THE TEN AT 10
1. Georgia fans – and players, as it turns out — were calling for a “blackout” against Auburn this past Saturday. And they got one, at least from audience-participation standpoint. UGA spectators were 95 percent black-clad when the Bulldogs defeated Auburn 34-7 Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.
Coach Mark Richt fueled speculation Monday night that the team might join in before the season is out. Asked on his radio call-in show about the possibility of the team wearing black jerseys in the future, Richt said he’s not opposed to it.
“I think once a year to wear the black jerseys would be great, especially since we’re the red and black,” Richt said. “I think a home game in black would be awesome. I think it would need to be more this time of the year, because if you wear black in a September game and it happens to be 100 degrees and super humid, I don’t think that would be a wise thing to do.”
Georgia, of course, plays its last two games at home: Saturday vs. Charleston Southern and Nov. 29 versus Georgia Tech. Richt has said to people inside UGA football that he doesn’t mind an occasional change in uniform, but he’s just done with using it as a surprise motivational tactic.
UPDATE: At his weekly news conference Monday afternoon, Richt shot down any notion of the Bulldogs wearing black jerseys this season: “No,” he said. “Maybe next year. My goal would be to have one game next year where we do that. And maybe have it as a planned event before the season even starts and not have a big secret about it.”
2. The perception is Georgia has a poor record when it has whipped out the black jerseys, but that’s not true. The Bulldogs are actually 2-1 in black, having beaten Auburn and Hawaii in 2007 and losing in infamously ugly fashion to Alabama 41-30 in 2008.
However, Georgia hasn’t been great under Richt whenever it deviated from its traditional dress. It lost to Florida 41-17 in 2009 when wearing black pants and helmets and it fell to Boise State 34-21 in 2011 while wearing its funky Nike Pro Combat uniforms in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game.
What hasn’t seemed to make its way back into fashion trend is the red pants the Bulldogs wore on the road in the late 1970s and the first game of the 1980 season.
“I’m not really for changing much,” Richt said of black jerseys. “I think the helmets, the jerseys, the pants, the whole look is very distinct. When you turn on that TV it takes about a half-second to know the Dogs are playing when you see those uniforms. I really like the way ours look.”
3. Bleacher Reports’ Barrett Sallee had a great suggestion on Twitter. The SEC should just rename its freshman of the week award “The Chubby.” It would be in honor of Georgia’s Nick Chubb, who after Monday has now claimed the weekly honor four times this season.
He also had an offensive player of the week, giving him five weekly SEC awards total.
Chubb’s latest nod comes after he had 144 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in Saturday’s 34-7 win over No. 9 Auburn. He also hauled in two catches for 48 yards. Chubb became the first Bulldog to lead Georgia in rushing and receiving in the same game since Todd Gurley did it in the 2014 Gator Bowl.
The 5-foot-10, 228-pound tailback from Cedartown became the 12th Bulldog in school history to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season with his performance against the Tigers. Currently, he is second in the SEC in both yards per game (103.9) and total rushing yards (1,039) in 2014.
In the last five games, Chubb has 815 yards on 121 carries (6.7 ypc) and seven rushing touchdowns. The Bulldogs have gone 4-1 during that stretch, with wins over No. 23 Missouri and No. 9 Auburn by a combined score of 68-7. Chubb scored his eighth rushing touchdown on a 4th-and-1 situation from the Auburn 9-yard line at the 8:48 mark in the second quarter to put Georgia up 14-7. He later scored his ninth rushing score on an 11-yard run in the final period.
4. This marks the 12th SEC weekly award the Bulldogs have picked up in the 10 weeks in which they played a game.
Gurley was named the offensive player of the week twice, senior inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera and senior defensive back Damian Swann were named the defensive player of the week once each, freshman tailback Sony Michel was named freshman of the week after the Sept. 20 game against Troy, freshman outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter was named and freshman Isaiah McKenzie were named defensive player and special teams player of the week, respectively, after the Kentucky game.
