Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coming Monday May 4th: The Countdown to The Countdown

Friday, May 29th marks 99 days until Georgia and Oklahoma State kick off their 2009 seasons in Stillwater. Before we begin our traditional countdown from #99 to #1 on the UGA roster, yours truly will be counting down his Top 25 UGA football players of the past 25 seasons (1984-2008.)

Check back on Monday as we get started. I look forward to your agreements, your disagreements and your criticisms (especially the latter 2.)

JJ

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stafford #1

Stafford and Detroit have reportedly agreed to a 6 year deal worth $41 million in guaranteed money.

Sent via Blackberry from T-Mobile

SEC Tennis Results - Dogs Advance

Georgia defeated Auburn 4-1 today, after getting wins from Schnugg at #1, Garrapiz at #2, Bernstein at #5 and Vitulli at #6. We lost the doubles point.

The top 4 seeds all advanced to the semis. The 2nd seeded Dawgs will face #3 UT in the semis Saturday, while #4 Florida matches up against #1 Ole Miss.

Sent via Blackberry from T-Mobile

Tennis Dawgs

The men's tennis team is in Auburn, AL this weekend for the SEC tournament. The Dawgs enter the tournament as the #2 seed and ranked 4th in the USA. After receiving a 1st round bye, we are going up against host team Auburn at 4 pm EST today. Georgia defeated Auburn 5-2 earlier this season in Athens. We are looking to win our 8th tournament title to go along with our 25 SEC regular season championships. Live scoring can be followed at secsports.com or auburntigers.com. Go Dawgs!

Stafford on the Dennis Miller Show

From the below JJ comment. Matthew Stafford on the Dennis Miller Show:



Courtesy LeftOnLanier

Better Pro Career?

Stafford or Knowshon? Obviously, Stafford is going to be the higher pick. But who is going to have more success in the League? My $$$ is on Knowshon.

While Stafford has the cannon arm that the NFL executives are drooling over, I think Knowshon has fewer question marks. The only knock on him is his 40 time. I might be in the minority, but I could care less how fast a football player can run on a track with tights on. Throw some pads on and put defenders in front of him. If he can outrun/juke/run your-ass-over and score, then I like him. That is what Knowshon does.

If Emmit Smith or Jerry Rice showed up at the combine in any given year, they would not be the top 2 picks in the draft based on the "measurables". But when they strap it on, they bring it. So, screw the 40 time, Knowshon will have a great NFL career. Especially if he ends up going to an organization like the Eagles, which is one of the rumors flying around.

Either way, I wish them all the luck - the more success they have, the better UGA looks. Saturday should be exciting for all Dawg fans. It is not every year that you see a Dawg as the likely #1 overall pick.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reasons for Optimism

There are plenty of reasons to get fired up about the '09 season for the Dawgs...

1. The O Line - Almost back to full health, the hosses up front should be the best line we have seen in Athens in a looooooong time. Given Searles' track record and the talent he has to to work with this year, I don't expect our offense to drop off in production the way you would expect after losing your QB and RB to the 1st round of the Draft. As much as any offense would love to have Massaquoi, Stafford and Knowshon lining up every Saturday, this OL is going to open up holes for our backs and give Joe Cox the time he needs to pick apart defenses. Before all the national publications and average Joe-Fans tell you that we are going to suck without 1, 7, and 24, think back to 1998 - would you have thought UT would win the national title after losing golden boy Peyton (not to mention WR Marcus Nash and LB Leonard Little) to the NFLand Jamal Lewis to injury in the 4th game??? Hell, no...

2. The D Line - Jeff Owens is gonna be huge for Willie and his D this year. Remember 2007 with Atkins and Owens plugging the middle so our D-Ends could make all those plays? Well, it is going to be much of the same this year. With the opposing offensive lines being forced to commit 3 players to block Owens and Atkins, watch out for Justin Houston to emerge as the next great DE from UGA. And, as we all know, that is HUGE for Willie and his scheme.

3. AJ Green - He was a true freshman last year and wasn't even healthy. Look out, folks - this guy is ridiculous. He will know the offense better, be 100% healthy and have a full year of experience. If nothing else, he is going to open up the field for some other players to make some huge plays for us this year.

4. Attitude - We will never know for sure until the fall rolls around, but the players are saying all the right things so far and staying out of trouble. I think they are embarrassed and pissed off about the way we lost our 3 games last year. It sounds like Rennie Curran (among others) is making it a personal mission to get the D ready to play in 2009. There is no doubt about it - the talent is there on the defensive side of the ball. And, the coaching staff has gone back and re-evaluated how to get our edge back on defense. I don't think we will see a soft-minded defense again this year. Look for our defense to play pissed off all year long.

