October 16, 2011

Notebook: Angry words exchanged

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It turns out the fireworks didn't end with Mike Gilliard and Branden Smith stopping Vanderbilt's Brandon Bardon after a short gain to preserve Georgia's 33-28 win over the Commodores.

Following the game, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin exchanged angry words with each other before walking off the field.

Video of the incident showed Grantham slowly walking toward Franklin before Commodore tight end Austin Monahan stepped in between the two coaches. Grantham could be seen jawing at someone believed to be Franklin.

"We're all competitive guys," was all Grantham said after the game. "We're happy with the victory, I love my players and they bust their tails. I'm proud of the way they played."

Franklin didn't give specifics, either, but made it clear he was not happy with what was said.

"We just had a tough, emotional game and some things were said that I didn't think were appropriate. I went to find Coach (Mark) Richt and didn't find him, so I found one of his assistant coaches (Grantham) and it didn't go well," Franklin said. "We're not going to sit back and take it from anyone."

Franklin finally found Richt on the field.

"I explained to him what happened," he said. "That's for me and Coach Richt to deal with. Hopefully, we'll learn from that experience. Those things happen."

It's not the first time Grantham's on-field actions have drawn attention.

Last year, the second-year Bulldog assistant coach was seen making a "choke" sign during last year's game with Florida.

Richt said he wanted to watch replays of the incident before saying too much about it.

"People get heated. I don't know exactly what happened and I don't know if we'll ever know. Maybe TV will pick it up and we'll get a better idea of what was going on. But we are grown men, we don't need to act that way but we're also competitors and sometime, we have emotions and sometimes you get fired up," Richt said. "It's hard not to get in some kind of jawing contest. I was ashamed of some of the choice words that came out of my mouth in the ball game. So I've got to be disciplined, too."

Crowell sits out the first quarter

Running back Isaiah Crowell sat out the first quarter for what Richt said was a "coach's decision."

Crowell did get into the game, rushing 10 times for 35 yards, his fewest attempts and yardage to date. However, Richt added that injuries played a role.

"He's got, I don't know if it's his wrist, forearm or whatever, but he's been struggling and the last thing you want is a back in there who can't secure the ball. We're not pulling him out but he's getting stung enough and he's getting out of there," Richt said. "Sometimes you get a bone bruise, you're just about to get over it, you feel good by the end of the week, then you get smacked again in the same spot and it lights it up. We probably need to put some kind of shield on it or something but you don't want to keep the guy from being able to secure the ball."

But although his numbers weren't what Bulldog fans have come to expect, Crowell helped the Bulldogs in other ways by picking up some key blocks in two of Aaron Murray's three touchdown passes.

"The first two touchdown passes, he picked up some blitzes extremely well that enabled Aaron to step up and throw the ball," he said. "On the first touchdown to Tavarres he picked up the Sam linebacker and on one of the touchdowns to Marlon he picked up the blitz terrifically, too."Dawgs ready for a bye

The way Richt sees it, next weekend's bye could not come at a better time for his Bulldogs.

Sure, it will help by giving the team some extra time to prepare for Florida, but also it will provide a welcomed mental break from what's been a weekly grind since the start of practice in August.

"We're all tired. We've gone all through camp and we've gone through seven ball games now. It's a grind for the coaches and it's a grind for the players," Richt said. "Not only for the players football-wise, but academics, they've got to get up and go to study hall, mentors, tutors and class then they've got us. We're trying to milk every ounce out of them, the academic folks are, too, the strength staff so everybody wants a piece of them to do well in the area that everybody is responsible for. They're ready for a break. We're all ready for a break."

Linebacker Jarvis Jones could not agree more.

"Most definitely," he said. "We've been going at it for a while now. I think we all need to catch our breath."

Walsh a busy man

Kicker Blair Walsh tied a school record Saturday with his six field goal attempts.

Walsh nailed field goals of 53, 28, 36 and 44 while missing attempts of 50 and 42 yards. His 50-yarder bounced off the left up-right before falling away.

"The 50-yarder was just unlucky; it just bounced off the post," he said. "But overall I can't complain.

Walsh is now 12 of 20 for the year.

This and that

Safety Bacarri Rambo suffered a leg injury at the end of the game but Richt said he did not think it was serious. … Junior linebacker Christian Robinson returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the South Carolina game. Robinson injured his foot versus the Gamecocks. … Murray connected with junior Brown for a 27-yard touchdown with under a minute to play in the first half. Murray then hit Brown for a career-long 75-yard touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter. This was the longest receiving touchdown for the Bulldogs since Matthew Stafford connected with Mohamed Massaquoi for an 84-yard score against Florida in 2007. Murray has 40 career scoring passes, which is fourth in school history.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.