Saturday, December 31, 2011

Michigan State Preview Series: The Defense

I've already given a general overview and a preview of the Spartan offense, so now today we'll give a quick look at their defense.  I've reiterated several times how equally matched these two teams are, and defensively is where you see the greatest similarity in results.  Again, the two teams are not so much similar in structure (MSU is primarily a 4-3 defense), but the results are nearly the same:

MSU UGA
17.5 PPG Allowed 19.6
33.70% 3rd Down Pct 28.81%
41 Sacks 34
16 Interceptions 17
104 Rush Yds/Gm 103
168 Pass Yds/Gm 165
5th Total Defense 3rd
                                        
As you can see from the sack totals, this team really likes to get after the quarterback.  Denicos Allen is their version of Jarvis Jones.  He plays strongside linebacker, and despite only being a sophomore, has put up 10 sacks and a total of 17 tackles for loss.  He's a bit of an undersized guy, listed at 5-10 and 220 lbs, but he makes plays all over the field.  They also get a nice upfield rush from their two young defensive ends, Marcus Rush (4 sacks, 10 total tackles for loss) and William Gholston (3 sacks, 11 total tackles for loss).  Gholston is an impressive physical specimen as well, built along the lines of a Julius Peppers.  He's 6-7, 280 lbs, and very athletic.  Once he learns to play to his full potential, he's going to be a nightmare for opposing offenses.

Mark Dantonio is a defensive guy, and you can tell that he takes pride in their performance, as do the players.  Wisconsin put up 31 and 42 points on them in their two matchups this year, but nobody else was able to score more than 24 points against this defense, so converting when we have scoring opportunities (you know, like having the ball hit you in the hands at the goal line with nobody around) will be crucial.  Our offensive line is going to need to be able to hold their own and give Murray some time, because the Spartan defense will make us pay for any mistakes.  

I'll have my game prediction up tomorrow.  Happy New Year to everybody, and GO DAWGS!

-Rev.



Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Frivolities

Happy Friday. Unless the cooky Mayans are correct, we'll be watching the Dawgs play this Monday for the last time until September when they storm the field to take on mighty Buffalo.
This matchup is getting the most ink for being the 2 most evenly matched teams. Every score prediction I've seen has this coming down to a FG and it's almost 50/50 to us winning vs. them taking home the W. Like Simple Man said previously, we need this W to help in recruiting and building positive momentum towards next season. We're almost assured a pre-season top 5 ranking with a win and minimal losses to the NFL.

There wasn't diddly pooh on the TV this week...unless you're an NBA fan.

My wife is recuperating from a surgical procedure she had before Christmas, so we've been wearing out the PPVs and movie rentals. The best one I've seen in quite some time is Warrior (starring Tom Hardy; he is the villain Bane in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises releasing this July). It's a Rocky-ish movie that has a great backstory and nut-clenching action in the UFC-style fights. I highly recommend you adding this one to your must-see list.

We also saw Abduction (starring future Oscar winner Taylor Lautner from the Twilight movies; I loathe this douchebag with every fiber of my being. He scowls and menaces and is about as menacing as your random pissed off 8th grader. I kept hoping he'd get his ass kicked, but he never did, so I give the movie a resounding F) which I loathed.

Our Idiot Brother (The Washaun Ealey Story) was terrible. I love Paul Rudd, but this was putrid and I stopped it about halfway thru. To redeem him, I popped in Knocked Up and the universe went back into perfect balance.

The SEC-slate of bowl games begin tonight w/ MS State taking on mighty Wake Forest. I generally pull for SEC teams in bowls, but I don't see it happening in the Urban Bowl (no explanation necessary) or the CFA Bowl. I've developed quite the dislike of AU in the past year, so I guess I'll sit there and sip while watching with muted interest. Then again, maybe I don't even care about watching AU & VA play.

Happy New Year to all of our faithful readers and commenters. Onward & upward and to Hell with Georgia Tech.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Defying Authority



It's Thursday and I must've hearkened back to my collegiate roots because I have gotten into the whiskey. It's Christmas break, the kids are scattered about, the wife is watching Lifetime and I reintroduced myself to Jack Honey...and decided to bang out a NBA column.



The lockout-shortened seasoned is 66 games instead of 82 and Atlanta's Air Force is 2-0. Let me just give you a synopsis as to why I think we'll have a good season:


  • Depth: There are a few sets of back-to-back-to-back games and that is disastrous for veteran teams. The Hawks are deep and they're young and they're a legit 2-deep at each spot, so that will come in especially handy for this rushed schedule (the 1999 lockout-shortened season was 50 games and there was a call for that this year, but the commissioner would have none of that, much to the chagrin of everyone). We have Jeff Teague at PG and Kirk Hinrich (GO WHITE BOY!) backing him up. Joe Johnson, a.k.a. contract albatross, is the starting OG and Hinrich also backs him up (WHITE BOY STILL GOING). Janerro Pargo can back up either spot, but is primarily a PG with 3pt range. We picked up Tracy McGrady in the offseason, which would have been huge 10 years ago, but he can still play. He'll play more of a point forward role and some OG, but can't guard a parked car and his vertical is just a shade more than mine at this stage of his career. Again, very deep with lots of experience there. Former Jorted Gator Al Horford is the starting C and the human foul Zaza Pachulia backs him up (the man relishes contact like a drunken prom date). At the forward spots we have Marvin Williams at SF...and I simply cannot go on without pointing out that we passed up both Chris Paul AND Deron Williams (the 2 best PGs in the game) in the draft a few years back to get him. Now, don't get me wrong, Marvin is a good player and can consistently put up 15ppg and spreads the floor with his range...but....I need to stop. His backup is the aforementioned McGrady and the ageless Jerry Stackhouse (funny story: Stackhouse was a high flyer for the UNC Tarheels in the 90s and they went to war every year with the Duke Blue Devils headlined by Christian Laettner, himself a former Hawk; the 2 ended up as teammates on the Dallas Mavericks one season and during a card game on the plane, Laettner cleaned up and as he was gathering the cash, he made some snide remark about Duke winning again and Stackhouse cold-cocked him and knocked him the F out). The mercurial Josh Smith starts at PF, but can swing to SF in certain matchups. He is still a helluva game-changer on both ends of the floor, but is as frustrating to watch as any 5 year old. There are a few more in the league as talented as him, but few as stubborn and moody. I've ruined 2 remote controls watching him over the years. We have a couple of able bodied stiffs to spell him in spells.


  • Shortened Season: As previously mentioned, this benefits us greatly. The Miami Heat are expected to win 60 out of the 66 games (absurd in my book), but I see no reason why we can't muster 50.