5. 2008 Florida Gators - I hate to talk about the Gators winning the title last year, but bare with me here..... In 2007, the Gators were coming off of a national title and their top 2 players were true sophomores. Everybody loved the Gators - they were pre-season #3 in the USA Today and #6 in the AP. After Florida had 2 tough losses to Auburn and LSU, we had that great win over them at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (which was by far the best sporting event I have ever witnessed in person). Then, the damn Gators embarrassed themselves and the entire SEC by losing to a Michigan team that couldn't beat Appalachian State in the Big House. The one constant for Florida that year was that their defense sucked ass and lost them several games...... That all sounds a little too familiar for fans of the 2008 Dawgs. Now, Florida went on to bust their asses in the off-season and and got a hell of a lot better, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Will the Dawgs do the same thing? I don't know, but the 08 Gators (especially on D) are proof that things can change quickly in the span of 1 year...

2009 is gonna be a good year for the Dawgs. We didn't live up to the expectations in '08, but we have learned from our mistakes and we will have one hell of a run this year. I can't wait for the fall...

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Blog and Georgia Football History

As someone with a History degree from Georgia, I need to mention the new blog About Them Dawgs! It is started by Patrick Garbin who is an accomplished author of three University of Georgia football books. This is a must read for great information on Georgia football history.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Recruiting

What are y'all's thoughts on the recruiting strategies of our staff?  I just read an article on the AJC about UGA losing out on a "lifelong UGA fan" WR from Gainesville because we offered too late.  I have nothing against this kid from Gainesville and wish him the best of luck at Stanford.   I hope he gets a great education and has a great football career (of course, it's easy to say that when he is going to play ball across the country in Palo Alto as opposed to being in Gainesville, FL).

I am 100% in support of our staff on this one (full disclosure - I have a LOT of faith in Mark Richt as our head coach).  I would hate to be the school that pulls an offer off of the table because a kid took a visit to another school (are you listening, Tech-geeks) or be the school that signs 47 kids knowing that over half won't qualify (ahemmm, Ole Miss).  I love the idea that a recruit and his family know that Mark Richt and his word are "strong as oak" (unlike Cushman's dad in Jerry Maguire).  

What do y'all think?  Is UGA missing out on too many top recruits as we take a little longer to evaluate the talent and offer the scholarship?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Random thoughts

MARK FOX - I don't give a damn if the guy has any roots in the South.  If he can convince NBA talent to go to friggin' Reno, he will be able to pull a few kids every year out of the state of Georgia to play in Athens.  All we need is 1 or 2 of the studs from metro Atlanta every year. From what I have read lately, it sounds like it is a more fertile recruiting state in basketball than it is in football. Go back and re-read that last line and tell me that the UGA basketball job is not a good job.   And, I don't care how old the Coliseum is - that place will be rocking if we can get a coach to build up the program and stick around.  Y'all remember what that place was like when Tubby was here?  Look for the hoops team to be very competitive in the SEC East within 2-3 years... 

G-DAY - I don't think you can ever take too much from a glorified scrimmage, especially this year with all the injuries we still have.  But a few quick thoughts...

We are going to be just fine at QB for the next few years.  Logan Gray looked very good  and will be smooth when he comes in to give Joe Cox a break this year or when Richt/Bobo want to throw a curve-ball to the defense.  And, it is very early on for the 2 freshman QBs .... But, as of right now after spring practice, it looks like there might be one hell of a battle for the starting gig in 2010 between Logan Gray and Aaron Murray.  

The WRs looked a little shaky.  Way too many drops -we are going to need someone to step up opposite AJ.  Who's it going to be?  Micheal Moore?? Israel Troupe?? Tavarres King?? Tony Wilson?? Rontavious Wooten?? Marlon Brown?? Or will it be the hybrid TE Orson Charles?? There is too much talent on the list above for someone not to step up and take advantage of the 1-on-1 coverage they are sure to get with all the attention opposing defenses will be giving to #8.

It looks like the RB battle is going to go on all year.  Caleb King doesn't look like he has done anything to separate himself from the pack and claim the #1 spot. I am not giving up on him at all - the talent is there and he has looked very explosive and elusive at times.  But, it appears to me that we are headed for a full fledged RB by committee this season.  Unless, of course,  Richard Samuel can come in and blow the rest of the field away in summer workouts when he is healthy again.

Defensively, I really like what we have in Justin Houston.  He looks like he could be a beast with all the attention opposing offensive lines will have to give to Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins and Kade Weston in the middle.  We all saw the raw potential in the kid last year.  Let's hope that a year later we will see him blossom into the next great D-End at UGA.  Because if we don't get someone to step up at that position, it is going to be another long year for Willie and his D.  

TENNIS - The 2 time defending national champion men's tennis team is having a great year. The Dawgs (20-2, 9-1 SEC) have a huge match with the Vols this weekend to close out the regular season.  As of now, the Dawgs are ranked #4 and UT is ranked #6.  This team was expected to struggle a little bit this year (relatively speaking) after losing so many top players from the last 2 years, but someone forgot to let the players know that.  This is a team that is digging and grinding and fighting their way to victories.  If anyone is in Athens this weekend, go make some noise at the country's best tennis facility and help the team on its way to a 3rd straight national title.  The match is on Saturday afternoon at 5:00 at Henry Field Stadium.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And he's the sane one up there



JaiEugene

Poythress perspective

A lot of people would consider Gordon Beckham to be the best player in Georgia's modern baseball history. Last years season that Beckham had can only be rivaled by Jeff Keppinger in 2001. Well, here's a little stat that shows just how huge a season Rich Pothress is having...


