Posted: 11:38 am Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Is opener against Clemson the home game Dawg fans are most excited about? 

By Bill King

Georgia-ClemsonFriday’s announcement that Georgia and Clemson will kick off in Athens at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 30 with ESPN televising the game nationally means the Tigers and Bulldogs won’t have a second consecutive clash in prime time, but that’s not really surprising since this year’s game most likely won’t pit two Top 10 teams or a pair of Heisman-potential quarterbacks like last year’s did.

Still, it’s going to be one of the marquee events of college football’s opening weekend.

Mindful of how hot and muggy Athens usually is in late August, UGA fans are thankful that the unusual kickoff time means at least half the game will take place after the sun has started subsiding, but it’s still going to be tough on players and fans. As Christopher Ryan Whitworth noted on the Junkyard Blawg’s Facebook page, “Good Lord, it’s gonna be hot!” Added Angela Wilson: “I was hoping for a 7:30 or 8:00 kickoff. That will be a hot one — all sun — in Section 101!”

It should be an exciting game, though, and in fact may well be the highlight of a pretty strong lineup of home games the Bulldogs will be playing in 2014. In an informal quickie poll of fans I took Friday, the Clemson and Auburn games are the ones that UGA fans are most looking forward to, though the Tennessee and Georgia Tech games should be big draws, too.

Hutson Mason will have the edge in terms of starting experience. (Sean Taylor / UGA)

Hutson Mason will have the edge in terms of starting experience. (Sean Taylor / UGA)

Personally, I think Georgia-Clemson is the “don’t miss” game of 2014 for a lot of reasons, not least being one of the rare occasions these days when we get the Tigers, formerly an annual major rival, playing Between the Hedges. On top of that, Georgia will be looking to avenge last year’s close 38-35 loss, while both teams will be looking to get their seasons off to a fast start with a big win. After winning last year’s game, the Tigers went on to finish 11-2 and No. 7, while the Dogs stumbled later in the season after a couple of big wins over South Carolina and LSU, and wound up unranked.

There probably won’t be any word until early August on whether “ESPN GameDay” will return to Athens for the Georgia-Clemson match-up, but there are plenty of back stories to this one to goose media interest.

Both teams will be starting senior quarterbacks who have been career backups. Clemson’s Cole Stoudt served as Tajh Boyd’s backup the past three seasons and will be making his first career start. Likewise, Georgia’s Hutson Mason waited (not so) patiently behind Aaron Murray, but should have the edge in that he did start the last couple of games last season after Murray got hurt.

Otherwise, Georgia returns almost all its starters on offense, most notably Todd Gurley and Malcolm Mitchell, while the Tigers’ offense won’t be quite as high-powered as last year’s edition, having lost Boyd and Sammy Watkins. However, while the Dogs’ defense remains a giant question mark as new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt tries to figure out who’ll be in his secondary, the Clemson D looks to be the strength of Dabo Swinney’s team, especially the veteran defensive line, which includes All-America candidates Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett.

Cole Stoudt will be making his first career start for the Tigers. (Associated Press)

Cole Stoudt will be making his first career start for the Tigers. (Associated Press)

Off-field problems will make the game interesting for both teams. Clemson has suspended four players for the game, including starting defensive end Corey Crawford, but the Tigers are so deep on the DL that he may not be missed that much, with Shaq Lawson having quite a bit of playing experience. Meanwhile, it’s not yet known how many Georgia players will be suspended for the game other than receiver Justin Scott-Wesley, but a lot of folks will be surprised if safety Tray Matthews, defensive end James DeLoach and defensive lineman Jon Taylor, all of whom allegedly were involved in a check-cashing scam, take the field.

With that new sound system cranked up and the crowd no doubt well lubricated by kickoff, Sanford Stadium should be rocking come 5:30 p.m.!

So, is the Clemson game the one you’re most excited about? Or does that late-season opportunity to avenge the Tipped Pass against Auburn loom larger for you?