5. One of the big reasons Georgia was able to do what it did defensively against Auburn was defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt‘s decision to play outside linebacker Leonard Floyd at the Star position. Normally manned by a defensive back, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Floyd played there Saturday and gave the Tigers fits as they struggled attack the perimeter via their option attack.
Floyd ended up with just four tackles overall. But he also had a sack and forced a fumble.
“I feel like I made it harder for them to throw bubble screens to the side runner,” Floyd said after Monday’s practice. “I feel like I made that harder for them. Pretty much everyone on defense made it harder for them, period.”
Floyd’s teammates liked what they saw from him playing out in space.
“He did great; he needs to stay there,” senior inside linebacker Ramik Wilson said. “Leonard can play anywhere. He can play safety. I’ll put him at safety. He can play any position out there. He’s physical, too.”
6. The SEC Eastern Division race makes for strange bedfellows. The Bulldogs and their fans will be cheering hard for the Tennessee Volunteers this weekend as they play host to Missouri. Georgia needs the Vols to knock off the Tigers in order to win the East and qualify for the SEC championship game.
Even Richt he’s hoping to get done with his Saturday football responsibilities in order to get home in time to watch the game and pull for Tennessee.
“Hopefully I’ll be settled in my lounge chair ready to cheer for the Vols,” he said. “Whether or not I wear orange is still up in the air.”
7. So who is this Charleston Southern that Georgia is playing on Saturday? The Buccaneers are an FCS football program. They play in the Big South Conference and have an 8-3 record coming into Sanford Stadium.
The Bucs are a run-first football team, averaging 230.5 yards a game and rolling up 199 against the Commodores in a 21-20 loss at Vanderbilt. Christian Reyes, a senior from Oregon, was first-team Big South Conference last season and leads the way with 890 yards rushing and has scored eight touchdowns.
Charleston Southern takes care of the football, too, committing just 13 turnovers in 11 games and coming in with a turnover margin of plus-8.
8. Georgia tips off its play in the prestigious NIT Season Tip-Off tournament tonight. Only it probably won’t feel that prestigious or much like a tournament, being played at home against Stony Brook.
The Bulldogs (0-1) will open the tournament against their visitors from the America East Conference tonight at 7 p.m., then play Troy and Florida Atlantic in non-related, non-conference games before resuming NIT play against Gonzaga in New York City on Nov. 26. Georgia will play that “semifinal” game – the winner gets the Minnesota-St. John’s winner — regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s opener against Stony Brook.
Tuesday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between Georgia and Stony Brook in basketball. It’s only the second time a Bulldog team has played a school from the current roll of the America East Conference. The was last year’s first-round NIT matchup between Georgia and Vermont.
9. Glad to see former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan back to doing what he does best – analyzing football.
Donnan has been working some this fall as a color analyst on games being broadcasted by the American Sports Network. He’ll be calling Saturday’s game between Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro.
The retired coach has done several games played by Marshall, the team that put him in the Hall of Fame, including Louisiana Tech and Rice. Donnan also is finding work as a motivational speaker.
The Securities and Exchange Commission in 2012 charged Donnan with running an $80 million Ponzi Scheme. He was tried in Federal District Court in Athens this past May and was found not guilty on all 41 counts of fraud.
10. This & that: Captains for Saturday’s game, as selected by Georgia’s coaches, are center David Andrews on offense, linebacker Amarlo Herrera and lineman Mike Thornton on defense and linebacker Kosta Vavlas on special teams … Richt said Michel (shoulder) should be ready to play tailback this week. … Coach Andy Landers’ Lady Bulldogs entered the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Monday, checking in at No. 24 in this week’s ledger. Georgia is tied with Purdue and Gonzaga in that spot. The Lady Bulldogs, who defeated Morgan State (68-36) and TCU (62-53) were not ranked in the preseason edition of the AP poll for just the second time since the 1981-82 season.