Onward & upward.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Onward & upward.
- limit bad penalties, turnovers, and special teams miscues
- focus and try to perfect fundamentals
- stay on assignments and make tackles
"MARCELINO: Jerry! Tonight's fight-night. Where's my rooster?
JERRY: Kramer won't sell.
MARCELINO: Well, tell you what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna take down your check anyway.
JERRY: Well, thank you, Marcelino.
MARCELINO: Well, perhaps someday you will do me a favor. And that day is today. Little Jerry Seinfeld must go down in the third round of tomorrow's main event.
JERRY: You want Little Jerry to take a dive?
MARCELINO: Shhh, not so loud.
JERRY: First of all, I don't think you can make a rooster take a dive.
MARCELINO: Can, too!
JERRY: Second of all, Jerry Seinfeld - big or little - doesn't go down for anyone, anywhere, at anytime! Now I'd appreciate it if you please leave."
Thursday, September 29, 2011
There will be a number of keys to the game including improving our red zone offense (touchdowns, not FG's, fellas!) and special teams. But as I look at it, this comes down to one major key: containing the run on the outside - more specifically, whichever side Jarvis Jones is not lined up on. Our Defense has done a great job on stuffing the runs between the tackles this year, even Lattimore couldn't find much success there. However, whichever side has had Cornelius Washington or Chase Vasser lined up has been shown to be susceptible to giving up big runs on the outside. You can bet Dan Mullen knows that, but you can also bet Todd Grantham does too. The chess match of how Mullen attacks that weakness and how Grantham seeks to shore it up will be very interesting to watch. Our defense is pretty good right now, but is on the verge of becoming very good if this area can be sufficiently addressed.
In their last 2 games (LSU & La Tech), QB Chris Relf has been held to 10 and 20 yards rushing, respectively. And when he is being contained as a runner, he has not shown the ability to overcome that and still be a productive passer, as he only passed for 96 and 164 yards, respectively, in those games as well. Vick Ballard is a solid RB, but if we can keep him in the range of 75 yards rushing or so, and limit Relf's ability to gain rushing yards on option plays and scrambling out of the pocket, there's no reason we can't put up a solid win against these guys.
A few other things I would like to see are:
- Murray settling down more and continuing to improve his timing with the WR's. He has had a tendency all year to wait until the WR gets open before throwing it, rather than anticipating what the WR is going to do. As a result, by the time the ball gets there, the defender has already had time to recover and either make the play or make a tackle to prevent a big gain. If Murray can start anticipating that a little better and giving guys a better chance to gain yards after the catch, that will elevate the offense to another level.
- As I mentioned earlier, no special teams breakdowns. This is pretty self explanatory.
- Touchdowns in the red zone. As SimpleMan pointed out earlier this week, our TD's against Ole Miss were either on long plays, or were aided by penalties that kept the drive alive in the red zone (the pass interference on the pass to Crowell jumps to mind). We need to show the ability in the red zone to line up and convert. If we are attempting 5 field goals in this game, that won't bode well for the final result.
As for my prediction, I think this will be a one score game late in the 4th quarter with us tacking on a late score to put the game out of reach at the very end. I'll go with UGA 29, Miss St 20. I won't be at the game this weekend due to family obligations, but will be watching and cheering, I hope all you folks who are there will be loud and boisterous when Miss St has the ball.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
- We won a road, SEC game
- Defense played well against a terrible offense
- Offense was balanced, moved the ball, and didn't put the defense in bad spots with awful turnovers
- No matter the outcome, I was very happy to see our offense and coaches actually go for points at the end of the first half. Execution was bad but I like the attitude (brief as it was).
- All 3 RBs had some great moments and no fumbles
- Red zone offense - of our 3 tds, 2 were helped with penalties and one was the long play to White. I have no confidence that our offense can convert tough 3rd downs and finish drives like we need to. Yes we didn't spend a lot of time in the red zone but I consider getting down inside the 35 the same mindset.
