April 14, 2024
Dawgs and fans must adapt to college football’s changing times

You assume higher education football has seen a great deal of improve around the past pair of several years?

Get completely ready for even far more disruptions to the time-honored way of accomplishing matters, specifically in the SEC.

An historic Greek thinker named Heraclitus as soon as noticed that there is practically nothing everlasting besides adjust, and it looks that the “It Just Suggests More” meeting is building that its new slogan.

That also goes for the Ga Bulldogs, who have thrived, so considerably, in an age of alter, successful two consecutive nationwide titles despite the arrival of the transfer portal and NIL.

Some of the new wrinkles the Dawgs and their supporters are dealing with are incremental, natural and organic modifications — gamers graduating or moving on, and subtractions/additions involving the coaching staff members.

Andrew Good, son of Kirby, isn’t the only Dawgs fan who hates to see gamers and coaches go away UGA. (Tony Walsh/UGA)

Tony Walsh, Dawgnation

All those in all probability are the much easier kinds for supporters to settle for, since which is the way it usually has been in faculty soccer. You could possibly get rid of a few tears, like Kirby Smart’s 10-12 months-aged son, Andrew, did more than the departure of Stetson Bennett, who’d been in Athens for what seemed like without end. Still, you anticipate these types of a modify.

Ditto Georgia’s ultra-prosperous offensive coordinator for the previous a few seasons, Todd Monken, leaving for an NFL position. We hoped he’d stick about Athens until finally he retired, but, thinking of Monken’s self-described “vagabond” techniques, that constantly was a prolonged shot.

Sensible understood that, of training course, which is why Georgia announced Monken’s replacement about a half-hour immediately after the Ravens introduced they’d hired Georgia’s OC.

The Georgia head coach’s selection — former UGA quarterback and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo — wasn’t a great deal of a shock, considering the fact that Wise hired his aged teammate past calendar year as an offensive analyst. The very same was completed on defense a even though back, with a different of Smart’s previous teammates, Will Muschamp, staying employed as an analyst prior to going on up to co-defensive coordinator.

Having someone by now on the offensive team consider more than as coordinator ought to make it much easier for Georgia’s players, who will not have to learn an totally new method and terminology.

Thinking of his “vagabond” techniques, it always was a prolonged shot that Todd Monken would remain at UGA. (Tony Walsh/UGA)

Tony Walsh, Dawgnation

Of study course, Smart’s choice for Monken’s substitution has generated groans from a vocal contingent of Bulldog Nation that evidently did not observe how Bobo grew in the job when he had it a couple years back again underneath Mark Richt, or how his past offense at Georgia in 2014 was the school’s greatest-scoring ever (certainly, topping even this past season’s Monken-coached nationwide champs), averaging 41.7 details for each game. Also, a few of the prime five seasons for typical yards per video game in background for the Bulldogs came beneath Bobo.

The primary difficulty with Richt teams toward the end of Bobo’s very first stint in Athens was defense, not the skill of the Dawgs’ offense to score points.

Portion of the lover malaise above the Bobo marketing no question is tied to his relative lack of achievement after he left Ga for the head coaching work at Colorado State, followed by a pair of seasons major the offenses at South Carolina and Auburn.

But, at those colleges, Bobo never ever experienced gamers of the caliber that he’ll have at Ga.

Ga head mentor Kirby Clever celebrates with Mike Bobo (still left) and Todd Monken after the acquire over TCU in the Faculty Football Playoff Countrywide Championship. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Jason Getz, Dawgnation

Other individuals mistakenly see Bobo as a relic from Georgia’s run-first earlier. In actuality, with the exception of when he had Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in the backfield, Bobo ran a diversified offense that valued the pass as significantly as the operate. He consistently was preaching “balance,” a lot to the dismay of the operate-the-damn-ball crowd.

Also, in his very last a few seasons as UGA’s OC under Richt, he released features of the spread into what formerly was a really common professional-type offense, together with other occasional features, these kinds of as going no-huddle and utilizing the pistol development.

