Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 84 Days to Go

2011 Schedule: From Least to Most Important

12 - New Mexico State - November 5

A bad out of conference opponent the week after Florida. The Dawgs should be either eying an SEC crown or pissed off about another loss in Jacksonville. This one should be easy.

11 - Coastal Carolina - September 17

Any questions? The only reason it is more important than New Mexico State is that it follows two tough opponents to open the season.

10 - Vanderbilt - October 15

Vandy will be horrible again and the Dawgs should roll.

9 - Georgia Tech - November 26

Other than bragging rights, this game is not too important at this time. That could all change depending on how the season goes.

8 - Ole Miss - September 24

The first true road game of the season. Hopefully the Dawgs will be looking to go 2-0 in the SEC.

7 - Mississippi State

MSU surprised everyone last year, but I don't think they will be as nearly as strong this year.

6 - Boise State - September 3

This is important on a perception scale, but in the terms of the 2011 season, this one is not that important. The Dawgs could lose this one and still have a great season, just ask Virginia Tech.

5 - Kentucky - November 19

The Dawgs' final SEC game could have a lot to do with bowl positioning this fall.

4 - Tennessee - October 8

The Dawgs won easily last fall, but have struggle the last two visits to Knoxville.

3 - Auburn - November 12


2 - Florida - October 29

This game is always important, but this year the Gators seem more vulnerable than they have since 2004.

1 - South Carolina - September 10

The most important home opener in a long time. Whether they win or lose in week 1 against Boise, this game is a must for a good season this fall. Win it, and you are the favorite for the SEC East crown. Lose it, and it may be another long year in Athens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 85 Days to Go

The Emergency Quarterback: Hines Ward and the 1995 Peach Bowl

Hines Ward is one of the greatest receivers to patch passes in Sanford Stadium. His 149 career receptions for over 1,900 yards puts him among the leaders in school history. But Ward's numbers may have been even better had he not been called on to perform other roles during his Georgia career. In addition to receiver, Ward also played running back. But in the 1995 season, he returned to his high school position of quarterback.

Starting quarterback Mike Bobo and backup Brian Smith were injured and Ward moved from emergency quarterback to starter. Georgia faced Virginia and while they would lose the game 34-27, Ward put on an amazing performance. The Dawgs rallied from a 24-6 deficit, Ward completed 31 of 59 passes for 419 yards. He had 469 yards of total offense. Here is a video that appeared as part of ESPN's Year of the Quarterback earlier this year:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 86 Days to Go

How Larry Munson Came to Georgia

Larry Munson will always be the voice of the Georgia Bulldogs. From Lindsay Scott to the Hobnail Boot, Munson's calls are at the very heart of what Georgia football means to many fans. Most people know that Munson sat in the Georgia booth for over 40 years (1966-2008), but few Georgia fans know about his career before Georgia. Here's a look at how Larry came to Athens.

Larry grew up in Minneapolis and served as a medic in the Army during World War II. After attending broadcast school and working at a small radio station in North Dakota, he applied for a job in Cheyenne, Wyoming, used a recording of an Ohio State and Minnesota football game as an audition. In Cheyenne, Munson met and befriended Curt Gowdy. When Gowdy left his position calling football games for the University of Wyoming, he recommended Munson for the job. And so started the career of Larry Munson broadcasting sports.

Gowdy had left for a minor league baseball announcing position in Oklahoma City, and when he moved on to call games for the New York Yankees in 1949, Munson once again replaced him. In 1952, Larry moved to Nashville, continuing to call minor league baseball games and appearing on one of the first television fishing shows ever produced. He also convinced Vanderbilt University to begin broadcasting college basketball games on a local AM affiliate. the success of basketball on the station led them to add football to its schedule with Munson as its lead broadcaster.

Larry Munson would leave the state of Tennessee for Georgia in early 1966. But his main reason for coming south was not Georgia football. He had been hired as a member of the Atlanta Braves broadcast team for their first season in Atlanta. During Spring Training, Munson saw in the paper that Georgia radio announcer Ed Thilenius was leaving the position. He made a call to Georgia athletic director Joel Eaves about the open position. He got the job and took over as Georgia broadcaster that fall (despite continuing to live in Nashville. He stopped calling Braves games midway through that season.) The rest is Georgia football history.

During his career with Georgia, Munson continued to work in many different areas. He continued to appear on a hunting and fishing show in Nashville for the next 12 years, called Georgia basketball games from 1987-1996, and called games for the Atlanta Falcons from 1989 - 1992.

At the 57 second point of the video below, you can here some of Munson's calls from his days with the Falcons.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Texas Rangers: Pure Class

The Texas Rangers drafted Georgia outfielder Jonathan Taylor in the 33rd round of the MLB draft today. I applaud Nolan Ryan and everyone at the Texas Rangers for this amazing move. I am glad there is still a place in sports for classy moves such as this.

The Countdown 2011: 87 Days to Go

Marlon Brown: Time to Live up to Expectations

On National Signing Day in 2009, Georgia picked up a commitment (and national letter of intent) from 5 star wide receiver Marlon Brown. The 6'5'' receiver from Memphis' Harding Academy was considered one of the top players in the 2009 class and it appeared as though Georgia had found another superstar to pair with AJ Green. Many thought Brown would stay in state and attend Tennessee (there were reports on UT message boards as early as July 2008 that he had committed to be a Vol). Great expectations were leaped upon Brown when arrived in Athens, but so far those expectations have not been met.

