Vandy 31, UGA 27: Mistakes Cost Dawgs Again

Nightmare in Nashville
Georgia’s trip to Vanderbilt resulted in pure terror for Bulldog Nation.  The encounter between the Bulldogs and Commodores turned disastrous in the fourth quarter, as the Dawgs gave up a 13 point lead in the final frame.  UGA fell to Vanderbilt by a final score of 31-27.

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Sex appeal to ease the pain of a 1-2 record in October.

Special Teams Miscue Recapped
Georgia’s special teams woes continued to haunt them in week eight.  The Bulldogs were leading by three with less than three minutes to go in the football game.  The Dawgs were forced to punt, but the punter never got an opportunity to kick the ball away.  For the second time this season, a botched special teams snap contributed to UGA losing.

Aaron Murray: Countless Records, Zero Championships
The worst part of Georgia’s lackluster performance against Vandy was the season altering implications attached to it. When Georgia finished September 3-1, Bulldog Nation was poised to compete for a championship.  The month of Halloween has altered the course of Georgia’s voyage completely.  Instead of sailing towards the SEC championship, the Dawgs are 1-2 in October. The Bulldog boat is barely afloat.

With the injury list mounting, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had one of the least productive outings of his Georgia career.  The fifth-year signal caller managed only 114 yards through the air, and did not throw a touchdown pass. The silver lining for the senior Bulldog is he surpassed Tim Tebow for the most total yards in Southeastern Conference history.

Dear Georgia Coaching Staff, Hire a Special Teams Coach, Now.
On the first day of 2013, SB Nation reported the Bulldogs would not hire a special teams coach for the 2013 season.  Furthermore, Georgia head coach Mark Richt stated he would educate himself more on the fundamentals of kicking, to help out with that aspect of the game.

Allow me to pose a question.  Does the long snapper hiking the football back to the kicker constitute fundamental?  If so, UGA’s head coach needs to go back to the drawing board.

I love Coach Richt, and my faith in Georgia football will not be shaken.  However, it is time to hire a special teams coach.  The Dawgs have had bad snaps, blocked kicks, and an overarching issue with the kicking game all season long.  If I were UGA athletic director Greg McGarity, hiring a special teams coach would be a demand, not a request.

Mercifully, the Dawgs have an extra week to get up off the mat. Following the bye, Georgia will travel to Jacksonville for a game against the equally reeling Florida Gators.

Georgia Versus Vanderbilt – October 19, 2013

todd_gurley_south_carolinaDawgs and Dores at a Crossroads in Nashville
The Georgia Bulldogs are coming off a difficult loss to the Missouri Tigers.  Vanderbilt’s goal was to be a top 25 caliber team this season, but the Commodores are 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play.  Week eight will be a turning point for the team that is victorious.  Georgia will either rebound or head further south, while Vandy looks to navigate their SEC schedule which will only get more treacherous.

Georgia Cannot Afford to Turn the Ball Over
Georgia self-destructed last weekend against Missouri, turning the ball over four times.  The Bulldog defense is vulnerable enough without the offense making things easier for the opposition.  The majority of the miscues by the offense were side effects from Georgia’s injury bug, so the Dawgs must learn to adapt and overcome their roster issues.

The Health of Todd Gurley
For UGA, having running back Todd Gurley at their disposal would solve a myriad of issues.  Brendan Douglas and J.J. Green are both talented, but neither is ready to start at tailback for The University of Georgia.  ESPN reveals that Georgia head coach Mark Richt expects Todd Gurley to be back soon.  Gurley and the Georgia coaching staff will have to decide whether he should return for the contest against Vanderbilt or take a few more weeks to heal for Florida.

Austyn Carta-Samuels is an Experienced Quarterback
I remember watching Austyn Carta-Samuels win a bowl game his freshman year as the starting quarterback of Wyoming in 2009. Having transferred to Vanderbilt, he is a talented passer who is fully capable of making life miserable for Bulldog Nation.  UGA must pressure Samuels to force other Commodores to beat them.

Statistically, Vanderbilt ranks in the top half of the nation throwing the football. However, the Commodores are currently rated 80 in rushing yards.  If the young Georgia defense can prevent the Commodores from converting on third down through the air, it will severely hamper their chances to pull off an upset.

The View From Vanderbilt
The Commodores last played on October 5, when they too suffered a defeat at the claw of the Missouri Tigers. Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin and his team have had two  weeks to prepare for a visit from the Georgia Bulldogs.  According to The Tennessean, Coach Franklin is looking forward to the early kickoff. “I love the early game, I don’t think our guys like just sitting in the hotel waiting for the game to start”.  Vanderbilt will be ready for the kickoff at noon Eastern.

