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Post In the news: reporters, agents, and preseason practice

Thursday July 29, 2010

A random trip around the Bulldog media and blogs as we wait for practice to begin next week…

A big welcome to Seth Emerson who takes over for David Hale. I thought Hale would have a big job filling the shoes of David Ching, but he only improved the resource. I look forward to seeing what Emerson brings. I appreciate his take on the “objective-homer thing”, but I also note that a lot of writers become so self-aware about their objectivity that their coverage turns contrarian. It’s easy and seductive to become the pot-stirring anti-homer. I think objectivity was a hallmark of Hale’s coverage, but he still managed to build a great relationship with easily-offended Georgia fans.

Congratulations also to Kit – he’s not only moving to fancier digs; he’s also going to be ramping up the content at his new location. Best of luck.

Agentgate. We’re not likely to get a resolution or even much more information soon about the NCAA’s interest in a Georgia player. Mark Bradley has a good take on what’s probably going on and why a visit from the NCAA, while never good news, doesn’t necessarily mean trouble. The player in question might be completely in the clear, and the NCAA might even know that. But if the player were contacted by agents, he could provide important information about how he was contacted, by whom, what was offered, and possibly even details about others involved. That’s information that would not only help them tighten up and focus their investigation; it would also give them something against which to compare the statements from other interviews to spot any inconsistencies.

Paul’s got some more good thoughts about the situation. I’ll add one more – the NCAA interviewing one specific current player at least tells us that former players aren’t part of the story. That might seem like an odd and random statement, but there was rampant speculation last week that a former player might have been the target of the investigation – especially once Green established that he hadn’t visited Miami. If they were coming to Athens looking to dig up dirt on a former player, they’d cast the net much wider.

Two-a-day. When the news came out about Georgia’s preseason practice schedule, I wrote that certain fans and media would be right on top of the lack of two-a-days as a root cause if Georgia hit a rocky patch during the season. It didn’t even take that long. John Crawford is on the job before the season even starts. Good news, though – a readjustment of the practice schedule means that the Dawgs will have at least one day (August 9th) with two practices. Of course a preseason without two-a-days would hardly make Richt a “trend-setter” even among coaches of major programs, but maybe the magic second practice of August 9th will make sure that the Dawgs are plenty tough this fall.

Social distortion. The athletic department seems to be having some trouble playing within the rules when it comes to social networks and recruiting, but UGA can at least be proactive when it comes to the media. Media who cover practice have been informed that there will be no texting or tweeting from the football practice fields.

Post There can only be one

Wednesday July 28, 2010

Mr. SEC asks if Mike Bianchi is becoming the new Paul Finebaum. I had been wondering about this since both went after the low-hanging fruit of Mark Richt on the hot seat. Finebaum has been stirring that pot all summer, but Bianchi took Round 1 with a single missive last week comparing Georgia to South Carolina. Travis sees Bianchi as a strong contender in this race to the bottom, but one episode won’t settle this competition.

Round 2 is out now and takes on the pressing issue of Vanderbilt’s membership in the SEC. Bianchi launched his salvo last weekend. It was bombastic enough to earn the Finebaum comparison from Mr. SEC, but honestly it was a bit disappointing and came off more as a pitch for the hometown team. Paul struck back with his own screed against Vandy and Caldwell, and it’s a formidable response with enough Jerry Clower and Larry the Cable Guy references to qualify for a spot on Sirius/XM’s Blue Collar Radio channel.

With the score tied, we can look forward to round 3. I’ll be really let down if it doesn’t throw some gasoline on the 2004 national championship topic.

Post The Bulldog Nation meets Frank Crumley

Monday July 26, 2010

Georgia’s interim athletic director will make one of his first major public appearances tonight as part of the Road Tour’s annual wrap-up stop in Atlanta. The event, again at the Cobb Galleria, will start with social time from 5:30 and follow with the program at 7:00. Crumley will be joined by Mark Richt and Mark Fox as well as Jack Bauerle and incoming women’s soccer coach Steve Holeman.

Post It’s Georgia week over at Team Speed Kills

Monday July 26, 2010

And they’ve led off with a very even-handed look at the state of things. If you’re not already a regular reader (and you should be), tune in this week.

