The Dawg Post Mailbag

Fletcher Page returns with a Mailbag of epic proportions. 10,000 words of news, notes and somewhat relevant rambling.

So much has happened since our last Mailbag ran…Caleb King was ruled ineligible, Brent Benedict left the team, I went to two weddings and a funeral, Casey Anthony was found not guilty on murder charges, potentially damaging news regarding the Georgia Blazers and current Bulldogs players hit print, Jair Jurrjens became the league leader in wins and ERA, Mark Fox got a commitment in the 2012 class…

Wait…Oh that last one hasn't happened yet, you're right. Oops. Good thing that new contract he signed doesn't pay on commission. I really want to stretch to make a Blazers joke here…but let's not grab the lowest hanging fruit so quickly in our return.

I'm kidding about the recruiting efforts of Fox. Sorta. I mean, technically he and I have both secured the same amount of players in this class. Luckily I don't have to worry about low post depth or trouble scoring from the perimeter affecting my job a season from now. Truthfully, there's still time and key pieces left to snatch up…but it's about time to reel a few of these instate kids in. If for nothing else, to at least calm the hoops board down.

Anyway, the Mailbag is back and refreshed after more than a month away on vacation. Miss me? I missed you. Sorta.

With all that said…ladies and gentlemen you already know what it is…let's get it poppin'.

Dean Legge asks: Ok. Where have you been? I thought you died or something...

Some nerve you've got…not only showing your face around these parts…but also asking the first question of my return to the Sack…

I spent the majority of June working on my memoirs…but I didn't like the ending. Burn piled that baby.

Honestly, I took some time to breathe. And I began plotting. This is a big year for Georgia, in both football (regaining success) and basketball (sustaining success). So that means this is a big year for Dawg Post. Which means this could be a big year for me.

I've been thinking about story ideas, ways to improve my work and—most importantly—how I can pick another fight on the Porch with Whyso about small market teams in the NBA.

Prioritizing is important as we head into August.

DawgsRulz73 states: I thought i saw fletcher's picture on the side of a milk carton.

It better not have been on the side of a carton of skim milk. That's weak.

14dawgs47 says: Ok back to the ole O-line questions.

Ooh my favorite…

It has been brought up on the porch about A lynch playing on the line. What are your thoughts of this or B Figgens filling in on the line.

I personally believe that Lynch has put on all the weight he can comfortably hold. In speaking to him for the story I recently wrote, it became apparent to me that 270 is about as high as Lynch thinks he can go. Also, he doesn't have much interest in playing OL, but I assume if Georgia got in a bind he would be the emergency button Friend will push.

I don't see Bruce or Artie playing on the line, to be honest. I know "what's best for the team" should take precedence, but in fairness to both of those guys, I don't think it should happen. I think you're going have to hope for good health and a freshman surprise…

Arthur Lynch in warm-ups prior to 2011 G-Day(Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

All this seems crazy but what are our choices if bad things happen.

I agree, it is hard to believe this has happened to Georgia again…If somebody gets hurt, I think you'll see Watts Dantzler potentially get some time at tackle…and…yeah…well…I'm not sure what else.

I think it would be in the team's best interest for Austin Long to enter fall camp healthy, play through fall camp and stay healthy and take over at right tackle.

That's a start.

Then you've got Bean to back up both guard and tackle positions (which means he doesn't necessarily have to be on the field).

Secondly, Cordy Glenn can't get mono…which I don't think you can get twice. That's a plus. But he can't get hurt or abducted by aliens.

Fourth…or third for those of you counting at home…everybody else needs to stay healthy…and can't get abducted by aliens. I'm serious here.

Fourth…Kolton Houston needs to be ready to step in at either guard spot if Gates or Burnette get hurt. I'm not as worried about Gates, but Burnette has had a history of injuries in the past.

All and all, this sounds like a solid plan I've drafted here. If the line underperforms, I'll blame the execution of said plan and take a different job elsewhere.

Q2. What recruits that we have not offered do you think will get offers. (Im looking at wr and ol???)

Great question…and I'm going to plead ignorance here for one sole reason: Dawg Night is coming up next Friday. Hang with us for another week and everything should start coming together. Most of the offers will be out by then, and I'll be able to fully answer this sucker.

Don't let me skirt by on this one, either. Ask again after Dawg Night. But hopefully we'll have it answered before you get the chance.

Q3 it always seems that JC recruits show up on the list late, any inside stuff on who Ga. really likes at the jc leavel.

There are a few names from GMC that Georgia could be in the mix for…R.J. Robinson is a talented player, but tailback may not be a position of dire need (Keith Marshall pending).

Daniel McCullers is a big dude…6-foot-5, 340 pounds—sounds like a nose tackle to me. Jonathan Taylor and John Atkins may make this idea unwarranted.

Jarrett Neely and Corey Washington are two receivers that will probably get a long look in the fall. Both are receiving interest from SEC schools, and wideout is obviously a position of need.

Those are just guys in the state of Georgia…I'm sure more names will come out of Mississippi and Kansas as the fall progresses.

Q4 what will it take to get GA in the mix at Lowndes.

I guess we've all heard the FSU push whispers…Last I heard, the Bulldogs were doing a great job recruiting Josh Harvey-Clemons. If he doesn't end up at Georgia, it could be for a host of many different reasons. But this is Georgia's best shot with a kid from Lowndes in quite some time.

And yes, I rode all the way to Valdosta for Telvin Smith's announcement in 2010. We were certain that was going to be the "See, Lowndes will send a kid to Georgia" moment. That's about 550 miles of round trip riding with Dean I'll never get back.

blackbulldawg says: Thank Goodness I thought I was going to have to call the Navy Seals to do a search and rescue I thought you became a POW to Dean (the Mean) Legge lol

Thanks for the concern…and sadly, I'll always be a POW (Prisoner of the Web) of sorts working for Dean.