The Stakes are High for Georgia and Vanderbilt
Georgia has beaten Vanderbilt six years in a row.  It is critical for Bulldog Nation be able to pick up lucky number seven on the road.  The Dawgs have had more than their fair share of setbacks this season; still, Georgia is still the favorite to capture the SEC East if they do not suffer another conference loss.

Vanderbilt is a quality football team.  The Commodores would love to ruin Georgia’s conference title hopes in the process of notching their first Southeastern Conference victory of 2013.

41-26: The Missouri Tigers Outscore the Georgia Bulldogs

georgia_sec_championship_lossFaith Testing Defeat
Georgia’s 15 point loss at home to Missouri during week seven of the 2013 college football season put an end to the Dawgs’ national championship aspirations for the year.  However, it is still great to be a Georgia Bulldog.  Aaron Muray and the UGA offense nearly led Georgia to a comeback victory over the Tigers.  It was not to be, as mistakes put the Dawgs down midway through the fourth quarter.

Whether Georgia rebounds and finishes 10-2, or stumbles to an 8-4 season, the support of Bulldog Nation will remain.  Now that allegiance has been pledged, it is time to vent a little frustration.

Pee-Wee Football
If last year’s defensive effort against the Tigers of Mizzou was grown-man football, this past Saturday’s defense can only be described as pee-wee football.  The Georgia Bulldogs missed tackle after tackle, while being consistently outplayed by Missouri’s potent offense.  Credit must be given to Mizzou quarterback James Franklin for playing an outstanding game.  It is unfortunate he is out for the remainder of the regular season with a separated shoulder. The versatile Tigers will miss him dearly.

There is no excuse for giving up 28 points in two quarters of football. Almost two months into the season, Georgia’s defense has shown only minor signs of improvement.  Last week, I wrote patience is a virtue, but it is difficult to be patient when your team struggles to execute basic fundamentals. The reason for the highlights below below begins about 46 seconds into the video. At the 6:10 mark in the second quarter.  Cue the Benny Hill music.

The Georgia D adjusted, and played better in the second half, but they cannot expect to only show up for the final two quarters and still be able to win a football game. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham needs to get more out of his personnel.

Aaron Murray Says Turnovers Killed Georgia
Aaron Murray told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution turnovers ended the Bulldogs comeback chances.  The most heartbreaking gaffe was probably when Georgia running back Brendan Douglas fumbled inside the Missouri ten yard-line late in the first half.  The mistake squashed any momentum UGA could have carried into the locker room.

To be fair, QB Aaron Murray coughed up the football to end the previous series, which Missouri promptly picked up and returned for a touchdown.  The error left the Bulldogs in dire straits, as Bulldog Nation found themselves in a 28-10 hole they could not climb out of. UGA committed four turnovers in the contest, Missouri did not give away the ball.

Dawgs Prepare to Hunker Down Against Vanderbilt
Georgia remains in contention for a third straight SEC East crown.  If the Bulldogs plan on making it to Atlanta, Mark Richt and company must find a way to right the ship. Coach Richt believes injuries are no excuse for losing, but they sure do make it more difficult to achieve victory.  Georgia’s Southeastern Conference fate likely rests on the ankle of tailback Todd Gurley.

It’s Great To Be a Georgia Bulldog

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Keep the Faith
Throughout the first five games of the college football season, drama and excitement have been synonymous with Georgia football.  As USA Today points out, three of Georgia’s four wins in 2013 have been determined in the final minutes.  Even the contest with North Texas featured multiple lead changes.

Pessimists will argue that many of the nail-biting moments were signs of a flawed team that struggled to put away the opposition.  However, we here at UGAMADDAWG choose to believe there are greater forces at work. This Georgia Bulldog team is special.

In light of the recent injury bug, I have taken it upon myself to encourage Georgia Bulldog football fans everywhere to keep the faith.  Some of my reasoning is outlined below.

Aaron Murray’s Last Stand
Prior to the 2013 campaign, Athlon Sports rated UGA starting quarterback Aaron Murray as the sixth most overrated quarterback in college football.  The article also pointed out that Murray is a diminutive passer. You have got to love any writer that uses a ten dollar word to describe someone as short.   This season, Murray seems poised to lead his Dawgs to win the SEC crown that has eluded him during his time in Athens.

