Georgia Bulldogs G-Day Game 2012

The Georgia Bulldogs found themselves between the hedges for the first time in 2012 last Saturday afternoon. The occasion marked the first real opportunity for all of Bulldog Nation to forget about the bitter ending of last season and shift their focus to the present. Georgia’s off-season has been tumultuous thus far, but the G-Day Game provided a much needed opportunity for the Bulldogs to refocus.

Rather than offer a dry analysis of a glorified scrimmage, I would like to share some notes and observations from watching last weekend’s broadcast.

Aaron Murray is the unquestioned leader of the Georgia Bulldog offense. However, both Hutson Mason and Christian LeMay appear to be developing into great quarterbacks as well. Both young men could probably start elsewhere if they decided to transfer. Christian LeMay is a gifted athlete, and he could be capable of providing a spark in certain packages for the Bulldogs in the coming campaign.

Isaiah Crowell appeared to be running hard and hitting the hole quicker than he did during his freshman season. Crowell must stay patient, and avoid taking big hits so that his body is better able to withstand a full schedule next year. A few weeks ago Isaiah Crowell said that he had Heisman aspirations. That is an admirable goal, but Mr. Crowell should focus on staying out of trouble and healthy first. Continue reading

Bobby Petrino Fired By the University of Arkansas

Given that I shared many of my thoughts on the Bobby Petrino/Arkansas scandal in my previous post, I will keep this follow-up brief. There is no denying that Mr. Petrino is a great college football coach. His win-loss at the University of Arkansas, as well as at the University of Louisville is proof of that. However, this is where my short list of good things to say about Bob-O ends.

The University of Arkansas’ athletic director had to choke back tears as he announced his decision to terminate Bobby Petrino. Why? Petrino knowingly deceived university officials, and he let everyone involved with Arkansas Razorback football down. Athletics aside, the worst thing that Bobby Petrino did in all of this was cheat on his wife, turning his family’s world upside down in the process. The arrogance Petrino displayed while riding around with a 25 year old woman on the back of his motorcycle without a helmet is appalling. At least try to conceal your identity, Bob. Arkansas is not that big of a town.

There are Razorback fans who hoped to figure out a way to keep coach Petrino because of his success on the gridiron. I can imagine his supporters now, “Oh, wait, he was 21-5 over the past two seasons? Who cares what kind of example set in the community. We need him to help us get over the hump by beating LSU and Alabama.”  Such a person would do well to remember that Arkansas is an academic institution and not a semi-pro football team. College football fanatics everywhere should be thankful that morality won out in the end.

Here’s hoping that Bobby Petrino learns from his mistakes. In all likelihood he will get another job, where maybe he can focus on leaving a legacy that his four children can be proud of.

Georgia Bulldog Football – Pro Style Offense A Recruiting Asset.

Matthew Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards in 2011.

Players like Matthew Stafford do not come along very often. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper predicted that Stafford would be the first pick taken when he entered the NFL draft before Stafford even made his first start as a Georgia Bulldog. While Matthew Stafford’s father is a Georgia alum, Bulldog Nation possesses an X-factor that helps bring standout offensive players to Athens, the pro style offense.

Georgia’s offensive attack allows players to get a taste of what they will be expected to do if they make it to the NFL. The Bulldog offensive repertoire has helped springboard tremendous athletes such as Terrell Davis, Garrison Hurst, and the recently retired future NFL Hall Of Famer Hines Ward to playing on Sundays.

In an era of college football where fast paced, no-huddle offenses are en-vogue it is refreshing to see the University of Georgia staying with what brought them to the dance. While teams such as Oregon and Auburn have adopted a hurried approach to moving the football, Georgia rarely deviates from their playbook. Although when the Bulldogs do throw a curve ball it is usually effective. Such was the case last season, when defensive back Brandon Boykin scored Georgia’s first touchdown of 2011 on a 70 yard touchdown run.