Through 35 games last year, Beckham was batting .432 with 16 hr's and 39 rbi.

Through 35 games this year, Poythress is batting .430 with 16 hr's and 60 rbi.

Wow.

georgiadogs.com
photo: ESPN

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sponsored by Fender.

Just wanted to post some good news from one of our contributors Mike. His band Gift Horse just got back from playing SXSW in Austin, Texas. Well, needless to say, it was a productive trip. He came back to Athens with an endorsement from Fender. Big time. Well deserved Mike. Congrats.

Gift Horse photo: Mike White @ deadlydesigns.com

Coach Mark Fox info from a Nevada perspective...

Looking around for as much info as I could get on Mark Fox, I found this post from WolfinSeattle on dawgpost.com insightful. Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox from a Nevada perspective:

First, Fox has done a great job at Nevada as you are now aware. Certainly missing the NCAA tournament the last two years was disappointing, but there were understandable reasons, at least from a Mid Major perspective.

Two years ago we were going to be a young team. We were losing Nick Fazekas to the NBA and it was going to leave a big hole. Then the other shoe dropped. PG Ramon Sessions (slated to be the pre season conference player of the year) also declared for the draft. Along with that we lost an outstanding SG to graduation. So we were a very young team and started 2 innexperienced sophomores and a true freshman. Fox did a good job, but we fell short of normal.

The following year Javale McGee left for the 1st round of the NBA and we lost every other PF and C to graduation. So we had to start 2 sophs and 2 freshmen. Nevada was a very young team and again fell short of the tournament, but it was still a 20 win season.

Anyway, BCS schools can reload a lot easier than a Mid Major so don't let those two seasons overly sway your opinion of Fox. Here's why he could be a success at Geogia:

Recruiting: He's an outstanding recruiter. Sure you have to worry about his lack of East Coast contacts, but as has been mentioned, he recruits from all over. We have players from Texas and North Carolina. Sessions was from South Carolina. McGee was from Chicago. He'll get it done. Fox focuses on length and athleticism and while with Nevada he went head to head with some major schools and got players. But mostly he got players that were overlooked and under recruited and ended up with teams that beat Kansas, Texas, Gonzaga, Cal and more. With the added clout of being at Georgia, he'll get players superior to what he had at Nevada.

He might take his mentor and former Kansas State head coach Tom Asbury as an assistant. He's been an assistant at Alabama for the last several years so should be familiar with the south. He's a defensive specialist and could be a big help.

As for style of play, he won't field a team as fun to watch as Grant from VCU, but we did beat VCU this year. Fox's defense is a lot like Trent Johnson's. Force teams into the half court, play man to man, deny the 3pt shot, don't be overly aggressive going after steals and rebound everything. He'll throw out a weak trap on occasion, but his defense will be nothing like Grant's. Fox is not as good of a defensive coach as TJ which is why I think he might bring in Asbury.

Offensively it's more of the same. When he said he'll play as fast as he can and still play well, he means it, but don't expect a lot of running up and down the floor. Most of the time his team will bring the ball up slowly and set the triangle offense. He focuses on efficiency in the half court and doesn't try to push the tempo very often. It can be frustrating to watch the team pass the ball around. The offense doesn't use a lot of motion and screens, but it is effective when run properly.

Finally he runs a clean program and players tend to graduate. There will always be discipline issues with college athletes but don't expect him to bring in a lot of players that are going to end up embarrassing the program.

Good luck and Nevada fans will be following your program. We all wish you the best.
photo: ajc.com

On the question as to him losing his temper a lot:

Fox can get pretty animated. In a press conference earlier this year he said most of the fires were started on purpose. I'd guess to motivate players and affect the refs. He obviously intended to get ejected from the VCU game this year and it worked great. The team had been trailing, but when Fox was kicked out the crowd went wild, the players got fired up and Nevada wiped out the deficit and stopped VCU in their tracks. It was only a 2pt win, but VCU hit a 70ft buzzer beater to get it that close.

He has controlled his temper better this season. I'd say he has earned his reputation as a guy that works the refs pretty hard and might yell a bit too much. But I wouldn't say it's a big issue. We actually always look forward to the point in the game where he angrily takes off his jacket and throws it on the chair. It's like Superman coming out of the phone booth.

Our WAC opponents hate him with a passion, but respect him just as much. I wouldn't be surprised if Fox kept his temper tamped down now that he's the new kid on the block. Once he has been in the conference for 3 or 4 years it might come back if he's thinks it will benefit the team.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nevada's Mark Fox to be named new UGA Men's Basketball Coach

Paul breaks it down pretty well at Georgia Sports Blog.

This looks like a pretty nice hire. I hadn't given him the first thought until I saw he had been named the man, which probably bodes well for his success in Athens.

Welcome to Athens, Coach Fox. You've got a big task at hand, but we're pulling for you. Desperately.













Mark Fox Bio