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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Practice Notes: Dawgs Ponder Bowl Destination

Step one is out of the way. Georgia’s win over Auburn last week made the Bulldogs bowl eligible, which helped alleviate a bit of the stress that might have crept in to these final two games of the regular season.

But step two remains – getting to the best bowl game possible. And for Georgia, that could mean a trip to Tampa for the Outback Bowl, which head coach Mark Richt is banking on as motivation.

“Coach said if we win this game (against Kentucky), hopefully we’ll be in Tampa. If we lose this game, we’ll be in Shreveport,” receiver Michael Moore said. “Obviously we want to go to Florida. That’d be nice.”

The possibilities are seemingly endless, however. If Georgia finishes strong by winning its final two games, it would end the year with eight wins and second place in the SEC East. That’s usually enough to earn a spot in the Outback Bowl. If they were to lose one or both, the Bulldogs could end up anywhere from Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl to Shreveport, La., Nashville, Tenn., Dallas or Memphis.

“It seems like there is a big wad,” Richt said of the SEC standings. “You have two guys over here, one kind of over here and then there is a big wad. We’re in the middle of that wad, and I’d like to separate from that group if we could and convince the bowl people that we’ve done that. It’s going to be interesting.”

Of course, by season’s end, factors from money to fan interest can play as big a role as the standings, so the final result is still out of Georgia’s hands. The plan then is to simply worry about finishing up strong and let the chips fall where they may.

“Just going out 9-4 and having a chance to go to one of these Outback Bowls, Cotton Bowls, something on that kind of a level, that’s what we’re looking forward to now,” safety Bryan Evans said.


The annual NCAA graduate success rates were released Wednesday, and the results for Georgia’s football team showed marked improvement.

The report tracks four-year graduation rates, but the latest data tracks freshmen and transfers enrolling from 1999 through 2002. Georgia’s overall graduation rate increased from 70 to 75 percent from last year’s report, and the football program saw its graduation rate rise from 41 percent in 2007’s report to now.

“Certainly we are encouraged by the overall report and especially the improvement in many sports including a significant one in football,” said athletics director Damon Evans. “But while we continue to improve, we are not where we want to be. I want to also remember the Academic Progress Rate (APR) since it is usually regarded as a more accurate indicator of what our varsity teams are doing at present rather than six or seven years back.”


It was easily the most memorable play of Bacarri Rambo’s young career, but he doesn’t have any memory of it.

The freshman safety broke up a pass intended for Auburn’s Mario Fannin last week at the 2-yard line then lay motionless on the field for more than 10 minutes while being attended to by Georgia medical personal.

“He didn’t actually remember what happened at the time but after he saw it, he kind of remembered stuff around the injury,” safety Bryan Evans said.

Linebacker Nick Williams, a childhood friend of Rambo’s, said Rambo told him he remembered nothing, even the moments before the play, but said he is in much better condition now, back to laughing and joking with teammates in the locker room.

The saddest part, however, is that Rambo didn’t remember what happened after the play, Williams said. The crowd repeatedly chanted Rambo’s name – a moment Williams said he won’t ever forget – but Rambo doesn’t remember a moment of it.

"That was crazy, everybody was yelling 'Rambo' like in the movies or something," Williams said. "And he told me he didn't remember, and he didn't even remember the stuff up to the event. I was like, 'You didn't hear 93,000 people saying Rambo?' But he said he didn't hear anything. He said it was like he couldn't see and he couldn't talk at the same time, so I was like, 'OK, he was going through some things.'"


Georgia’s running game has sprung to life in recent weeks, and a new look to the offensive line has been widely credited for the improvement.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said the new lineup – with Clint Boling at left tackle, Josh Davis on the right side and Cordy Glenn moving inside to left guard – has played a major role, along with some improved running by the tailbacks.

But while the new lineup has shown improvement, Bobo said it has been less about dominating the line of scrimmage and more about playing smart football.

“We haven’t been as dominant as we’d like knocking people off the ball,” Bobo said. “But we’ve put our hat in the right spot and the missed assignments have gone down tremendously. That’s had a big deal to do with how we’ve been running the ball.”


rbubp said...

David, please congratulate the players and coaches for getting it done in the classroom. It's important and they should be very proud of that...I know I am proud of them and the standards Coach Richt has brought in that regard (his predecessors were not too bothered by the classroom).

Ausdawg85 said...

It would be interesting to somehow factor academic performance into the BCS formula. I believe Boise St's graduation rate is 58%, and Texas 49% while Fl and Bama were upper 60's. The correct formula and weight would be subject to a lot of debate, but a 1%- 5% difference in BCS formula could keep certain coaches/programs focused on another important aspect of what supposedly the college game is all about. Just saying...

Anonymous said...

Ausdawg, Ultimately, I think you would get more of what there already is at colleges with big-time sports: gut majors in which to put athletes. Georgia has them, and before you post Techies you've got them too. If an academic component were added to the formula, schools would find ways to game it. I think it's a nice idea, but execution would be difficult.

David, I wish Dallas were on the list of destinations but I just can't imagine Georgia getting the nod to go there. We've been much better positioned in the past and the Cotton kept to the western division. Given the unrest in our fanbase, I doubt we're going to be viewed as a group that plans on traveling that far for a game. On the other side of the Cotton, it looks like it might be Nebraska which would be a welcome change to what seems our rotating bowl opponents. Wisconsin, anyone?

I wonder if, with the addition of the Gator to the endless list of SEC-Big10 match-ups, the Capital One Bowl may be losing the SEC in the near future. There have been reports that the SEC wants renovations to the Citrus Bowl but that the city of Orlando is balking - mostly due to the recession. It just seems like 3 SEC-Big10 games on the same day is quite a lot and that fans would be more interested in a Pac10 or another Big12 game?