Chuckdawg's 2012 Year in Review

Damn Good Year for Damn Good Dawgs - Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE

There were a lot of highs and a lot of lows, and I can't possibly capture them all, but here are some memories of 2012. May we create even more great ones this year.

I have to be honest, this post was due around the New Year, and my own procrastination followed with illness followed by a lot of other news got in the way. And it was a post that I wondered at times if I bit off more than I could chew. Side note, this was never intended to be a football roundup; I think we all have most of that fresh on our minds. This post is just a trip down memory lane of 2012; just a smattering of things that I recall as I think on the year. And it’s 2013 and we already have so much more going on! I can’t possibly hit everything. In the comments below I hope you post your thoughts, memories, and links of 2012 that you have.

First, I want to give many props to the DawgSports staff. There was a lot of behind the scenes work to bring a steady flow of editorials and creative content. This was our first full year with a large staff and we had our own bumps, but as the football season came around this team brought a steady stream of solid material. I am very lucky and thankful to be part of this staff. It’s an amazing synergy of good stuff. Here’s a toast to all y’all that make this wheel turn. Now, to get on with it…

We actually started the 2012 with an event we don’t like to talk about, the Jan 2 Outback Bowl. A solid UGA team floundered and let Michigan State back into the game, which was finally encapsulated by the taking of the knee by Aaron Murray to set up a field goal to win. Now, I don’t think the 2 yards lost by taking a knee made that much difference, but the message, the statement, the anti-football feel by not running the damn ball (RTDB) and trying to get a few more yards sure stunk. It was not the start we wanted to 2012. And it put us on a bad string of bowl and Georgia Dome games. It didn't put Mark Richt on the hot seat as he won 10 games and got things back on track, but it certainly made us all go "wow, again?" It was the second bowl game in a row we let slide away for not being hungry enough. But not all was lost…

We rolled into recruiting signing day and the "Ring Team." All bad feelings were replaced by names like Keith Marshall, who enrolled early, and Todd Gurley, who would become the 2nd greatest true freshman running back in UGA history . There ain’t nothing like a good haul of recruits to help the previous season’s wounds heal. And for about 9 months, there was me worried about John Theus's daily whereabouts and health. We actually had a plan to start a true freshman at right tackle, and my nerves could barely take it. But the ring team gave us a good energy bounce…

Of course, because it was UGA, our good feelings and vibrations with the new class and new year and a good G day game were instantly killed with Brownie Gate. Bacarri Rambo got busted for pot and claimed he ate a brownie. Except, we don't really know all that. At some point Sanders Commings went a little crazy. And we found ourselves, again, in a situation where we were losing an entire position set and found ourselves very nervous to open against a fired up Missouri’s spread offense. Somehow, we survived through it, but I sure hope we are careful around spring break this year. Then we had a ray of sunshine…

As with all things Georgia the good comes with the bad and we had a fantastically fun weekend where Bubba Watson won the Masters and capped it off with a "Go Dawgs" in his speech. I got to write one of my favorite articles of the year. A fun weekend, a lot of energy on the site and nice to see a regular guy can get it done the right way. We were all dang proud of a real man getting it down on home turf. Thank you Bubba. I spent a weekend on my computer, glued to the tv and praying I would get to write this victory post.

And then we rolled into summer. So Dawg Sports staff editor Vineyarddawg decided we would all watch, blog and talk about soccer. Soccer, yea, we did soccer last summer. Sure, this is DawgSports and we mostly do football, but I think the soccer threads recognized that soccer is the largest sport in the world and a sport a lot of our kids are playing. It was a nice change of pace and got us to the Olympics, where hailtogeorgia told us about the Olympics Down Under. And Kyle was plugging away that we needed a Lacrosse team. It was a nice time to talk about sports in general and not be stressed about football. It made things, well, feel like summer. And Hope Solo, the answer is still yes.

Somewhere in there the Athletic Director Greg McGarity made his first larger coaching decision and fired Jay Clark and hired on gym Coach Danna Durante. We think this was a good call, but we’re still waiting to see how it works out. Also around this time, the baseball program almost completely fell off the track, leading to a discussion that McGarity was being very stingy spending money on facility upgrades, keeping Coach Perno on (although removing much of his staff) and seemingly not paying attention to UGA’s oldest varsity sport. 2013 will be a huge year for determining the future of baseball. It was the events surrounding our baseball program that began to shine light on the difference between being miserly and just downright stingy. Our baseball and basketball programs both need an injection of cold hard cash along with Athletic Department time and energy. I guess we will have to wait until the summer of 2013 to see how all that all goes.