Post Season opener to kick off at 12:21, air on SEC Network

Wednesday July 21, 2010

From UGA Sports Communications:

The Saturday, Sept. 4, SEC football game between Georgia and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in Athens will be televised by the SEC Network with kickoff set for 12:21 p.m. ET.

Previously announced early season Georgia games included South Carolina in Columbia (Sept. 11) and Arkansas in Athens (Sept. 18), both at 12:00 noon on either ESPN or ESPN2. The Oct. 30 Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville will be televised by CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Personally, I love it…I’m going to try to pull off the double-header with Georgia’s opener and the LSU-UNC game at the Dome.

Post Bulldog defense absent from Preseason All-SEC Coaches Team

Tuesday July 20, 2010

See the full teams here.

The good news, if preseason honors mean anything to you, is that six Bulldogs earned a place on the coaches team, and that’s the third-highest of all SEC teams. It’s down from nine honorees last year, but they went three-deep last year. It’s only a two-deep this time. Green, Boling, Walsh, and Butler all earned first-team honors, and Glenn and Boykin were on the second team. Boykin was included as a returner and not as a cornerback.

I don’t think anyone will be or should be surprised by finding zero defenders on the preseason all-conference teams. Many of the key contributors last year – namely the defensive tackles and Curran – are gone. You could argue for the recognition of Justin Houston, but remember that he has taken exactly zero snaps in a game at his new linebacker position. The uncertainty of the effectiveness of the new 3-4 defense as well as the requisite shuffling of positions leaves the Bulldogs with few known entities that would stand out to preseason voters.

Of course the hope is that the Dawgs go from zero to multiple defensive all-conference players after the season. If the 3-4 proves to be effective, Georgia’s defensive stars will draw plenty of attention, especially if the pass rush takes off. There are several guys to watch, and Houston, Boykin, and Rambo are the obvious choices. Don’t be surprised if DeAngelo Tyson ends up on a postseason team – the anchor of the 3-4 is going to have plenty of chances to make a name for himself this year. Who else might break through in 2010?

Post Season ticket woes – one of these things is not like the others

Monday July 19, 2010

We’ve looked a few times already this summer at how the economy and other factors are affecting season ticket sales in the football-crazy South.  It’s not to gloat – Georgia could be just another disappointing season away from similar problems, and it’s very much a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-we situation.

The State newspaper in Columbia looked at the problem from a South Carolina perspective and updated some of the information we had relied on for our earlier posts. The market remains soft for several major programs in the area hoping to sell the remainder of their season tickets.  Specifically:

  • “Season ticket sales at USC are down 9 percent from last year and have dropped about 20 percent since 2008…There are entire sections in the upper deck at Williams-Brice Stadium that are nearly vacant.”
  • “Tennessee invited fans into Neyland Stadium last month to check out the more than 1,000 seats available.”
  • “At Clemson, ticket sales have dropped 13 percent since 2008.”
  • “The Yellow Jackets have sold about 900 fewer season tickets than they had at this point last year.”

The State’s article goes on to look at some of the factors behind the lagging sales as well as some of the marketing approaches teams are trying to stir up demand. Lots of good info, and they could have stopped there.  But one more school was cited as evidence of “flagging ticket sales.”

Georgia recently lowered its cost for a first-time season ticket buyer to $1,550 — down from $10,651 two years ago and $4,205 in 2009 — after more than 2,000 Bulldog fans chose not to renew their tickets.

In an article about how area schools are struggling to find buyers for, in some cases, over 1,000 unsold season tickets, they mention Georgia:  a school that not only sold out of season tickets without offering them to the general public but which also had to refund season ticket orders to Hartman Fund donors below a certain minimum score.

Hartman Fund minimum donation levels to purchase or renew season tickets run $250-$400 for seats outside of premium club areas.    That means that a first-time donor this year had to donate at least four times the minimum just to have the right to order season tickets in the far reaches of the stadium.