- Clock management - this has been a gripe of mine for a while. Why is the defense calling TO's because they are confused about something and why is the offense calling TO's on 3rd and 12 to only come out with a draw play. There's 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter and we burn a TO on 3rd and 12 on our own 30. How you don't already know that it's a draw or screen pass is beyond me but just take the freaking 5 yards and run the same thing from 3rd and 17. We're only up by 11 and might actually need that TO later in the game. Maybe if you have some great new play ready to execute, then yes, but otherwise, take the penalty. It didn't hurt us this time but it might down the road.
- NO KILLER INSTINCT - this is by far by biggest take away from the game. We still do not have the ability to put a team away. It's very frustrating looking up at the score and the clock and thinking, just one more score and this thing is over, but knowing that there's no way it'll happen. We had the whole 3rd to 4th quarter break to think about and plan for a 4th and 1 on their 30 and we decide on a 48 yard FG try to take the lead from a 2 possession game to a 2 possession game. Not gonna mention what we did on 3rd and long the play before. Here's a fun activity, go read the play by play and look at everything we did on 3rd and long throughout the entire game. It's innovative stuff.
- The reverse on the punt return was a good call but we had a couple of guys around midfield that had opportunities to make the tackle and went after the guy about as hard as I did sitting in a restaurant booth 1,200 miles away. If I was a coach, I would be going off on those 2 guys during a video review this week. I watched it at home 10 times and was disgusted at the effort. They looked like Deion dodging running backs.
- Lastly, how did we seriously lose to South Carolina at home. Son of A, that game still burns knowing how we literally handed them the game. I hate losing on stupid mistakes. I can handle getting beat by a better team but not a loss like that. (slap myself) Focus forward, focus forward
- Yes, we were playing an inferior opponent, but I loved our D. They've really played well for us this year and I'm very eager to see how we handle MS State's spread O this week.
- If Walsh nails those 3 FGs (somewhat gimmies for him), we win 36-13. But, he didn't and we better be glad we were playing who we were playing and it didn't come back to bite us in the ass.
- 3rd & Bobo is as frustrating to watch as it ever was. I wonder how many DCs mumble to themselves, "This is too easy."
- Crowell is a stud. Please w/ a cherry on top stay healthy.
- I bought some milk yesterday a.m. and John Jenkins' picture was on the back. C'mon, big fella. Time to live up to some of that hype.
This week's game features the first game of the critical month of Octubre. This is what I feel is the swing month as far as Richt's future. 4-0 has us roaring into November (where the Cocks, if they haven't lost 1 or 2 yet, have 2 potential losses w/ Arky & UF on the docket) hopefully still in the thick of the SEC East race. I don't view UT & Vandy as potential losses, per se, but winning those 2 and losing the 2 bookend games won't do any wonders for Richt or our fanbase. We're in for a dogfight (ba dum dum) this Saturday and better be ready.
As for the Gators, their brutal gauntlet begins this week (Bama, @ LSU, @ AU, then off before our game) and I'm not completely sold on their 4-0 start simply because of who they've faced. Yes, they look to be in sync and the D, especially their front 7, looks stout, but if UT is the best team they've beaten, well, I'll just sit back and see how they look in the next 3.
We should be able to put points on the board vs. the Bizarro Dawgs, but our depleted depth at LB concerns me with that 3 play offense of theirs (although Robinson is rumored to return this week). This should be a slobber knocker and provide a better barometer as to where we are.
I'd like to see us win by at least 14, but I expect it to be something closer.
How do you readers feel at this point in time?
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Of course, the fact that we could never put them away showed that we still have a long way to go if Richt hopes to win enough games to stick around past this year. It drives me nuts to see a team like Florida have their act together enough under a first year head coach, learning new schemes on both sides of the ball, to go out and completely dispatch Kentucky.........then contrast that with how we allowed Ole Miss to hang around all day. The mentality of a killer instinct continues to elude this team. Here are my thoughts on the units.