1. With all the losses on the o-line does that change your prediction of our season?

At this time it does not…and here's why:

Let's take a look at the players Georgia has lost…

Trinton Sturdivant – Kid has a big heart and has played through some terrible injuries and misfortune. But he was a shadow of his 2007 self. And last season he was exposed quite a bit. Now, it's never good to lose a player who has started multiple years and earned SEC and national recognition, but his knees were a ticking time bomb.

A.J. Harmon – Never has really played. Never really did play. And I think he never really was going to play. I don't want to dump on the kid after leaving the team, but he just never could "figure it out."

I have a feeling A.J. might think he should have gone to Clemson to play defensive tackle. Just a hunch.

Brent Benedict – Was not going to be able to play football this season. He's super strong (in the upper body) and super talented (and a nice kid, by the way). But he needed another year to see if he was going to be able to get back. His knee injury was probably the worst I've ever heard of (every knee ligament, dislocated knee, shredded hamstring, etc).

So, what have I done here? I've completely dismissed all the players who are no longer with the program or able to play. I guess I have. I'm not saying it's a good thing they're gone. Depth is now a chief concern because of all this attrition.

But would you rather lose Sturdivant, Harmon and Benedict…or Glenn, Jones and Gates?

2. What have you heard on how good Cornbread and Kwame(the Bohemoth) Geathers looked so far?

I've heard Jenkins is a man in the weight room, which shouldn't be surprising at all. I figure his production in the dining hall is just as impressive (keeping it healthy though, I'm sure).

I haven't heard much about Kwame. As long as his ankles don't bother him he should enter camp in shape (something that hasn't happened the past two years). That's going to be the key for Kwame. The past two years, he's had to play catch-up with his conditioning…which forced him to play catch-up with reps in practice…which stunted his growth as a player.

He created momentum in the spring (duh). We'll see if he's carrying that over through summer and into fall.

3. What have you heard on Crowell so far? How has Caleb reacted to having him on campus? Has he taken him under his wing?

I think Georgia has it's own version of area 51 (this is my second reference to aliens or alien-related things in the Sack. Just for those of you counting). This is just a theory of mine, but they take the next big thing to a super secret facility (probably located under the softball complex off of Milledge) to let them train. At least this is what I'm led to believe because all is quiet on the Crowell front. No rumors. No tweets. No nothing.

Sadly, this question was posed before news of Caleb's dismissal was announced. Moment of silence....let's move on.

4. Now that you seem to always be super busy has this taken the fun out of the job and the mail bag?

Never. I love just about everything about this. My only regret is that I don't always have enough time to develop some of my thoughts and answers here in the Sack. I usually try to answer questions in full detail by thinking about them…or researching them…or making phone calls to find out about them. I can't always do that…so the end product has suffered at times.

But doing this beats the hell out of working.

5. What do you think will happen with Jarvis Jones?

This is a sticky situation, for sure. I could speculate…but the truth is nobody is going to know anything until the NCAA decides to say something publicly. That includes Georgia and me and you.

I will say this…I'm not exactly sure everything that's going to come out about the Blazers has hit the street of published knowledge yet. I'm not saying anything more will come out about Jones or Caldwell-Pope, but I think there is going to be more "stuff" slowly leak out. With the police still involved, things are going to come out a little bit at a time, and there is no set schedule for their release (as we've already seen).

I was told back in March to get ready for something to come out of Columbus. That same source has since told me it's not over yet. Again, I'm not saying Georgia players will be further implicated…I'm just saying there could be more bad news for those involved with the (Jail) Blazers program.

6. If one of the frosh o-lineman had to play against BSU who would your pick be?

Two answers here: Who is most ready to play? David Andrews. Hands down, no doubts about it. But Ben is in his way. Andrews will be either a three or four year starter; depending on if he redshirts this season.

Who is most likely to play? Watts Dantzler. There is zero depth at tackle, and Watts is really the only player with the size and weight or healthy enough to play. DeBell has the most upside, but he needs to gain more weight. And Ward isn't going to be able to play at all for a year (knee).

7. Where has owens been I haven't heard anything on him this offseason will he be ready this year to play cb?

I'm not quite ready to put out an APB for the kid. Owens should be fine to play spot duty this year. He's fast, quick and swaggerrrific…yeah, that's three r's.

I don't see him starting…or playing nickel…but he will be useful on special teams. And I guarantee the week before the Boise State game he'll be listed as a one of the 14 players who may be the punt returner.

Why that's always been such a secret is beyond me. We all know Hutson Mason is going to be back there in fair catch situations this year.

8. Do you think Corey Moore will start at safety by the begining of season?

No, he won't be. Shawn Williams is going to be the starter at the jump. But look for Moore to come on strong as the year plays out. I'm not sure if he'll supplant Williams, but he could make a strong argument for such a move to be made.

I know I asked a lot of questions just making up for the lost mail sacks lol also thanks for the help on my speech about recruiting I got an A on it as always thanks for everything you do

Always. I was glad to help out.

apple dawg asks: What are players saying about the strength and conditioning program?

They are all saying the right things…of course, I'd say there's a little coaching involved in those responses too.

I've seen quite a few tweets, particularly from Jay Rome and Watts Dantzler, about how tough things have been. Here's my favorite:

@wattsdantzler says: If you see a 300 pound person laying on the side of the road in Athens it's me and don't be alarmed. #coachT

Saying that, those are a couple of freshmen, so these kinds of things are to be expected. Otherwise, everybody else is talking about the hard work and accountability and discipline. This is one of those things that really won't be determined until the games start.

