Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Countdown: 56 Days to Go

56: Robert Edwards, RB #47 (1994-1997)

Robert Edwards, drafted 18th overall by the New England Patriots in 1998, is best known for blowing out his knee in an NFL rookie flag football game on a Hawaii beach. He didn't play football again until 2002.

But Edwards career at Georgia was marked with great success at running back after beginning in the defensive backfield. He was moved to offense in Ray Goff's final season after starting at cornerback in 1994.

Edwards was the spark the Dawgs needed as he scored five touchdowns versus South Carolina in the season opener in Athens. Sure enough, the Dawgs were on their way to upsetting the 8th-ranked Volunteers in Knoxville the following week when Edwards went down with a foot injury. Tennessee won 30-27.

From 1995 to 1997, he averaged 17 carries per game, behind only Herschel Walker and Kevin McLee on Georgia's all-time list, and finished with 2,033 career rushing yards in only 23 games.

His 88.4-yard per game rushing average is 4th all time behind Walker, Knowshon Moreno and Garrison Hearst as he ran for more than 100 yards ten times in his career, finishing with 27 career rushing touchdowns.

In his senior season, Edwards rushed for 124 yards and four touchdowns as Georgia defeated 6th-ranked Florida, one of BNE's best teams that DIDN'T win the SEC championship.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 57 Days to Go

57: Peter Anderson, Center #64 (1982 – 1985)

Blocking for a great group of running backs including Herschel Walker and Tim Worley, Peter Anderson was a key member of the Georgia offense in the middle 1980’s. Originally from Vineland, New Jersey, Anderson would play every position across the offensive line during his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 1984, Anderson finally earned a starting spot at center for Coach Dooley. It was that same season that Anderson would earn a nickname few would forget.

Vince Dooley gave Peter Anderson the nickname “Bell Cow” a name symbolizing his leadership on the Georgia Bulldogs team. In his senior season in 1985, Anderson would make his mark on the entire football landscape. In Georgia’s 20-13 victory over Clemson, Anderson recovered a fumble and scored a touchdown for the Bulldogs:

Also during that 1985 season, Anderson became the first Georgia player to be named permanent team captain in the middle of the season. He was named a consensus All-American following the season and will be remembered as one of the best centers in Georgia history.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More on Murray

This article is a follow to a story I wrote last week concerning the doubts a number of people have had concerning the abilities of Aaron Murray to take over the starting quarterback position for the Georgia Bulldogs. This time, I will be focusing on two other items I have heard mentioned as reasons Murray may not be ready for the job: his mobility and toughness.


In recent years, Georgia has seen a number of traditional drop back passers come through Athens. David Greene, Matt Stafford, and Joe Cox all fit perfectly into the traditional pro-style offense deployed by Mark Richt and Mike Bobo. But in 2005, DJ Shockley presented a combination of rushing and passing that allowed the offense to change to fit his skills. And while Aaron Murray may not be the same mobile weapon as DJ Shockley or even Logan Gray, his past record indicates that he can have a great deal of success using his feet.

Take a look at Murray’s stats from his junior season at Plant High School in Tampa. He put up impressive passing numbers (over 4,000 yards and 51 touchdowns) but that did not prevent him from also putting up gaudy rushing numbers. During the 2007 season, Murray rushed for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns on only 98 carries (an average of 9.5 yards per carry). And if numbers are not your thing, check out the first minute of this highlight reel from his junior year, where he makes three great plays (two complete passes and one run) with his feet:

Before breaking his fibula in the sixth game of the season of his senior year, Murray was once again putting up great numbers on the ground. On only 25 carries, he rushed for 258 yards (9.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Without the injury, he would have most likely ended the season with about around 600 yards. Not too shabby for a record setting passer. Will Murray put up similar numbers at Georgia, most likely not. But these statistics do indicate that he has the ability to move around the pocket, find the open receiver, and take off when necessary.


The fact that some people have questioned Murray’s toughness really baffles me. If you know anything about Murray’s senior season, you know he overcame a pretty serious injury to lead his team to a state championship. On October 16, Murray broke is fibula and dislocated his ankle in his team’s sixth game. The expected recovery time for an injury similar to Murray’s was typically six months. But there he was back on the field in the state semifinals. Murray helped lead Plant to a state title the following week, throwing for 358 yards and three touchdowns.