With national signing day growing in spectator popularity each year there is more emphasis on where a particular athlete chooses to play college football than ever before. Quarterbacks who choose to come to the University of Georgia know they are likely to learn a system similar to what they could end up running if the NFL comes calling. Georgia is currently loaded at the signal caller position with starter Aaron Murry, while Hutson Mason, and Christian LeMay compete for the back-up role. Hutson Mason plans to redshirt in 2012, in hopes of having the opportunity to run the Georgia Bulldog ship when Aaron Murray’s UGA football career comes to a close.

Ultimately Georgia runs a pro style offense because it is what gives them the best chance to win. The Bulldogs are looking to get to the top of the Southeastern Conference, and the obvious way to do that is to be better than the competition. The pro style offense helps entice high profile recruits to enroll at UGA because they know that being successful in Athens will likely translate to a successful football career long after their Dawg days are over.

Georgia Bulldogs Extend Contracts for Mark Richt and Todd Grantham

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So happy together.

(UPDATE: The AJC’s Chip Towers is reporting that Mark Richt “is not receiving merely a contract extension, but a whole new deal.“)

Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the University of Georgia has agreed to a contract extension with both Georgia football head coach Mark Richt, as well as defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Both men had banner years in 2011, guiding Georgia to its first ten win season since 2008. Mark Richt’s new deal extends his current longest running SEC head coach tenure until at least 2016. Hopefully Todd Grantham will stay between the hedges for the duration of his extended deal, which expires in 2014.

This news is cause for celebration in Bulldog Nation. Todd Grantham’s defense was one of the best in the country this past season and it could get even better if certain players would learn to stay out of trouble. Both Sanders Commings and Branden Smith have had good careers on the field at Georgia. Now, they must show that they can be productive members of the community off the football field, and earn back their silver britches so they can finish their respective careers at Georgia on a high note.

Five seasons is an eternity in today’s college football landscape. Mark Richt has gone from hot seat to hot streak in the past two years alone. With questions surrounding Mike Bobo’s ability to be an effective play caller in big games one has to wonder what, if anything, was said about Georgia’s offense during negotiations between Mark Richt and Greg McGarity. It is admirable to have faith in your coordinators when you are winning. However, loyalty is often seen as foolish when it does not translate to success on the field. Here’s hoping that McGarity encouraged Richt to play a bigger role in offensive game planning, and that the idea of a special teams coach came up at some point.

The time is now for the Georgia Bulldogs to compete for a national title. The SEC has ruled college football for the last six years, but the Bulldogs have not won a national title since Herschel Walker’s playing days. Mark Richt came to Athens hot off of his success as Florida State’s offensive guru under Bobby Bowden. Coach Richt has had a lot of success in Athens, but in order for his legacy to stand the test of time he must lead Bulldog Nation to a national championship.

Will Boise State Ever Play For The National Championship?

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Boise State is a big fish in a small pond.

For the past two seasons, the Boise State Broncos have fallen one loss short of being in contention to compete for the BCS national championship.  Because of their perceived weak schedule, the Broncos must have a perfect season to be under consideration to play for a national title. Such is life for the soon to be Big East bound Broncos. Boise State will move from the Mountain West to the Big East Conference for football only beginning in 2013.

Focus On The Here And Now
While changing conferences remains a year away, the Boise State football team has to be concerned with their immediate future. The Broncos must put new faces in once familiar places on the offensive side of the ball. 2011 Boise State offensive leaders Kellen Moore and Doug Martin have both graduated and are pursuing careers in the NFL. Finding a new signal caller to replace Kellen Moore is the top priority for the Broncos this off-season.