How are players responding to the two new assistant coaches?

I've been limited in terms of much I've gotten to talk to people about the two new coaches. I can say this…

Friend seems to be one of those recruiters that can relate to just about anybody. He has the same type of personality as Bobo, and those two have gotten along really well. If anybody knows anything about Bobo (please, hold "your lack of creativity" jokes), it's that he's one hell of a recruiter. He and Friend together are like a well-oiled machine—with a southern accent, of course.

Coach O is down to earth, and players have told me he's extremely organized. He's adept at maximizing time and watching film. I've been told he's efficient at watching tape of recruits and evaluating talent accurately. I would expect as much considering his NFL background.

How are people around the program feeling about the 2012 recruiting class?

I think getting the commitment from the Jenkins County duo helped alleviate some pressure. I think some people were getting antsy because some time had passed since the last pledge and some in-state kids (Parks, Lee, Holsey) went elsewhere (Auburn, Bama, Auburn).

But let's face it…this class was not going to be as good as 2011 was…and it's probably not going to be as good as 2013 has the chance to be. 2012 though is an important year because you can't have a down year across the board. The instate talent of each class will always fluctuate, but you've got to max out what you've available to work with.

Getting Theus and Marshall will make this class plenty good enough. That's not yet happened, but Georgia is in good position to land both. But Taylor was a must to help build depth on the defensive line (and considering he's a top five kid in the state). From here, I think Georgia needs to add offensive linemen and wide receivers. Some defensive backs would be good too. The Deion Bonner ordeal really hurt the Bulldogs there.

If your parents had conceived you 30 seconds later than they did, would you be an entirely different person or the same person with slightly different characteristics?

I think my parents did conceive me 30 minutes later then when I was supposed to be…think about it…I'm a left-handed redhead…there's only like 13 of us in the whole nation. If that. But I can still catch a tan, I brush my teeth right-handed and I don't mind sleeping on the floor on Dawg Post road trips.

I'm a walking riddle wrapped in tin foil. I think all this is why my memoirs project fizzled out.

Why does Bugs bunny walk around naked, but puts a bathing suit on when he goes swimming?

This is just another point about cartoons confusing the hell out of the youth in this country. The Smurfs did it (I spent way too much time trying to figure out the relationship between Papa Smurf and Smurfette. And also why Gargamel wanted to eat the smurfs in the first place is still a mystery to me. You can't tell me that would have been a fulfilling meal).

One could argue Wile E. Coyote taught kids that if at first you don't succeed, try, try and die again.

I disagree. I think he taught us that it's OK to be mediocre in the workplace. Actually, maybe even worse than mediocre, because if you don't reach your goal then you can fail again tomorrow.

I hated that cartoon. Why keep buying from ACME? Why? And Road Runner was entirely too cocky. He showed that it was OK to take advantage of people of lesser intelligence. And laugh about it in the process.

Elmer Fudd only reinforced this bumbling stereotype in his failed attempts to "kill the wabbit."

Did anybody ever want to grow up to be Elmer Fudd? No. The answer is no. So that meant we all wanted to grow up to be Bugs…and walk around naked, eating carrots and calling people Doc (which single handedly undermined people who have actually worked their butts off to obtain a doctorate (like my mother). And yes, I know I just went parenthesis in a parenthesis. I can do that). Bugs was a disrespectful dude. He probably talked back to his parents growing up.

I guess they all couldn't be like Peanuts. But they should have been. Let's move on before I offend Yosemite Sam. That guy shoots first and and doesn't even ask questions later.

godawgs82790 asks: Do you think UGA should/will retire david pollacks number?

Yes, I think David's number should be retired. He is the second-most credentialed player in Georgia history (as far as number of awards won and other various accolades).

But I don't think Georgia will retire a number any time soon. I think it would take a Heisman Trophy winner or a completely dominant player/leader from a national title team to unlock this ability. Once that player got his number retired, then I think you could see Pollack get in there too.

Of the players currently on the team, I think Aaron Murray has a four percent chance of getting his number retired. Isaiah Crowell has a one percent chance.

Everybody else has a 0.1 percent chance.

SuwaneeDawg03 asks: It seems that I have finally been awakened from a Porch coma since the Sack has returned. At least some time passed by quickly to get us that closer to kickoff.

Hate you went coma on us, but I wasn't gonna let you get bed sores. I'm back…

1. I really I hope I don't jinx us, but it has been a LONG time since someone has rode their scooter the wrong way or public intoxication or jaywalking. What is the difference?

Way to go SuwaneeDawg03…you've jinxed it. Just when the ACCPD was getting on board you went and spoke aloud about this. They won't take this lightly.

The difference is…people aren't being stupid. And there is probably a little bit of chance and circumstance and luck and probability in play here.

Actually, UGA baseball pitcher Eric Swegman (former Young Harris College star) wrecked his scooter this spring. Wrecked his shoulder, too. But he's not a football player, so nobody wrote about it. I tweeted it. Nobody retweeted me though. Sigh.

2. I know we have discussed this before, but we currently have 77 players on the roster. 77! We could use some more OL, WR, and LB. I am not a fan of oversigning but it is a GIVEN that we are going to lose several kids each year. I hope we sign 2-3 more each year (of course at or under 25 total) from now on. Thoughts Senior Page?

Yes…this is a problem, no doubt. I'm not a fan of oversigning, but it gives teams a clear advantage. Eventually, having 77 players is going to catch up with a team—whether it be only having five returning linemen who have ever played a down or only having one running back with carries to his credit.

