Tray Matthews Dismissed from UGA

Dawgs Putting Discipline Back in Defense
According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, UGA head coach Mark Richt dismissed Tray Matthews from the team earlier this week.  Matthews started six games at safety for Georgia, however his off the field problems left the Bulldogs with no alternative but to remove him from the program.

During what the AJC termed an exclusive interview, Tray Matthews stated that his unruly classroom behavior was the final straw in his dismissal.

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Hopefully Nick Saban is giving our beloved coach a discipline tip. Or two.

Fret not, Bulldog Nation, for Tray Matthews says he was planning to leave anyway.  Apparently, he had been waiting for the right time to inform the media.  Matthews clearly has some growing up to do, and here’s hoping a change of scenery helps facilitate that.

As far as what is next for the troubled sophomore, Tray Matthews has expressed a desire to continue his college career at either Auburn or Louisville.

Task Getting Tougher for Jeremy Pruitt
Tray Matthews was not a difference maker on defense during his time in Athens.  Still, there is no substitute for experience.  UGA possesses the talent level to compete with any team in the country, but a lack of depth on defense is going to make a quick turnaround very difficult.

Georgia Sending a Message to Student Athletes
In the midst of another turbulent offseason for the Georgia Bulldogs, Mark Richt says the football team “is trying to make room for guys who want to do things right.”  Tray Matthews is the third player who played a significant role in 2013 that has left the program this offseason.  Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has his work cut out for him preparing for his first season between the hedges.

Discipline issues are a fact of life in big time college football.  The key to success is whether or not a team establishes a no nonsense standard of handling and overcoming issues, while working together to be successful on and off of the gridiron to breed success in all facets of college.

Games Cannot be won in June (Though they can Certainly be Lost)
June is a fairly absurd time to make big predictions about the upcoming season.  Even so, 2014 promises to be a pivotal year for Bulldog Nation.  It has been nearly a decade since Georgia won the Southeastern Conference, and expectations will be high for a lot of new faces to make a championship level first impression.

Times Announced for Georgia’s Frst Two Games of 2014

Georgia – Clemson: 89 Days Away
The Atlanta-Journal Constitution is reporting Georgia’s home opener against Clemson will kick off at 5:30. The contest will be televised by ESPN.  In addition, the Bulldogs’ annual showdown with South Carolina has been picked up by CBS in week two.

Recalling the Ridiculous Bus Ride
In 2013, ESPN made a big production out of Clemson’s short bus ride from their campus to Death Valley.  The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” showed the entrance in its entirety, from the loading of the buses, to players touching Howard’s Rock and running down “The Hill”, showcasing a display which appealed to absolutely no one other than Tiger faithful.  Admittedly, that statement is full of bitterness toward last year’s result.



It’s Only Teenage Wasteland
In an effort to make this year’s coverage equally home-centric, ESPN should broadcast the entirety of the Baba O’Reily entrance to Sanford Stadium, making sure to keep the commentary team quiet during Glory Glory to Ole’ Georgia as well.

It is far too early to tell what the outcome will be of Georgia’s impending tussle with Clemson.  2014 marks game number 64 between the two schools.  The Dawgs lead the all-time series by a count of 41-18, with four ties.

The Pressure is on Bulldog Nation
Clemson met (and arguably exceeded), expectations last season, capping off an ACC Championship with a victory in the 2014 Orange Bowl victory over Ohio State.  At present, it seems Cole Stoudt will get the nod at quarterback for the Tigers. Conversely, Hutson Mason will end his four-year odyssey of waiting to be the starter on opening weekend.  UGA will be eager to prove their worth as a top ten college football program as Bulldog Nation looks to put more bite behind its bark.

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.

Hutson Mason – One Year Legacy

hutson_mason_uga2014:The Year of Hutson Mason
Hutson Mason has started two games at the University of Georgia.  After leading an injury riddled Bulldog offense to a thrilling overtime victory against Georgia Tech his first time out, the 2014 Gator Bowl did not have a happy ending. UGA’s  depleted roster, coupled with too many mistakes resulted in the Dawgs coming up short against Nebraska by a final score of 24-19.  UGA finished this past season with five defeats.

