Transfer Trouble for UGA Football?

jeremy_pruitt_bcsTransfers May Cause Depth Issues on Defense
Bulldog Nation has plenty of reason to be excited about new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.  A proven winner, Pruitt has the experience needed to put the bark back into the bite of the Georgia defense.

Still, a coach is only as good as the talent he is instructing.  With the recent news that UGA defensive back Shaq Wiggins decided to transfer, only one member of the Bulldogs secondary has started more than a single game.

Wiggins’ decision to continue his college experience elsewhere is unfortunate.  With that said, Bulldog Nation wishes him the best of luck.  The Dawgs have no use for an athlete who lacks the desire to play between the hedges.

Jeremy Pruitt Rebuilding UGA, Not Reloading
Jeremy Pruitt’s ability to coach up a defense will be tested this fall.  Coach Pruitt certainly has the championship experience to warrant his new position, but, as Pruitt recently told the Macon Telegraph, his defense is getting back to basics. “There’s some good, there’s some bad, but all of it we control”.  He also stressed the importance of lining up correctly, knowing what to look for, and having proper technique.

CBS Sports notes the Bulldog defense finished number 11 in the Southeastern Conference in defensive pass efficiency.  Shaq Wiggins led the team in interceptions in 2013.  Wiggins’ team leading total of two picks speaks volumes about the team struggling to create turnovers as opposed to his individual ability.

Give Bulldog Nation a Reason to Bark Again
Winning cures everything.  It is unreasonable to expect a team to compete for a national championship every year, but five losses did not set well with anyone in Bulldog Nation.  The Dawgs’ new defensive coaches are tasked with bringing consistency back to a Georgia defense that appeared lost by the end of Todd Grantham’s tenure.

Upon his introduction as Georgia’s defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt revealed that he had been hoping for the chance to work with Mark Richt at UGA for more than a decade.  Now that his wish has come true, coach Pruitt must make the most of it.

Georgia’s New Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt – Thoughts

jeremy_pruitt_ugaJeremy Pruitt Brings Instant Credibility
Dating back to 2012, Jeremy Pruitt has been a member of the national championship winning coaching staff for three-straight seasons.  Among the challenges facing Georgia’s new defensive coordinator is fixing a UGA secondary that gave up a lot of yards in 2013. Pruitt’s experience as the defensive backs coach at Alabama and Florida State should serve Bulldog Nation well.

The Hire of Jeremy Pruitt Helps Boost Morale
While there were probably not many tears shed when Todd Grantham decided to head to Louisville, his departure left Georgia with a hole to fill.  Jeremy Pruitt’s past success indicates he can improve the young Georgia defense in a hurry.  In 2013, Pruitt’s FSU defense held the Clemson Tigers to 14 points in “Death Valley”.

Georgia has Some Pieces in Place
One of the most appealing aspects of the Pruitt hire is his experience in a 3-4 defensive scheme very similar to UGA’s previous defensive coordinator.  Georgia’s defense is far from broken.  Rather, the Dawgs have areas which require a tune-up.   Linebacker Amarlo Herrera is probably the most consistent player in the unit, and he will continue to get better.

Leonard Floyd was a difference maker rushing the passer from the linebacker position last season, and Jordan Jenkins continues to show flashes of brilliance playing outside linebacker. The Dawgs are ready to go up front, but the defensive backfield has lingering questions.

Dawgs Reloading, not Rebuilding
The excitement surrounding the hire of Jeremy Pruitt is refreshing, though it will be up to the players to execute on the field.   UGA last won the Southeastern Conference in 2005, but the Dawgs are consistent contenders for the SEC title.  The University of Georgia is among the winningest football programs in the country, so it is nice to see Mark Richt and Greg McGarity reloading as opposed to picking up pieces.

Farewell to Todd Grantham
It is impossible for me to root for a football team coached by Bobby Petrino.  Even so, best wishes to Todd Grantham in his efforts at the University of Louisville.  He spent every offseason in Athens job hunting, so I hope he is happy in his new home.  Bulldog Nation is certainly pleased with his replacement.   Does anybody know if Todd Grantham likes motorcycles?

Eulogizing The BCS

bcs_national_championship_trophyOffering Perspective From the Southeastern Conference
The Bowl Championship Series began in 1998.  The Southeastern Conference won seven straight BCS titles from 2007-2013.  In addition, the SEC claimed ten of the 16 crystal balls handed out in the BCS era.  I must admit to rooting for Florida State in the final BCS Championship game, but the positioning of the SEC as the dominant conference in college football cannot be denied.

Next season marks the debut of the long-awaited College Football layoff.  Affectionately known as “Mr. College Football”, Tony Barnhart offers a very comprehensive and honest view of how the CFP (College Football Playoff) will change the landscape of college football.

For what it is worth, Tony Barnhart is a passionate Georgia Bulldog football fan.  According to his website, he has authored four books on the subject, including From Herschel to Hobnail Boot, The Life and Times of Larry Munson.

Georgia Blackout: Aaron Murray Appreciation

aaron_murray_kentucky_wildcatsAccording to Bulldawg Illustrated, Aaron Murray is requesting a blackout this Saturday for his final home game at Sanford Stadium.  However, before Bulldog Nation starts reminiscing about Knowshon Moreno and the CBS announcers dancing, it must be noted Georgia head coach Mark Richt has stated UGA does not have access to black jerseys.



Oh, Coach Richt, You are Such a Kidder.
Who does Mark Richt think he is kidding?  Unless the Dawgs had a jersey burning party following the loss to Alabama in 2008, I refuse to believe black Georgia football uniforms are not available.

What if Mark Richt is Telling the Truth?
On the off-chance Mark Richt is being truthful, it is incumbent upon Georgia fans to give their senior quarterback the blackout he so richly deserves. If black uniforms are not an option, then the game against Kentucky should be played with the stadium lights out. Everyone in attendance can bring lighters for a true old school blackout.  Alas, television presentation would be too difficult.

Georgia Should Absolutely Send Aaron Murray out on his Terms
The article on Bulldawg Illustrated reveals Aaron Murray “would be the happiest man in the world” if a blackout is made official for the Kentucky game.  For this reason alone, a blackout must occur.  With all due respect to the other Bulldogs who will be moving on after the season, this Saturday night should center around Aaron Murray’s wishes.

Aaron Murray Appreciation Night
The Georgia starting quarterback has earned the right to make his final Sanford Stadium start memorable in whatever fashion he desires.  If Aaron Murray wants to pad his stats and attempt to throw for six touchdowns against the Wildcats he should be given free rein to do so. I am sure such a scenario has not been discussed, but is impossible not to wish the best for Aaron Murray in his last hurrah between the hedges.

Following the loss to Auburn, Aaron Murray tweeted, “Would do anything to go back and start playing as a freshmen again. These 4 years have gone by way to fast. I am a Dawg for life!”  If more past and present members of the Georgia football program shared Aaron Murray’s passion, the Georgia Bulldogs would probably not be in the midst of a 33 year national championship drought.

Georgia Versus Auburn – November 16, 2013

georgia_auburn_2013The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry             
Georgia and Auburn square off for the 117th time this weekend.  The series is deadlocked, as the Dawgs and Tigers have each won 54 games and played to eight ties.  UGA began playing Auburn in 1892. The Dawgs have been victorious in their last two meetings with the Tigers.

The Auburn Tigers Have Been Running All Over the Opposition
For Georgia to pull off the upset, they must find a way to slow down Auburn’s running game.  The Tigers rank third in the nation, averaging 322 yards on the ground per game.  The Bulldogs have had some success stopping the run this season, UGA’s rush defense is fourth in the Southeastern Conference.

Aaron Murray’s Last Big Stage?
Barring a minor miracle in the SEC East, week 12 marks Aaron Murray’s final game against a top-ten opponent.  ESPN notes Aaron Murray has played brilliantly against the Tigers.  In three career starts, Murray’s completion percentage against Auburn is 67.1.  The fifth-year quarterback is 2-1 against the Tigers, throwing for a total of 705 yards with ten touchdowns. Murray has yet to throw a pick to the War Eagle. Hopefully I did not just jinx the Dawgs.

The Dawgs Must Make Nick Marshall Throw
Current Auburn QB Nick Marshall began his college career in Athens as a cornerback.  According to All Alabama, the Georgia coaches thought Marshall would be a future All-SEC defensive back in Athens.  Unfortunately for both sides, Georgia head coach Mark Richt dismissed Marshall from the program after he violated team rules.

Now the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers, Nick Marshall’s athletic ability is obvious.  In the six games that Marshall has attempted to throw the ball more than ten times, his completion percentage has only exceeded 60 twice.  Still, teams have struggled to keep the Auburn QB in the pocket.  Marshall has run for over 100 yards in four of Auburn’s last five games.