You can squeak by being low at a position every now and then…but sooner or later the percentages say you'll get burned.

So…what's the solution?

Mark Richt has publicly opposed the practice of oversigning.
Richt has made it clear he's not going to over sign and then have to cut players later in the summer. I respect that. I really do, because I don't see how a coach could take a scholarship away from a player for no reason except that the player isn't panning out.

I think the coaching staff could have been smarter about the number last year…the 3-4 defensive scheme coming in made it painfully obvious that Nick Williams did not have a position here. And it was pretty clear that Logan Gray wanted out, too.

But I don't see how anybody could complain with the last class, so I give a pass.

I think the best solution is for Richt to take a couple more marginal players in the future. I call this the "Danny Carmichael Strategy." You guys probably remember Danny, I'm sure.

A few years ago, he didn't get an offer from Georgia (which was probably the right call because he wasn't really considered a high level player). But a player like Danny would be a better choice than just slinging it out to another kicker or offensive linemen that's never going to play.

Players like Cootie Harrow and Zander Ogletree are included in this plan. A guy like Zander was right on the margin. If his brother hadn't been Alec, Zander wouldn't have gotten that ‘ship. But he's developed into a great special teams player, a serviceable fullback and he's a good representative for the program.

Who outside of Newnan thought that would happen? If you're nodding your head to say you did, good for you.

What my plan calls for is to always take at least three guys who are flat out football players that might not have one particular position or might not have all the measurables and explain to them early on that they've got a conditional scholarship. Show them the numbers early and tell them they have a place at Georgia as long as there's an open spot.

If things don't work out, they can go to Georgia Southern or Troy or somewhere they probably would have gone anyway. Maybe even Kentucky or Vanderbilt could take them late.

Does this plan keep Georgia on the same plane as Alabama in terms of having a full deck of 85 talented guys? Probably not.

But it's also not as cutthroat and gives guys like Zander or Kenarious Gates a chance to potentially blossom and play meaningful minutes for Georgia.

3. I love Coach Fox. I hate how our 2012 recruiting is going.

Like Paris Hilton on the SAT…I'm sure he's trying real hard. At least he's created a good relationship with the Georgia Blazers. That's a good entry point into the AAU circle…wait…oh, yeah. The Blazers are defunct. You're right. Well…at least Travis and Trey got drafted in the first round…Wait…Um…At least the Bulldogs are in Tony Parker's top five…Wait…Um…damn. Help. Well, at least Pearson has a couple of in's over in Alabama. Thank goodness. That paid off for Josh Langford…wait…nope. Well…um…at least Richt got Crowell.

This is like shooting fish in a barrel full of molasses. I could do this all day. I'll probably start back up again when beggar asks a question.

4. What do you think will become of the whole Jarvis Jones and KCP situation?

Been here…answered that. You're at the mercy of the NCAA. Luckily, they usually handle these matters in an efficient manner.

5. There are rumors surfacing about Shannon Brown going to GMC now instead of EMCC and is thinking hard about the Dawgs?

I'm not sure about this…but it would be a great pull for the Bulldogs. I could see Brown playing a mean outside linebacker at the next level (or inside linebacker for that matter), and that's a position Georgia needs to keep restocking for the future.

The last class was a great start in retooling linebackers for the 3-4, and Brown would do nothing but enhance the depth.

He already takes Honorable Mention for "Meanest Looking Profile Pic" in the Scout database. He looks like he wouldn't think twice.

6. What is the latest on Dexter Staley? Is he at GMC too?

I've heard a couple different things about Mr. Staley as of late, but I've yet to take anything as concrete. Last I heard, he was going to be at GMC. But to that point, I thought Shannon Brown was going to East Mississippi.

This JUCO ebb and flow is almost as confusing as a batch of cartoons.

7. Did Dean's ego reinflate a little more while you were on Sack break?

He was almost confident enough to start leaving the house again, but the King has returned…look, Dean understands he's a figurehead at this point. He understands that in the case of a national threat, I'll be the one going up in Dawg Post One (our private jet for recruiting trips) for protection.

At this point, he's kind of like Roger Sterling in Mad Men. He discovered Don Draper…and he's now coming to grips with the fact that he found and trained up his eventual replacement. Tough cookies.

Tough luck Dean

UGAGirl98 asks: We had a number of guys redshirted last year. Which of those guys do you think makes a big impact this fall? Who do you think gets redshirted this year?

Looking at the roster, it's hard for me to pinpoint many guys who redshirted last year that will make an impact. Outside of Austin Long (who I think should start), I don't see anybody that is a sure bet. I know Michael Bennett will probably see the field. Ken Malcome is around. Those guys should be serviceable this year, but I'm not getting antsy thinking about their chances to "make an impact."

I wrote this before the news about Caleb, Ken will now have to be better than just "around."

Glad to have you back Fletcher!

Glad to be back. I was getting withdrawals. And I was afraid Fox would get a commit before I could unload my joke bank.

gavindawg asks: 1. Ask Will Friend.. What is your take on the OL? Will we be ready to win with the current line up?

Well…I'll have to wait until August to speak to Friend. But here is what I think he would say today if I were today…

"Well, we may not have as much experienced depth," Fletcher Page doing his best Will Friend impression said. "That just means our young guys have to step up and get the job done. That's what the next six weeks are for."

Coach's speak rules apply, even for impressions.

2. How are the WR's progressing? What does the line up look like? Are there any freshmen that will play?

Again, can't speak specifics on progression because I haven't actually seen anything since G-Day.

I would say the lineup looks like Tavarres King, Marlon Brown and then everybody else. This is why I think Malcolm Mitchell is going to get a chance to play often this year. He is a different kind of playmaker in regard to anything else on the roster at wideout.