  • Style of Play: We aren't very big once you get past Horford and Zaza, but the league has gotten smaller. Most teams are starting centers that would have been power forwards 10 years ago. There are no more Shaqs or Yao Mings or mammoths like them. Small ball is the new fad with teams like Dallas putting Nowitski at center for spells and causing matchup nightmares for the other teams. For instance, we are expected to feature Teague & Hinrich in the backcourt with Johnson sliding down to SF/3 at times and Smith and Horford on the frontline. That doesn't sound like much of a change, but Smith is considered too fast for opposing PFs and Johnson overpowers other OGs with his size & strength and will either match up perfectly or do the same to opposing SF/3s. Teague is one of the fastest players in the league, so we're talking about a wide open attack on offense and create mismatches along with a fast defense with enough size to not get pummelled on the boards. That's huge.


  • Because Stone Cold Said So: I just think we'll be good.

The Eastern Conference features the Heat and Bulls as the upper crust, with the Hawks, Knicks, Celtics, Pacers and the Magic (currently in limbo due to Dwight Howard's trade demands causing an awkward situation) just behind and one other doormat to finish at number 8 in the conference. I see no reason why we can't grab the 3rd seed and home court in the opening round of the playoffs. Can we beat Miami or Chicago? I don't know and I kind of doubt it, but what bodes well is how our style of play mirrors theirs. It's going to be an interesting season.


I likely won't put another one of these up unless we get on an incredible roll, steal Howard from the Tragic or get back into the whiskey at a random time and feel like venting, so enjoy it or hate it. I feel sure Rev is grabbing his new G-engraved wine-o glass and emptying out a box of wine in disgust. I also feel sure Simple Man is wondering who the Wizards are and why I failed to mention them.


Anyway, my glass is empty and I'm going to save my verbage for the Friday Frivolities.


Onward & up...wait, that's tomorrow. Wang chung tonight, peeps.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

UGA Bowls under CMR

By the numbers in the CMR era...........

  • been to a bowl in all 11 seasons
  • this is our second trip to the Outback, we also have 3 Sugar's, 2 Capital One's, 1 Chick, Music, Independence, and Liberty
  • that means we've played in Florida 4 times, *Louisiana 3 times, and *Georgia and Tennessee twice
  • this is also our second time playing Michigan St, the only repeat team during these 11 games (won 24-12 in 2008 Cap One)
  • we are currently sitting at 7-3 in our previous 10 bowl games with the 3 losses being by 4, 3, and 4 points respectively and one of those wins coming in overtime.....our only overtime bowl game
  • we are 2-1 in bowls after playing in the SECCG and NEVER lost a bowl game after we lost the SECCG (yes, that's only once)
  • are 3-0 against Big 10 teams and 5-1 in January games with the only loss coming on our only Jan 2 bowl game
  • average 28.1 points on offense and 19.2 points on defense

*one Sugar Bowl was in Georgia due to hurricane

Don't have the time to look up turnovers and such but at least looking at the numbers, we normally come prepared for these games.

-Simple

New SEC Schedule Released

Following up on LC's post from yesterday, the schedule has officially been released.

I'm not going to make any bones about it, we came out good, folks.  We swapped 'Bama for Mizzou, and the Gamecocks have LSU & Arkansas.  On top of that, SC has to play us, at LSU, and at Florida in consecutive weeks.  The schedule shapes up well for a special run in 2012, we'll see if we can seize the opportunity.

The only downside?  Our home schedule for next year might be the least interesting home schedule that UGA has ever had.  Oh well, gotta take the bad with the good.

-Rev.

Climbing Back In The Saddle - And Offseason Plans for the Blog

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, or whatever else you may celebrate.  We kind of took an impromptu sabbatical from the blog, but I think we're ready to get rolling again.  I started doing some previews of Michigan State 2 weeks ago, if you want to check the Overview and Offense previews.  I'm shooting to have the preview of their Defense up tomorrow.

There was some big news news yesterday out of Columbia that Spurrier has decided to promote their secondary coach to replace Ellis Johnson, you can read about it at Leather Helmet Blog here.  Hmmmmm.........promoting the secondary coach to retain stability and familiarity from the previous guy?  I can only hope this works out as well for them as it did for us.  I'm really surprised that Spurrier didn't go out and try to make a home run hire on this one.  Maybe he did try, and just didn't feel like he could pull it off.  It will be interesting to see how this works out.

Also, check out one of my favorite Christmas presents, got a set of 4 of these (I'm a wine lover, for those who don't know - I even drink wine at our tailgates.......somebody's gotta class the place up a bit):


The "G" is actually engraved into the glass, I love them.  I refer to them as my Royal Chalice set!

We're going to be expanding the view of the blog during the offseason a bit.  Obviously the news items are a bit slower, and it's not like we're going to find any nuggets that guys like Blutarsky and EC Dawg haven't already found - it amazes me how good those guys are.  Our focus will still be primarily on UGA, but you're probably going to see some NBA stuff from LC (for the 3 or 4 other NBA fans out there besides him), some more of the outdoors stuff from SimpleMan (hiking, running, etc), and I'm planning on doing a Weight Loss Chronicles once or twice a week.  My weight has gotten way out of control the past 6 months or so, and the whole month from Thanksgiving to Christmas has just topped it off, so I gotta get off my lazy arse and start doing something.  I'm hoping by doing it in a public forum, it'll help keep me motivated, and hope some of you folks will jump in with me.

For non-UGA posts, we'll try to make it obvious in the post titles.  That way, for those of you who come to us through Dawgbone, if it's not something you're interested in, you'll easily be able to skip over it. But we hope you'll enjoy some variety over the next few months.

-Rev.


LET'S GO HAWKS!



1-0, BABY!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 SEC Schedule Rumor

It's still not done yet, but there are rumors from those "in the know" (or as Joe Schad would put it: "according to sources...") that we will not be playing Bama next year due to conference-opener in Mizzou in week 2 and SC being moved to October (in the previous Bama spot).

As Blutarsky points out, the Cocks have to play LSU & Arky from the West next year.
Ha ha.
Suck it.

The completed schedule will hopefully be released tomorrow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Festivus Frivolities



Happy Festivus, er'body! Please have your aluminum pole ready and prepare for the Airing of Grievances, followed by the feats of strength. May a Festivus miracle bless you all!



I came across this earlier today and it made me laugh, then smirk...then worry. Either way, give it a look.



American Horror Story wrapped up it's first season with a very interesting season finale. I was wondering how exactly they were going to end it, but it was done very well. I don't, however, see the 2 main characters coming back next year in their new roles, but what do I know.