Georgia 83, Auburn 7.
Bulldog Nation has rebounded from a rough October.  UGA is ranked in the top 25, bringing a record of 6-3 into Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers are 9-1, with aspirations of playing Alabama in a winner-take-all game in the Western division at the end of the regular season.  Considering the Dawgs have tamed the Tigers by a combined score of 83-7 over the past two seasons, planning ahead does not seem wise.

Georgia Needs to Focus on Winning Out
Despite the inconsistency in Athens, a victory over Auburn would give the Bulldogs three victories over teams ranked in the top ten in 2013. UGA should be focused on finishing 9-3 and sending their seniors out victorious in a bowl game.  If the Dawgs can win their two remaining SEC games, Missouri would have to lose their final conference contests for the Bulldogs to end up in Atlanta.

Fact or Fiction: Georgia Bye Week

Nine weeks into the college football season and Bulldog Nation has been reduced to the following math equation:  Questionable targeting calls + a loss at Vanderbilt = the following image…

fair_weather_uga_fanThe Georgia Bulldogs get a week off before their annual gridiron war with the Florida Gators.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, what is normally a pivotal SEC East game has become the “World’s Largest Outdoor Pity Party”. Georgia and Florida have combined for six losses before the end of October.

As a result, it is time for a round of fact or fiction to ease the pain.

The Winner of the Georgia-Florida Game is Still a Factor in the SEC East.  Fiction.  No matter which team wins in Jacksonville, the Florida Gators still have to play the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Georgia Bulldogs must contend with the Auburn Tigers.  New Auburn head coach, Gus Malzahn, has the Tigers at 6-1, and they beat Texas A&M in week eight.

 Alabama Will Earn Their Third Straight BCS National Championship.  Fact.  Nick Saban has proven discipline leads to dominance.  There is not a team in college football more consistent than the Crimson Tide.  Alabama does not have many more hurdles to overcome to get to Pasadena, California.

Ohio State Will Challenge the Tide.  Fiction.  Ohio State is a great offensive team, however, the Buckeyes do not have much of a defense.  Even if Ohio State gets through the regular season undefeated,  Buckeye fans must root for both Florida State and Oregon to lose.  Keep an eye on Urban Meyer folks, he is likely to start beating the opposition by as much as possible to rack up style points.

Florida State is Back.  Fact.  The Noles destroyed Clemson, and left the Tigers laying in Death Valley.   Quarterback Jameis Winston may not be ready for the BCS stage yet, but Florida State is talented enough to beat anyone, including Alabama.  Unfortunately for FSU, if they do play Alabama for all the marbles, Nick Saban will have plenty of time to prepare for Famous Jameis.

Long Live the BCS!  Fiction. The notion that anyone will miss the Bowl Championship Series is almost as ridiculous as the claim that a playoff would adversely affect a student athlete’s ability to study for an exam.  The playoffs will make money, the television ratings will be phenomenal, and the passionate fans of college football will finally get the finale we deserve.

Mike Bobo Deserves His New Contract With Georgia

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Mike Bobo coordinates one of the most prolific offenses in all of college football.

Mike Bobo has Earned His Pay Increase
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the Georgia Bulldogs have signed offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to a new three year contract. From the moment he was named offensive coordinator by Georgia head coach Mark Richt, Mike Bobo has gone from the frying pan to the fire and back again between the hedges. Make no mistake, the Bulldog alum deserves his extension with pay increase, and Georgia’s offensive numbers in the past few seasons prove it.

The 2012 SEC Championship Game was Huge for Coach Bobo
I have lost count of how many Mike Bobo detractors have said that Georgia’s offensive outburst the past few seasons is due to a favorable schedule. The debacle against South Carolina notwithstanding, Mike Bobo earned his contract extension when his offense stood paw to hoof with the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs put up 394 total yards against an Alabama team that gave up just 250 yards per game on average. Current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden has also expressed his support for coach Bobo. Gruden has a Super Bowl ring, in case you are not aware of his credentials.

Mike Bobo’s $240,000 Pay Increase Will Come With Increased Scrutiny
The fact remains that college football is the ultimate what have you done for me lately sport, and the moment that Georgia does not put up big enough numbers to best the competition, Bobo will be blamed again. Such is life in the Southeastern Conference.  Bulldog Nation should consider the possibility that Mike Bobo could one day call himself head coach between the hedges. If his career continues to trend upward, he has a case for being Mark Richt’s successor in Athens. I should try ending blogs with thought provoking statements more often.

Georgia Bulldog Football in 2011 and Beyond

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The long wait begins again for a Saturday in Athens.