"He's a little bit like A.J. Green, except five inches shorter," a player recently told me.

I've also been told that he's faster than A.J. ...

I know summer is the time for hearing comparisons of epic proportions like this...but Mitchell is legit. He and Crowell have the chance be one of the best freshmen tandems Georgia has ever seen (for both their abilities and the opportunities they'll have).

As for the other freshmen wideouts, I hear Sanford Seay's speed has been a real surprise. He and JSW are still raw and will take more time to get ready in relation to where I think Mitchell is. I think Conley could play down the road too. This freshmen receiving class is diverse, if nothing else.

3. Does JJ still look impressive in plays now he is on campus and not on a video?

I feel like I'm an IPod with unlimited ITunes in fall camp, but in the summer I'm a broken record.

I can't see anything. But I've heard nothing but good things about Jenkins in the weight room and about his speed and footwork. I'll revisit all these subjects once August cranks heavy.

4. How has Ken Malcome progressed? Does he seem to be in it for playing time?

Boo would be a solid third option behind King and Crowell, if things hold as they are now. Wait…King's gone? OK…well Malcome is now a solid second option. He has to stay healthy though. He wasn't healthy his senior year in high school. He wasn't healthy last fall camp. He wasn't healthy during the season. He wasn't healthy in spring practice. That's a lot of unhealthy time spent.

I'd like to see how good he could be without having to deal with some type of nagging something or another.

5. Does Crowell still appear to have the #1 spot going into game 1 or is it to early to tell?

Still early, but I still think Crowell will get the most carries or plays in the backfield against Boise. Whether he starts or not is irrelevant to me.

6. How are the D. backs progressing?

I think the secondary is going to be fine. Boykin and Commings form a great tandem because they are so different in both body type and skill set.

And I'm going to say something that will surprise…I think Bacarri Rambo will be taken (whenever he leaves) in the top three rounds of the NFL draft.

Bacarri Rambo as a high school senior at Seminole County in 2007.
And I'm not just saying that because he's one of the best quotes on the team. We'll see how this one pans out. You guys can throw verbal jabs at me until it happens…and if it doesn't I'll concede my ineptitude.

Anyway, somebody needs to step up at safety opposite Rambo. It needs to be Shawn Williams (and I want to add here, when I say things like…Austin Long needs to start at RT or Shawn Williams needs to start at safety…those statements are just as much an indictment about other players at the position as they are a backing of that player. But it can be both at times. I know it's complicated, but I have to talk all Dan Brown because these are still college kids we're dealing with. That makes it hard to talk depth chart sometimes because I can't always say some of the negative things that need to be said. I have in the past, and I just think it's not always fair. I'm rambling. I can't stop it though. I'm not ruling out that I'll take a shot at a player in the future. But I'd rather pump up one player as opposed to thrashing another to help get my point across. Remember, I see these guys on a daily basis. Let's move on before I reach my character limit for parenthetical usage).

GirdersRBending asks: The number of scholarship players for UGA is about 6-7 short of the mandatory 85. Has there been a trend in recent years for UGA to let the number of scholarship players to slip or is this normal? Has everyone just become more sensitive to this since Saban, Petrino, Miles, and Nutt have "normalized" over signing?

What's up GRB? Good to have you here in the Mailbag.

I've kind of touched on this already…but I'll add that I don't think there is a specific trend that led to such a lack of scholarship guys going into this season.

Houston and A.J. went pro. But I'm told Georgia was prepared for that (Sanford Seay's scholarship was contigent on A.J. leaving. That's how I knew A.J. was leaving when Seay committed. That and A.J. is a freak).

Sturdivant got hurt.

King and Harmon were academic casualties.

Nick Williams didn't fit the 3-4. Marcus Dowtin went crazy. Logan Gray couldn't play quarterback. Washaun Ealey…well, I don't really know where to start with Washaun.

Brent Benedict still has no feeling in his right foot and may not ever play again.

Anyway, I'm not defending this coaching staff for letting the numbers get so low. But I also don't think there was much they could do about some of the attrition.

The oversigning issue has been argued to death…and the new "25 scholarships per class rule" doesn't really change much. You can still sign 25 guys even if you only have 12 seniors leaving for sure.

I'm going to revert back to my Danny Carmichael plan. It has some upside and Richt could still sleep well at night under my provisions.

Jtugadawgs asks: Well it has been a while since I have asked anything, BUT September 3 is getting so close! I am more excited about this season than I have ever been including the 2003 season and 2008. So with that said here we go!


1.) Final score to the first 2 games of the season against Boise and the COCKS.

Good try…but I officially can't give my picks until the roundtable the week of each game. I just made that rule up…but I think it will help build suspense. And it could drive traffic to listen to each and every roundtable (where I frequently verbally bitch slap Dean).

2.) Do you think Aaron Murray is more likely to get drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, win a heisman, or win a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP? Order It 1-3 with 1 being the most LIKELY.

I think Aaron's height will keep him from ever being a first round pick…the NFL has made it clear in the past…you almost always have to be a prototype player to be taken with that first round pick. The money is too great for a team to get saddled with anything outside the lines. Soooo….

1. National Championship. 2. Heisman (although both could happen in the same season. 3. Murray taken in first round.

3.) Is Will Muschamp the right fit for the GAYTORS?

The last defensive minded guy to coach there didn't quite pan out, did he? Zook was still able to keep a winning record against Georgia though. (ducking).

Sorry for mentioning that. Anyway, I think Muschamp is a good fit. He's coached some great defenses (Auburn 2007 was my favorite). He studied under successful coaches all over the place (Saban at LSU, Tubberville at Auburn, Brown at Texas). He seems to be a man of discipline (dismissing Jenkins). And he's still a young and energetic recruiter.

