Friday, June 17, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 78 Days to Go

Reasons to Love Athens: Feta and Fries at the Grill

(Note: This is the first in a series of posts on this year's countdown about the home of our Georgia Bulldogs, Athens)

One of the reason Athens is known as a great college town is the abundance of great restaurants. From fine cuisine to a late night snack, the Classic City has a little something for everyone. For those of us that spent many a night at the bars downtown, the last choice of the night was often to pick between one of two places: Little Italy or the Grill. And while I loved getting a few slices of pizza, nothing beats the french fries with feta at The Grill.

The Grill has been open on College Avenue for over 20 years and is the perfect late night destination for the hungry college student. When you end up hungry after a night downtown this fall, head on over to The Grill and order the fries. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 79 Days to Go

Caleb King: One Last Chance
When Caleb King chose to come to Georgia, most fans in the Bulldog Nation rejoiced. The best running back from the state of Georgia (who was considered one of the best in the nation until a leg injury his senior year) was staying home. The expectations were high when Caleb arrived on campus in 2007. With the emergence of Knowshon Moreno that fall, King stayed on the bench and would not make his debut until the 2008 opener against Georgia Southern. King ran well that ( totaling just under 100 yards on the ground) and Georgia fans remained optimistic.

Now, almost 3 years later, many Georgia fans see King's career as a failure. From a series of injuries to academic and off field issues, King has never lived up to the hype. But there have been highlights to King's career. The 75 yard touchdown against Georgia Tech in 2009 may be the one most remember, but my favorite was a play which King never touched the ball. Against Auburn in 2009, King blocked an Auburn defender into the air as Joe Cox hooked up with Israel Troupe on a long touchdown.

Blocking is the one area where most people are satisfied with King. He has been the best blocking back for the last few seasons. Georgia's offense requires its running backs to block and with Crowell just arriving on campus, the Dawgs will need a solid blocker. My hope is that Caleb takes this final year to win back the Georgia fans. If he finally lives up to expectations, he will not only make himself a better draft prospect but he will help relieve some of the pressure off Isaiah Crowell.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 80 Days to Go

Tight End U

During the 1980's and early 1990's, many fans liked to call Georgia Tailback U. From Herschel Walker to Garrison Hearst and Terrell Davis, the Dawgs always seemed to have a great player at the running back position. While Georgia has had good players consistently at a number of positions in recent years, the tight end position has been extremely strong.

When Coach Richt arrived in Athens, he already had a great tight end in Randy McMichael. When McMichael moved onto the NFL, Benjamin Watson (who began his career at Duke) took over and after two successful seasons moved on to the New England Patriots. The next great Georgia tight end was Leonard Pope, who became a hero to Georgia fans after catching two touchdown passes in 2004 victory over Florida. After the Dawgs won the SEC in 2005, Pope moved on and Matrez Milner became starting tight end. Milner performed well enough to get drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. Ironically, one of Georgia's best teams of the decade (2007) failed to feature an NFL tight end. Tripp Chandler had some drop issues, but would still have been a starter at most SEC schools.

And that leads up to the group of tight ends currently at Georgia, which may be the strongest tight end group in the country. The group is so strong that Bruce Figgins was able to move to fulback this year. Orson Charles is poised for an All-American season and senior Aron White would start at almost any school in the country. Artie Lynch is coming off a redshirt season and we haven't even seen Jay Rome in a bulldog uniform yet. Georgia truly has become tight end U in college football.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 81 Days to Go

Profile: Christian Robinson

Number: 45
Class: Junior
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 226
Position: Inside Linebacker

Career Totals:

Games Played/ Started - 25/11
Tackles: 65
Sacks: 2
Tackles for Loss: 6
Fumble Recoveries: 2
Quarterback Pressures: 4

2010 Review:
Robinson became a starter for the Dawgs in 2010, appearing in all 13 games (including 11 starts). Robinson and Akeem Dent formed a good foundation in the middle in the first year under Todd Grantham. He recorded a career high 6 tackles against Georgia Tech.

2011 Preview:
From everything I have read, Christian Robinson has become one of the team leaders of the defense. His vocal leadership, along with solid play on the field, will make him a player to watch this fall. I am really excited about him being paired with sophomore Alec Ogletree at inside linebacker. Look for an increase in Robinson's tackle total as last year's team leader, Akeem Dent, has moved on to the NFL.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 82 Days to Go

2011 Opponent Profile: New Mexico State

School: New Mexico State University

Mascot: Aggies

Conference: WAC

Last Conference Championship: 1978 (Missouri Valley Conference)

Head Coach: DeWayne Walker (3rd season, 5-20 overall record)

DeWayne Walker became head coach at New Mexico State in 2009 after spending three years as defensive coordinator at UCLA (and as interim head coach in a loss to BYU in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl). He has failed to have much success at New Mexico State, winning only a single conference game each of the last two years.

Rivals: New Mexico and UTEP

Last Season: 2-10 (1-7 in WAC)

Interesting Fact: "The Woodson Curse"

Future hall of famer Warren B. Woodson became coach of the Aggie program in 1958. His team won the 1959 Sun Bowl and went a perfect 11-0 during the 1960 season. After a few more successful seasons, the university administration invoked a clause which required state employees to retire at age 65. Woodson was turning 65 that year, and despite another winning season and a blow out over rival New Mexico (53-7) he was forced into retirement. In 40 years since Woodson's forced retirement, the Aggies have only had 4 winning seasons and have not returned to a post season bowl game.

New Mexico State travels to Athens to take on the Dawgs on November 5.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 83 Days to Go

Isaiah Crowell: High School Numbers and Predictions

Georgia has had many players with amazing high school statistics come to Athens to play for the Bulldogs. That case holds true for Georgia's top player in the class of 2011, Isaiah Crowell. Here's a look at the amazing stats he put up at Carver-Columbus.

2007: 22 carries, 219 yards, 3 TD

2008: 85 carries, 1,017 yards, 15 TD

2009: 175 carries, 1,915 yards, 25 TD

2010: 147 carries, 1,721 yards, 18 TD

Career Totals: 429 carries, 4,872 yards, 11.35 yards per carry, 61 TD

So what can we expect out of Crowell this fall? Marcus Lattimore rushed for 1,197 yards on 249 carries for South Carolina. This would be almost 100 carries more than Crowell had in any season during high school and with Caleb King and Ken Malcome around, I just don't see him getting more than 20 carries per game. Knowshon Moreno carried the ball 248 times as a freshman in 2007 despite splitting carries with senior Thomas Brown.

My prediction: 195 carries for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns.