Subjective lists like these are always fodder for discussion, so here’s who we would have selected. No real criteria other than that they have to had played at least one season for Mark Richt. I considered of course raw production at Georgia but also NFL draft status and even some intangibles.


DE: David Pollack and Quentin Moses
DT: Jon Sullivan and Geno Atkins
LB: Rennie Curran, Boss Bailey, Odell Thurman
CB: Tim Jennings and Bruce Thornton
S: Thomas Davis and Sean Jones
P: Drew Butler


OL: Jon Stinchcomb, Max Jean-Gilles, George Foster, Fernando Velasco, Clint Boling
TE: Ben Watson
WR: A.J. Green and Terrence Edwards
FB: Brannan Southerland
TB: Knowshon Moreno
QB: David Greene
PK: Billy Bennett

While we’re at it, might as well do a second team:


DE: Charles Johnson and Charles Grant
DT: Jeff Owens and Kedric Golston
LB: Will Witherspoon, Tony Gilbert, Justin Houston
CB: Asher Allen and Tim Wansley
S: Kentrell Curry and Jermaine Phillips
P: Gordon Ely-Kelso


OL: Alex Jackson, Ben Jones, Dan Inman, Ken Shackleford, Chester Adams
TE: Leonard Pope
WR: Mohamed Massaquoi and Fred Gibson
FB: Verron Haynes
TB: Musa Smith
QB: Matthew Stafford
PK: Blair Walsh

I can anticipate some disagreements. Stafford over Shockley? Edwards over, well, everyone but AJ? I was surprised by a few names of some very good players I had to leave off. McMichael. Roland. Oliver. Jacobs. Chapas. Coutu. Blue. Gary. The DE position alone was really tough: no Marcus Howard, Will Thompson, or Robert Geathers. I struggled with putting Justin Houston at LB over someone like Tony Taylor. In the 4-3 Georgia used for nearly all of the decade, would Houston have to be considered with the linebackers or the DEs?

Anyway, feel free to leave your own Dawgs of the Decade in the comments. There’s no shortage of great players who deserve recognition.

Post Quibbles: Muschamp the traitor and the meaning of “damn good”

Tuesday December 21, 2010

It might be a little early for the Airing of Grievances, and this isn’t exactly “I got a lotta problems with you people” stuff.

“Pretty damn good”

This is probably a better post for the long off-season, but the short attention span summary of the 2010 Georgia season is quickly taking shape as a tale of Georgia righting the ship and recovering from a poor start and the absence of A.J. Green.

Mark Richt suggested that “we played pretty damn good” after the team’s 1-4 start. There’s no question that the 5-2 finish was better than the start of the season, and the team did play well in certain areas – primarily on offense as Aaron Murray developed at quarterback. The accomplishment of consecutive games with 30+ points is significant, but so is the point that 30 is just an arbitrary benchmark. If your offense is capable of scoring more and needs to do so in order to compete and win, 30 points is meaningless. We’ve heard plenty about the seven straight games with 30+ points scored. We’ve heard less about the Dawgs giving up 30+ in their last four games against FBS competition.

That 5-2 finish included a 3-2 SEC stretch. Above-average, but hardly what I’d call “pretty damn good,” and not up to the standards of what we’ve come to expect from a Mark Richt team. None of those wins were over a ranked team or anyone with more than six wins*, though there were three bowl-bound teams in there. Losing to Auburn was no shame this year, but there was a huge missed opportunity against a Florida team whose late-season dive was put on hold for one productive afternoon in Jacksonville. It’s to Georgia’s credit that they didn’t lose games to teams with similar records like Tennessee, Kentucky, or Georgia Tech, but that’s setting the bar pretty low.

I don’t take Richt’s quote to mean that he thinks everything is just fine. We’ve already seen changes with the strength program, he’s noted the need for a team that’s physically and mentally tougher, and he realizes that the defense has a ways to go.

