Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Georgiadogs.com unavailable at deadline of season ticket renewal

Thursday March 31, 2011

If you’ve tried, to visit georgiadogs.com today, you’ll find a Network Solutions placeholder page instead of the usual content. It looks as if someone neglected to renew the georgiadogs.com domain – something website owners have to do every couple of years. It will be interesting to see if they are able to maintain ownership of the name. There are services set up to swoop in and squat on expired domain names and charge a handsome price to release them. Anyway…

The unavailability of the site is especially inconvenient since March 31 is the deadline to renew football season tickets and request away and neutral tickets. If you’ve procrastinated until the final day, you might think you’re out of luck. Fortunately the service that handles e-commerce and tickets for the athletic association is owned and hosted by a third party. That ordering site is still up and running; you just can’t get to it through georgiadogs.com.

How to order tickets

Go to the Georgia Bulldog Club website at http://www.thegeorgiabulldogclub.com/. Select “My Account” at the top right. You should be able to order tickets (for any sport) from that point.

I would also expect that the outage will cause UGA to extend the deadline a couple of days once they get the georgiadogs.com site back up and running, but that’s just speculation.

Post Georgia’s Caldwell-Pope in tonight’s McDonald’s A-A Game

Wednesday March 30, 2011

The McDonald’s All American game is Wednesday night at 10:00 on ESPN. For once, Georgia fans have a reason to tune in: you’ll see Georgia signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope playing for the East.

Caldwell-Pope has had a great week up in Chicago. Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com notes that Kentavious “has improved his stock as much as any prospect here.” That’s saying a lot for someone already rated as one of the top 15 national prospects in the incoming class. Meyer adds that:

No one has shot the ball better over the course of the first two practices than Caldwell-Pope. Comfortable spotting up for jumpers as well as shooting off the dribble, Caldwell-Pope’s best trait might just be his ability to shoot accurately from deep range coming off screens. Add his ballhandling ability, feel for the game and length and you have a prospect who is pushing toward elite status in his class.

Tune in tonight and enjoy the next great Georgia star.

Post First things first for Figgins the fullback

Wednesday March 30, 2011

The move of Bruce Figgins to fullback has been one of the few early spring stories worth talking about. The idea of an experienced tight end coming out of the backfield gives both fans and coaches a lot to think about. Seth Emerson reminds us that there are some more fundamental concerns to take care of first.

Bruce Figgins has said that his biggest adjustment to fullback is the different blocking schemes from tight end. Not, as one would expect, carrying the ball.

“Well I haven’t given him the ball yet, so that’s probably the reason why,” Bobo said, laughing.

Before Figgins starts giving defenses things to worry about in the passing game, job #1 is – as Richt put it – becoming “a fullback that can play that position legitimately.” In Georgia’s offense, that’s a lot of blocking. I’m a lot more interested in how well Figgins can lead Crowell and keep Murray upright than in the few occasions we’d flex him out as an H-back. The gold standard for me is Brannan Southerland – if you can lead the tailback down the field with not one but two key blocks, you’ve mastered the job.

Post And we thought the defensive coordinator was on something

Wednesday March 30, 2011

I’m also glad to see that Erik Ainge has cleaned up and seems to be on the right path. The story raises many questions, not least of all this, but it takes a lot of guts to go public with such a personal struggle, and hopefully that’s a sign of his resolve to move forward.

Reading Ainge’s description of his senior season, all I can keep thinking about is that this is the guy who put Georgia to bed by halftime in Knoxville in 2007 and finished 17 of 22. I would have hated to see the score if he had been playing straight.

Post Do the Dawgs have a shot at Royal and Ware?

Wednesday March 30, 2011

We said that recruiting would be a key part of Brian Gregory’s success at Tech, and Gregory has demonstrated that he’s of the same mind. His first action after being introduced was to pay a visit to Tech’s top 2011 signee: PF Julian Royal. Royal had wavered and considered re-opening his recruitment if Paul Hewitt were let go. Georgia, the other finalist in Royal’s initial decision, would be considered a likely destination if he did decide to open things back up.

