Georgia Bulldogs

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The Portal

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As the Bulldawg nation slides into 2024 there is so much to look forward to.

The past few years have firmly stationed Kirby Smart as one of the best college football coaches in the country. Probably THE BEST with the recent retirement of the GOAT, Nick Saban from Alabama.

And while Kirby prefers to build his Dawgs through the traditional means of recruitment of the best high school players throughout the country, he is also dealing with the here and now, and that means NIL and the Portal.

The Dawgs have used the Portal in the past to great success.

Players such as Derion Kendrick, Lawrence Cager, Tre McKitty, J.T. Daniels, Tykee Smith, Dominic Lovett, and Ra Ra Thomas all found their way to Athens through the Portal.

In 2024 the Bulldogs will welcome several pieces to the puzzle in Trevor Etienne the great RB from the lousy stinking Gators, Colbie Young a 6’5” WR from Miami, and Xzavier McLeod a highly recruited 325 lb defensive lineman from the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Add in London Humphreys, a speedy WR from Vanderbilt, who reminds me of our own great Ladd McConkey, and Jake Pope a former 4-star DB from Alabama and the Dawgs got just what they needed.

And while the portal giveth………. The portal also taketh away. If you put all the former Georgia players who have left the program in the Kirby era on one team, that team would compete for a national championship. Think I’m kidding?  Check out this list.

 

QBs……………………  Justin Fields, JT Daniels, Brock Vandagriff

 

RBs……………………. Sevaughn Clark

 

WRs and TEs………. Demetris Robertson, Arik Gilbert, Dom Blaylock, AD Mitchell, Luke Ford, Matt Landers, Jermaine Burton, Justin Robinson. Brett Seither, Mekhi Mews

 

O-line………………….. Clay Webb, Cade Mays, Jacob Hood, Joshua Miller, Aliou Bah, Austin Blaske

 

D-line………………….. Bear Alexander, Marvin Jones Jr., Jonathan Jefferson, Brenton Cox, Jermaine Johnson, Bill Norton

 

LBs…………………….. Trezmen Marshall, C. J. Madden, Darris Smith, Xavian Sorey, Jamon Dumas-Johnson,

 

DBs…………………….. Latavious Brini, Jalen Kimber, Ameer Speed, Major Burns, Otis Reese, Jaheim Singletary, A.J. Harris, Nyland Green

 

Heck let’s just throw in a kicker also………… Jared Zirkel

And I won’t even get into the coaches! Fran Brown, Dan Lanning etc etc.

It’s amazing how much talent has gone in and out of Athens in the last few years.

While some will pine for the good old days when high school recruiting was the end all be all, the NIL and portal are here to stay. It will always be fluctuating as players seek greener pastures for numerous reasons whether it be money, playing time, coaching changes, grades, etc etc.

Georgia will win some and lose some just like the Caleb Downs sweepstakes. But through it all, Kirby and the Dawgs will continue their recent run of success.

Why will the Dawgs continue to win? Because they are being built to last. Look at that list above. It’s incredible the amount of talent that has left Athens.

But the kicker is that the Dawgs will bring in the #1 ranked recruiting class in the nation again this year. And with Nick cooling his jets at his new multimillion dollar pad in Florida, the one guy that could recruit with Kirby is now sipping a pina colada.

Its next man up in Athens and the next man might be better than the one he is replacing.

Yes, the Portal and NIL will continue to affect college football in ways we haven’t seen before. The combination of recruiting number one and the portal use as needed is what will keep the Dawgs on top………… You don’t believe me………just watch!

 

Not A Big Deal?

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The University of Georgia is on the verge of losing a five-star quarterback, who is the biggest name in his recruiting class. And the reaction from the program  is … meh?

Maybe Dylan Raiola bailing on Georgia will prove laughable. Maybe Raiola will end up being a great quarterback who dearly costs the Bulldogs. Maybe this will become part of a problem with the would-be dynasty Georgia program.  As they begin to lose power on and then off the field after coming up short of the top 4.

