Richard Samuel: Unselfish Georgia Bulldog

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Sometimes Statistics Do Not Tell the Whole Story
Richard Samuel had only 18 carries in his final season at the University of Georgia. The senior Bulldog fullback was once a five star recruit and a Parade All-American in high school. In his last two years of high school football, Richard Samuel rushed for a total of 2,771 yards and scored 43 touchdowns. In addition, Samuel recorded 160 tackles and five sacks on the defensive side of the ball. With those statistics in mind, it would be easy to consider Samuel’s time between the hedges as a disappointment. After all, Richard had just 214 career carries at Georgia for a total of 833 yards and four touchdowns. These numbers are not at all indicative of what has defined Samuel’s contributions to the UGA football team.

Richard Samuel Made Sacrifices for the Good of Georgia Football
Richard Samuel should be remembered as a Damn Good Dawg. Samuel was mister unselfish at Georgia, as he was always willing to switch positions to help his team, and his teammates, get better. According to the Macon Telegraph, Richard Samuel and Jarvis Jones formed a potent linebacker combination at Georgia football practice in 2010. However, Samuel never played a snap on defense in Athens because injuries at the running back position dictated that he move back to offense.

UGA Running Back Richard Samuel Wanted to Contribute More on the Field
Richard Samuel does not have any hard feelings about how his time between the hedges played out. The Macon Telegraph reveals that Samuel is a little bothered he did not make a bigger impact on the field for the Georgia Bulldogs, but he does not blame anyone involved with UGA football for the way his college career turned out. Samuel says, “It’s been bits and pieces, here and there. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything consistent to help the team.”

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Richard Samuel always does what is best for Georgia football.

Richard Samuel is One of the Finest Guys to Ever Come to the Georgia Program
If Richard Samuel is concerned about leaving a lasting impression, he needs only to consult coach Richt. Mark Richt told the Macon Telegraph, “I can’t say enough good about Richard Samuel. He’s a very valuable part of the team, and he’s one of the finest guys that’s come through the program.”  Richard Samuel’s days as a Bulldog have been marked by his immense talent and character, because he has put the needs of his team ahead of his own personal goals.

Richard Samuel enrolled at Georgia at the very young age of 16. If I were in his position at that age I would have failed out by the age of 18, and that is without the daily grind of major college football. As far as his accomplishments on the gridiron, I will most remember #22 for carrying Gators on his back as he helped Georgia defeat Florida in 2011.  As for what the future holds for Richard Samuel, if he wants to try his hand at the next level he will likely be able to get his foot in the door of an NFL training camp. If pro football is not in his plans, Samuel certainly has the character and work ethic to succeed in life after being a Georgia Bulldog.



What Does Georgia Need to do to Beat Alabama?

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The Dawgs will battle the Tide for Southeastern Conference supremacy.

Georgia Plays Alabama for the 2012 SEC Championship
Following the upset heard ‘round the college football world against Johnny Manziel and the Aggies of Texas A&M, the Alabama Crimson Tide are expected to put the Auburn Tigers out of their Southeastern Conference misery on November 24 to clinch the SEC West. Conversely, the Georgia Bulldogs dominated the aforementioned Tigers by a final count of 38-0 this past weekend. The victory earned Bulldog Nation a trip to the Georgia Dome to represent the East in the SEC title game for the second straight year.

The Bulldogs Are Not Satisfied With Just Winning the SEC East
Alabama will finish the regular season with a record of 11-1 when they punch their ticket to Atlanta. Led by head coach and master motivator Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide will be hell bent on making the strongest possible case to defend their national championship crown.  Meanwhile, Bulldog Nation is determined to attack the wounded Tide, and secure a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.  Let us examine what Georgia must do to catch Alabama coming in, as opposed to trying to hang on to the Crimson Tide when they are rolling out.