The meeting went well, and the Royals were impressed by Gregory’s attention. While Royal still wants some more time to think about it, Georgia fans shouldn’t expect much to come of this situation. According to Royal’s father, Gregory’s system seems like a “good match” for Royal, and he doesn’t “see any reason for Julian to change his mind about the school.”

The story is a little different with Rockdale County’s Kevin Ware. He has confirmed that he will request his release from Tennessee, though it’s still possible that he might ultimately stick with the Vols. If he does start looking around, expect Georgia to be among those throwing their hats back into the ring.

Post New hoops neighbors: Martin and Gregory

Tuesday March 29, 2011

Tennessee hired their Dennis Felton in Cuonzo Martin. I’m not predicting that Tennessee will fall off the map as Georgia did from 2003 to 2004. They’re not going to gut the roster and force Martin to start from ground zero, so he’s already well ahead of where Georgia was. I mean that Tennessee got a mid-major coach on a bit of an upward swing who will take the job knowing what’s hanging over the program. Martin and his agent are smart enough to build insurance for that mess into his contract. But he’s still following a relative success who could recruit and who had led the program to five straight NCAA Tournaments. He has a tough job.

Brian Gregory at Tech has a different job. Few Tech fans are sorry to see new blood. Though the program is free and clear in terms of NCAA interest, Gregory will still have a few constraints. The program isn’t necessarily flush with cash. Tech’s not a large program to begin with, and now they’re paying Paul Hewitt on top of financing a renovated arena. They weren’t going to break the bank on a new coach; the bank was already busted. The arena situation, though a positive once it’s done in a year, will put a time constraint on Gregory’s progress. If fans aren’t excited about the state of the program heading into the 2012-2013 season when the new arena opens, the new building won’t have nearly the impact.

Success or failure for Gregory is more than likely going to come down to recruiting. You could always have a Pearl-like flameout, but that’s unusual. His coaching background and roots answer most questions about technical competence. So it’s down to people. Hewitt recruited well – maybe too well as the revolving door of one-and-done players disrupted much long-term continuity for the program. Gregory will have much the same issue Mark Fox did: he’ll have to lean on his staff to establish local recruiting ties at first. Gregory stocked the Dayton program with kids from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and he’ll have a good footing to get more players from that area like current Tech star Iman Shumpert. An interesting question is the future of the New York / East Coast pipeline that has formed the identity of Tech hoops for so long. `

The biggest adjustment for Gregory, the returning players, and the Tech fan base will be Gregory’s style and system. No one is going to accuse Hewitt of running his program the wrong way off the court, but Tech hasn’t exactly been known for structure and discipline on the court. Gregory will (or will try to) change that. Most any coach is going to talk about work ethic, but Gregory is known for a fairly intense system that traces its roots to Izzo’s Michigan State program.

That system and its rigidity came to a bit of a head this year as two skilled Dayton newcomers decided to transfer, citing discontent with Gregory’s offense. I tend to side with the coach when a player whines about the system holding him back, but it’s fair to say that the outcome of this season with no NCAA Tournament bid and two key transfers left Dayton fans a bit ambivalent about Gregory and the future of their program. Gregory might be a good fit for Tech, though there’s also a sense that it was the right time for him to leave Dayton.

Post North Campus tailgating rules modified; is Uga a service dawg?

Thursday March 24, 2011

According to the Red & Black, the University Cabinet announced three changes to North Campus tailgating restrictions for this coming season:

  • Set up time is now five hours before kickoff instead of four.
  • Tables are now allowed to be up to six feet long.
  • Tents are allowed again.

Keep in mind that the rest of last year’s restrictions will still apply. No generators, TVs, grills, and so on.

The SGA proposed several of the modifications back in January, and the University adopted them. There was concern that tailgating at Myers Quad would be restricted following the scene after the Georgia Tech game, but University SVP Tim Burgess said that no regulations would be put in place at Myers.

From the same Red & Black story, we also get this:

Finally, the Cabinet also approved a new service animal policy, which requires all dogs on campus to be registered as service animals.

