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From the editor : vance leavy Well just in case you didn’t know it, the start of the 2011 season for our beloved Georgia Bulldogs is oh so close now. It’s crazy how long the wait is, but equally nuts how quickly it all goes by once it cranks up. I know that’s certainly been the case the last few weeks of pre-season practice. It began with Media Day at the beginning of August and with a blink of the eye, I found myself this past Saturday taking photos of the players and coaches at the Watermelon Cuttin’ (page 20) that signified the end of Fall Camp, which in the old days was two-a-days. While that time period is roughly a dozen days, the progress that must be achieved towards a successful season is paramount. And after covering a fair amount of those practices, I am digging how things are looking for the upcoming season. First and foremost, Coach T has done a tremendous job of adding and taking away mass where it was needed for each player’s specific needs. Tavarres King has put on 20 lbs of muscle that will certainly help him fend off the big corners of the SEC. And although we love our offensive lineman big, the weight Cordy Glenn has shed is sure to make him even better and more durable this season. Call it what you want, but the physical look of our players going into this season has certainly passed my sight test. And while each new season is always filled with optimism, I have to say I’ve been equally impressed with the mental fortitude of these young men. From the veterans to the members of the Dream Team, you can tell these guys are buying into the vision that Coach Richt and company are stressing. And as you will read in Murray Poole’s story about Richt (page 15), the energy and passion he is showing has certainly caught on company-wide. He has a renewed fire in his belly, which is a must if this program hopes to regain its place among the nation’s best. Still, we all know it takes special players to create special outcomes. And by all accounts, it appears the Dream Team is as good as advertised. Late last week, BI writer, Travis Ragsdale and I were in attendance the first day the freshman spoke to media members. The two of us agreed that what we liked the most was the confidence all the
youngsters possessed. They weren’t cocky, but you got the feeling that if they continue to learn their prospective positions, great things will follow. And the leadership being provided by the likes of Aaron Murray, Ben Jones, Orson Charles, Christian Robinson and Brandon Boykin is beyond stellar. These guys are keeping things fun for the entire team, but aren’t letting up on the importance of finishing the fourth quarter better than they did in 2010. Despite all of these great things happening this pre-season, there’s no denying there’s plenty to worry about as a host of positions have some holes in it. From running back, to receiver, to linebacker, to our offensive line, there are in fact bodies that provide depth, but experience is what is lacking. For that reason, I’m still very cautious to predict a magical season. Yes, it could happen, but I’m thinking 9-3 sounds about right for the 2011 season with losses to South Carolina, one of the Mississippi teams and Auburn. However, our own, Jeff Dantzler in his column (page 4), thinks this year’s team will yield one more victory (10-2) than my prediction which he thinks will be enough for the Bulldog Nation to return to the SEC championship game in December. He’s usually fairly accurate with his season prediction, although he did predict a trip to the Georgia Dome last year as well. We shall soon see and boy I’m counting the days. For now, enjoy our Fall Camp issue of BI. From looking at the players who have turned heads thus far in practice (page 10) to how the offense is striving for more continuity (page 18), both Travis and Murray deliver some excellent insight that’s sure to satisfy your fix for the few remaining days until kickoff. And on the picture front, our cameras have been everywhere from Gainesville to Atlanta to sorority rush in Athens. The many faces and names that we capture in each issue personifies the joy of what being a Georgia Bulldog is all about. Wow, I was about to wrap things up and forget to mention the return of our armchair bandits Gruff and Grump on page 22. This is my favorite time of the year with these guys because they are always optimistic. I’m with them in hoping that their message can remain that way because if that’s the case then our coaches and players are doing their job. Only time will tell. See you in a few weeks with our Boise State issue. Tick tock … tick tock.
2011 Fall Camp Cha Cha Cha Publishing Editor Vance Leavy Editorial & Ad Director Cheri Leavy Sports Guru Jeff Dantzler Public Relations Director Andrew Miller Sales Kelley Blanton Andrew Miller Holly Stanfill Alan Lanier Sports Murray Poole Layout/Design Vance Leavy Photographers Blane Marable, Rob Saye, Ryan Scates Ad Design Cheri Leavy Andrew Miller Cover Photos Rob Saye and Ryan Scates Columnists Carlton DeVooght Al Hickson Reg Murphy Rob Sherrell Loran Smith Chad White Web Maven Cheri Leavy
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jeff dantzler Dogs will get back to the Dome in â€˜11 Itâ€™s tough putting a finger on this Georgia team. Just how good will the Bulldogs be? There are a lot of question marks but an extremely manageable schedule. Last season was one of, if not the most disappointing in Georgia annals. The Bulldogs were armed to make a run at 10-plus wins and the SEC Championship Game. Florida wound up losing five times. Tennessee and Tech both lost seven games. LSU and Alabama, which had won two of the last three national titles werenâ€™t on the schedule. But Georgia came up empty in a bunch of close games, including an embarrassing 10-6 Liberty Bowl loss to Central Florida to culminate a head-banging 6-7 campaign â€“ the Bulldogs first losing record in 14 years. The loss in Memphis pushed many Bulldog faithful over the tipping point. The Georgia people reached a point of disgruntlement not seen since the early to mid 1990s. But there is a great deal of optimism for Georgia moving forward to 2011. There are a lot of question marks, and the Bulldogs have lost a lot more than usual the last two years. So why are there so many smiles and such high hopes for a big fall in Americaâ€™s greatest college town? Following Georgiaâ€™s last game, the Bulldog nation was about as warm and fuzzy as a famished Great White. But hope and some desperately needed positive energy was delivered with an outstanding recruiting class, regarded amongst the countryâ€™s top five and the Southeastern Conferenceâ€™s three best. Highlighting the haul were a slew of the Peach Stateâ€™s best in â€œborder townsâ€? where the Bulldogs have struggled to get a stronghold. Tailback Isaiah Crowell of Columbus, Thomasville defensive end Ray Drew and the dynamic Valdosta duo of Jay Rome and Malcolm Mitchell all committed late in the process to give Georgia a delicious haul. The oversized cherry on top came three afternoons later with the landing of jumbo junior college nose tackle John Jenkins. There was suddenly some sizzle in the Bulldogs steak. The class combined with the return of arguably the conferenceâ€™s best quarterback Aaron Murray and the presumed improvement of a defense in the second year of coordinator Todd Granthamâ€™s base â€œ34â€? scheme should mean a better Bulldogs in 2011. And then there is the schedule. Every year the Bulldogs must face Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Tech. Not that it will be easy by any stretch, but youâ€™d have to go back to 1979 to find the last time that all four of these programs had this many question marks. Phil Fulmerâ€™s final two recruiting classes at Tennessee were relatively weak and Lane Kiffenâ€™s one year turned into a disaster. Derek Dooley is rebuilding, but the Volunteers are still at least a year away from serious SEC title contention. Florida has won two of the last five national championships. But Urban Meyer is gone. Former Georgia walk-on safety Will Muschamp, who had a fast rise as defensive coordinator at Auburn and then Texasâ€™s head coach-in-waiting, takes over in Gainesville. The Gators have talent. No doubt. But not like when Steve Spurrier (1990-2001) and Meyer (20052010) were leading the Gators to three national championships and eight SEC crowns. Ron Zook was in between. If the Gators falter for a couple of seasons, you can bet the comparisons will be made. Muschamp has essentially burned his Georgia alumni card with off-season comments. As a player, he was a part of four straight losses to the Gators. Since 1990 when Spurrier was hired at Florida, the year after Georgia hired Ray Goff, the Gators are 18-3 against the Bulldogs. Georgia needs this one. Badly. Auburn is the defending national champion, but lost a boat-load of talent, including Heisman winner and No. 1 overall NFL Draft choice Cam Newton, BCS Championship Game MVP and defensive line terror Nick Fairley, and an