I still don’t know that the team I saw down the stretch had improved to the point that I’d say the South Carolina, Arkansas, or even Mississippi State games would have turned out differently. Those teams improved a good deal themselves.

* Bowl game result pending

Pining for Muschamp

I caught this line from Mr. SEC in a post over at Get the Picture. The hiring of Will Muschamp at Florida might have the effect of tweaking more than one program, but I have my doubts that Muschamp coming to Florida really bothered Georgia fans all that much (other than the obvious: he’s still Florida’s coach, after all).

There are probably a lot of Georgia fans who are upset tonight. As a Georgia grad, Muschamp was viewed as a “someday” coach of the Bulldogs. You can bet the folks who wanted to blow out Richt and hire Muschamp this offseason are bummed.

Oh, I’ve seen some of what he’s talking about, but it’s nowhere near the reaction of “a lot” of Georgia fans. If anything, the typical reaction from what I’ve read seems to follow along these lines: first, mild amusement (as opposed to being “bummed”) that Florida turned, of all things, to a former Georgia player and, second, a small sense of excitement – even if misplaced – that Georgia won’t have to face Meyer or Mullen or Stoops in Jacksonville for the near future. Muschamp is (or was) a Bulldog in good standing whose progression from walk-on to starter to co-captain to rising coaching prospect is admirable, but let’s not pretend that this was a beloved icon like David Greene heading to a rival’s sideline. Most of us couldn’t pick him out of a team photo without a cheat sheet.

Frankly, I’ve found the whole Muschamp-as-prodigal-son meme to be much more a creation and fantasy of those outside the program rather than of those who follow the Bulldogs. It’s the same connect-the-dots logic that had Dan Mullen as the all-but-announced successor to Urban Meyer. Once you get to the small subset of fans ready to “blow out” Richt after this season, Muschamp was about as informed a choice as Gruden, Petrino, or any other name that usually comes up when fans play athletic director. If you anticipated that this offseason would include the firing of Mark Richt and the pursuit of Will Muschamp, you deserve to be bummed.

Post Cocktail Party cover charge going up?

Thursday December 16, 2010

Florida is raising their home football ticket prices by $5 per game next year. The increase is expected to bring in over $3 million annually in additional revenue, and that should go a long way towards paying a new corch and his staff. They’d also like to get a little more money out of their trip to Jacksonville:

Ticket prices for the Florida-Georgia game will rise $10, if Georgia approves.

Anyone expect Georgia to put up much of a fight on that one?

Run-of-the-mill Florida tickets have been around $40 for a while, so an increase wouldn’t be completely outrageous. For context, Georgia fans can expect to pay at least $65-$160 for their other 2011 neutral-site game against Boise State if the LSU-UNC ticket prices were any indication.

Post Muschamp hired at UF: If we can’t get them out, we breed them out.

Sunday December 12, 2010

The trouble with Florida is that it’s full of Gators. So why not go with a Bulldog?

Saturday evening news broke that the Gators had reached an agreement with Texas defensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp to replace Urban Meyer who had resigned earlier in the week. The move brought two questions immediately to mind:

  • Who, and how many, had to say "no" before the name Muschamp came up?
  • Who’s going to be on the staff?

The first question is really only interesting from a process standpoint.  The assumption along with Meyer’s resignation was that Dan Mullen would be the starting point of Florida’s search. Any other names would be speculation – we don’t know that Florida spoke with anyone but Muschamp.  It’s also common sense that feelers were put out to many more coaches with more experience. Georgia also went with an assistant with no head coaching experience for their last hire, and it worked out pretty well. The transition from career assistant to top dawg Gator is something to which Mark Richt can relate.

The second question is more to the point of how successful Muschamp will be as a head coach.  The Chizik story at Auburn should remind us all that a superstar coordinator can make even the most questionable hire look like a brilliant decision.  Mark Richt’s choice of defensive coordinator was a huge part of the run that led to two SEC titles in Richt’s first five seasons. The composition of Muschamp’s staff is almost as interesting as the choice of the head coach himself. With the presumed expertise of Muschamp on defense and with the importance of a strong offense in modern college football, Muschamp’s picks for offensive coaches will naturally receive the most scrutiny. 

