Posted: 9:54 am Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Ten@10: ’229 Boys’ back in the fold for Georgia offense 

By Chip Towers

Having a 100 percent healthy Jay Rome at tight end is paramount to the Bulldogs' offensive success in 2014. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

Having a 100 percent healthy Jay Rome at tight end is paramount to the Bulldogs’ offensive success in 2014. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

THE TEN AT 10

1. Word coming out of Georgia’s football complex is that the Bulldogs’ “229 Boys” – Malcolm Mitchell, Jay Rome and Justin Scott-Wesley – have progressed nicely in their rehabilitations from leg injuries and are now working out full speed with the rest of the team in summer conditioning and practices. This is good news and, if it holds true through preseason camp, is a big deal for the Bulldogs’ offensive fortunes in 2014.

High offensive production has been almost taken for granted the past couple of seasons under the direction of quarterback Aaron Murray. Now it’s Hutson Mason’s show, and he has already proven capable of keeping the sticks moving.

However, you’re only as good the weapons surrounding you. And while having tailback Todd Gurley back in the fold along other talented running backs and wideouts, I see the healthy return of Rome and Mitchell as paramount to Georgia’s success. Most people point to Mitchell, the dynamic play-making flanker, as the most important piece. And while the Bulldogs certainly have other exceptional targets at the receiver position (Michael Bennett, Chris Conley) they don’t have anybody quite like Mitchell, who can take the short to mid-range isolation play to the house. But I’m not sure if Rome’s return might not be even more crucial.

2. First of all, there just isn’t enough experience at the tight end position. More specifically, there is zero experience behind Rome, who missed spring practice after having a screw surgically inserted in his troublesome left foot. Behind him is redshirt freshman Jordan Davis and true freshmen signees Jeb Blazevich and Hunter Atkinson.

Now it’s not like outgoing tight end Arthur Lynch wasn’t appreciated – he was voted first-team All-SEC after all – but I’m not certain people altogether grasp the contributions he made on almost every down. Not only was he a better-than-serviceable receiving tight end (30 catches, 459 yards, 5 TDs), he was formidable blocker, which is such bonus when you like to run the tailback like Georgia does.

In Rome, the Bulldogs have a better pass-catcher and route-runner than Lynch who also has the size (6-foot-6, 254 pounds) to be able to seal the corner on run plays. And while Rome’s young understudies have both size and receiving skills, it’s doubtful they’ll initially have the ability to do both well in the dual-threat role Georgia requires to be an effective pro-style offense.

That’s why the Bulldogs have been so slow and deliberate getting Rome, who’s left foot issues had become chronic, back on the field. And that’s why Georgia developed a hybrid-tight end role for fullback Quayvon Hicks. They’re bound and determined to set an edge for Gurley and company. And when defenses load up for that, the play-action fake, seam route to the tight end sure does work well.

3. Speaking of college football, we all know the 2014 season is fast approaching. But the unofficial start may be closer than you think. The annual SEC Football Media Days event is set to start even earlier than usual this year. The four-day talk fest begins on July 14 at the Wynfrey Hilton Hotel in Birmingham. But we’ll have to wait a little longer to hear from the Bulldogs. They’re not scheduled to take the podium until the conference’s final day on Thursday, July 17.

As always, the conference will begin with opening remarks from SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. That should be particularly interesting this year, given the climate in Division I athletics and FBS. I imagine he’ll have a lot more to say about “autonomy” and the possible secession of the five power conferences from the NCAA in football.

Slive will be immediately followed by Auburn and head coach Gus Malzahn. The rest of the schedule looks like this: July 14 – Florida and Vanderbilt; July 15 – South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Tennessee; July 16 – Steve Shaw (director of officials), Missouri, LSU, Arkansas; July 17 – Georgia, Ole Miss, Alabama, Kentucky.

Kolton Houston's career as a Navy SEAL is on hold. (UGA photo by Steve Colquitt)

Kolton Houston’s career as a Navy SEAL is on hold. (UGA photo by Steve Colquitt)

4. My phone lit up this past Friday night after Kolton Houston posted a tweet on his Twitter account that made more than a few folks think he was leaving UGA to become a Navy SEAL.

