Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 7 Days to Go, Champ Bailey

7: Champ Bailey, CB/WR/ST #4 (1996-1998)

Hailing from as far down in South Georgia as is possible, Folkston, GA native Champ Bailey is often regarded as one of the greatest multi-position players ever to play college football.

Bailey came to Georgia as one of the nation’s most sought after recruits, and a member of one of Georgia’s now famous family heritages (with two brothers and a cousin that have played at UGA).

Bailey’s name is not plastered all over the record books at UGA, but that’s because he didn’t play just one position like a normal player, he played on every front: offense, defense, and special teams. Bailey was not dominant in one position; he was dominant in them all.

While only starting two games his freshman year, Bailey amassed 47 tackles (35 of them solo) with 2 interceptions. Starting his sophomore year, Bailey would become the feared triple threat player that turned him into a legend. His junior season was one of infamy, where he would play over 1,000 plays and over 100 in 7 different games.

Bailey would be named a consensus All-American that year by attaining 52 tackles, three interceptions,744 receiving yards, five TDs, 261 kickoff return yards, and 49 punt return yards. Bailey had near identical defensive stats during his sophomore and junior season, but his increased performance on offense and special teams made him a terror to the opposing teams every time he stepped on the field.

Bailey would top his junior season (1998) off by receiving the Bronco Nagurski Award, given to the best defensive player in college football, and helping lead Georgia to a 35-33 victory over Virginia in the Peach Bowl by catching three passes for 73 yards, catching a 14-yard touchdown, and returning five kickoffs for 104 yards.

Bailey would leave Georgia after the 1998 season, and would be taken 7th in the 1st round by the Washington Redskins. Bailey has continued his dominating ways playing cornerback in the NFL playing for both the Redskins and Broncos, where he’s amassed 621 tackles and 46 interceptions, and become a 9 time pro bowl selection in only 11 seasons.

Here’s a clip of an interception and 99 yard return by Bailey against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Ironically enough, fellow Dawg Ben Watson would be the one to tackle Bailey on the 1 yard line, depriving him of a 100 yard TD interception.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bubba 'N Earl's Music Videos - One Week to Go Until Kickoff Edition

With only one week to go until the start of the 2010 season, here is Europe's 1984 hit (term used loosely), "The Final Countdown".

Time to dust off your chairs, clean up the grill, and get ready for another season of Georgia football. Can't wait to see the rest of the Bulldog Nation in Athens next Saturday!


The Countdown 2010: 8 Days to Go

8: Jake Scott, DB/PR #13 (1967-1968)

Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Manny Fernandez once said that nobody asked Jake Scott to sing his college fight song like other rookies in his first training camp because "he's the one guy no one messed with."

Living in Hawaii today, the unique former Georgia defensive back is a hard man to reach. But legend has it that he once drove his motorcycle up and over Stegeman Coliseum.

The 1968 team, referenced in the Bill Stanfill post, wanted to go to the Orange Bowl and Jake Scott represented the players in their plea to Coach Dooley. However, Dooley had already accepted a bid to the Sugar Bowl, beginning Scott's disassociation with UGA. A disassociation that lasted nearly 40 years.

He ended his two-year Georgia career with 16 interceptions and four touchdowns (three via interceptions, one via punt return). Ten of his interceptions were recorded in 1968, second only to Terry Hoage's 12 interceptions in 1982.

Scott left UGA early for the CFL in 1969 before joining the Miami Dolphins in 1970 and reuniting with Bill Stanfill. He recorded 49 interceptions in his career, still a Dolphins record today. Scott was the MVP of Super Bowl VII to cap off Miami's undefeated season.

In 2001, Dooley lobbied for Scott to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame with one condition - that he show up for the ceremony, something he didn't do when awarded as the 1968 SEC Player of the Year. It was relayed back through Stanfill that he wouldn't show up in 2001 either.

Scott finally reunited with UGA before the 2006 Georgia Tech game where he was honored in the pregame.

Like the Stanfill post, we've included a recent article on Scott. This is an excerpt from the Sun Sentinel in May.

Two Dolphins legends end feud, talk again after decades apart

May 08, 2010|By Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel
(Page 2 of 2)

You have to see Shula in the 1970s. He'd practice four times a day, led his coaches in calisthentics so they'd teach players properly, once chased after a referee who told him to relax over a 5-yard preseason penalty — "Five yards is my life!" Shula yelled — and was, in one word, his word, "obsessed." How do you think he won so much?