Avoiding Turnovers Will be Critical for Georgia
For Georgia to have a chance to defeat Alabama, the Dawgs must avoid turning the ball over. In the 2011 SEC Championship against LSU, Georgia doomed themselves by committing three costly giveaways, along with errors on special teams that translated to easy points for the Tigers. Alabama is the top ranked one loss team in the country for a reason, and the Bulldogs must avoid giving the talented Tide football team easy scores.



Georgia Has to Protect Quarterback Aaron Murray
Less than two weeks ago, the Bulldogs gave up five sacks in the first half against Ole Miss. No slight against the Rebels, but if Ole miss found a way to exploit Georgia’s offensive line, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and company will be frothing at the mouth at the chance to hit the UGA signal caller early and often.

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The offensive line must be stout against Alabama.

UGA Needs to Be Balanced on Offense to Keep Alabama Guessing
Texas A&M was able to defeat Alabama as a result of mixing up run and pass play calls. The Aggies had 253 passing yards, and over 150 yards on the ground. Aaron Murray is not quite as mobile as Johnny Manziel but he can certainly move around well enough to avoid being a sitting target. Furthermore:

  • The Bulldogs must avoid negative plays on offense. If Alabama’s aggressive defense can force Georgia to be one dimensional it will be a long game for Bulldog Nation.
  • Todd Gurley must lead the Georgia rushing attack by being physical and picking up critical yards after contact.
  • Aaron Murray must make all the right decisions with the football. Stephen Garcia is the last quarterback from the SEC East to defeat Alabama, as the South Carolina Gamecocks knocked off the Tide in October of 2010. Garcia completed 17 out of 20 passes for 201 yards in that contest. Those would be ideal numbers for the UGA QB to duplicate.
  • Georgia must keep drives alive by converting on third down. Texas A&M was 11 out of 18 on third-down conversions.
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Jarvis Jones is saving his best for the Crimson Tide.

Defense is Essential to Georgia’s Success
Jarvis Jones is the heartbeat of a Georgia defensive unit that appears to be peaking at the right timeJarvis Jones must lead the Georgia defense and wreak havoc against the Tide.  A dominant performance from Jones will give other players the opportunity to put pressure on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. In addition:

  • No big plays. UGA’s defense needs to make Alabama go the length of the football field.
  • The Bulldog defense must cause as many three-and-outs as possible so that they are able to finish Alabama in the second half.
  • It is critical that Georgia forces A.J. McCarron to beat them throwing the football. When Alabama has to pass, they suddenly become a predictable football team. This observation is not questioning the talent of the Alabama QB, but the Bulldogs will increase their chance to win if Alabama has to abandon their potent running game.

A Win for the Bulldogs Over Alabama is Critical to the Future of Georgia Football Regardless of the Bowl Championship Series rankings, the Georgia Bulldogs have to beat Alabama to legitimize themselves as a championship contender. Consider this: Georgia’s signature win thus far in 2012 is beating a Florida team that nearly lost to Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend at the swamp. The Bulldogs do not need to try to impersonate Texas A&M, but they must be victorious in Atlanta. 

UGA and South Carolina: A Classic Battle of SEC Wills

See those guys with their hands on the ground? Those are lineman, and they will determine the outcome of the game.

Earlier, we touched on the five keys for Georgia in their upcoming match-up with bitter rival South Carolina.  The truth, however, is fundamental: The Georgia Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks (I believe) will essentially run the same gameplans on each other.  This is a classic example in the making of SEC football…what are these qualities…what similarities do these two opponents, UGA and South Carolina, share? Read on:

  • Ultimately, the battle will be one of attrition, of wearing the other team down through a combination of speed and a bruising ground attack.
  • If the defensive fronts of each team cannot contain the run, then defensive backs will be forced to assist, opening up play action.
  • Both teams will run straight ahead between the tackles in an attempt to wear down and weaken the resolve of the defenses.
  • Both offenses will move sideline to sideline to wear the other team down.
  • Both teams will double team key defensive players (Clowney, for USC, and Jones, for UGA, will receive a lot of this treatment).
  • Both teams will rely on their quarterbacks to spread the field and make plays.
  • Both teams will attempt to deliver punishing hits on key players…both for intimidation, and let’s be honest, to get opposing players off the field.  Play it clean, but this is a war of attrition.

