Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sad that UGA’s Gurley got 4 games? Don’t be

  • 1:37 pm Thursday, October 30th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Todd Gurley will miss Kentucky, which won't be offended. (Jason Getz/AJC photo)

I know Georgia fans are upset that Todd Gurley won’t be allowed back until the Auburn game on Nov. 15, but let’s be realistic: Until Wednesday, there was no guarantee he’d be back at all. Owing to the level of the impermissible benefits ($3,000, or three times the $1,000 A.J. Green got for his Independence Bowl jersey) and the number of times Gurley took money for signing (apparently many, meaning this couldn’t be written off as a single lapse in judgment), he’s actually a lucky ‘Dog, as it were.

At least now Georgia knows when Gurley can play again, which will [More]

The No. 2 choice to win the CFB playoff? Georgia

  • 10:35 am Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A sign o' the times. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

Georgia won’t be in the first four when the initial College Football Playoff standings are announced today, which isn’t to say Georgia won’t be the final four come Dec. 7. For a team still officially without its best player, the Bulldogs are in a remarkably strong position, which is reflected by those cold-eye realists in Las Vegas.

According to publicist Jimmy Shapiro, Bovada lists Georgia as the second-favorite not just to make the playoff but to win the thing. Alabama is No. 1. (Wait a second. Wasn’t it just the other day we all thought Alabama wasn’t any good anymore?) Tied [More]

UGA’s Nick Chubb: Second-best back in the nation?

  • 9:05 pm Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Nick Chubb runs to daylight, of which there was much. (

Little Rock, Ark. – These short takes off Georgia-Arkansas are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 45-32.

1. Nick Chubb is almost as great as the great Todd Gurley, and that’s saying something. The freshman from Cedartown followed his 143-yards-on-38-carries showing against Missouri with an even more spectacular display. He rushed 20 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns. (Gurley’s biggest day, FYI, was 208 yards against Tennessee last month.) “He’s built for it,” coach Mark Richt said of the workload, saying also that Cedartown High “played tough and coached tough.” [More]

Live from Little Rock: Jen Bielema says ‘hello’

  • 3:02 pm Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
War Memorial Stadium: Kind of old, kind of small. (M. Bradley)

Little Rock, Ark. – Bret Bielema coaches Arkansas. Jen Bielema is his wife. Apparently she’s kind of famous over here. (This isn’t without Arkansas precedent: The airport is named after Bill and Hillary Clinton.) She and I rode the same elevator at War Memorial Stadium — she and her crew were headed to the suites; I was bound for the seat I currently occupy in the bare-bones press box — and she, being neighborly, said, “Hello.”

True confession: I didn’t know who she was. After she exited, I asked an Arkansas media type as to her identity. “That’s the coach’s wife,” [More]

Another game minus Gurley. Another win for UGA?

  • 11:59 am Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
He won't be waving hello from Little Rock. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

News, as relayed by esteemed colleague Chip Towers, that Todd Gurley didn’t board Georgia’s buses leaving Athens and thus won’t make the trip to Little Rock will come as a disappointment to Bulldogs fans. (Unrelated thought: Does Mark Richt still speak to his men of “The Energy Bus,” a business concept that became the theme of the 2011 bounceback season?) But it shouldn’t. I don’t think anybody who works in Butts-Mehre seriously believed Gurley would return this week.

This ball, as it were, is apparently still in Georgia’s court. For Gurley’s status to be clarified, the athletic department must first [More]

If any place can handle the Gurley tempest, it’s UGA

  • 1:22 pm Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
He's so cool he even has a cool hat. (Steven Colquitt/AJC file photo)

If any team was equipped to lose its best player, Georgia is that team. And not because the the Bulldogs have Nick Chubb to emulate Todd Gurley — this isn’t about personnel. This is about temperament.

Not to go all Phil Jackson Zen Master on you, but something is a distraction only if you allow yourself to be distracted. Even in a perfect storm, Mark Richt is the ideal skipper. (Now I’m taking the nautical route. Somebody stop me before I indulge in any more imagery.) Richt never gets rattled. He never punches walls or lockers. He is what you see [More]

The notion of a gone Gurley is sad beyond measure

  • 5:01 pm Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Herschel ran over a Vol; Gurley jumped over one. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

If Todd Gurley has indeed played his last game for Georgia — quoting a source, the AJC is reporting that he might not be allowed to return this season — the sensation would be the same sadness as in February 1983, when the greatest collegiate player ever jumped to the USFL with a year of eligibility remaining.

With this difference: Herschel Walker had already lifted the Bulldogs to a national championship and three SEC titles. Todd Gurley, the greatest Bulldog since the matchless Herschel, hadn’t done any of the above. Gurley had come close to the SEC part in 2012, [More]

Sans Gurley, is all UGA hope lost? Not just yet

  • 6:39 pm Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Todd Gurley was a difference-maker against Georgia Tech last year. (Jason Getz/AJC photo)

Let’s look on the bright side. If Georgia wanted to prove it’s not a one-man team, here’s the chance.

OK, enough cheer. When a one-man team is without its one man, it’s not a good thing. When a one-man team is without its one man going into the biggest game on its remaining schedule, it’s not a good thing. If Georgia loses Saturday at Missouri — and Georgia is, or at least was, favored — it won’t be a good thing.

But if Georgia can ride Nick Chubb and Hutson Mason (or Brice Ramsey, maybe) to a one-point victory in Columbia West, [More]

UGA’s best downfield passer? Also Todd Gurley

  • 7:09 pm Saturday, October 4th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
He runs! He throws! He points after scoring points! (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Athens

These short takes are presented as companion to the Georgia-Vanderbilt game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 44-17, FYI.

1. Todd Gurley’s first pass as a collegian resulted in Georgia’s longest completion of the season, which tells us something. The Bulldogs deployed Gurley at quarterback in the first half — call it the Wild Gurl formation — and let him run off direct snaps. Late in the second quarter, Gurley ran from the WG on first down and then, on second-and-7, stopped short and threw long for tight end Jeb Blazevich. The 50-yard completion — OK, so the [More]

Live from Georgia: Vandy’s back to being Vandy

  • 3:09 pm Saturday, October 4th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Sanford Stadium on a lovely October day. (M. Bradley)

Athens – Not much to say about this one. Georgia should win by however much it wants. James Franklin no longer coaches the visiting side — and Todd Grantham no longer coaches the Bulldogs’ defense, by way of coincidence — and Vandy is back to being Vandy.

How do we know that Vandy, which actually beat the Bulldogs last year, is again seen as no threat? Because the Commodores have again been reduced to being a homecoming guest.

The Commodores lost their first two games under Derek Mason — to Temple and Ole Miss — by the aggregate score of 78-10. They [More]