The Georgia Bulldogs. U-G-A. The Dawgs. The Silver Britches. The Redcoats.
Call ’em what you will, but they are coming to the WB on Saturday afternoon.
Our annual tilt with the Canines Rouge et Noir (no one calls them THAT) has grown in both importance and vitriol over the last few years. What was once a regional border clash, with only intense partisans in and around the Augusta, Georgia area, has now become one of the great traditional contests in the SEC. The winner of the game, year in and year out, should be in the driver’s seat for the East title.
Or the loser, doesn’t matter.
Not so familiar with this year’s edition of the Georgia Bulldogs? Well, its time for some ‘boning up:
Remember, these are actual colleges with actual students:
The University of Georgia is a public, coeducational, land grant institution in Athens, Georgia. “UGa” as it is universally known, has the distinction of being one of the handful of public colleges in the United States that is actually older than our circa 1801 University. The school has just over 30,000 undergraduates, making it roughly the same size as Carolina.
The school’s official motto is Et docere et rerum exquirere causas, which roughly translated means something about knowledge or learning causing something or other. Sorry, latin was never my strong suit. I’m sure its important, and I’m equally sure that its on the lips of every student that doesn’t walk through the iconic, forbidden Arch on campus.
[Help me out, gentle reader, and insert something here that you happen to know about REM, the B52s, the Indigo Girls, or maybe even James Brown, just to add some human interest to this section. Thanks.]
The weirdest thing about them:
Georgia has a bell they ring (at some point), an arch they walk under (at some point), and a guy that plays the trumpet in the upper deck (at some point). They also have an institutional-sanctioned puppy mill in Savannah, Georgia that apparently can’t produce a healthy, all-white bulldog. But the single weirdest thing about them has to be the wide-spread hatred they have of their other mascot, Hairy Dog. Every Georgia fan over the age of ten will roll their eyes at the very mention of his name. In many cases they will quickly launch into a ten minute exposition on how Hairy Dog is not really the mascot, he’s just a “costumed character” “loosely affiliated with the athletic department.” Uga, they insist, is the “official LIVE mascot” which really makes me shudder to think about what is underneath the Hairy Dog headpiece (The Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia, after all).
Oh, and they all HATE HATE HATE Steve Spurrier. Which isn’t really weird per se, but it bears mentioning.
Every year, Georgia manages to out-recruit everyone else. That is to say, unless “everyone else” means Alabama and/or teams that get sick of losing to Alabama and decide to blatantly pay for their players [cough] Auburn [cough]. Despite their recruiting prowess, however, the Bulldogs somehow manage to avoid winning many SEC titles, or even middling bowl games.
Regardless, all the talent they’ve stockpiled does show itself from time to time, and they are legitimately two deep with SEC size and speed at every position. Their coaching staff is headed by Mark Richt, who is an unexcitable (and unexciting) individual who manages to squeeze exactly 79% of the potential out of every 5 star recruit he signs.
This year’s version of the Bulldogs is strong on both lines, has athletic linebackers, and sports a stable of running backs that never ends. Potential weaknesses include a Senior QB with little experience, a M.A.S.H. unit at wide receiver, and substantial inexperience in the defensive secondary. The Gamecocks share two of those three weaknesses, however.
One wrinkle to watch for this year:
Conventional wisdom provides that the Gamecocks should stack the box with defenders and dare the Bulldogs to throw. Since such an approach would place our inexperienced cornerbacks out on lonely islands where they can get into very public trouble, I expect Georgia to start out trying to throw the ball. Short passes and/or screens have met with better than average success against us thus far, and would serve to open up the running lanes sooner or later.
Unless I’m overthinking it (which no one has ever accused Mark Richt of doing), in which case the Dawgs may just pound the rock straight at us.
Unless they don’t.
But anyway. . . .
That player you are going to hate:
Senior fullback Taylor Maxey. When starting fullback Merritt Hall was forced to give up football just weeks before the start of the 2014 season, many Dawg fans fretted about finding a suitable replacement. The answer came in the way of a rarely used, veteran walkon wearing #47. If you didn’t notice him in the Georgia/Clemson game, I guarantee you that the Tiger linebacking corps did. Maxey was the lead blocker for three touchdown gallops, and he was throwing himself at anything orange all night. Expect more of the same in our game – well, except this time with garnet. You’re gonna hate him.
Hutson Mason, quarterback. How good is this guy? Or how bad? The sample size is too small to say at this point. He managed a thrilling double-overtime comeback win over Georgia Tech last year, and then proceeded to faceplant against Nebraska in the Gator Bowl. He played at a good, solid, underwhelming level against Clemson, so perhaps he’s due for a turnover or five against us.
Freshman running back Nicholas Cornelius Chubb. He’s a blistering little load, hard to tackle, and he’s even faster than David Pollack’s mysterious weight-loss (<——–This is an oblique reference to performance-enhancing drugs).
The thing that will tell the tale:
Georgia won against Clemson because they wore the Tigers down in the second half by played field position and old-school football. Can we rotate enough defensive players and/or maintain offensive drives long enough to avoid the same fate?
William Carlos Williams explains further:
so much depends
not the one on
the one who throws
high and hard
I forgot to mention:
Some guy named Todd Gurley. Don’t worry, he’s all everyone else is talking about.
OK, consider yourself all ‘bonzed up on the Dawgs!