That last point alone could be enough down there in Gainesville.

4.) Who plays in the dome for the SEC Championship this year?

Currently I have LSU and South Carolina…but I think the East will be fairly open this year. I don't have to type this out, but I will anyway…Week 2 is huge.

I like Alabama, too. For reasons I also don't have to type out.

5.) Explain this to me, but I live in Columbus, GA and I know Tony Adams and the rest of the Blazer Orginaztion very well. With that said I do not understand why Jarvis Jones and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can be in trouble for this when neither one were even enrolled at UGA when it happened. Also they were not informed of what NCAA rules were being violated. Please help me understand.

I understand the confusion for sure, especially since Jarvis plays football and this was a basketball team.

If a high school player takes money from anybody outside of his family it can put his amateur status in question. It's like if a basketball player plays overseas, he can only make so much money annually or he must forfeit his amateur status (Enes Kanter, anyone?).

If AAU teams pay for players (whether it be straight cash or taking care of bills), it's as if that player is getting paid to play for the team…which is a big no-no.

Now, the amount of money we're talking about here doesn't seem to be as serious. But it's still worth looking at (if you're the NCAA).

True, KCP and JJ may not have known the rules. But try telling a cop you didn't see the reduced speed sign half a mile back. That won't fly. Speeding is speeding.

This is why the whole "he played minor league baseball and got paid for five years before deciding he wanted to play football in college" thing seems so strange to me.

Truthfully, the blame rarely falls on the players, in my opinion. What 16-year-old wouldn't take a free flight out to California? Especially if the money wasn't coming from anyone associated with a college. It would seem like a perfect dream to me.

But there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Last Thing, On a serious note I have known Quan Bray for 7 years now we played football together in Pine Mountain Georgia growing up, and I just talked to him today about everything that is going on and he is very down. I am a die hard Dawg and always will be but the Aubarn family is really behind this young man and I know he needs it. I would just like for everyone to keep Quan and the rest of the Bray family in their thoughts and prayers.

Well said.

trooperdawg980 asks: Word is Malcolm Mitchell has been the most impressive incoming freshman. Is this also your impression or the word you get? Another playmaker in the WR corps is sorely needed.

Mitchell, or Tampa as he goes by (has it tatted to, so it's official), certainly will catch passes in 2011. I'm sold on that notion. He brings the ability to stretch the field deep, but he's also quick enough to catch short to intermediate passes and add to the RAC. Of course, he needs to get stronger and add good weight, but he could have been a 5-star guy in this class, in my opinion.

He is explosive. A lot of Georgia's receivers are certainly high level talents, but they don't necessarily have something that separates them from the next guy in line. Mitchell has that. He has that mythical "it" factor.

The O-line cannot be scrutinized anymore than it has.

You're about to ask an O-line question, aren't you?

Is there any way this unit will be able to pull it together and have a positive impact on this season? I see our hopes of winning the East as hinging on this one area in particular.

I knew it.

I think I've well covered this subject (and I understand the flood of questions pertaining to this). I agree, the offensive line will be the most important unit for the offense this season. They've got to stay healthy. That's the key. And I know staying healthy isn't always easy for linemen to do.

As desperate as we are for depth do you see a true freshman who can come in and be another Clint Boling or Max Jean-Giles?

At this time I don't see anything on the Clint Boling or MJG level. But I didn't think Gates would play last year. For that matter, I didn't think Clint would play as a freshman either.

begger asks: What is wrong with basketball recruiting?

That's a great rabbit hole to jump into beggar…

I kind of liken Georgia's recruiting efforts to my golf game…I know, I know…stay with me here.

I try so hard to be successful on the golf course. I'm out there. I've got on a nice pair of shorts, a good set of clubs and a fresh box of Pro-V1's.

In other words, I look the part.

But something is stopping me from succeeding. Maybe it's because I don't have enough practice or time logged on the course to get comfortable or enough history of good shots and low scores to help me keep my confidence when better players are nearby.

(I just made all kinds of analogies with that last sentence. I think John Calipari is in there somewhere. Yeah, he is. Toward the end).

See, in golf you want to give yourself the best chance NOT to screw up. That means you try to hit the ball in the fairway (signing Kentavious Caldwell types).

But even the best players in the world can't hit it straight every single time.

So, sometimes you find yourself in the rough, but you can still play your next shot to the green (signing players like Travis Leslie who may require a year or two before becoming a star player). Other times you to lay up to avoid further distress on the next shot (signing a guy like Dustin Ware, who is good for the program and a solid contributor).

But if you're off in the woods—and let me tell you, I spend a lot of time in the woods (signing guys like…well, do I have to give names here. How about not having anybody committed in the current class? That works for a "in the woods" comparison. That's a more tactful way to put this) then you're going to start piling up the high numbers (losses).

Unlike my golf outings, Fox doesn't have an eraser to fool anybody into thinking he's doing OK. And he doesn't have any mulligans when he misses on guys like he has to this point. And there's also not enough beer in the world to help cope with slipping in the conference due to shoddy recruiting.

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all weekend. If you hear FOOOOOUUURRR! Duck and roll. And know that it was me.

What will our 2012 class ultimately look like?

You could see something like this…Kenny Gaines (who is a high character kid with great athleticism. But I'm not sure if he's an SEC player just yet exactly how high his ceiling is). The Alabama kids Pearson is supposed to have on lock. And Shaq Goodwin (who needs to fall out of love with the foosball) if he is to fully help Fox.