Hutson Mason Finally Plays with a Full Deck
The Georgia starting quarterback will get the opportunity to play with a full supporting cast when the 2014 season rolls around.  Injuries were an epidemic for Bulldog Nation from start to finish in 2013, so it is likely better health alone will translates to more consistent results on the field.

According to Dog Bytes, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo felt Hutson Mason had a great spring.  Bobo remarked in part, “I thought Hutson had an outstanding spring, really stepped up in the leadership department.”

Bobo also noticed the Georgia signal caller working to make the most out of each play even while the skill level around him is not yet at full strength.

Taking the Pressure off of Gurshall
Priority number one for Hutson Mason is to keep teams honest, and prevent them from stacking the box against the Dawgs.  This task seems simple enough, considering he has coveted the opportunity to be the starting quarterback at UGA for more than four years.

Learning From the Past
In recent years, there have been three starting quarterbacks who have been afforded a single season to leave their paw print on the Georgia program.  Of the three names about to be discussed, this strategy only worked out heavily in Georgia’s favor on one occasion.

D.J. Shockley (2005)
D.J. Shockley led Bulldog Nation to a ten-win season during his lone year as the starter in 2005.  UGA finished 10-3, won the SEC title and appeared in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

Joe Tereshinski III (2006)
The kid known as “Joe T” never really had the opportunity to take root as a starter between the hedges.  After stepping in for an injured D.J. Shockley against Florida in 2005, Tereshinski came into 2006 as the head signal caller. However, Joe  T injured his ankle during the second game of his final campaign.  Upon returning to the field, his lack of success proved to be his downfall.  Following an embarrassing homecoming loss to Vanderbilt, Tereshinski was benched in favor of Matthew Stafford.
joe_tereshinski_matt_staffordJoe Cox (2009)
Much like Hutson Mason and Joe Tereshinski III, Joe Cox had to be patient for his   opportunity to lead the Dawgs. Cox provided flashes of brilliance during 2009, guiding the Bulldogs to eight wins. Even so, far too many turnovers combined with a young supporting cast spelled mediocrity in Athens.  The 2009 Georgia Bulldogs went 4-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

Striving to get Everything Right
In an interview with ESPN, Hutson Mason made it clear that his goal is to win as much as possible. “When you get one shot, you get one opportunity, you want to make sure that you do everything right. You want to make sure that you don’t have any regrets because I don’t get four years.”

The year of Hutson Mason begins on Saturday, August 30, at home against Clemson.

Aaron Murray – Damn Good Dawg

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Aaron Murray, Bulldog for Life.

Spring is in full swing between the hedges, but college football remains in limbo remembering this past season and looking ahead to the fall of 2014.

The future is now for UGA.  Bulldog Nation had extra time to prepare for the departure of their former four-year starting quarterback as a result of Aaron Murray tearing an ACL during the final home start of his Georgia career.

Even though his time as a Dawg did not end the way he envisioned, Aaron Murray loved being the starting quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs.  So much so that when it became clear his college football career was over, Aaron Murray tweeted he wished he could go back to being a freshman.

“Would do anything to go back and start playing as a freshmen again.  These 4 years have gone by way too fast.  I am a Dawg for life!” – Aaron Murray

Even Without a Championship, Aaron Murray Cemented his Legacy
Aaron Murray is the all-time passing leader in the Southeastern Conference.  He threw for more yards, and tossed more touchdown passes than anyone in the history of UGA football.  #11 finished his Georgia career as the third Georgia quarterback to ever defeat the Florida Gators three times.  At his peak,  Murray came within ten yards of leading Bulldog Nation to their first national championship appearance in a quarter century.