No matter how much adversity befalls this football team, Aaron Murray under center gives the Bulldogs a chance to win.  Now the all-time leading passer in Southeastern Conference history, Murray has developed into a young man that can carry the team on his shoulders.



Chris Conley is Awesome
The one-handed catch made by Chrs Conley against Tennessee may have been the catch of the year thus far. The UGA wide receiver has been grabbing everything thrown his way, and Conley seems determined to leave his paw print on Georgia football far beyond what happened in the final eight seconds of the 2012 SEC Championship Game.

Todd Gurley Needs to get Healthy
Georgia running back Todd Gurley is a difference maker.  With respect to Keith Marshall, Gurley is a man among boys.  If UGA is going to get back to Atlanta for a third straight year, the Dawgs need to be able to hand the ball to TGII.

Georgia’s Young Defense is Only Going to get Better
Georgia’s defense is filled with potential.  At some point, experience will help the Bulldog D realize its potential.  Patience is a virtue, and Bulldog Nation must stay patient with coach Grantham and the personnel that he puts on the field.

Emotional Mark Richt
This final point goes back to the LSU game in week five.  Coach Mark Richt got visibly emotional watching his football team overcome the LSU tigers.  Mark Richt wants to win a national title; he has been busting his ass in Athens for over a decade.  While a crystal ball does not define Mark Richt’s career, it would catapult his legacy into legendary status.

Football Season is a Wonderful Time of Year
No college football team, not even that one in Tuscaloosa, should measure success by a national championship alone.  Unrealistic expectations can ruin magical moments if Bulldog Nation does not remember to enjoy the ride.

The University of Georgia absolutely strives to field the best football team possible. Even so, there is a lot of luck involved in winning a national championship.  The difference between Alabama’s third national championship in four years and Georgia’s first in three plus decades was less than ten yards.  Keep the faith, Bulldog Nation.

Georgia Versus LSU – September 28, 2013

les_milesThe Face of LSU Football
Les Miles has been the head football coach at LSU since January of 2005.  The grass eating Michigan man has had his fair share of critics during his time in Baton Rouge, and the NCAA is currently investigating his old team, (Oklahoma State) but Les Miles continues to find ways to win.

The Dawgs Will Have Home Field Advantage
SB Nation reports that ESPN College GameDay will be in Athens this weekend.  The hedges will come alive with the national television spotlight squarely on Athens, Georgia.  This stage offers a great opportunity for Georgia to regain the momentum they lost on opening night in Clemson, South Carolina.

The LSU Tigers have let the good times roll to four straight victories to begin 2013.  Conversely, the young Georgia team  has had trouble stopping the opposition on a consistent basis. The Bulldogs pass defense is a particular concern heading into this weekend, having  given up 238 yards through the air to North Texas.

Welcome Home, Zach Mettenberger
Zach Mettenberger is likely salivating at the thought of playing the inexperienced Dawg secondary.  Mettenberger has inserted himself into early Heisman chatter by tossing ten touchdowns and only one interception this season.  In addition, he has thrown for 1,026 yards.

CBS Sports is reporting that UGA head coach Mark Richt has given Zach Mettenberger’s mother the week off to “Enjoy this time of year.”  If the Bulldog defense does not shore things up, Mrs. Mettenberger will be one of the only Georgia residents who delights in Saturday’s presentation.

The Georgia Defense Must Grow Up Now
Georgia cannot afford to get into another game of who has the ball last with a top-tier Southeastern Conference opponent.  The Bulldogs need to be able to make occasional stops on defense in order to take some of the burden away from the offense.  Failure to get the Tigers off the field will result in a long afternoon in Athens.

This is the Litmus test for Georgia football
Georgia came into 2013 with sky-high expectations.  If the Bulldogs can manage to overcome LSU, the path to Atlanta will become very clear.  If they come up short, the Dawgs will fall back to the pack in a messy SEC East.

Bulldog Nation possess the talent to beat LSU, but UGA will need to have their best outing of the season to turn back the Tigers. The Advocate reports that Louisiana State University’s defense may be peaking at the wrong time for Georgia fans. The Tigers gave up 49 total yards in the first 17 and a half minutes of the game against Auburn.  LSU also forced three turnovers against those other Tigers.

Georgia has been telling everyone who will listen they are primed to win a championship.   If that statement is accurate, losing to the Bayou Bengals is not an option.