You have to see Scott, too. He's the most unique of those Dolphins. A person so loyal that, later in life, he would travel halfway around the world to see a college teammate on his deathbed. A player so feared even as a rookie that veterans didn't ask him to sing his college fight song in training camp like the other rookies.

And tough? Forget his Most Valuable Player award of that Perfect Season's Super Bowl. Scott played the first Super Bowl of that era, the loss to Dallas, with two broken wrists. They were put in casts after the game. He joked that when he went to the bathroom, "I find out who my true friends are."

These unbendable personas collided in the 1976 preseason. A team doctor didn't think Scott's shoulder was as hurt as badly as Scott said. A shot was ordered to numb the shoulder. Scott balked. Shula backed the doctor.

Scott was livid. Hadn't he proved his toughness through the years? Now he was ordered to take a needle to mask a bad shoulder? For some preseason game?

Their relationship had deteriorated over the previous couple of years. Once, the Shula family had spent an offseason day with Scott at his mountain home in Vail, Co. And David Shula wore No. 13 in Scott's honor through high school and college.

But this 1976 preseason moment opened their relationship like a wound. They began yelling in the locker room. What was said isn't as important as what happened the next day, when Scott was traded to Washington for peanuts.

If Scott could love deeply — and his teammates still felt it through the ensuing years — he could hate deeply, too. He tried to make things right with Shula at the 1982 reunion of the Perfect Season. Shula, he says, cursed him in an elevator. Shula doesn't remember it. But that was that.

Through all these years of the '72 reunions and banquets and good times, Scott stayed away. He didn't need the public cheers. He met teammates on his own.

He created a dream life on the island of Kauai, fishing, golfing and having a drink with friends. He still lives that way.

"Taking the boat out this afternoon,'' he said Friday.

But if there's a benefit of age, it's perspective in what matters most. Shula and Scott have lost friends and family. They've had personal ups and downs. Their faces have loosened and some hard opinions have, too.

"There's no sense to have a grudge with Shula,'' Scott says.

"It's silly we haven't seen each other all this time," Shula says. "The big thing was I got to say how I felt about him, how much he's always meant to me."

For years, '72 teammates have wondered how to make peace between them. Turns out they did fine on their own. At one point as they talked that day, Shula said, "You and Dick [Anderson] were the best safety combination ever in football."

"I wish you'd said that when I was negotiating my contract,'' Scott said.

They laughed at that, a good laugh on a good day to remember. And to forget. A wall tumbled down. And in its place, finally, thankfully, came laughter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New & Improved 3rd Annual BnE Pick 'Em, now Kiffin-free!

I love college football and there's only one way to truly grasp just how much we need it, and that's to watch it in action.

Hi folks, Billy Maze here for the new and improved Bubba 'N Earl Pick 'Em! The fast and easy way to participate in the SEC's best football games and the best non-conference games of the week. It's by far the best college football pick 'em on this site*, GUARANTEED!

Billy Mays, not Billy Maze

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3rd Annual BnE Pick 'Em, more entertaining than a tube of Mighty Putty

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*Site only refers to Bubba 'n Earl Sittin' on the 50 and no other web site
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*3rd Annual BnE Pick 'Em is available only to those participants who sign up, Geckos, the prime minister of Japan, anyone under 7' in height, the undead, fans of Seinfeld and carnies. Any participation by persons residing in Albania is prohibited
*Some strings up to 6" in length may be attached with prior notification
*Shipping and handling fees for all US residents equal to 17.2% of buyer's gross income divided by their age. No shipping to Albania
*Bama Sucks!

The Countdown 2010: 9 Days to Go

9: Bill Stanfill, DT/DE #77 (1966-1968)

The only Outland Trophy winner in Georgia history, Cairo native Bill Stanfill is known for famously harassing Florida quarterback Steve Spurrier and the Gators in Spurrier's Heisman season. The Bulldogs went 26-6-2 and captured two SEC championships in Stanfill's three-year stretch.

In 1966, Spurrier had basically wrapped up the Heisman Trophy with a game-winning kick (yes, kick) against Auburn. The Gators led Georgia 10-3 at halftime and were closing in on their first SEC championship. However, the Bulldogs turned them back in the second half, winning 27-10, and Georgia and Alabama shared the SEC championship that season.