Post Lady Dogs topple FSU to reach 19th Sweet 16

Wednesday March 23, 2011

When you’ve been in every NCAA Tournament save two and have gone deep in most of them, the list of memorable postseason games becomes long, distinguished, and impossible to whittle down to a few favorites. You have triumph – the inspired comeback against Colorado in 1995 that earned Georgia a trip to the Final Four. You have heartbreak – Barbara Turner’s miracle buzzer-beater for UConn in 2006 that erased Georgia’s own potential game-winner. Georgia’s been the upset victim (the 2001 loss to Missouri still stings), but for two straight seasons now they’ve upset a higher seed to advance to the Sweet 16.

Somewhere in there is room for Tuesday night’s 61-59 upset of FSU. It wasn’t especially smooth or aesthetically pleasing from a basketball perspective – right up to the muddled and confusing final seconds. Andy Landers points out why this game stands out. “We got down 10 and dug down in a place we had not before during this game,” he explained. Georgia’s regular season win at Kentucky was about as close as the team had come to this kind of down-to-the-wire win against a Top 20 team. Add in the pressure to come back from a double-figure deficit in the second half with the season in the balance, and Georgia’s push during the final ten minutes was a big step forward for this young team.

Georgia had played with this defensive intensity before: they handled Kentucky in Athens, shut down South Carolina in the SEC tournament, and stymied MTSU in Sunday’s first round game. But few of those opponents tested Georgia the way FSU could. The Noles had legitimate weapons from at least three spots on the floor at any one time. You couldn’t sag a zone against Bravard inside as Ward and her backcourt counterparts made you pay from outside. Your best chance against Bravard wasn’t even defending her; it was denying her. Once she got the ball down low, she scored. Georgia could afford some dry stretches on offense against a more easily guarded opponent like MTSU. Against FSU those dry stretches put Georgia in a hole. Turning up the defensive intensity even more while making the clutch shots and big plays to cut into the lead was a noteworthy feat. Georgia went only seven deep in this game, but somehow they – as Landers put it – dug down to be the stronger team at the end.

Porsha Phillips – with very good reason – is often featured as the player to watch by a broadcast crew, but it wasn’t her best night. As Georgia’s lone senior, it looked for a long time as if her last game would be one to forget, and that’s never the way a senior wants to go out. She struggled with only five points on 2-of-10 shooting, missed two looks at the game-winner, and even her reliable free throw stroke let her down. To her credit, she didn’t let her offense affect her rebounding – just another routine night of double-digit rebounds for Porsha. It would have been sweet redemption had her final shot proved to be the game-winner, but the miss and James’s putback emphasized how much of a team win this was.

  • Armstrong came off the bench to lead the team in scoring. She didn’t just hit the outside shots; she showed off her athleticism with a smart and difficult reverse layup. For the late stages once Hassell fouled out, Armstrong had the tough defensive assignment inside and held her own.
  • Mitchell poured in six points during Georgia’s pivotal run, including the shots that pushed them into the lead for the first time in the second half. She also tied up Brevard on a rebound to cause a jump ball that gave Georgia its final opportunity to win the game.
  • Miller hit a trio of three-pointers that seemed to come right when the team needed them – especially one with 3 minutes left to retake the lead.
  • James didn’t just put in the game-winner; her defensive pressure led to four steals, several transition baskets, and helped cause 19 FSU turnovers.
  • Hassell did yeoman’s work against an incredibly tough and skilled FSU frontcourt. She even managed to add some points of her own.

The challenges only get tougher the deeper you advance, and Georgia will have their hands full on Sunday against #2 seed Texas A&M. A&M has lost five times this year, and three of those came against top-rated Baylor. The winner of this game will likely face Baylor in the regional finals, so there’s a chance that A&M might be peeking ahead to a fourth matchup against their in-state foe.