Defensively the Broncos were stout in 2011, and that trend should continue as the blue field bunch recently hired former Tampa Bay defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake to join their staff. Lake will reportedly be in charge of Boise’s defensive backs, and he will also  coordinate the pass defense in Idaho.  If the Broncos can get past the Michigan State Spartans in the 2012 season opener, then the Bronco defense will have some time to gel before they take on their conference foes. Continue reading

Georgia Football Traditions – Baba O’Riley

Recently I touched on my admiration for the “Battle Hymm of The Bulldog Nation.” Following that hallowed Georgia tradition, Dawg fans wait with baited breath for the Georgia Bulldog football team to take the field. As “Baba O’Riley” by The Who rings out of the Sanford Stadium speakers and the familiar piano notes play out, it is impossible not to forget one’s troubles and simply be a fan for about three hours.

Georgia’s arrival into Sanford Stadium is special because it is unique. Instead of a serious or intense entrance, “Baba O’Riley” provides the feeling that the crowd has gathered between the hedges to enjoy themselves and root for the Bulldogs. Entrance themes such as Virginia Tech’s choice of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, have become so cliche that it is hard to see how it could feel like part of a tradition. With “Baba O’Riley” it is easy for those in attendance to relate to the narrative on a Saturday in Athens. “Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals. I got my back into my living. I don’t need to fight, to prove I’m right, I don’t need to be forgiven.”

It was not until I  experienced the tradition first hand that it had a profound effect on me. I could not imagine being so passionate about any other football team besides the Georgia Bulldogs. The University of Georgia has a place in the heart of every member of Bulldog Nation. Regardless of whether the Bulldogs win or lose on a given Saturday, there is no better way to feel connected to 90,000 plus people than to hear “Baba O’Riley” begin to play.

Georgia Tech Needs More Options

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Paul Johnson may be a genius. Is he also his own worst enemy?

Growing up a Bulldog in Athens has made me develop a healthy dislike for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Even though Georgia has dominated the head-to-head meetings with the Jackets since 2001, “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” is always a nerve racking week for Bulldog Nation. After all, the winner of the contest has bragging rights for an entire year, and the loser is left counting the days until the next chapter of the rivalry unfolds.

Despite my disdain for Georgia Tech, I want the Yellow Jackets to come into battle against the Bulldogs with as much buzz as possible. Crushing the momentum of a hated rival is much more satisfying than pouring salt into an open wound. After seemingly taking the Naval Academy as far as it is capable of going in today’s college football landscape, Paul Johnson was hired by Georgia Tech after the previous head coach (Chan Gailey) was fired following the 2007 season.

Paul Johnson brought his triple option offense with him to Atlanta in 2008. The Jackets were coming off of a seven win season the year before, and there was a lot of skepticism about whether Johnson’s offense could be successful in major college football. Georgia Tech doubters were silenced rather quickly, as the Yellow Jackets won 9 games in 2008, including hanging 45 points in defeating the Dawgs in Athens. The Jackets won the ACC title in 2010, and played in the Orange Bowl game in 2011.

Since reeling off 20 wins in his first two seasons as head coach in Atlanta, Paul Johnson has lost twelve games in the last two years, and he has yet to win a bowl game. Some of those aforementioned losses can be attributed to injuries, as well as occasional bad breaks. However, opponents of the Yellow Jackets seem to be smartening up to defending the option. Continue reading

Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation – Georgia Football Traditions

Larry Munson's voice will ring out from between the hedges forever. A video of the battle hymn can be found below.Sanford Stadium is the ideal place for members of Bulldog Nation to gather on a Saturday afternoon to cheer on our Georgia Bulldogs. There are many memorable moments that define one’s  experience between the hedges, and the Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation is a personal favorite of mine.

Led by iconic Georgia Bulldog football announcer Larry Munson, the anthem inspires “Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia” before paying homage to great Bulldog players from the past. The hymn is also accompanied by video highlights on the scoreboard of Sanford Stadium, showing great moments in UGA football history. Included in this Dawg retrospective are memories such as: Herschel Walker running over Bill Bates, the hob nail boot, and Lindsay Scott running for his life to overcome the Florida Gators in 1980.

The Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation is an important reminder of the tradition that comes with being a Georgia Bulldog. On a personal level, my heart swells with pride each time I hear Larry Munson encourage Bulldog Nation to cheer for the “new breed” of Bulldogs that are about to take the field on a given fall Saturday in Athens.

The best thing about this particular University of Georgia tradition is that it is timeless. As long as UGA has a football team, the Battle Hymn of The Bulldog Nation will be woven into the fabric of the University of Georgia during home football games. While some of the highlights may change with time, Larry Munson’s unforgettable voice will forever narrate the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation. Munson’s body may be gone, but his memory will live forever thanks to his unforgettable calls, and unbridled passion for the Georgia Bulldogs.

National Signing Day 2012 – Georgia lands #1 OLB Josh Harvey-Clemons

The Georgia Bulldogs kicked off national signing day 2012 with a bang. Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that top rated outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons has decided to play football for the University of Georgia. In an interview which aired on ESPNU, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said that he thought Harvey-Clemons had “fallen in love” with the Georgia program. Richt did not feel that his recent trip to the Clemons’ family’s co-owned bail bondsman’s service in Valdosta played a significant role in Josh’s decision to play college football in Athens.

The Georgia Bulldogs currently have the number five ranked recruiting class in the country according to ESPNU. The Dawgs have six players rated in the ESPNU top 150. Georgia commits featured on that list include: Keith Marshall, the number two overall running back, along with the previously mentioned Josh Harvey Clemons, as well as John Theus, the fifth ranked offensive tackle. Rounding out the list are the number six rated defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor, the eighth ranked defensive end Jordan Jenkins, and the #11 rated defensive tackle John Atkins.

The 2012 UGA recruiting class will join an already loaded Bulldog team that is returning 15 starters. Georgia welcomes back nine defensive standouts from one of the nation’s best defenses, coupled with six returning contributors on the offensive side. Mark Richt and his staff must guide Bulldog Nation through a productive off-season to ensure that the Georgia Bulldogs have plenty of bite this fall.

National signing day can be an exciting time for college football fans everywhere. However, it is important to remember that these recruits are 17 and 18 year old kids who are being placed under a mass media microscope. As a result, they need to be given time to mature and adjust to expectations at the college level. These brand new Bulldogs will make their way between the hedges with high hopes. Now that they are apart of Bulldog Nation, they must do all that they can to be good Dawgs on and off of the football field.

Georgia Running Back Richard Samuel’s Time To Shine is 2012.

richard samuel

Richard Samuel looks to leap over the competition in 2012.

Bulldog Nation has high hopes for rising sophomore Isaiah Crowell, as well as incoming freshman Keith Marshall. However, if Georgia is to build on their success from 2011, then Richard Samuel must carry the load for the Bulldog rushing attack in 2012. Samuel will be a senior in the fall, and during his first three seasons in Athens he has been a running back and a linebacker. By switching positions, Samuel displayed a willingness to be a team player and in doing so, he has earned the right to be the starting running back when his senior campaign begins.

Aside from his team first attitude, Richard Samuel is 6’2″ tall and 243 pounds. His size enables him to run between the tackles and pound the football up the middle. He also has the ability to run through defenders, as he did when the Bulldogs bit the Florida Gators in Jacksonville. While Isaiah Crowell provided electrifying runs early last season, he struggled down the stretch and must learn to protect his body better if he hopes to have long term success as a running back.

Carlton Thomas added his fair share of contributions to the Bulldog offense as well. However, the soon to be senior running back has not yet proven he can stay out of trouble. Thomas must earn his carries in 2012 by being a good Dawg on and off of the football field. The Bulldogs also have Ken Malcome, who will be a (redshirt) rising sophomore. Malcome has shown flashes of brilliance with limited carries, but he has not been on the field enough to lead Georgia’s ground game. Continue reading