“Im sorry dawg nation. Im hanging the cleats up. My football career is temporarily over. I am now focusing on being a Navy Seal #BUDs,” Houston tweeted from is account @KoltonHouston75.

It didn’t take long to determine that Houston was just having a little fun. Turns out Georgia was having some Navy SEALS come in to train with and consult the football team this past weekend. They were part of an outfit known as “The Program,” which is contracted by college and pro teams to put athletes through their specialized leadership and conditioning training regimen.

Judging from the many tweets that followed, the training seemed to make an impact on the Bulldogs.

“Been training with the Navy Seals for the past (few) days and I must say that I Am a Leader and will be Mentally and Physically ready!,” cornerback Sheldon Dawson tweeted from @SBDAWGson2

From @_Flight_31 (Conley): “Volition: an act of making a choice or decision ; also : a choice or decision made. Being willing to sacrifice for something.”

5. Pretty good move on Georgia’s part to sign Terryuana Godwin to a women’s basketball scholarship. It’s not that Godwin is going to catapult coach Andy Landers’ program to new heights. Maybe she will. But Godwin is the older sister of 5-star-rated recruiting prospect Terry Godwin of Hogansville. He’s already committed to the Bulldogs but, as might be expected, is continually fielding overtures from other programs across the South and beyond.

Terryuna accompanied her brother, who was attending the Mark Richt 7-on-7 camp, to Athens this past Friday. During that time the 5-foot-6 point guard and her parents met with Landers. He offered her a scholarship and she accepted on the spot.

Terryuna averaged 4.5 points and 3.1 rebounds at Butler Community College in Kansas this past season. She was a star at LaGrange High, where she averaged more than 20 points per game while leading her team to a 21-3 record.

Olivia Godwin cautioned that basketball scholarship is not necessarily a deal-sealer for the Bulldogs. But she did admit she liked the idea of having them both on the same campus.

“I don’t think this is going to affect Terry at all,” their mother said. “He’s 100-percent committed to Georgia. And if he decides to change, then that’s on him. Every parent I know would love for their children to be at the same school. I know I would. But if that doesn’t happen, we’re all going to support Terry in his decision. We’re going to stand behind him 100 percent. So it will be his choice in the end.”

6. Georgia’s track and field teams posted their best combined finish in school history at NCAA Outdoor Championships this past weekend. The women finished fifth (their third-best finish and best since 1999) and men were sixth. Their previous best was third and 10th in 1999.

That was a continuation of what has been a strong year for coach Wayne Norton’s teams. They won a combined five individual national titles and the women’s team also finished third during the indoor season.

7. Georgia’s strong showing in track should help it when the Learfield Standings come out later this week. The Bulldogs entered the weekend 19th in the nation in the rankings, which will determine what school claims the Director’s Cup for best overall athletic program. Only track and baseball are left to be computed into those rankings.

UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity has said often the goal is for the Bulldogs to finish among the Top 10 every year. That’s not going to be possible this year, with poor showings football, men’s basketball and baseball and less-glorious-than-usual outcomes in men’s and women’s tennis and golf.

Only Florida (third) and Kentucky (16th) from the SEC are ahead of Georgia in the current standings. Texas A&M was ranked 20th before claiming the women’s national championship in track this past weekend, so it will move past the Bulldogs. Alabama (21st) and LSU (29) will pull points from baseball. But Vanderbilt (52) and Ole Miss (67), who are still competing in the College World Series, are too far back to overtake Georgia..

Second-place in the U.S. Open was nice, but a Masters invite might be even better for UGA alum Erik Compton. (AP photo by David Goldman)

Second-place in the U.S. Open was nice, but a Masters invite might be even better for UGA alum Erik Compton. (AP photo by David Goldman)

8. Georgia had what was for it a record number of players entered into the field of last year’s Masters Tournament, including eventual champion Bubba Watson, who also won in 2012. Chances are pretty good that the Bulldogs will improve on that next April.

With the second-place finish of 2001 alum Erik Compton in this past weekend’s U.S. Open, UGA already has three spots locked up for 2015. Brendon Todd, who finished 17th this past weekend, is already in the field thanks to his victory in the Bryon Nelson Championship last month.