The Aggies feature one of the most versatile players in the nation in forward Danielle Adams. Adams is the classic “post who can play like a guard”. Though not as tall as Bravard, Adams’ range gives Georgia a different challenge. She can score inside of course but also has the outside game to draw post defenders out and open things up for her teammates closer to the basket. Adams posted 28 points and 11 rebounds in A&M’s second round rout of Rutgers. One player doesn’t make a team this good, and the Aggies will look to the two Sydneys – Carter and Colson – to give Georgia’s guards plenty to think about. Like Georgia, the Aggies don’t go terribly deep – only seven players get more than 10 minutes per game – and only five players average more than 5 PPG. They got just five points off the bench last night against Rutgers, but the starters are plenty good enough.

The matchup also features a rematch of old SEC adversaries. A&M coach Gary Blair coached at Arkansas from 1993-2003 where he built a strong program that reached the 1998 Final Four. A&M convinced him to come resurrect their struggling program, and he’s delivered by making the Aggies a perennial NCAA Tournament team that’s gone as far as the Elite Eight. He’s one of only four coaches to take three programs to the NCAA Tournament.

Georgia vs. Texas A&M in the Sweet 16: Sunday 4:30 p.m. in Dallas, ESPN2

Post “Maybe God had a plan for Zach to get kicked out of Georgia.”

Thursday March 17, 2011

I know this is supposed to come off as some sort of redemption story leading into Mett’s first spring practice with LSU, but it’s also a nice long exercise in passing the buck. I know He works in mysterious ways, but groping a bar waitress is a new one on me.

Post Single-session NCAA tickets now available

Thursday March 17, 2011

If the $230 all-session ticket price was a little too steep, single-session tickets for a much lower $77 are now available. You’ll still have to order through TicketMaster online, or you can call the arena at 704-688-9011. Georgia plays in Friday’s evening session, and you get to watch North Carolina’s backups play a lot in the other game.

If you’re getting up to Charlotte on Thursday, all teams will be holding open practices for the public. Georgia’s the last, so head over if you get into town this evening.

2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Open Practice Schedule
Open practices are FREE and open to the public
Thursday, March 17 – Time Warner Cable Arena
12:00-12:40p.m. — Tennessee
12:45-1:25p.m. — Hampton
1:30-2:10p.m. — Michigan
2:15-2:55p.m. — Duke
4:25-5:05p.m. — North Carolina
5:10-5:50p.m. — Washington
5:55-6:35p.m. — Long Island
6:40-7:20p.m. — Georgia

Post Tightening the belt

Thursday March 17, 2011

A year without sports in Duval County?

State budget cuts are leading the Duval County School Board in Jacksonville to consider eliminating all sports for the upcoming school year. According to the school board president, they’re not the only county considering the idea.

Several Georgia players have come from Jacksonville, and one current and one recent Bulldog would have been affected by this decision. Current Bulldog defensive back Derek Owens graduated from Andrew Jackson. Former safety Bryan Evans attended Ed White. Shaun Chapas and Brent Benedict were also from Jacksonville but attended The Bolles School which, as a private school, is not a part of the Duval system.

Fundraising for a postseason

The coach of Southern’s women’s basketball team made a tough call last weekend: the team could not accept a WNIT bid because they had no money for travel. Over the past couple of days, boosters and fans have stepped up and raised enough money for the team to reconsider. Thanks to those donors, they’ll play on.

Cutting a champion

Remember Trev Alberts? After torpedoing his on-air career, he took the job of athletic director at Division II Nebraska-Omaha. Over the weekend, Alberts and the school announced that they’d be cutting the successful football and wrestling programs. Why? So that they can position the program to move to Division I for basketball.

Alberts and the university are taking a lot of heat for the decision, especially since the wrestling program was one of the best in Division II. They had won their third consecutive national title just a day before the announcement, and they’ve won six of the last eight national titles. The decision has cost the program one of its largest boosters and athletic board members, and a planned facilities project is now on hold after the withdrawal of that booster’s support.