Georgia Versus North Texas – September 21, 2013

keith_marshallThe Not so Mean Green of North Texas
When the North Texas Eagles adopted their Mean Green moniker due to the rising popularity of Mean Joe Green in the 1960s, it is likely they envisioned more consistent success for their football team.  North Texas finished 1966 with the second best rush defense in the nation.  Unfortunately for the Eagles, that was a hell of a long time ago.

North Texas football has not had anything close to a winning season during this decade.  In fact, since 2005, the Mean Green has won a total of 24 games. That number includes their victories so far in 2013. At present, North Texas is 2-1.  This season marks Dan McCartney’s third year as head coach of the team from Dentin, Texas.

Georgia Should Learn From Michigan/Akron
Last weekend the Michigan Wolverines were a 37 point favorite against the Akron Zips.  Akron came within a heartbeat of shocking the college football world, but Michigan made a goal-line stand to win the game 28-24.  Georgia is more talented than Michigan, but the lesson is that no opponent should be taken lightly.

The Georgia Bulldogs Have Bigger Bengal Tigers to Fry
Common sense dictates the Bulldogs will run the ball with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to give quarterback Aaron Murray an opportunity for big play-action passes. On the other side of the pigskin, Georgia’s defense gets more valuable experience heading into the big game with LSU.

Speaking of the Bulldog D, a high number of three-and-outs this weekend could help build their confidence.  More consistent defense would be beneficial to the football team as a whole.

With all due respect to North Texas, the lone blemish in the record books is the only thing the Eagles have in common with the Georgia Bulldogs coming into the game.  Barring a dreadful performance, and as long as a catastrophic injury does not occur, the Dawgs’ date with the Mean Green Saturday afternoon is just a tune-up game before Louisiana State University comes roaring into Athens town next weekend for a showdown.

Prediction: The Georgia Bulldogs will take a bite out of North Texas.  UGA head coach Mark Richt will call off the Dawgs early in the third quarter. Georgia 48, North Texas 17.

Have a Coke and a smile.



Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part III

Larry Munson was a Damn Good Dawg
Whether he was pointing out Georgia’s silver britches, or asking UGA to hunker down, Larry Munson’s unique approach to play-by-play will always be directly linked to Georgia football.  Here are Munson’s two favorite calls of all-time according to his autobiography.  To reiterate, this information is also found in an ESPN Insider article written by David Ching on November 21, 2011.  Read part IIRead part I.

2. Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott!
The verbiage Munson used on November 8, 1980, is part of a defining moment in Georgia football history. The Bulldogs and the Florida Gators were together again to renew their storied rivalry.  I remember hearing one Florida Gator recall UF was in cover three trying to keep their lead intact during the final moments of the game while the Dawgs hunted a miracle.

Fortunately for Georgia fans, miracles do happen. UGA QB Buck Belue hit Lindsay Scott with a pass, which caused Larry Munson to plead with the wide receiver not to stop running until he got in the end zone.

“Run, Lindsay!” Munson says, later adding, “Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott!” as he crosses the goal line. As he reflects on the touchdown, Munson tells listeners, “I broke my chair. I came right through a chair. A metal steel chair with about a 5-inch cushion. I broke it. The booth came apart. The stadium, well, the stadium fell down. Now they do have to renovate this thing. They’ll have to rebuild it now.”



1. The Hobnail Boot
I like to refer to this as the moment I realized how deeply my passion for Georgia football runs. Until “The Hobnail Boot,” I always cheered on the Dawgs, but I was not yet emotionally invested. The credit goes to Larry Munson for changing my outlook forever.

It was October 6, 2001, and UGA was still warming up to the Mark Richt era.  The Tennessee Volunteers went back and forth all day long with the visiting Bulldogs, in Neyland Stadium and the game looked to be all over but the whining after Tennessee took the lead on a 62 yard screen pass from Casey Clausen to Travis Stepehens with less than a minute to go in the contest.

However, Georgia would get good field position with 38 seconds left in the game as they started from their own 41. A few wonderfully executed plays later, and Georgia was all the way down to the Tennessee six yard-line with about ten seconds remaining.  Bulldog quarterback David Green found Verron Haynes for the game-winning score.

What followed was a moment that only Larry Munson could wordsmith.

“My God a touchdown! We threw it to Haynes! My God almighty we dumped it over. It is 26 to 24. David Greene just straightened up and found Haynes. Haynes is keeping the ball. We just crushed their face! We stepped on their face with a Hobnail boot and broke their nose!



Turn the Television Down and the Radio Up
Many Georgia fans watched UGA play with the television on mute with the radio blaring because they wanted to be able to hear Larry Munson. Munson brought a certain atmosphere to Georgia games, and he had a bond with Bulldog Nation that could never be duplicated, especially in the days of neutral television commentary.