The most athletic lineman in Georgia history in the minds of many old-time Bulldogs, Stanfill reeked havoc in Florida's backfield all day, and in What It Means to be a Bulldog, he states "in the second half, we took that boy [Spurrier] to the woodshed."

In 1968*, as Georgia was marching to its second SEC championship in three years, the Bulldogs dismantled the Gators 51-0 and Dooley inserted Stanfill at quarterback to finish the game, which didn't sit well with the Gator faithful.

Stanfill was drafted 11th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 1969 and would star on Miami's 1972 undefeated team as an All-Pro with former Georgia teammate Jake Scott on Dolphins' "No Name Defense." Stanfill retired early due to injuries at age 29 with four Pro Bowls to his credit, holding the Dolphins' single-season record for sacks with 18.5 in 14 games (1973).

The 1968 All-American and Outland Trophy winner was selected to the 50th Anniversary All-SEC team and the 1960s All-SEC team. He was also elected to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

*The Litkenhous poll recognized the 8-1-2 Bulldogs as National Champions in 1968, while most other polls recognized Ohio State. That's what we call "an Alabama national championship" for the Dawgs.

*The following Palm Beach Post article is from 2008

Original sack artist Bill Stanfill is now Dolphins' forgotten man


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Saturday, December 13, 2008

DAVIE — When Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter was asked recently what he knew about Bill Stanfill, he shook his head and raised his palms in the air as if to say, "Nothing."

Porter is not alone. Stanfill, a former Dolphins defensive end, played only eight seasons in the NFL and retired in 1976, a year before Porter was born. While other members of the "No-Name Defense," such as Dick Anderson and Nick Buoniconti, have maintained a local and even national presence, Stanfill has all but disappeared from memory.

But this was some player - a four-time Pro Bowler who, despite being forced into retirement at 29 by neck and back injuries, amassed 671/2 career sacks, a team record that lasted more than 35 years before being broken by Jason Taylor.

Stanfill's biggest achievement might be the Dolphins' single-season record of 181/2 sacks that Porter, who has 161/2, has in his sights. Not only did Stanfill achieve that mark in a 14-game season in 1973, but he did it at a time when the passing game was almost an afterthought for many teams.

"One of the best I ever saw," said former defensive line coach Mike Scarry, a member of coach Don Shula's staff for 16 years.

"Probably the most underrated member of our defense," Anderson added.

Manny Fernandez, who played alongside Stanfill at nose tackle, compared him to Hall of Fame member Dwight Stephenson, a Dolphins center who played only eight years.

"The fact he's never even been nominated for the Hall of Fame is a real miscarriage of justice," Fernandez said of Stanfill. "He had a short career, but so did Gale Sayers."

Vern Den Herder, who played at right defensive end on the line with Stanfill and Fernandez, said Stanfill's achievements were especially impressive because he was part of a three-man front.

"That meant more double-teaming," Den Herder said. "We played a lot of 2-gap defense, meaning we lined up head up on the tackles. Nowadays, most defensive ends line up on the outside shoulder of the tackle and get penetration every play."

Stanfill, who was born in Cairo, Ga., was a superb all-around athlete who was recruited in 1966 by legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley. Dooley recalled "having to play referee" with four of his assistant coaches, all of whom saw Stanfill (6-foot-5 and 248 pounds) as the answer to their prayers.

"He was the best lineman athlete I ever coached," Dooley said. "This is a guy who never threw the discus in his life, picked it up at a state meet and set a record that lasted 30 or 40 years."

Dooley said Stanfill could have played tight end or fullback but wanted to play defensive end. Good choice: He won the Outland Trophy and was named SEC Lineman of the Year in 1968. Two years earlier, he helped end Steve Spurrier's hopes for a national championship in his senior season at Florida when the Bulldogs beat the previously undefeated Gators 27-10.

Drafted 11th overall in 1969, Stanfill and the Dolphins endured a 3-10-1 season before Shula arrived in 1970. Miami went 10-4 that season and was on its way.

"We had a brief players' strike that first year that ended a week or two prior to the season, and then we did four-a-days," Stanfill said. That, he admitted, was "quite a change" from the previous coach, George Wilson.

Playing injured in those days was much more the norm than it is now. But Stanfill literally left his hospital bed to play in the 1973 opener against San Francisco at the Orange Bowl.

"I'd been in Mercy Hospital for 10 days with a lacerated liver, and early that morning, the team doctor (Herbert Virgin) came to see me and said my white blood count was too high, he couldn't let me out," Stanfill recalled.