Overall though, our offense still does not have the ability to put inferior teams away. Blame it on the coaching, the execution by the players (which to some extent goes back to coaching), a lack of confidence, or whatever, it's going to hurt us and we're going to end up losing a game we had no business losing (you could argue we already have, against SC). And when that happens, it very well could be the final straw for Richt. As I mentioned early in this post, the contrast in the mentality of our team under a veteran coach and UF under a first year coach, who should be struggling in his first year (even Saban was 6-6 his first year at 'Bama!), is very striking. If that contrast is still present when we arrive in Jacksonville, it's going to be ugly. Fortunately we still have some time and some winnable games ahead of us to try to improve.
But again.....we won, on the road, in an SEC game. I guess you have to start somewhere.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
And when I say the coaching was equally matched, I mean that in the worst way possible.
Will have a more thoughtful post up in the morning.
Friday, September 23, 2011
I realize that calling tomorrow a "Statement Game" may be perceived as a bit of a stretch given the opponent. But for me, it is very important to win convincingly tomorrow. I totally agree with LC that I want to win, and look good doing it. Now obviously I'd rather look bad while squeaking out a win than look good while losing, but I think tomorrow will be a real test of the mental preparation of this team. For two consecutive weeks, they've come out and played with fire and intensity. We didn't get the win against the Gamecocks, but if we play with the same intensity tomorrow, we could make the same mistakes in tomorrow's game that we did against SC, and we should still win by 10-14 points.
I can't remember the last time we came out and played with that level of effort for 3 consecutive weeks though..........maybe back in 2007? So for me, if the team is able to overcome an early start and their first "real" road game of the season and come out ready to play some ball, that will tell me that things really might be starting to turn around. But if we come out with the unfocused, unprepared approach that has become all too familiar the past few years, then even a win won't make me feel any better about where we stand or about Richt's future. It's hard to look at this game and envision us losing.......and yet I can't sit here and say that Ole Miss this year is much different than Colorado last year, and we saw what happened there. So again, for me this game is about making a statement about what type of team we are going to be the rest of the year. Win big, and things are looking up. Lose, or win a sloppy game, and the mentality of the team is still going to be in question. As so many people have stated, there is virtually no margin for error at this point.
As for my prediction, I think we win somewhere in the 17 point range. I don't have a gut feeling if it will be more of a 20-3 victory or a 34-17 victory, but I'd probably bank more on the latter. Hope everyone has a great weekend.
I must admit, I'm quite excited to see how we look tomorrow. I want to blow these guys off the field. I don't care how crappy they are or anything of that nature, I just want us to look good doing it. I'm basically taking the opposite stance vs. Simple Man, but winning a nailbiter to these jabronis wouldn't do any wonders for our psyche...but like he said, a W is a W.
Fall TV premiered a new slate of shows this week and my favorite night, Thursday night, delivered a full plate of goodness. That's the night we lock the kids in their cages, I retreat to the man cave and the wife stays upstairs watching her DVRd crap, er, shows, along with Grey's Anatomy (yikes!) and Private Practice (yawn).
The Office came back w/ a bang and I absolutely love James Spader's Robert California. That guy is a scene stealer and I thoroughly enjoyed last night's ep.
Parks & Recreation (my favorite comedy) was excellent as always and I even liked the new show, Whitney (starring Whitney Cummings, a very funny comedienne and pretty raunchy on some of the Comedy Central Roasts). Normally new comedies on Thursday nights suck. This one will hopefully improve & stay for a while.
Always Sunny had one of the funniest episodes I've ever seen them spit out. It was great.
The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen was really funny with a lot of envelope-pushing digs at the victim's drug use, treatment of women, etc. Check out these highlights (proceed w/ caution).
I was urged by a pal to check out Breaking Bad (AMC) via Netflix and I did. I. Love. That. Show. I now see what all the fuss is about due to it's outstanding premise and edge-of-your-seat situations (50 year old straight laced high school chemistry teacher with a new baby on the way and struggling to make ends meet; gets diagnosed w/ terminal lung cancer; starts making crystal meth w/ an old student to stockpile money for his family once he's gone).
