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

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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

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.

Georgia Bulldogs-Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2011

Week 13 of the 2011 college football season means “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” for the state of Georgia. Before the Georgia Bulldogs challenge for the SEC title in a little under two weeks, a bitter rival awaits them in a pit stop in Atlanta before the Dawgs head to the Georgia Dome. Georgia must avoid looking ahead to December 3rd in order to secure another ten win season for Mark Richt. Overlooking the Yellow Jackets could mean a long afternoon for Bulldog Nation.



The big issue facing the Bulldogs this week is the tailback position. According to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner Herald, Carlton Thomas returned to practice on Monday and Ken Malcome got reps with the first team As for Isaiah Crowell, Weiszer reports that he was walking without a limp. It is still unclear who will get the start against the Yellow Jackets.

There will not be many other mysteries to solve against Paul Johnson’s team. Georgia Tech runs the triple option, and when Johnson gets frustrated with his option game he has his quarterback throw the ball to try to catch the defense off guard. Yellow Jacket quarterback Tevin Washington has 60 completions this season, with more than half of them going to either Orwin Smith or Stephen Hill. Hill stands at 6’5″ and is the go-to receiver when Georgia tech decides to pass the football.

Throwing the football worked very well for the Georgia Bulldogs against Tech in 2010. Aaron Murray threw the ball just 19 times in the game, but he racked up 271 yards on 15 completions. Murray finished the game with 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions in Georgia’s 42-34 win a year ago.

What a difference a year has made for the Georgia Bulldog defense. Todd Grantham’s 3-4 struggled the first time around against Tech, as the Yellow Jackets stung the Dawgs for  411 yards on the ground last year on their way to putting up over 500 yards of offense in the game. This year the Bulldogs have been dominant on defense, especially during their ongoing nine game win streak. The Dawgs are ranked highly in every defensive statistical category and have been phenomenal against the run. Last week, Georgia held Kentucky to a mere 23 yards rushing on 21 attempts.

Saturday’s match-up promises to be more challenging for the Bulldog defense. The Georgia Tech rushing offense is ranked second in the nation. Georgia’s defense will need to play disciplined football again this week and set the edge to prevent the Jackets from having many big plays with their option attack. If Georgia can force a few quick 3 and outs to take the crowd out of it, the game could get ugly in a hurry if Aaron Murray is on his game. Georgia Tech’s defense is giving up 25 points per game so it will be important for the visiting Bulldogs to have a fast start at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Paul Johnson once said of playing the Georgia Bulldogs, “We’ve got bigger fish to fry.” The  statement rings true this year as well, but only from the Georgia Bulldog perspective. Georgia Tech is 8-3, and they are not a factor in the ACC title race this year. For all the bravado,  Johnson is just 1-2 against the Bulldogs and Georgia Tech has not beaten Georgia since 2008.

Meanwhile, Georgia Bulldog head coach Mark Richt is sporting a 9-1 career record against the Yellow Jackets. Georgia is now the team hoping to get a chance to fry the biggest fish in the college football sea. The latest chapter of this storied rivalry should be a good one for the Dawgs. The team is young and hungry, and the Bulldog defense is far too athletic to fall victim to Georgia Tech’s one dimensional offense. Thanksgiving will be a day to be thankful for a banner year between the hedges. Afterward, Georgia will have Yellow Jacket leftovers in Atlanta on Saturday.

Maddawg’s Play of The Day November 20, 2011– Looking at Georgia’s running back issues

The biggest story of the college football weekend unfolded under the Friday night lights. #2 Oklahoma State fell into Iowa State’s trap, as the Cyclones left the Cowboys’ head spinning. While this development is not likely to bother many outside of Stillwater, the horrific off the field circumstances surrounding Oklahoma State’s loss are tragic. Hopefully the Oklahoma State community can rally the Pokes to their first at large Bowl Championship Series bid. A BCS bowl appearance may be on the line in two weeks when the Cowboys face the Sooners in the Bedlam game.

As for LSU, the Tigers walloped the Ole Miss Rebels by a final score of 52-3, strengthening their grip on the #1 ranking. LSU and Arkansas each have a short week before the two teams meet in a Friday afternoon showdown in week 13. The Tigers have a long way to go before they can play for the national championship, but for now LSU is unquestionably the best team in the nation. It is expected that Arkansas will be the new #3 in the upcoming BCS standings. Friday’s game between the Razorbacks and Tigers is must see for college football fans, as Arkansas could steal the SEC West with a win.