There were eight Bulldogs in the U.S. Open field alone and there are at least 10 UGA lettermen actively competing on the PGA Tour this year. So between all the different ways there are to earn a spot in the Masters field, including PGA Tour and world rankings, odds are very good that Georgia could get in at least two more players.

In fact, to this point in the season, former UGA golfers have won more money on the PGA Tour than any other set of alumni. Bulldogs have totaled more than $18.6 million, which is more than twice as much as second-place Georgia Tech ($8.9 million). UNLV is in third at $7 million.

Compton, of course, is not worried about all that. He’s just ecstatic that he’ll final get to make his first appearance this coming April.

“Lets be honest here twitter….I am very excited to play in my first @The_Masters in 2015,” was the tweet from his @ErikCompton3 Twitter account late Sunday night.

9. A young filmmaker and his wife are reaching out to potential investors to make a movie about former Georgia running back Jasper Sanks.

Producer/director Will Santana, in a YouTube explanation of his project, says that “Inches Away” will be a documentary of “the rise and fall of Jasper Sanks.” It promises to tell the story from the perspectives of former Sanks’ former coaches and teammates, as well as Sanks himself.

Sanks was the No. 1-ranked running back prospect in the country when he signed with the Bulldogs out of Columbus in 1998. But after losing and regaining his eligibility at UGA, he was dismissed from the team by coach Mark Richt with two regular-season games remaining in his junior year. He never realized his dream of playing professional football.
Anyway, as you’ll see from the YouTube links, they’re still trying to raise money for this project. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

I caught up with Sanks in 2011 when Isaiah Crowell was coming to UGA as a highly-touted freshman. You can read that Q&A HERE.

10. Don’t think Wayne Montgomery would have made a difference for Georgia’s men’s tennis fortunes this past season?  The South African star was slated to enroll at UGA in January and compete for the Bulldogs in the recently-completed outdoor season. But he was unable to meet academic admission requirements and his enrollment was delayed this summer.

Now stateside, the freshman competed this past week in the Tennis Valley Open Championship, a USTA- sanctioned tournament in Chattanooga, and he won it in impressive fashion. Seeded second, Montgomery defeated Vanderbilt’s No. 1 seed Gonzalez Austin, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, in the final on Sunday. Austin is an All-American who played No. 1 for the Commodores this past season and finished ranked 19th nationally.

Suffice it to say, optimism will be high for the Bulldogs next season as Montgomery moves into the top of their singles lineup. They were ousted in the NCAA quarterfinals this past season.

161 comments
MattInATL
MattInATL

Whenever I squib one right on the golf course, I say I've got the Jasper Shanks (that way I can say the word that cannot be said, but make the point).  God bless him and I wish him only the very best, but with the talent he had, that is an appropriate and appreciated joke among those knowing his talent and disappointing play. 

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

i just love how some of you loosers come on here and try to bring down the dawgs you tech nerds never even mention your school just try to bring down ours but heres a newsflash we could make a team of just our regects and we would still beat tech by 2 tds easy.

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

10@10?  The first two are the same.

Borodave
Borodave

I guess equestrian doesn't help in the Learfield Standings.  


Can't wait for next year's Masters.


I agree that blocking is paramount for a TE in our offense; as with the FB.  And, how about Rome at FB for short and goal; either hand off to him or a short pass over the middle?  

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

One of the biggest problem on Defense the last few years were some of the Coaches. With Pruitt's hire I think that problem has been solved. McClendon, Bobo,  Richt and Lilly aren't going anywhere. What is left is or should be on the HOT seat. We will see.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

I hate losing talent like Trey but he won't listen to anyone who is in charge and doesn't realize they only have his best interest at heart because it will help Georgia the most on the Football field. He has a chronic Hamstring problem because he will not do the exercise that the trainer and Coaches want him to do. He doesn't see why flexing will help that much but if I had had as many  problems as he has with that one issue I would be trying anything to get on the field. Thing will not improve for him unless he changes his attitude . He has a lot to prove over only a few more years if he even wants the Pro's to give him a chance. 

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Happy to hear the injured have healed! Bobo wants to spread it, and there will be plays for Conley and Bennett to move the chains, and then there will be the home run hitters that mostly vanished after the injuries hit. Add the monster run game that also slowed way down in 2013, and NOBODY stops the Dawgs offense!