outstanding offensive line. There are still a lot of good players on the plains. But not like last year. Tech, on the heels of the 2009 ACC title, slumped a year ago, has lost some frontline talent over the last two years, and has the embarrassment of being put on probation â€“ popped as a repeat offender and ordered to vacate their league crown. Georgia last beat these four schools (keep in mind the Bulldogs and Volunteers didnâ€™t play annually until SEC expansion in 1992) in the same season in 1981. These games wonâ€™t be easy, but itâ€™s not Tech from â€™09, Florida from â€™08, Tennessee from â€™98 and Auburn from last season. And the West couldnâ€™t break better. Alabama, LSU and Arkansas are widely considered the three best teams in the Division and all have been picked in various preseason top ten polls. The Dogs donâ€™t play any of them. Again, itâ€™s never, ever easy in the SEC. Itâ€™s always going to be tough. But with the questions surrounding Florida and Tennessee and the break with SEC West foes, it couldnâ€™t be more manageable. South Carolina is the favorite in the SEC East. Spurrier led the Gamecocks to the schoolâ€™s first ever SEC Championship Game last season, and South Carolina returns and brings in a lot of talent. Georgia fell 17-6 in Columbia a year ago and the â€˜Cocks will try and make it two straight over the Bulldogs. History is on their side. South Carolina beat the Bulldogs in back-to-back seasons in 1958-59, 1978-79, 1988-89 and 2000-2001. Georgiaâ€™s first two games against Boise State in the Georgia Dome and the Gamecocks in Sanford Stadium will paint the picture of just how good the Bulldogs can be. The Dogs should be able to handle Boise. South Carolina will be the toughest game of the year. Even if the Bulldogs fall to the Gamecocks, Georgia could still recover and make it back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. South Carolina has a much tougher schedule. The key stretch for Georgia are games four through six â€“ at Ole Miss, home vs. Mississippi State and at Tennessee. If the Bulldogs can win all three and then beat Vanderbilt, a 6-1 overall and 31 SEC mark will give Georgia a great shot at a special season. It would come down, as it has so many times over the past century, to Florida, Auburn and Tech. There are so many questions for Georgia. Can Crowell be an instant star at tailback? Can the receivers produce? Can that rail thin offensive line stay healthy? Can a defense that should be greatly improved with a talent infusion vastly improve, especially against the run, where Georgia got downright gashed and pushed around in the big games? Can the Bulldogs line up on third and short and get the tough first down on the ground? Can the Bulldogs, hit by attrition and injury, overcome low scholarship numbers? These are a lot of questions for a contender. But most of the big boys on Georgiaâ€™s slate have a bunch of questions, too. If Georgia had LSUâ€™s schedule and these questions, a double digit win season would seem a stretch. If Alabama had Georgiaâ€™s schedule, 11-1 would be the minimum. Four of the last five seasons have been disappointing. The Bulldog faithful are hungry for a big year. My esteemed talk show co-host Chris Brame asked for my minimum for an outstanding season. My answer was 10-2 with wins over Tech and Florida. When I look at all the question marks and the number of freshmen that will have to help, 10-2 seems to be aiming too high. When I look at Georgiaâ€™s potential with Murray, those great kickers Drew Butler and Blair Walsh, the talented new faces on both sides of the ball and the manageability of the schedule, the Dogs can absolutely do it - playing their best football in the second half of the season.
poole shots By Murray Poole
Old high school buddies set to shine “Seven come Eleven,” familiar words to gamblers when they roll the dice. But in the case of two of the Georgia Bulldogs’ brightest stars, the No. 11 came first and the No. 7 followed. Aaron Murray was already one of the nation’s top prep quarterbacks at Tampa’s Plant High School before Orson Charles, one of the country’s leading tight end prospects, witnessed Murray in a seven-on-seven competition prior to Charles’ senior season at Riverview High. Observing Murray’s obvious strong passing arm, outstanding footwork and his work ethic in general, Charles just began thinking how great it would be to be on the end of Murray’s passes in his upcoming senior season. Thus, No. 7, Orson Charles, followed No. 11, Aaron Murray to Plant High School and the rest, as they say, is documented history. The two quickly became one of the top prep passing tandems in America while leading Plant to the 2008 Class AAAA state championship. Overcoming a broken leg suffered early in the season, Murray passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns in the state title game to finish the season with 1,927 yards and 33 touchdowns. That, after Murray threw for an incredible 4,013 yards and 51 touchdowns in his junior year at Plant, while also rushing for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns. And one of the biggest reasons Murray had such phenomenal success throwing the ball all over the lot was Charles, who lived up to his billing as the top tight end in Florida by catching 75 passes for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns. Needless to say, Murray and Charles were honored on most of the high school All-America teams. And, then, their high school careers stamped solidly in the record books, No. 7 would follow No. 11 once again. After Murray signed, as expected, with Georgia on National Signing Day in 2009, Charles strung his decision out a little but also inked his scholarship with the Bulldogs a month later, on March 6. “I definitely made that move because of him,” Charles said of his decision to join his former teammate in Athens. “In the end, Aaron said he just wanted me to go where I wanted to go. He said, ‘I'd love for you to come to Georgia, but this is your life. You can’t have any regrets.’” One thing’s for sure, as Mark Richt’s Bulldogs zero in on their 2011 season opener against top-10 ranked Boise State in the Georgia Dome, the entire Bulldawg Nation doesn’t have any regrets over Murray and Charles being in the same football uniform for a fourth straight year. While Murray underwent a redshirt year in his first season at Georgia in ’09, the 6-3, 241-pound Charles earned both freshman All-America and freshman All-SEC honors while catching 23 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns. Then came the 2010 campaign when the 6-1, 211-pound Murray took control of the Bulldog offense and simply had a dazzling season as a redshirt freshman, passing for 3,049 yards and 24 touchdowns (tying for 2nd best in school history) while throwing only eight interceptions. And reunited with his old buddy back on the playing field, Charles enjoyed a sophomore season that saw him snare 26 passes for 422 yards and a pair of scores. Now, as the polished Murray embarks on his redshirt sophomore season and Charles enters his junior campaign, both have been picked for preseason All-SEC first team honors as well as being in the running for a slew of coveted national awards at their respective positions. And with Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo both talking about Charles being a much bigger receiving target for Murray this season – especially with All-America A.J. Green having migrated on to the Cincinnati Bengals – Georgia fans can only rub their hands in anticipation with the thought of the Murray-to-Charles duo once again becoming the deadly pass-catch combo they were in high school. Murray, himself, can’t wait for this to happen. He, of all people, knows the damage an Orson Charles can inflict on an opposing