A NEW UGA ANTHEM?

Incoming Dogs running back Sony Michel has a side career as a rapper called 2Stackz, and in that capacity he released a Soundcloud track this week called “UGA Anthem.” As College Spun notes, it “features the normal sport/team-specific rap platitudes; he shouts out fans, teammates, and coaches, calls out rivals, and there is plenty of auto-tune the ubiquitous hip hop air horn is all over the place.”

The Spun folks conclude that it’s not a bad effort, and I agree, though I think it might benefit from the UGA athletic department folks getting Frank “Awaken the Nation” Martin to make a spirit video to go with it.

Go Dogs!

JUNKYARD MAIL CALL

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

110 comments
HotDawg
HotDawg

Anybody else hear Matthews has officially decided to attend Louisville?

We won't have to deal with those guys again....

Now they can all look at grantham on louisville sideline, throw up their hands and ask what they have to do, before a play.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Minus 87 days and counting till kickoff

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

One thing that is encouraging on Mason's zip, if you look a the video from the Tech game,(dry conditions), versus the bowl game, there is more zip on his passes against Tech. Also he had better velocity in the G-Day game, and looked as if he was using his entire body to throw, like Bobo said.

Now, and I am not concerned with many of you moaning about negativity this morning, but now it is on MARK RICHT as the HEAD COACH of the UGA Football Team to EARN the large sums of money he is raking in from the state university to put most of his efforts towards finding AMPLE replacements for the thugs HE recruited to fill the defensive backfield at Georgia. Richt had better hope that the secondary is not the reason for another dismall defense.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

The four that got caught double cashing checks had continuous punishment. I think they had to get up early and run steps. I guess Matthews didn't think he deserved that much punishment. We won't know for sure but I bet that is why Richt dismissed him. Also he had a continuous Hamstring problem that was helped along because Matthews would not take his S&C serious. Richt indicated he needed to stretch more as a routine which he ignored. 

He will do a lot better with a program that will completely look the blind eye to what he does but I bet he will continue to have Hamstring problem as long as he thinks he can not learn anything from a lot smarter people.

DawginCO
DawginCO

I remember thinking that we recruited more DBs than I thought we had room for.  Now I know why.  I also think that the "no starter's job is safe" edict was a call to the guys in the secondary.


The attrition is higher than I thought it would be but it really shouldn't come as a surprise.  If you have a coach that has a very particular style he wants to play and that style differs from his predecessor, then some guys are going to be odd man out.

Example.  If you bring in a guy that wants a dual threat QB and you have 3 guys rreturning and 2 are pretty immobile, what do you think is going to happen to your roster?  One of those guys might be a 4 star guy even but he doesn't fit the new OC's plan.  So you can expect that the transfers are going to happen quickly.

Same here.  Pruitt teaches a different style.  Some can adapt, some can't.  It's just that simple.  In this case, Tray just screwed up one time too many or had a poor attitude.

HotDawg
HotDawg

If I were a top Def Back in high school today, I would commit immediately to UGA....The chance to play NOW is sky high.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Bill and some others here might remember, Coach Dooley used to turn a lot of high school quarterbacks into damn good defensive backs for UGA. We mainly ran the ball in those days, but he still put players in positions that fit them well and worked for the team.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Well, half the double-dippers of CheckGate are gone. Only two left to deal with probable suspensions.

Matthews probably didn't adhere to his non-public discipline Richt has issued since CheckGate began.

All four start to deal with their court punishment Thursday.

JSW73
JSW73

3/4 of last years starting DBs gone. Wiggins, JHC, and now Matthews. Have to take a wait and see approach. This might be a long season.


DirtyDawg, you are right, it's the former. Speaks volumes of what kind of man TG is.

JSW73
JSW73

I called #28 being booted from the team when CMR brought up the hamstring issue. Going to AUB or Louis.

NEXT MAN UP!!!