My wife & I watched Bridesmaids (starring Kristen Wiig) when it came out this week and were not disappointed. The raunch scenes are literally LOL funny and one particular one had to be rewound twice. Good stuff.
As for tomorrow, I'll be intently watching how we look vs. the Rebellious Bears and will be crossing all 20 fingers & toes that Vandy beats the Cocks.
Onward & upward.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
- not shoot ourselves in the foot with disastrous turnovers
- really control the clock
- get some sacks and turnovers on defense
- put them in a lot of 2nd/3rd and longs
- have less than 5 negative offensive plays (not counting penalties)
Having said all that, from a fan standpoint, I really hate to see AU leave the West because of their long, storied history with the Tide.
The flip side is that it really ratchets up our rivalry to another level.
This is obviously a money move as the best conference in the land goes out into the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas and makes all SEC fans over 60 just plum giddy to get to go to Branson, MO when their team plays.
Now, let's skip ahead a few years and say that us, SC, UF, UF and now AU are all loaded and ready for a title run. Good God, what a murderer's row to get to the SECCG.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
If this is true (and who know if it is) then that leaves Missouri as far as "rumored" candidates. It wouldn't shock me if #14 actually ends up being a school nobody expects, but just for giggles, let's look at how adding Mizzou would impact things from an annual rival standpoint.
If Missouri gets added, and if the SEC stays at 14 for awhile, then logic dictates that either Auburn or Bama will have to move to the East. If (notice I keep using "if", because who knows what is really going to happen) the SEC still keeps the concept of having an annual cross division rival, then either UGA or Bama will lose a big rivalry game. You have to assume that no matter what, Auburn and Bama would be each other's cross division rival, it's hard to imagine anything otherwise. So if Auburn comes to the East, that would mean 'Bama would have to give up the Vols as an annual opponent. If Bama comes to the East, then that would do away with UGA-Auburn as an annual game. Then who becomes UGA's annual rival? One of the new schools? Either way, there will be a lot of moaning and groaning.
I guess the other possibility is that the SEC does away with the cross division rivalry games altogether, and everybody just goes on a rotation with everyone else in the other division. But then I think there would be even more moaning and groaning with that.
I guess I'm saying all that to say this...........I hope the SEC has a plan, and that the plan includes a school that fits into the East, so all the current schools can stay in place. Also, I'm glad I'm not the guy who has to figure all this out.
(Speaking of Vandy, I'll be paying very close attention to their game vs. the Cocks this Saturday).
Malcolm Mitchell has been getting first team reps, the coaches are mulling moving Samuel to the Redcoat Band, we issued a formal apology to Coach Kiffin about stealing Marlon Brown from him, etc. Like I said, not a lot in which to report thus far.
Like I said before, we have to come in focused and ready and usher a beatdown on the Rebels or Bears or Tea Party or whatever the hell they are now. I don't have any inside info, but I don't sense a huge player rally around Corch Nuttjob and them taking the field with extra oomph this week. If they do, I still think we should handle them w/ ease.
Anything going on you guys want to rave, bitch or talk about in general regarding the Dawgs?
Monday, September 19, 2011
That being said, I flipped back & forth between the AU/Clemson game and the Ole Miss/Vandy affair. Good God, it was pure domination for both of the victors.
Ole Miss looks bad. Really bad. We need to come in there and take care of business and have that game in hand entering the half.
Kudos to our veterinarian fill-in for his analysis of the game. I, too, heard we had the QB running for his life, so that's as good as a sack to me as long as he isn't picking us apart on 3rd & Willie in the middle of the field.
p.s. If you're wondering where you've heard that subject line before, click here.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Secondly, we came ready to play. Nobody took CC for granted and the play was intense. We really stood up and knocked down some of their players. We executed well on offense and the defense had good reads and attacked their offense every play. I really felt good about the team's mental preparation and execution.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
- Make no mistake about it, Clemson absolutely whipped Auburn, much worse than the final score indicates. The second half was a dominant performance by the Tigers of SC. That being said.........Clemson students, you just stormed the field for beating the #21 team in the country, a team that needed a miracle to beat Utah State at home only 2 weeks ago. I hope you are proud of yourselves. Now go sit in timeout and think about what you've done. (And to be fair, Dabo in the post game interview was acting like he just brought the crystal football back to Clemson. Dude, I know you wear your emotions on your sleeve, but c'mon).
