Sunday, April 18, 2010
We may never know who was leading in the race to become the University of Georgia's starting quarterback in 2010, but one thing is for certain...the herd has definitely been thinned. This is the reality after the Mark Richt issued a statement Sunday saying that Redshirt Freshman Zach Mettenberger had been dismissed from the team.
Up until today, it had been a three man battle between Mettenberger, Logan Gray and Aaron Murray. As I type this, details are few as to exactly why Mettenberger is no longer with the team.
As we go forward, I have just a couple of thoughts in the immediate wake of the news.
1. Fewer players in the quarterback battle should mean more quality reps for the two main competitors for the job. This may have been the case anyway since Coach Richt had promised to issue a post-spring depth chart that would have set a pecking order for the quarterbacks, but now it is pretty much guaranteed. Hutson Mason will be on campus soon and he will compete, but barring disaster has virtually no chance of seeing the field for Georgia in 2010. From where I sit, I see this as a good thing. More clean reps split between two players that have been in the system for a while gives the DAWGS a better chance at settling on a clear starter prior to the beginning of the season. You always hate to lose a talented player, but this has happened before and will most likely (and unfortunately) happen again. If history has taught us anything, it is that the program is greater than any one player, that Coach Richt has a plan and that Georgia will be just fine.
2. Hutson Mason signing on to join the DAWGS back in February looks like a big pick-up, but Georgia should still look to sign at least one top-tier quarterback in the class of 2011. Like I stated above, the record-breaking Lassiter standout and Marietta native Mason will come in and compete, but unless Georgia suffers a freakish series of injuries at the position he doesn't figure to see the field in the fall. Mason was a late offer from Georgia in the last recruiting cycle. The DAWGS now do not have the luxury of waiting to get in on the nation's top signal callers in the class of 2011. So, it's a good thing the DAWGS are seemingly in good shape at this stage of the recruiting process with at least two of the top prep quarterbacks in the country. Given that Coach Richt has said repeatedly that he likes to have at least three or four quarterbacks ready to go at any point in a season to be comfortable, it would seem imperative at this point that Georgia sign at least one quarterback to avoid a numbers and talent crunch at the position in the future. The reality is that the DAWGS went from having three former Elite 11 quarterbacks on the roster to having two. So, given the track record of how the DAWGS recruit the position, there is no reason to believe that Georgia would pursue anything other than the top talent at the position to fill this need.
Finally, this dismissal of Mettenberger says something else about the Georgia program under Mark Richt. This is the second player dismissed from the team in the past month and in each case, the player in question was not just some guy on the team but a player that was in position to be a key contributor on the field in 2010. I see this as further proof that if Coach Richt feels it is best for the team, he will remove any player or person that is acting in a manner contrary to the standards established for the program regardless of name, position or affiliation. I believe this is as it should be.
I wanted to take a quick minute to recognize the efforts of the Georgia Equestrian and Georgia Men's Golf team, both of which won championships over the weekend.
Georgia Equestrian won the 2010 Varsity Equestrian National Championships for it's third consecutive national crown and claimed the top spot for the fifth time in eight years. Georgia edged out Texas A&M by taking two different tie-breakers to claim the overall title. You can read the official release HERE.
The Georgia men's golf team won the Southeastern Conference Championship for the second straight season and boasted the league medalist in Russell Henley. Henley, a junior from Macon, became the 15th SEC medalist in school history. The SEC title was the 28th in school history. You can read the official release HERE.
I was a little buried in it this weekend with the NHL and NBA playoffs getting under way and MLB hitting it's stride and I missed something that I would like to share with you now. On Saturday, Bulldog in Exile posted a link to a wonderful story about former Nebraska Cornhusker standout and soon to be NFL first round draft pick Ndamukong Suh. Suh plans to donate $2 million dollars to the University of Nebraska Athletic Department and and an additional $600,000 to the UNL College of Engineering to endow a scholarship. Suh simply wanted to give back to the school and University family that has given him so much saying...
"I had a fantastic football career at Nebraska and thanks to my coaches and support staff, I have learned the value of hard work, teamwork and life skills. These skills will help me tremendously as I prepare for my career in the NFL." Suh also added "This incredible facility helped me earn all the honors I was so privileged to receive this past season, and I believe this gift can help make this facility the very best in the country. This is my way to honor my teammates, coaches and fans by giving back to a program and a university that has given so much to me."
You can read the official release HERE.