team’s secondary. “Orson is a tremendous talent,” said Murray. “I don’t think there’s a linebacker as big as him in the SEC – I know that there’s not one as fast as him so the way he can be used in our offense is a blessing to me, I would say. He’s worked hard this off season. I know he’s ready to go. I know his knowledge of the playbook after two seasons has grown tremendously and I think the coaches trust him now a lot more to use him in a lot of different situations, in a lot of different ways, and I think that’s only going to increase in the fall, the number of times the ball is going to be put in his hands,” said Murray. “I feel comfortable reading him, understanding when he’s going to make a certain break or if he’s going to break a certain route high or if he’s going to bring it downhill, stop in a zone. We’ve worked extremely hard since we were at Plant until now and that goes with all the guys. All the guys have been working hard this offseason, understanding what needs to be done with certain routes and timing with me and as a whole offensive unit, I think we’ll be great. I know the camaraderie on this team right now is great. “I’m going to be looking for Orson all year, just the way he’s been able to get open and create mismatches with defenders,” Murray said. “I think he’s definitely going to have a tremendous year. My goal is to get him into the 50s (total catches) this year. I think he definitely has the talent to do that.” Murray added that he wants Charles to set a new Georgia record for catches by a tight end this season. Shannon Brown holds the current record with 49 in 1993. Charles also realizes how fortunate he is to still be catching passes from the deadly accurate (61 percent completion rate in 2010) Murray. “That’s definitely a blessing,” Charles said. “I played in my state game with Aaron, I played in my (U.S.) Army game with him, I played high school ball with Aaron and my college games with him so I don’t know many people out there that can say that. So just as Aaron knows what I’m doing, I know what he’s doing and all that comes with hard work. After practice, we work on stuff we missed in practice so, like I say, all that comes with hard work.” It’s also a blessing to Mike Bobo to have these two guys lining up in his starting offense. “Obviously, there’s a connection between those two,” Bobo said.” They’re on the same page on certain routes that will help. Orson has done a great job of making plays for us and will continue to make them and we’ve got some things in the offense this year, we’re going to try to get the ball to him more.” And says Bulldogs tight end coach John Lilly: “I think it even goes beyond that (the two’s long-time connection). Both are experienced a little bit more at this level so certainly they’re experienced a little bit more in our offense. You’d like to think that would mean something and would help their unspoken communication, or whatever you want to call it, be a little bit better.” Lilly isn’t about to make a prediction of Charles catching something like 50 passes this season but at the same time he says there should be plenty of opportunities for his talented tight end as the year unfolds. “You never know how things are going to play out,” said Lilly. “We’ve got some very talented wide receivers, I think our backs are catching the ball really well also but certainly, there are going to be opportunities in the passing game at the University of Georgia for the tight ends. That’s probably the most natural position to try to create mismatches with because you can kind of hopefully keep certain defensive personnel in the game and do things with that. But I guess it remains to be seen (on Charles getting the ball a great deal more).” So, for Georgia fans, they’re hoping “Seven come Eleven” will roll up big on the Southeastern Conference playing fields in this new football season and help pace the Bulldogs back to the Georgia Dome a second time this autumn. Uh, make that “11-to-7.”
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Fall Camp: Grantham’s ultimate goal No-non-sense, defensive coordinator wants wins no matter the situation By Murray Poole
eorgia’s second-year defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He shoots straight from the hip in discussing how he wants his Bulldog defenders to perform and get things done out on the playing field. And, in a way, that’s most refreshing this day and time … people telling you exactly what they think and not beating around the bush and giving you just what you might like to hear. For instance, when asked by Bulldog Illustrated to list the top five goals for his defense this fall, Grantham said he has only one goal that matters. “The first thing, I want to win,” declared Grantham. “I don’t think there’s any more after that. Whatever the situation is we’re going to win. If we’re up 6-3, we’re gonna hold them, if it’s 30 to 30 in overtime, we’ve got to stop them,” Grantham said. “If they get in the red zone, you’ve got to make them kick field goals. If they’ve got the ball on third down, you’ve got to stop them. But really the most important goal is to improve wins so whatever it takes to do that, that’s what we’re going to do.” In other words, it doesn’t matter to Grantham so much how his defensive players go about it, at the end of the day his only concern is that the opposing team has less points than Georgia has. After the Bulldogs have had a full season to buy into Grantham’s 3-4 defensive scheme, the Georgia coordinator believes his unit is miles ahead of where it was last August at this time but still, as the Bulldogs begin preparing to slow down Boise State’s explosive attack in the Sept. 3 season opener at the Georgia Dome, Grantham continues to look for more competitiveness from his players. “The guys that have been here and been in our system, they know what we expect and I’ve been pleased with what they’ve done,” said Grantham. “And you can tell they’ve busted their tails in the offseason. I think that the guys (Dream Team class) that have come in are talented but you know it takes more than talent. It takes knowing our system, knowing what to do and how to do it, it takes playing fast and it takes 11 guys on the field at the same time. So if you’re on the field and you’re wearing a defensive jersey for us, you better understand the things we want and be ready to perform,” he said. “We’ve got some players who are competing and some players that need to learn how to compete.” The Bulldogs’ starting inside linebackers, junior Christian Robinson and sophomore Alec Ogletree, feel the defense has made great strides and will be a vastly im-
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proved unit this season, after giving up 22 points a game and being last in the SEC at stopping teams on third down in 2010. “We need to be aggressive in attacking, be disciplined in executing and ultimately win,” said Robinson, the duly appointed leader of the Georgia defense. “Those will be the things we need to do to get to where we want to be. The big difference this year over last year will be just reacting instead of out there just thinking. “Basically, everybody knowing what to do and getting to the ball is our biggest thing,” said Ogletree. "We need everybody to the ball every time. If we can do that we have a shot at being a pretty good defense. It’s a whole lot different on the field than it was last year. Everybody’s attitude is totally different as far as wanting to get to the ball. Everybody wants to be playmakers so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to work hard this year.” An important cog in the Bulldogs’ overall defensive production this year will be senior All-America punter Drew Butler. Once again, Butler’s booming kicks will be vital in backing up the opposing team’s offense and thus giving the Georgia defense excellent field position from which to work. “You can tell definitely those guys are reacting more than thinking out there on the practice field and have really grasped what Coach Grantham wants them to do and they’ve brought it every day in practice,” said Butler. “Our defense has got a lot of speed, they’ve got a lot of fire and they’re making plays which is the most important thing. So I think that’s what Coach Grantham wants to see and like I say, there’s a lot of time between now and Sept. 3 but hopefully things can come around and they can really make an impact on game day.” After averaging a nation-leading 48.1 yards a punt in 2009 when he won the coveted Ray Guy Award, Butler, the son of Georgia all-time kicking legend Kevin Butler, came back with a 44.5 average in his junior season last fall. He’s shooting for his most effective season yet in 2011, which will only be a greater plus for the UGA defense and the team as a whole. photo by Rob Saye “I think my main goal this year is to try and take the year I had in 2009 and the year I had in 2010 and kind of bundle them together,” Butler said. “I feel like I was a better team punter last year, got a lot more hang time, limited return yards a lot, and I just kind of want to take that power and finesse I’ve had the past two years and put them into one, have a complete season that will kind of catapult me the rest of my career.”