Right now, it seems like a bigger recruiting story than it is a Georgia story.

Of course, Georgia wants to keep Raiola. That’s why Kirby Smart, Mike Bobo and this staff pursued him so heavily in the first place, even when they already had and liked another quarterback in the same class. That’s why as of this writing the staff is still working to keep him with the knowledge that Raiola will be visiting Nebraska, per sources close to the program.,

With signing day next week, this does not bode well. Losing any big-time prospect, especially a quarterback, would sting.

On the other hand, it’s hard to think of this as a major, program-changing event .Not when Georgia just won two national championships with a former walk-on at QB1. Not when the same program just had another unbeaten regular season with a former four-star, who ranked No. 250 overall in 2020.

Georgia is a program that keeps trying to score an elite quarterback recruit, and after they wind up with an underdog from the scrap pile, they win games anyway.

Enough about the high school to college jump- In the past two years, Georgia has had eight players go in the first round of the NFL Draft. Zero were quarterbacks.

With 25 players drafted overall, Bennett is the only quarterback: taken in the fourth round. For UGA, the quarterback position is critical, but it’s not the position the Bulldogs revolve around.

With that being said, Beck returning for 2024 would be paramount. Looking at the way Beck played this year and the way Bennett played before Beck, after they developed they utilized the talent beaming around them.

One might argue — because some are — that Raiola, or a great quarterback prospect like him, could take the offense to another level. Like, say, top five nationally in passing offense?

Well, don’t worry, that was Georgia this year. Or top 10 in scoring and total offense? Well, that was Georgia in each of their past three years without their fancy five-star quarterback.

If Georgia can do all that with Bennett and Beck, it can do it with Ryan Puglisi, another quarterback commit in the 2024 class.

Puglisi is a four-star from Connecticut, committed to Georgia in October 2022. When Georgia pursued and landed Raiola eight months later, many speculated Puglisi’s decommitment would follow.

The first priority for Georgia is holding on to Beck for 2024, then turning the reins over to Gunner Stockton, Puglisi or whoever is added eventually via the portal or recruiting in the always bright future of a championship contending program.

Stockton, the top-50 overall recruit in the 2022 class, the third-string quarterback the past two years, figures to be No. 2 in 2024 and could end up being the next Beck. He could be the quarterback who sticks around, learns, and develops, and leaves with a ring.

Georgia doing that with two consecutive starters at a time when every quarterback seems to be a transfer would be a sentimental nod to a seemingly bygone era of farming championship talent rather than shopping for it.

Raiola is very good. But this flip, if it happens, would hurt Georgia less than it would help Nebraska. In fact, one could argue it would be better for college football (looking at you TV execs).

That doesn’t mean Georgia should just stand aside and let it happen. Smart didn’t get to three national championship games with an “oh well” mentality. The inability to hold on to elite quarterbacks has been frustrating for Georgia fans.

Maybe QB1 still ends up being Raiola, maybe if Georgia can pull off a last-ditch effort to keep him. If not, it’s setting up Puglisi or Stockton to be the next underdog story at quarterback.

Can you understand Georgia’s reaction (or lack of one)? They still have a plan. Bennett, Beck, and Fromm can say with a straight face: Meh, it’s not a big deal.

Almighty Georgia Bulldogs

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The St. Johns River will soon be flooded with fans of orange and blue, and fans of red and black. It’s Florida-Georgia week, one like none other in over 30 years.

The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators will meet at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday and Georgia will come into the game as the two time defending National Champions.

Georgia handled business in their last game when they defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 37-20. They will look to nurse their injured players during their bye week and return with more strength on the roster.

The Gators, on the other hand, overcame a double-digit deficit on the road to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks. They’ll also be taking advantage of the week off.