The other concern about Murray’s toughness arose when he was hampered by a sore shoulder last fall. While this may have cost him a chance to see playing time in 2009, he has already taken steps to strengthen his arm, following a strength program his brother used following Tommy John surgery. If you know anything about Tommy John surgery, you know that typically the arm is stronger when an athlete returns than it was originally. The reason is not the surgery, rather the workout routine required to strengthen the arm. If I was a betting man, I would place a very high bet that Murray never experiences any type of arm fatigue like Joe Cox did.

In conclusion, I am still baffled at the apparent lack of confidence there is in Murray going into summer practice. While he may not have playing experience, his past record suggests he has all the tools and ability to get the job done. How much experience did Greg McElroy have at Alabama before last fall? Not much, but look what he accomplished with a veteran team around him.


The Countdown 2010: 58 Days to Go

58: Rex Robinson, Kicker #5 (1977 – 1980)

Marietta native Rex Robinson holds a special place amongst the greatest players to ever grace the field for the Georgia Bulldogs. Rex is a one of the handful of great kickers who have kicked for the Dawgs over the years and was a key member of Georgia’s national championship team in 1980.

As a freshman in 1977, Robinson’s career got off to a rather unpleasant start as he missed the first extra point attempt of his career. It would be the only extra point he would miss at Georgia, as he made everyone of his next 101 attempts during his Georgia career. He led Georgia in scoring that fall with 45 points and was named a member of the All-SEC Freshman team. 1978 would be the first of three consecutive years on the All-SEC squad for Robinson. He only missed two kicks all season (29-29 PATS, 15-17 field goals) and kicked the game winning field goal against Kentucky (famous for Munson’s “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” call).

1979 would be another banner year for Robinson. He would once again lead Georgia in scoring with 66 points and was named a Playboy All-American. As Georgia marched to the SEC Championship in 1980, Robinson made big kicks to keep Georgia undefeated, including hitting a 57 yarder in a 13-10 victory over South Carolina:

Rex would cap off his fantastic career with a 46 yard field goal in the Sugar Bowl victory over Notre Dame that secured the National Championship. He was named to multiple All-American teams following the season and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. For his Georgia career, he made 101 of 102 extra points, including the second best in NCAA history of 101 in a row. He is fourth all-time at Georgia with 56 field goals made. His career field goal percentage of 67% is especially impressive when you consider it was achieved when the NCAA average field goal percentage was only 56%. Rex has continued to show his love for the Bulldog Nation by running his own blog, Roughing the Kicker.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 59 Days to Go

59: Richard Tardits, Linebacker #92 (1985 – 1988)

Ain’t no way this kid’s going to learn to play football.” – Coach Vince Dooley

The story of Georgia legend Richard Tardits reads like one that you would see in an inspirational sports film like Miracle or The Rookie. At the age of 19, Tardits came from France to August to visit some family members. During that time, he decided to attend college in America and ended up at The University of Georgia. A skilled rugby player who had been a member of the French junior national team, Tardits decided to walk-on to an open tryout for the football team in the spring of 1985. Despite his clear lack of knowledge of the game, Dooley saw potential in the physically gifted Tardits, and offered him a position on special teams.

During spring practice in 1986, Dooley gave him a chance to play on defense. The gamble paid off, as Tardits had a knack for tackling players in the backfield and earned him a starting position at linebacker. He would earn the nickname “Le Sack” as he led the Dawgs in sacks with 6 in the 1986 season. During the 1987, he would once again lead the team in sacks with 10, including 3 in the victory over Florida. He spoke about his performance in that game in the interview below:

During his senior season in 1988, Tardits tied (at the time) Georgia’s record for sacks in a season with 12. This included a four sack performance against Texas Christian University. He was named to the All-SEC squad following the season. “Le Sack” finished his career as Georgia’s all-time leader in sacks with 29 (a record later broken by David Pollack). He is currently 7th all time in the SEC in sacks. After playing in the NFL with the New England Patriots, Tardits continued his athletic career in the sport that was his first love, rugby. He played professionally in Europe before returning to the US to play for the United States National team. Here is a further look at the career of Richard Tardits (sorry for the video quality):

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 60 Days to Go

60: Lars Tate, RB #32 (1984-1987)

Lars Tate shared the Georgia backfield with some quality running mates. Rodney Hampton, Tim Worley, Keith Henderson and of course, Pulpwood. But none of those backs ran for more career yards than Tate.