"Then at 12:15, the nurse walks in and said, 'Dr. Virgin is going to be calling.' He did and said, 'Bill, do you have your car? Drive on down to the Orange Bowl.' I went down, the team was on the field, I got taped and went out and played 18 snaps.

"We won the game and when I was cutting my tape off, I noticed I still had my hospital bracelet on, so I walked into the training room and told Dr. Virgin, 'I'll give you the honor of cutting this off.' He said, 'No, you're going back to the hospital.' I spent three more days there."

Three weeks later, Stanfill sacked the New York Jets' Joe Namath five times in a game. He also had five sacks against Buffalo in 1974; among Dolphins, only Den Herder has matched that number.

In 1975, the injury problems that would end his career began. Nearly paralyzed by a neck injury in the first exhibition game, he missed the rest of the pre-season but returned for the opener. He needed cortisone shots before nearly every game that season.

"After the '76 season I got Shula's permission to see two outside doctors in Ann Arbor, Mich., and both told me I'd be risking paralysis if I played again. Shula said he'd make the announcement that I'd be retiring at mini-camp, but then I took the physical and Dr. Virgin said I was able to play."

Stanfill said his contract was guaranteed through 1979, and that then-owner Joe Robbie didn't want to pay him unless he played. Stanfill retired and successfully sued to get paid.

He has had a succession of surgeries since, mostly to his neck and hips, though none since 2001. Doctors have told him the hip problems are mostly a result of the multitude of cortisone injections he took to keep playing.

Stanfill has returned to rural Georgia and sells real estate, earlier this year selling some property to Fernandez, who looks forward to the two former linemates heading out in search of ducks and birds just as they did after practice in what was then a much less populated Dade County.

Stanfill admits he keeps tabs on Porter's pursuit of his record but feels Porter must catch or pass him in today's game against San Francisco for the mark to count. Both will have then played in 14 games.

"Otherwise they ought to put an asterisk by it," Stanfill said. "It's only fair."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Look: Louisiana - Lafayette

With a just over a week to go until the start of the 2010 season, here is our first look at Georgia’s opening day opponent, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Nickname: Ragin’ Cajuns – An appropriate nickname for a school in Louisiana. Apparently, they want to be called just Louisiana instead of Lafayette.

Conference: Sun Belt – Louisiana – Lafayette joined the Sun Belt conference in 1991. Did you know that Georgia State was a founding member of the Sun Belt? I wonder if their football program turns out if they try to rejoin in a few years. The Troy Trojans have either outright won or shared the conference title for the last four seasons. Georgia defeated Troy 44-34 in 2007, the last time the Dawgs faced a team from the Sun Belt.

Coach: Ricky Bustle – 2010 will be his 9th season as a head coach, all at Louisiana-Lafayette. He has a career record of 38-56 (including a 28-31 record in conference). His best season came in 206 when the team finished 6-5 and tied for the conference championship. Before coming to Lafayette, Bustle served as offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech from 1993 – 2001 (including the Michael Vick years).

2009 Record: 6-6. The Ragin’ Cajuns won six games to become bowl eligible for the fourth time in the last five season. Unfortunately, they failed to earn a bowl bid for the fourth time in five seasons. They played three games against BCS opponents, going 1-2 in those contests. They defeated Kansas State 17-15 at home on September 12 but then dropped games the next two weeks to LSU (31-3) and Nebraska (55-0) the next two weeks. They finished with a 4-4 record in conference play, including a 48-31loss to conference champion Troy in the season finale.

Returning Starters: 14 (5 on offense, 7 on defense, kicker, and punter)

Offense: Averaged only 22.2 points per game last season (93rd in the country). The offense is lead by returning quarterback Chris Masson, who threw for over 2,400 yards on 60 percent completions with 10 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The Cajuns leading returning receiver is tight end Ladarius Green (533 yards). On the ground, the Cajuns are very inexperienced with Julian Shankle (only 38 yards in 2009) expected to be the starter. The offensive line will also be replacing three starters but will have senior Ian Burks, who has 32 career starts but will be moving from guard to center this fall.

Defense: The strength of Lafayette’s defense in 2009 was its ability to produce interceptions. They finished 13th in the country with 16 picks in 2009 and the defensive backfield returns 3 starters in ’10. As successful as the pass defense was running defense was not. The rush defense allowed over 180 yards a game last season, something Georgia backs should be looking forward to. Their best overall defensive player is senior linebacker Grant Fleming and every projected starter will either be a junior or senior this fall.