Post Lady Dogs get favorable seed, location for NCAA Tournament

Tuesday March 15, 2011

The Georgia Lady Dogs (21-10) have earned the program’s 28th NCAA Tournament bid in the 30-year history of the tournament. They received the #6 seed in the Dallas Region and will open the tournament Sunday evening at 7:30 against #11 seed Middle Tennessee State in Auburn, Ala. ESPN2 will have the game. Should Georgia advance, they’ll face the winner of #3-seed FSU and #14 seed Samford on Tuesday night.

I’ll admit – it’s a bit higher seed than I expected. Georgia didn’t make much of a splash out of the conference, choosing an easier schedule to bring the young team along. They fared reasonably well in a weak SEC, but they’ve lost four of their last five coming into the tournament. They’ve been in and out of the rankings most of the season, rarely breaking into the top 20.

Of the Lady Dogs’ three non-conference losses, two came against teams in the NCAA Tournament field (Georgia Tech and Louisiana Tech). They recorded no non-conference wins against the field of 64. Georgia’s biggest wins, and only wins against an NCAA Tournament team, came in a sweep of SEC runner-up and national #4 seed Kentucky.

As we noted above, it was a down year for the SEC, traditionally one of the strongest conferences in women’s basketball. The league merited only four bids. It was a little surprising to see Vanderbilt – who tied the Lady Dogs for third place in the SEC – all the way down at a #10 seed, but they had even fewer big wins than Georgia. We thought that LSU might get in on reputation alone, but they probably came up just short by losing a heartbreaker to Kentucky in the SEC quarterfinals.

But here we are. Somehow Georgia ended up with a #6 seed, and they’re fortunate to be close by in Auburn. The women’s tournament, in the interest of ticket sales, pays a lot more attention to geography and proximity than the men’s tournament. That attention to proximity seems to be even greater than usual for the Auburn sub-regional. Since hosts Auburn didn’t merit a tournament bid this year, the committee chose four schools whose teams and fans can easily drive to the games. MTSU, facing about a five-hour drive, is the most distant participant. Georgia and FSU should be able to bring a healthy number of fans, especially for the Sunday games.

It will be impossible to discuss Georgia’s opening game without mentioning the shocking murder of MTSU junior guard Tina Stewart earlier this month. MTSU made the brave choice to play on after her death, but the rattled team lost in the quarterfinal of their conference tournament. As regular season conference champs, MTSU deserved an at-large bid and got one. They’ve had a few weeks to process the event, but there’s still no telling how it will affect them in this tournament. They might come up fired up and use the loss of their teammate as a rallying point, or they might still be numb. With respect to Stewart and the emotional challenge her team continues to face, MTSU will also have to account for her role on the court. She was one of the first players off the bench, had previous starting experience, and was one of the very few veterans on a team that features 11 underclassmen.

Andy Landers is in no danger of overlooking MTSU, and he won’t allow his team to either. The Blue Raiders beat Georgia in their last meeting during the 2006-2007 season when the Lady Dogs were ranked #8. MTSU’s star during that time was actually a former Georgia signee, Amber Holt. Holt had to leave Georgia for academic reasons, but she led MTSU to upsets of Georgia and LSU during her career while earning All-American honors. This isn’t the same MTSU team that beat Georgia, but of course it’s not the same Georgia either. MTSU has maintained a strong program, dominated its conference, and won’t be afraid of Georgia thanks to a tough non-conference slate that featured Kentucky, Xavier, and Georgia Tech.

More Information

  • #6 Georgia vs. #11 Middle Tennessee State
  • Sunday 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Auburn, Ala.
  • ESPN2
  • Tickets for both sessions in Auburn are $32 for adults and $17 for students. Single-session tickets are $16 for adults and $11 for students. Tickets can be purchased from the Auburn ticket office by calling 1-800-282-1957 or online at this link.