As the college football calender shifts to bowl season, the 2011 Georgia Bulldog football campaign has been a memorable one. From those horrendous power ranger Nike Pro Combat Uniforms to winning the SEC East, this year has been a roller coaster ride for Bulldog Nation. Georgia improved from 6-6 in 2010, to 10-3 in 2011. The Dawgs will have a chance to add to their 4 game improvement against the Spartans of Michigan State on January 2, 2012. Continue reading

Georgia LSU- 2011 SEC Championship Game

Bobby Petrino could do nothing but watch and shout obscenities as he witnessed his Razorbacks get decimated by a clearly superior LSU team. The #1 ranked Tigers proved that Arkansas’ number three ranking this past week was for national television hype only as they mauled the Razorbacks by a final score of 41-17. LSU now heads to the Georgia Dome for a match-up with the second hottest team in the country, as the Georgia Bulldogs look to spoil the Tigers’ undefeated season.

The 2011 regular season comes full circle for the Bulldogs.

The LSU Tigers have largely dominated the competition throughout their 2011 campaign. In fact, the Tigers have been in such control that some are speculating that LSU will play in the BCS National Championship Game even if the Dawgs pull off the upset in Atlanta on Saturday. Other than the clash with the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide, the Tigers have beaten every opponent this season by at least 13 points.

Georgia’s journey to the SEC championship was not without adversity. After starting 0-2, the Bulldogs have barked, bit, and pawed their way back to the top of the SEC East by winning ten straight games. Georgia reigned supreme in the yearly rivalry with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in week 13 by a final score of 31-17. Now, the Bulldogs must figure out how to catch the Tigers by the tail, and send shock-waves throughout college football.

The key component for Georgia to pull off an upset against LSU is by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. On offense, Georgia needs Isaiah Crowell to gain enough yardage to keep the Bayou Bengals honest. Carlton Thomas and Brandon Harton are likely to see action in the Dawg backfield, but Crowell is the key to success for Georgia’s rushing attack.

If LSU is able to stuff the run, and then pressure Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray with the front four on their defensive line it will be a long afternoon for Bulldog Nation. The Dawgs must block the Tigers and force LSU to blitz in order to get to Murray. Pressure from LSU will allow Georgia’s signal caller a chance to get the ball out quickly to the young Bulldog receivers which will give the Dawgs a chance at moving the football.

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has thrived this season bringing pressure. The Dawgs’ dominant defense needs to make LSU uncomfortable and force turnovers in order to make the Bulldogs’ job on offense easier. It is crucial that Georgia’s defense keep the Dawgs in the game early so that Mike Bobo and company can figure out how to beat the fast and furious Louisiana State Tiger defense.

LSU’s biggest asset on offense is versatility. The Tigers run a pro-style offense, but Georgia must be prepared for both Jordan Jefferson and Jarret Lee at quarterback. Jordan Jefferson has been the Tigers’ starter since November 12th, after he relieved Jarret Lee who was struggling against Alabama. With Jefferson as the starter LSU will spread the field at times to make their opponents defend the option. Georgia must also be ready for five different running backs, as the Tigers have five players with at least 27 rushing attempts in 2011.

The Bulldogs’ special teams need a banner outing this weekend. LSU is the most talented team in the country, and Georgia can not afford to give the Tigers any help. Georgia’s special teams has given opposing teams gifts throughout the season: including missed field goals, favorable field position, and kick returns for touchdowns

On the other hand, Georgia kick returner Brandon Boykin has been dangerous all season. However, he will be returning punts from LSU punter Brad Wing who has been a weapon in his own right for the Tigers. LSU head coach Les Miles is known as the “Mad Hatter,” so Georgia must be on the look-out for fakes in the kicking game.

Bulldog Nation should embrace the underdog role while bearing in mind that they have the talent to tame the LSU Tigers. In their first trip to the Georgia Dome in the 2011 opener, it was clear that the Georgia Bulldogs were not ready for prime time. The second time around the Bulldogs are confident, young, and hungry. UGA is eager to prove that they are once again a force in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia will have to play mistake free football, but there could very well  be sugar falling from the sky onto the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night.

mark richt

The Bulldogs may bust the BCS.

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (November 18 – 20, 2011)

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Georgia looks to end the 2011 season where it began

The third Saturday in November brings an opportunity for redemption for the Georgia Bulldogs. The Dawgs host the Kentucky Wildcats with a birth in the SEC Championship game hanging in the balance for Georgia. The Bulldogs have  everything to gain with a win, but plenty to lose if they overlook the Wildcats. Sanford Stadium will be packed for Georgia’s final home game of 2011, as the Bulldogs look to punch their ticket back to the Georgia Dome.