2010 Outlook: Once again, Louisiana Lafayette faces a tough out of conference schedule with match ups against four teams that made bowls in 2009 (Georgia, Oklahoma State, Ohio University, and Ole Miss. ) In conference, they are not expected to challenge reigning champion Troy and with only 5 home games, it looks like they are headed to another season that ends without a bowl game invitation.

The Countdown 2010: 10 Days to Go

10: David Greene, Quarterback #14 (2001 – 2004)

David Greene’s father was an Auburn graduate and his sister was a student at Auburn, so naturally David Greene wanted to become a tiger (or War Eagle or whatever). But in the fall of 1999, Auburn had its eyes set on Jason Campbell and did not offer Greene a scholarship. During his senior year at South Gwinnett High School, he earned numerous honors including Gwinnett County Player of the Year, Atlanta Touchdown Club quarterback of the Year, and first team all-state and chose to attend The University of Georgia over Georgia Tech to play college football. Five years later, Greene would leave as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history.

After redshirting the 2000 season, Greene was in a competition with returning quarterback Cory Phillips for Georgia’s starting quarterback job in 2001. After both played poorly in the G-Day game that spring, many suspected that new coach Mark Richt may turn to freshman phenom DJ Shockley to take the reins at quarterback. But as the season neared, Greene won the starting job and the decision to redshirt Shockley was made. Greene played well in his first three games as starter but it was Georgia’s week 4 matchup at top ranked Tennessee that supplant his position as quarterback for the Dawgs. Playing on the road before over 100,000 fans, Greene looked calm in cool throwing for over three hundred yards and two touchdowns. His poise was key in the final drive that gave Georgia the victory:

Greene was named SEC Player of the Week and would continue a solid freshman season. He was SEC Offensive Rookie of the year, throwing for 2,789 yards and 17 touchdowns.

In 2002, Greene would continue his success as the starter, leading Georgia to its first SEC Championship in 20 years. He made arguably the biggest play in Georgia history since Herschel Walker left Georgia in the November game at Auburn. With the Dawgs trailing late in the fourth and facing a long fourth down, Greene lofted a pass towards the back of the Auburn endzone. Michael Johnson was there to make the catch and clinch the SEC East:

During that SEC Championship game a few weeks later, Greene was outstanding, throwing for 237 yards and a touchdown while being named the game MVP. He was a member of the first team All-SEC squad and was honored as the SEC Offensive Player of the Year.

While Georgia would return to the SEC Championship game the next season, Greene struggled behind a young offensive line that gave up the most sacks in the SEC. While throwing for a career high 3,307 yards, he only threw 13 touchdowns and had a career high 11 interceptions.

After Greene and All-American defensive end David Pollack both decided to return for their senior seasons, there were high expectations for Georgia in 2004. The Dawgs got off to a strong start, including a blowout victory over LSU in Athens. During that game, Greene tied a school record throwing 5 touchdown passes. But the Dawgs were upset by Tennessee the following week, ending the dream of a perfect season. Against the Gators in Jacksonville, Greene had his best game against Florida. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 253 and three scores as Georgia earned the first victory over the Gators in the Mark Richt era. During his final home game against Tech, he broke his thumb on a touchdown pass early in the game. After DJ Shockley struggled and Georgia Tech mounted a comeback, Green re-entered the game in the fourth quarter to lead the Dawgs to a field goal. Georgia held on for the win, sealed when Reggie Ball forgot how to count to 4. For the season, he was named a second team All-SEC quarterback, throwing for 2508 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions.

David Greene graduated Georgia with most wins for any starting quarterback in NCAA history (42-10 overall record, later broken by Colt McCoy in 2009). For his career, he completed 849 of 1,440 passes for 11,528 yards and 72 touchdowns. He is both the Georgia and SEC record holder in career passing yards (11,528) and total offense (11,270). He set the SEC record for consecutive passing attempts without an interception (214) and started an NCAA record 52 consecutive games (also later broken by Colt McCoy). Greene was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2005 NFL Draft, but never saw action during a 4 year career. He now co-owns an insurance brokerage firm with fellow Dawg Matt Stinchcomb, is one of the host of the Annual Countdown to Kickoff, and can be heard doing post game for Georgia on the radio.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 11 Days to Go

11: Knowshon Moreno, Halfback
#24 (2007 – 2008)

In 2006, running back Knowshon Moreno arrived in Athens after a record setting high school career in the state of New Jersey. And while his talents were clear to the Georgia coaching stuff, Coach Richt came to a tough decision when he decided to redshirt Moreno for the 2006 season. Georgia had three experienced running backs (Danny Ware, Kregg Lumpkin, and Thomas Brown) who were all juniors and since it looked as though carries would be tough to get. When Knowshon finally saw the field in 2007, he immediately showed flashes of the player the Georgia coaches has been talking about for a year while he sat out. It is a decision that Coach Richt still wishes he could reverse.