The choice of Muschamp’s offensive coordinator will also lead to a related question:  what’s the future of the Mullen/Meyer spread option at Florida? Some variant of the spread is commonplace enough in college football today that it wouldn’t be a surprise for the new coordinator to have a somewhat familiar scheme, but it’s not likely to be a direct analogue.  Florida struggled in 2010 with round pegs at quarterback in the square hole of their offensive scheme, and Muschamp’s new staff will have the work of untangling that problem and the rest of the roster tooled for Meyer’s offense.

Though the spotlight will be on his picks for offense, it would be wrong to ignore the importance of Muschamp’s defensive staff. Again we go back to Chizik at Auburn.  Chizik was the defensive mastermind behind the undefeated seasons at Auburn and Texas in 2004 and 2005, but no one would argue that defense is the strength of his current team. Florida had a long and stable run on defense under Charlie Strong, but that came to an end in 2010. Florida’s defensive players will be facing their third different system in three years in 2011.  Muschamp’s skill and experience will help him with that transition, but he’s going to have a lot more on his plate than worrying about the defense.

Minus the head coaching experience, Muschamp has a lot of traits you’d look for in an SEC coach.  He’s been part of several winning programs, has coached under some of the best men in the business, knows and has recruited the South, and he brings the requisite energy and passion for the game. Florida and the rest of us now get to find out if he’s head coaching material.

Post Here we go again

Wednesday December 8, 2010

A December press conference about the future of the Florida football program? Brett Favre nods and approves.

Post Thinking out loud: Tech, Meyer, and something to warm your heart

Wednesday December 8, 2010

– It’s OK, Julian Royal. I’m sure Mark Fox can still find room for you on next year’s team if you ask nicely this spring.

– Is it me, or is Urban Meyer’s approach to discussing Steve Addazio starting to resemble the he’s-not-off-the-team-but-he’s-not-with-the-team language he used when talking about Chris Rainey?

– Of course the current state of the Tech basketball program had a lot to do with the empty seats last night, but it’s also a consequence of charging 50% to 100% more than the $20 Tech is charging to see its other nonconference opponents. This isn’t football; Georgia fans weren’t going to buy up a few thousand discounted tickets. But the inflated prices did do a good job of keeping all but the most committed of Tech fans at home. I’ve been to games against Georgia and ACC opponents over the past 20 years where the “Thrillerdome” effect was in full force. Those days are long gone. Scenes like that will be what forces the Tech administration to stomach a large buyout and make a change.

– Finally, if you read nothing else today, read this story about the connection between a group of Georgia football players and one special 16-year-old fan.

Post Ware’s 21 leads Georgia past Tech

Wednesday December 8, 2010

It wasn’t Georgia’s best showing on either end of the court, but a 7-of-9 night behind the arc from junior point guard Dustin Ware gave the Dawgs just enough to secure a 73-72 win on the road at Georgia Tech Tuesday night.  Ware’s final three-pointer came with just 15 seconds left and broke a 70-70 tie, providing Georgia’s final points in a game that surprised no one by coming down to the wire.

A sluggish start meant that Georgia played catch-up for most of the night.  Travis Leslie spent most of the first half on the bench with two fouls, and the Bulldog inside game was generally ineffective early on.  Thompkins, Price, and Barnes combined for just eight first half points, leaving the guards – minus Leslie – to take up the load.  Ware and Robinson were up to the task, and Georgia reduced a double-digit deficit to a manageable six points at halftime.

Tech was able to keep Georgia at arms’ length for the first part of the second half, but the Dawgs finally drew even at 43 on a pair of Trey Thompkins free throws.  The sizable Georgia contingent had been pretty subdued to that point, but erasing Tech’s lead brought them to their feet.  Georgia soon went ahead for the first time on a pair of Sherrard Brantley three-pointers, and a 13-5 Bulldog run established a six-point Georgia lead inside of eight minutes left.