True, it’s not the outrageous demand of 2008 that saw first-time cutoffs of over 10,000.  But it’s still not evidence of scarce demand.  The explanation that over 2,000 fans chose not to renew season tickets sounds dire until we understand that there is some amount of turnover every year.  Even in the record demand season of 2008, over 800 season tickets weren’t renewed. 2,000 non-renewals in a season ticket pool of about 53,000 is less than a 4% churn and just slightly higher than a typical year.

This all might sound like small potatoes, but in an environment where the most absurd situations can be used to feed the hot seat meme, it’s an easy game of connect-the-dots for a lazy columnist to point to such articles as indicators that fans are bailing on the program.  Georgia’s season tickets are sold out, and they have been since they were first offered to Hartman Fund donors in March. 

Post Isner comes to Atlanta looking to build on his McAvoy moment

Monday July 19, 2010

My God, John, it was…Well, it’s immortal!

Some cold, matter-of-fact tennis stat sheet will note that American and #23 seed John Isner was bounced unceremoniously from the second round of Wimbledon 2010 in straight sets by an unseeded Dutchman. In fact, if we get right down to it, Isner struggled to get past the first round against a player rated over a hundred places lower. Under any other circumstances, it would have been a pretty disappointing result for a seeded player hoping to make a splash on the grass surface of Wimbledon.

It was the greatest fifth set of all time.

Of course that struggle to get past the first round was an epic, record-breaking feat of endurance and will. With Federer’s fade leading to a finish lacking much drama, Isner’s first round win was the story of the tournament. To the casual sports fan who might only know a few of the big names of tennis, the saga that developed on that Wednesday in June and took over both sides of the Atlantic on an already-memorable sports day will still be fresh.

No one’s going to remember Wimbledon ten years from now, who won…but they’ll remember your 70-68!

Isner’s hardly an unknown, especially in the disparate universes of professional tennis and Georgia Bulldog athletics. If you remember that he led the Dawgs to the 2007 NCAA title, you were already familiar with Isner and his menacing serve. If you didn’t have to look up (like I just did) the fact that Andy Murray was one of the finalists in this year’s Australian Open, you already knew that Isner was an up-and-coming American who was knocking on the door of the world’s top 20 players.

Isner wasn’t as well-known to the collective American sporting consciousness, and yet there he was: on the same day Landon Donovan and his mates forced even the most curmudgeonly anti-soccer people to share in a moment of national joy, this guy in Nike garb and a Bulldog shirt soon had top billing. Letterman and daytime TV soon followed. He even landed an ESPY for Best Record-Breaking Performance.

But with a long career ahead of him Isner has larger ambitions than being remembered just as that guy who won the match that would never end. “A lot of people know who I am now, which is great, but now it’s up to me to make a name for myself besides this match, and I know I can do that,” he said. That process begins as he heads to the summer hardcourt series leading up to the U.S. open at the end of August.

Isner is in Atlanta this week for the Atlanta Tennis Championships. The tournament runs from today, the 19th, through the 25th at the Atlanta Athletic Club in John’s Creek. He’ll join a field that includes Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt as major tennis returns to the AAC after a nine-year absence. Isner’s first match is a doubles match scheduled for Monday evening, and he’ll begin singles play later in the week.

For tickets, scores, and more information, visit this site.

Post Dawgs get weekend commitments from a tackle, a center, and…a guard

Monday July 19, 2010

Georgia’s “Dawg Night” in Athens on Friday was a chance to get some of the best high school talent from the class of 2011 into town. Many of Georgia’s commitments were present, and they were joined by several other top uncommitted prospects. The night paid dividends immediately with two new commitments.

OT Zach DeBell started the weekend with his commitment. At 6’7″, DeBell has the prototypical size and long arms you want from your tackles. The Tarpon Springs, Fla. resident is still a little undersized at around 270 lbs, but there’s plenty of time for that. He was offered by Florida, Tennessee, Clemson, South Carolina, and a host of others. He became Georgia’s 14th commitment for the class of 2011 and the fourth offensive line commitment.

DeBell’s commitment was quickly followed by a pledge from another Sunshine State resident. Center Nathan Theus of Jacksonville’s renown Bolles High School, became the 15th commitment and fifth OL commitment.