Larry Munson did not Call the Game. He Told the Audience a Story
Referring to Larry Munson as a play-by-play man does not do his legacy justice.  Munson is considered the voice of the Bulldogs because he went out of his way to describe every crucial moment, encourage Georgia to always play their best, and to make every UGA gridiron triumph seem much more important than just winning a football game.

Randy Smith, a writer for The Chattanoogan said it best, “With apologies to the college sportscasters of today, there will never be another Larry Munson.  Love him or hate him, he made a lasting mark on his profession.”

Glory Glory to Ole Georgia/Larry Munson’s Legacy Lives Forever
With every fall Saturday in Athens, Larry Munson’s voice can be heard throughout Sanford Stadium. Before the Georgoa Bulldogs take the field,  Munson’s unmistakable tone leads the crowd in the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation. Though a new breed of Bulldog does indeed lead the charge, the indelible paw print Munson left on Georgia Football will last forever.  As illustrated below, the hymn always ends the same way any good Bulldog presentation should, with Larry Munson’s voice saying, GO DAWGS!



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.
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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.

UGA Football – Recalling an Encounter With A Fair Weather Fan

A few months ago, I posted an article detailing why fair weather fans are annoying. I would like to take this opportunity to recount a personal experience with a fair weather Dawg.

Georgia’s Homecoming From Hell: The Dawgs Get Caught By The Commodores
It was October of 2006 and I was less than a week removed from watching the Georgia Bulldogs suffer an agonizing 24-22 loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores on homecoming weekend. While minding my own business on the way back to my house after class, I passed by the practice field fence just in time to witness an obnoxious young man standing behind the fence shouting, “Vandy’s bitches!” repeatedly, as loud as he could.vanderbilt_beats_uga
I quickly left the area, but it is hard not to wonder how much longer the guy stood at the fence yelling such charming encouragement.

There is no Loyalty Among Fair Weather Fans
That incident makes me chuckle when I think about it now, but it is a prime example of how insufferable certain fans can be. With the increasing popularity of football, armchair quarterbacks have become an unfortunate fact of life for football programs everywhere. Even so, I cannot envision a scenario where I would boo a Georgia Bulldog football player.

One Year Later: The Bulldogs Stomp On The Vanderbilt “V”
When Georgia and Vanderbilt met again in 2007, Georgia celebrated on the Vanderbilt V in the middle of the field following the Dawgs’ 20-17 victory.  I wonder if the big mouth fan’s remarks had anything to do with the Bulldogs’ post-game antics?  Maybe the Bulldogs wanted to be sure that the Commodores knew they were not “Vandy’s bitches” after all.



Georgia Bulldogs Spring Football Thoughts

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Defensive end Ray Drew will look to make an impact this fall.

The Young Georgia Defense Must Realize Their Potential
Spring is in the air in the form of football practice for the Georgia Bulldogs. Among the most intriguing developments between the hedges in the coming months will be whether or not defensive end Ray Drew,  from the draft class once dubbed the “Dream Team”, can maximize his potential on the field for the Dawgs.

Todd Grantham has Something to Prove
Todd Grantham’s offseason of discontent is over and he can now focus on his commitment to Georgia.  Grantham should be motivated by the fact that his defense never truly reached their potential last season. Coach Grantham will be dealing with a lot of new faces on defense in Athens this year. Here’s hoping the Georgia defensive coordinator is committed to making 2013 his best year between the hedges.  That being said, Todd Grantham likely has other job aspirations and will not be an assistant in Athens much longer.

Avoiding off of the Field Issues
As with every Georgia football offseason, it would be nice not to read about any Bulldogs in the police blotter. Unfortunately, Dawg alum Alec Ogletree was pulled over by police and charged with a DUI last month in Arizona. Ogletree was the first member of the 2012 Georgia Bulldog roster to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft. Alec Ogletree leaving early is just as well for Bulldog Nation because he would have missed at least the first half of this coming season according to Georgia’s own drug policy.

Georgia’s Quest for a National Championship Continues
The Georgia Bulldogs have signed Mark Richt to an extension, adding a year (and a $400,000 raise) on to his current deal which means that he will be the head Dawg until at least 2017. Coach Richt has brought the Georgia program to the heights many were hoping for when he was hired in 2001, but it remains to be seen whether Mark Richt can lead the Dawgs to a national title. The quest for a championship begins with preparation in the offseason by working hard when not as many people are watching.