- I have a feeling that Clemson nation is going to find out next week that today's performance was a combination partly of an improved offense, but also A LOT because of a very bad defense that they were going against. Some of the stuff that worked today will not work against FSU. That being said, those freshmen are without question the real deal. Even though Clemson's offense probably isn't as good as their fans are thinking right now, there is a VERY bright future ahead for them.
- Auburn is about to find out exactly what a Ted Roof coordinated defense is all about when he doesn't have a Nick Fairley to bail him out. I know they lost a lot of players from last year's team, but yikes, I didn't see a single playmaker on that D. Still a lot of time for them to improve, and they may be totally different by the time UGA sees them, but that was a very underwhelming performance.
- On the flip side, Florida's defense, especially their front 7, and even more especially their defensive line, are just plain scary. I am not looking forward to watching our OL try to block those guys in Jacksonville. The secondary still has a lot of work to do, but I would almost argue that their front 7 is on the same level as LSU. Maybe not quite, but a whole lot closer than I would have ever guessed before the season.
- I was impressed by Tyler Bray. If he gets Hunter back, and his WR's decide to start catching the ball, they'll give us fits in
- Ole Miss.......I don't even know what to say, other than whatever routine you followed to prepare to play today, please follow THAT EXACT SAME ROUTINE next week leading up to our game in Oxford.
- Conference expansion! Texas A&M was the first domino (at least of this year) but it looks like a lot more dominoes are about to fall. I'm not thrilled about it. I'm not one of these guys that hates change, I just don't see any benefit that expansion brings me as a fan. And I still maintain that the SEC would have been fine staying at 12 teams no matter how big all the other conferences get. But it all looks pretty inevitable now, so we'll see what happens.
I may have some more thoughts after the night games.
*Update* - Nope, not much for additional thoughts. OU did enough to take care of business, Ohio State didn't, and the Gamecocks realized how stupid it was to willingly schedule a game against a team that runs the triple option (we don't have much choice with Ga Tech). That's one of those games you're just glad to escape with a win, and afterwards forget that it ever happened.
"Still at game. About only ones still here. Thank you for this."
She's pretty excited about this development.
Oh yeah, and Mom, you're welcome.
Friday, September 16, 2011
After I read it, I thought, "Well, that was a douchey move."
Or is it? Are these guys not supposed to have opinions and want the best for their alma mater/former stomping grounds? Should he have kept this to himself?
Then again, if David Greene had said this, I would have been really surprised. Greene was obviously here during the highest point of the Richt era and Houston in the latter half, a.k.a. the falling off the cliff era.
What if David Pollack was posed this question while on GameDay and he said, "Yes, I think it's time for Richt to go."? How would we feel about that?
I feel sure there would be an explosion from a section of Bulldog Nation that he was using his status on the WWL & as a former All-American here to undercut Richt.
Folks that know me know I am opinionated. I don't go out of my way to hurt anyone's feelings, but I don't believe in laying it on thick, either.
I honestly don't have any problem w/ what Houston said because, really, we talk about the same stuff here, there and everywhere.
Good thing Coastal Carolina and their batsh*t crazy coach are coming to town for a little scrimmage game.
- What I Hope to Happen - a 30+ point margin at halftime, Murray and Crowell on the bench for the 2nd half, and outside of Crowell, lots of playing time in the 2nd half for whatever freshmen the coaches plan on using this year.
- What I Think Will Happen - face it, the team is coming off of a huge emotional letdown, and I think there's a chance we come out pretty flat, and let Coastal hang around (14 - 17 pt margin) until the mid part of the third quarter before putting them away.