Theus is a bit of an unusual story in that he’s chosen to work at a very specific position: long snapper. And he’s good at it. He’s sought instruction from the Ray Guy | Prokicker.com Academy, and they’ve rated him the nation’s top high school long snapper. It’s not common for Georgia to have a long snapper on scholarship, much less offer one out of high school. But if you are going to offer such a specialized position, it might as well be the best guy available. Of course everyone quickly pointed out that Nathan’s brother John is quite possibly the top offensive tackle prospect in the nation for the class of 2012 and has already been offered by a ton of major programs, including Georgia.

Perhaps the biggest recruiting development of the weekend had nothing (directly, at least) to do with football. Kentavious Caldwell, a 6’6″ shooting guard rated #15 nationally in the Rivals 150 for the class of 2011, committed to Mark Fox over the weekend. Caldwell isn’t just a 2-guard who can sit outside and shoot. As his coach says, “Kenatavious can put it on the floor and take it to the basket. It’s not like he just sits out there on the wing and fires away. He can do it all when it comes to creating unique ways to score.”

Georgia’s football program might have played a role in Caldwell’s decision.

Caldwell played football and basketball at Greenville last year with offensive lineman Kenarious Gates, who switched from Kentucky to Georgia after a last-minute football offer from the Bulldogs. Caldwell plays on the same AAU team with Wilcox County’s Nick Marshall, who has committed to Georgia on a football scholarship and will walk on the school’s basketball team.

But Georgia has had similar relationships between football and basketball before and failed to capitalize on it. Credit goes to Mark Fox and his staff for this landmark commitment. Sustained success isn’t built on the back of a single recruiting class. Georgia can get a Mercer here or a Thompkins there, but Georgia hasn’t often been able to put together consecutive classes of impact that manage to stay in school, much less contribute on the court. Fox’s incoming class, highlighted by Marcus Thornton’s late decision, was a good starting point on the recruiting trail. A commitment from a player of Caldwell’s quality is just what the program needs to have an even better class in 2011. This class is loaded, and Georgia is in on several big targets. Will Caldwell’s early pledge influence some of those other top prospects?

Post The end of two-a-days: good, bad, or just not that big of a deal?

Wednesday July 14, 2010

The media met with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo today, and Marc Weiszer noted a change in the practice routine that I saw first mentioned in a DawgVent post by Anthony Dasher a few weeks ago: preseason practices won’t involve any two-a-days.

The NCAA limits practice time, even before the season. Programs that choose to hold two-a-days end up practicing fewer days in order to get those concentrated days of practices. Even those that do use two-a-days are scheduling them for only a small portion of preseason came. You can look at this 2009 preseason schedule for FSU and see that there were 16 days of practice planned. Only four of those days involved two-a-days, and those were never on consecutive days. Georgia’s previous preseason schedules were similar. It’s not like Georgia is going from 50% two-a-day practices to nothing.

Instead Georgia will start a little earlier – July 31st. They’ll have fewer days off and get into a more season-like routine of practice during the week and a scrimmage on Saturday. Why? There are a few possible advantages to going to one practice per day:

  • Coaches have more time to evaluate and correct between practices. Every action in practice is filmed and broken down between sessions. With two practices a day, there is much less time to go over that first session while you’re preparing for the afternoon session. “You’ve got time to review that film and then come back install the next morning and walk-through the next morning,” explains Bobo.
  • Practice will be spread over 35 days. Georgia won’t practice or even meet on every day of course, but starting a week or so earlier than usual will allow for more teaching and evaluation time.
  • Players should be sharper. Two-a-days are grueling, and fatigue causes mental mistakes. There’s a flip side to that though – more on that in a second.
  • Injuries brought on by fatigue should be reduced – dead legs should be less of a problem.

The obvious objection to this approach has to do with toughness. “You might not get them as tough as you would like them,” admits Bobo. Pushing players during preseason camp is supposed to prepare them for the physical and mental demands of a long season and a competitive conference. Now some of that objection comes from the “water is for the weak” school who think that the only appropriate way to practice is how it was done decades ago. But there’s no question that the only way to improve in certain areas is to challenge and push through limits, and the demands of multiple practices in a day helped to accomplish that objective.