Will Carlton Thomas ever learn from his mistakes?

For the Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday’s game against Kentucky was not one for the highlight reel. However, the Georgia Bulldogs are the SEC East champions of 2011. The Dawgs got their all-important ninth win in a row beating the Kentucky Wildcats 19-10.  Now, Georgia has some issues to address as they begin preparing for Georgia Tech. The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that Georgia running back Carlton Thomas broke another rule. Thomas has already been suspended twice this season. The Georgia Bulldogs are paper thin at the tailback position, and they desperately need positive contributions from the junior ball carrier if the Dawgs hope to continue their win streak.

However, how many chances should one player get? Carlton Thomas has been in trouble three times in 2011 alone. He was suspended once for a violation of team rules before the season, again for the homecoming game, and he missed the crucial victory against Kentucky. As of this writing, Thomas’ absence from the week 12 contest has not been termed a third suspension.

Much to the chagrin of Bulldog Nation, freshman sensation Isaiah Crowell never got a chance to get going against Kentucky. Crowell left the game hurt following his second carry when one of his own teammates landed on top of his ankle. The AJC reports that Isaiah Crowell is questionable for next week against the Yellow Jackets.  Whether Crowell attempts to come back against Georgia Tech, or the Dawgs decide he needs to take a week to heal, Georgia needs Isaiah Crowell at full strength to have a chance at upsetting the LSU Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. (or whoever comes out of the wild SEC West)

Maddawg’s Play of The Day goes to the season altering upset that may have won the Heisman Trophy for Robert Griffin III. With all due respect to Matt Barkley and the Trojans’ tremendous victory over the Oregon Ducks, Baylor had never beaten Oklahoma before last night.  “RG3″ had his “Heisman moment” as Baylor was trying to get into field goal range to upset Oklahoma. With 17 seconds left, Griffin III took the snap and threw a pass that will go down as one of the biggest plays ever in the history of Baylor football. The game winning touchdown toss gave the Baylor Bears a 45-38 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.

Following his spectacular performance, Robert Griffin III has 33 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions. His numbers are comparable to anyone in the nation. There is not a player in college football this season that has done more with less than “RG3.” The Heisman vote will have to wait, but Robert Griffin III is the first two time award winner of Maddawg’s Play of The Day.



Maddawg’s Play of The Day – College Football Week 11 (November 12, 2011)

Week 11 of the 2011 college football season was a time for weeding out pretenders in the Bowl Championship Series standings. As a result, three undefeated teams remain, but only two of them are in contention to play for the national title. The unblemished Houston Cougars have cracked the top ten for the first time this week, but their lackluster schedule will prevent them from being in the national championship picture. On the contrary, the target on the #1 LSU Tigers and #2 Oklahoma State Cowboys grows even larger as the two squads try to maintain their respective places atop the BCS mountain. Alabama is lurking at #3 but they need more help to get that rematch the Tide faithful are praying for.

The Georgia Bulldogs won convincingly at home, dominating the Auburn Tigers by a final score of 45-7. Georgia Quarterback Aaron Murray picked an opportune time to have the best game of his young career, as the Dawgs had to win to stay in first place in the SEC East. Murray was on fire Saturday afternoon, as he finished the game 14 out of 18 throwing the ball with 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions. Georgia’s running game was equally impressive, as the biggest offensive line in football allowed both Carlton Thomas and Isaiah Crowell to run for over 100 yards. The Georgia Bulldogs were cooking on all cylinders, as the result of the game was never in doubt after Georgia broke the 7-7 tie before the end of the first quarter. Georgia’s defense shut down Auburn’s offense following their initial scoring drive. The Dawgs never let go of the Tigers’ tail, as they held Auburn under 200 total yards of offense. The 4-6 Kentucky Wildcats are all that remains between the Dawgs and the Dome.

Perennial BCS buster Boise State had a bad case of Horned Frog fever Saturday afternoon, and they are undefeated no more after losing at home to TCU. While that is technically not a good thing for Georgia it was gratifying to see the Broncos finally lose on that ridiculous blue field. Saturday marked Boise State’s first home conference loss since 1998. The Broncos have opened the door for Case Keenum and the aforementioned Houston Cougars to possibly crash this year’s BCS party.

