Trends UGA Must Reverse in 2014

hedges'Defense Doomed Dawgs in 2013
Todd Grantham left Georgia earlier this year for the opportunity to work with Bobby Petrino at Louisville.  The question remains whether the new Cardinals defensive coordinator wanted to leave Athens, or was he simply getting the hell out of dodge?

Athlon Sports notes Georgia gave up a school record for points last year, allowing the opposition an average of 375.5 yards per game.  This total is the highest per game yardage given up by the Bulldog defense since coach Richt has been in Athens.

The Football Must Bounce Georgia’s way (Good Luck Would be Nice)
The Dawgs’ negative turnover margin (-7) kept them from building momentum last season.  UGA lost games in agonizing fashion, and four out of their five defeats were by less than six points.  Had Georgia been able to stay even remotely healthy, 2013 could have been a banner year for Bulldog Nation.

Avoid the injury Bug
The University of Georgia had a rash of injuries throughout last season.  The Bulldogs played multiple games without their top two running backs and three best receivers.  Eight wins may be considered a disappointment on the surface, but in reality it was a minor miracle.

A More Favorable Schedule
In 2013, Bulldog Nation made the trip to Death Valley in week one. This year, the Dawgs welcome the Tigers in the first game of the 2014 campaign  before traveling to South Carolina. Without former quarterback Tahj Boyd, Clemson should beware of Dawg in just over 90 days.

The Bulldogs drop LSU, add Troy, and get a bye-week before heading to Jacksonville on November 1.

College Football Playoff Changes the Dynamic of Winning a Championship
Next season signals the beginning of the highly anticipated College Football Playoff.  The Dawgs are among a select few legitimate threats from the Southeastern Conference which have a quarterback with starting experience on their roster.  The new postseason format means earning a national championship will be even more difficult, but Georgia’s winning tradition means they are always in title contention.

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?

The Atlanta Falcons Should Thank Bobby Petrino for Leaving

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We can thank Bobby Petrino for an awful season that allowed the Falcons to draft Matt Ryan.

The Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan Finally Win a Playoff Game
Following their biggest victory in nine years, it is only fitting to examine where this now proud franchise was just over a half decade ago. In 2007, Bobby Petrino had built a proud college program at Louisville, throwing the ball all over the field with quarterbacks such as Brian Brohm. Following 8-8 and 7-9 seasons respectively that felt a lot like a football version of the movie Groundhog Day, the Falcons fired then head coach Jim Mora Jr. Atlanta owner Arthur Blank set out on a coaching search that led him to Bobby Petrino, who vowed to turn the Michael Vick experience into a complete quarterback.

After Bobby Petrino Arrived, Michael Vick Never Played Another Down as a Falcon
Unfortunately for Bob-O, he never got the opportunity to coach Michael Vick, because Vick was incarcerated during the offseason.  So began the miserable Bobby Petrino experiment in Atlanta. As hard as it was on Petrino, it was probably even more difficult for us fans. After all, we had to go from watching Michael Vick electrify “Hotlanta” to witnessing Joey Harrington’s last ditch effort for success in the National Football League.

The Task of Rebuilding the Atlanta Falcons was too Much for Bobby Petrino
Bobby Petrino’s only season in the NFL was abysmal. It was so terrible that he did not even spend a whole season as the coach of the Falcons. After coaching just thirteen regular season games in the National football league, Petrino took his ball and went to Arkansas. He is a quitter, but it is hard to blame him. He thought he was getting the chance to coach Michael Vick, instead Atlanta ended up with a miserable concoction of Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, and Chris Redman at the quarterback position. If I were Petrino, I probably would have fled, too.

Bobby Petrino,Thank you for Leaving Atlanta When you did
Bobby Petrino’s decision to leave Atlanta opened the door for Mike Smith, Thomas Dimitroff, Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Without having a terrible year in 2007, it is highly unlikely that the Falcons would have ended up with their current personal. It has taken a little bit longer than the Atlanta faithful would have liked, but the Falcons have reached the NFC Championship. Thanks, in some small part, to Bobby Petrino’s desire to be a pig.

Bobby Petrino Should Learn to be More Careful on his Motorcycle
I would be remiss not to provide an update on how old Bob-O is doing these days. For those of you that somehow missed it, Petrino went whee-whee-whee off of his motorcycle and landed on his face. A female intern was on the back of said motorcycle at the time of the incident. I have found hilarious video footage of the press conference that Bobby Petrino had just a few days after the accident.