NFL – UGA  Connection?  A.J. Green and Aaron Murray
Sports Illustrated
recently reported on the possibility of Aaron Murray being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.  If this comes to fruition, Murray would be reunited with former Dawg teammate AJ Green.  Cincinnati has drafted several UGA players in the recent past, including tight end Orson Charles, and defensive end Geno Atkins.

Wishing #11 All the Success in the World
I will never forget the thrills Aaron Murray provided on Saturdays in Athens.  Even though some of his most heroic comebacks came up short on the scoreboard, the Georgia QB always put on a clinic in heart and determination.

Aaron Murray’s passion for leading the Dawgs to victory was unsurpassed by anyone to line up under center for The University of Georgia. Aaron Murray is a Damn Good Dawg

The heart wrenching video below is from the YouTube Channel of user fgruber7.  This particular tribute to Aaron Murray chronicles his heroics on the field, without lamenting the fact that his career did not end the way he had hoped.  For those of you looking to become emotionally invested in the National Football League, I recommend rooting for whichever team gives Aaron Murray the opportunity he deserves.



Georgia Versus Nebraska – 2014 Gator Bowl

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Not Exactly the Rematch Bulldog Nation Hoped for
The Georgia Bulldogs started off 2013 with a bang, beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers by a final score of 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl.  Unfortunately for both sides, these two teams will meet again on New Year’s Day in 2014.

As for a more interesting subplot, the 2014 Gator Bowl marks only the third football game between the two schools.  Nebraska defeated Georgia 45-6 in the 1969 Sun Bowl.

No disrespect to Nebraska, but this is a bowl rematch nobody in their right mind wanted to see when the season began.  Time did not do much to build anticipation.  According to the Kansas City Star, Husker fans are not wild about playing the Dawgs, either.

No Aaron Murray Or Taylor Martinez in 2014
The Hutson Mason era is in full effect in Athens.  Georgia’s new starting quarterback led a triumphant comeback against Georgia Tech at the conclusion of the regular season.  It would have been nice for Aaron Murray to start four postseason games in four years, but his torn ACL turned the page on Georgia’s quarterback situation two games ahead of schedule.

On the plus side, Hutson Mason gets another start under his belt before the long offseason begins.

Taylor Martinez’s father does not expect his son to play college football again.  Martinez has dealt with a number of injuries during his senior campaign, the worst of which involved significant damage to his foot.  The Nebraska QB started a school-record 39 games, and ends his Nebraska Cornhusker career as their all-time leader in total offense.

Georgia Defense Trying to Finish in the top Eighty
The Dawgs are currently ranked 82nd in the country in terms of points given up per game.  As long as Taylor Martinez is not calling signals for Nebraska on January 1, Georgia will have a chance to finish in the top eighty for that category.

The young Georgia defense must use the time before the Gator Bowl wisely.  UGA needs to force the opposition to punt more often if Bulldog Nation is to be a factor in the national picture moving forward.

Georgia and Nebraska: Similar Paths to Redemption
At the start of the 2013 campaign, both the Dawgs as well as Big Red had aspirations of winning a conference title. The dreaded combination of injuries and bad luck derailed those hopes, leaving the two universities hobbled and battling to go bowling.  At present, each team is focused on the future while trying to finish the year with nine wins.

College Football Week 13 – State of the Georgia Bulldogs

aaron_murray_2013With two games remaining, the Dawgs’ roller coaster campaign is almost over.  2013 has been a challenging year for Bulldog Nation. Georgia has lost four games this year.  Each defeat has been riddled with injuries, a lack of execution, and bad luck.  In spite of the adversity UGA has faced this season, it is always great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Aaron Murray Leaves a Legacy to be Proud of
This past weekend’s game against Auburn was a microcosm of Aaron Murray’s career between the hedges.  No matter how many rushing yards the defense gave up, (323) or how big of a lead the Auburn Tigers built, the Georgia quarterback refused to let his Dawgs roll over and play dead.

The senior UGA signal-caller led the Dawgs to a 17 point fourth quarter comeback in Auburn.  The end result will not be discussed on this blog, but the effort should be commended.