Marcus Hunt would be a great guard to get, but Georgia waited so long to offer him compared to Alabama and Georgia Tech. Why they decided to get stingy with that offer is a mystery to me.

Who are some of the top names in state for 2013?

I'm behind on some of this…but here are a few names to start watching for: Brannon Green (Mary Parsons), Jabari McGhee (Monroe High), Antonio Davis (GAC), Jarquez Smith (First Pres.), Desmond Ringer (ELCA), Shamus Goss (Norcross), Harold Givens (Northside Columus), Isaiah Williams (St. Francis), Michael Tucker (Alcovy), Ethan Smith (North Hall), Matthew Atewe (New Birth).

I know that was a little guard heavy, and I'm sorry if I left anybody off the list. It's a good start though.

Why has Mark Fox not filled Mark Pope's vacant spot on the staff? Any chance he fills it before the season?

Great question…and another unsolved basketball mystery. Maybe Fox should hire Robert Stack to narrate everything this program does.

morelatee asks: Can we get any information about how Morant and Stripling are progressing and do you think they will help the team this year.

Great question to ask considering the depth at OLB is sketch.

I think both need more time to get 100 percent healthy. I think (I THINK) Stripling will be ready before Morant. That's just my opinion. I won't be in any Dr. Pepper commercials anytime soon (because, well, I'm not a doctor).

I think it would be ideal to get Stripling a redshirt year though. It usually takes 12 months or longer to fully recover from his type of injury, which would be well into the season. He needs to add strength and weight, and I'm not sure how much he's been able to do for that while rehabbing his knee.

Morant has had both shoulders operated on in the past year, but has already taken his redshirt. At this point, I'm not sure what to expect from him.

nayah asks: Fletch, this may be the longest question you've ever answered in your life and I actually have more, but due to fact that we'll all be a year older by the time you're done reading this, I'll hold off until the next Mailbag. So, here goes...

(holding my breath in anticipation)

Even though I think our D will be talented, I still think there are too many questions that unfortunately can't/won't be answered until the season starts. We think we have the answers at NG ( Jenkins/Geathers) but one guy has yet to play a down in the SEC and the other IMO didn't play enough for us to know just what to expect from him (but showed flashes when he got the opportunity). Our linebackers are big, fast, and athletic but one (Washington) hasn't proven that he can play standing up, one hasn't played a game in almost two years (Jones), one was playing in the secondary last season (Ogletree) and there were those who argued that C. Robinson wasn't the most talented guy at his position last season. The secondary seems to be the strength as it returns 3 starters that the vast majority of us think can get it done (Rambo, Boykin, Cummings) and conventional wisdom says they should be better because of talent and experience. But we may be relying on a true freshmen to man the safety spot opposite of Rambo. Combine these things with the fact that we start the season with two of the biggest, toughest games on our schedule and there is reason for concern. So my question is this (finally, I know) : Do you believe our D will be good enough to win the first 2 games, or do you think there are too many unanswered questions as well?

Yes….next question.

I kid.

Do you want your own Mailbag? Seriously, this was pretty well thought out.

You opened the set…pondered a great point. Acknowledged both sides of the point. Rounded out your argument with good details and your conclusion was right where it needed to be—looking at those first two games.

I give this a solid 7.

To answer some your concerns…I think Kwame/Jenkins will do well.

At linebacker, ‘Tree needs to work on using his hands to shed blockers. Playing safety, you've got more time to avoid people, but playing that close to the line, Alec must get used to shedding blockers with his hands and arms.

Robinson is going to be vital to this defense for his knowledge. Dude knows the whole damn playbook. He is not as big as Akeem Dent, or as flexible as Dowtin or as fast as Samuel. All of that is true…but he knows what he's doing and he knows what to look for pre-snap.

Washington is a concern…allow me, if you will, to copy and paste something I wrote on the message board:

(Washington) will blow up in a combine setting...but his game tape will be his ruin. The Colorado game is all you need to see.

He's too stiff. He can't plant and change directions well. He's not flexible enough. (And I'll add here)...He has two seasons to work on these things. We shall see. I think DVH posting his 40 time last summer at an impossible 4.29 set him up for failure. A 4.29? Seriously? He is the fastest OLB, that much is true. But a 4.29? No.

For all that has been said about Dowtin (by me), he was the best "football player" Georgia had on defense last year (outside of maybe Houston). He was the most flexible. He had no wasted motion when he moved his feet/hips. He could pick his feet up and put them right down where they needed to go. A lot of times you'll see linebackers kind of hop and float. Not Dowtin. He could have been a really great player. He just happened to have trouble buying into the whole team thing.

So…yeah, Washington is the biggest question mark for me on at linebacker. I'm not as worried about Jones not playing in some time because everybody gushes about how well he practices.

All in all, this defense should be a lot better than last season. But there is always reason for concern in relation to how things will translate from paper to the actual field of play.

SWGADAWG asks: What will the Kwame-Jenkins package look like when.... ...both are on the field at the same time?? Who else plays then?? What situations?

Let's see…wait…let's hear this next question first to further this discussion…

skeeter22 asks: I have looked at some film of our games w/ spread type offenses last year using the seem for the most part, we run a hybrid type nickel with 4 down lineman...

OK, I'm not going to disagree with you because our terminology may differ or we could be discussing two different things…I'll take this from the start.

You've watched film, so you know in the base we're looking at a lineup like this: Jones, Jenkins and Tyson on the line. Washington and Jones at OLB. Robinson and Tree at ILB.

It is my understanding that in the nickel (which you would see against the spread), the plan is to use the two most athletic linemen (Lott and either Tyson or Abry). A third corner comes in and the OLBs can become like a third down and fourth linemen if need be.