Petrino has found work yet again, as he was hired by the University of Western Kentucky. Good luck to Bobby Petrino and the Hilltoppers. (sounds like some sort of a band) More importantly, go Dirty Birds, the state of Georgia could use another big win.

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.

Maddawg’s First Variety Post (April 9, 2012)

Informative and well researched articles are satisfying to look back on once they are completed. I take pride in writing an objective blog with an emphasis on my love and appreciation for Bulldog Nation. However, all work and no play makes UGAmaddawg a dull blog. With that in mind, I would like to introduce our newest feature. The Maddawg Variety Post.

LOL!!!

Bobby Petrino– Let me begin by observing that I am truly glad no one involved in Bobby Petrino’s moto mishap was seriously injured. With that said, the Arkansas head football coach is one of those rare people that does not seem to have any redeeming qualities. His latest gaffe involved losing control of his motorcycle without a helmet on his head, and a 25 year old female companion (that just happens to work for the football program) along for the ill-conceived joy ride. She has since gone into seclusion. One unfortunate crash later, and a hilariously puffed up and bruised Bob-O is facing a lot of questions from the Arkansas Razorback brass. His wife probably has a few inquiries of her own as well. Get well soon, Mr. Petrino. You truly are a Pig.

The Atlanta Braves- The Major League Baseball regular season is 162 games long. That is the equivalent of 10 NFL seasons. Even though the fun has only just begun, the Atlanta Braves are 0-3, and they have scored a total of seven runs. Given the colossal collapse that ruined last September, one would be hard pressed to script a more underwhelming beginning to the 2012 season. However, Fredi Gonzalez is not to blame. Rather, the Braves are in need of ownership that is willing to spend money. I would like to take this opportunity to beg Mr. Arthur Blank to buy the Atlanta Braves. Please sir, you do not have to do it Dodger style and pay 2 billion dollars, but Atlanta sports fans need you to save Braves baseball the same way you did Falcons football. 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 Play of The Day – College Football Week 10 (November 5, 2011)



The college football forecast for week ten was accurate, as a tidal wave hit Tuscaloosa. The result, depending upon your allegiances, left something to be desired. LSU and Alabama played a hard hitting, well executed football game, with only a few critical errors.  Alabama’s special teams woes may have cost them the game, but LSU and Les Miles deserve all the credit for getting a season defining win in a hostile environment.

However, the contest felt like a great movie with a mixed bag of an ending. It was a suspenseful affair with twists and turns, highs and lows, and overtime as well. But at the conclusion of the game the same essential question remains for many college football fans: Who is the better team? Alabama missed four field goals, and they had 61 more total yards than LSU. Neither team was able to score a touchdown as the final score read LSU 9, Alabama 6. The moral of the story is that the Tigers capitalized on their opportunities…the Tide did not. There does not appear to be any feasible scenario where the two teams could meet again this season.

The problem with such a conclusion lies in its after effect–The Oklahoma State Cowboys stand to be #2 in the BCS after this week. Oklahoma State survived a 52-45 shootout with the Kansas State Wildcats in week ten. The Cowboys give up 26.5 points per game (an average that will go up), and they are the second best team in the country?  It is true that games are not played on paper, but no one outside of Oklahoma State’s fan base believes the Cowboys can win a national title this year. If Oklahoma State does not lose before December 3rd, hopefully the Oklahoma Sooners can make this a moot point.

Other Saturday happenings included a South Carolina loss to Arkansas. As a result, the Georgia Bulldogs are finally in first place in the SEC East all alone. While this is certainly a “ding dong the witch is dead” type of moment for Bulldog Nation, there is still the matter of taming the Auburn Tigers next weekend. Georgia must make sure the witch is truly dead by winning their next two conference games. As for this week, the Georgia Bulldogs celebrated homecoming with a 63-16 pounding of the New Mexico State Aggies.

Though a lopsided outcome was to be expected, it was good to see the Dawgs maintain their focus playing a lesser opponent. Georgia’s 63 point outburst came despite being without their top 4 running backs against New Mexico State. The three suspended individuals need to come back strong in order to help this team continue to build momentum.

Maddawg’s Play of The Day is the outcome of the Arkansas Razorbacks and South Carolina Gamecocks. The fighting Petrinos did Bulldog Nation a big favor with their 44-28 thumping of South Carolina. Now, the Georgia Bulldogs have the four turnover reprieve they have been hoping for since the second week of the college football season (how ironic). The Auburn Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats are all that stands in Georgia’s way in the Dawgs season long road to redemption.



Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (November 4 – 6, 2011)

ugamaddawg_lesmiles

The "Mad Hatter" looks to stay on top Saturday night.

With the World Series wrapping up last week, and the National Basketball Association embroiled in a lockout, the eyes of the sports world are firmly fixed on the gridiron for the first weekend of November. College football is expecting an epic tidal wave when LSU and Alabama clash in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. As for Georgia, the Dawgs have a proverbial cheap date for homecoming, as they host the Aggies between the hedges.

In the pros, the Falcons are coming off of a bye-week as they travel to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have not won a game as they have been unable to strike it rich at home, or anywhere else, without franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Indianapolis would gladly settle for hunting the Dirty Birds, but the Falcons get Julio Jones back this week as they prepare to make a playoff push. It should be an easy weekend for both Dawgs and Falcons alike.

The most important game of the weekend for Georgia football fans will not directly involve the Dawgs or the Falcons. As painful as it is to cheer for Bobby Petrino, it has never been more appropriate. Bob-O and his Razorbacks host the South Carolina Gamecocks in that other Saturday night top ten match-up. If Arkansas can win, Georgia will be in first place atop the SEC East all by themselves with just two conference games to play. No matter which team is victorious, I hope there is a camera man constantly trained on Petrino and Steve Spurrier to catch all the red faced, yelling, and visor throwing goodness that is sure to ensue in this pivotal match-up.



Now for the Saturday Night Main Event–LSU and Alabama finally meet in a #1 vs #2 showdown that the college football world has been waiting for. Both of these teams have been destroying the competition thus far this season. LSU’s closest game was a 13 point win over Oregon. The margin was 20 until the Ducks scored a touchdown with 13 seconds left. The tide has also been rolling as well. with their slimmest margin of victory coming in week two with a 16 point victory against Penn State.

While Trent Richardson is the best offensive player on the field, the Tigers will be up to the task of keeping the Alabama tailback in check. Jarret Lee has made Tiger fans forget his early struggles at LSU, as he has thrown just one interception this year. However, that stat could be a jinx if the senior quarterback is not careful on Saturday night.

Still, I’m going with the visiting Tigers to pull off the upset. LSU currently sits as a five point underdog, but they are a little more well balanced on offense than Alabama. Jordan Jefferson can provide a good duel threat option under center if the Tide swallows Jarret Lee. Alabama and LSU seem to be a notch above everyone else at this point. It is a shame for college football fans that these two juggernauts only get one shot at each other.

Picks–College Football

Georgia will be without any of their usual options at running back for Homecoming against New Mexico State. Even so, The Dawgs will smoke the Aggies. (pun intended). Georgia 42, New Mexico State 13

Vanderbilt heads to the Swamp where the Gators are desperately looking for something to eat. Jordan Rodgers is fun to watch at quarterback, and no amount of Florida suffering is enough. Poor Will Muschamp– I wonder if he is beginning to long to be back with the Longhorns?  Sadly, the Gators will get a much needed win. Florida 24, Vanderbilt 17

The #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys host the #14 Kansas State Wildcats. Oklahoma skinned the Cats last week. The Cowboys will pick up where the Sooners left off. Oklahoma State 48, Kansas State 27

The Razorbacks host the Gamecocks in a contest that is potentially as important to the Georgia Bulldogs as it is to either team playing in the game. Arkansas wins, somewhat soothing the Dawgs’ wound from the four plays of doom. Arkansas 28, South Carolina 24

The “Game of the Century” emanates live from Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Saturday night. The time for talk is over. The Tigers win in a battle that is likely to be remembered as the college football game of the year even after the bowls are over. LSU 24, Alabama 21

NFL quick picks

Falcons win on the road at Indianapolis. Atlanta 31, Colts 10

The Giants and Patriots get it on in a Superbowl XLII rematch. Behold– David Tyree’s catch from that game.



New England 28, New York 17

Denver got a glimpse of how far Tim Tebow has to go in his development as a quarterback against Detroit last week. Tebow is very likeable but that won’t help him bounce back against the Bengals. Oakland 34, Denver 14


The Sunday night game is the best NFL game of the week on paper as the Ravens play on the road at Pittsburgh. The game caps off two great nights of football.  Pittsburgh 24, Baltimore 20

Finally, Philadelphia hosts the Monday night game. The Eagles beat the Bears to even their record on the year.  Philadelphia 31, Chicago 21

Enjoy the weekend. GO DAWGS AND HOGS!