Monday, December 31, 2012

Capital One Thoughts






When this matchup was announced, I felt really good about it.  I've only seen Nebraska play here and there this year, but with both sides of the ball starting to click for us in the second half of the season, it seemed like we were in good shape.  But losing Jenkins for this game has me really worried.  Even though the conditioning has clearly been better this year, there have definitely been a couple of times where it seemed like our defensive front wore down late in the game.  Obviously the SECCG jumps to mind, but even the Florida game jumps to my mind as well...........Florida had actually driven the ball down the field pretty easily on us on that last drive, we were just fortunate that Jarvis was able to get in there and make a great play to knock the ball loose at the goal line.  But we were getting no push from the line at the end.

So, for me, I'd love to see us come out and jump on them early.  If we can put 21 points on the board by the early part of the 2nd quarter without giving up much, I like us going away.  But if it is still close going into the 4th quarter, we're gonna have a mess on our hands, and it will probably be up to the offense to win the game for us (this is the scenario I think is more likely).  I think they'll be able to move the ball on our defense, but I'm banking on our defense being opportunistic and making 2 or 3 big plays to give us a couple of extra possessions in the game and hopefully close the game out at the end. 

I'm going to say we win 38-31, with Jarvis making the biggest opportunistic play of the day, a sack on the game's final play to (A) seal the victory and (B) break Pollack's record.  How fitting of an ending would that be to his UGA career? 

This game is very big for the perception of UGA nationally.  Lose to Nebraska after the way they got blown out against Wisconsin, and all the doubters in the media are going to be right back where they were after the SC game.  The UF victory and playing 'Bama to a near standstill have pushed us in the right direction, now it's time to build on that with a solid out of conference victory.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  And GO DAWGS!

-Rev.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SECCG fence riding thoughts

Looking back through the season, it's hard to get a strong feeling either way.  All phases have had ups and downs throughout the season, playing lights out some games and other times looking like the lights weren’t on (both result in being in the dark but have interestingly different meanings).

Last year’s SECCG went as expected and I walked out of the Dome thinking that if one thing doesn’t change, the championship drought will continue .  That one thing is Aaron making critically bad decisions in big games.  There were some bad drops in last year’s game but 16 for 40 with 2 picks and 163 yards usually won’t result in a W.  If you have that many attempts, you're either behind or in a shootout and if it's a shootout, you better have more completions and yards then that.  By all indications, he is one of the hardest working guys on the team, has been studying football for a long time, and been lucky enough to spend time with some NFL greats during his football life but has so far proven that he struggles in big games.  Listen, he’s solely responsible for a few wins over his 3 years but he’s also played a huge role in most of the loses by not protecting the ball. 

I left the South Carolina game in disgust of both Aaron and the defense.  It’s almost impossible for a player with his talent to have 31 attempts and only 11 completions for 109 yards.  Add in another terrible game against Florida (3 picks, 50% completion, and 150 yards) and it is cause for concern.  7 interceptions  in 3 games versus Florida (2 wins).  In recent years, the Dawgs have proven they can win some shootouts if the defense doesn’t play well but securing victories without the offense playing well is a rare occurrence. I'm not trying to kill Aaron here but simply stating that the fate in Saturday's game is literally in his hands and he must prove that all his hard work and skill can show up in a huge game. 

Winning this game comes down to 2 things: 
  1.  the offense can’t GIVE UP points (that includes turnovers starting Bama inside our 40) and
  2. special teams must be close to even, looking right at you Morgan
Bottom Line…We CAN win this game if the defense plays poorly but there’s no chance if the offense does. 

BTW - dawgs getting love on The Dan Patrick Show this week.  Tony Dungy gave high praise to Aaron on Monday, Andy Staples did the same today with Jarvis, and CMR is scheduled to be on the show tomorrow (11/29).  All interviews are on the show page. 

-Simple

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stats, Stats, Stats....Stats, Stats,Stats

Curious where we rank in stats, check out the SEC page.  Looking through both the team and individual stats, the only thing that sticks out is just how mediocre we are statistically speaking. 

I think this speaks to our inconsistency in all phases.  The big spikes in each direction throughout the season create average numbers.  There's no doubt that if we ever put it all together in a complete game, we can dominate good teams and be an elite team. 

One truth that is concerning is that the offense played poorly in the 2 games against borderline great defenses generating well under 300 yards of total offense in both games.  Assuming we take care of business this weekend, we'll see the best defense in the country and the only chance we have of winning that game is for the offense to play better.  The defense has been inconsistent too this year but they've shown the capability to shut down good teams at times over recent years.  It's been a while since the offense exploded against a great defense.  I'm not saying we have to score 30 on Bama to win but Aaron can't have multiple turnovers and we have to convert some 3rd downs.