Dexter wrapped up season 6 with a finale that was a long time coming. I cannot wait (yet, I have to) to see how they proceed with his secret being out after being discovered by a key character. If you haven't seen it yet, I won't spoil it. I know Simple Man was catching up via Netflix, so I'll keep quiet now.



One of the best shows of the season, Homeland, also wrapped up this past Sunday. I sign up for Showtime in the Fall just for Dexter, but thought I'd give Homeland a shot since it aired immediately afterwards. What a great show. If you didn't see it and/or don't have Showtime, I highly recommend renting it via whatever means possible when it comes out.



This week has been full of Christmas cheer (for some), but next week we'll be in full-on Dawg mode before the big game vs. Michigan State. This matchup has to feature the 2 most evenly matched teams of any of the other bowls.



Amidst all the coaching shuffling going on, I just want to say I'm glad it ain't us. I'm also glad that Spurrier lost his gem of a DC. I hope he finds a real turd for us to torment next year.



Speaking of coaching, how about Richt's generosity? The man is a lot of things and one of them is a Damn Good Boss.



Onward & upward, kids. Happy Festivus & Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SC Game in October?



There's a rumor floating around (and the SEC sched should be out next week to end the speculation) that our first SEC game (2nd game of the season) will be @ Mizzou and our trip to SC will be early October.



How do you feel about that?


I actually like having that game moved from game #2. For years, the chatter about that game has centered around "we warm up for them with a cupcake in the opener" or "at least we have a tough opening game to get ready for them".


Any kinks should be worked out by then as it will be fully in the meat of the SEC schedule.



Go Dawgs.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bowls

As competitive as I am, I want us to win every game, including bowl games. I love taking pride in where we rank in bowl history: # of bowls played (6th), bowl wins (T-4th), different bowls played in (not sure about this one but at one point a few years ago, I think we were #1). Having said that, I try to remind myself every year how absolutely ridiculous bowls are.

I love college football but will not be watching over half the bowls because so many have awful match-ups with schools that most people couldn't locate on a map. The layoff between games is the biggest problem I have with bowls. In what world do you have teams rest a month and then play one last game. Yes, most of these games are meaningless but that doesn't make the win or loss count less. There can even be an argument that they are a little more meaningful because it "proves" which conferences are the best, which can have major implications in following years. Auburn was left out of the title game after a perfect 2004 season but because of recent history, there's no way a SEC team would get left out again anytime soon.
[Note: This will obviously be the SEC's 6th straight BCS title but it will also be the first BCS Championship loss for a SEC team.]

The players love the bowls because they get a little vacation somewhere, get to see new things, and most importantly get gifts. The one time a year the NCAA actually says it's okay to receive things you don't pay for. Some bowls are fun to go to for fans also, like a little vacation for us as well. I know I enjoyed my New Year's in Orlando, Tampa, and New Orleans.

But at the end of the day, this should be all about football. I'm a huge playoff proponent because I'm a very rational person and it just makes sense. I'm okay with anything up to 12 teams. This could mirror the NFL model with 4 byes and 4 total rounds of playoffs. I'd still be okay with 6 or 8 but 12 seems like a perfect number to me.
  • Drop about 10 bowls and move the rest to the Saturday's before Christmas or maybe the week between Christmas and New Year's. I'd rather them all get moved up but understand the arguments that it's the only game on (revenue) and most schools have finished up finals.
  • The playoffs should start 2 weeks after the conference championship games (on Saturday's) with teams possibly getting a bye if the numbers work out. This year the first round would have started on 12/17 with the championship game on 1/7.
  • Higher ranked teams get to play home games and the championship game is obviously rotated between the BCS bowls.
  • All playoff games are on Saturday's with possible exception of NCG.

Other options can include having regional bowls host semi-final games but I think that's just too much hassle for the fan base. I'm also okay moving the first round up a week but that could put the championship game still in December (in which case it could be moved to Jan 1 or 2).

The only argument I'll ever need is that you can win all your games and not get a chance to win a championship. I'd like to hear your thoughts and arguments against playoffs. I'm ready to debate.

-Simple


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Michigan State Preview Series: The Offense

I gave kind of a general overview of the Michigan State team yesterday, and today I want to look a little bit more in-depth at the offense, and how it compares to UGA.  Much like the Dawgs, MSU has a very streaky offense.  When they are clicking though, they can really put up some points.  The common theme that I pounded home yesterday was how similar these teams are in performance.  Well, here are some more offensive stats to compare:


Passing
Cousins (MSU)
Murray (UGA)
65.0% Pct 58.8%
3,016 Yds 2,861
24 TD 33
7 Int 12
151.36 Rating 146.42






Rushing
MSU
UGA
1,858 Yds 2,245
4.04 Yds/Carry 4.13
19 TD 15
142.92 YPG 172.69






Total Offense
MSU
UGA
3,217 Pass Yds 2,861
1,858 Rush Yds 2,245
5.90 Yds/Play 5.69
66.2 Plays/Game 72.7
390.4 Yds/Game 413.8
30.8 Pts/Game 32.2

The Spartans have been stronger in the passing game overall, and we have been stronger in the running game overall, but at the end of the day our yards per play averages are within .21 yards of each other, and the scoring averages are less than 1.5 points apart.  Again, the schemes may not be identical, but the end results are pretty darn close.

In the passing game, the Spartans do not spread the ball around nearly as much as we do.  Their top two receivers -B.J. Cunningham & Keshawn Martin - have 72 and 62 receptions on the season, respectively.  Contrast that with UGA, who doesn't have anyone with more than 44 catches on the year, and that was from the tight end position (Charles).  So while UGA seemingly has somebody new stepping up to make plays all the time in the passing/receiving game, you pretty much know who your threats are with MSU.  That doesn't mean they are easy to stop, however.  Cunningham is a senior with a good size & speed combination who has caught 9 touchdowns in their last 4 games.  Martin is a smaller guy but with excellent quickness, and an average of 12 yards per reception.  They try to find ways to get the ball in his hands, as he has lined up at WR, RB, QB (wildcat), PR, and KR at various times this year.  Basically, he is their version of Brandon Boykin.

Outside of that, they do actually use their TE's and RB's quite a bit in the passing game as well, though they tend to use the RB's more, whereas we tend to use the TE's heavily.  On the season, their TE's have 39 total catches, compared to UGA's 53, but their RB's have 51 catches, compared to 26 by UGA.  Their philosophy seems to be similar to ours in that they like to use a close, controlled passing game for the most part, with the occasional shot downfield. 

