Mizzou at Georgia: Q&A With Dawg Sports

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Mr. Sanchez from Georgia's SB Nation blog Dawg Sports stopped by to answer some of my questions about the Bulldogs before Saturday's big game.

1) The injuries to the Bulldogs are the clear storyline in this game, so which backups should Tigers fans be worried about this Saturday ?

Chris Conley at WR, although he's not really a back up and was closer to a 3rd WR to start the year. He's shown great speed, and had an amazing one handed snag in the Tennessee game that I think got overlooked because of the injuries and the end of the game. Freshman Reggie Davis is extremely fast, but still struggles with routes and the playbook. Senior Rantavious Wooten has battled injuries throughout his career, but finally looks healthy, and is making plays in the slot.

I think Gurley plays, although Richt probably will be wishy-washy on that all week just to keep his cards close to the vest. But behind him at RB are the two freshmen, JJ Green and Brendan Douglas. Green is a little guy who I, and many others, expected to be at CB. But when he enrolled this spring, we needed the RB depth and he played well enough to stick. He's got good speed and can make a guy miss, but he packs a little power in that 180 pound or so frame, and can break a tackle. We run him a bit more between the tackles than I'd like, but it's hard to argue after he gained over 125 on the ground in Tennessee. Douglas is your power back. He won't break many long ones, but the 220+ pounder will run through tackles and falls forward. Thanks to his skin color, expect a few Mike Alstott/Peyton Hillis/etc comparisons.

2) Mizzou fans have had mixed feelings about Gary Pinkel over the years, and it seems Georgia fans have been at odds about Mark Richt as well. What's the general feeling toward Coach Richt, and what are his strengths/weaknesses as a coach?

I'd say most fans are happy with Richt, at least older fans are. It's hard not to be when you've been scarred by Ray Goff, or the mediocrity of Jim Donnan. And to be honest, Vince Dooley, while a solid coach for a long time, had a lot of solid but nothing special seasons aside from when the greatest player in college football history took the field. Mark Richt has been the most consistently successful coach Georgia has ever had. It's easy to forget sometimes, or overlook when you weigh the resources UGA has and the lack of national titles compared to other SEC schools over the last 10-15 years. But the man is clearly one of the best in the business, and I, among many others, can quickly forget that when frustrations boil over at times.

For someone as successful as him, strengths will be numerous. His even keeled nature is good for the long haul of a season, and to keep from letting emotions get the better of you which can often be a problem in 18-23 yr old men. His track record of QBs is as good or better than anyone, and Murray is playing at an extremely high level right now. And he's a good recruiter.

"According to numerous places on the internet, he constantly loses control of anything and everything possible."

As for weaknesses, loyalty to an extent, as he's hung on past the point they were clearly overmatched in Martinez at DC, and in S&C. He also gets a bit set in his ways, even when things aren't working well (see Martinez, or several special teams decisions made over the years). Ask enough fans, and you'll likely hear a litany of complaints, some valid and several not so much. And according to numerous places on the internet, he constantly loses control of anything and everything possible.


3) What sorts of unique events/traditions should Mizzou fans in Athens be on the lookout for this weekend?

We had a good number travel last year, so y'all should be familiar with the cheers on all kickoffs.

As the teams line up, you'll hear a long "Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo", with the crowd hitting "Dawgs" as the kicker reaches the ball, and a "Woof, Woof, Woof" right as it flies through the air. Please don't walk under the arch. Silly superstition or whatever, but tradition has said only graduates of the school are supposed to walk through the arches.

If Georgia wins (big if, because Missouri certainly has the ability to leave town victorious), fans will be ringing the chapel bell for the rest of the day/evening (which was the basis of the school's commercial last year as an R.E.M song played). And downtown Athens has an excellent bar scene, and will have numerous bands playing at various venues. R.E.M. is just one of countless superb musicians that have and do call Athens home, so make sure to enjoy the nightlife.

4) Tell us a little bit about where the nickname "Bulldogs" came from for the University of Georgia.
"At first, the school mascot was a goat."

The school website has a decent little history of things. At first, the school mascot was a goat. But that didn't last long. Georgia had some connections with Yale, whose mascot is also a bulldog, with the school's first president (Abraham Baldwin) having attended there prior to the Revolutionary War, and much of the buildings on North Campus (the area between the stadium and downtown) were built on designs based on Yale buildings. Yale was Georgia's first opponent in Sanford Stadium, and as legend has it, reporters for the Atlanta paper started describing the team's play in the 1920s as like Bulldogs (tenacious, persistent, etc) and it's stuck ever since.

5) Isn't it a little ironic that Georgia's fight song is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"?

Probably a little, yeah. But I still tear up when I hear that lone trumpet start the son before a game, and it is a beautiful song in my opinion with my favorite version being the jazz piano rendition by Father Tom Vaughn. The lyrics have been adapted a bit so for us, it's "Glory, Glory to Ol' Georgia".

6) Have you ever met famous Georgia Bulldogs fan "Rack 'Em Willie"?

Can't say that I have, no. I do have an Uga picture hanging on my office wall by Michael Davenport though, who is famous around town for some beautiful drawings he does with his mouth (as he has no hands). If you see him downtown, be sure to just sit and watch for a second, cause it's pretty amazing stuff.

7) First thing that comes to your mind when you think of the state of Missouri, GO!
My dad. He lives in St. Louis. So him, and some of the good times I've had visiting him there.

8) Aside from the obvious answer of Aaron Murray, what convinces you that Georgia wins on Saturday?

A healthy Todd Gurley, who in my opinion is the best RB in the country. That, and I'm not convinced of it, but I just got a gut feeling Georgia's defense comes up with a great game Saturday. Although that may be indigestion considering I just had a Firehouse sub for lunch.

9) On the opposite side of things, what could convince you that Georgia will lose?

Injuries for one. An offensive line that has struggled blocking the edges for years going against some pretty good speed rushers is another. A defense that's been gashed repeatedly all season for three, especially considering James Franklin is pretty good, and with a healthy OL he has time to use some very talented weapons around him.

10) Finally, what's your prediction?

Points. Lots and lots and lots of points. My heart wants to say the home crowd gives the team energy and the defense plays out of their minds, leading Georgia to a comfortable victory by 10+ points. But my head, as always, thinks my heart is a damned fool, and says this one will be a shootout, and come down to whoever doesn't make a mistake or turnover in the 4th quarter. With a final score something like 58-54, either Murray or Franklin leading the game winning drive, depending on who gets the ball last.





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