Very happy to be playing such meaningful games this late in the season but still humbled by the beating we took in Columbia.   Remember that was only 4 games ago.  3 games ago the defense gave up 200 yards of rushing and 24 points to a team ranked over a 100 nationally in all offensive categories, didn't score against Vanderbilt or Florida, lost by 42 to Arkansas, and got beat by Western Kentucky.  We're in a great position considering how we've played at times this year.  Let's hope this team is starting to get everything cooking at the right time like last year's NY Giants or the Packers from 2 years ago. 

-Simple

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Backing In...or Plowing Ahead

If the Gators beat the Cocks this Saturday (3:30 on CBS) and we beat the Gators the following Saturday (ditto, of course), we will be in the driver's seat for the SEC East crown.
After the Cocks deflowered us on prime time TV last week, I will freely admit I had no interest in backing into the SECCG.  (I also had a lot of other strong feelings about the program, but we won't get into that now.)
Last night was a very sobering reminder that we aren't (or simply haven't shown that we are) on SC's level based on how tough they looked vs. LSU.  That was a helluva game no matter who you were pulling for, but the SC loss obviously benefits us.
I honestly don't think UF can beat SC, but it is in The Swamp and it is SC.  I don't expect it, but it wouldn't surprise me, either.

Having said all that, if the Gators win and we beat them, are you just as fired up to get to face either Bama or LSU in the SECCG or are you still on the "we didn't earn it" side of the fence?

What will change my outlook is if we throttle UK (and look nasty and pissed off doing so) and then play extremely well vs. UF. 
If we look shaky vs. UF, that will give me pause.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Morning Coming Down

Every Dawg Blog in the blogosphere has given their thoughts on the game, so I'm not going to go into how disappointing it was other than give my take.  Comment on it if you so desire:

That looked like a Jim Donnan-coached team Saturday night.  All the talent in the world.  Had feasted on lesser or equal competition up to that game and completely got embarrassed and dominated on a national stage.

I guess we'll see how or if they rebound from here.
A lot was at stake.
A lot might be lost.
Fan devotion was tested.

We'll see what happens.

Above all else, GO DAWGS.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nervous

Feelings for this game are running the gamut across Bulldog Nation:  nervous, excited, confident, flatulent, optimistic, etc.

Me?  I'm nervous.  I don't doubt our ability to show up and man up.  I don't doubt our ability to score on them.  I don't doubt our ability to stop them in certain situations.
Yet, I'm nervous.  It's a good nervous like I know we're capable of beating them and damn sure might, as opposed to the taco fart nervous.
I'm concerned about special teams, costly TOs and protecting Murray.  That's it.

Rev thinks we're 2 TDs better than them and isn't afraid to say it while wearing his Clemson ernge.

Simple Man is nervous, but still thinks we'll win (not to mention that he'll be there live and in person).

Faithful reader Reeder 3:16 has already beat his wife and kicked his dog just out of pure angst.

How do you feel?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Can We Beat South Carolina?



I think it's safe to say both squads suffered from "looking ahead" syndrome this past week, but should be completely focused and on task this week.  If not, they need to quit and pursue another field of endeavor.
This is the the biggest game in several years for Bulldog Nation and it feels good to be sitting pretty.  We're healthy.  We have everyone available for action on both sides of the ball (ahem, Tree & Rambo).  GameDay will be there.  Chris Fowler will have his I HATE UGA shirt on.  Corso will put a penis on his head at the end.  We come in as 2.5 pt underdogs.  #5 vs. #6.  Yeah come on.

Now, we just surrendered 44 points to UT.  There is collective head scratching going on despite Grantham saying we played well.  We couldn't stop the run.  We couldn't get to Bray.
We didn't look good at all (in terms of what was actually expected entering the game) unless you subscribe to the theory that we didn't want to show all our cards on D (which I don't buy at this point in the season).  I think we got UT's very best effort combined with looking ahead on our part.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

3 years ago, we surrendered 45 points to UT and it served as the lowest point in the Mark Richt Era (perfectly put at the GA Sports Blog by TD).
Granted, things are much, much different now, but I don't like our chances of hanging 51 on SC if we give up 44 to them.  Not.  At.  All.

Matchup-wise, we're pretty even, but what scares me the most are their monster DE's and our green guys on the OL (especially Theus).  Murray might not have all the time in the world to throw and we really need to take advantage of their suspect secondary.  Our OL is going to have their work cut out for them to open up holes for Gurshall, etc.  The same goes for their OL vs. our DL (at least I hope so), but with heat coming on both sides and the line struggling to open things up could spell disaster.

I'm expecting a tight, low-scoring game and like our chances without special team disasters or costly TO's.

They'll be more preview-wise this week, but that's my take on it right now.

Thoughts?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nocturnal Cock Flogging

Made ya look!