In the running game, they have two guys, Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker, who have nearly the same number of carries on the year.  However, Bell has been the far more productive back, averaging 5.45 yds/carry, compared to 3.95 for Baker.  Bernie over Bernie's Dawg Blawg has a post from yesterday with a Michigan State blogger who breaks out the difference between the two backs far better than I could, check that out here.  From the way he talks, we can expect a pretty heavy dose of Bell, whose productivity has increased as the season has worn on, and for them to use that to build on their play action package.  This is one area of the game that does concern me.......on the season, our rushing stats are actually a good bit better than theirs, but I'm a big believer in putting more weight on recent performances and going with the trends.  UGA has some work to do then because while MSU's rushing game has been trending up towards the end of the year, ours has most certainly been trending down.  As referenced above, they also try to mix things up in the running game by putting KeShawn Martin back there (17 carries on the year), similar to how we use Boykin & Smith. 

Again, two very similar teams overall.  They get it done in slightly different ways, but both teams still want to attack you with balance, use the play action pass, and rely on their QB's to be accurate and efficient.  Outside of the number of TD's, Cousins actually has a bit better stats on the season than does Murray, but I expect both of them to come out pretty sharp in this game.  The one advantage Murray gives is his ability to make plays running the ball, which really is not a part of Cousins' game.  Despite taking 28 sacks this year, Murray still has a net positive rushing total for the season (124 yards), whereas Cousins has -62 yards despite only taking 14 sacks.

As referenced in the prior paragraph though with the high number of sacks on the year, UGA will have to find a way to keep Murray upright in this game, as the Spartan D will be bringing the heat all game long.  We'll explore their defense more hopefully tomorrow, time permitting.

-Rev.


Changes on The Plains

First, Chizik tells DC Ted Roof to hit the road. Now, the offensive guru Gus Malzahn has accepted the head coaching job at...Arkansas State? Wait, what?
He turned down $3 mil/yr to take the Vandy job last year after being white hot following AU's 14-0 National Championship season...to take the Arkansas State job a year later.

This reeks of something brewing on The Plains.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kindle Fire review

I love technology but have also gotten cheaper over the years, so as much as I love the idea of the iPad, I just can't see spending that much money for a toy (except my ski gear this year). My little netbook finally died so I decided to try the Kindle Fire, since my whole family has the regular Kindle's and have been happy with them. The reviews have been bad since it's release and I've had a few issues with mine but overall, I got pretty much exactly what I was expecting.

If you're looking for a computer or a full purpose tablet, then look elsewhere, but if you understand that you're buying an e-reader with some tablet/mobile functionality, then proceed. It's basically a big iPod Touch.

The Good
  • Apps
  • buying books, music, etc is easy
  • no problem with reading books, font and ease of use are great
  • Amazon has a cloud to store data. Yes, it's only available when you're connected to wi-fi (there's no 3G service) but I usually use mine around home anyway.
  • the color and screen resolution is very clear (video is good)
  • size is good for a lot of things.....and bad for others (see below)

The Bad

  • size makes some things a little hard to read like magazines and depending on your eyesight, webpages
  • it's froze on me twice already and I'm not using it that much
  • disappointed with the battery, I'd say you can get around 10-12 hrs of reading but maybe half that if watching video like Netflix
  • terrible glare, so much that I'll have to get some type of glare guard
  • the main screen is annoying because it keeps a running track of everything you've done to scroll through and you currently can't edit it

Summary - Just know what you're buying. I find it a very good value for $199 but you get what you pay for, so don't expect an iPad for that price. If you just want an e-reader, I'd stay with the regular Kindle because it has no glare anywhere and has an incredible battery life. But if you want something with a little more functionality, give it a try.

Michigan State Preview Series: Overview

I gotta admit, it was somewhat nice this past weekend not really having many college football games to watch.  I did take in a bit of the Army-Navy game, but for the most part just spent time with some family, had a night out on the town with my wife, took my kids to see Santa, and enjoyed being away from the game a bit.  Granted, as soon as the bowls are over, I'll be going nuts on Saturdays wishing the season weren't over, but the break was kinda nice.

Now, however, I'm ready to start looking ahead to the bowl game.  I am still really excited about this matchup, and I think it's a dead even matchup.  How even is the matchup?  Well, take a look at these stats:

                   MSU          UGA
                                        Avg. Yds (Rk)CategoryAvg. Yds (Rk)
                                             247.5 (43rd)Pass Off.241.2 (47th)
                                              142.9 (74th)Rush Off.172.7 (41st)
                                              168.4 (11th)Pass Def.165.1 (8th)
                                              104.3 (12th)Rush Def.103.4 (9th)

The only glaring discrepancy there is the Rushing Offense numbers, but as we all know, our production in the rushing game has tailed off towards the end of the year.  Our last three games, we have rushed for 162, 128, and 78 yards, respectively.  So unless we see a big rebound in the bowl game, our current performance is not matching the season statistics due to injuries, personnel issues, etc that may or may not be sorted out come gametime.  So for all intents and purposes, I'm considering us pretty identical statistically.  Beyond the statistics, both teams won their respective divisions, lost in their conference championship games, and were hoping for a slightly better bowl than they received.  With both teams sitting at 10-3, each has a lot to play for.  Even having played in the conference championship game, a 4 loss season gives off an appearance of mediocrity.  Though the difference might be small, the perception between 10-4 vs 11-3 could go a long way towards building momentum for next year.

Today, I just want to take a quick glance at the team as a whole, then break down the specific units for MSU in subsequent posts this week.

The first thing that jumps out at me is the quality of work done by their head coach, Mark Dantonio.  Michigan State was a mess when he came in, as a result of the poor coaching jobs by Bobby Williams (15-17 record) and John L. Smith (22-26 record) after Saban left.  After serving as Tressel's defensive coordinator at Ohio State and a three year stint as head coach at Cincinnati, Dantonio took over Michigan State in 2007 and has put up records of 7-6, 9-4, 6-7, 11-2, and (so far this year) 10-3.  The overall upward trend there speaks to the quality of work he and his staff have done, not to mention the four game winning streak against their hated in-state rivals for the first time since 1963.  He will have his team well prepared to play us, and they will be eager to avenge not only their loss to us in 2009, but also the blowout loss to Alabama last year.  There's nothing Big 10 teams hate more than losing to SEC teams and having to hear about it.

Dantonio made his name on the defensive side of the ball, and the Spartan D has his fingerprints all over it.  I'll break down the defense further in a separate post, but they are VERY aggressive, and love to sack the quarterback, they actually average a half a sack more per game than UGA does.  Their offense is very streaky (we wouldn't know anything about that, huh?), but tends to play much better at home than on the road.  Against Notre Dame (31-13 loss), Ohio State (10-7 win), and Nebraska (21-3 loss), their offense was only able to generate 29, 71, and 101 yards of rushing offense, in what were clearly the team's three worst performances, all on the road.  I don't know what that means for a neutral site game - probably not much - but it's food for thought.  Their special teams are solid, though nothing spectacular.