In the end, there are some stylistic differences, yes.  But in the SEC in general, and this game in particular, the team whose line play is superior will win.

Five Keys: UGA – South Carolina Football 2012

Wear them down, Georgia.

Well…it’s here. The battle of the titans, as the University of Georgia Bulldogs face the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 6, 2012 in Columbia.  We believe there are five keys that will determine the outcome of this SEC rivalry between UGA and South Carolina.  Frankly, the five keys are fundamental, and certainly not visionary revelations, but…watch for these keys during the game:

1.  Georgia’s ability to protect Aaron Murray and open holes for the tailbacks.
South Carolina’s defensive line, led by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, is stout…fast, big, and active.  UGA’s offensive line has been steadily improving and it is hard to argue with a Georgia offense whose scoring echoes the left coast Oregonians.  Georgia must protect Aaron Murray, which leads to…

2.  Aaron Murray’s ability to make sound decisions.
South Carolina will most definitely try to pressure Murray, as the Dawgs’ quarterback has shown deft precision when given time.  Conversely, as a sophomore, Murray demonstrated a disturbing tendency to make poor throwing decisions when pressured by the defense.  Murray must be willing to take a sack, throw the ball away, be patient.  By the way, I don’t sense that Murray necessarily forces the ball under pressure…it is almost as if he just doesn’t see the field as clearly.

3.  Force Conner Shaw to beat us with his arm.
It is crucial that Conner Shaw not be allowed to run wild.  Lattimore is may slowly beat UGA into submission, but Shaw is the greater danger.  In games this season, Conner Shaw is very quick to pull the ball down and run (almost as if he prefers to run).  The Gamecocks quarterback demonstrated beautiful passing downfield against Missouri, but Missouri’s defense is highly suspect.  It is imperative that the front seven for the Georgia defense contain Conner Shaw.  Which leads us to the play of the UGA defensive backfield…

4.  UGA’s defensive backs must play an inspired game.
Georgia’s front seven will have their hands full trying to contain Conner Shaw and Marcus Lattimore on the ground.  In pass situations especially, I would expect a fast spy on Conner Shaw (probably Jarvis Jones).  It is highly likely that UGA’s defensive backs will have one-on-one coverages, and the safeties and cornerbacks must rise to the challenge.

5.  Special Teams Play/Turn-overs.
These are self-evident to anyone who has watched UGA play football recently. Simply put, UGA must win on turn-over ratio and play well on special teams.  Game-changing special teams plays (returned kicks for touchdowns, blocked punts, etc.) by UGA would be nice, but really, in this game I reckon playing conservatively and smartly will be enough.

Looking Back at Missouri and Ahead vs FAU 2012 – The Bulldogs Host Florida Atlantic

The tandem of Mark Richt and Todd Grantham has helped make it an exciting time to be a Georgia Bulldog fan.

From “old man football” to “grown man football” the Georgia Bulldogs tamed the Missouri Tigers on Saturday night. The game was certainly a bumpy ride for the first three quarters, but Bulldog Nation has to be pleased with the final result. The defense played outstanding football for most of the evening, all but erasing the doubts raised in the Dawgs’ first game of the season.

If Georgia can continue to build on their fourth quarter performance from this past week, there is not a team on the regular season schedule that can ruin the Bulldogs’ championship aspirations. This is certainly a lofty conclusion to draw in mid-September, but as long as the Dawgs can stay healthy and maintain their focus they should be favored to win every game between now and the SEC Championship Game.

As it pertains to week three of college football, the Georgia Bulldogs welcome the Florida Atlantic Owls between the hedges Saturday night in a match-up of teams headed in totally opposite directions. Georgia is fresh off of a triumphant victory in Columbia Missouri that has Bulldog Nation dreaming of Bowl Championship Series glory. Conversely, Florida Atlantic gave up 31 points on the road against Middle Tennessee, losing the game by a final score of 31-17.