Lars Tate shared a backfield with #38 and #7.

The Indianapolis native left Athens with more than 3,000 yards rushing, which at the time was good for second place behind Herschel on Georgia's career rushing list. Tate still holds the #2 spot on UGA's career touchdown list with 36, thirteen behind Walker. The workhorse back of that mid-80s stable, Tate is also second all-time on Georgia's carries list with 615.

Named All-SEC as a junior, he posted 17 touchdowns in 1986, tying a then school record with four vs. Richmond - a feat he tied again vs. Oregon State the next season.

Lars garnered his second All-SEC team selection in 1987 as only one of two UGA seniors to ever rush for more than 1,000 yards, scampering for 1,016. Only senior tailback Willie McClendon of the 1978 Wonder Dawgs ran for more.

He was drafted 53rd overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1988. Twenty one years later, his son Donovan beat him by 50 spots, being drafted 3rd overall in the 2009 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 61 Days to Go

61: Steve Greer, Defensive Guard #60 (1967-1969)

"Greer is the best lineman I've ever faced." – Ole Miss Quarterback Archie Manning

When Steve Greer arrived in Athens in the fall of 1966, few would have known it was the start of 33 year career in Georgia Athletics. Steve Greer, from Greer, SC, was an undersized defensive guard on Vince Dooley’s Georgia Bulldogs in the late 1960’s. He was a three year starter in Athens and Coach Dooley often called him the best pound for pound lineman he had ever seen.

Greer was a leader on the 1968 Bulldog team that won the SEC Championship. He played a crucial role in the Championship clinching game against the Ole Miss Rebels, intercepting two passing from Archie Manning in the 21-7 victory. Greer was named a permanent captain of the 1969 team, where he once again earned All-SEC honors and was named an All-American.

Greer worked as a graduate assistant at Georgia before taking a coaching job on Shug Jordan’s staff at Auburn in 1972. He returned to Georgia in 1978 as defensive end coach and recruiting coordinator. He was instrumental in helping bring Herschel Walker to Georgia and remained a member of the coaching staff until 1996. He then took over as the director of football operations, where he remained until 2009. Steve’s son Michael also played football for the Dawgs, catching a key 80 yard touchdown pass from Quincy Carter in the victory over Auburn in 1998.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 62 Days to Go

62: George Patton, Defensive Tackle #76 (1963 – 1966)

Today marks the 234th birthday of our great nation and there is not a better Georgia legend to honor than one who shares his name with one of the most famous generals in US History. Appropriately nicknamed “General”, George Patton ended up signing a scholarship with Georgia after attending a recruiting visit with fellow Alabama native Vance Evans. In 1963, Patton played tackle and quarterback for Georgia’s B team. When Vince Dooley became coach the next season, he wanted to get the athletic Patton into the lineup and defensive tackle became his permanent position.

During his sophomore season in 1964, Patton became a force on the Georgia line, earning the first of three straight seasons on the All-SEC squad. After another stellar season in 1965, Patton earned a spot on the All-American team. In 1966, he was named the captain of a team that would bring home Dooley’s first SEC championship. After once again being named to the All-American team, Patton had one last career highlight to make during the 1967 Cotton Bowl against SMU.

Despite playing quarterback on the B team during his freshman season in 1963, Patton had never played a snap at the position under Vince Dooley. Coach Dooley had made Patton a promise that he would be given the opportunity to play quarterback at some point before the end of his career. In the final minute, #76 lined up at quarterback. After throwing three straight incompletions, Patton took off on a 16 yard run on the final play of the game. It was a fitting end to a great career in Athens.

He finished his career as one of the most decorated players in Georgia history. His achievements including being named to the All-SEC team 3 times (’64,’65,’66), twice named All-American (’65,’66), and being named the most outstanding lineman in the country. He played for one season in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.