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Looking for a place to comment of the Matthews' dismissal. Something's rotten somewhere. Either Grantham had absolutely no scruples when it came to the 'character' quotient in the recruiting process...or Pruitt is a 'double agent' intent on coming in here and running off every decent DB we have (had). I'd bet on the former rather than the latter.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Minus 88 days and counting.....

GO DAWGS!

Dog4Life
Dog4Life

Columbus Dawg you are correct.  Bobo will have to design something quick with the ability to pop open down field if mason is to make the great throw.  His arm strength will be some concern but we have enough short intermediate weapons to help soften up the D as they pull in to stop those throws --then BAM!!  agood doen field pop and JSW or Mitchell will be on their way to 6.  Mason has the arm strength to throw deep; what he doesn't have is the velocity required to keep the ball from floating and staying to long.  However, he does have the guts and intuition to make something happen.  Last year some people got onto Mason's decision ability--but if one remember's correctly he was being swamped because the O-lIne didn't hold up too well. So, what does this mean--nothing really--that was last year, this is this year and everyone has more experience and trial under-fire and we have a few more dangerous weapons than we did last year--yes we are young, but so was Herschel Walker--I am always optimistic about what the potential can be--not deluded--we can be 8-4 again or we just might prove the natsayers wrong--those who are not giving us any credit--and surprise a lot of people.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Someone help me out with this. I know that there are 8 hours of coached practice time this summer for the first time. Will there be time for Mason to get accumulated with the receivers, especially MM and JSW?

DawginCO
DawginCO

Anybody realizing this blog is very close to how a fan blog is supposed to be?  What a change.  Hardly any negativity.  Very refreshing and much needed.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

The Dawgs getting no love from Sports Info guys, this is great. No expectations for UGA based on what they saw LAST season. Boy, now that's the way to prognosticate. Now, in the West, they are picking Bama based on what they saw last year with Auburn, a heap of LUCK! I'm not going to say that a win is in the bag in the Chicken Coop, but it sets up much better for Georgia than last tme. Stop Davis and make Thompson do it. I ain't sure he can, we'll see. I agree with Red, they are ALL important at this point. Mr. Nick Chubb says he's coming to take someone's job, and he just may do it. Running the football in 2014 will not be an issue with the UGA Football Team. I like the REAL odds of a Georgia run based on what I saw LAST year. NO offensive drop off from early in season whe SC and LSU went down, just with a better D. They might even have a return game!

RED DOG 77
RED DOG 77

I guess you have to ask the question, Bill, but it's sort of silly don't ya think ?.........The next game up is always the biggest game in college football............But right now, if things go the way we all hope they go.........Hell, you know Auburn is THE game...........both teams unbeaten or close to it, both teams top 5, a ticket to the first ever playoffs ?...........Whoooa Nellie..............GO DAWGS

NoAxeToGrind
NoAxeToGrind

@ColumbusDawg  With all due respect, ColumbusDawg, even though I  completely agree with you, you are wasting your time with the second paragraph. There is no way any of these Fan Clubber types are going to blame Richt for anything. At least you have the honesty to write what you think.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ColumbusDawg I think we need to temper the use of the word "thug".  A thug is someone who beats the hell out of someone for no reason other than they can.  These are kids that are having to learn the hard way about personal responsibility.  They were coddled in HS.  They were treated like demigods.  That is on you and me.  We have allowed this to happen.  If athletes were treated like the rest of the student population, these incidents would all but vanish.  They aren't thugs.  They are emotionally stunted human beings.


Kids are good at telling authority figures what they want to hear.  As an authority figure you can't know until they are actually in it, how any person is going to react to being solely responsible for their actions.  Bright kids stumble too.  They think they can outsmart the system.


When you have the job of collecting the best talent you possibly can, you have to sometimes hope that a kid with great potential will actually get it when it comes crunch time.  All signs pointed to Jarvis Jones being a potential problem.  But he ended up being exemplary.  It takes a little while to break down the level of ego stroking that these kids go through in HS.  That is where it has to start.