Despite both teams coming off wins, the Bulldogs still find themselves as massive favorites. Georgia is currently a -23.5 point favorite over the arch-rival Florida Gators.

The Bulldogs, 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC East with a Oct. 28 showdown with Florida approaching, lost their Superman (Brook Bowers) to an ankle injury that required surgery.

Bowers is a junior and will enter the NFL Draft after the season. A high ankle sprain heals by itself with plenty of time before the NFL combine.

Instead, Bowers is getting the tightrope surgery, and right away. That’s a huge sign from him that he wants to play again this season for Georgia.

He doesn’t need to show anything to NFL scouts. But his team is in contention for a national championship, and while it’s easy for outsiders to say “Just opt out, make a business decision,” it’s much harder for someone to abandon his teammates when a ring is on the line.

Bowers has played in every game since he arrived at Georgia. He’s not the sole reason Georgia is 36-1 over that span, but he’s a big reason the offense took off during that time: Defenses had to account for him in coverage, and Bowers is also a good blocker.

The Bulldogs are still loaded with talent. Carson Beck, in his first year as Georgia’s starting quarterback, has the fourth-most passing yards (2,147) in the nation. And barely more than a quarter of those (26.4 percent) have gone to Bowers.

Oscar Delp, who now becomes TE1, is no slouch. He’s Georgia’s fifth-leading receiver and was a top-100 recruit in the 2022 class. His blocking has been rough at times, which is why Lawson Luckie may see a lot of snaps in rotation as TE2.

Georgia’s main emphasis may become “spread-out-and-throw”. Beck likes to sit back in the pocket and find the open receiver, and the pass blocking this year has been good.

Plus, you have Ladd McConkey  being back, Rara Thomas getting more comfortable, and other receivers who can make plays.

Georgia’s running game has also started to get stronger, especially if Kendall Milton can stay healthy. That could also allow Dillon Bell to play more receiver or a hybrid position.

Maybe Georgia doesn’t have the X-factor for its’ offense as long as Bowers is out, but a more traditional receivers-and-tailbacks game can get you through an opponent like Florida.

The Bulldog defense will  keep the Gators in check, maybe along the lines of 14-to-20 points, a Bowers-less offense will take it from there, and the lead will get bigger and bigger.

Georgia 42  Florida 17

Law of Averages

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As I write this, we are getting closer to the 102nd edition of the Georgia/Florida game (101st if you go by Florida’s lackluster standards).

Close to kickoff of one of the most anticipated editions of the WLOCP in recent memory, and I’m as jittery as a hyper-caffeinated hummingbird. I’m sure most of my fellow Dawgs are feeling the same way, but not for the same reasons.

I mean, sure, the temporary loss of Brock Bowers has all of us walking on eggshells, but that’s not it. With Oscar Delp Lawson Luckie, and Pearce Spurlin still in the TE room, we’re still above the curve in that position.

Never mind the fact that Georgia’s WR corps is the strongest it’s been in…well, arguably ever. Dominic Lovett, Rara Thomas, and a finally healthy Ladd McConkey are finally coming into their own. In fact, receivers not wearing the #19 for the Dawgs have amassed almost 1800 yards so far this season.

The defense isn’t it, either. Sure, they’re not as legendary as the last two years’ squads, but they’re not Division II scrubs either. In fact, going into the bye week, the 2023 UGA Defense is ranked first in the SEC in:

Scoring

Rushing yards allowed

Passing yards allowed

Total yards allowed

Interceptions

3rd Down conversions

Passes defended

Plays of 20+ yards

The disappointing Vandy game, maybe? Nope, not that either. Let’s be honest. Kirby Smart and company took on that game like a scrimmage. They ran a noticeable number of plays and formations that they’ve been having problems with just to work on them while they could.

And don’t get me started on that field. The fans noticed players slipping all over the place, and the players confirmed it during postgame. The Commode Doors stadium quite aptly lived up to their nickname.