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Fall Camp: Headturners A mixture of veterans and dream teamers has caught the eyes of Georgia coaching staff thus far By Travis Ragsdale
hen they all first signed, everyone in the Bulldog Nation anxiously awaited the arrival of the Dream Team recruiting class of 2011. Now that they have made their arrival in Athens, the Dream Team is living up to its billing as one of the best classes Mark Richt has ever signed. Since June, rumors abounded about a freshman receiver who was lighting it up during 7-on-7 drills this summer. Most of the time, success during the summer without pads and without coaches does not translate to success once real practice starts the first week of August. But for Malcolm Mitchell, summer success has led to fall fruition and he isn’t looking back now. “I’m just out there trying to work hard, get better everyday. We’ve been competitive so I’ve just wanted to show the team I was all in and work as hard as I can,” said Mitchell. The gushing over Mitchell began back in July when Aaron Murray said that the freshman from Valdosta could start for any team in the country at SEC Media Days. The quote was taken with skepticism by most of the media considering the fact that Mitchell had yet to even practice at the college level yet. Now that he has practiced, his coaches are seeing some of what Murray was seeing this summer but they aren’t ready to crown him the next A.J. Green just yet. "If you go by what happened today, you say he's going to be really good," Richt said after one of the two scrimmages held this Fall Camp. "During the scrimmage he had some typical freshman mistakes in regards to assignments he missed. Of course, he hasn't played in a game that counts but he's got the playmaking ability about him to help you win." With the lack of depth along the offensive line, Oline coach Will Friend was hoping he would get at least one member of the Dream Team to help provide depth to his starting five. He’s been lucky and gotten two. “Watts [Dantzler] and [David] Andrews are the guys I’ve been impressed with. They’re the guys working with the second group. So much of that [playing time] depends on what happens to the guys in front of them. But they’re both backing up two pretty good players so that helps,” said Friend. Of course there’s that running back that goes by the name of Isaiah Crowell as well. Crowell was expected to turn heads but even he has exceeded the expectations of the coaching staff. “Isaiah’s come in and very much exceeded where I even thought he was going to be. He can very good, just really really good. Very eager. You’re very excited about it when you see him out there. He’s a guy that you have to make sure you keep him out of there because he’s going to want to jump in there and get extra reps and things like that,” said running back coach, Bryan McClendon. While many on the Dream Team have gone above and beyond what has been expected of them thus far in practice, freshmen aren’t going to bring the Dawgs back to competing for SEC Championships; it’s going to be the veterans on the team that lead Georgia back to former glory. One veteran player that nobody can stop talking about is junior wide receiver Marlon Brown. “If I had to say one that’s really impressed me this camp is Marlon Brown. He’s done a tremendous job. Turning everyone’s head.” says Aaron Murray, “A lot of the guys on the team have come to me and been like, ‘man, he’s looking awesome out there.’ Coach Richt asked me the other day the same question and I told
him the same thing. I don’t think he’s had a bad day yet.” Brown can impress his fellow teammates all he wants but it’s the coaches that will ultimately make the decision on his amount of playing time. Good thing for Marlon, the coaches are impressed as well. Without hesitation, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo named Marlon as the number one guy that has caught his attention this camp. “I’ve been really really pleased with how he’s played, his condition. He’s more flexible, he’s running harder, he’s in shape and he’s making a ton of catches,” said Bobo. On the other side of the ball, the ever versatile Branden Smith has cemented himself as a very capable cornerback opposite of Brandon Boykin. Boykin has once again had himself a great Fall Camp in spite of missing a few days with a slight hamstring injury. For Smith all indications are that he’s a completely different player from a year ago. “Branden is a new player from last year. He’s focused himself,” said Richt of Smith’s days at practice thus far. “He worked real hard this off-season to get his body where it needed to be and he’s playing more physical. It’s been great to see it from him because we all knew he had the ability.” Another player that has caught the eye of coaches in the defensive back field is another dream teamer, Damian Swann. Many believed that Swann would not have developed physically enough to play a large role on an SEC defense. Apparently, that’s no longer the case. “Damian has done a really good job of learning. He’s got a better feel at this point in time for what’s going on. He’s got more work still but he’s playing bigger than he is and that’s encouraging,” said defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos. With Aaron Murray at the helm on the offensive side of the ball, Georgia was hoping a leader would step up on the defense to fill that void. Enter Christian Robinson. Robinson appeared in all 13 games in the 2010 season making 11 starts. But now, the coaches are expecting even more out of him with another season under his belt. “Christian has done a great job in his ability to recognize things, to communicate things, to get guys lined up quickly, to allow everybody to be ready faster so they can play better and faster,” said Coach Richt. “He’s really done a nice job.” Of course there is also USC transfer Jarvis Jones who will stand along side Robinson in leading the Dawg defense. When asked about the importance of Jones being cleared by the NCAA to play, Todd Grantham looked up at reporters and said, "What do you think? Put yourself in my shoes." Any player to garner that reaction from the stone faced Grantham is sure to be an All-SEC caliber player. Georgia has never had trouble bringing players in from high school with plenty of talent. That was proven once again this past recruiting cycle with the arrival of the Dream Team class. The problem for Georgia has been getting the most out of that talent once they arrive on campus. This season though, it looks like the talent from the Dream Team class is being utilized the way that it should; by getting those guys on the field and in the position to make plays. Combine that with the emergence of some of the veteran players and you have a formula for success. Fans will see if that formula provides the answers they’re looking for September 3rd against Boise State.
photos by Rob Saye
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2011 UGA SPIRIT SHIRT The 2011 UGA Student designed and student voted Spirit shirt is here! It’s your school…it should be your shirt. Proceeds will go to benefit students and student organizations associated with Student Affairs. Thanks to the students and State Farm for their support. Don’t be the “ONE” without spiriting on our Dogs!
Fall Camp: A re-energized Richt Players and assistant coaches following the lead of UGAâ€™s headman who enters his 11th season with fire and energy By Murray Poole
hen Mark Richt walked out of Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Dec. 31 of this past year, following a disappointing 10-6 setback to Central Florida, one couldnâ€™t blame the Georgia head coach if he had gone out and purchased dark sunglasses and a black suit and entered an extended period of mourning. After all, Richt and his Bulldogs didnâ€™t expect to lose this football game to the upstart Knights and end the 2010 season on such a downer. And, too, they most assuredly didnâ€™t expect to end the season with a dismal 6-7 overall record â€Ś the first losing season for Richt in his 10 years at the Georgia helm. But that session of mourning and Richt wringing his hands in despair on what had just transpired didnâ€™t happen. Just the opposite as the Bulldog coach left Memphis that New Yearâ€™s Eve day with his jaw firmly set toward getting the Georgia football train back on a championship track. Richt knew he had his program in place, knew he had the athletes to return to the upper echelon of the Southeastern Conference and, yes, knew he and his staff were capable of winning the conference championship again â€Ś the way Richtâ€™s early Bulldog teams did in 2002 and 2005. And Richtâ€™s positive mindset concerning his football program gained even more momentum in early February of this year when the Georgia coaching staff inked one of the top six recruiting classes in the country, â€œThe Dream Team,â€? if you will. Bottom line, Mark Richt has been re-energized in a big way as the Bulldogs fast approach the 2011 season opener against top-10 ranked Boise State Sept. 3 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome. Said Richt on National Signing Day: â€œI feel revived as a coach. I think coaching football at this level can wear anybody out and certainly coaches get worn out pretty good sometimes. But a lot of the reason I talked about feeling that rejuvenation is because of Mr. (athletic director Greg) McGarity coming in and the way he has just constantly been talking to me about what can we do, what do you need coach to succeed? And weâ€™ve already been implementing a lot of things we feel like we need to have success. So thatâ€™s been exciting for me and for this (recruiting) class to come through the way that it did, I think the Bulldog Nation is excited, our current players are excited and I know this class is excited.