Elsewhere in college football, Oregon went up and down the field on Stanford as the Ducks handed the Cardinal their first loss of 2011. Oregon put fifty points on Stanford for the second year in a row as the Ducks never trailed in the contest. Highly regarded Cardinal signal caller Andrew Luck was average as he threw three touchdown passes and two picks. The Stanford stand out has a bright future, but the team around him does not have enough fire power to contend for a BCS title.

The previously mentioned #1 LSU Tigers and #2 Oklahoma State Cowboys each looked strong in victory. The Cowboys embarrassed Texas Tech as they roped,and then hogtied the Raiders by a final score of 66-6 in Lubbock. LSU appeared disinterested throughout the first half of their match-up with Western Kentucky, but they followed that up with a 28 point second half as the Tigers roared to a 42-9 win.

Maddawg’s Play of The Day belongs to Georgia’s main man under center Aaron Murray. With his four touchdown performance on Saturday, Murray set a new single season record for passing TD’s at the University of Georgia with 27. The previous mark was held by Matthew Stafford who threw 25 touchdown passes in 2008. With a victory this Saturday against Kentucky Aaron Murray and the Dawgs will have a chance to bring the SEC title back to Athens. The 2011 Georgia Bulldogs have already ensured that Mark Richt will remain the head coach for the foreseeable future. They have also given Bulldog Nation a bite that is as rough as our bark. An SEC title along with a birth in a BCS bowl would be a remarkable finale to a fantastic season.



College Football Week 10– Three Dawgs In The Doghouse on Georgia Homecoming– New Mexico State (November 5, 2011)

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You got enough room in there for three more?

As the 2011 college football season enters November, Georgia fans everywhere are just beginning to come down from cloud nine after an emotional win over the Florida Gators.  Homecoming week figured to be a long victory lap for Georgia, as well as fans who did not make the trip to Jacksonville. Halloween is over, but unfortunately just when the Dawgs thought it was safe to go back in the doghouse, trouble has burrowed its way between the hedges again.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) is reporting that Georgia’s top three running backs are suspended for Saturday’s Homecoming game against New Mexico State. Specifically, this means no Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas, or Ken Malcome for Saturday’s 12:30 contest. To make matters worse, the AJC reports that Richard Samuel is done for the regular season with an ankle injury.

Richard Samuel’s 2011 campaign comes to a close just two days after helping Georgia run over Florida. While the circumstances are unfortunate, here’s hoping that Samuel heals up and comes back stronger than ever. He has been the ultimate team player in switching from tailback to linebacker, and back again, over the past few seasons.

As for the other three rock runners, the timing could not be worse. Georgia is trying to end a five year SEC East drought. These young Dawgs need all the experience and in game reps they can get. Whatever policy the three of them violated, it extends beyond a homecoming date with the New Mexico State Aggies. A lack of rhythm may not bite the Bulldogs this week but it could be a factor when the Auburn Tigers come calling next Saturday. For Georgia, being out of sync at the wrong time could spell disaster for their conference hopes.



This suspension shows a lack of focus from the individuals involved. Georgia already had to get rid of two bad dawgs, (Washaun Ealey and Caleb King) so it is even more frustrating for Bulldog Nation to see most of Georgia’s current halfbacks making similar errors in judgment.

Isaiah Crowell has been hailed as Georgia’s next great running back. Upon further review, he is entering his fourth month on campus, and he has already been suspended twice. To be fair, this is Carlton Thomas’s second suspension of the season as well, but any contribution from Thomas that is not a fumble is looked at as a bonus after he fumbled twice in this years G-Day game.

While Isaiah Crowell should be given some time to grow into the role of lead Dawg, he needs to grow up quickly, or Bulldog Nation needs to lower their expectations. After all, high expectations did not exactly lead to big things for the aforementioned Caleb King. The first suspension for one half of the Vanderbilt game was apparently a warning. Hopefully the second one will be his wake-up call.

As for the actual game this Saturday, the Dawgs should be fine even without many backfield options. Aaron Murray is the unquestioned leader of Georgia’s offense and that should be enough against New Mexico State. Even so, this could be an opportunity for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to come up with gadget plays to trick future opponents.

The infraction committed by Georgia’s three tailbacks should be forgiven and forgotten. The most important thing for the Bulldogs is that the three young men learn from their mistakes, and that no one involved with this team tries to make a mountain out of a molehill. This is just a speedbump for Bulldog Nation as we hope to help the Dawgs get back to the Georgia Dome.