After all of the hype, Georgia fans were anxious to finally see Moreno take the field for the Dawgs. In the 35-14 season opening victory, showed his skills on this play:

The following week against South Carolina, Georgia fell 16-12 but Knowshon carried the ball 14 times for 104 yards, his first career 100 yard performance. After solid games against Western Carolina (including his first touchdown), Alabama, and Ole Miss, he racked up 157 yards rushing against Vanderbilt in his first start. With Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin out with injury, Knowshon was lone scholarship back for Georgia as they headed to Jacksonville to take on the defending national champion Gators. Knowshon would have the second of 5 consecutive 100 yards performances, rushing for 188 yards and three touchdowns as the Dawgs “danced” their way to victory. After big games against Troy, Auburn, and Kentucky, Moreno was hampered with an ankle injury against Georgia Tech. He recovered for the Sugar Bowl victory over Hawaii, rushing for 61 yards and two touchdowns on only 9 carries. For the season, 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns and added 253 yards on 20 catches receiving. Here is a look back at his highlights from the 2007 season:

After Georgia finished the 2007 season #2 in the national rankings, there were high expectations for Georgia in 2008. Knowshon and Matt Stafford led a high powered offense that was ranked #1 in the preseason. He scored 6 touchdowns on his first 26 carries of the 2008 season, including the most amazing play I have ever seen in person:

While Georgia failed to live up to the preseason expectations, Knowshon continued to play fantastic. Highlights included a 161 yard performance in the victory at LSU and 131 yard performance against Auburn that included his first career touchdown reception. He capped his redshirt sophomore season with a touchdown reception from Matt Stafford that helped seal Georgia’s victory over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. For the year, he rushed for 1,400 yards on 250 carries (5.6 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns and also caught 33 passes for 392 yards and two scores. He was named to the All-SEC first team and an All-American by the AFCA Coaches.

A month after the Capital One Bowl, Knowshon Moreno (along with Matt Stafford) declared early for the NFL Draft, ending a brief but brilliant career. He holds the 5th and 6th highest single season rushing totals in Georgia history, fourth in total rushing yards (2,734) and fifth in rushing touchdowns. Many consider him the most talented offense player at Georgia since Herschel Walker. He was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos and had a successful rookie season, rushing for over 900 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 12 Days to Go

12: Eric Zeier, QB #10 (1991-1994)

Arguably Georgia's best quarterback of all-time, Eric Zeier is being inducted into UGA's Circle of Honor at a banquet on Sept. 17 and will be recognized at the Georgia-Arkansas football game the next day. The current color commentator on UGA broadcasts is second only to David Greene in career passing yards with 11,153 and touchdowns with 67, and he still holds the record for most passing yards in a single season with 3,525 in 1993.

In 1994, as a first-team All-American, he became only the third quarterback in NCAA history to throw for more than 11,000 yards as he set 18 SEC records for his career.

Highly recruited out of Marietta High School, Zeier became a trendsetter as the most notable recruit to graduate high school early as he enrolled in UGA in the spring of 1991. His first start came against Clemson in 1991 in a 27-12 win.

Unfortunately, Zeier only finished with a 26-14-1 record as Georgia's starter due to the time period he played in and the porous Dawg defenses he played along side.

Zeier was selected in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

“You never know, there might be a lockout.”

This was the response Aaron Murray gave when he was asked about the likelihood that AJ Green heads to the NFL next season. While I fully expect to enter the 2011 season without AJ Green on the Georgia sidelines, Murray's quote really got me thinking. The threat of an NFL lockout certainly looms large right now. So what happens in January if this lockout appears to be a sure thing?

Do junior players such as AJ Green, Matk Ingram, Ryan Mallett, and others decide to stay in school one more season? At least while they are in school, they have their scholarships to pay for living expenses and they can continue working on their game. But if they go ahead and leave early and the owners lockout the players in March, then what happens? I am not sure how the NFL draft rules work concerning declaring for the draft and hiring an agent, but if there is a lockout, the NCAA may need to make some changes to its policies (wait, this is the NCAA, nevermind.)

What are your thoughts? Do we suddenly pray for a lockout just to get one more year of AJ in Athens?

Only 12 days to go! GO DAWGS!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 13 Days to Go

13: Bob McWhorter, Halfback (1910 – 1913)

When you say “Georgia Football”, the first thing that comes to most peoples’ minds is Herschel Walker and Vince Dooley. But prior Dooley’s arrival in Athens, another name was synonymous with Georgia football: Bob McWhorter. During the infancy of the sport at the university, Georgia was typically known more for its coaches, such as Glenn “Pop” Warner and George “Kid” Woodruff. But a 5’10’’ kid from nearby Lexington would give the Georgia program its first big star and one of the greatest players in school history.

The 1909 season had not been a successful one for the red and black squad from Georgia. They had won just one game and scored only two touchdowns in 7 games. But new Georgia coach Alex Cunningham brought a new direction to the Georgia team, as well as its future star player. Cunningham had been the baseball coach at Gordon Military College and Bob McWhorter was his centerfielder. In 1909, they played a game in Athens against Georgia, beating them 11-0. The next day, Cunningham was hired to coach the Georgia baseball and football teams, Bob McWhorter soon followed.

Bob McWhorter debuted for Georgia at halfback against Locus Grove College. Georgia would destroy the team from Locus Grove, 101-0, and it was the freshman McWhorter doing much of the scoring. McWhorter rushed for 5 touchdowns in the game. He also played the entire game on defense, a trend that would continue over the next 4 years. At the end of the season, McWhorter was instrumental in helping Georgia break a 5 year drought against Georgia Tech. He scored a 45 yard touchdown late in the game to give Georgia the lead and the eventual victory. He finished the season with 20 touchdowns and Georgia finished with a record of 6-2-1.

McWhorter continued to have success the following season as a sophomore. Playing the entire game on both offense and defense, McWhorter was the leader of a Georgia team that would only lose 1 game all season. He finished with 15 touchdowns in his sophomore year. Another successful season for Georgia in 1912 (6-1-1) was highlighted by an upset over a heavily-favored Auburn squad. McWhorter made two key plays to help ensure the Georgia victory. On their opening drive, Georgia lost nearly 40 yards on its first three plays from scrimmage. McWhorter lined up to punt, but instead took off down the field, going all the way for a touchdown. Later in the game with the score tied at 6, McWhorter threw a long touchdown pass to Hugh Conklin to give Georgia the win.

By 1913, McWhorter’s name was finally becoming known outside of the South. At the time, northern writers typically ignored players from the south when writing about college football, but that changed with McWhorter. The season began with 108-0 victory over Alabama Presbyterian and McWhorter had one of the most dominating performances in Georgia history. He had six runs of over 50 yards (meaning had over 300 yards rushing) and scored six touchdowns. The Bulldog captain continued to play great throughout the remainder of the season, including two touchdowns (one rushing and one on a punt return) in his final home game, a 19-6 victory over North Carolina. For the season, he scored 14 touchdowns and became the first Georgia player to be named an All-American. One New York writer had this to say about McWhorter: ''To Northern enthusiasts, McWhorter comes as a stranger, but not so in the South, where he is known as the most phenomenal backfield player the game has known for years.''

''To Northern enthusiasts, McWhorter comes as a stranger, but not so in the South, where he is known as the most phenomenal backfield player the game has known for years.''
While statistics from that era may be incomplete, Georgia records indicate that McWhorter scored a total 61 touchdowns during his four years for Georgia. That would rank him first all-time at Georgia (ahead of Herschel Walker’s 52). He was a four-time All-Southern Conference team member and was also a star for the Georgia baseball team. He turned down offers to play professionally, instead enrolling in graduate school at Virginia. During his time at Virginia, the Cavaliers traveled to Boston to take on national powerhouse Harvard. A running back named Bob White played halfback much of the game for Virginia and was the best player on the field that day. McWhorter returned to Georgia as a law professor at the University from 1923 until 1958. He served four terms as the mayor of Athens and the university named a dorm in his honor. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954, the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1964, and the UGA Circle of Honor in 1996.