Georgia missed an opportunity to extend the lead to eight when a Price layup fell short, and a three-pointer on the other end got the hosts right back in the game.  Tech went on a late 10-0 run to turn a five-point Georgia lead into a 70-65 Yellow Jacket advantage as the Dawgs went cold on offense.  Thompkins picked Georgia up with a huge three-point play, and Ware’s final jumper with 15 seconds left capped an 8-0 run by the Bulldogs to win the game.  Tech had a final chance to win after Gerald Robinson missed two free throws, but a long pass was intercepted, and Georgia held on as the clock ran out.

It’s always great to beat Tech, but as I said it wasn’t a terribly good showing – it was much like the football game in that respect. Georgia’s a better team, and it would have been an upset to lose.  Despite having a stronger inside presence with Thompkins, Barnes, and Price, Georgia was outrebounded 43-30 and only had two more points in the paint.  Thompkins eventually heated up in the second half with 15 points in the final 20 minutes, but Barnes and Price never found much success on offense.  Another thing keeping Tech in the game was Georgia’s free throw shooting.  The Dawgs were a wretched 7-of-15 from the stripe, and Robinson’s missed pair at the end opened the door for Tech to win.

Neither team was especially strong on perimeter defense.  Georgia, led by Ware, shot an amazing 55% from behind the arc.  The Dogs were well over 50% from outside but only 44% overall and 46% from the free throw line.  Tech wasn’t much worse from outside at 40%. They cooled off though only hitting 33% of their three-pointers in the second half, and that helped to fuel Georgia’s comeback.

The win is Georgia’s second in Atlanta since the series left the Omni for the respective campuses in the 1995-1996 season.  Georgia’s last road victory against Tech came in 2000 when another Bulldog guard, D.A. Layne, dropped 28 points on the Yellow Jackets.  Meanwhile, Tech has yet to win in Athens since the series went home-and-home.  Thanks to those two road wins, Georgia enjoys a 10-6 advantage over Tech in the post-Omni era.

The Bulldogs are a respectable 6-2 now and will be off for the next ten days during exams.  Chances are good that the Dawgs will be at 11-2 when SEC play begins.  There are four winnable games in Athens during the latter half of December, and a December 23rd game at Mercer in Macon is the only road game left before the conference schedule.  

Post Saturday…on the couch

Monday December 6, 2010

We’d rather have been a part of Championship Saturday, but staying home gave us the chance to see everything from Cammy Cam Juice to the always-entertaining arrest of a mascot. The regular season was ultimately anti-climatic, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to talk about.