I bemoaned the “sky is falling” mentality of Dawg Nation in cyberspace in my last article. You would think that would be it, but TwitterX seems to have cleared it’s head, and as for Facebook…let’s just say the “Snooze for 30 Days” feature is one of the few things that future lizzid people overlord Mark Zuckerberg has gotten right in the last decade. No, I’m in a good headspace there as well.

What’s got me nervous is two things from what I can tell.

First, Florida is bad. REALLY bad. They lost a spring game to themselves and their head coach was the quickest Gators head coach to reach 8 losses since Jim McElwain. Yet, they continue to win games that they shouldn’t. I was sure Tennessee was finally going to break their losing streak in Gainesville this year, and the Orange & Blue had absolutely NO BUSINESS coming back to beat USC jr like that.

Second, things are just lining up too nicely for Georgia if you look at the numbers. I once again quote the Floridian singer/songwriter Delma Suggs when I say, “when everything’s coming up roses, I get suspicious.”

And as a bonus, there’s the sinking feeling that these are the last few WLOCPs in Jacksonville.

The Jags are going to have a massive stadium overhaul that’s going to take the better part of 2026-2027, and the current GA/FL agreement with the city of Jax runs out in 2025. I know Dawg Nation is pretty bitterly divided about this one , but I fear the game’s days in DUUUVAL are numbered.

Enjoy it while you can, my fellow 912 Dawgs. The end of our halcyon days may be approaching.

Take The Money And Run?

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Well, I wanted to be writing this article about Brock Bowers and his push to win a Heisman Trophy. The big, fast Georgia Tight End had all the parts in place to be the first true Heisman candidate in decades and the first Tight End to win the award since Leon Hart in 1949.

Brock’s statistics are off the chart. He is the reigning Mackey Award winner and his team is ranked #1 and coming off 2 National Championships. Pretty heady stuff.

Add in that he has been putting up award winning stats since he walked on the field as a freshman and the rising junior was definitely in the mix with all the QBs and RBs.

I mentioned in my last article about Bowers that barring injury, he had a real shot. All that changed in Nashville, Tennessee on October 14th against the Vanderbilt Commodores when that injury happened.

An ankle sprain that required a follow up surgery will sideline the Georgia great for 4 to 8 weeks. That could take Brock out for the remainder of the regular season or maybe the entire year. There is also a possibility that the Bulldog Nation has seen Brock Bowers in Red and Black for the last time.

Georgia will still have one of the best TE groups in the country. Oscar Delp would start for 90 per cent of the teams Georgia play. He will step into the starting position with speed, athletic ability and experience. He is very good. But he aint Brock.

Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie back him up and are solid young pups that are coming on. Some pundits have compared the young Luckie in many ways to Brock.

Some going as far as calling him Brock 2.0. Very high praise but they aint Brock.

Add in the upgrades, experience and athleticism of the current Georgia wide receivers and Carson Beck will have plenty of options to throw to. He and the Georgia offense will continue to have success. But he aint got Brock Bowers.

In Georgias first 7 games Brock had 41 receptions for 567 yards and 4 scores for a 13.8 YPC. Add in 6 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Then take into account that in some of those games he rarely played in the second half and you get the picture what Georgia is losing.

The inevitable question is where do we go from here. The best scenario is Brock is back for the playoffs, not missing a beat, helping and leading Georgia to a “3 in 23”.  The other end of that is that he is done as a Dawg.

Brock Bowers was and is still a lock as a first round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Some have listed him as a “generational talent” and expect him to go top 5.

Either way he is looking at a payday for life as a first round NFL pick. With all he has done for the University of Georgia and the Bulldog nation, should he even think about coming back? He will.

He will think long and hard about it and try his best to rehabilitate that ankle. That’s the type of young man he is.

Kirby Smart has long said that Brock Bowers is the hardest working Dawg around. Bowers has a deep love for the school, his teammates, coaches and the Bulldog Nation.