Their season has had some highs and lows.  The highest of all had to have been what might end up being the play of the year, the bomb at the end of regulation from Kirk Cousins to Keith Nichol to beat Wisconsin in their regular season matchup:


I love when I'm actually watching the game when one of those types of plays happen.  Seeing those things happen in real time is a huge part of what makes you love college football.  

They had two other really nice wins where they soundly beat Michigan and Iowa, with the latter being an impressive 16 point road victory.  The lows for this year were getting beaten badly by Notre Dame and Nebraska, and a couple of less than inspiring wins over a horrible Minnesota team by only 7 points, and only beating Ohio State by 3 when the Buckeyes were still really struggling to find their sea legs.  Again, I'd say their year was very similar to ours........a few good wins, a couple of really ugly wins, a couple of bad losses, and one really close loss.......that sequence equally describes the year for both teams.  Heck, they even had some disciplinary issues too, with star DE William Gholston being suspended for acting the fool against the Wolverines. 

Again, I can't emphasize enough how similar these two teams are from a performance standpoint.  Not necessarily that similar from a schematic standpoint, especially on defense (they primarily run a 4-3), but the end results have been very similar throughout the year.  We'll look at their offense tomorrow and do some comparisons with the UGA offense.  Talk to you then.

-Rev.



Friday, December 9, 2011

Runners

Since football season is coming to a close, it's time to reenter the normal everyday world. All of my cohorts here have families, more responsibilities, and have never really been too much into the running thing. So my "off-season" contribution is going to be some hiking/biking/running race previews-reviews. I love food so much that it's forced me to be a moderate runner/racer over the years.

I've done a few races around of all varieties and wanted to provide you with a few potential races to check out if you are into running or just want a challenge. I've learned over the years that the only thing that motivates me to actually get out and train is signing up for a race and paying the money. I've been lucky enough to do about every type of race I ever had on my bucket list so now I look around for some different things.

If you've never done anything, shoot for a 5K to start with and there's nothing wrong with walking it. No matter what kind of shape you're in, almost anyone can tough their way through a 5K with only 4-6 weeks of training. These are easy races to find and happen locally all over.

Here's 2 races for anyone who is looking for something different:
  1. The first one is the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, NC. I've never done this one but it's on the bucket list, maybe 2013. I don't really enjoy running but this race has my favorite incentive of all time.
  2. If you're looking for a real challenge, check out the Hogpen Hill Climb in Helen, GA. I've actually done this a couple of times with frequent commenter Andy Bulluck. Don't be expecting a PR (personal record) on this race but it's a fun weekend up in the mountains. Strongly suggest having access to a hot tub post race.

I just race for exercise and personal challenges, usually finishing around the middle of the pack, so I am by no means an expert or that competitive. But if anyone ever has any questions, please feel free to ask, I've done triathlons, stair climbs, biking, all running events from 5K to marathon including trail runs, warrior dashes, pub runs, and urban scavenger hunts.

Get healthy America

-Simple


Friday Frivolities

Contrary to rumors, I will NOT be heading to Texas A & M to write for one of their blogs, Steers & Quee...well, you get the idea.
Onto Friday's Frivolities:

American Horror story continues to get bettah and bettah. For those of you that bailed on the show, you might want to do your best to catch up. It's the perfect blend of "crazy" and "dammit, boy".

I've recently become a big fan of The League (FX). Some pals were all over me for not watching it as it was airing (it's now in season 3, about to wrap up), but seasons 1 & 2 are streaming on Netflix. It's easily one of the funniest shows on TV. I had never heard of nor recalled seeing hardly of the actors & actresses, but they are absolutely perfect in their roles.

I know Rev forbids political discussions on here, but I hated to see Herman Cain drop out of the Presidential race. He touched so many people...

Another thing Rev forbids is NBA discussions, but I haven't followed instructions since elementary school (and even that is up for debate). The lockout is over and the 66-game season starts on Christmas Day.
For those of you that do follow, there was a trade yesterday involving Chris Paul (one of the best, if not the best, PGs in the league) to the LA Lakers and another team was involved with multiple players being scattered about. Well, Paul plays/played for the New Orleans Hornets...owned by the NBA for the time being because their owner filed bankruptcy last season. The other owners were at a meeting in NY when the story broke and they "urged" the NBA Commissioner, David Stern, to rescind the trade because it didn't look good for a league-owned team to ship one of the best players in the game to an already loaded Lakers squad. 2 hours after the trade was announced, Stern did indeed rescind the trade for "basketball reasons". Paul reportedly lost his sh*t and is considering legal action against the league. And you thought The Real Housewives of (insert location here) had good drama. Child, please.

Happy Friday, er'body. Onward & upward.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Weis Heads West

Looks like the offensive genius (mainly just offensive this past season) is taking his talents to the corn fields: Charlie Weis has clicked his heels and headed to Kansas to replace Turner Gill.
He either decided he didn't want to be an assistant just to benefit his son or he and Muschamp were pure oil & water (as expected).

First Urban raids the Gator staff and now this. In my best Seinfeld voice, "That's a shame."

***************************************************************************************

UPDATE: According to Blutarsky, Muschamp didn't even know Weis had interviewed for the job and was on the way to the Gator Bowl press conference when someone told him Weis had accepted the job. I can only imagine the BOOM, EMEFFERs that came from his mouth whether he still wanted him there or not.

Thoughts on the Bball Dawgs - Guest Post

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit I have yet to watch the basketball team play this year, I've had something going on whenever they've been on tv. However, ugavet76 (my dad, for those who don't know) has watched us, and here are his thoughts:


We still have a bowl game to play, but hoops has started andI enjoy college bball as well. I alreadyhave tickets to the two games that fit in my schedule and have watched twice onTV and listened to other games on the radio. Let me preface this by saying that I like Mark Fox and I know Georgia isnot nearly the basketball state that, say, Indiana is.

We got killed by Tech on the court last night. We were ok the first half. Then our outside shooting was non existentand we have no inside game. We wentquite some time without scoring in the second half. The loss would have been worse except we doplay a little defense.

So I have a question. Why can’t we recruit big power forwards or good centers? Fox has shown that he can coach. What he hasn’t shown is that he canrecruit. The little school known asButler in Indianapolis can play with the big boys. (I lived in Indianapolis in my younger yearsand have been on the Butler campus. Iused to go swimming there. Swimming anddiving are big in Indiana, too. Getskinda cold in the winter, so indoor sports get more attention I suppose). But we can’t seem to find enough good, bigplayers that want to come to a college with the kind of facilities and programsGeorgia offers. You only need five startersand five or six to come off the bench.