- What I Don't Want To See - Branden Smith on offense. It always amazes me how teams tend to reach into their bag of tricks when playing these "cupcake" games. If you think you've got a really good play or plays up your sleeve, why in the world would you show them against a team you should beat handily no matter what? Then, your future opponents know what to look for. Right now whatever packages they have for Smith are somewhat of a mystery, I see no point in showing any of it to future opponents on Saturday.
- What I Want To See - a focused effort that puts the game away early. If a lot of youngsters play, there will be mistakes, but focus and intensity as a whole would be nice to see.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
UGA - 52
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I liken where we are now (as a fanbase) as (forgive me for this, but it's the best analogy I can come up with and the one that has been sticking w/ me) an abused wife (bear with me). You know how they'll say:
- "But, he's been really good lately!"/We played better vs. South Carolina.
- "He's changed!"/Firing Willie & crew and overhauling the S&C program.
- "Yeah, he hit me last night, but...he had a bad day"/Any game vs. Florida.
- "I'm done! (Yet, she doesn't go anywhere)"/Us since 2008.
You get the point. These next 10 games, I honestly feel, will re-shape the program going forward. Take a look at that schedule. If the ship has been righted (with 2 conceivably gimmie games coming up to shore up mistakes that cost us the SC game), we could run the table. That is not out of the question. Take another look at that schedule. There are 3 very likely losses on there in October (MSU, UT & UF). If that happens, I don't care what we do in November, I think he's done.
Bottom line, we have to beat Florida to save Richt's job. Not just based on the past, but now. Look at our new AD. You think he wants to play second fiddle to them? I don't think so. This guy WAS second fiddle down there. He came here to run the show. I don't know Greg McGarity from Greg Focker, but I know he doesn't want to leave a school and lose to them on an annual basis.
Now, let's say this team experiences deja vu and goes all 2007 again. Does Bulldog Nation want Richt & his staff to come back? Will we be scared of another decline that we're either just now coming out of or still mired in?
What scares me the most of making a coaching change is it completely backfiring and setting us back years. We're still getting good recruits. This isn't like what UT experienced w/ Fulmer at the end of his run. The talent is still here. I also can't liken this to what Tuberville experienced/caused at AU, although he was pretty much run out of town for holding on to a staff that was clearly behind the times for too long. The similarities are close, but not to the extreme over on The Plains.
For all the angst Bobo causes us, the man does coordinate offenses that put up some nice numbers and every QB that left here has said in interviews that he made them better and is an excellent QB coach. That doesn't forgive his predictability and almost blatant steadfast refusal to either go off script or stick with what is working during the flow of a game. (I'm not endorsing him, but he's not completely inept, either).
Grantham is in the pivotal Year 2 with his 3-4 D and he has the horses to get things done (although the LBs are dropping like flies on Yao Ming-like feet). I thought his schemes and adjustments were much better vs. SC than they were a week prior. A Bama fan was telling me that he heard Saban give an interview about the 3-4 and he said, "You want to force the offense to run to the outside and try and get yards, not up the middle." That's exactly what we did w/ Lattimore and he got his on the edges, but we won't see anyone that good until Auburn (Dyer is good, but not Lattimore good).
Having said that, should Richt return, he will be bringing back those 2 guys. While Grantham is too new to judge right now (try telling that to Rev, tho), Bobo's criticisms are well documented. As an alumni and season ticket holder, these 3 returning would give me pause and I can't say I'd be completely on board unless we went 10-2, won the East, the SEC and the Sugar Bowl while looking damn good in the process. Not that I ever care about preseason polls, but, hell, the pollsters for 2012 might have the "fool me once" feeling, too.
Back to the original question, tho. How many does he have to win? 8 just sounds too vanilla because who are the 8? Florida has to be in there, but I think it's going to come down to how we look vs. UT, UF & AU. If SC stumbles (and that is completely conceivable) and we continue to stumble, the label of missed opportunity is going to be stamped on the program and I think that might be it for him. If we're in the thick of things until the end, yet finish 2nd in the East because we lost to SC, I think he'll be back.