We will get replacements and some will be what we were hoping for and some will not stumble and fall.  It's just life.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@ColumbusDawg I would bet that the Defensive backfield will be below par again, for god sakes you guys are running out of DBs.

RED DOG 77
RED DOG 77

@HotDawg  I'm guessing the final two are safe, something tells me Mathews had an attitude problem along with all his other problems.........I don't know about you, but I'm not the least bit upset about the loss of these players[ JHC, Shaq, Mathews].........if one looks at who we have and who is coming in, it's not so bad...........I'm an optimist, I think Pruitt will kick butt around until he molds one of the top Ds in the Nation

HotDawg
HotDawg

If he goes to auburn, maybe he'll tip the ball into our hands at the end of the game.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@Dog4Life  I think the down field game will be just fine.  Sure stretching the field was exciting but I think Murray might have looked deep a few too many times.  If we start hurting people with the running game, plenty will be open in the passing game.  Maybe the ball has to be thrown a little earlier on the deep routes or the routes have to be altered a bit but I think Mason can do it.  Bobo and Richt had to know what they could and could not do with Mason when they signed him.  They are both very high on him still.  I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on this.

HotDawg
HotDawg

The 8 hour rule is a very silly rule. But players are organizing practice and workouts themselves as they have in past.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ColumbusDawg  the summer workouts will continue as always, just the coaches can can have 8 hours per week of instructional time now as well.  Before the only contact the staff could have with the players was through the S&C coaches.  The freshmen will, thank god, be able to have 8 hours/week to get started on the playbook and some other hands on off field coaching.  No on field coaching, however.

GTBob
GTBob

@DawginCO You guys have had a long time to forget about last season and convince yourselves that this season will be better. Check and see how things are after the first two games.

RED DOG 77
RED DOG 77

@DawginCO  Yes indeed I do, maybe it's the foremat, maybe we ran 'em off, but knock on wood............it's pretty dawg gone nice around here isn't it? and refreshing it is, after all we have what 90 days or so before our first kickoff...........I just hope we will be able to peacefully discuss our Dawgs and enjoy the summertime recruiting battles without you know who's..........Regards, RED

RED DOG 77
RED DOG 77

@ColumbusDawg  interesting how Nick Chubb seems to have a natural swagger to him, isn't it? I have waited a long time to see Georgia get back to good 'ol smashmouth football, and with our backs I think the time is upon us...........I know everything isn't rainbows and candycanes, but this really may be a special year............and Columbus Dawg, count on a return game my friend...........I feel it in my Dawg Bones...............RED 

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

@ColumbusDawg

The key to controlling Thompson is to put pressure on him. South Carolina will have a very good Defense so the key will be stopping the Offense. They don't  have the skill players on Offense they had last year so that is very doable. Then wearing out the Defense because they are on the field too long. Georgia has way too many weapons on Offense not to be able to control this game. Clowney is no longer there to rush our QB, and the only thing that could keep us from scoring 40 or more points will be play selection. If we use our great group of Running Backs properly and use our very good Receivers right Georgia should be able to overcome playing at South Carolina and win this going away. 

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ColumbusDawg  the STs will be improved.  I know, how could they not be, but I think we see a much better ST unit as a whole this year.  Somebody will step up and be a dynamic returner (with some sense lol).  Mitchell has the stuff, he just doesn't make good decisions.  Isaiah McKenzie may be the guy.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@NoAxeToGrind  Richt can't be held responsible for what a young man chooses to do or not do.  If you think that then you have a serious issue.  No human being is responsible for the actions of another.  They may be a factor in those decisions but they are not responsible.