â€? Georgia AD McGarity sees his head coach being re-energized through not having to deal with non-football related issues as much. â€œI think Mark has been able to spend more time on football this summer because of the conduct of the team this summer,â€? said McGarity. â€œWhen you donâ€™t have to expend a lot of energy, go to a lot of meetings, have a lot of discussions on what to do â€Ś Mark and I have not had one conversation this summer about student conduct. So just doing that would allow somebody to focus. It would be like you and me, if we had things going on in our personal lives that were causing us problems, it would take away from things that would help us get our job done. â€œSo I think,â€? said McGarity, â€œthe conduct of our football team in the summer has really allowed him to focus all his energy on football and player development instead of worrying about whoâ€™s going to be eligible, whoâ€™s in trouble and things of that nature. So I think that the support system that is in place has allowed him to really focus more on Xâ€™s and Oâ€™s rather than having to worry about other things that consume so much energy. â€œI think Coach Richt has been more pro-active with his staff, I think heâ€™s been more demanding and I just think heâ€™s been able to devote more time to it because we just have not experienced any problems this summer.â€? Certainly, the Georgia players and coaches have taken notice of their head coachâ€™s personal rejuvenation and they say itâ€™s brought a feeling of excitement that has spread throughout the entire team. â€œCoach Richt gave us a speech last night during our first team meeting and I told Coach (Mike) Bobo afterward that was my favorite speech Coach Richt has given in three years,â€? said sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray, speaking on the opening day of fall practice. â€œHe was pumped up, energized, motivating. I walked out of the room like â€˜wow.â€™ I know players are ready to go but Coach Richt is ready to go fight somebody right now,â€? declared Murray. â€œI
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talked to some of the players and they loved it too. I know he has the right mindset, I know heâ€™s ready to work just like the rest of the coaches are. Coach Richtâ€™s speech was a little bit of everything. It was a good 20-minute speech and I know I walked out of there ready to go play Boise State, at 10 oâ€™clock last night.â€? Commenting on Richtâ€™s fiery opening speech to the team, junior wide receiver Marlon Brown quipped, â€œI was like, â€˜whoa Coach, the game is a month away, weâ€™ve got time.â€™ When coach is fired up, weâ€™re fired up even more. Coach Richt, to me, is more vocal this year,â€? added Brown. â€œAt practice, heâ€™s like, â€˜youâ€™ve got to do this on this play or youâ€™ve got to do this on that play.â€™ Iâ€™ve definitely seen a lot more fire in him.â€? Redshirt sophomore tight end Arthur Lynch said Richt injected a great deal of motivation into the Bulldogs prior to spring practice and on through the off-season workouts. â€œWeâ€™ve got this thing from Coach Richt, â€˜getting on the bus,â€™â€? said Lynch. â€œEveryone read this book called â€œThe Energy Busâ€? and guys were saying â€˜whatâ€™s this?â€™ but when you think about it, itâ€™s true. We have to come together as a group, itâ€™s not about individuals, itâ€™s about coming together and trying to win ballgames and if not win ballgames, make sure we have no regrets when we leave the field. And I think we will see the results. â€œIâ€™ve seen this new energy level from everybody,â€? Lynch continued. â€œIâ€™ve seen it from Coach Richt, Coach Bobo, Coach Lilly, the defensive coaches. And especially from Coach Bobo. Itâ€™s funny because I always joke with Coach Bobo how we come from opposite ends of the world, he being from South Georgia and Iâ€™m up in Massachusetts. But Iâ€™ve got so much respect for Coach Bobo because he always stays motivated. And his passion for Georgia football is unparalleled from anything else Iâ€™ve ever seen. Yesterday morning, or the day before, in a team meeting he was just so passionate. The hairs on my arm stand up when Iâ€™m talking about him. â€œAnd Coach Richt is the same way,â€? said Lynch. â€œI know he didnâ€™t play at Georgia but his heart and devotion to this school and this program, it gets me excited because one of the things I came in here I was like, I love my teammates and I want to win no matter what but I was never like the â€˜G,â€™ the â€˜G,â€™ red and black. Itâ€™s not to say that I donâ€™t love it but I didnâ€™t grow up around it and now Iâ€™ve met people in the program who really invest in this team and have their hearts in this team and to me, itâ€™s cool. I love being a part of it and red-shirting helped me see that. It helped me see the other perspective and just to see those coaches so excited, it gets me excited, not only for the first game but every game. From the first to the last and hopefully Atlanta again. Hopefully,â€? said Lynch, â€œweâ€™ll go to Atlanta three times this year (for Boise State, Georgia Tech and SEC title game) and weâ€™ll see how it goes.â€? The Bulldogsâ€™ assistant coaches have witnessed Richtâ€™s newfound enthusiasm first hand. â€œI just think Coach Richt is ready for some football,â€? declared offensive coordinator Bobo. â€œAnytime you go through what we went through last year, as a competitor itâ€™s disappointing. Itâ€™s now kind of like when we first got here, hey, weâ€™re starting over from scratch, weâ€™re establishing all the rules over, all the expectations over. Coach Richt came here to win championships and thatâ€™s how he expects everybody to work and go about their business and you can just see it coming out of him.â€? Georgia tight ends coach John Lilly thinks Richtâ€™s new energy level has spread all across the coaching staff. â€œI think everybody has had that kind of energy,â€? he said. â€œI think itâ€™s one of those things probably for all of us. You take a step back and youâ€™re not satisfied with what youâ€™ve done and certainly when you have a year like the ones weâ€™ve had particularly the last couple of years. And when you start looking at why you havenâ€™t gotten it done, itâ€™s a little thing here, a little thing there, maybe we coach a little bit better, coach a little bit harder, do this, do that, whatever, and I think you also realize the great opportunity that you have just to do what we do every day and what a blessing that is.â€? Most definitely, if the Georgia Bulldogs themselves show the fire and energy this football season that has been rekindled in their head coach, then there are going to be a lot of smiles around this program at seasonâ€™s end.
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UGA DAY Atlanta Glenn Rosdeutscher and Branch Sinkule
Bob Ingram and Mays Dowis
Ryan Rutherford and Eddie Flynt
Carren Stacks, Herbie Stockman and Catherine Stockman Patti Peach, Amy Bohanan and Susan Collins
Allie Cheek, Kailyn Thomas, Hairy Dawg, Aubrey Sutter and Sidni Vaughn
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SUPPORT EARLY CHILDHOOD LITERACY Designate the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation as your charity of choice when you purchase your McGladrey Golf Classic tickets during their Tix4Kids campaign and help this community’s early childhood literacy effort, ‘Baby Steps.’
A Seaside Tradition An Oĸcial PGA TOUR event, The McGladrey Classic earns the disƟŶcƟon of being hosted by Davis Love III on St. Simons Island at Sea Island Golf Club. Showcasing this area’s rich culture, history and extraordinary hospitality, there’s no beƩer place to spend Ɵme with family and friends or cƵůƟvate business relaƟonships. Proceeds beneĮt Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other local children and family cŚĂƌŝƟĞƐ͘
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Great Cause Baby Steps www.CoastalGeorgiaFoundation.org
THE UGA ALUMNI ALUMNI ASSOCIATION ASSSOCIA AT TION INVITES Y YOU OU O TO TO KICK OFF FRIDAY! FRIDA AY Y!
Join UGA alumni and friends at Join a the Tate Taate SStudent tudent Center Grand Grand Hall Hall for a day full of food, networking, networking, and fun! At At breakfast breakfast we we will hear the latest news news from from Coach C Mark Mark Richt. For For lunch, we we will be joined joiined by by SSheryl heryl McGarity, McGarityy, Cindy Fox Fox and an nd other coaches wives to learn about being beeing a part part of coaches’’ wives B ulldog Nation Nation from from the perspective perspeective of a Bulldog coach’s coach h’s family. familyy.
