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Georgia Richt Refused To Single Out The Dawgs’ Defense After Auburn Loss

gfx - they said itHaving slept on it Saturday night, Mark Richt had plenty of time to formulate a response to the sure-to-come questions about the job defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is doing.  As the prolific Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal Constitution points outs, the Dawgs have given up 30 or more points seven times this season.  They’ve given up 40+ on three occasions, including Saturday’s 43-38 loss at Auburn.  A loss in which two Georgia defenders unintentionally batted an underthrown Hail Mary forward and into the hands of Auburn receiver Ricardo Louis for the game-losing score.

So when asked about Grantham and Georgia’s D, Richt had this to say yesterday:


“Here’s what I say: I say we’re a team here at Georgia and we’re going to keep coaching and keep trying to make improvements and corrections in everything we do and in all phases of the game…

The bottom line is at Georgia we’re a team and we win together and lose together.  We’re always watching film after every game to make sure we make corrections on offense, defense and special teams.”


Grantham was hired in 2010 to replace dismissed UGA defensive coordinator Willie Martinez.  Georgia’s 2009 defense under Martinez allowed 25.9 points and 339.4 yards per game.  This year, Grantham’s unit is allowing 30.2 points and 386.9 yards per game.

In fairness to Grantham, he’s having to play with an extremely young squad this year.  And defenses all across the SEC are giving up bigger numbers than in recent years (due in large part to hurry-up spread attacks).

But that won’t stop Bulldog fans from comparing one defense to the other.  Which is bad PR news for Grantham.

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UGA’s Crowell Wants To Focus On Accountability, Responsbility

Entering the 2011 season, true freshman running back Isaiah Crowell was probably the most popular man in Georgia.  The top tailback prospect had excited fans by picking the homestate Dawgs.

He went on to rush for 847 yards to lead all SEC freshman backs and to finish 5th in the league overall (77.0 ypg).

Despite the on-field success, Crowell was constantly making news away from the field.  Injuries were a year-long concern.  Two suspensions and a “did not start” in the SEC Championship Game left UGA coaches searching for a new hotshot tailback prospect — whom they found in Keith Marshall — and left fans scratching their heads.  (Or venting on messageboards.  There was plenty of Crowell-induced venting.)

But in a Q&A with Chip Towers of The AJC, Crowell says it’s time to do some more growing up.  Asked what lessons he might have learned during his first year of college ball, Crowell said just what coaches and fans wanted to hear:

“Just follow my teammates and coaches.  They’re counting on me to do what I’m supposed to do. … I think I need to be more accountable and handle my responsibilities better.”

So is that just lip service?  Let’s hope not.

Stories from behind the scenes at Georgia suggest Crowell is still dealing with maturity issues after having been coddled through much of his pre-college athletic career.  He’s hardly the first player to fit that description.

UGA fans will most likely turn their focus to the aforementioned Marshall by next fall, but it would be wrong for anyone — including those of us in the press — to write off Crowell as a headcase at this point. 

If nothing else, he’s saying the right things.  And that means he’s at least listening to his coaches.

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Richt’s Wife Says He’s Uber-Competitive

When Mark Richt first arrived at Georgia and immediately began competing for SEC championships, no one seemed to mind the fact that his sideline demeanor could best be described as a cross between stoic and dead.

But as the Bulldogs struggled the past two seasons, Richt’s often emotionless looks were taken by frustrated fans as a sign that their coach didn’t mind losing as much as they minded losing.  Well Richt’s wife, Katharyn, says that’s not even close to being true:

“He competes at everything, even a backyard basketball game, even a family volleyball game.  He kicked me out of our family volleyball games this summer.  It was because I always cut up and I’m all about having fun and making sure everybody’s having a good time and getting along.  He’s all about winning.  So he said I couldn’t play.  So, yes, it does affect him when he loses games.”

Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more on how the Richts survived a trying season right here.

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UT’s Dooley Says UGA Game Not Too Tough On Him

With Derek Dooley facing his father’s long-time school this weekend, the “emotions” storyline was sure to get some play.  But as Dooley told Chip Towers of The AJC, that angle has been overplayed:

“When you talk about this Georgia game, it’s a lot harder on my family that it is on me.  Because my family, they’ve been Georgia fans their whole life.  My dad bleeds red and black, so it’s hard on him.  But that’s not me.  I didn’t even go to college at Georgia.  I bled red and black when I was 12.  You know what I mean?  So I think people make this a bigger deal than what it is.”

Technically, Dooley did graduate from UGA’s law school, but he makes his feelings pretty clear just the same.  And those are?  He doesn’t have many extra feelings going into the Tennessee-Georgia game every year.

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UGA’s Hamilton Out For The Season

Georgia’s depth has taken another hit, this time at free safety.  Senior Jakar Hamilton was diagnosed yesterday with a stress fracture in his right ankle.