Brown did not see the field for much of Georgia's first few games of 2009 and many thought he was headed for a redshirt. But when the Dawgs travel to Tennessee, Brown was on the field (to a chorus of boos from Vol fans) and made two catches for 15 yards. Those would prove to be his only catches for the entire season. 2009 was a wasted year and in my opinion, Borwn should have stayed on the bench and been granted a redshirt while he adjusted to SEC football.

When AJ Green sat out (and was subsequently suspended) for the first four games of 2010, it was another chance for Brown to step up. He never took hold of the starting job and immediately fell back on depth chart behind Kris Durham. Borwn did make his first career touchdown catch at Colorado, but overall it was another disappointing season. He played in 12 of the 13 games, making 11 catches for 133 yards and one touchdown.

Kris Durham has graduated and AJ Green has left early, leaving Brown the opportunity to become a starter this fall. If the Dawgs hope to continue the success in the passing game they saw last fall, Aaron Murray will need someone other than just Tavarres King to throw to. Hopefully Brown can step up and finally live up to the amount of hype he entered school with.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 88 Days to Go

AJ Green’s Place in the Georgia Record Books

With AJ Green’s career in red and black now over, we can take a look back at his career in a historical context. When diving into the Georgia record book, it is clear to see that AJ Green could have easily become the most decorated receiver in Georgia history. But some nagging injuries and the suspension last fall caused him to miss 7 full games over the last two seasons. The career of AJ Green will be remembered as brilliant but also as “what could have been”.

Career Receptions

Green’s Total : 166

Place in the record books: 3rd, behind Terrence Edwards(204) and Brice Hunter (182)

Career Yards

Green’s Total: 2,619

Place in the Record Books: 3rd, behind Terrence Edwards (3,093) and Fred Gibson (2,884).

Career TD Receptions

Green’s Total: 23

Place in Record Books: 2nd, behind Terrence Edwards (30)

Pass Receptions in a Season

Green’s 2010 Total: 57

Place in Record Books: 5th. Brice Hunter holds the single season record with 76, but keep in mind AJ’s total was in 9 games.

TD Receptions in a Season

Green’s 2010 Total: 9

Place in Record Books: 2nd, behind Terrence Edwards 11 in 2002 (Edwards also missed time that year for injury)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 89 Days to Go

My Top 10 Games of the Last 10 Years

The last ten years of Georgia football, aka the Mark Richt era, have seen some amazing on the field moments. Here are my ten personal favorites.

10. 2005 SEC Championsip - Georgia 34, LSU 13

The Dawgs "backed in" to the SEC Championship despite losing to both Florida and Auburn and most people did not give us a chance. But two long touchdowns to Sean Bailey from DJ Shockley were the beginning of the demolition of LSU.

9. 2008 - Georgia 27, Arizona State 10

The Dawgs had lost the pre-season #1 ranking but looked great on national television against the Sun Devils. AJ Green put his name on the national map and Knowshon Moreno leaped into the end zone. Just a fun game to watch.

8. 2011 - Georgia 31, Georgia Tech 17

Tech had beaten us the last few years. I was at the game in Bobby Dodd and Billy Bennett just kept making field goals. It got the Richt era off on the right foot against the gnats.

7. 2007 - Georgia 42, Florida 30

Everythig about this game was great. From dancing in the end zone to Tebow rolling around in pain.

6. 2002 SEC Championship - Georgia 30, Arkansas 3

Georgia won its first SEC Championship in 20 years in dominating fashion. Matt Jones and the Razorbacks never stood a chance.

5. 2007 - Georgia 45, Auburn 20

The original blackout. The most amazing college football crowd I have ever seen.

4. 2004 - Georgia 45, LSU 16

The Dawgs got revenge for the two losses to the Tigers in 2003. David Greene could not miss and we absolutely ran the Tigers out of Athens.

3. 2005 - Georgia 48, Boise State 13

People kept talking about little Boise coming to Athens and beating the Dawgs. No sir.

2. 2008 Sugar Bowl - Georgia 41, Hawaii 10

The Dawgs were the best team in the country. It is a damn shame we didn't get to play for the national title. The defense took out its frustrations on Colt Brennan.

1. 2004 - Georgia 31, Florida 24

I was a 5th year senior and we had never beaten the Gators. They had already fired Ron Zook and we had Leonard Pope. Florida tried to make it interesting, but we held on. I have never been back to Jacksonville since then.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Countdown 2011: 90 Days to Go

Underrated Performances: Michael Johnson vs. Auburn in 2002

The 2002 game against Auburn is on of the most memorable games in Georgia football history. Not only did the Dawgs earn their first trip to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta (at which they would win their first SEC Championship in 20 years), but they won the game in dramatic fashion. Sophomore quarterback David Greene found receiver Michael Johnson in the end zone on fourth and 15 from the Auburn 19. Everyone remembers Johnson's great catch and Larry Munson's legendary call:

But many people overlook Johnson's performance, which was one of the best single game performances in Georgia history. Michael Johnson was a junior receiver from Tulsa, Oklahoma who had not seen a lot of playing time until this point in his career. But with receivers Terrence Edwards and Damien Gary out and Fred Gibson playing with a hand injury that caused him to wear a cast for much of the season, the Dawgs needed someone to step up. Michael Johnson was the man to answer the call.

In the victory over Auburn, Johnson caught 13 passes for 141 yards and the game winning touchdown. Prior to the game, he had only caught 11 passes all season. His 24th catch of the 2002 season will forever remain the most important catch of his career. I was in the third row of the opposite end zone when Johnson made the catch and until the following Monday morning, I thought Fred Gibson had actually made the play (that was the first time I saw any highlights on TV).