There’s also a sentimental angle. The demanding conditions – the “hell” – of preseason two-a-days in the heat of summer can and often do forge some of the most intense bonds and memories in a player’s career. It’s similar for any group that goes through that kind of concentrated drilling together from drum corps on up to the Marine Corps. You can hear a bit of that from Bobo. “You talk to the older coaches on the staff, they had four-or-five-a-days,” he said. “That’s how Coach Searels and Coach Garner had it at Auburn.” Those who went through it surely hated it at the time, but making it through is a point of pride and a shared experience with your teammates.

It’s an interesting topic because it’s not the first time Georgia has wrestled with the structure of practice. If the Bulldogs struggle this year, especially if close games are involved, you can be 100% certain that some fans and media will be right back to this issue as a root cause. Injuries during the 2008 preseason led the staff to tone down the intensity of practice, and sloppy tackling proved to be a fatal flaw several times during the year. Mark Richt revisited that decision following the season.

“We practiced different this year, and it was attributed to the number of injuries in camp,” said Richt. “We addressed that in the way we practiced for the bowl. We tackled more in our bowl practices than we did all season long. I think our defense improved in that time frame. They tackled better, had more of a swagger in that game. That’s part of it, practicing the way we need to practice.”

Now of course going from two-a-days to one practice says nothing about the intensity of that one practice. Coaches know they’re going to have to accomplish a lot during that single session. They’ll also have to find ways to bring about the growth and mental toughness that came when two-a-days pushed players to the edge. It’s still another adjustment that will test the coaches’ ability to find that balance and make sure that, as Coach Richt said, Georgia is “practicing the way we need to practice.”

Your thoughts: will the end of two-a-days turn out to be a good or bad decision, or does it just not matter?

Post Bobby Johnson steps down at Vandy

Wednesday July 14, 2010

Obviously this is a developing story, and we’ll learn more at a 2:00 press conference. Hopefully the health of Johnson or a family member is not at the root of the decision, but it’s an unusual time to make this kind of move. Johnson will be properly feted around the media and blogosphere later today (with plenty of Steve Martin references), but leave it for now that he elevated the Vanderbilt program and did it the right way under some very tough circumstances in the most competitive conference in the nation.

Post Lady Dogs one of the last to benefit from questionable BYU online courses

Wednesday July 14, 2010

You might remember the news from earlier in the year that the NCAA would stop accepting credit from courses at two schools: the American School and BYU’s online program. The news focused mostly on football players like Michael Oher and at schools like USC (and everywhere else, really). The courses were derided as not rigorous enough, and the practice was often seen as a shortcut to qualifying. BYU is currently working with the NCAA to remedy the situation.

The NCAA prohibition goes into effect August 1st, and students claiming those credits before the deadline will be evaluated individually. One of those students looking to come in under the deadline is an incoming women’s basketball player at Georgia. Ronika Ransford was a top prospect last year and was a McDonald’s All-American. But, as the Washington Post describes, she joins a long list of players from the DC area who ran into problems qualifying according to NCAA standards. Ransford’s problem was a single course – freshman English – that wasn’t certified by the NCAA.

Unfortunately the problem was not caught until her senior season, and her plans to enroll earlier this summer were put on hold as she had to make up the credit:

Ransford, who enrolled at H.D. Woodson in the fall of 2006, said guidance counselor Carl Allen told her last September that the NCAA would not accept her freshman English class. She said Allen told her the school would petition the NCAA to accept it by showing the material covered met the criteria for ninth-grade level coursework. By the time she signed with Georgia, Andy Landers, the Georgia coach, told her she needed to find an alternative class that met NCAA standards. Ransford paid $124 to sign up for an independent studies course administered online by Brigham Young University.

I don’t mean to suggest any improprieties with Ransford’s academic standing, and it’s not even clear whether or not Georgia had any role at her choice of online class beyond Landers’ explanation that “she needed to find an alternative class that met NCAA standards.” She’s already registered at UGA, so this class apparently satisfied the eligibility requirements. The bigger story in that Washington Post article isn’t surprising to anyone who’s followed recruiting of any kind: substandard schools that make it tough enough to qualify often aren’t even familiar with the NCAA process and standards. In one case, counselors “had no idea about core courses.” For kids already at a disadvantage looking to come out of troubled neighborhoods and schools, the process of qualifying – even using the high school’s own courses – is another hurdle.

Post So far, impact of offseason troubles fails to live up to bluster

Tuesday July 13, 2010

Two more Bulldog arrests over the weekend, barely a week after Damon Evans was toppled, has the message boards and media up in arms again over the state of discipline in the Georgia program. Short-timer David Hale still manages to capture the exasperation of the Bulldog Nation by asking “when’s the last time UGA had a worse offseason than this?

Hale’s talking about more than just the arrests of course. We start with the coaching changes in the aftermath of the 2009 season. The coaching changes were definitely disruptive and will be a big part of the story in 2010, but you’ll have to dig deep to find many fans who see the changes as a negative. The drama surrounding the arrest and subsequent resignation of athletic director Damon Evans was certainly a huge story for the athletic department, but it has little impact on the short-term operation of the football program. That brings us to the arrests, and there are many.

  • DE Montez Robinson: Robinson’s dismissal in April started the offseason problems. Robinson ran into trouble during the 2009 season and found more of the same this spring, derailing an attempt at a comeback.
  • QB Zach Mettenberger: Mettenberger’s spring break arrest ultimately led to his dismissal from the program and made the QB depth chart a sudden concern. The future of would-be receiver Logan Gray and the readiness of true freshman Hutson Mason are now key questions.
  • Walk-ons Trent Dittmer and Josh Parrish were arrested in April for alcohol-related incidents. Dittmer was kicked off the team, and Parrish was suspended indefinitely.
  • BratGate: It ended up being a non-issue, but RB Dontavious Jackson found himself in potential trouble when some acquaintances of his harassed and attacked a couple in an Athens taxi. Jackson was vindicated as a “peacemaker” in the incident, but his name and the strange story behind the incident went nationwide for a few days until his role emerged.
  • DB Jordan Love: It will go down as the most surreal incident of the summer, and we’re still waiting on charges to be dismissed. I’d be surprised if Love’s incident resulted in a suspension, but a judge’s unwillingness to end this madness last week kept the uncertainty alive.
  • RB Dontavious Jackson: For the second time this year, Jackson’s name is in the news. This time it’s for DUI, and it’s earned him at least a six-game suspension. For someone already struggling to make an impact on the depth chart, this suspension could sink his chances of contributing on the field.
  • WR Tavarres King: King was arrested along with Jackson, but King was 1) a first-time offender and 2) not facing nearly the list of charges Jackson is.

That’s an awful lot to happen in the past three or four months and has certainly created some headaches for Mark Richt, but fans have the luxury of skipping ahead to this question: how does it affect the team I’ll see on the field this season? I don’t mean to sound flippant about players getting arrested, especially when drunk driving is involved, but neither do I see the point of over-the-top hand-wringing from budding Lord High Executioners typified by this column in the Red and Black. “The University cannot continually endure summer after summer of this juvenile and immature behavior from its most high-profile athletes?” Really? It can’t? 225 years down the drain?

But how can you blame student writers for hyperbole when the pros demonstrate a similar lack of perspective? Take Ron Higgins of Memphis who plays an interesting game of connect-the-dots to call Mark Richt’s future into question. If you read Higgins’ piece, you’d get the impression that Damon Evans was the only administrator fighting for Richt against a university and its quick-on-the-trigger president that can’t wait to see Richt gone. Of course that’s fantasy, and it’s backed up with nothing at all but conjecture, but that’s easy summertime fodder for someone who intends on giving very little thought to what all of this actually means to Mark Richt and his job in 2010.

In terms of actual impact, you have this: a promising sophomore defensive end/outside linebacker expected to see playing time is gone. So is the presumptive #2 QB. A likely starting receiver is out for at least one game. A 4th string tailback is out for half the year. You can create plausible scenarios in which all but the Jackson suspension have a significant impact on the team’s 2010 fortunes, but unless King’s suspension is extended into the South Carolina game the team is still in fairly good shape. The loss of Robinson hurts at a thin position, and hopefully we won’t have to find out much about the second-string quarterback. No, that doesn’t make it all OK or excuse the behavior – it’s just an honest accounting of the situation on the football field.