  • This is easy to say in hindsight, but Auburn faced their demons in Tuscaloosa, and I never had a doubt that they’d lose the SECCG. It reminded me of Georgia finally getting over the hump in 2002 at Auburn. It’s one thing to be a team of destiny, but it’s something else to see a good team hit its stride. Once Georgia managed that in 2002, Tech, Arkansas, and FSU never stood a chance. I don’t think Oregon will either.
  • Cammy Cam Juice might’ve been the most ridiculous, and therefore the most enduring, moment of the 2010 SEC season.
  • That said, the Gatorade bath is stale. Cam should have just made it rain on the sideline instead.
  • This is the time of year when people gripe about there being too many bowls. They’re wrong. More college football is always the right answer.
  • Congratulations to Willie Martinez: he’s now been a part of three conference championships and four BCS teams in the past ten years. When you recall that Martinez originally accepted a position at Stanford after leaving Georgia, he’s worked for not one but two teams bound for this season’s BCS.
  • I think everyone was encouraged by the approach outlined by Coach T. late last week. We’re on to the “show me” stage rather quickly. The skepticism Tereshinski will have to overcome is this: was the decision to move forward with Tereshinski so obvious that it required no other interviews or a search of any kind? Georgia’s had some pretty high-profile strength coaches with Eric Fears back in the Donnan era and of course with Van Halenger. I hope Tereshinski is ready for his turn in the spotlight. Ben Dukes has some good additional perspective.
  • Two teams from the state of Florida are ranked in the final coaches’ poll, and neither is Florida or Miami.
  • Tech is offering Independence Bowl tickets for $14 to the first 5,000 purchasers. Does anyone else find that optimistic?
  • Yes, UConn is going to get drilled in front of their 17 fans who make the cross-country trek. I’m glad though to see another school, much like Arkansas, get to experience a BCS bowl for the first time. It’ll be a great time for the fans who do go, and it’ll probably be the most-watched UConn football game ever. Outside of the championship game, the BCS has nothing to do with “best teams”. They won their (wretched) conference, and I hope they enjoy the reward.
  • FSU never had much of a chance without Ponder, but Virginia Tech has to be wondering where they’d be now having scheduled Idaho State rather than Boise State. The pleasure of watching a team adjust and develop as the season goes on is one reason why I’m never sorry to see a team with a few early losses go deep in March Madness. It’s also why I wonder how many of the teams ranked ahead of Virginia Tech are really better than the Hokies right now.
  • Newton and Auburn’s offense deserve all of the accolades thrown their way. You’ve started to see though an increasing role for Auburn’s defense in their success. They held Georgia to 10 points after the first quarter. Certainly they were adept at adjusting and not caving after Alabama jumped on them. Most impressive was their performance against South Carolina. We can debate whether the pressure put on an opponent by Auburn’s offense creates opportunities for the defense, and I’d agree that it does. Lattimore was limited, and it’s hard to stick with a ground game when you’re down by 14.
  • Auburn’s Hail Mary had about the same effect that their onside kick against Georgia had. South Carolina had just scored to get within 7 and would open the second half with the ball. You can’t predict how things would have gone, but you can see an increased role for Lattimore in a closer game, and perhaps Auburn’s offense is kept off the field for a while longer. While we’re at it, is a squib kick ever a good idea? I understand the risks of kicking to the designated return man, but the rare long return seems like a small risk to take versus the field position you’re almost certain to give up. Does Auburn take a knee if they’re starting inside their own 30?

Post Lady Dogs fall (again) at Tech

Monday December 6, 2010

Three years ago, with the all-time series record at 28-2, Andy Landers used the occasion of a close win in Athens to remind Georgia Tech where they fell on Georgia’s hierarchy of women’s basketball rivals. The series record remains lopsided, but Sunday’s convincing 69-53 loss at the hands of Tech suggests that the Lady Jackets need to become a much higher priority for Landers’ program. Though the Lady Dogs have managed to hold serve in Athens, they’ve not been as fortunate on the Lady Jackets’ home court:

  • Georgia has now dropped three of the last four to Tech in Atlanta.
  • They’ve lost the last two in Atlanta by a combined 31 points.
  • They haven’t managed more than 53 points in any of the three losses at Tech, averaging 48 points in those games.
  • The series record might stand at 29-4, but Georgia is only 5-3 against current Tech coach MaChelle Joseph and is now just 1-3 against Joseph’s teams at Alexander Memorial.

That’s not the tale of a lopsided rivalry. Joseph wasn’t out of line for exclaiming postgame that, “It would be an upset if they beat us here.” That certainly seems to be the takeaway of the last eight years. To say that Georgia still at least maintains the advantage in Athens is a pretty feeble claim in what used to be a one-sided affair on any court.

Georgia isn’t losing to bad Tech teams. Tech has become a consistent NCAA Tournament participant and has knocked off other strong programs like North Carolina and Maryland along the way. But whether it’s a question of Tech’s program elevating or Georgia’s stagnating (or both), the Lady Dogs have to recognize a credible challenge both on the court and on the recruiting trail. Georgia might have had the higher-rated class last year with national recruits Ronkia Ransford and Khaalidah Miller, but it was Tech freshman Ty Marshall who stole the show with a game-high 20 points.