As I wrote again in 2014, I think those last a few several years that he ran Georgia’s offense are when Bobo arrived into his own as an offensive coordinator and sign caller. He also was 1 of UGA’s best recruiters.

My only holdover reservations about Bobo involve situational play-calling and using what a protection gives you, but he did enhance in those people locations. He also could be a tiny streaky, sometimes opening games with aggressive play-calling, and then getting extremely conservative — but Monken also was responsible of that at moments above the earlier 3 several years.

Aaron Murray, who was a document-location QB underneath Bobo, is a lover of the move. “He’s a coordinator who experienced a ton of accomplishment below at Ga,” Murray stated, “someone who expended a 12 months in this offense and can make certain that the changeover is as seamless as feasible for these little ones and be ready to go in the spring.”

Mike Bobo (center), found for the duration of the Vanderbilt sport, invested previous year as an offensive analyst at Ga. (Perry McIntyre/UGA)

Perry McIntyre, Dawgnation

Total, I’m optimistic, since of Bobo’s previous showing at UGA, and the 12 months he put in functioning with Monken, who credited him with a good deal of the preparation for LSU in this year’s SEC Championship Game — which Georgia won by 20 points.

Talking of a possible Monken affect on his successor, I am hoping we see a lot much more use of tight finishes than Bobo showed us formerly. But, considering the presence of Brock Bowers and the nation’s premier corps of TEs on the Dawgs’ roster — and his close-up perspective of what Monken completed with two-restricted-conclude sets about the previous season — it seems sensible to think that Bobo will not are unsuccessful to make use of that certain superweapon in the UGA arsenal.

The major variation for Bobo from his previous stint at UGA will be this: He won’t have to get worried about shootouts with absolutely everyone, because the Dawgs have a protection now.

In the meantime, other alterations coming to SEC football could be much more disruptive than a new offensive coordinator. The recent information that Texas and Oklahoma will be part of the SEC a calendar year before than expected — in 2024, the same 12 months the College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams — means the coming period almost assuredly will be the past for the SEC East and SEC West, as a wholesale remodeling of the conference timetable looms.

A last selection hasn’t been introduced however on how the 16-workforce SEC will be configured, but the betting money is on no divisions, with the two prime groups conference in the championship match.

Many assume that South Carolina will turn out to be Georgia’s 3rd long term opponent, together with Florida and Auburn, in a reconfigured SEC schedule. (Tony Walsh/UGA)

Tony Walsh, Dawgnation

And, though some of the lessen-tier educational facilities nevertheless would like to stick with an 8-sport routine (with only one particular long lasting opponent), it’s envisioned that the meeting will go with a 9-game timetable, with every crew getting a few long term opponents and rotating by the six many others. That way, every single faculty in the conference will perform each and every other group at the very least once each two yrs, which will be sure to Television lover ESPN.

(The early proposal to divide the conference into 4 4-workforce pods, with a staff possessing to engage in all its pod-mates every single yr, comparable to a division, appears to have dropped help — specifically from Commissioner Greg Sankey.)

Smart is a lover of the nine-video game conference program. “We’ve been extremely aggressive in phrases of scheduling opponents out in the upcoming that make good matchups, mainly because we want the College of Georgia to engage in in massive video games,” Intelligent said final spring. “So, whether or not that is yet another SEC opponent, or yet another Power 5 opponent, that excites our fan foundation and draws in our supporter foundation.”

Assuming the nine-video game convention timetable is a carried out deal, the largest issue experiencing SEC leaders is picking every single team’s 3 everlasting opponents (a selection that is rumored presently to have been designed, however it has not been introduced).

Of system, the schedule realignment will direct to some rivalries no for a longer period becoming performed each year, but most of the major ones can be accommodated by a 3-6 program, while sticking with 8 meeting game titles would suggest extra of the so-called “secondary” rivalries not currently being played per year.

And, less than the 3-6 configuration, just about everyone who addresses the SEC believes that Florida and Auburn will be two of Georgia’s 3 long term rivals. The question is which staff will be the 3rd.