If I am an employer,  I am responsible for filling a position with the best possible candidate.  I am responsible for making sure that person is trained to do what their job description demands.  I am responsible for making sure they have a clear understanding of the rules of my business and understanding what is expected of them.  I am  not responsible for they do after that.  I am, however, responsible for making sure that, if my expectations are not met, that the appropriate measures are taken to see that they are.  And if that person can't do it, then I am responsible for removing that person and bringing in another candidate.


Which portion of this is Coach Richt not doing?  If he were not holding these kids to a standard, then you would see me all over that.  He is upholding a standard.  Tray Matthews didn't make the cut.


No fan-clubber stuff here.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Here is the bottom line for me, I am held accountable if my department does not get the job done, period. People, mostly young,  but not all, in America are seeing more and more every day how the people in charge are not being held accountable for their shortcomings. I am not here to blame Richt for these player's screwups, and I do understand what DawginCO is saying, but for a newspaper writer, (not AJC this time) to tell the Dawg Nation to again expect a below par secondary at UGA is not acceptable. I believe Puitt already has some idea of who will be where in August, and for the record I DO expect an SEC worthy defensive backfield for UGA in 2014. I do NOT expect a weak secondary in back to back seasons at UGA, and yes there are people in charge accountable for it if it is.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Jarvis Jones is great example and so is Garrison Smith. Garrison spoke in the past of what a horrible, crime ridden neighborhood he had to grow up in. And he made the choice to stay on the straight path in life.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Okay, I'll go along with that theory for now, and will make this suggestion. The freshman are getting on campus this week, and included are a couple who may well end up as starters in 2014 secondary. Pruitt kind of let the cat out with his remarks about Sanders and his high school interceptions, and has had good things to say about Parrish as well. Any freshmen or other newcomers(JUCOS), who look to be representing Georgia on the field in August should be sat down by the defensive leaders of this team, possibly Hererra, Wilson, Drew and the like, and be told under no uncertain terms what is expected of them if they are to be Georgia Bulldogs, and that nothing less will be accepted, and I mean by the current PLAYERS, not just the coaches.

Dog4Life
Dog4Life

@DawginCO @ColumbusDawg I keep telling people that CFB at the D1 level is tough and emotinally draining because there is so much individual responsibility; yet, there is so much outside pressure from people wanting favors or information. These guys sometimes do well and sometimes they do what they did in highschool (not good).  I gurantee you Matthews is literally crying like a baby until he lands with another team.  He is a young man who loved UGA but just couldn't make the correct decisions in the responsbility arena--he is still learning the consequences of actions.  Coach used to tell us that football is a ticket and opportunity to success but it is froth with pitfalls and obstacles.  We have a choice to make--do the right thing or face the consequences.  trust me many failed back then also--imagine the the media coverage of today and i am surprised more don't fail.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@HotDawg  Well it's a step up from the "nobody but S&C coach" rule isn't it?  lol  The time allotment seems arbitrary but it is definitely better and I think you'll see some guys ready to go much sooner than in the past.  Whew.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

That is good to hear, as IMO, Bobo needs to have some clear cut downfield plays for Mason, like Richt had for David Greene. For example, if you go back and watch the Murray to JSW pass that capped the South Carolina game in 2013, there is no way Mason makes that throw, on the run across his body. That was as close to NFL perfect as it gets. UGA will need the deep threat in 2014 just as it always does for the offense to be as unstoppable as before inuries last season. I just believe the deep plays need to be more scripted for Mason, and he needs to be ON with Mitchell and JSW o make it happen.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@GTBob  I am sure no one has forgotten too much of anything.  We just don't dwell in the past.  That is why we are having a good time in a blog and not acting like children.  Tempered optimism.


DawginCO
DawginCO

@RED DOG 77 I am sure that things will grow more contentious as the season nears but this is as calm as I have seen any blog in a long time.  The nay-sayers always argue, that if left unchecked, we will fly off in flights of fancy and declare the Dawgs the Rulers of All or some kind of nonsense like that.  All I see here are reasonably excited fans stating their wishes not declaring anything as fact.

