Georgia names Todd Grantham ‘Associate Head Coach’- Bulldog Nation Must Stick Together

Coaching will be the key to Georgia getting off to a fast start.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the Georgia Bulldogs officially announced defensive coordinator Todd Grantham as the ‘associate head coach’ over the weekend. While some conspiracy theorists may think this is the first step in Grantham’s mission to become head coach, it is the perfect solution to ensure that Mark Richt and Todd Grantham lead this litter of Georgia Bulldogs together for the foreseeable future. The head man got his new deal months ago, and his defensive coordinator colleague has earned this new job title since coming to Athens. Most importantly, Todd Grantham’s latest job description gives him extra incentive not to pick up the phone if other teams come calling.

As for coach Richt, it is unfortunate that some of the blame for another tumultuous off-season has landed at his feet. Georgia has the strictest drug policy of any team in the Southeastern Conference, and there is only so much that the Bulldog head football coach can do short of micro-managing a team of 18-22 year old kids. On the other hand, the head coach of any football program must handle the criticism when problems arise. Winning cures all.

Isaiah Crowell’s Georgia career ended with a thud a few weeks ago. It is always disappointing to watch a promising young talent lose his way. However, it would be wrong of anyone in Bulldog Nation to harbor any ill-will towards Mr. Crowell. The young man made a mistake, and he is paying a heavy price. He is (and should be) getting a chance to play his sophomore season on a much smaller college football stage. Good luck to Isaiah Crowell, he has the ability to make a living playing football if he starts making better decisions off the field.

Errors in judgment away from the gridiron have become one of the unwanted themes for some members of the Georgia football team this off-season. Cornelius Washington’s recent Facebook rant did not do him any favors, but Georgia fans should forgive and forget. In all likelihood Georgia will head into the 2012 season ranked in the top ten with a soft schedule, and everyone involved with Bulldog Nation needs to take this tremendous opportunity to become one of the elite teams in the best conference in college football.

Georgia Bulldogs G-Day Game 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Dawgs Go Bowling in the Outback – Georgia vs Michigan State (January 2, 2011)

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The Dawgs and Spartans meet in a rematch from 2008.

The Georgia Bulldogs will play the final game of their 2011 campaign on the second day of 2012. The Dawgs  face the Spartans of Michigan State in the Outback Bowl on Monday afternoon. Momentum is key for Bulldog Nation as a new year is on the horizon between the hedges. A victory for the Bulldogs will likely mean a top 15 finish and a possible spot in the top ten at the beginning of next season. With all the talent that Georgia has coming back, a strong showing in the Outback Bowl is critical for the Bulldogs to build on their success going into next season.

However, beating Michigan State will be no easy task for Georgia. Both the Dawgs and the Spartans come into the bowl match-up with a 10-3 record, but Michigan State was four points away from representing the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. Sparty is lead by their senior quarterback Kirk Cousins, and everyone involved with the Michigan State football program is well aware that the Spartans have not won a bowl game since 2001.

As for the Bulldogs, Georgia does not need to look any further than New Years Eve 2010 for inspiration. Georgia lost 10-6 to the University of Central Florida Knights in the Liberty Bowl last year. Other than the homecoming loss to Vanderbilt in 2006, last year’s bowl debacle was the low point of Mark Richt’s tenure at UGA. Both Richt as well as Bulldog Nation will have waited over a year for the opportunity to get that terrible taste out of their collective mouths. Continue reading

Isaiah Crowell – Too Early To Make a Stray Dawg

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Isaiah Crowell is still just a puppy.

Isaiah Crowell, who was just named SEC freshman of the year on Monday, is the hot topic of discussion among Bulldog Nation.  Some fans are questioning his desire to compete, while others wonder about his character off the field. However, the best thing that Georgia supporters can do for Isaiah Crowell is to leave him alone.

Isaiah has some maturing to do, but he is still a true freshman. This time last year he was a senior in high school who was contemplating playing his college ball between the hedges. Georgia fans must be supportive of a kid who needs to learn how to be a young man instead of treating him as if he were a highly paid NFL running back who failed to meet expectations.

Keith Marshall, a highly touted tailback, has chosen to come to the University of Georgia to play football. Here’s hoping that Marshall was not watching the SEC Championship Game this past Saturday. Hearing the boos directed at Isaiah Crowell could make any standout recruit considering Athens re-think their decision.  “Will fans turn on me if my first season does not live up to their unrealistic fantasy numbers?”

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Cam Newton had a rough first year of college. Things turned out pretty well.

Cam Newton and the Florida Gators is a perfect example of a fan base giving up on a young man too quickly. During his (medical) redshirt sophomore year at Florida, Cam had all kinds of off the field issues. Gator Nation got fed up with him following an arrest after he threw a stolen laptop out of his dorm window. After the fall of 2008,  Newton decided to transfer to Blinn College before ending up at Auburn two years later. Florida’s loss was Auburn’s gain, as a mature Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy and then the national championship in his only season with the Tigers last year. As for Florida, they finished 2010 with eight wins (including a bowl victory) and Urban Meyer “retired.”

If Isaiah Crowell does not adjust his attitude then he does not belong at the University of Georgia. However, that decision must be left up to the coaching staff and Isaiah himself. A lot of young people have difficulty adjusting to expectations in college. The only difference is that Crowell’s every move is under a mass media microscope. The young man should have the opportunity to grow mentally and physically this off-season and learn how to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary- December 3rd 2011 conference championship edition

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BCS Championship implications surround Saturday.

