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.

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.

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!



UGA 41 South Carolina 30 – Redemption for the Bulldogs

todd_gurleyThe Bulldogs Beat the Gamecocks Into Submission
Down two possessions with about a minute left to go in the game, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier did not even bother to call a timeout to stop the clock. Maybe it was because Georgia carried the ball an astonishing 50 plus times for over 220 yards. Or maybe it was because UGA senior QB Aaron Murray had an answer for everything South Carolina threw at him.

One thing for sure is the better team won the battle on Sunday, regardless of who wins the war to go to Atlanta at the end of the regular season.  As expected, the win did not come without adversity.  The Dawgs gave up some big plays on defense and Keith Marshall left the game with a minor injury.

Aaron Murray the Leader, Todd Gurley a Difference Maker
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had a potential legacy altering (until the next big game) outing against South Carolina. Murray avoided pressure and extended plays which yielded the biggest results of the game for Georgia’s offense.  The Bulldogs’ rushing attack was nothing short of devastating, with four players making meaningful plays at the tailback position and Quavyon Hicks making an impact at fullback for the second week in a row.



Ultimately, Todd Gurley was the MVP for the Dawgs again. TGII led the UGA rushing attack with 30 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown.  If Gurley goes over the century mark against LSU in just under three weeks, the Heisman noise around him will get a little louder.  The Bulldogs balance on offense was the key to their success.  This game should be the offensive blueprint throughout 2013.

Welcome to Atlanta?
Not yet. The Bulldogs have a lot of work to do in order to secure a third straight SEC East title.  Bulldog Nation should savor this victory because UGA is right back on track.

A Final Word From Steve Spurrier
According to USA Today, the ole’ ball coach had the following to say about his defensive coaches arguing on the sideline, “Well at least they care.” Spurrier went on to say that the coaches would settle the issue.  Hopefully they solved their problems during the long ride home.

Georgia Bulldog Memories: David Pollack

Three Days Remaining
ESPN College GameDay emanates from Clemson, South Carolina this weekend to spotlight the match-up between the Dawgs and the Tigers.  As a result, it is fitting to pay tribute to the decorated career of University of Georgia alum and current ESPN college football analyst, David Pollack.

David Pollack was a Three-Time All-American at UGA
Pollack was a defensive end at Georgia from 2001-2004. He was selected as a first-team  All-SEC player, and recognized as a first-team All-American each year from 2002-2004. David Pollack was the recipient of many other awards during his time between the hedges.  A leader on and off of the football field, Pollack graduated The University of Georgia, and left Athens for the National Football League.
david_pollack_awardSadly, David Pollack’s professional football career was cut short due to injury.  After being selected 17th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2005 NFL Draft, Pollack suffered what was diagnosed as a broken sixth cervical vertebrae on September 17, 2006.  Fortunately he did not suffer paralysis as a result of the incident.

Personal Favorite David Pollack Moment
My personal favorite David Pollack moment came at the expense of the South Carolina Gamecocks in 2002.  At the time, the Dawgs were on a two-game losing streak against South Carolina.   Entering the fourth quarter of the game, Georgia found themselves up 3-0 on the fighting Lou Holtzes.

UGA had South Carolina pinned deep in their own territory with 14:05 left in the football game.  As Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins dropped back to pass, David Pollack broke free of the Gamecocks’ offensive line.  Wikipedia describes what happened next as “David Pollack battered down and intercepted a pass from South Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins in the end zone.” The play is characterized by the site as “memorable.”

Pollack’s Play Against the Gamecocks Changed the Course of UGA Football History
Georgia won the 2002 meeting against South Carolina by a final score of 13-7. Without David Pollack’s heroic effort, the Bulldogs may not have won that game.  Though the contest occurred in early September, Pollack’s interception helped secure UGA’s first SEC title in two decades.  David Pollack is a Damn Good Dawg.



2013 Opener: Georgia – Clemson August 31, 2013

Brief Historical Perspective
The Bulldogs and the Tigers waged their first gridiron battle in 1897. UGA and Clemson have played a total of 62 games against each other, with Georgia leading the series by an all-time count 41-17, with four ties.  At present, Georgia owns a five-game winning streak over Clemson. The two teams last met in 2003, when the Dawgs mauled the Tigers by a score of 30-0.

The Weight of Expectations
It is critical that Bulldog Nation does not still see UGA as being five yards away from a national championship.  It is always fun to dream big, but what happened in 2012 is largely independent of what is to come beginning this Saturday night. Conversely, Clemson carries the weight of being the highest ranked team in the Atlantic Coast Conference to start the season. The much maligned ACC will be roaring for the Tigers this weekend, just as the much ballyhooed SEC will be cheering for the Bulldogs.

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney Has Much to Prove
Dabo Swinney has a history of getting very emotional following Clemson wins.  He has never won a BCS bowl game, but his Tigers did win the ACC Championship in 2011. The purveyor of Howard’s Rock parlayed that victory into one of the most embarrassing losses in the history of the BCS, falling to the West Virginia Mountaineers by a final score of 70-33.

The Georgia Bulldogs Must Prove Themselves, Too
The game against Clemson kicks off what will be an extremely challenging stretch for the Bulldogs. Three of UGA’s first four football games are against teams that are ranked in the top 15 according to the preseason polls. Georgia could probably absorb one loss and still accomplish all they set out to achieve  this season.  Even so, starting the new campaign with a defeat at the claws of the Tigers would let a lot of air out of a Bulldog Nation balloon that is pretty high on itself.
Picking a Winner
The defensive issues that both of these teams face have been well documented. When  looking for an edge in this contest, look no further than the conference that each team is representing.  The mighty Southeastern Conference has ruled college football by hoisting the Bowl Championship Series trophy for seven straight seasons.  Conversely, the Charlotte Observer notes that since the BCS was created in 1998, the Atlantic Coast Conference has one BCS Championship to their credit.

I’m going to channel my best Kirk Herbstreit and pick a winner based on what he might say, as a way of judging my own opinion versus the ESPN expert.  Unfortunately, Herbstreit probably will not pick the game because he likely has announcing duties on ABC.  As for Lee Corso, I think that guy started picking games based on which mascot head is more fun to put on years ago.

Georgia walks out of Death Valley a winner on the arm of Aaron Murray and the overall talent of the UGA offense.  The Bulldog defense will make enough stops to pull away from the Tigers in the fourth quarter.  Final Score: Georgia 45, Clemson 31.

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.



Dawgs Stick Together: A New Era Begins with Russ…the New UGA.

Dear Russ,

I am a big yellow lab, and you may not know me (yet), but I have watched your story with interest (and a little drooling…I am a dog after all). Russ…on behalf of your canine pals everywhere in the great state of Georgia, I want to take this opportunity to let you know we are proud of your official swearing in tonight as the new UGA.

It has been a long road for you, and truthfully, you had to earn the right to be UGA. We watched as the humans argued and carried on, but finally…finally they did the right thing. Heart of a lion, face of a true dawg, I will look forward to watching you prowl the sidelines (or rest on a bag of ice) for years to come.

Whatever glory comes or doesn’t come for those guys chasing that strangely-shaped piece of leather all over the grass while all of those humans look on in a frenzy (or in mystification), all of your dog friends will celebrate for you.

The dawgs will bark in Georgia tonight…may you receive the game ball.

Your friend,

Chance

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.