November 23, 2009

Dawgs still feel pain from loss to Tech

Defensive end Justin Houston summed it up best when asked about Saturday night's game at 7th-ranked Georgia Tech.

"I don't know what it is about them, but we don't get along," Houston shrugged during an interview Monday prior to practice at the Butts-Mehre Building.

He's not alone.

Punter Drew Butler, son of former Bulldog great Kevin Butler, obviously grew up with a heightened sense of what the game means.

"I'm not friends with guys on their team and I don't think many of the other guys are, either," Butler said. "Having to deal with that last year is something I don't want to have to do again. We're going to do whatever is in our power to get back on the winning side."

Butler has extra motivation for wanting the Bulldogs to come out on top.

His older sister Scarlett, who will graduate from Georgia in May with a degree in fashion merchandising, has a boyfriend who is a student from Georgia Tech.

"Patrick Sugar … yep, just like it sounds," smirked Butler, rolling the name in his mouth like a sour piece of candy. "He'll be doing some talking Thursday, I'm sure. I just hope he won't be talking any more after Saturday."

Butler isn't the only Bulldog who feels that way.

Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs was recruited by Georgia Tech before signing with the Bulldogs, who saw their seven-game win streak end with last year's 45-42 loss in Athens.

"It wasn't a good feeling and still isn't. It's been an emphasis for us all year," Dobbs said. "Especially now; we want to go into the offseason feeling good about ourselves, especially having such an underachieving and mediocre year. "

Walsh thrilled to be Groza finalist

Kicker Blair Walsh had just learned the news when he showed up Monday for a quick interview with reporters.

"I just heard like 10 minutes ago," Walsh said. "I'm excited. It's quite the honor."

Given annually to the top kicker in the nation, Walsh, along with Kai Forbath of UCLA and Leigh Tiffiin of Alabama were named finalists Monday afternoon.

All three players will be honored in West Palm Beach at the 18th annual Lou Groza Award Collegiate Placekicker Award Banquet on Dec. 8 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. The winner will be named on Dec. 10 at the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Award at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

"I can't thank my snapper and holder enough," Walsh said. "Every snap has been perfect, every hold has been perfect. You don't sit here and compare all your stats just to get the award, but you know as the season comes and gets going, you see where your numbers are. It definitely pushes you ever day."

Walsh is second in the nation by connecting on 94.1 percent of his field goal attempts. By making 16 of 17 field goals, he is flirting with the all-time Bulldog single-season accuracy of March of 92.86 percent. He is 4-for-4 from 50 yards or more and is the only one of the finalist who has not missed an extra point try (34-for34).

Walsh may not be the only Bulldog to make the trip to Florida. Butler is a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award which goes to the nation's top punter.

"That would be awesome to go to Orlando together," Walsh said. "He deserves it."

Boykin said he's fine

Cornerback Brandon Boykin said Monday is hip injury won't keep him from playing Saturday against Georgia Tech.

"I'm fine, I'll be ready to go," Boykin said. "It's not going to be a problem."

Boykin said he was hit on his hipbone by an opponent's facemask during a first-half kickoff return against Kentucky. He remained out of the game until late in the second half.

This and that

Linebacker Darryl Gamble said his cousin, safety Bacarri Rambo, is recovering nicely from his concussion. "I don't know if he's going to play or not, but he's doing great," Gamble said. "I know he wants to play. He definitely doesn't want to have his season end on an injury." … Wide receiver Rantavious Wooten said he spoke with wide receiver A.J. Green (shoulder) but was sure of his status for Saturday. "He did say he's feeling good," Wooten said. "At least that's what he told me."

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