It will be important for Georgia to stay focused on Saturday night. The atmosphere of a night game in Sanford Stadium should be beneficial to the Bulldogs  as opposed to the standard noon kickoff. Georgia should utilize this tune-up game as a way to build on their success from the previous two weeks. The Dawgs can continue to solidify their offensive line, while allowing the freshman tailback duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to run through what will likely be large holes for significant chunks of yardage. Continue reading

Bulldog Nation Address (What We Learned From Week Two)

Week two in college football was a put up or shut up week for a number of teams in the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M had the perfect opportunity to make a big splash in their first SEC match-up with the Gators. Had the game ended at halftime, the Aggies would have done a cannon ball into the SEC pool. Unfortunately for the “12th Man” in College Station, Texas A&M could not sustain their high level of play for 60 minutes and the Aggies were eventually Gator Bait. Using that pun makes me feel dirty.

Todd Grantham is a fantastic defensive coordinator. If Mark Richt is even considering making this current contract his last in Athens, he would be doing every Georgia fan a favor by keeping Mr. Grantham around as the successor to the Georgia throne. The transition would be seamless and it would be a perfect fit.

Staying with defense, Jarvis Jones had a Heisman level performance on Saturday night. When the season began, I did not think he could top the high level of play he reached last year. I was wrong. Jones has been dominant thus far in 2012, and he The Bulldogs will certainly be among the best defenses in the country when the suspended starters return.

On the other side of the ball Mike Bobo is quietly developing into a great offensive coordinator. Bobo’s commitment to the run game and use of the play-action pass to slow down the fast Mizzou defense was a great strategy. Statistics rarely lie, and the Georgia offensive attack is poised to score a lot of points against a favorable schedule. Mark Richt should be commended for the way he has handled the offensive coordinator position because his loyalty is now paying off.

In other SEC East competition, the Vanderbilt Commodores suffered a deflating loss against Northwestern. If head coach James Franklin wants anyone outside of Nashville to take Vanderbilt seriously, the Commodores have to start winning on a consistent basis. Vanderbilt has a tough road to travel following an 0-2 start.

Alabama and LSU each kept on rolling. In some ways, watching these two teams steam roll everyone else is disheartening, but credit must be given where it is due. LSU and Alabama are firmly perched at the top of the college football mountain, leaving everyone else to try to knock them off.

How Long Until The Georgia Bulldogs Win The National Championship?

Bulldog Nation is eager to join in on all the SEC/national championship fun.

With another hot summer bearing down between the hedges, Bulldog Nation has a renewed sense of optimism as the 2012 college football season approaches. A lot of the excitement in Athens stems from the fact that Georgia is expected to be among the top ten teams in the country when preseason rankings officially come out. Looking at the here and now, one of the top priorities for the Bulldogs the next three months must be to stay out of trouble. The issues that have plagued the Georgia secondary in particular this off-season have been well documented. Regardless, the Dawgs will have no excuses once the regular season gets underway.

Georgia’s window to compete for a national championship is wide open. However, as is the case with every college football program there is no way to gauge how long the window will stay ajar. Todd Grantham has been instrumental in putting the “D” back in the Bulldog defense over the past two years, and he recently signed an extension to stay in Athens until at least 2014. Jarvis Jones is Georgia’s defensive leader on the field while Mark Richt and company stay busy on the recruiting trail.

As for the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs return six starters on an offense that averaged 32 points per game in 2011. Aaron Murray is a junior, and back-up quarterbacks Hutson Mason and Christian Lemay are quickly developing. Georgia continues to acquire an impressive stable of highly touted running backs to carry the football with each recruiting class, along with a number of promising receivers as well  If Georgia can plug some holes on the offensive line, and find a way to win against highly ranked opponents, the Bulldogs have the potential to become a full fledged college football powerhouse. Continue reading