Rev told me we are recruiting against years ofmediocrity. I don’t accept that as anexcuse. Recruiting is a combination ofart and science. I know the bigestablished programs will get the very top talent, but we really look bad rightnow. I don’t even think we are secondtier. After all, Butler is not exactlyan established big program. And yet theymade a run deep into March madness for two years.

We have immediate opportunities for playing time and greatfacilities and a good coach. He just hasnot been able to sell it to the right players.

Again, I really like Coach Fox. I just think he needs to learn how to recruitsmarter. Other coaches know how it is done. I hope he can turn this team around, but Ithink one or two talented players are not going to cut it. Looks like it will be a long season. Our hope lies in recruiting for next year. Let’s hope Coach Fox finds the magic.

What do you guys think? I do feel that our 100+ years of mediocrity are a big recruiting stumbling point, but to his point above, lots of programs have overcome that - a more relevant comparison to us is what Bruce Pearl did in turning UT from a program pretty much like UGA's into a top 15 program (yes, Pearl got caught doing some shady stuff, but I honestly think he would have accomplished the same thing without doing the shady things he did. Players seemed to genuinely want to come play for him). I love Fox and think he's brought stability to the program, but what needs to happen for him to win on the recruiting trail?

-Rev.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WELCOME, MR. MARSHALL!!!!!!

This is how I feel after watching Keith Marshall pull out a UGA cap (h/t UGAVike)

So glad you picked the Dawgs, Keith Marshall.  Welcome!

As a side note, fans, let's don't give up on Crowell.  He has some maturing to do, but if he can make the cut, we could have a lethal backfield the next couple of years.

-Rev.

Thoughts on the Season and Beyond

As the 2nd half of the SECCG unraveled faster than a Kardashian sham, I mean marriage, I really couldn't sit there and lose my mind. We have come so, so far since last season. Huge steps since our program fell off the cliff after the 2007 season (we had a good record in 2008 and won the Capital One Bowl game vs. Michigan State, but we were by no means a good team).

We have much to be proud of as fans and much to be excited about, as well. We return a lot of talent next year and the only ones that have so much as hinted (or haven't shot it down like Jarvis Jones did) about leaving early are Rambo & Charles, but that's a topic for another day.

I've never been as disappointed in the team as I was after (and during) the loss to Boise. We looked like a team that wasn't just unprepared, but like we didn't want to be there. We looked like a team that quit on its' coach. We looked like a team that was going to have a new coach the following season.

Lucky for us, Richt did what he had to do in terms of personnel adjustments, player overhauls and overall attitude. Hell, even Bobo seemed to break from the script as the season wore on and took what the defense gave him. That was especially nice.

Year 2 in Grantham's 3-4 D was fantastic. We got the NT we had to have and our LBs played magnificently. Recruits are salivating over coming here to play in it and that's such a welcome result, that I really don't know what to do. Anyone sitting at home, fan or recruit, this past Saturday when Gary Danielson heaped praise upon our D had to feel their pants tighten. It's been way too long since that's been said.

While much has been made about Crowell's attitude, conditioning and propensity for limping off the field, the kid did bring it on the field this year. Maybe not every down, maybe not as much as we would have liked, but if he's back next year, he'll be better and hopefully more mature. We remain the frontrunner for Keith Marshall's services and if we do land him, we'll likely posses one of the best running duos in the country...or according to some, a replacement.

Above all, I'd like to have do overs on those first 2 games so we could get screwed out of the BCS Championship Game. That'd be fun.

Taking Stock of My Preseason Predictions

Wow, another regular season gone, just like that.  Is it seriously December already?  As a Dawg fan, this season was the most enjoyable we've had in a while, even if there were some ups and downs along the way.  I figured this would be a good time to take a look back at my preseason predictions, and see just how badly I did:

*WAC:  My pick came down to Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii, and I ultimately went with Nevada.  So naturally Louisiana Tech won the conference (Nevada finished 2nd). 

*Sun Belt: I picked Troy, as they had won or shared the conference title for 5 straight seasons, so they were a pretty safe bet until they went 2-6 in the conference.  Massive failure on this pick.  Arkansas State had a great season to win the conference, culminating in losing their coach to Ole Miss.

*Mountain West:  Lucky guess, I got this one right with TCU.  If I had made this pick after the first week of the season and seen what the two teams looked like, I never would have picked TCU over Boise State.  But, TCU got their act together and closed out another impressive year.  I'm a huge Gary Patterson fan (and an admirer of Chris Petersen at Boise St as well).

*MAC - I had no idea on this one, and picked Central Michigan just to pick somebody.  CMU rewarded my pick by going 2-6 (I really know how to pick 'em, huh?).  Congrats to Northern Illinois on a great season......you know, by MAC standards.

*Conference USA:  I picked Central Florida, who proceeded to go 3-5 in the conference.  Most of the picks above I really had no gut feeling on, but I really thought Central Florida would be a good team this year. But Houston, Tulsa, and Southern Miss were the class of the conference, with Southern Miss putting a surprising pounding on Houston in the title game. 

*Big East:  I picked USF just to go against the grain of EVERYONE who was expecting West Virginia to run away with the conference.  USF stepped up to the plate and went 1-6 in the conference, putting them in a tie with Syracuse for the worst team in the worst BCS conference.  Yep, I really know how to pick 'em.  West Virginia technically tied with Louisville and Cincinnati, but were the highest ranked team, so got the BCS nod.

*Pac 12:  Hey, I got one! Quack quack quack!

*Big 10:  Hey,  I got two!  Wisconsin partially failed me, as I had them penciled into the BCS Title Game as well, but they did win the conference.

*Big 12:  I picked Oklahoma, and also had them penciled in to play Wisconsin for the title game.  Wrong and wrong, as Oklahoma State was the class of the conference.  I do think 'Bama and LSU are the two best teams in the country, but I wouldn't have minded seeing an LSU-Oklahoma State matchup either.

*ACC:  I pegged FSU as being overrated, but picked Va Tech as the conference champ.  And with the way Clemson had played the past month, and the way Va Tech had played the past month, I'm still shocked that I was wrong.  Congrats to Clemson though, they stepped up when it counted and finished the season with a bang.

Here were my SEC predictions, which were pretty much wrong on all accounts:

* The SEC's Streak of BCS Championships Comes To An End
* The BCS Title Game Will Not Have An SEC School 
* The SEC Champion Will Have 2 Losses 
* UGA Will Beat the Gamecocks and the Gators - But Won't Win the East
* South Carolina Will Win The East With an 11-1 Record
* 'Bama Will Win The West With A 10-2 Record
* 'Bama Will Beat South Carolina For the SEC Title


Wow, that was a whole truckload of fail on those SEC predictions, huh?  Consider me humbled.