Well, as the summer fun kicked in and we began to turn our eyes towards 2-a-days, our former rising sophomore running back Isaiah Crowell went and got arrested on June 29. This lead to more "Mark Richt and discipline" type talk, however, you can really learn a lot about UGA and Coach Richt from the Crowell experience. Crowell had been suspended before, and Crowell had even sat out a quarter because, in the famous words of Coach Richt "I love him." Truth is Crowell was a mess and a problem child and Coach Richt did everything he could to help him, and when things went too far, he was removed from the team. Coach Richt’s dedication to helping a young man, but then protecting the team can both be seen. And perhaps we all learned a lesson about signing day and thinking we "have the next Herschel." But it worked out for us because…

Running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall gave us the "Gurshall" wearing numbers 3 and 4 and showing us that UGA could once again run the ball and not have off field drama. The tandem thunder and lightning punch of power and speed was a highlight of the football year and it made it all fun once again. And it proves, for this X and O analyst, that the play action pass game works a lot better when you can run the ball effectively, because it lead to another Aaron Murray 3,000 yard plus year, and allowed Murray to throw his way into 2nd in TDs all time in the SEC. Our offense found an identity and it worked. The irony, as we see in this give and take of Georgia Athletics is …

We could barely score against Florida. Every prediction went out the window in that game as it became a grueling match of defenses and mistakes. So that left it to Jarvis Jones to take matters into his own hands and strip a ball, get a turnover and stop a touchdown, allowing the Bulldogs to hang on to win against Florida. We thank you so much Jarvis for the whole year, but we particularly thank you for the Florida game where we got to ruin their season in a way only UGA fans can appreciate. And the gator tears were oh, oh so sweet as they cried their way into getting their butts kicked in the Sugar Bowl. We’ve had our share of great years ruined by them, so jokes on you jack! And we got there in Jacksonville the way we did in so many games, thanks to Sac Man Jones leading the team, not complaining and showing leadership and athletic prowess on the field. The picture of Jarvis standing over Florida’s Jeff Driskel, offering him a hand up off the ground should be a mural somewhere around the Tate Center.

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At one point earlier during the season, after Russ made his 115th (that’s an exaggeration for effect) appearance as the "interim mascot", I penned this post that Russ should be made the official mascot. I kind of got personal about it when Sonny Seiler announced the new Uga wasn’t ready and Russ wouldn’t be made Uga IX. Well, I am not going to say I directly had anything to do with it, I’m just going to say about two weeks later, Russ was named Uga IX and we are all dang proud to have him around officially. He tells me regularly that his pay has not increased, but pictures with babes babies have skyrocketed. We can also take note that Podunkdawg put together another successful annual Goat Roast . For me, I got to attend the Georgia – Georgia Tech Game with RedCrake, who tries to get us to like music, but in fact wrote the most recommended article in Dawg Sports history. And you must read all the comments on that one. It's too good. The annual Tech beat down game was my first home game in years and I’m thankful to him for navigating me through all of Athens - Clarke County (no, seriously, I saw more farms and tractors in one 20 mile drive than you can imagine, all at a very high rate of speed). Also, I did quite a few podcasts with Ludakit, and the shows were a blast this year with the round table Florida show, and several joint shows with T Kyle King. And we can't forget Spears for "Don't Bet on It" and DavetheDawg for his sage wisdom in "15 Thoughts". Mr. Sanchez kept us on track with basketball, and NCT gave us flawless weekly updates in "Beyond the Hedges". It’s been a lot of fun. Oh, no, I'm not forgetting MaconDawg's weekly "Monday To Do Lists" and "Cocktail Thursday's". I just may have had other things on my mind.

That brings us into the final game of the regular season. The SEC Championship Game. I was blessed to watch the game with NCT and we all rode that roller coaster of a game. It was already looking to be the National Championship game by default, and it did not disappoint. A blocked field goal for a TD. TDs followed by cold stops. It was a serious and for real football game. It was a game that made Bama fans nervous, and that’s not an easy thing to do lately. And in the closing seconds, we fell just 5 yards short of a goal line that would have propelled us into the BCS National Championship. It’s bitter sweet. But we have to remember, we were all thinking ten wins would be great, many thought ten wins wasn’t even possible, and after defeating Nebraska in what is now 2013, we find some rarefied air with a 12 win season, only the 3rd time in UGA history our football team has accomplished such. We did, in fact, accomplish every goal except rings.

Rings, however, tarnish with age. But not the memories of 2012. I won’t forget working with this staff, nor suffering through player suspensions, nor watching one of the greatest defensive players ever at UGA, or, ahem, getting Russ named Uga IX. I most importantly won’t forget all the great posts, comments, and sometimes even letters by you, the readers and fans out there. It was a special year in so many ways. They aren’t always perfect, but there’s always light in the dark and good times to be found and as we finish out 2012 and look into 2013, I am still left with one thought…

GO DAWGS!


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