Jeff's SEC Journey - Scrutiny in the Bulldog Pound - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Jeff's SEC Journey - Scrutiny in the Bulldog Pound

Georgia Coach Mark Richt likes to say the Bulldogs have taken the lid off. Around Athens, they're still celebrating their first SEC championship in 20 years.

In just his second season in Athens, Richt led the Dawgs to a school-record 13 wins and a #3 national ranking.

"The number one thing we felt it was going to take was some leadership from our seniors and we felt like they did just that. They led us to a championship and knocked the lid off, and now, gosh we've got to do it again, I guess," says Mark Richt.

With success has come scrutiny and scandal. Players trying to sell their SEC championship rings on Ebay. Drugs in a dorm room, and a DUI for offensive coordinator Neil Callaway. Good thing Mark Richt spent 14 seasons at Florida State, learning about crisis management from Bobby Bowden.

Richt says, "They're going to make mistakes. The goal is try to discipline them in such a way that they'll learn from the mistakes that they make and hopefully be better men in the end."

The 43-year-old coach's specialty is developing quarterbacks. He's working with one of the best, lefty David Greene, MVP of last year's SEC championship game. Greene's ready to roll, "We're trying to go out there and get us another one. It'll be ever harder this year because we've got a target on our chest and we realize that."

Most coaches prefer to go with one quarterback, especially one as good as David Greene. Richt plays two. D.J. Shockley is too talented to keep off the field. "We've got two quarterbacks who have a lot of talent and have different styles which I think could be used to our advantage," smiles Richt.

Georgia's receivers are first class. The big question - will the quarterbacks have time to find them? The entire offensive line is gone. Only sophomores and freshmen will be blocking for the Bulldogs this season. Neil Callaway, former offensive line coach at Auburn and Alabama has his work cut out for him.

"I'm sure we'll make some mistakes along the way, and go through some growing pains. We ought to be fine at some point during the season. When that comes on, we'll just have to wait and see."

The defense is in better shape. David Pollack may be the best defensive lineman in the country. 14 sacks last season. All the linebackers are gone from last year, but the entire secondary is back. There's another controversy on this campus surrounding former coach Vince Dooley, Georgia's athletic director. University president Dr. Michael Adams is refusing to extend the contract of the beloved Bulldog legend. Dooley's 40th year at Georgia will be his last.

"While I didn't agree with the decision, nevertheless, I respect the decision. But it has caused a controversy which I don't particularly like because it's not good for Georgia," says Dooley.

Mark Richt has already won 21 games in his first two seasons. That's eight more than Coach Dooley won in his first two. Now that the lid is off, Georgia fans are hoping Richt can do what Dooley did nearly a quarter-century ago and win a national championship.

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