*UGA Predictions:  I didn't do TOO bad.  I predicted us to go 9-3, and that was pretty much my baseline expectation for the regular season.  I felt like 9-3 meant the coaches got exactly the expected level of performance out of the players, anything better meant they coached them up, and anything worse indicated a poor coaching job.  So needless to say, I'm very happy with the 10-2 regular season that we had, and I do feel that the coaches did a good job as the season wore on of coaching the team up.  


As for my weekly (not preseason) game picks for the Dawgs, including the SECCG, I was 12-1 this year, with my only miss being that I picked Florida to beat us.  Most of the picks were pretty straightforward this year, I actually think the hardest prediction is going to be for our bowl game against the Spartans.  I think that game is going to come down to the last play of the game, and I'm not sure which way I'm leaning yet.


Overall, a pretty shoddy performance on preseason picks, not that I really expected to do much better.


Outside of the scandals and so forth, what about this season surprised you the most, based on your preseason expectations?


-Rev.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Outback Bowl Matchup - Early Thoughts

I know I may be in the minority here, but I am actually excited about the matchup with Michigan State.  Even though we have played them recently, the teams are completely different now.  And I'll go ahead on record now and predict that this will be one of the most entertaining games of the bowl season.  Two excellent defenses, and pretty equal offenses as well.  More thoughts later.

Oh yeah, and about SC getting a better bowl than us since we lost in the SECCG, just remember we have benefited from that scenario in the past too.  In 2007, had we actually made it to the Dome and lost to LSU, we would not have been selected to play in a BCS bowl.  As it was, we got to sit at home and coast into the Sugar Bowl and ultimately a #2 ranking.  It's not fair, but the conference championship game losers pretty much always fall in the bowl pecking order.  You can stomp your feet and throw a tantrum about it all you want, but it happens every year, and ultimately isn't worth getting worked up over.  We are going to a good bowl, with a great opponent, and I'm excited.  Go Dawgs!

-Rev.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

SECCG and Bowl

Everyone knows what we did great and what we did poorly. I thought we'd need a perfect game to win and I was right. I knew we were in big trouble when we dominated the first half and walked in with only a 3 point lead. The 2 things you can't do against a great team are miss opportunities and make mistakes. We did just enough of both to make a close game get out of hand as fast as I can ever remember.

Sitting there during the 3rd quarter I look up at the Dome scoreboard and think, "this is ridiculous, they probably don't have 100 yards of offense yet and are up 21-10". But that's exactly what they do. They don't make mistakes and take advantage of every opportunity.

Still very happy with the season and the effort for most of the game. I think it's just too hard to put so much energy into something, miss a few breaks, and keep the same level of focus and energy. I hate that the final score was so bad because it never really felt like we were getting outplayed nearly that bad. Unfortunately though, the game went pretty much exactly as I thought it would.

So freaking disappointed with the clocks. How is it that a $2 egg timer can do something better than a multi-million facility. It seems like the play clock has issues in about every 5th game I attend and it blows my mind.

As far as the bowl goes, get ready for a bloomin onion. I said it a month ago that since I moved from Tampa this summer, we were guaranteed a trip to the Outback. I know it's not the pecking order but all of this stuff kind of runs together and I have it on good authority that South Carolina and the Outback Bowl don't get along, so don't be surprised if they get selected ahead of us.

-Simple


When You Do All The Things You Absolutely COULDN'T Do......

you typically lose.  And when you do all the things you absolutely couldn't do against the best team in the country, you will always lose, and lose badly.  We all knew there were certain things that could not happen if we were to win:

  1. We couldn't win if we showed no ability to run the ball
  2. We couldn't win if we gave up points to their special teams
  3. We couldn't win if we gave up points to their defense
  4. We couldn't lose the turnover battle
  5. We couldn't win if the offense put the defense into some impossible situations
  6. We couldn't win if we failed to convert the precious few scoring opportunities we would have
I found it interesting as the week wore on last week, that the fan base in general became more and more optimistic about our chances in the game.  I saw posts all over the place comparing this stat and that stat, that somehow showed that LSU wasn't really THAT much better than us.  The thing about statistics though is you can make them say just about whatever you want them to say, but anybody who has watched those two teams throughout the year should have been pretty clear on how small of a chance we had to win.  The thing is, on a purely physical level, they're probably not THAT much better than us - but on a mental level, they're Miles (sorry, bad pun) ahead of us.  But you know what?  That's ok.  We will get there.

I definitely felt like the team quit at some point in the second half, which was disappointing to see, but I'm still on board with what this team did this year.  I still feel exactly the same as I did when I wrote my prediction post for the SECCG and said this:
In the end, I just think they are too good and too deep for us, and I think eventually we'll start to press on offense and make some critical mistakes.  I see this game being close through 3 quarters, but ultimately being another fairly convincing win for the Bayou Bengals.  What I also see it being though is a tremendous learning experience for our team, as the majority of them will be coming back next year.  They need to see what it takes to be the best, digest it, then put in the work during the offseason to reach that level.
I really, honestly feel that next year, this team will be better for having taken the whipping that they received last night.  I referenced this a while back here in the blog, but I liken this back to what Michael Jordan says about the 1986 playoff series that the Bulls had against the Celtics.  The Bulls already had a ton of young talent on the squad, including Jordan who was on fire, but they were no match for the quality and experience of the Celtics, who skunked them 3-0 for the series.  Jordan has talked about how that series was the turning point in his career and for that Bulls team, because they saw exactly what it took to be the best.  They then applied those lessons, and the team grew from there.

That's what this team now has to do.  I'm sure we will end up losing one or two underclassmen to the draft, but regardless we will be returning a whole boatload of talent next year.  Given another year in the improved Strength & Conditioning program, and just another year of experience in general, I expect to be right back in the SECCG next year, and we'll be ready to go toe-to-toe with anybody.

As for the game last night, I was proud of the gameplan that the coaches came into the game with.  Richt & Bobo scripted a great first quarter, but it was doomed by poor execution from the players on what should have been 2 early TD's.  I've seen some early criticism of Bobo already that after he got past the scripted plays, he did a poor job........but honestly, what was he supposed to do?  You can't run trickeration all game long, and once LSU made their adjustments, and we had no ability to run the ball at all, there's just not that much you can do against a defense like that.  Bobo put the guys in position to really jump on LSU early, but again our guys are just not mentally there yet to execute on the big stage.