Post Gameday Index not doing so well this year

Saturday December 4, 2010

If you go by the ten teams mentioned in ESPN’s Gameday theme, you get a sense of what kind of year it’s been for the traditional powers in college football.  Only three of the ten are ranked, none of them in the top five, and the record of the others is a combined 45-39 with no team better than 7-5.

  • Oklahoma: 10-2
  • Alabama: 9-3
  • Georgia: 6-6
  • Florida: 7-5
  • Ohio State: 11-1
  • Notre Dame: 7-5
  • USC: 7-5
  • Michigan: 7-5
  • Texas: 5-7
  • Tennessee: 6-6

Well, we flew through Fort Worth…

Post Damien Wilkins becomes a Hawk

Friday December 3, 2010

Once again there will be a Wilkins on the court for the Atlanta Hawks. Former Bulldog basketball player Damien Wilkins has signed a contract (undisclosed terms) to return to the Peach State. He’s managed to stick in the NBA as a journeyman for six years after leaving the Georgia program following the 2004 season.

Post Tereshinski outlines his approach

Friday December 3, 2010

Georgia’s new strength program had a conference call with the media on Friday, and he gave several clues as to the direction his program will take.

One of the key points in Tereshinski’s approach will be nutrition. “We’ll have a nutritionist and graduate assistants at the meals and record what they’re eating, and we’ll have counseling. We’re going to record weights, chart their performance, body-fat percentages and weight training,” he explained. Georgia currently does not have a dedicated nutritionist, but that could very well change soon.

He also promised to extend the use of technology in weight training. If you’re not familiar with Georgia’s video program, it’s incredibly involved and impressive. Players and coaches can get on-demand video of any opponent in any situation you can imagine. Tereshinski plans to record workout sessions, and “see what we can correct” after reviewing the sessions. He also emphasized hands-on training in smaller groups which would imply the need for additional staff.

Tereshinski indicated that any additional changes or new staff would happen after the bowl game.

Post Changes coming to Georgia’s strength program?

Thursday December 2, 2010

Georgia’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Van Halanger has been with Mark Richt since the FSU days, and no man is as tied to the concepts of Mat Drills and “Finish the Drill” as Coach Van. You won’t meet a more inspirational man, and his motivational tactics were key to changing the culture of the Georgia program during its rise in Mark Richt’s first years. But strength and conditioning has become a focal point of criticism during this year, and several opponents noted an advantage over Georgia in this area. The Georgia Sports Blog demonstrates that the team got outplayed and outscored at the end of games, and that’s not a good trend.

A post to Kelin Johnson’s Twitter page this afternoon makes it sound as if Van Halanger is leaving his position. Mark Richt indicated over the weekend that he wasn’t considering or expecting staff changes, but Van Halanger technically isn’t an assistant coach. If he is stepping aside, we join Johnson in thanking Coach Van for all he’s done for the program and wish him the best.

UPDATE: And the changes are now official. Van Halanger will remain with the program in a position that deals with character development, and it’s hard to imagine many people better suited for something like that. Joe Tereshinksi, father of recent quarterback Joe Tereshinksi III, will step into the role of director of the strength program. Tereshinski, a letterman in the 1970s, has been part of the Georgia staff in some form since 1982.

I’m not sure what to make of the move. I don’t disagree that a new approach was necessary, but I’m also skeptical when I hear that the solutions to problems were already in the organization all along. When I heard that Tereshinski and John Kasay were going to be involved in the conditioning program, I thought I had woken up back in the early ’90s. Not many of us know what all goes into the strength and conditioning and player development programs; it’s much more of an I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it thing. We know that getting pushed around down the stretch of many games this season is a pretty good sign that the players weren’t in a condition to finish the drill. Whether it takes state-of-the-art techniques or throwing tires around, the proof will show up in a 2011 season that could make or break Mark Richt’s future.

Of course this isn’t the end of the story. The program won’t be just one or two men, and we’ll see over the next few months what additional resources and people are brought on board to help. Tereshinski is already talking about a revamped approach to player nutrition, and that alone will require some specialized professionals.