I honestly can't tell you that I want him to return. Sometimes a new voice is needed. Sometimes a guy needs to recharge his batteries (see: Meyer, Urban) and step away for a while. The time to snag the East is NOW. UF is down a little, UT looks to be stabilizing and SC is too shaky to be considered elite. If the proposed realignments put Bama and/or Auburn in the East, well then, we're really going to look back on the last few years and kick our own asses. But, if Richt is somehow right about better days being ahead and we do respond and return to elite status, I will be beyond thrilled because I'd like nothing more than to look back at where we started with him, how far we slipped and how far back we came all with the same man at the helm who did what took to get us there. I was too young to fully remember Dooley, but I was at UGA during the Goff & Donnan years. Regardless of the past 3 years, the Richt era blows them out of the water. I don't want to see a knee-jerk reaction cause us to be back at that level. There's no guarantee Dan Mullen, Kirby Smart, or whomever elese is on the love list today will come here.
I'm a Bulldog fan. Whether it's Urban Meyer or Phil Fulmer at the helm, I'm always going to be a Bulldog fan. A confession for ya: I entered Sanford Stadium Saturday expecting to get beat and was almost hoping we would to simply get the ball rolling & end the misery because I was still so disappointed in the Boise performance and wondered if the end was near, but those feelings naturally subsided once the ball was in the air, Crowell was doing his thing and we were completely outplaying the immortal Gamecocks. I left feeling a lot better about us, but was still concerned. I won't be surprised if we go on a tear and win the East or be right in the thick of it until the end, nor will I be shocked if we tank and the change everyone is talking about takes place.
Keep an eye on October, faithful readers. That month, I think, is the key.
What say ye, commenters? Let the opinions fly.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Oh, what, you thought I was talking about our game against the 'Cocks Saturday night? Nope, I was referring to the game played in Jacksonville 10 months ago. Sounds pretty familiar, though, huh?
We've been through this rodeo a number of times now the past few years, and it's always the same script. The team comes out and gives a few disappointing performances, and the fan base starts to become vocal about the the state of the program. But then they come out and play really hard that one time, and folks start letting themselves get optimistic again. Prime examples are Saturday night, the aforementioned mention UF game last year, the Auburn game the year before, the Mich St bowl game the year before that, and so on and so forth. After all of those games, the fan base dusted off their rose-tinted glasses and started convincing themselves that if we can just keep up with that type of effort going forward and make a few tweaks, we're going to get back to where we want to be. Then ten months later, here we are still sitting in the same spot. If Saturday night was a step forward, it was only because we had previously taken steps backward. Because as of right now, there has been no net forward movement since the Florida game last year. I have been right there with those fans though every time, believing the best was yet to come..............
Now don't take what I'm saying as a prediction of utter failure for the rest of the season or a sign of my lack of support for the program. No matter what, I will be watching every game, cheering for the win. And it is entirely possible (though not likely) that I could be sitting here typing a couple of months from now, reflecting back on the fantastic 10-2 season we just had, and admiring the way the team was able to overcome two early losses and some pretty major injuries to rally against the odds. But I refuse to allow myself to even entertain the thought of actually expecting something like that to happen. Wanting your team to win and expecting your team to win are two very different things........wanting your team to win makes you a fan, but expecting your team to lose doesn't make you any less of a fan, as long as that expectation is accompanied by a desire to be proven completely wrong. And I would love nothing more than to be wrong, because right now my expectations are that we're going to probably win the next two games, most likely in unimpressive fashion, before coming out and giving another valiant but losing effort against Mississippi State. And if that happens, who knows what is going to happen from there. But that's what I've been conditioned to expect now as a UGA fan.
I follow Ally Garner on Twitter, she has her own blog (http://copaceticincarolina.blogspot.com/, a must read for anyone who enjoys cooking or eating high class southern cuisine), is a guest contributor over at Leather Helmet Blog, and is a damn good Dawgette. I saw one of her recent tweets where she basically said that Richt has earned the right to finish out the season, and be judged based on the season as a whole (this was in response to people who are ready to pass judgement now and go ahead and kick Richt out the door). I agree 100% with her, I want Richt to have the full opportunity of this entire season to show that he can still get the job done. There is just no longer any part of me that believes that he will.