The Defense had the most amazing first half we've ever seen from a UGA defense against that level of opponent, but were then shell shocked by the early 2nd half mistakes from the offense and special teams.  I would have liked to see more grit from the defense to try to keep us in the game there, but once the turnovers and special teams breakdowns started happening, I think we all knew the inevitable result.  LSU did what they do.......stay patient, patient, patient, on offense, then once the special teams and defense gives them a big play, they slam their foot on the gas and crush you.  They've done it all year, and they did it to us.  If it weren't for the pain of watching it happen to your own team, it's actually quite remarkable to watch LSU play.

The second half proved that LSU was the better team in all phases of the game, but I applaud our coaches for the preparation and plan coming into the game that should have given us a better shot.  I will say this though, as good as LSU is, even if we had converted those two early TD's, I still think LSU would have come back and won.  They still would have made the special teams plays that they made, which would have unnerved our guys, and I still think we would have ended up making a lot of the same 2nd half mistakes.  Folks, LSU is just that damn good.

As for the players.......well.......at this point I think calling players out by name is best left unsaid right now.  But my opinion of a couple of players on the squad has dropped pretty significantly in the past month.  We'll see what happens in the offseason, but it is imperative that one particular area on our team be addressed in recruiting, starting on Dec 6th (I'll let you put two and two together).  I hope there will be some growth and maturity through the offseason, but the lack of character and toughness throughout the depth chart at that position has been the one real lowpoint of the season for me.

I'll have some more season wrap-up thoughts either Monday or Tuesday.  I'm guessing we'll end up in the Outback Bowl, so let's hope our boys are ready to extend the domination of the SEC over the Big 10!

-Rev.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

SECCG Live Blog

3rd qtr, clock not working:  Big Mistake #3, Honey Badger makes about 25 guys miss and gets it deep in our territory again on another punt return.  A few plays later, it's 21-10.  Again, this is what LSU does, stay patient on offense, let defense and special teams make the big plays.  We played with great effort in the first half, but the missed opportunities for TD's doomed us, or at least that's the way it looks now.  This game is dangerously close to being blown open by LSU.

3rd qtr, 13:48 to go:  Big mistake #2.  Murray scrambles, gets hit, and fumbles deep in our own territory.  Two plays later, it's 14-10 LSU.  This is what LSU does.

HALFTIME:  The defense has backed up every bit of their pre-game talk so far.  Still a long second half to play though, and the offense is going to have to step up and match the defense's performance if we are going to win.  Georgia takes a 10-7 lead into the locker room.

2nd Qtr, 5:48 to go:  On cue, there it is, the big mistake.  UGA lets the Honey Badger take a punt return to the house.  UGA still up 10-7, but you can feel the momentum has totally switched.  The Dawgs need a big play, and soon.

2nd Qtr, 8:15 to go:  I'll tell you what, these two punters showed up to play today.  Boykin nearly gives LSU the type of turnover they've been thriving all year on when he muffs a punt, but fortunately the ball takes a friendly bounce and he recovers.  That's what LSU does though, they stay patient and wait on you to make the mistake.  If we can keep from making that mistake.....well, I'm not going to let myself get optimistic just yet.

End of 1st Qtr:  Phenomenal quarter by the defense, and an up and down quarter by the offense.  It should easily be 21-0 right now, so I hope those 11 points don't come back to haunt us.  The team is playing with an unbelievable intensity.  Hopefully our equipment guys have a can of that spray that Orlando Jones used in The Replacements for our WR's.  

1st qtr, 7:35 to go:  Ouch.  The Dawgs blow multiple opportunities on that drive, including Malcolm Mitchell dropping an easy touchdown pass.  Then Walsh finds his mid-season form to miss a 45 yard field goal.  With Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell both failing to come up with touchdown catches, what should be a 14-0 lead is only 3-0.  Not the way to beat the #1 team in the country.

1st qtr, 11:45 to go:  Defense with a great three and out, then the offense moves the ball down with a big pass play, but stalls and ends with a FG.  No rushes at all, and Crowell doesn't see the field.  Then Richt gets sneaky and calls for the onsides kick and it works.  First down, UGA.

PREGAME:  both Crowell and Thomas announced as the starting tailback, so who knows what is going to happen.  SimpleMan says we're gonna be the first team to ever draw a flag for an Illegal Starting Lineup.

Will be blogging during the game today, check back and feel free to leave you thoughts dueing the game too.

Rev.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Frivolities

Beat LSU or die trying.

Onward & upward.

GO DAWGS!

(This is all that's mattered this week)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

SECCG Thoughts

I have some handy little bullet points on my take on the keys to the game.
Hold on while I whip this thing out:


  • LSU's RBs/TBs get a lot of ink for being really good. Our D is getting a lot of ink for being really good. This is the proverbial "irresistable force meets the immovable object" scenario and I like us in this one. Yes, we will have our hands full, but they're not going to make a living running up the gut all night.

  • Jordan Jefferson doesn't scare anyone unless they're lying down on the floor of a bar. He's good, but we can't let him beat us by himself. They have some road graders on the OL, but I feel sure Jarvis Jones is wanting to get acquainted with him real fast. I can't wait to see what Grantham draws up for this matchup.

  • Crowell is going to have a huge bullseye on him from the word go. His propensity for getting the gimps (I'm not as hard on him as some because I've never run the ball in the SEC; he's having a helluva year for a true freshman and we're damn lucky to have him) will likely have LSU's D wanting to drill him extra hard. We're really going to miss Samuel in this game. I home Malcome is ready to go again.

  • I can't wait to see our freshmen receivers against Coppertop, I mean, Honey Badger. He's going to make at least one big play, but let's just hope it isn't a backbreaker at the worst possible time.

  • Finally, my biggest key is the one that has been touched on every time this matchup has been discussed: protecting Murray. Our OL, for all it's girth, hasn't exactly reminded anyone of vintage Nebraska OLs. They're going to have to play the game of their lives in 2 days. If Murray's on his back all night like a Kardashian, we don't stand a chance. If he's running for his life to make throws, I don't like the odds vs. that secondary. If he's running for yardage, I hope he hears Bobo & everyone in the stands (and at home) yelling, "SLIDE!" If he's able to get just enough time to let the receivers run their routes and get some space, that will open the door for some textbook clock-eating by Richt. Having said that, I feel more comfortable with that aspect than I do running the ball. Who knows, maybe our OL will play out of their minds, open up holes for Crowell, protect Murray like the secret service and wear out LSU's DL, but that's asking a lot. This really concerns me.

  • LSU is the best team in the country. They're battle tested this year. They have their sights on the BCS championship (and will likely go even if they lose this game). We have ripped off 10 in a row and are here for the first time in 6 years. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I hope we play that way, too.

I'll have a prediction up tomorrow.


GO DAWGS! BEAT THEM CORNDOGS!