Monthly Archives: August 2008

Know thyself, Georgia edition

The Quad makes Georgia its pick for #2 in the country, seeing the Dawgs facing off against Southern Cal for the MNC.

It’s a complementary piece, as this passage on Mark Richt indicates:

… Though largely overlooked on a national basis, Richt is certainly one of the top coaches in the country. Since the start, Richt has had the Bulldogs among the top programs in the nation. After going 8-4 in 2001 (his debut season), tying a Georgia record for wins by a rookie coach, Richt led the Dawgs to a team-record 13 wins in 2002, a season that culminated in an SEC championship. Richt duplicated that feat in 2005, when he led Georgia to a 10-3 mark and its second conference title. There has been no down point for the Bulldogs since Richt took over, though one could point out the 9-4 mark in 2006 as a brief lull for the Georgia program. You’re doing pretty well when a 9-4 record, with a .500 mark in the SEC, signals the lowest point of your tenure. Only five SEC coaches have won 10 games or more in four straight seasons: Richt (2002-5), Bear Bryant (1971-74, 1977-80), Vince Dooley (1980-83), Phil Fulmer (1995-98) and Steve Spurrier (1993-98). How about that list?

1 Comment

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Thoughts on Georgia-Georgia Southern

I’m not gonna do the detail thing with this game – for that check out what Jody and Doug have to say – rather, I thought I’d just take a broader look at some things.

Realistically, this is not likely to be a close game.  Chris Hatcher is a sharp guy with a creative offensive mind, but this is a contest that will be determined by the “Jimmies and Joes”, and GSU is both very young and playing without eight suspended players.  Not a good combination.

So here are three areas I’ll be looking at on Saturday::

  1. The Georgia defense. What I like about Hatcher is that he plays with what he’s got.  In other words, he doesn’t have the luxury of a Mike Bobo who can recruit the players he thinks will best fit the scheme he runs, but rather molds his offense around the talent he has available.  Last year that meant a strong running attack;  this year, based on what I heard him tell Coach Donnan on Donnan’s radio show earlier this week, that means a steady dose of throwing the ball.  It’s a controlled passing attack designed to move the chains steadily.  That means the Dawg D has to play with discipline, which sometimes is a quality lacking in an early season game.  Honestly, though, what I’m most interested in evaluating is the level of talent that Martinez has at hand.  The G-Day game hinted at the speed, athleticism and depth of this group.  I’m looking forward to seeing what’s there.
  2. The freshman class. The official line is that we may see as many as ten freshman play on Saturday.  Just how good are they and what kinds of contributions are being expected from them?
  3. The mentality of being #1. We all know what the typical Mark Richt domination of a cupcake tends to look like – the game slowly builds into a 20-30 point mismatch, the dogs are called off and from there things kind of fade out.  Given what’s at stake this season, and given that Richt seems to be driven by that, do we finally see a team that goes for the throat of an inferior opponent and doesn’t let up?

5 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Thoughts from last night

Man, that felt good… comfortable chair and clicker in hand.

There really weren’t a whole lot of surprises last night.  I thought the two most impressive wins, for what they were worth, were Vandy’s and Wake Forest’s. Stanford, riding a +3 turnover margin, looked like it might be ready to step up from the land of the completely forlorn (so much for Mandel’s pick for surprise team in the country this year).  It sure was good to hear Uncle Ron’s voice last night, too.

In terms of Georgia’s future opponents which saw the field last night, I’m not sure how much to read into Central Michigan’s win, but it seems to me that an offensive juggernaut playing at home against Eastern Illinois ought to put up more than 31 points on the scoreboard.  Georgia Tech did what it had to do against a 1-AA opponent, which was play good defense and give the team a reason to believe Paul Johnson’s offense has a future.

And then there was South Carolina.  I thought it was a typical Spurrier rope-a-dope opener, which is to say, show as little as possible on offense.  It helped tremendously to face a hapless opponent like NC State, which boasts the worst looking offense from a BCS conference team this side of Starkville, Mississippi.  So while that 34-0 score looks nice, don’t forget that the Wolfpack finished off its ’07 season with a 37-0 loss to Maryland.