I declared Suh a BEAST after his performance in the Big 12 Championship game against Texas, but he was dominant throughout the season singing his praises HERE and HERE. This young man is pure class, not to mention being one hell of a football player. If I had a first round pick in this week's NFL draft, I can guarantee that I would take Ndamukong Suh.
Best of luck young man.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
This past Saturday was not only G-day in Athens, but it was also the day that many of the other college football programs around the country played their spring football games as a conclusion to spring practice. I was not in Athens on Saturday due to work and life pulling rank and forcing me to be elsewhere, but that did afford me the opportunity to check out College Football Live on ESPN as they spun us around the college campuses that were hosting spring football games. During the show, the analysts recognized the fact that the SEC has been A DAMN BEAST over the last four years, terrorizing the college football landscape as the league laid claim to four consecutive BCS national championships. Desmond Howard and Trevor Matich went on to declare that the two schools that they felt could challenge the gridiron dominance of the SEC in the 2010 season were Ohio State (Howard) and Texas (Matich). Now on the surface, those are defense-able choices, but the particular schools chosen caught my attention as a fan of a Southeastern Conference school and a proud defender of the overall gridiron strength of the conference. In the immediate wake of the comments I posted this on Twitter:
#CFBLive crew just tabbed Ohio State as possibility to challenge SEC cfb dominance. History lesson FAIL. #SEC #DAWGS
My intended message was pretty clear. Haven’t we seen this movie before? Don’t we already know the answer this question? The results have been played out on the field again and again and again. With a very broad and very over-generalizing stroke of my college football brush, allow me to recap as I step proudly onto my soapbox….Ohio State (and therefore the Big 10 conference) just does not have the speed across the roster (especially the lines of scrimmage) to keep up with the SEC and Texas (and therefore the Big 12 conference…see also Oklahoma) does not play the brand of defense that rises to the level of the elite teams of the SEC. What’s more, it’s not THAT the schools from the SEC won those championship games…it is the WAY they won them. In each instance, the SEC squad demoralized the team across the field with a physical and dominating style of play. It’s a beautiful song, no matter how many times I hear it.
Now, before you jump out of your chair to challenge my clearly too general and broad striding assertions let me say this. I know that every team is absolutely different every season. I know that a championship game played in 2003, 2006, seven, eight or nine has absolutely no bearing on what might happen should a SEC champion play a champion from the Big 10 or the Big 12 in 2010. However, I have seen nothing from the any of the schools or conferences mentioned here that would lead me to believe that the result would be any different.
Many people seem to think that this is the year that, should the Alabama Crimson Tide stumble and not win the league championship, the SEC may not be strong enough to even get it’s champion into the BCS title game. I have heard others say that Ohio State could come into the season ranked as high as number two behind the defending national champion Crimson Tide and that one of the usual suspects from the Big 12 should be hanging around in the preseason top 10 with it’s sights set on another championship run. That’s all fine and good because preseason rankings really are worth about as much as the score of any one of the final scores of a spring football game, but I feel that the coaching as well as the overall strength and talent level of the players in a conference are the determining factors in the end and year after year the SEC brings in and turns out the best football players in the country.
With no clear cut favorite in the SEC East going into the season and LSU surely gearing up to challenge Alabama in the West, this may be the year that the members of the SEC beat themselves up to the point where no one team will clearly qualify to play in the BCS title game. If that turns out to be the case and the SEC has no representative in the game, there will be those that argue even a two-loss SEC Champion should be given the benefit of the doubt and be granted a spot in the game and have a chance to compete for the title. For my part, I will leave that particular argument for another day. However, just as in each of the past few years, I would argue that any undefeated or one-loss SEC champion should be in the mix for the BCS title.
On Sunday, my fellow Georgia blogger Bulldog in Exile posted an entry titled “Four times in a row". That headline got my attention because I thought maybe he had been thinking along the same lines as @genxdawg, but my guess as to the topic of the post was totally off base. Regardless, I was inspired to write this entry. So, with a very enthusiastic wag of my tail for Bulldog in Exile, I will finish up with this….
Four times in a row, and five out of the last seven years, the SEC football champion has lined up against a representative from the Big 12 (Oklahoma-2003 and Texas-2009) or the Big 10 (Ohio State-2006, 2007) and each time the SEC has come away with the crystal. Each season is different with the coming of a new fall just as each team is different every time it takes the field. With that said, recent history shows us that when elite, championship level teams from the SEC line up against a champion from the Big 10 or the Big 12, the SEC is dominant. Simply put, our best is better than yours. The analysts can say and write all they want about the teams they believe may finally be strong enough to unseat the SEC as the champion of college football. In fact, I believe that the member institutions of the conference would welcome all challengers to the throne. However, until one of those schools from another supposed power conference can prove it to me between the lines, I will continue to proudly and vehemently defend the Southeastern Conference as the class of college football.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
When I first had the idea to do a special series of posts focusing on my favorite University of Georgia football players from the past, there were a handful of names that immediately came to mind. This blast from the past will focus on one those players. I just hope this entry can reach the level of excellence that this favored DAWG is known for…..