If he can comeback and it makes sense then he will. He has all the support he needs and Kirby will shoot him straight. If he dons the Red and Black again it will be for the right reasons.

I lean toward him not coming back. My heart says yeah he’ll be back but my mind says no.

He has the opportunity to set himself and his family up for life. To jeopardize that and get reinjured would be the worst thing imaginable.

Brock Bowers has done everything he can for his University. He is the best tight end and one of the top 5 players to ever play for the Dawgs. He has done his part. I hope I’m wrong on this, but it may be time for Brock to take the money……and when he can…RUN.

Kirby Hates Florida

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Kirby Smart Hates Florida. He hates them with the fire of a thousand suns.

He gives the media plenty of coach speak about how Florida is another game, and all league games are important. He tells the cameras that he and his staff must prepare the same every week.

He says that great talent exists across college football, and anyone can beat you any day of the week. Despite all of that talk, Kirby Smart lives to beat Florida.

He has made beating the Gators a priority and celebrated the last two victories over Florida with a level of expression that ‘Stern Smart’ rarely shows.

At this point, it’s well known that Smart was a safety at Georgia from 1995-1998. He recorded 13 interceptions for the Bulldogs and was an All-SEC selection his Senior year. Smart’s time wearing silver britches also coincided with some of the worst beatings in the history of the Florida-Georgia rivalry.

Smart’s teams lost to the Gators 52-17 in 1995, 47-7 in 1996 and 38-7 in 1998. Kirby and the Dawgs did get to taste victory in 1997, when they pulled a 37-17 upset over the Gators. It would be Georgia’s only victory out of 14 meetings against the Gators.

Steve Spurrier hated Georgia for beating him in his senior season of 1966 when the Dawgs upset the Gators 27-10. The loss cost UF their first SEC Championship, and Spurrier never forgot. That loss kept him from becoming a champion. Needless to say, Spurrier made beating Georgia a priority throughout his coaching career.

For years UGA had a lovely habit of beating Florida anytime the Gators had a good season, and that ownership created the monster that ended Georgia’s dominance in the rivalry.

Let’s go back to the infamous 1995 game against the Gators. Georgia and Florida played in Sanford Stadium due to the old Gator Bowl being renovated, and prior to the game Steve Spurrier found out that no opponent had ever scored 50 points between the hedges.

With the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, and the Gators leading 45-17, Spurrier continued to call passing plays for backup quarterback Eric Kresser.

The Gators ran a flea-flicker, at one point on their final drive and moved the ball down to Georgia’s 10-yard line instead of running out the clock. With 1:10 remaining Kresser threw a touchdown on a slant to Travis McGriff.

I found something fascinating watching the end of that game on YouTube. Do you know who McGriff jogged past right after he caught that final touchdown?

True freshman safety, Kirby Smart.

The Gators ran the score up to embarrass the Dawgs, and that’s when Spurrier passed the flaming torch of revenge to Smart.

A little over 24 years ago, Steve Spurrier created the man who would bring Spurrier-style vitriol and hatred to the Bulldogs’ side of the rivalry.  That man is Kirby Smart.

Bowers-less Bulldogs

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It’s not often that the best offensive player on a college football team is the tight end.

The last time we saw that was in 2020 when Kyle Pitts was at Florida.

That is also the case for the Georgia Bulldogs. Junior tight end Brock Bowers is a two-time All-American and he’s a projected top five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Bowers suffered a high-ankle sprain in the first half against Vanderbilt.

After being helped off the field and attended to in the medical tent on Georgia’s sideline, Bowers was escorted out of the stadium and taken for a magnetic resonance imaging, MRI exam. The Bulldogs knew what they were dealing with before their plane left Nashville.

He will have surgery on his ankle and that raises several questions. Will he return this season or is his college career over?

Bowers could choose to come back for a College Football Playoff run for the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs. Due to his on-field success and numerous Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities over the last two seasons, he is represented by a considerable management team. Along with Bowers and his parents, that group ultimately will decide whether he will continue his collegiate career.

