Mark Bradley blog 

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

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]

Will Tech win the Coastal? Will UGA take the East?

  • 11:49 am Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"Good luck in your title game, Paul." "You, too, Mark." (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

Georgia Tech is tied with Pittsburgh and Virginia atop the ACC Coastal Division, and that’s a surprise. Those teams were picked to finish fifth, sixth and seventh in the division by the assembled conference media in July.

Georgia trails Missouri by a half-game in the SEC East, but the bigger consideration is that South Carolina, which beat the Bulldogs on Sept. 13 after being picked at SEC Media Days to win the division, already has two conference losses.

Both Tech and Georgia are in pretty good shape. The Jackets haven’t lost and won a big game at Virginia Tech on Sept. 20. [More]

On Todd Gurley, the straw that stirs UGA’s drink

  • 6:40 pm Saturday, September 27th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Guessing you'll see this picture a few more times. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

Athens — These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia-Tennessee game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 35-32, FYI.

1. Sometimes it’s unclear whether the Bulldogs are trying to win because of Todd Gurley or to prove they can win without him. Example: Saturday’s third quarter. It opened with five consecutive Georgia pass plays, one of which became a Hutson Mason scramble. The first series yielded an interception, the second a three-and-out. Gurley, who would finish with 208 yards rushing, didn’t touch the ball. Indeed, he carried only four times for nine yards in a [More]

Live from Athens: Will UGA awake and vex the Vols?

  • 10:49 am Saturday, September 27th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Clad in their traditional, er, gray, the Vols gather between the hedges. (M. Bradley)

Athens – Georgia should beat Tennessee. Let’s be clear about that. Still, this is one of those games that terrifies the man who’s coaching the favored team.

It’s at home, which means there’s a comfort factor (and not necessarily in a good way). Kickoff is early, which always makes for a late-arriving crowd and often a slow-starting home side. (The Bulldogs upset No. 6 Auburn in 2006 in a game that started before noon CST; Georgia lost here to Missouri last October in a noon game.)

And the Volunteers are talented enough to have played Oklahoma, which a lot of smart folks [More]

Tennessee’s going to upset somebody – but not UGA

  • 8:29 am Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
OU freshman Samaje Perine rushed for 67 yards against UT. (Sue Ogrocki/AP photo)

When you’re charged with compiling a preseason Top 25, you’re always on the prowl for Surprise Teams — if for no other reason than to ward off compiler’s boredom. (Most such listings, as I’m sure you know, are but a roundup of the usual suspects, and what self-respecting pseudo seer wants to be predictable?) I really wanted to pick Tennessee to do something big, for two reasons:

1. The Volunteers just had a major recruiting haul, Rivals ranking the 2014 class No. 5 nationally.

2. With Florida doomed to Muschamp mediocrity until Jeremy Foley finally sees the light, there seemed [More]

Was Bobo so wrong for not giving the ball to Gurley?

  • 7:16 am Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"What the heck did we just do?" (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

If a good decision yields a bad result, can it have been a good decision? Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, made what seemed a terrible choice — terrible in hindsight, we emphasize — by opting not to let Todd Gurley, the nation’s best tailback, run on first-and-goal from the South Carolina 4 with the Bulldogs trailing by a field goal. (Perhaps you’ve heard a bit about this.)

Georgia’s failure to score on that series — Marshall Morgan pushed what would have been the tying field goal wide right — has led to much criticism, some of it from this sector. [More]

Yes, Georgia was outplayed. But Georgia also blew it

  • 9:24 pm Saturday, September 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A scene Georgia fans are sick of seeing. (Rainier Erhardt/AP)

Columbia, S.C. – These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia-South Carolina game column, which can be found on myajc.com.

1. Georgia botched a better chance than it probably deserved. Having been on the back foot all night, the Bulldogs finally had the game in their hands after Damian Swann flashed in front of Dylan Thompson’s third-down pass and gave the Bulldogs possession at the South Carolina 4 with 5:24 remaining. A touchdown might have won it. The first-down call was a bootleg pass off a play-action fake to Todd Gurley, the nation’s best tailback. If it [More]

Live from Columbia: Will Georgia reign in the rain?

  • 1:49 pm Saturday, September 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Pollack for six on a rainy day. (AP photo)

Columbia, S.C. – It’s not raining yet — the sun’s out now and it’s unbelievably humid — but, according to the Weather Channel, it’s coming. There’s a 60 percent chance of storms at 4 p.m., an 80 percent chance at 5 and a 50 percent chance at 6. Conventional wisdom holds that rain favors a running team, which both Georgia and South Carolina have been, at least to date, but rain also slows fast teams, and the Bulldogs are the faster side.

The famous David Pollack game here in 2002 featured a first-half thunderstorm so wicked that play was stopped for [More]

South Carolina’s collapse opens the East for UGA

  • 7:54 am Friday, August 29th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
I'm guessing this pass was completed. (Rainier Erhardt/AP)

Two thoughts occurred Thursday night. (And only two; I’m not exactly a deep thinker.) First, that South Carolina, having been routed by Texas A&M, will be in desperation mode when Georgia plays in Williams-Brice Stadium on Sept. 13. Second, that the Gamecocks mightn’t be good enough for it to matter.

I’ve been around the SEC long enough — I covered my first conference game in 1976 — that not much surprises me. South Carolina being picked over Georgia in the East did. The Gamecocks had lost the best quarterback in school history (Connor Shaw of Flowery Branch) and the best defender [More]