We don't agree on everything but we aren't calling each other names like preschoolers  either.  If you've read this blog for the past few days you'd be totally unprepared for the other blogs.  This is the way adults interact.  Real adults.

Maturity has very little to do with age.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Bobo MUST keep the pressure on with the offense and not sit on leads this season. Richt needs to get over that Mr. Nice Guy crap, and humiliate some teams. IT'S FOOTBALL. Everyone in the nation saw how FSU humiliated Clemson in 2013. That is what a championship football team looks like.  

DawginCO
DawginCO

@C-Kirk  Balance.  Lining up and trying to blow people off the ball isn't going to do it.  The plan we had last year is what we need to replicate.  The first couple of drives were near perfection.  The onside kick was brilliance.  Balance and aggression.  Let SC have it with everything we've got.  You win road games by not allowing the home team any chance to gain the upper hand.

NoAxeToGrind
NoAxeToGrind

@DawginCO @NoAxeToGrind 

I do not hold Richt specifically responsible for any one single event. But it is a repeated pattern of the same type of events that have occured over a span of years for which I hold him, as the head coach, responsible. This has happened with discipline problems as well as with staff problems. The problems appear to be getting no better as time goes on and Richt is the one who should try to do something about it without being forced to, as has been the case in the past. Since you like using analogies, I will use one too. As a brigade commander in the army, if one of my battalion commanders or one of my company commanders let a problem continue on ad infinitum, after I voiced my displeasre with his  performance concerning the issue, then I would relieve him forthwith and find someone else who was competent to the task.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Dawginco, no use using logic....that other person couldn't argue a point without using a childish insult (fan clubbers) against those he disagrees.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ColumbusDawg  I'd feel worse if I wasn't seeing that Pruitt is not even flinching.  Some of this was by design.  The results are yet to be determined but some of this was anticipated.  Here is a quote from Shattle Fenteng :

"The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Fenteng committed when Todd Grantham and Scott Lakatos were still on staff, but stuck with the Bulldogs when coordinator and secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt took over.
“He’s all about playing man,” Fenteng said. “He knows that’s my specialty.”

You think part of that pitch was damn near guranteed playing time?  Sure looks like it.

HotDawg
HotDawg

If these kids are enrolled in summer, maybe allowing a little more (than 8) organized time with coaches would also help keep out of any trouble.

Idle time......

HotDawg
HotDawg

DawginCo....

Yes, it is much nicer without the few that blog simply to antagonize, insult, and be completely negative....

But there are times you have to call out a bully and punch him in the face. Of course it is only figuratively in a blog. But you have to give them a dose of their own medicine. Then do best to ignore.

We can blog together and disagree in civil conversation. Unfortunately, it won't take long before a few phonies turn too insults (such as "kool aid drinkers"), and are complete contrarians to every positive comment. It could be pure, daylight outside and they would say it is miserably dark and nighttime.

It is nice to converse with the true Dawg fans that are optimistic and celebrate the positives. While constructively discussing deficiencies of the team. And most of all, always supporting UGA win or lose. True fans support in good times and bad.

Get mad or frustrated. Speak of the problems. But at the end of the day always remain loyal In your support of UGA.

GO DAWGS!

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ColumbusDawg Once upon a time I felt like it was wrong to "run up the score" too.  Then I had an epiphany.  I realized that the offense's job is to score points and asking them to not do that or give less than full effort is actually disrespectful to your own players.

There is no need to approach it from a humiliation point of view either.  Just tell your opponents up front that you will run your offense the same way no matter what the score is regardless of time.  No brag, just fact.  If they can't stop you then that is their problem, not yours.

NoAxeToGrind
NoAxeToGrind

@HotDawg " ....a childish insult (fan clubbers) against those with whom he disagrees."

Th pot can't call the kettle black. Take a look in the mirror.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@HotDawg  hopefully the combination of the 8 hours and the voluntary work outs will be enough.