Georgia-Kentucky: Basketball Season Has Begun
The majority of Wildcat faithful will be too busy slurping John Calipari flavored Kool-Aid to make the trip to Athens.  Mark Stoops has notched two wins in 2013.  Patience is a virtue for Stoops, who is in his first season as a head coach.  The good news for the youngest stoops brother is his success on the recruiting trail.  However, the Bluegrass State revolves around college basketball.

The Aaron Murray Farewell Tour Begins
Aaron Murray has two regular season games left on his farewell tour. The fifth-year signal caller is a combined 6-0 against Kentucky and Georgia Tech.  The Dawgs welcome the Wildcats into Sanford Stadium on Saturday night, before traveling to Atlanta for a date with the Yellow Jackets. The SEC’s all-time leading passer has left it all out on the field for UGA.  It is a shame Murray does not have a championship to show for it.

Georgia should beat Kentucky by three touchdowns.  Emotion will be running high between the hedges for Aaron Murray’s final home game, while the Wildcats are dead last in the SEC East with a Southeastern Conference record of 0-6.

Dawgs 49, Cats 17.

Georgia-Florida 2013: A Tale of Two Halves

georgia_floridaThis post began in the second quarter of the Georgia-Florida game when it appeared UGA would cruise to a win.

What a Difference a Gurley Makes
UGA running back Todd Gurley made his presence known early and often against Florida.  Gurley scored two touchdowns within the first ten minutes of the contest.  His performance seemed to inspire the defense, which used a red zone stop to keep the Gators from answering early.  At this point, Gurley had to leave the field due to exhaustion.

Thankfully, Todd Gurley returned to the game after a short break. In total, the weary Dawg ran for 100 yards on 17 carries, logging the 12th 100 yard game of his career. He also led the Dawgs in receiving yardage on the strength of his 73 yard catch and run.  Quarterback Aaron Murray should get a lot of credit for his three wins over Florida, but TGII was the difference maker in 2013.

Imagine How Good this Team Would Have Been Without Injuries (First Half)
When Georgia took a 14-0 lead, CBS color commentator Gary Danielson asked play-by-play man Verne Lunquist to imagine how good the Dawgs would be had they been able to stay healthy.  One can only wonder, but the future is bright in Athens.

Georgia’s Offensive Line Needs to Play like this Every Week (First Half)
Georgia’s offensive line was flawless in the first quarter.  If the unit were more consistent, Georgia would probably be a bigger factor in the SEC East race.  The Bulldogs were able to sustain drives and keep their paw on UF’s neck.  If football were only two quarters, the Dawgs would have done a masterful job of keeping the Gators down.

Bulldog Nation Used Their Bye Week Wisely (First Half)
UGA dominated the Gators in the first quarter. The Bulldogs built a 17 point lead by racking up nearly 250 yards in the opening frame.  Other than one big play that did not result in any points, the Bulldog defense kept the Florida punt team busy.  I do wish punt returner Reggie Davis would call for a fair catch more often, though.

Arthur Lynch’s Bonehead Play of The Day/The Safety (Second Half)
When Florida missed a field goal to open the second half, it looked as if the Dawgs were going to devour the Gators in the third quarter.  Instead, Arthur Lynch dropped a football that was ruled a lateral. From there, Florida seized the momentum.  It is hard to tell what the senior tight end was thinking, the whistle had not blown.

The Georgia Football Roller Coaster Continues (Second Half)
As soon as Lynch dropped the ball, he lamented his error as opposed to finishing the play.  Florida recovered the fumble. Nearly the entire second half was a microcosm of what a roller coaster the 2013 Georgia football campaign has been.

Later in the third quarter, Georgia was backed up inside their own five to begin a possession.  The drive only lasted one play, as a play-action pass led to a safety for the Gator defense.  The television commentary suggested Aaron Murray should have called an audible. Regardless of who is to blame, the safety opened the door for UF to close in on the Dawgs.