Whilst there is some admirer assist for Tennessee, every projected lineup I’ve seen has absent with South Carolina as UGA’s third opponent — in component, for the reason that the two schools have been enjoying each and every other a great deal for a longer period than Georgia and UT, and also for the reason that South Carolina considers Ga to be its 2nd-most significant rival (right after in-condition Clemson of the ACC). And, in a the latest poll conducted by the Athletic, South Carolina was by significantly the alternative of admirers, far too.

With the Dawgs rotating by the meeting each individual two several years (and no for a longer time locked into taking part in Vanderbilt each individual 12 months) those people supporters buying tickets for Sanford Stadium online games will see a great deal additional enticing schedules. (For an instance of just how unenticing a program can be, verify out a few of Georgia’s very first 4 video games for 2023, showcasing UT Martin, Ball Point out and UAB.)

A further in addition of the nine-sport agenda will be the elimination of just one of the nonconference places normally reserved for a cupcake opponent that draws yawns from enthusiasts. Ga by natural means will perform Tech for a person of its three nonconference video games, and Intelligent is on report as wanting a major-tier Energy 5 opponent for an additional place in as lots of seasons as doable. That will leave just one match open for the directional educational facilities and the occasional FCS crew.

Stadium renovations could pressure the Dawg Wander to relocate from the Tate Middle parking whole lot, as happened at the recent national championship celebration. (Kayla Renie/UGA)

Kayla Renie, Dawgnation

Of program, it’s not just important variations, like conference realignment, that Georgia followers are struggling with. Other a lot less dramatic (but, to some, no significantly less unsettling) changes are headed our way.

And, individuals variations could alter or even eradicate some beloved traditions.

For instance, really a few SEC observers marvel no matter whether the Ga-Florida video game staying played each year in Jacksonville will survive all of this alter. As I have noted here prior to, quite a few enthusiasts adore that match staying played in Jacksonville, with a 50-50 crowd split at a sort-of neutral web site, and it does make the video game a lot more of an party (which is why it’s a lock for a prime Tv set slot each and every calendar year).

On the other hand, the time might be coming shortly when the two educational facilities (mostly Georgia, prodded by recruiting-acutely aware Intelligent) will want to go to a property-and-home arrangement — or maybe a 4-calendar year rotation, going a little something like this: Athens, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and so on.

It’s noteworthy that a new deal with Jacksonville has not been signed still, with the recent one operating by means of the 2023 period, as well as a two-year selection that could lengthen the deal through 2025.

A far more pedestrian alter (practically) facing Dawgs followers involves the Sanford Drive bridge remaining incorporated into the stadium on recreation times, due to the renovation project that will see upgrades designed to the stadium’s southside. Because that part of Sanford Drive currently is shut to vehicular visitors on match days, it’s a main strolling thoroughfare that would be dropped to lovers, as I mentioned previous calendar year.

That not only will stop the opportunity for the unticketed to walk throughout the span on Saturdays (or check out the game for free from the bridge), but it also will inconvenience numerous ticketed followers who tactic the stadium from the south, but sit on the north, or vice versa.

In addition, some supporters who convey their kids to the bridge to check out the pre-video game Dawg Stroll down beneath have been fretting the reduction of that option.

I think there’s a good possibility, nevertheless, that the Dawg Wander alone could conclude up moving. We could possibly have had a glimpse of the upcoming of that tradition prior to January’s national championship celebration, when players remaining their buses at the corner of Baxter and Lumpkin streets and proceeded up the walkway in entrance of the Miller Learning Middle and the UGA Bookstore right before entering the stadium, as opposed to trekking by way of the Tate Heart parking ton as has been done in the earlier.

So, yeah, there’s a lot of change forward for Dawgs supporters. Having said that, as extensive as Ga remains a destination for a lot of of the very best gamers in the state — and, with Smart as head coach, that’s possible to stay the circumstance — I have a emotion we’ll by some means handle to adapt.