As far as Matthews auntie's remarks,"Auburn offering opportunity and he's taking advantage of it", that's the problem right there. He and his kind are advantage takers. Key word here being takers. He and others take advantage of Richt's good nature. Then when Richt "takes" his scholly away, then idiots like his auntie show up in the newspaper. The "takers" are 99% of the country's problem right now.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@Princess_Leia 


Princess/Prince/None of the above!!!!!!!!!!!!


Shouldn't you be in the kitchen or cleaning a bathroom somewhere???


Maybe bringing me another cold beer!!!!!!!!!!!


Biggity women like you are the prime cause of the two blackest days in Georgia history.


The day that women were allowed to get drivers license and the day they were allowed to vote!!!!!!!

Hangonsloopy
Hangonsloopy

@C-Kirk No. the biggest problem were the players on the field. You know, the ones that actually strap it on, line up and play?

Hangonsloopy
Hangonsloopy

@ColumbusDawg Clemson, South Carolina and Auburn will stop the dog offense. Perhaps you have a point against Charleston Southern. 

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@ColumbusDawg His Aunt did the same thing yours would have, and your calling the lady an idiot for having her nephews back? His 2nd choice when he picked UGA was AU, no big surprise. You need to read TB's post below, not sure he is wanting to spread it around.

Hangonsloopy
Hangonsloopy

@TravisBickle5150


Who the hell goes to Bulgaria?

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

@Hangonsloopy @C-Kirk

The first responsibility for every Position Coach is to bring in top Recruits who want to learn how to be good at their position. Recruits who realize they are kids trying to become young men and that they don't know much and that they have a lot to learn. The Coaches have to realize their job just started after the Recruits  sign up. When the Coach tells a player something technical or complicated and the player nods that he understands , make him explain it to you. How many time have you seen a student nod to a teacher that he understands when actually he doesn't understand any of what the teacher just said because they don't want to look dumb in front of their peers. 

Ihateorange
Ihateorange

@Hangonsloopy @ColumbusDawg  wrong again sloopy...  you have been hangin on to that crack pipe too long....  none of those teams will stop us.  In act, nobody on our schedule can stop us except ourselves.

DIT
DIT

@Hangonsloopy @ColumbusDawg  - Don't think so. Stop the offense? That is just one clueless statement. UGA will be loaded on offense and to say otherwise, well, is clueless. Now if you would have come out and say that Clemson, SC & Auburn will score 40+ point on our defense, then that might have been more appropriate.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

If I had blatenty broken the law like Matthews did after having been given the opportunity to play football at UGA, my aunts would have told me to keep my nose clean, do what the coaches told me to do, and be mindful and respectful of the faculty, and be grateful that the head coach was giving me a second chance. The two players that have done all of the above things mentioned have been cleared to play, without suspension, and Matthews would have been cleared also had he done the same.

I could care less what that idiot TB has posted. Period.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@C-Kirk @Hangonsloopy 


Unless you are new to this blog(I know you aren't) you know that the Position coaches can't bring in squat  U N T I L   C M R     A P P R O V E S!!!


And if you think you are more/better qualified than the UGA coaches(which appears to be the case with all your static about what they need to do step by step) I SUGGEST YOU TODDLE OFF TO ATHENS AND HAND SOMEBODY A COPY OF YOUR RESUME. otherwise PLEASE JUST STFU.


I GET NAUSEA FROM READING BS FROM YOU AND YOUR ILK WHO COME ON HERE WITH ALL THE ANSWERS  TO    A  N  Y   PROBLEM

WHEN THE TRUTH BE KNOWN   Y'ALL COULDN'T YOUR COLLECTIVE A$$ES  WITH A  GPS.


PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE WHAT CAUSES MORE DAMAGE TO DAWGNATION THAN JUST POSTING NOTHING AT ALL.


IF YOU AND YOUR ILK ARE SO UNHAPPY WITH WHAT IS GOING ON AT UGA THEN JUST FOLLOW MATTHEWS, JHC,N. MARSHALL AND THEIR ILK. MAYBE THAT WILL HELP YOU FIND THE PERFECT COACHING STAFF!!!    NUTCASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DIT
DIT

@Ihateorange - The Clemson game more than likely will be very close. However, I don't see the score being as high as it was last year. As for SC, I hate going into Columbia. They always turn it up a notch on us when they are at their place. I see a low scoring game that can go either way. As for Auburn it all depends who scores more than 50 points. That will be UGA's highest scoring game on both teams part. It could be ugly. Just my opinion of course. 