The tight-rope surgery to repair a high-ankle sprain requires on average a recovery time of four to six weeks. Starting right tackle Amarius Mims underwent the same surgery on Sept. 18 and has yet to return.

Freshman tight end Lawson Luckie also had this procedure in mid-August and recently returned to the field.

Bowers has been the centerpiece of Georgia’s offense this season. He leads the team with 41 catches for 567 yards and has 4 touchdowns. He had more than 100 receiving yards in each of the past three games.

“Next man up,” quarterback Carson Beck said after the game. “That’s what we’re all about here at Georgia.”

With Bowers sidelined, Georgia will turn to sophomore Oscar Delp, freshmen Pearce Spurlin III and Luckie.

“I was proud of them,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “… Those guys practice every day. They take all of the same reps. I thought our guys did a great job.”

As it stands, Bowers would finish his Georgia career fifth in receiving with 2,395 yards, sixth in receptions with 160 and second in touchdown catches with 24. He would leave unchallenged as the greatest tight end ever to play for the Bulldogs.

It’s never a good time to have a star player injured but UGA is getting to the toughest part of their schedule.

That starts with playing rival Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 28. Then the Bulldogs play home games against No. 20 Mizzou on Nov. 4 and No. 13 Ole Miss the next week before going to No. 17 Tennessee on Nov. 18.

Georgia is clearly not as good as they have been over the last couple of years, so they might struggle without Bowers. The SEC is not as strong as it has been in previous years so that will help. We will see what playmakers step up in his absence.

Betting On Beck

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We’re halfway through with the 2023 Georgia football season, and Carson Beck is the big man on campus in Athens, Georgia.

He is the QB on the number one team in the country that is currently riding a 23-game winning streak. Beck’s stats at the halfway point look like this:

 

144-of-196 passes (73.5-percent)

1,886 yards

13 total touchdowns; 11 passing touchdowns

9.6 yards per attempt

Two comeback victories in SEC play

SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, October 7

 

His head coach has all the confidence in his abilities and offered this about his QB recently on how he can improve: “Mobility. Getting in and out of the pocket decisions, when to tuck it down and run versus stand in and throw,” Kirby Smart said. “Some designed runs probably wouldn’t hurt him around the red area and things that he can do. He’s a good athlete.” Smart is always coaching his kids up.

After all, Beck has some big shoes to fill. His predecessor as Georgia’s starting quarterback was Stetson Bennett, who led the Bulldogs to consecutive national championships and was always at his best in the biggest games.

Now, after three years spent watching mostly from the sidelines, Beck is finally getting his chance to lead the No. 1 Bulldogs and he is making the most of that opportunity.

During both the South Carolina and Auburn games I thought “UGA just had 2 national championship years. It must end somehow and I’m going to be ok with this”. I still want to see UGA go undefeated every single year. Seeing UGA win back-to-back titles and witnessing generational greatness related to UGA football fills the fulfillment tank. At least, for a while. I’ll start to get aggravated again when UGA starts going 8-4 with an unexplainable loss or two thrown in there again.

When things looked bleak at Auburn a few weeks ago Beck’s play won the UGA fan base over. He won me over.

I feel more confident now about him in pressure situations than ever before. He won in a very tough environment.

Auburn ran the ball all over the UGA defense for the entire game and UGA turned it over numerous times. For Beck to stand in there and lead those last 3 drives, that was impressive.

The national media gave most of the credit to Brock Bowers, who is the best tight end in college football history, but Carson Beck was the one delivering those passes. The man is just cool under pressure.

Carson Beck has more pass attempts than any other QB in the SEC at the halfway point of the season. Not saying this is a good or bad thing, but halfway through the season I think it is safe to say this isn’t a run-run-pass offense as the Mike Bobo critics shouted to the heavens during the summer. Kirby Smart has unleashed Carson Beck and is going to ride on his arm in 2023.