“My guess is he won’t play this year,” Mark Richt said.  Hamilton has been out with a hamstring pull since the beginning of preseason camp.

Chip Towers of The AJC reports that junior Shawn Williams appears to have won the starting free safety job.  Hamilton started five games for the Dawgs last year and played in all 13. 

Hamilton can apply for a medical redshirt.

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Energy Vampires Moving East From Auburn To Athens

Back in March we told you that Auburn’s Gene Chizik was no fan of people he termed “energy vampires.”  As he told at the time, Chizik wasn’t going to worry about people making allegations of wrongdoing regarding his football program.

“They’re going to say what they’re going to say and discuss what they’re going to discuss, and you have absolutely no control over that,” Chizik said.  “I call those energy vampires.  They’re not going to suck my energy out worrying about that.”

Now it seems that energy vampires have crossed the West Georgia border and have headed East toward Athens.  Or at least Chizik’s term has.

Georgia’s Mark Richt is using the “energy vampire” moniker as a means of keeping his players on a positive vibe.  “If you say something negative, if you’re not doing something positive when we’re doing activities as a team, you can be called an ‘energy vampire,” explains linebacker Chase Vasser.  “Anybody who hears you say something like, ‘I don’t want to be here,’ you can be turned into the coach and you’ll get your face on the board.”

Chip Towers of The AJC explains the rest:

“If a teammate (is) nominated by another player for the ‘energy vampire’ board and coach Mark Richt approves, he ends up with his picture plastered all over video boards in the weight room, usually Photoshopped to include fangs and other unflattering enhancements.”

Of his new motivational tactic, UGA’s coach just said, “We’re looking for guys who want to be positive.”

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Tuesday Morning Recruiting Headlines

Here are some headlines to look through on this Tuesday morning.

-Florida WR commit LaTroy Pittman was in Gainesville for a camp this past weekend.

-Here’s an update on Georgia’s recruiting after a busy weekend in Athens.

-It was a recruiting weekend Georgia needed, writes Chip Towers.

-Remember last year’s “Dream Team” class at Georgia? They’re talking Dream Team II now.

-Quarterback Jameis Winston is a top prospect in football and baseball.

-Here’s a look at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga. The school is loaded with talent.

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Seven UGA Players Robbed In Football Complex

Now here’s an odd one for you.  Seven Georgia football players had $1,330 worth of items stolen from their lockers at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall last Thursday. 

According to Chip Towers of The AJC, no players are expected to be implicated in the robbery.  A campus police spokesperson said, “We haven’t ruled anything out but have not reason to suspect that.”

Whoever got in the recently updated facility knew exactly what they were doing.  The complex usually requires fingerprint identification to access — I wonder if the “Mission: Impossible” theme plays as you enter — but last Thursday the building was left open for “faculty appreciation day.”  And someone just happened to hit the building on that day.

According to police there are no suspects.  But I wouldn’t rule out the guy at left.

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Under Armour All-American Game Links

The fourth annual All-American Game will take place tonight at 7 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

There are 21 players who are committed to SEC schools playing in the game. There could be more SEC commitments when the game is over. Eight players are expected to make their college decisions during the game, and five of those players are considering SEC schools.

Here are a few links to get you ready for tonight’s game.

-Here are the Red and White teams rosters for tonight’s game.

-Florida has four commitments playing in tonight’s game.

-Alabama could land two commitments during the game.

-Here’s a look at some of the marquee matchups that will be on display.

-Gene Wojciechowski has some recruiting rules for tonight’s blue-chippers.

-Could Jay Rome make a surprise announcement before the night is over?

-Chip Towers has a nice rundown in his notebook from the Under Armour camp.

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Will A Coin Decide Xzavier Dickson’s Future?

Defensive end Xzavier Dickson from Griffin (Ga.) High School has come up with an interesting approach to decide between Alabama and Georgia.

He’s going to flip a coin.

“I’m going to flip it five times and the one that comes up the most is the one I’m going to go with,” Dickson told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “They both can provide me with what I need at the next level, so I can’t go wrong.”

Dickson will announce his decision tonight during the Under Armour All-American Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. He’s one of eight players expected to make an announcement tonight.

Dickson swore to Chip Towers of the AJC that he will use the coin to decide his future. Of course, many people are skeptical of whether Dickson will actually stick with the plan. But Towers isn’t the only person to hear of Dickson’s plan.

“He told me that, too,” said athlete Quan Bray, who is Dickson’s roommate this week at the Under Armour game. “I’m in the room with him so I guess I’ll see. That’s exactly what he told me.”

Dickson is ranked the nation’s fifth-best defensive end and 22nd best player overall by If Dickson chooses Georgia, he could be joining what coach Mark Richt hopes turns out to be a monster signing class.

Bray, who attends Troup High School in LaGrange, Ga., will also announced his college choice tonight. He is also considering Alabama and Georgia along with Auburn and Florida.

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