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

We take a major top back at qb and return only 2 starters on the line. Not sure where you think we will be better then last year.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

I think Pruitt tightens it up. SC had trouble scoring late on Georgia in 2013 with more weapons than it has now without Shaw and Ellington. The Dawgs stopped Auburn in the second half as well. Clemson will be a shell of the team it had in 2013 on offense, so I like the Dawgs chances. 

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@ColumbusDawg 


Columbus in a perfect world that would be  " I  could N O T  care less"


Think about it!!!!


Excellent post sir !!!!!!!!!!

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ColumbusDawg  Just another Chapter in the ongoing saga of "How America Lost it's Personal Responsibility".  Blame everybody but the one responsible.  Get outraged when someone points it out.  Bow to petty vindictiveness instead of replying with class.  Todd won't get a chance to run Tray over but Nick Chubb sure will.  I can't wait for that collision.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@ColumbusDawg I agree, i think they all 4 should have been kicked off the team, amazing to me a kid can smoke a joint and get 2 games off or he can steal from the University he plays for and has to run steps and sprints and misses no games. Splain that one Lucy?

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

Do you think that auburn and usc may be a little better this year?

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ColumbusDawg  We are fortunate that we have the Clemson game at home against a team that will have to replace some major pieces.  Vegas is giving us 9 on Clemson right now.  They will be missing some guys due to suspensions as well.  If the Dawgs keep their noses clean over the summer and the Fall camp injuries are light, especially on the offensive side.  We will beat Clemson.

But none of that ever seems to happen.  Maybe Matthews getting booted will keep everybody a bit more aware of how easily their time at Georgia can be cut short by carelessness.  It will be very interesting to see how that works out.  And isn't it about time that we have a little bit of luck with injuries?  We always seem to get more than our share.  The real test is against SC.  That will be a real football game.

DIT
DIT

@DawginCO @ColumbusDawg - I hope y'all are right. It's tough to have a good defense with the talent that has left/ quit or got kicked off and a new coach.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Hopefully the guys that are left have enough sense about them to know the deal. I really feel like Scott-Wesley knew he screwed up, and was sincerely sorry for it. He won't be needed against Clemson, but he was the end all in the SC game last year. Mitchell, Conley and Bennett will be plenty in the opener. The only reason Vegas is giving SC the edge is because of the beat down in 2012. I think that was reconciled in Athens last year, and the Dawgs just simply have more coming back than the yardbirds. I still like the Dawgs chances.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

The best I can do with that one is, I believe that the "smoke a joint" policy is a set school policy, and the "stealing" policy s left up to Richt.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@DIT  Actually we have lots of talent still available.  The issue isn't talent, it's experience.  The defense will be better than last year.  It is just a matter of when that happens and whether or not the lack early kills our chances.  I have complete faith that what Pruitt puts on the field will be capable of carrying out his scheme.  How long it takes for the new guys to get up to snuff and having that SC battle looming in game #2 is where concern sits with me.  I am not sure that some of the guys that left would have gotten it any sooner than the new guys.  They are having to unlearn the Grantham way while learning the Pruitt way.  We saw Wiggins leave because he didn't want to deal with that.

Bottom line.  If the secondary at least looks like they know where they are supposed to be against Clemson and SC then we should be in good shape.  That doesn't mean that we will beat SC but it means we have a pretty decent chance.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@JMcKnight  Nah.  A real game is one that involves 2 teams that bot could turn any game against 12 of the ACC schools into a bloodbath.  That should be fairly easy to understand.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@JMcKnight  making excuses? We learned how to do that from the best trade school in the land

DawginCO
DawginCO

@JMcKnight No excuses.  At this point there is nothing BUT IF and WHEN and MAYBE.  Anybody who thinks otherwise has mental issues.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@JMcKnight  Nothing dumb about it.  You just have comprehension issues.  I'll dumb it down further.  A real football game is one that only 2 schools in the ACC could hope to even win.