Celebrate Like It is 1989
At the end of the game, all that mattered to Bulldog Nation is Georgia left Jacksonville on top for the third straight year. The occasion marked the first time UGA has taken three straight from the Gators since 1987-1989. The Dawgs survived a bowling shoe ugly second half to beat Florida by a score of 23-20. There was a slew of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on both sides, but those can probably be chalked up to the intensity of the rivalry.

Bulldog Nation moves on to Appalachian State, while Florida fans are likely to make coach Muschamp’s backside feel a new degree of heat.
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Georgia or LSU – Which Team Will ESPN College GameDay Pick?



Bulldog Nation is well aware of how this pick turned out…

So, Which Team Will Lee Corso pick? The Georgia Bulldogs, or the Tigers of LSU?
My ESPN College GameDay viewing prowess tells that Corso enjoys getting under the skin of the home team’s fans, especially when predicting a match-up that could go either way.  Last time I checked, Georgia was favored by three points.  Let’s face it, this game is a toss up.  Betting odds tend to favor the home team in this scenario.

That is why I believe Lee Corso will pull one of his favorite tricks to try and hoodwink Bulldog Nation.  He will put on the ‘Hairy Dawg” mascot head, only to throw it away in favor of the “Mike The Tiger” mascot head.

Prediction: Lee Corso picks the LSU Tigers.  Bulldog Nation boos at the top of their lungs in response as GameDay goes off the air.

Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part I

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Larry Munson is a Cornerstone of UGA Football Tradition

Over two generations of Bulldog Nation heard Larry Munson’s gravelly tone every Saturday while he provided Georgia fans everywhere with chills and thrills.  Munson voiced the soundtrack to the historic memories and moments that unfolded on the gridiron during the four decades that he spent passionately calling Georgia football.

Rather than one long article, it is best to allow our admiration for Larry Munson to span multiple posts.  This piece focuses on the late Larry Munson’s life before he broadcasted UGA football.   The subsequent two posts that follow will center around his legendary tenure between the hedges, and his legacy that grows with every Saturday in Athens.

A Short Biography
The man born Lawrence Harry Munson came into the world on September 28, 1922.  He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he was a two-sport athlete in college at Minnesota State University Moorhead.  Munson played both ways on the football field, lining up as a defensive end, as well as at the offensive tackle position.  The iconic announcer also played basketball at MSUM as a center and a guard.

Larry Munson Served His Country/First Announcing Experience
Before Larry Munson ever picked up a microphone, he served in the United States Army as a medic during World War II.  When he returned from duty, Munson used all $200 of the mustering-out pay that he earned to attend a Minneapolis radio broadcasting school.  His first official experience announcing sporting events happened when he made $15 dollars per week to introduce boxers and wrestlers to crowds at a Minneapolis venue.

Take Me out to the Ball Game, Mr. Munson
Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, Larry Munson was hired as the announcer for a minor league baseball team located Oklahoma City in 1946. Unwittingly, the same friend played a key role in bringing Larry Munson to the state of Georgia because Munson gained valuable experience doing play-by-play for minor league football and baseball teams while in the Sooner State.

Larry Munson was Once a Commodore/The Rod & Gun Club
Prior to becoming the voice of the Bulldogs, Larry Munson moved to Tennessee in 1952, where he worked as the caller for the Vanderbilt Commodores on WKDA, a local radio station in Nashville.  He did the play-by-play during Vanderbilt football and basketball games for the better part of the 1950s.  It was during this time that Munson started his own hunting and fishing television show, titled The Rod & Gun Club. The program first aired on local television in Nashville.

Larry Munson was an Original Member of the Atlanta Braves Broadcast Team
After successfully holding jobs doing play-by-play for the Vanderbilt Commodores, coupled with his minor league baseball and football expertise, Munson was hired to be part of the first broadcasting team for the Atlanta Braves when the team relocated from Milwakee to Atlanta in 1966.