Since the Dawgs have handed out their awards at the Gala year-end banquet, I’d like the opportunity to hand out a few of my own.
Most valuable (non)player. Easy call – Brandon Coutu. If he doesn’t get hurt, Georgia beats Vandy and Kentucky, is 10-2 right now and playing on New Year’s Day.
Dumbest play of the year. Unfortunately, there were lots of worthy candidates for this award. I looked hard at Daniel Inman here, but I think you have to consider his entire body of work to judge him, not merely one play. Stafford’s pick throwing from the end zone in the Kentucky game almost got my vote here, particularly because he had been warned by MR in very clear terms not to turn the ball over literally moments before he threw the INT, but he’s a freshman. Mikey Henderson’s fumble on his first punt return in the Western Kentucky game was in the running, but, heck, he redeemed himself with another return that he didn’t showboat on.
In the end, I chose Tony Taylor’s dive into the endzone in the Tech game. What really made his the DPOTY was (1) that Tra Battle had been flagged for the exact same infraction in the Auburn game, which penalty led to an Auburn score; (2) that Taylor had just scored a touchdown on what would surely go down as one of the most memorable plays in Georgia history and it was a moment that didn’t need any additional flavoring; and (3) that Taylor’s a senior who should know better. Dumb. Really dumb. As the cliche goes: son, act like you’ve been there before.
Biggest little play of the year by a Georgia player. As I mentioned in a previous post, Ray Gant’s sack of Cox on the first defensive play of the Auburn game was the spark that re-ignited the defense (particularly the pass rush) in the Auburn and Tech games. I reserve the right to change this pick if the defense goes back in the tank against Va. Tech, of course.
Biggest little play of the year by a Georgia opponent. Mansfield Wrotto’s motion penalty in the 3rd quarter of the Tech game moved the Jackets from a 2nd and goal at the three to a second and goal at the eight. Instead of running Choice, who gouged the Georgia defense all game, Chan & Co. elected to put the ball in the hands of the ever reliable Reggie “Dog” Ball, who proceeded to let Paul Oliver abuse the AA Calvin Johnson on two successive pass plays in the end zone. Tech settled for a field goal instead of a TD – and lost by three points.
Best play of the year. (tie) I had to give the nod to both freshman quarterbacks on this one. Joe Cox won the Colorado game with a TD pass to Martrez Milner; Matthew Stafford won the Tech game with a TD pass to Mohamed Massaquoi. Both plays were gorgeous. My favorite thing about Cox’s pass was his body language as he lined up under center – you could tell when he checked off he knew he had the play. Stafford’s pump fake to set up Tech’s defense was fantastic, especially because it meant he knew how much time he had against Tenuta’s defense to get the ball out of there.
Assholes of the year. My only non-player award, this one goes to every fool in Sanford Stadium that booed MoMass during the Mississippi State game. I only hope that every one of those jerks had the decency to blush when he caught everything in sight at the end of the Tech game. They probably didn’t.
The “blood and guts” award. Believe it or not, this one goes to the offensive line. Yes, I know it was an up and down season and that they probably had more to do with another loss in Jacksonville this year than any other area of the team. But when you consider how much Inman had to play this year, the fact that these guys finished second best in the conference in sacks allowed (only 15) and run blocked well enough to allow the offense to finish middle of the pack in the SEC deserves a tip of the cap. Nick Jones in particular was a rock. That being said, if I never have to anticipate a referee’s call of “Number 72″ after seeing a flag on the offense again, it’ll be too soon.
I’m not interested in giving Inman a lifetime achievement award. But perhaps his name deserves to be added to the Bulldawg lexicon in some form or fashion. What should it mean if you accuse a player of “pulling an Inman”? Feel free to comment with your suggestions…