Getting back to Hale’s question, I’ll suggest that the buildup to the 2003 season still stands out. The combination of injuries, suspensions, and the scandal of selling SEC Championship rings had the Bulldogs headed into a season-opening road trip to Clemson with significant holes on defense (not to mention an offensive line dominated by underclassmen). Eight players were suspended. The situation in the secondary was so dire that the Bulldogs turned to a freshman walk-on named Tra Battle to do what he could against a Clemson offense that was defined by its passing game. Here’s a summary of what Georgia was missing entering the 2003 season:

Will Thompson, DE, Dislocated Ankle, OUT for year
Cedric Haywood, SE, Knee-ACL, OUT for year
Marquis Elmore, DE, Ankle Sprain, OUT for Clemson game

Tyson Browning-RB (3 games), Tim Jennings-DB (2 games), DeMario Minter-S (2 games), B.J. Fields-DB, Chris Hickman-FB, Jamario Smith-FB, Mario Raley-SE, Bryan McClendon-FLK (1 game)

Could Miss Opener
Gerald Anderson, NT, Neck Sprain
Greg Blue, ROV, Knee-PCL
Kentrell Curry, ROV, Stress Fracture in Leg
Michael Turner, C, Shoulder Sprain
Ken Veal, NT, Ankle Sprain

Yes, a lot of those absences were injuries, and we’re not even to the point yet in 2010 of dreading the daily Red Cross Reports from preseason camp. The suspensions were still significant, and RingGate brought on its own hand-wringing and existential crisis. (Has everyone recovered yet from that stain on their diplomas? Good.) There’s no great lesson here; we’re still talking about degrees of misery. The SEC East title (and one incredible defense) that followed eight suspensions in 2003 means as little for this team as the 8-5 finish that followed a relatively clean offseason in 2009.

Post Additional tickets go on sale today

Friday July 9, 2010

If you’re a Hartman Fund contributor and would like additional tickets to certain home games or the Mississippi State game, today’s the day. From the ticket office:

Beginning Friday, July 9 at 9:00 am EST the University of Georgia Athletic Association will offer to William C. Hartman fund patrons a limited quantity of single game football tickets for 2010. William C. Hartman patrons having a cumulative priority of 100 points or greater while also contributing to the 2010 Hartman Fund campaign are eligible to participate.

A limited number of tickets to the following games will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified William C. Hartman patrons:

  • Louisiana-Lafayette ($45 each)
  • Mississippi State ($55 each)
  • Vanderbilt ($45 each)
  • Idaho State ($45 each)

Orders will be limited to a maximum of 4 tickets per game.

Order at georgiadogs.com or call 706-542-1231.

Post 2010 parking deck stampede began today

Thursday July 8, 2010

Parking deck passes for the 2010 football season went on sale this morning. As usual, South Campus and Hull Street went quickly. Passes still remain in the Carlton Street/Coliseum Deck, the North Campus Deck, and the new Performing Arts Center (PAC) Deck on East Campus. We used to tailgate near the location of the PAC Deck, and I would recommend it to those who might be looking for a new place to park this year. The walk to the stadium is very easy along East Campus Rd. and the railroad tracks, and the improvements to the Gate 6 area several years ago make entry and exit very painless.

Click here to see what’s left to order.

The process was a little smoother this year than it was a year ago. There were still server issues, but that’s to be expected with a quick surge of traffic. At least they waited a few days this year and avoided doing this the first day after the July 4th holiday. Everything was there as it should have been when ordering began at 10 a.m. this morning.

As an aside, I’ve seen reports of individuals scooping up more than a couple of passes in a single order. How this system isn’t somehow tied to the season ticket account is beyond me. You don’t even have to have ordered tickets to gather up as many parking passes as you like. With the online ticket ordering system, is it so hard to 1) check that the person ordering parking is in fact a season ticket holder and 2) limit the parking passes according to the number of season tickets held?