Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday Night Scrimmage


The Dawgs scrimmaged in full pads for an hour and a half at Sanford Stadium under the lights on Saturday night.

This was the 14th preseason practice for the Dawgs and the final one before school starts on Monday. After taking the day off for the first day of classes, Georgia will practice again on Tuesday at the Woodruff Practice Fields.

"It was fun to be under the lights and between the hedges on a Saturday night," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "The guys were playing with a lot of energy and I think the coaches got what they were wanting out of them."

Senior Joe Cox took a majority of the snaps with the No. 1 offense during the last scrimmage, but redshirt sophomore Logan Gray and freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger were behind center for most of Saturday’s scrimmage.

"Cox got less work tonight so that we could give the younger guys some reps and see them move the ball," Richt said.

Murray finished the scrimmage going 5-for-9 for 95 yards as Gray went 6-for-8 for 91 yards to lead the Bulldog passers.

On the receiving end, redshirt sophomore Israel Troupe registered three catches for 37 yards.

Redshirt freshman tailback Carlton Thomas led the way on the ground with 90 yards on six carries as sophomore Richard Samuel scored a touchdown and finished with 55 rushing yards.

Defensively, redshirt freshman safety Makiri Pugh had seven stops to lead his teammates and junior defensive back Chad Gloer had five tackles. Junior Vance Cuff had the game’s only interception and senior Rod Battle led his squad for the second scrimmage in a row in sacks with two and a half.

Richt also noted that the No. 1 offense managed to score three times on the No. 1 defense in goal-line situations, which he said, “doesn’t happen too often.”

The annual Fans Picture Day will be held Saturday, Aug. 22, at Sanford Stadium.


Former Georgia quarterback and Detroit Lions rookie Matthew Stafford finished his first preseason NFL game going 7-for-14 for 114 yards with a touchdown and an interception versus the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.

Former Dawg linebacker Tony Gilbert returned Stafford’s sole interception for a touchdown. In addition, former Dawgs D.J. Shockley, Thomas Brown and Verron Haynes also played for the Falcons in the preseason matchup.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Counting Down To Kickoff


The 13th-ranked University of Georgia football team continued its preparation for the 2009 season with a two and a half hour workout at the Woodruff Practice Fields on Thursday.

The Dawgs practiced in shells coming off of their second two-a-day practice, which included the first scrimmage of camp, yesterday. The team will have two more practice sessions on Friday before holding its second scrimmage this Saturday.

"I would say my overriding feeling of today's practice was that the practice beat us," coach Mark Richt said. "We didn't win the day. We made too many mistakes. They were hot and they were tired, and I thought they gave into that more so than any other day in camp. As a matter of fact, I don't think they had given into it until today actually, so I was a lot disappointed in that. But when you get knocked down you get back up, so we'll see how the leaders handle the adversity of the day and we'll see how we come back tomorrow."

Richt also noted that redshirt junior strong safety Quintin Banks has a knee injury and would miss approximately three weeks, and that the injury puts Banks as questionable for the first game. With injuries at the safety position currently including Banks and fellow redshirt junior Reshad Jones (hamstring), Richt indicated that sophomore Makiri Pugh would see time at the position.

"Reshad will back soon," Richt said. "Banks will be back relatively soon. It's not a situation where we are running into season-ending injuries, but we do need to practice and continue to train people. Makiri certainly has the ability to do both. He will still be working with the nickel, but more than likely he'll get work with the safeties now."

The annual Fans Picture Day will be held Saturday, Aug. 22, at Sanford Stadium.

Dawg defensive tackle Geno Atkins, linebacker Rennie Curran and place-kicker Blair Walsh have been named to Preseason Watch Lists for national awards.

Atkins and Curran are being considered for the Chuck Bednarik Award, honoring the top defensive player in the nation, while Walsh is in contention for the Lou Groza Award, given to the finest place-kicker in college football’s FBS division (Division 1-A).