Again, I'm not disputing what you're saying about the "hybrid" scheme. I just think anything you saw last year might have been affected by variables that shouldn't be in play this year.

1. Though Boise starts a fullback and you expect us to still treat them as a spread in regard to the defensive set we will utilize, and do you think this will allow JJ and Kwame to be on the field at the same time?

No…I'm almost positive Grantham will like the matchup of his OLBs against that type of formation. He will not go to the sub unless he has to. Georgia will stick with the OLBs on the tight end and running backs and stay in the base for as many plays as possible.

I think people are getting too deep into this belief that Kwame and Jenkins will play together often in the base. Jenkins is athletic, but I don't see them playing together that often in regular situations.

2. Go ahead and tell me what our spread D will look like in any regard...Do we go with a 4 man rotation at the tackles w/ Kwame, JJ, Abry, and DeAngelo?

Again, I think the sub package would have two down linemen (Lott, Abry) and an extra DB (Smith). The OLBs can become a third and fourth "linemen" if needed, but they'll stay on the field for their ability to both cover and rush. I think a player like Darryl Gamble or Cornelius Washington putting their hand in the dirt in the sub last season may be the point of confusion here.

3. Do we stick our OLB's at end and will this present a size problem for the pass rush?

I think this is what you would see in certain situations.

4. And finally, what will our LB's look like? Will Tree move over and cover the slot/TE...leaving Robinson and Samuels in the middle or will we bring in a 5th DB?

Again, we might not be on the same page here, but I think you meant "leaving Robinson OR Samuels in the middle."

The inside linebackers usually almost always cover running backs when they're manned up. They have a responsibility line that goes like this…"If the running back flares you stick with him. If he stays in to pass protect, you blitz." Stuff like that. A safety would usually have the most outside responsibility between an H-back and a tight end, which means Rambo would take on that man, an OLB has the inside responsibility and Shawn Williams would be deep zone.

This has been on my mind since the Boise game announcement....

Same here…I hope I fully conveyed what I'm trying to say here. Coverage and responsibility (obviously) changes on every play, but I think I've done a decent job of describing basic circumstances. I hope.

BlackDeathD says: Fletch lives!

"Well, I've sinned. I didn't take any Polaroids or anything. But, yeah, I've sinned."

Welcome back and here she goes

Can't Wait!

Last week a certain ESPN talking head twitted that a UGA coach told him that Malcolm Mitchell and not Isaiah Crowell and John Jenkins was the most impressive newcomer to UGA this summer so far.

Schlabach knows his stuff. I believe it.

My questions are. How much of an impact will Mitchell make for UGA in 2011? What can he bring to the Offense that we lack? and do you think he has a solid shot at starting at WR before the year is over? Could Mitchell become Crowell and Aaron's best friend keeping DBs honest?

Can I copy and paste my first answer? OK, good.

Mitchell, or Tampa as he goes by (has it tatted to, so it's official), certainly will catch passes in 2011. I'm sold on that notion. He brings the ability to stretch the field deep, but he's also quick enough to catch short to intermediate passes and add to the RAC. Of course, he needs to get stronger and add good weight, but he could have been a 5-star guy in this class, in my opinion.

He is explosive. A lot of Georgia's receivers are certainly high level talents, but they don't necessarily have something that separates them from the next guy in line. Mitchell has that. He has that mythical "it" factor.

Sorry for the redundant answer...but I only have two Malcolm Mitchell answers, and I already used both of them.

What is so hard about blocking on the OL? Is it more skill or brute force?

The easy answer here is that it takes both…but to steal a little liner from Deano, brute force would be using an ax to chop down a tree. Skill would be using a chainsaw. Which would you rather have?

Now, you've got to be standing tall in the fourth quarter (I have no lumberjack analogy to keep the comparison flowing). I would think brute force isn't as hard to come by at the college level. It's endurance, want to and skill that are most important. I would think.

SOUTHGADAWG88 asks: When can we get a pic of Jenkins and Kwame together?A trio of Jenkins,Kwame and Tyson would be even better.

A picture of epic (size) proportions…that should happen the first week of August, as long as the trio cooperates on the practice field for Dean or me.

What are our plans for Rome and Lynch this year?

I think both will play. There is a filthy amount of talent at tight end, and each player is different in his own way.

Lynch is going to be used in heavy sets and probably around the goal line. I could see him catching a few passes too.

Rome could redshirt, but I think with Aron White leaving as a senior and the potential early exit to the NFL by Orson Charles, he'll play some to get ready to be a main guy in 2012.

Any news on TJ and Morant and how they are recovering from their surgeries?

Both are recovering as expected…and I think Stripling would be game ready before Morant (that's in my opinion considering both their recovery and their ability to play to begin with).

CluelessDawg asks: How come we consistently have issues recruiting the OL?

Would be nice to know, wouldn't it?

When we do sign a big time ugly, lately they've had some bad luck in the health department prior to their freshman year.

Are you asking a question or just venting? Either is encouraged.

I wish I knew the answer…all the shoulder injuries of the past created an interesting trend..a strength and conditioning trend if you ask me.

But this happened in David Greene's later years. It happened in Matt Stafford's earliest season. And now it's back again.

You have to look at each piece of attrition on a case-by-case, but still, this shouldn't be happening every three or four years.

Also..what are our chances of signing Keith Marshall?

I think Georgia has as good a chance as any other school to sign Marshall. Bryan McClendon is the key here, in my opinion. Hey, somebody should write a story about the impact BMac has had on the recruiting trail.

And while you're distracted with that link to read some of Legge's somewhat relevant opinions, I'm going to duck out the back.

Turn out the lights boys, the party's over…We outta here baby…Thank y'all for coming.

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