Saturday’s college football conference championship games begin with a BCS bid on the line for the Houston Cougars as they face Southern Miss. A loss by the Golden Eagles would be for the greater good of Conference USA, as Houston needs a win to crash the BCS party.

Houston quarterback Case Keenum has put up fantastic numbers against lackluster competition, but If the Cougars are able to win a BCS bowl game it would go along way in raising the sixth year senior’s draft stock. Houston may be exposed as a sheep in Cougar clothing under the bright lights of the Bowl Championship Series, but they will finish the regular season unbeaten. Houston 48, Southern Miss 34

The Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game between the Clemson Tigers and Virginia Tech Hokies is the first of two rematches for conference supremacy.  Virginia Tech has not lost since they got bushwhacked by the Tigers in Blacksburg on the first day of October. Clemson won their first eight games in 2011 but they have been on the losing end in three out of their last four contests.

Virginia Tech has one more chance to improve their resume as they audition for the part of the best one loss team in college football. While a lot would need to happen for the Hokies to find themselves in the national championship game, Frank Beamer and company have been hoping for a chance at redemption for their lone loss this season. Hokies win, and add an interesting variable to the BCS Championship debate. Virginia Tech 27, Clemson 20

The inaugural Big 10 Title Game features the other rematch of the day. Wisconsin battles Michigan State in a game that has a lot to live up to. Even though the Big 10 chose hideous names for their respective divisions (Leaders and Legends) the first meeting between the two teams was one of the best games of the year. The Badgers are eager to get revenge against Michigan State after the Spartans were victorious on a walk-off 44 yard  touchdown on the final play of regulation in the first contest. (After a controversial official review)



Wisconsin gets pay back on Sparty and the Badgers find themselves in a second straight BCS bowl game. Wisconsin 31 Michigan State 21

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State meet in the Bedlam game Saturday night. A win for the Cowboys may result a birth in the national championship for Mike Gundy and the Pokes. It is unclear whether or not Oklahoma State has recovered from their road debacle at Iowa State. As for Oklahoma, the two loss Sooners need a win to salvage a trip to the BCS after they began the year as the #1 team in the country.

Oklahoma wins on the road. I can’t bring myself to pick the Pokes after they lost to a 26 point underdog. Oklahoma 41, Oklahoma State 24

For the Georgia Bulldogs, Dome day has finally arrived. Not many outside of Athens believe the Dawgs have a chance to catch the LSU Tigers by the tail.  LSU is loaded on both sides of the ball, as the Tigers are the latest team in a line of Southeastern Conference juggernauts. Isaiah Crowell is a game time decision which will likely leave the Bulldogs with limited options at running back once again. Richard Samuel is not expected to be available for the game either.

If Isaiah Crowell does not play then it will be a huge blow to the Dawgs’ chances to pull off the upset. Georgia must play mistake free football against the best team in the country to stay in the game for four quarters. Since I am a homer, I will pick Georgia to pull off the biggest upset in college football this year. Georgia 20, LSU 17.



Enjoy the games. GO DAWGS!

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.

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The Bulldogs may bust the BCS.

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.



Georgia-Kentucky 2011- The Wildcats are all that remains on the Dawgs’ Road to Redemption

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Georgia's leap of faith has paid off in 2011.

Week 12 of the 2011 college football season marks the final regular season conference match-up for the Georgia Bulldogs. To the delight of Georgia players, as well as Bulldog Nation, this game is for all the marbles in the SEC East. If Georgia wins, the Dawgs will represent the SEC East in the Southeastern Conference championship game on December 3rd.

First things first, the Kentucky Wildcats come calling on Saturday in Athens looking to spoil the Bulldogs’ championship aspirations. Kentucky is just 4-6 on the season and 1-5 in conference play. However, that fact will not deter head coach Joker Phillips from trying to trick the Bulldogs into sleeping on his Wildcats.

Georgia was wide awake last week during their 45-7 dismantling of The Auburn Tigers. The Dawgs are playing with a sense of focus that has largely been missing between the hedges during the past three seasons, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down. Georgia continues to get better as leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell returned to the starting line up after missing three games, and picked up where he left off with three catches for 85 yards and a touchdown last week against Auburn. It will be equally as important for fellow freshman Isaiah Crowell to have a turnover free afternoon against the Wildcats this week as he looks to build confidence as the feature running back at UGA.

As for Kentucky, a letdown by Georgia is the Wildcats’ best chance to pull out a win. The Wildcats have been anemic on offense as they are ranked 115 in the nation in scoring,  averaging just 17 points per game. Kentucky has just one conference win this season, (against Ole Miss) and they are coming off a 38-8 road loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores. Georgia’s special teams must be aware of the possibility for a fake punt, or fake field goal early in the game as Kentucky tries to generate offense.

Georgia’s defense has been lights out during the Dawgs’ eight game win streak. They are among the top 15 defenses in the country in terms of points per game on average. The Bulldogs’ stingy unit is allowing opposing teams just 18.6 points per game. Georgia’s offense averages 35.8 points per game. These numbers translate to UGA winning convincingly on Saturday.

Even so, anything is possible in college football. The Georgia Bulldogs can not afford to look past the Bluegrass State in favor of the Georgia Dome artificial turf that awaits them if they are victorious at home on Saturday. Georgia must keep in mind that the game against Kentucky is the most important football contest they have played in the last three years. This is the final stop on the road to redemption for the Georgia Bulldogs.

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.