Atkins, who is also a candidate for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman, started all 13 games last year posting 34 tackles, including 7.5 for 17 yards lost, and leading the Bulldogs with 32 quarterback pressures.

Curran, who was a Butkus Award finalist last season, led the team in tackles (115), tackles for a loss (10.0), sacks (3.0) and forced fumbles (2) and earned the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player Award.

In 2008, Walsh made his debut vs. Georgia Southern connecting for a 52-yard field goal on his first career attempt. He appeared in 13 games last season, connecting on 15-of-23 field goal attempts and recording 75 kickoffs for 4,499 yards. SEC coaches named Walsh Freshman All-SEC in 2008.

Most of the watch lists for national honors are being revealed on a daily basis on ESPN's College Football Live.

Last Thursday, junior safety Reshad Jones was named to the ledger for the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation's top defensive back, and Jeff Owens, senior defensive tackle, was also included on the watch list for the Outland Trophy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fall Practice Is Finally Here

The six months between national signing day and the beginning of fall camp is finally over for the Dawg Nation. The month of June generated some news with a rash of commitments but nothing compares to the month leading up to opening day. Everyone, even South Carolina fans feel like this is going to be the year.

With only three seniors on offense, there are some questions to be answered but with all of the injured defensive players returning and a new kickoff specialist on campus the most asked question is:

"Where is Kwame Geathers?"

The answer is, nobody knows.

Geathers is the last of the class of 2009 to arrive and is still listed as MIA until the clearinghouse finishes all the paperwork.

The offensive line will be the strength on that side of the ball, Trinton Sturdivant and Vince Vance are healthy again and the two deep is as good as anyone in the SEC.

After A.J. Green and Mike Moore, the receivers are young and untested but very talented. The talk of the summer has been Orson Charles, the hybrid tightend slash wide receiver that should make an immediate impact.

Joe Cox will be the starting quarterback and Shaun Chapas will be the fullback.

Caleb King reportedly had a fantastic summer and may be poised to show the skills that made him so highly coveted as a junior in high school, he will be pushed by Richard Samuel and a trio of freshmen.

The tightend positon looks to be greatest area of need with starter Bruce Figgins suspended for the first six games and contemplating a redshirt year, the load will be shifted to Aaron White, Brice Ross or incoming freshman Arthur Lynch.

Over on the defensive side, the return of Jeff Owens is huge, he along with Geno Atkins, Kade Weston, DeAngelo Tyson and Brandon Wheeling will form the best defensive line in the conference.

Roderick Battle is healthy again and will need to have a big senior year to help make up for some of last years lack of production at the defensive end positon. The suspension of Justin Houston will hurt the Dawgs for the first two games, Demarcus Dobbs will have to apply the outside pressure but should benefit by having Owens and Atkins playing to his left.

Rennie Curran and Akeem Dent lead a talented, fast and hard hitting linebacker corps that will be strong up the middle with the return of Marcus Washington.

The secondary will see a new face at short corner where Brandon Boykin will take over for Asher Allen, he will be pushed hard by incoming freshman Brandon Smith. Reshad Jones and Bryan Evans will man the safety positions while returning starter Prince Miller covers the wide side of the field.

Kickoff specialist Brandon Bogotay has arrived from California and the Dawg Nation is praying that he can do more than aim for the corner on short directional kicks. That had to be the most frustrating aspect of last years kicking game, to see opponents consistently playing with a short field following kickoffs. Blair Walsh will handle field goals and Drew Butler looks to take over the punting duties.

If the Dawgs can just avoid the injury bug that attacked them last year, this season could become another great memory by January.

Will they win ten games again? I would bet on it.

Will they play in a bowl? I would bet the farm on this one.

Will they beat the Gators? Asked Santa in North Pole, Alaska and he said YES!

Will they play in Atlanta in December? See above question.

Will they win the SEC? Beat the Gators and it is theirs.

Will they challenge for a national title? If Santa knows his football, they will be in the top five and could well be in position to enter the race if they can stay healthy.