RETROBEAST: DAVID GREENE, #14 QUARTERBACK (2001-2004)
David Greene is easily one of my all-time favorite DAWGS. I loved everything about Greene…his number, that he’s a lefty, his calm demeanor, his fiery competitiveness, his leadership, his toughness…everything. As important as all of those things were, I particularly enjoyed that although Greene may not have been the best overall athlete on the field (and would admit as much), he fully understood the nuances of the game and mastered their execution. Watching Greene play quarterback at Georgia was like watching a maestro conduct his orchestra. At times, it was truly a thing of beauty.
Greene, the magician
More than anything else, Greene’s legacy at Georgia is that he was a winner. During his time in Athens, Greene led his teams to 42 wins making him the winningest quarterback in NCAA Division I history. In 2009, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy passed Greene's win total to set the new NCAA mark for the most wins by a starting quarterback with 45.
Among those 42 wins were four consecutive victories over bitter, in-state rival Georgia Tech. One of my favorite memories of Greene comes from his final meeting with the Jackets in Athens in 2004. During what was a sloppy game in a rain soaked Sanford Stadium, Greene displayed the toughness and a will to win that defined his time as the DAWGS signal caller. Greene injured his thumb after hitting it on a helmet on a pass attempt and would leave the game for an extended period of time. DJ Shockley would play in Greene’s absence. Shockley would struggle to move to the team and ball security was an issue on seemingly every play. While Greene was out of the game, Georgia Tech would even manage to take the lead. You could clearly see it on the sidelines (and television replays would confirm) that Greene could see the game slipping away and was anxious to get back in the game. Moments later, with the thumb on his throwing hand heavily bandaged and with what we would find out later was a broken thumb (cracked tip), Greene returned to the field. Greene would play through the pain and the elements and lead the DAWGS to a fantastic victory over the Jackets with a force of will that has earned him a special place of honor in the mind of this member of the DAWG Nation.
As fantastic as that win was for Greene and the DAWGS, the game that sent shockwaves throughout the SEC and announced with authority that he, Mark Richt and the DAWGS were for real was the victory at Tennessee in 2001. On that October afternoon in Knoxville…where a redshirt freshman quarterback and an unproven head coach proved their mettle in the crucible of Neyland Stadium…Greene and Larry Munson became forever linked by a series of events in game that has come to be known by just two words…Hobnail Boot.
After what the DAWG Nation witnessed in Knoxville in 2001, there was a strong belief that anything was possible for Richt’s DAWGS with Greene running the show. In 2002, with Georgia trailing the Tigers, those hopes were realized on the plains of Auburn when Greene found Micheal Johnson in the back of the end zone on 4th and 15 for the touchdown that would give the DAWGS a comeback win, their first SEC East Championship and a spot in the SEC Championship game where Georgia would defeat Arkansas and claim its first SEC Championship in twenty years.
You can check out the recap from the game HERE.
To the victor go the spoils.
When you’re as successful as Greene was during his time at Georgia, others tend to take notice. Greene was honored as SEC Freshman of the Year in 2001, SEC Championship Game MVP in 2002, Second-Team All-SEC honors in 2003 and 2004 and was a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist in 2004.
For more information on Greene you can check him out on Wikipedia.
David Greene was a favorite of this DAWG fan, a winner on the field and a total class act. He set the standard for all that it means to be a football player at Georgia under head coach Mark Richt. During his time in Athens, Greene forged a legacy that will forever be remembered as a turning point in the program’s history and a golden era by those of us in the DAWG Nation.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Just a programming note Reader.....
We've decided to add a new Twitter driven feature here at the BEAST by issuing daily announcements of CHAINBREAKERS, which will be people/places/things that are acting particularly BEASTLY that day. As always, any and everything is fair game in our world, so keep your head on a swivel and your eyes and ears open.
To get the full experience, be sure to give us a follow @ADAMNBEASTBLOG and @genxdawg. You can also keep up with all things BEAST on Facebook.
We hope you enjoy the ride.