Post Dawgs return to the NCAA Tournament

Sunday March 13, 2011

The incredible and improbable story of 2008 aside, this is a moment that Georgia basketball fans have been waiting for since 2002.  After Georgia withdrew from the 2003 postseason, it’s been eight years since the Bulldogs have had a team playing at a level worthy of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

We’ve been fairly confident of Georgia’s chances since they took care of LSU, but some would-be upset bids during the conference tournaments made things interesting.  In the end, Georgia was safely in as a #10 seed in the East Region.  At that seed, it’s likely that Georgia wasn’t really even part of the discussion at the end as to which teams to include and exclude.  Pundits and fans of other teams might take shots at Georgia’s inclusion and their seeding, but there’s no taking away what this team and Mark Fox have earned in his second season after some very lean years for the program.  The sun shone on Bulldog hoops for once; don’t spend a minute apologizing for it.

Our regional:

Georgia (#10) vs. Washington (#7).  We’ll play Friday evening at around 9:45 p.m. or roughly 30 minutes after the UNC-LIU game which tips off at 7:15. 

If Georgia wins, we’ll play the UNC-LIU winner on Sunday, and that time is still TBD.


Georgia’s allotment of tickets will be spoken for by season ticket holders.  You already know if you had the opportunity to pre-order NCAA tickets.

For everyone else, tickets are available via TicketMaster.  Yes, you read that right, ticket packages are $231. That does get you tickets for Friday and Sunday’s games in all sessions – six games in all.  $38.50 a game sounds a little better, and you’ll get to see the Dawgs as well as Duke and North Carolina.  As of Sunday night, all that were left were in the upper level.

Another alternative, if you’re up for the risk, is going up without tickets in hand. You’ll have to be there in time for the afternoon session, but Duke, Tennessee, and Michigan fans leaving the afternoon session might be looking to unload evening session tickets. You might also be able to arrange an evening session ticket from one of those fans online before Friday.

A bit about the opponent:

Washington Huskies: 23-10 overall, 11-7 Pac 10 (3rd place)

The Huskies are a tournament-tested team, making a run to the Sweet 16 a year ago.  They lost top scorer Quincy Pondexter but were still preseason favorites to win the conference.

Washington is all over the college hoops news right now for their dramatic upset win over Arizona in the Pac-10 tournament championship game. They have the Gus Johnson cred (“COLD. BLOODED.”), and they have the instantly recognizable name of Isaiah Thomas (though no relation to Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas). Thomas lives up to the famous name as the team’s leading scorer with 16.8 PPG 

As Georgia leads with Thompkins, Leslie, and Robinson, so too does Washington go with a guard, a post, and a wing as their top scorers.  After Thomas, forward and London native Matt Bryan-Amaning gives you 15.5 PPG / 8.1 RPG inside.  6’6” wing  Justin Holiday would be the natural comparison to Leslie and is also one of the best defenders in the conference. You can see the rest of the team’s stats here.  They have nine players averaging at least 5 PPG.

The teams have a common opponent:  Washington lost 67-74 to Kentucky in the Maui Classic back at the beginning of the season.  Of course that was months ago, and Kentucky’s talented freshmen were still freshmen.  Since then Washington has lost promising sophomore PG Abdul Gaddy to a season-ending ACL injury. Thomas has taken up much of the load, but they still lack that true point guard.

Washington’s nonconference schedule doesn’t feature a lot of quality wins, but there also aren’t many bad losses.  They came a point short of knocking off a respectable Texas A&M team after another last-second Thomas shot was blocked.  They played well but lost to Kentucky and Michigan State, and they were able to handle lesser Virginia and Texas Tech teams.  The Huskies had an impressive 4-1 mark against the top two teams in the Pac-10, but they slipped several times against the lower half of the league.

Post Will Royal flush Tech?

Monday March 7, 2011

The AJC is reporting that Milton forward Julian Royal would consider asking for a release from his letter of intent from Georgia Tech if Paul Hewitt is replaced.

Royal, a 6’8″ PF, is a Top 100 prospect according to Rivals.com and is #63 on the ESPNU 100. He committed to and signed with Tech over Georgia in October.

The Yellow Jackets enter this week’s ACC Tournament as the #11 seed after finishing with a 5-11 ACC mark this year and an overall record of 13-17. Though he led the Jackets to the national title game in 2004 and brought a long list of talented prospects to Atlanta, Hewitt has been under fire for several years. Since 2006, Tech has a losing record both in conference play and overall. They are the only ACC school to have a losing overall record over that time span, and no ACC program has done worse than their 31-63 league mark.

So why is it even a question whether Tech will make a change?

  • The contract. You probably know all about the deal by now. In order to lock down Hewitt after the 2004 NCAA run, Tech signed Hewitt to a contract that renews itself each year and provides for a buyout equal to the five remaining seasons – over $7 million. But with fans staying away in droves, we now start to see an opportunity cost rising next to that $7 million. The value of that lost support will add up quickly, especially for a moderately successful basketball program that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of football money with which to sustain itself.
  • Next year. Here’s where the timing gets interesting. Tech’s win over Miami on Sunday was the last game at what we know as Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech will spend the next year gutting and rebuilding – and renaming – the arena on the same site. Meanwhile, the team will become nomads and play at Philips Arena off-campus. Is a year leading a gypsy team attractive to potential replacements? On one hand, he’d have a year to right the ship and head into year two with a lot of buzz (as Mark Fox did this year). On the other hand, Tech would run the risk of a lackluster ’11-’12 season with a lukewarm and dwindling fan base that they’re trying to re-energize in time to pack their new facility. Would Tech get a bigger impact by introducing a new coach and new arena at the same time in 2012?

We should know one way or the other soon. Hewitt’s contract rolls over on April 15th, and they’re required to give him a month’s notice of any change. March 15th is next Tuesday, only two days after the end of the ACC Tournament. If Tech does make a change, we can be sure that Mark Fox and the Georgia program would welcome a second chance to talk to Royal. Georgia’s frontcourt takes some big losses after this season, and it’s doubtful that anyone in the current class is as ready to make an impact as Royal would be.

Post Safety dance

Monday March 7, 2011

I agree with Travis: the safety position is the one that seems to be left with fewer answers after last week’s reshuffling. We felt that the position was in decent shape heading into last season, but even that was a little overstated. We ended the year with Hamilton and Nick Williams changing positions, and Ogletree eventually earned the starting role. Ogletree might’ve been growing out of the position anyway, but it’s still a loss of an up-and-coming playmaker at a spot that’s been without one for a while.

We’ll let Seth Emerson sum up:

As for safety, Grantham said Ogletree’s move is “a good opportunity” for Jakar Hamilton. The junior college transfer started several games last year before slipping out of favor. Grantham also mentioned Marc Deas, but you have to imagine some of the incoming recruits will also get a look to play alongside Bacarri Rambo.

Wow. I suppose counting on John Jenkins is the biggest leap of faith for the defense this year, but that plan for safety looks like a close second. Let’s take Emerson’s summary bit by bit:

  • It is a good opportunity for Jakar Hamilton, but let’s remember that Hamilton is also part of this reorganization after moving from safety to corner and back to safety. It was only a couple of months ago that Hamilton expressed his preference to remain at corner. The opportunity to get on the field can change those preferences in a hurry, but Hamilton’s still going to have to get better at the responsibilities of the safety beyond just hitting people. He liked cornerback because he didn’t have to “worry about a lot of calls,” and he’s going to have to master those calls if he’s going to be the solution that Grantham and Lakatos are seeking.
  • Marc Deas is an option, but there’s not much beyond that on the current roster. Nick Williams will transfer. Other than Hamilton, Shawn Williams is the only other candidate with much experience. Williams even started during the middle of the season until Ogletree took over.
  • Incoming recruits. Corey Moore is the obvious choice for an impact freshman at safety, especially against the run. Rivals.com had him as the top safety in Georgia and the 5th best in the nation – not far away from Ogletree’s rating a year ago. Nick Marshal’s “athlete” label implies he might help at several positions though the depth situation probably means he’ll get a look at safety.
  • Rambo. He’s the given in this discussion, but let’s emphasize that Rambo had a good, but not great, 2010 season. He gets a lot of slack as a fan favorite, but Rambo was as responsible as anyone for Georgia’s tackling issues in the early part of the season. He’ll also have to improve to help the position overcome the loss of Ogletree.