UGA is 39-1 since the loss to Florida in 2020. UGA could be 48-1 if they can run the table for the 3-peat.

The statistics, records, and accomplishments from this run will easily be used as one of the standards for modern college football dynasties.

Alabama set the standard with 6 titles in 12 years, but Kirby has built something at UGA that is special.

I remember the 43-4-1 run from 1980-83 and thought nothing would ever top that at UGA. Well, I was wrong these are unequaled times in Athens, Georgia.

Carson Beck has a chance to make his own legacy at UGA. He is off to a great start.

Carson Beck is a kid who grew up in the Jacksonville area and he will get his opportunity to make his mark in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party right in his own backyard. This young man is a baller.

 

 

Brock Bowers is a Unicorn

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Brock Bowers is a GOAT.

Yeah everyone knows what a GOAT is. Most people say Tom Brady is the GOAT of Pro Football. Pretty hard to argue with that. There is always spirited conversation between this guy and that guy being the best and that’s what makes it fun.

My GOAT is Ali. In his prime he was simply above everybody and the great thing was HE TOLD YOU SO! “I’m the greatest!” “I’m so petty and you ugly Joe Frazier.”

It was wonderful and the man backed up everything he said. In a time of great division in our country, Muhammed Ali said “I aint got no fight with no Viet Cong.” It cost him several years of his prime to do what he thought was right. He didn’t just say it, he lived it. Yeah, he was my GOAT. Pretty rarified air up that high on the mountaintop.

GOATs also generally have certain standards that they have to live up to. That means championships and carrying teams on their backs when needed. That makes me think of 2 GOATS,  Michael Jordan in basketball and Herschel in college football.

Michael won championship after championship and sometimes carried the team when he had to. He also made clutch shots when needed. Ask Craig Ehlo and the 1989 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Herschel on the other hand had a much shorter career but burst on the scene like an Atomic Bomb. Whether it was stomping on Bill Bate’s chest in the opening game of the 1980 season or routinely running away from 180-190 lb DBs.

Herschel made the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs. They absolutely don’t win the national championship without him. “MY GOD A FRESHMAN” were the words of the GOAT of all college football announcers, Larry Munson.

So how in the heck could we think some tight end of all people could be a GOAT? Because he is. Brock Bowers is simply the best tight end to ever play college football.

Sure, there is a crowded room with the likes of Tony Gonzalez, Kyle Pitts, Keith Jackson, and others. But Brock just has something different. He has been tabbed as “generational” by pundits and he is one of the reasons the Dawgs are back-to-back National Champions and going for “3 in 23”.

Has he had to carry a team, no. Would the team win without him, probably. But the guy comes to work every day, does his job, and outworks everyone. Kirby calls him a “machine.”

Bowers is out of Napa, California. His game highlights tape included videos of him running up and down the California hills. The Georgia staff was impressed. They offered, and Brock thought he’d look great in Red and Black. The rest is history.

The 6’4” 240lb tight end made a mark the first week he was on campus. Especially when he began running away from DBs in practice on one of the best defenses ever in college football.

By the season opener it was apparent that he was special. That chiseled frame moved along at a 4.5 40 clip. He was one of the fastest dawgs right out of the gate.

Brock’s 2021 season was amazing. He racked up 56 receptions for 882 yards for a 15.8 avg. and 13 TDs.

Add to that, 4 carries for 56 yards and another touchdown.

In 2022, he was just as good if not better. As a focal point of the offense, he was often double teamed and bracketed by DBs and LBs.

It didn’t matter. Sixty-three catches for 942 yards. A 15.0 avg and 7 TDS. Nine carries for 109 yards and 3 TDS. And let’s not forget that the man blocks like a maniac.  He won the John Mackey award as the best TE in the nation along with first team everything! The pro scouts are drooling.

Barring injury, 2023 will be a repeat and then most likely it’s on to the NFL where many have him listed as the number two overall player in college football behind only last year’s Heisman winner Caleb Williams.

Enjoy this year Georgia fans and make sure you appreciate what you have in number 19. Throw in his ‘team first’ attitude and first guy in and last guy out of the football facility at Georgia and it’s easy to spell his name. Brock Bowers is the GOAT.

GO DAWGS!

Calm The Fluff Down!

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I’m not the most prolific of Tweeters.

In fact, after 14 years on TwitterX, I have less than 300 followers. I’m okay with that. In fact, on January 14, 2022 I did something that limited my already miniscule reach. I threatened to unfollow all political accounts.

 

https://x.com/jwdoke/status/1482069924856184841?s=20

 

You see, back in the heady days following Georgia’s first Natty, TwitterX was a Red and Black wonderland. Video clips of the season, highlights of the game, montages of the celebration that followed. It almost made up for the 41 years of frustration that Dawgnation had endured (except for the Spurrier years. I’ll never be over that).

So, I *sort of* did what I threatened; I made a separate account for political musings, and left my main account to revel in all things Dawg (and to a lesser extent until the second half of last season, all things DUUUVAL). And lo, it was a glorious Twitter feed for the better part of two years.

The first championship season was followed by a second and topped off with a 65-7 massacre – the biggest bowl win in college football history.

To borrow a phrase from another program that won’t be needing it for a while, it’s great to be a Georgia Bulldawg.

But then the 2023 season started, and someone that hadn’t been around in a while showed up at the tailgate – Negative Nancy.

I don’t have to tell you that the back-to-back defending champs have suffered slow starts in their first few matchups. It’s well documented, no more vociferously so than Dawg fans themselves. You would think that we hadn’t won a game, that the sky was falling, or worse – it was the Jim Donnan years again.

Of course, the brunt of the armchair quarterbacking is heaped upon Kirby’s long time friend and teammate, returning OC Mike Bobo.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve read the words “fire Bobo” in the last month, I’d be able to buy season tickets. Everyone and their brother is suddenly a world class evaluator of college talent and is ready to give Bobo the heave-ho.

Two words to that; Just Stop.

Maybe it’s because the season ended last year on a blow out, maybe it’s because we’ve lifted Stetson Bennett into the highest levels of DGD status (rightfully so, but that’s not the point right now). Or maybe – just maybe – it’s because Dawg people have really short memories.

Todd Monken’s offense last year, though prolific, wasn’t always firing on all cylinders.

The “closer than it should have been” Kent State game and the “almost a road loss to a team that shouldn’t even be in the SEC” Missouri game come to mind.

Need I also remind you of the high octane offensive juggernaut that brought us the 16-6 victory over Kentucky?

In short, when it worked it worked, but it wasn’t always a blow out.

Coach Smart had to point out a few weeks ago that the offensive system this year is the same as last year. Bobo hasn’t reinvented anything.

The numbers back this up. Run plays vs. pass plays, play action, play action on 1st Down, throws of 20+ yards, Almost every offensive metric is within a few percentage points from last year to this. Seriously, it’s the same dang offense, people!

Granted, there have always occasionally been serious head scratchers of calls from Coach Bobo- that disastrous pass play on 1st & goal from the 5 comes to mind – but all in all, Mike Bobo was not the reason why the Coach Mark Richt era didn’t break the championship drought.

His offense, more seasons than not, produced 40+ points per game averages, but were paired up with lackluster if not disastrous defensive squads.

Bottom line, Kirby trusts him, ergo I trust him. Same thing with the Stet/JT controversy from two years ago. My response is the same; Let Kirby cook.

And as far as the slow starts this year, there’s a viral GIF of Kirby out there where he’s telling a player to “calm the fluff down” or something like that. I’m not good at lip reading. Go look that up next time we have to punt in the first half.

Now can we please talk about something else? As long as it’s not Coach Prime, that is…

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