Then again, we were able to witness the birth of the Chris Smelley for Heisman campaign in Columbia last night, so there is that.  My big question for SC (can I say that?) is whether next week’s trip to Nashville turns out to be any sort of test for the ‘Cocks, instead of the usual kind of warm up Spurrier prefers prior to his game with Georgia.  Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

11 Comments

Filed under College Football

Willie Martinez: You’ve come a long way, baby.

Those of us that sat in the Georgia Dome to watch the ill-fated 38-35 loss to West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl questioned whether the Georgia defensive staff was up to the challenge of gameplanning to stop the spread option offense.  We weren’t used to seeing a Dawg defense get shredded to the tune of 502 yards – especially by a Big East school.

Martinez went through a period of being compared with his predecessor’s success, and it wasn’t pretty.  But judging by the tone of this article in today’s Washington Post (h/t Bulldogs Blog), it looks like he’s gained some measure of redemption.

It made sense at the time. Preparing to face the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation in a BCS bowl on New Year’s Day, the Georgia coaching staff figured it would be wise to employ more speed than bulk. Relying on nickel packages that utilized one more cornerback and one less linebacker, the Bulldogs’ defense throttled Hawaii, 41-10, in the Sugar Bowl and provided an example of how to slow down the vaunted spread offense.

While the writer defines the term “spread” a little too broadly – Arizona State and Kentucky frequently employ one back sets with three and four receivers,  but they don’t run spread option schemes – there’s a lot of good stuff in there from the players and Martinez about what they try to do with the 4-2-5 scheme that has become a mainstay of Georgia’s defense.

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

That lid’s not just been knocked off, it’s been thrown away.

If this Chip Towers’ interview with Mark Richt doesn’t get you pumped up about the future of the program, I honestly don’t know what would.

Here’s a taste, but go read it all.

Richt on if he thinks this is the way it’s going to be from how on:

“Yes, I think so. I think we’re doing a very fine job of evaluating talent and hitting on a high percentage of the ones we’re going after. I don’t know what the record is across the country but if you look at how many guys make official visits and, of those, how many commit and sign with Georgia it’s pretty good. I’ve forgotten the number now of how many you can bring in any given year but we haven’t even come close to bringing in the number of official visits we’re allowed to bring in because we’ve just really hit on a really high percentage of the guys we’re going after. If you get every other one you’re doing really good but we’re at a better ratio than that and have been there probably the last three recruiting classes.”

1 Comment

Filed under Georgia Football

Opening day tidbits

Just a sprinkle for you this morning – focus on the games tonight.

  • David Ching drops the bomb on the Auburn faithful on his career move back to Athens.  I know how they feel.
  • Mark Schlabach is bullish on the Dawg D“Quarterback Matthew Stafford and tailback Knowshon Moreno are Heisman Trophy candidates and garner most of the attention, but Georgia’s defense — the fastest it has ever put on the field — will lead it to an SEC championship.”
  • I’m beginning to question Urban Meyer’s ability to see the future.  The Orlando Sentinel’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that Percy Harvin may wind up missing the Tennessee game.  That’s serious.  And it’s interesting that there seems to be some tension building between the head coach and momma over Harvin’s return.  This one bears watching.
  • Discretion is the better part of valor:  Kade Weston won’t play against Georgia Southern.
  • The AJ-C has a list of places in Atlanta where you can go see Weston’s teammates play on Saturday.
  • And Jody’s back with his always excellent preview of this week’s game.
  • I dare you.

3 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

It’s about damned time.

Life has meaning again.

  • Aug 28:  Vanderbilt at Miami University, 7:00 PM, ESPNU
  • Aug 28:  Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech, 7:30 PM, ESPN 360
  • Aug 28:  Charleston Southern at Miami, 7:30 PM, ESPN 360
  • Aug 28:  NC State at South Carolina, 8:00 PM, ESPN
  • Aug 28:  Wake Forest at Baylor, 8:00 PM, FSN
  • Aug 28:  Oregon State at Stanford, 9:00 PM, ESPN2
  • Aug 28:  Troy at Middle Tennessee State, 7:30 PM, Gameplan
  • Aug 28:  Wake Forest at Baylor, 8:00 PM, FSN

Let the games begin.  Yowzer!

5 Comments

Filed under College Football