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.

Todd Grantham Holds Georgia’s Key to Success in 2013

Coach Grantham Dealing With High Expectations
When Todd Grantham was named associate head coach of Georgia last summer, Bulldog Nation rejoiced.  The new title meant that, at the very least, coach Grantham would be the defensive coordinator in Athens for another few years.  Now, the Dawgs find themselves rebuilding on defense during a time when expectations could not get any higher between the hedges.
t odd_grantham_angry

Upon his arrival in Athens to help put the bite back into the Bulldog’s defense in 2010, Todd Grantham  brought with him an impressive resume.  Fresh off an NFL stint, most UGA fans were eager to see how Grantham’s aggressive style would translate to the college game.  After three years in Athens, it is fair to say that Bulldog Nation is largely pleased with the result.

Is The Bloom Off Of The Grantham?
Following a banner year in 2011, the Georgia defense could not meet the lofty expectations that accompanied 2012.  According to Georgia Dogs, UGA’s 2012 defense had seven defensive starters that would eventually be drafted during the 2013 NFL Draft.  With all of that talent, the Georgia Bulldog defense was not good enough to hold an eleven point lead that would have allowed them to play for a national title at the end of last year.

In 2013, Defense Balance Wins Championships
To be blunt, the days of shut down defense are a thing of the past.  College football has become more about getting key stops as opposed to shutting down the opposition. This is a trait that Georgia had some trouble with last year. UGA gave up 24 points to a Kentucky Wildcat squad that only won two games all season.

Dawg Defense Neutered In Big Games
Georgia has lost a total of six games in the past two years (including bowl games). In those six loses, the opponent has put at least 30 points on the Bulldogs.  Three of Georgia’s first four games are against highly ranked opponents with experienced quarterbacks. If Georgia cannot find their defensive footing very quickly, the championship dreams of Dawg fans everywhere will be turned into a nightmare.

Todd Grantham – K.Y.P.
K.Y.P. is a popular term in the sports world, specifically on the gridiron.  K.Y.P. stands for know your personnel, and that is a must for Todd Grantham if Georgia is to contend for a national title during the upcoming season.  Junior linebacker Amarlo Herrera has shown flashes of brilliance in his Bulldog career, but coach Grantham needs to ensure that Herrera is positioned to succeed in a more prominent role this year.  The same can be said for defensive end Ray Drew.

A Few Drives Will Make The Difference
Bulldog Nation was so close to a championship last year that UGA fans were forced to watch as it was pried from our paws.  Georgia head coach Mark Richt’s mantra has always been to finish the drill.  If that philosophy is followed, it is hard not to think about Pasadena, and confetti falling from the sky.

The SEC Coaching Carousel: Familiar Faces in New Places

mike_slive

Mike Slive, the godfather of SEC football.

Since the SEC coaching carousel has stopped spinning, we thought it would be appropriate to welcome some (sort of) familiar faces into their new Southeastern Conference home.

Pig Sooie
Arkansas: Bret Bielema- The former Wisconsin head coach spent seven years watching Badger fans at Camp Randall Stadium jump around.  Bielema helped Wisconsin become a perennial BCS contender by beating up on the Big Ten. Former Arkansas head coach John L. Smith did little to make Arkansas seem like an attractive destination, but consistent winning will help coach Bielema get more Razorbacks in the hog pen. As documented by Sports Illustrated, the new Grand Poobah of Pig football has been accused of being a bit of a jerk when he gets a big lead.

War Damn Malzahn
Auburn: Gus Malzahn- What a kick in Gene Chizik’s ass this hire had to be. After watching Chizik flounder in two seasons without Cam Newton, Auburn decided to give Gus Malzahn the keys to the War Eagle mobile. In 2010, Gus Malzahn was the offensive coordinator for Gene Chizik when the Tigers rode on Cam Newton’s back all the way to the top of college football and captured the national championship.

Much to Auburn’s chagrin, “Chiz” has completely totaled the War Eagle car since then, prompting Auburn to take away the keys. Hiring Malzahn should prove to be a wise choice for Tiger nation, but anything is better than that prick Bobby Petrino landing another SEC gig. More on Bob-O next week.

From A Joker To A Stoop
mark_stoopsKentucky
: Mark Stoops- The younger brother of Bob and Mike finally gets his opportunity to be a head coach as the Stoops family tree branches to the SEC. Unfortunately for coach Stoops, he takes over a Kentucky program that is unquestionably a basketball school. However, when Kentucky Wildcat fans are not encouraging coach John Calipari to take full advantage of the one year rule to win a championship in college basketball, they are delusional enough to expect Kentucky football to compete in a bowl game on a yearly basis. Good luck, coach Stoops. You are going to need it.

The Ghost of Phillip Fulmer
butch_jonesTennessee: Butch Jones- Butch Jones says goodbye to the Big East, and hello to the Southeastern Conference. Jones will be the third football coach to attempt to scare away the ghost of Phillip Fulmer. We are certainly not Tennessee fans, but it has been fun watching the Volunteers continue to fall after being so impatient with coach Fulmer. Tennessee has the passing game to compete with anybody in the country, but the Vols’ suspect defense and lack of a running game has prevented them from being a factor in the SEC for the last several years.

Will Butch Jones have any better luck in Knoxville than Derrick Dooley or Lane Kiffin? Consider this: Butch Jones never won the outright Big East title at Cincinnati with talent that Brian Kelly recruited. He now finds himself in the best college football conference in America, in the SEC East coaching against three potential top ten teams moving forward. The rocky road is likely to continue in good ole’ Rocky Top.

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

UGAmaddawg_football

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.