Bulldog Bulldog Breakfast Breakfast Club with h Coach Mark Mark Richt 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
October 10-16, 2011 mcgladreyclassic.com
W omen o of UGA Lunch Lunch with h Sheryl Sheryl M cGarity and Cindy Fox Fox Women McGarity 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
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UGA DAY Atlanta Kyle Pearson and Christi Clark
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On Baxter, between the dorms and Milledge
Fall Camp: Offensive continuity Finishing the fourth quarter a must in 2011 for Bobo’s unit By Murray Poole
he Georgia offense certainly played well enough to win more than six football games during the 2010 season. Under offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, the Bulldogs averaged 32 points per game and in 10 of their 13 games, tallied at least 24 points or more. Georgia put up such gaudy individual-game point totals as 55, 41, 43, 44, 31, 55, 31, and 42. But, that said, the Bulldogs’ offensive unit was hardly a smooth-operating machine last season. A team doesn’t finish 6-7 without having problems on both sides of the ball. With Aaron Murray starting his first SEC game at quarterback, Georgia could muster only two Blair Walsh field goals in a 17-6 loss at South Carolina. The Bulldogs could score only 12 points in a 24-12 setback at Mississippi State and could tally just a measly six points in a bitter 10-6 loss to Central Florida in the Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl. And even when Georgia lit up the scoreboard frequently in games against Arkansas, Colorado, Florida and Auburn, costly turnovers, failure to cash touchdowns in the red zone (only a 62 percent conversion rate) and just an inability to finish strong in the fourth quarter would spell defeat for the Bulldogs in those high-scoring affairs. Now, as the Georgia offense stands just over two weeks from the Sept. 3 season opener against Boise State in the Georgia Dome, Bobo and his players are striving to put the inconsistencies of 2010 far into their rearview mirror. Indeed, the Bulldogs are harping mightily on the two C’s for the 2011 campaign – consistency and continuity. In order for Georgia to become a real player once again in the Southeastern Conference championship race, members of the Bulldog offense know that, scoring-wise, they have to be just as productive at the end of games as they are at the start of them. “We just need to finish games, especially in the fourth quarter,” said Murray. “If you look at our production in the first three quarters of games, we were moving the ball great and then the fourth quarter we died down a little bit. We’ve just got to keep that intensity going throughout the game. Also, make a lot less mental mistakes at all positions. We just need to stay mentally focused throughout the games and I think we’ll be fine. One play can change an entire game. A play here and a play there last season, we could have been a 10-win team,” said Murray. “We’ve just got to come up with the mentality you’ve got to focus playing and play out and be ready when that big play comes our way.” Junior tight end Orson Charles and redshirt sophomore tight end Arthur Lynch say there’s no real secret to the Georgia offense having success this season. The Bulldogs just have to go out and fight and execute and do whatever it takes to score more points than their opponent, they say. “We just need to win, do whatever it takes to win,” said Charles. “As an offense, we’re going to put the team first. Whatever Coach Bobo wants us to do … jump off a bridge, run into a wall, that’s what we’re going to do because we want to win. We need to just have fun doing what we’re doing. We say, ‘ah, we’ve got to come to practice, we got to do this,’ but we just have to embrace it, thank God we’re doing it. We just need to go out there and have fun. This offense has got a lot of talent and I can’t wait to see what we’re going to do.” “I think the offense’s goals, No. 1, is to win games,” echoed Lynch. “I think last year we were literally this close in some games to being a 10 or 11-win team and that’s what we’re striving to be. We’ve got the talent, you can see it out there. The first few days of practice, I’ve never seen this much excitement coming from a team. Whether it’s a walk-on or a starting quarterback like Aaron, everyone wants to compete. I just think everyone’s excited. We want to put Georgia back where it belongs. We’ve got great coaches, a great staff, great players and we do have good kids.” Newly-converted junior tailback Richard Samuel thinks the team’s new strength and conditioning program and grueling pre-season workouts are going to pay big dividends this season. “I think our offense really has a good chance of reaching our goals this year,” Samuel said. “We’re out there fighting, out there playing hard, practicing hard every day. I know everybody on offense is determined. We have our mindset
we’re going to buy in when we get on the bus and do what it takes to get to that one goal.” That’s exactly the same thoughts owned by sophomore guard Chris Burnette. “I feel like the conditioning we’ve done is trying to train us to finish at the end,” Burnette said. “I think that we’re trying to just drill it in our minds to finish the drill. That’s our marquee quote we’ve been using, we’ve been using for about 10 or 12 years. We’re really trying to focus on that and use that and do that because that’s what they did when they won the SEC championship in ’02 and ’05 and, hopefully, we can use that same mindset where we can go out and finish in the fourth quarter.” To a man, all of the UGA offensive players point to those fourth-quarter lapses of a year ago. Senior center Ben Jones: “This year we just want to finish the fourth quarter. I know we left a lot of points out there and made a lot of mental errors in the fourth quarter. I know some games we had a great first- through-third quarters. This year we want to finish the game and get some wins in the fourth quarter.” Senior tackle Cordy Glenn: “Just need to finish. We lost a lot of games in the fourth quarter last year, just learning how to finish, just fighting through and trying to win in the fourth quarter. We just have to play as a unit and get after it.” In Hutson Mason’s mind, one can talk all about consistency, finishing the game … what have you. But he says it all comes down to the offense making plays when the game goes on the line. “Basically, besides our offense losing A.J. (Green) which was a huge loss, I think with a lot of things we did last year, football comes down to just making plays,” said the Bulldogs’ No. 2 quarterback. “The coaches can coach us up but, ultimately, it’s about making plays. Making plays will enable us to finish and win ballgames.” As for offensive coordinator Bobo himself, he doesn’t think the Bulldogs were that far away from accomplishing their goals last season. But again, he says Georgia simply has to take better advantage of its scoring opportunities this fall. And, he believes the Bulldogs’ talented freshman class is capable of providing a great deal of help in this area. “As far as finishing in the red zone goes,” said Bobo, “Coach Richt has done a great job structuring practice, where we’re working on some of our deficiencies where we didn’t finish last year. We were pretty good statistically in the red zone last year but if you look at our losses, we left some opportunities on the board in the red zone so today’s practice (in camp’s opening days) was focused on finishing in the red zone. Obviously,” added Bobo, “you always want to get points and field goals aren’t the end of the world but when we have opportunities to make touchdowns, we’ve got to score them, especially in this league in tight games. So today was finishing in the red zone and we did a pretty good job. “Among our freshmen, we’ve got some very athletic guys at the skill positions,” Bobo said. “They’ve got a chance to be some of the most athletic guys we’ve ever had at Georgia since I’ve been here. All of them are green, all of them are learning and their heads are spinning but they can make plays. I feel good about those guys. (Malcolm) Mitchell, Christian Conley, Christian LeMay and over on the defensive side, Damian Swann, Nick Marshall, Chris Sanders … those are some athletic jokers and are making plays. “Richard (Samuel) has done a really good job coming over,” Bobo pointed out. “He’s run extremely hard and picked up things kind of where he left off. There’s a little bit of knowledge gap but he’s done a good job of picking it up. Isaiah (Crowell) has done a pretty good job for a freshman understanding what to do a little better than we thought and hoped and he’s a little bit ahead of the curve. He’s still got a long way to go to learn. It’s tough for any freshman to come in when you throw everything on them but we’re happy with what we see. Both of those guys have shown good signs of making really good runs. I’ve seen speed at the tailback position with Richard and Crowell and (Brandon) Harton has still made a lot of plays. Those three have got more speed to be the one difference, and Ken Malcome ran the ball hard today, which was good to see. In the red zone you get a little tighter and he ran hard and physical. He’s a different type of runner.”
Photos by Rob Saye
Fall Camp: Position by Position Depth chart far from concrete as talented players make their case By Travis Ragsdale
ake no mistake about it, there are tons of question marks all over the field for the Georgia Bulldogs 2011 season. There are only a few positions that have solidified returning players at them and generally speaking, that does not usually translate to a winning season. The difference for Georgia is that while there may be question marks, there are also boat loads of talent. And that’s something that Bulldog fans can hang their hat on.
Quarterback By now, everyone and their brother knows that Aaron Murray will be Georgia’s starting quarterback for the 2011 season. Barring injury, this is one of the few positions that coaches can have total confidence in going into the game against Boise State. Murray has continued to look strong through all of Fall Camp, showing his strong work ethic day-in and day-out on the practice field. In case of injury, Murray is backed-up by Hutson Mason who, like Murray, brings a determined attitude to practice everyday and has proven to coaches that he can handle the offense if something were to happen to Aaron Murray. Following those two on the depth chart is highly touted freshman Christian Lemay. Lemay is and will be the quarterback of the future.
Mark Richt - “Murray, just the fact he was a quarterback,
was a leader a year ago, but now he's much more comfortable in his role. He knows that he's experienced SEC football for a year. He knows he's had enough success for the team to have confidence in him and he knows that if he keeps preparing the way he does he's going to have success.”
Running Backs It’s been an interesting off-season in the offensive backfield to say the least. With the departure of Washaun Ealey from the team and the news that Caleb King was academically ineligible, Georgia fans began to worry about who was going to tote the rock for the Georgia offense. Enter Isaiah Crowell; rated by many as the best prep running back in the country, Georgia got a good one in Crowell. He has lived up to his reputation and will receive a large amount of carries for the Dawgs this fall. Sharing those carries will be Richard Samuel. Yes, this is the same Richard Samuel who was moved away from the running back position a year ago so that he could play linebacker. He is now back at the running back position and looking better than ever. Richard Samuel - “Just going right back to offense, I came
here the first two years and played offense so I’ve learned the complete playbook. I’ve learned what to do. So it’s just going back to the same thing I started with.”
Tight Ends If you ask the tight ends on Georgia’s roster they’ll tell you that they call UGA “Tight End U.” Considering the depth that UGA has at this position, that’s a pretty apt name. Orson Charles and Aron White have cemented themselves as two go-to players at any point in any game. Add the physical speciman Arthur Lynch and freshman phenom Jay Rome and the Bulldawgs have one heck of a rotation at the tight end position. Charles and White will get the majority of the snaps in 2011 with Orson being the number one on the depth chart. Lynch will prove to be a great asset in short yardage situations much like Bruce Figgins was last year (Figgins is now at fullback). There is a good chance you will see Jay Rome get some touches as well. He’s an extremely gifted athlete that will certainly push for playing time as the season rolls along.
Tight end coach John Lilly- “I think it’s important offensively to spread the ball around and that you involve everybody. Whoever is in at a given time at the tight end position I think it’s important that they get their shots.”
Offensive Line The bane of every Georgia fans existence for the last four or five years. It’s tough to say but the offensive line might be in for another long year in 2011 as well. The starting group which will likely include Cordy Glenn (LT), Chris Burnette (LG), Ben Jones (C), Kenarious Gates (RG) and Justin Anderson (RT) is a good group. It’s what is backing them up that has some of the coaches worried. Dallas Lee didn’t get to play all spring due to a respiratory issue, Kolton Houston has yet to live up to his billing as a top prospect and Austin Long is out currently with a case of mononucleosis. Those are the top three backups along the offensive line right now. After that, the Dawgs begin dipping into freshmen with Watts Dantzler and David Andrews showing out amongst the Dream Team offensive linemen. These boys may be big but the depth is thin. Offensive line coach Will Friend- “I like what I see with the first group as far as playing together as a group and they’ve done a good job with executing and they’ve got to keep that up. We’ve just got to challenge the guys behind them, some of the young guys.”
Defensive Line The 3-4 scheme that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham employs calls for two defensive ends and one nose guard to occupy opponents offensive linemen allowing the linebackers to roam free and make plays. The 2010 version of the Georgia defense did not have the personnel along the defensive line to achieve this objective. Now, with the emergence of nose guard Kwame Geathers and new addition John Jenkins, the Dawgs are in a position to have one of the most dominating defensive lines in the SEC. These two behemoths of men are bookended by veterans DeAngelo Tyson and Abry Jones. Whether it’s Jenkins or Geathers who is in the the game, the Georgia defensive line will have over 900 pounds of pure power to push around opposing teams offensive lines. John Jenkins - “I look at Kwame and I like a one-two punch. I’m working with Kwame, Kwame’s working with me. I don’t care who is in front of me just as long as we win. That’s what I care about. I’m trying to be a part of a winning program.”
Linebackers Just like at wide receiver, Georgia lost a lot of talent at linebacker this offseason. Justin Houston, Daryll Gamble and Akeem Dent all are gone to the NFL and Marcus Dowtin was dismissed from the team. Lucky for the Dawgs, they gained a couple of potential star players in the linebacker corps as well. Alec Ogletree moved down from safety this offseason and will look to be a force opposite Christian Robinson in the middle. Another addition (and possibly the most important to Georgia’s season) is outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. Jones, a transfer from USC, sat out last year as per NCAA rules. Recently, there was some question whether he would be eligible to play this year based upon a possible recruiting infraction that occurred when he was in high school. Thankfully, Jones was cleared of any wrongdoing just recently and is set to go as one of the starters at outside linebacker. On the other side will likely be Cornelius Washington. Washington, who may have the best measurables on the Georgia roster has yet to come into his own as a football player yet. Coaches are hoping that he has developed into the pass rushing force that everyone has been hoping for this past year. Linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti - “They’re looking good. They’re all working. The guys are running around trying to play the right way. Sometimes they don’t necessarily do the right things on every play but they’re trying to play the game the way it should be played.”
Georgia is obviously losing a lot from last season with the departure of the two leading receivers from the 2010 squad. A.J. Green was one of the best receivers to ever play at Georgia and Kris Durham provided a nice balance on the other side of the offensive line of scrimmage. That’s going to be tough to replace for Coach Richt and company but the talent is surely there to do it. Tavarres King is the top returner of the group and has greatly matured physically from where he was this time last season. The other receivers are somewhat of a question mark for the Dawgs. The logical other choice for starting receiver is Marlon Brown who has received rave reviews from everyone during Fall Camp. Other players that will look to get in the mix include Rantavious Wooten, Michael Bennett and of course, the freshman sensation Malcolm Mitchell. Mitchell is another player who has gotten a stellar review this Fall Camp and will see the ball in his hands a lot because of his ability to make things happen. The receiver position may look a little unstable now, but there are too many playmakers to not give Aaron Murray some great targets to throw to in 2011.