Elsewhere in the Southeastern Conference, the regular season is beginning to wind down. Teams such as LSU and Alabama are looking to bring the SEC a sixth straight BCS National Championship, while teams like Vanderbilt are trying to get bowl eligible. The Commodores travel to Neyland stadium to face their in-state rival Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee is 4-6 on the season, and in last place in the SEC East in year two under Derrick Dooley.  While the son of the Georgia coaching legend deserves more time to turn things around, the final two games of the Vols’ regular season could go a long way in determining how much longer Dooley Jr. gets.

In other parts of the country, teams are jockeying for position in the Bowl Championship Series standings. #4 Oregon hosts USC in Eugene, and Chip Kelly’s Ducks will be looking to win with style as they audition for the role of the best one loss team in college football. If Oklahoma State or LSU loses before bowl season, the best one loss team is likely to claim a spot in the national championship game.

Speaking of Oklahoma State, The Cowboys travel to Iowa State tonight to take on the Cyclones. The chances of a Cowboy loss tonight are slim at best, but stranger things have happened in college football. (Note: I have just learned of the tragic plane crash involving Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, and his assistant Miranda Serna. My condolences to all affected by this terrible loss.)

As for the other team in Oklahoma, The Sooners visit Baylor on Saturday night. The game is Robert Griffin III’s best chance to get back in the Heisman race. “RG3″ has been spectacular this season. However, he does not have enough help to beat the Oklahoma Sooners. Boomer Sooner will eat the Bears.

As for the pro game, The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to their NFC South rival New Orleans Saints. Atlanta is just 1-2 against their division this season. In order to repeat as the NFC South champion the Falcons need to own their division down the stretch. Cue the “Rise up” video.



This week the Falcons host Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans. Atlanta is currently fourth in the NFL against the run, but that stat is misleading given the success that opposing teams have had through the air against the Dirty Birds. Atlanta faces an elite running back for the next two weeks. (Adrian Peterson next week) It is critical that the run defense lives up to their ranking, because it will be tested in the next few outings.

Other Sunday grid iron offerings include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trying to beat the streak as they face the Packers at Lambeau Field. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be public enemy #1 for what he has done to Atlanta lately, but it is hard not to admire the astonishing numbers he is putting up this season. Green Bay is 9-0 and a strong candidate to repeat as super bowl champions.

Picks– College Football

USC travels to Eugene, Oregon to face the quack attack. The Ducks will pound the Trojans into submission. This one will be closer than the final score indicates. Oregon 38, USC 21

Arkansas beats Mississippi State, setting up a showdown with LSU next week. Arkansas 34, Mississippi State 13

Tennessee desperately needs to win at home to salvage some sort of pride in a season gone horribly wrong. The Volunteers are 0-6 in conference play. Conversely, things are looking up for the Commodores since Jordan Rodgers became the starter. Vanderbilt wins because they really want to go bowling. Vanderbilt 21, Tennessee 17

Oklahoma goes bear hunting at Baylor Saturday night. Robert Griffin is very talented and may have a future on Sundays. However, Baylor is giving up 36 points per game on defense. Oklahoma 64, Baylor 28

Georgia will clinch the SEC East with a win at home against Kentucky. The Wildcats have been tame, and Kentucky will need to find a quarterback in the off-season to be competitive in the SEC going forward. The Dawgs will win big and complete their road to redemption. Georgia 42, Kentucky 10

NFL Picks

The 5-4 Atlanta Falcons host the 5-4 Tennessee Titans in a rare 4:15 Georgia Dome kickoff.  Falling to 5-5 in front of a loud Atlanta crowd would be disastrous for the Dirty Birds. Falcons win to stay in the thick of the crowded NFC playoff race. Atlanta 28, Tennessee 17 

Tampa Bay Travels to Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is playing quarterback better than anyone else I have ever seen right now.  The Packers will take their win streak to double digits. Let the quest for perfection begin. Green Bay 31, Tampa Bay 21

The Redskins and Cowboys renew their rivalry this week. “America’s team” is struggling to live up to high preseason expectations as they sit at 5-4. Tony Romo has to find a way to come up big if the Boys’ are going to make a playoff run. Cowboys beat the Redskins. Washington needs an actual quarterback. Dallas 35, Washington 17

The Giants face the Eagles Sunday Night. G-Men win. Giants 27, Eagles 20

Finally, Kansas City travels to New England on Monday night. Tom Brady’s bunch wins. New England 35, Kansas City 14