Monday, September 12, 2011
I just completed a post that I feel perfectly captures my feelings on the state of the program now. It's not written nearly as well as Ching's article, but I'm very happy with it. Since it's fairly late in the day today, I have it scheduled to post at 6am tomorrow. Stay tuned.
However, if we keep losing LBs to broken feet, we'll be up poo creek without a paddle.
The worst of the schedule (as of today) is over. The next 2 games are imminently winnable. MS State is going to be a slugfest and our defensive guys on the outside better be ready after watching Lattimore shred us out there (given, he's damn good and MS St. doesn't have anyone remotely as good as him).
We're going to get a very good look at what UT & UF are made of this Saturday.
As for Richt, the seat is still as warm as the Honduras rumors, but he should be safe for another 2 weeks unless disaster strikes.
Anyone else on the ledge or do you at least feel a bit better?
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Yep, it's a good thing Samuel is able to provide all that depth and production (currently averaging 27.5 ypg rushing through 2 games) at the RB spot. And I thought it was such a good idea at the time, too.
Update - The "official" reports are now saying he will miss at least 2 weeks........so while the initial report of being out 3 weeks is possible, at least there is a chance he could be back for Miss St. I know Auburn beat them yesterday, but their offense rolled up a ridiculous amount of yards in that game, they just couldn't outscore Auburn. But trying to stop that offense without either of our starting ILB's is a very scary proposition. Get well soon, Christian, we need ya.
The defense comes out on the first two plays and gets them into a 3rd and 4, the whole stadium is roaring, everyone can sense the victory, C'MON DAWGS, JUST HUNKER DOWN ONE MORE TIME!!!!!!!! Then, it happened..........Defensive pass interference, automatic first down. What was inevitably going to be a win for us almost immediately felt like was now inevitably going to be their win.......and it was. From there, our players' lack of ability to perform in the clutch took over, and the rest is history. Last week after the Boise State game I was just pissed. But this one wasn't one to get mad about, this one just hurt really, really bad. I rode all the way back to Greenville without ever even turning on the radio, just in kind of a stunned silence.
You know, we used to be the team that found ways to win games that we had no business winning.......now we're the other team in that equation, that loses games we had no business losing. I'm not saying that the Gamecocks should apologize for winning, they capitalized on the opportunities presented to them, which is what winning teams do. Again, it's what we USED to do. But congratulations to South Carolina, they made one more big play than we did, and that was the difference.
So here goes my breakdown of everything.
- I can, however, say that for all the flaws we have, what does that say about SC? I didn't see a huge gap in where they are and where we are. If they're the best team in the East, it ain't by much.
- We gave up 45 points, but only lost by 3.
- Crowell looked damn good. If he ain't the starter next week...ah, who cares. He'll get the majority of the carries and it's just Coastal Carolina.
- Amidst all of Murray's gaffes and the sketchy OL line play, we put up 42 on a supposedly stout D.
- As I said at the start of this, and Richt said it in his post game presser, the East hasn't been decided yet.
- Rambo came to play today. Damn good game from him.
- The turnovers were aplenty and extremely costly.
- While others are concerned about our OL depth, I'm more concerned about our OL's play. It hasn't been very good yet.
- Moral victories are fine for some situations, but I don't see how they can be applied here.
- The calls for Richt's head are going to be loud this week.
Like Blutarsky said, this game shouldn't have been close and you can't lay this loss on the coaches. I saw better effort and improved play in some areas, but I saw some glaring deficiencies that need to be addressed over the next 2 games before we enter into the October grind (MS State, UT, Vandy & UF),
Bottom line, I didn't leave this game ready for heads to roll. I left with a disgusted feeling because of how we lost. We are 0-2, but we really should have won this game. We didn't deserve to beat Boise State. We should have left here with a W. I know, shoulda, woulda, coulda.
This one hurts and is going to sting for a while.