Similar to quarterback, the defensive secondary is all but set in their starters and it appears the Dawgs have four good ones to put back there. At corner, Brandon Boykin will once again occupy one spot. And Branden Smith seems to be the likely candidate to start opposite of Boykin as coaches were very impressed with Smith this Fall Camp. Coach Richt even went so far as to call him a “completely different player.” Behind these two players will be the versatile Sanders Commings, who will also see time at safety, and freshman Damian Swann who is another one of the Dream Teamers who will receive a lot of playing time in 2011. At safety, the free spot will once again be occupied by Bacarri Rambo who will look to improve upon his second half in the 2010 season. The strong safety spot will be occupied by Shawn Williams who has really stuck out as someone who has worked hard and is playing with a new intensity. Sanders Commings will back up both of these players along with Jakar Hamilton and freshman Corey Moore.
Tavarres King- “Marlon is tremendous. He’s come a long way from that skinny basketball player that was here when we first got here. He looks awesome, he’s making plays. I feel like he’s the leader on the other side of the ball opposite of me. So it’s awesome to have him and I’m excited to see what he’s going to do.”
Mark Richt - “Branden (Smith) is playing great on defense. He’s competing. I just see a guy that’s serious about wanting to have a great season. I really love the way he’s been competing. He was doing that in the spring too. You could see a difference in the Spring but in the fall, he’s locked in.”
photos by Rob Saye
Watermelon cuttinâ€™ Players and coaches close out camp portion of preseason with annual fun and delectable ritual
It is time for a new guide2athens guide
and this year’s is dynamite! Royal Peasant
We welcome back the Georgia Theatre.
The new guide wears lot of hats. Junkman’s Brother’s Daughter
This teaser ad is to get you excited and ready to tee up and visit the “Most Best” businesses in Athens! STUDIO Athens
They are the local spots that stand out in the crowd!
athens.guide2s.com McGinnis Leathers Photography Georgia Theatre photo by Ryan Myers All others in this ad by McGinnis Leathers
Join Mark & Cindy Fox
Gruff & Grump By Chad White and Al Hickson
Let’s get it on ... Dawgs
Suits & Sneakers Gala Saturday, Aug.20 • UGA Coliseum
Cocktails • Games • Dinner • Live Auction • Dancing Former, Current and Celebrity Players
Tickets: $150 person • $1,000 table of 8 Benefitting the American Cancer Society • suitsandsneakersga.org
I’m gettin’ ready for Gameday with www.bulldawgillustrated.com 22
The time has come and the mission is near. Maybe due to the NFL lockout and the fact they couldn’t get their act together for so long explains why it may seem even later than some think in this scorching hot month of August. Though, for others, it surely seems like years have passed since the guts of our falls, The University of Georgia football team, last suited up. Loud rings of optimism permeate the air in many camps from Athens and other parts scattered around this world. These are the thoughts: revamping the strength and conditioning program, the best quarterback in the SEC, the best group of tight ends in the entire fifty states, two of the best offensive linemen in the land, a new front end loader at nose tackle, a new outside linebacker rumored to play like a Trojan warrior, the best kick returner and one of the best cornerbacks in the conference, and a bumper crop of freshmen led by a guy some have called the best back at Georgia since Herschel Walker, even before he has made it through two weeks of practice, will cause to dance in the heads of the faithful. Other BBQs have chatter about what a tough year we could be looking at in 2011. These thoughts are: an offensive line that has only two players on the two deep that have been on campus longer than this calendar year and neither has ever played a snap, two new offensive linemen and one is back on the OL after playing the ball to the paddles of the offensive and defensive coaches, a tailback situation relying on another ping pong ball, a true freshman, a player that has terrible luck with his health and a very undersized player that has struggled to carry the every down role, the loss of the greatest wide receiver this school has known and a group of replacements that, while capable, have not really done much at this stage of their careers, an outside linebacker group with less depth than the offensive line and a group of defensive backs that have real talent and similar depth woes will cause. Where do Gruff and Grump stand on the whole matter? Well, here goes. Grab a drink. We will give it to you in its entirety. There is a much from each camp we buy into. Removing the mask from the strength and conditioning program appears to have created an improved work ethic and accountability by the adults and the youth, with much more frequency, this off season. Certainly, the tremendous reduction of off season incidents is very encouraging. The players are talking a big game on the “we are in better shape” front. The coaches claim we are much more mentally tough than in years past. In general, a newfound enthusiasm is claimed to be hovering over the entire program. We believe the change at strength and conditioning has a lot to do with this if true. A lot. Like tons to do with it. Discipline is an everyday deal. It all starts in this department. Some are concerned about the flexibility of our team. Why do we have so many hamstring and groin injuries in the fall camp? It happens every year. It sure seems like this happens with alarming frequency. Has to make one wonder about the above question. That all starts in the strength and conditioning department also. Aaron Murray is the best quarterback in the SEC in August. Quarterbacks win games. After the offensive line, we think the quarterback is the most important position on the team. Makes us about the same as the rest of the world. Aaron Murray has to be the best quarterback in the SEC in December also if we are going to get it done. The tight end group is deadly. Or could be. At least, should be. Can we
use them properly? Have we ever? If we do, this group will cause trouble for every team we face. Orson Charles is a problem for opposing defenses and will be a killer in the red zone if the headsets play it right. John Jenkins arrives to the shadows of Sanford Stadium with about as much fanfare as any recruit we can remember in a long, long time, including his recruiting mate on the other side of the ball. He is a giant man. He is a mighty man who has caused a mighty stir. When it comes to the trenches, giants are good to have on our side. Will he magically take our defense to the lofty heights we once knew? Only if he plays like a giant on the field. There is a big difference in community colleges and the SEC. He knows that. We know that. Let us see what happens. According to some, Mark Richt’s job hangs in the balance of this season. According to others, all that matters is moving this ship forward in the right direction until we finally get to our goal of college football’s big fish, just like four other SEC teams accomplished, winning the past five BCS championships. Everyone agrees this is a critical, critical year for the Dawgs. That goes without saying. Author’s note: Ever notice how many times people write or say something and then say “that goes without saying.” Of course, it never does in those cases. It was always just said. Were it truly to go without saying, as many things have and will in this particular article, it would not have been brought up in the first place. Ultimately, we are very concerned with the upcoming season. We like the new attitude and apparent accountability. But is it real? We have heard it all before. The fact one of the adults, in particular, seems to have stepped up in the verbal leadership department is very encouraging and welcomed. Can he get everyone in line in time? We want to believe in the offense. Bobo has led us to some excellent statistical seasons but it is tough to think about. Last year, AJ Green disappeared for long stretches. Who replaces him? For the third time in Richt’s career, the offensive line depth is in pure shambles. We are going to have to rely heavily on a player that has gone from a broken back to mono. Or, we have to rely on multiple true freshmen. This is very concerning. An injury on the OL could be catastrophic and there is nothing dramatic about that statement. And, again, who are the playmakers? We want to believe the defense is going to step up and pound people. The nose guard we mentioned and his counterpart, and we believe starter, Kwame Geathers are drawing all the raves. The defensive line is our strength. That is a good place to be strong. Ogletree is a future NFLer at middle linebacker we think. But what about outside linebacker? This is another place an injury is catastrophic. We are trying to stay optimistic at this point. Boise early is a blessing if you ask us. Gets us focused right out of the shoot. South Carolina next will not be easy. From there, we have as favorable a schedule as we have seen in years. But again, the depth at so many spots is troubling. We will not be surprised to see a fast start and a very tough middle and end. But, let us all hope for the fast start and fast finish that so many are predicting. This is the best way to keep the angry mob at bay. Hopefully, we do not need to take our turn in the future grabbing at those we find responsible. Hopefully, we take care of filling the shoes that are required to bring home the success we all can get behind. Let’s get it on, Dawgs. Show us what we are really working with. Go Dawgs.