ESPN will televise our HUGE game vs. the Cocks @ 7:00 on 10/6 as CBS nabbed LSU @ UF at 3:30.

I'm not going to quibble, but our game is much, much bigger than theirs.
I guess the Gators are still a draw and everyone wants to see another 12-10 slugfest.

GO DAWGS!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Frivolities

The longest week since last week is coming to a close today, so let's celebrate with some Friday Frivolities (it's 5 o'clock somewhere, but not here...yet).

NBC had their night of premieres last night & The Office opened their final season with an edgier Andy.  We all know people with no edge to them and when they act like they have one, they typically get shot down pretty quickly.
It looks like Jim is ready to bolt for greener pastures as he realized the new guy they were comparing him to has no future there and will just settle in and slug forward day by day.  That reminded me of one of his all time best lines:  if I ever leave this place, what am I going to do with all this useless knowledge?
I'm looking forward to the Dwight/Little Dwight dynamic, too.

Parks & Recreation had an entertaining premiere, as well, and it's all due to the great Ron Swanson.   I want him to run a BBQ at my next tailgate.

Parenthood & Sons of Anarchy had strong 2nd eps and set the table for the rest of the season with a breast cancer angle in the former and the slow downward spiral of Tig in the latter.

As for the grudge match tomorrow, I honestly expect some chippy play in spots, a few unsportsmanlike penalties, it to be somewhat close thru the 3rd before us putting them away & winning 27-14.
As I said earlier in the week, I'd love to have a replay of the 2004 LSU beat down, but I don't expect it.  Do you?

Onward & upward and GO DAWGS.

Monday, September 17, 2012

UT Game on CBS @ 3:30

UT outlets are Tweeting that the 9/29 game will be shown on CBS @ 3:30.
I thought for sure that with their debacle vs. the Gators that we'd have another early or late game, but there's really not another attractive alternative that day.

Let's beat that ass.

Steel Cage Match



Putting on my Captain Obvious Hat here, had last year's chippy (choppy, if you will) play and Franklin's post-game fireworks with Grantham not taken place, we would be looking at this week's game as another conference win to notch in our belt and regard them as a solid, yet unspectacular team that we cannot take lightly.

Well, this is going to be more than that.  I've read and heard all the grumbling about how our D looked early vs. the Owls.  Well, we were missing/resting some starters and I'm still going w/ the theory that we kept things vanilla and gave some other guys some reps.

Speaking of, Vasser looked sharp in his return.  This is doing nothing but building depth.  Should more injuries, late night left-handed Luckies cravings, etc., hit, this will help.  Gotta love the youth movement at work here and the guys getting the opportunities are taking full advantage.
I have no idea if Tree &/or Rambo will be back or not, but I don't expect to see either of them until UT.
Quite frankly, I'm tired of worrying about it.

Back to my original point, do you guys remember in 2004 when LSU rolled into town after shellacking us in the SECCG?  Remember that ass whipping we laid on them?  THAT is what I want to see Saturday.

I just thought I'd let y'all know.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Looking Ahead to the Weekend

Finally Friday, good gracious this week seemed to last forever.  I wasn't able to make the Buffalo game, so I'm looking forward to seeing the Dawgs in person for the first time this year, even if it is against a team that barely beat Wagner (honestly, who among you can claim to have ever heard of the Wagner Seahawks before?  I can't.)  I'm torn when it comes to our scheduling............I hate having crappy out of conference games, but I also understand how difficult the season as a whole is.  Teams used to get 2 bye weeks every year until it went to 12 regular season games, so now with the longer season it's important to have some of these lesser teams on the schedule so they can count toward suspensions give the top guys a chance to hopefully have an easy week, and get reps for the younger guys.  I just hope that we don't dilly-dally around with these guys.  The game should be over by halftime, and we shouldn't see Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones, etc anything past about the mid point of the 3rd quarter.  If our entire first string is off the field for the entirety of the 4th quarter, I'll view this game as a total success.

Here are the other games I find of interest this weekend:

Wake Forest vs FSU: This is the 'Noles first real challenge this year.........at least a challenge in the way that Vandy is a challenge.  Except Wake has beaten FSU three out of the last five times they've played.  Last year I felt that FSU was the most overrated team in the preseason (South Carolina was my pick this year), and I ended up being pretty much spot on.  But I think they're the real deal this time around.  I'm not ready to put them in the National Title game or anything yet, but I think Jimbo has the best FSU team we've seen in a long time.  Wake hangs around for two and a half, maybe 3 quarters, but FSU wins this one going away, setting up a likely top-10 matchup with Clemson the following week.

Louisville vs UNC:  I don't really care much about either of these teams, but Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater has put up some ridiculous stats the first couple of weeks, so I'm curious to see if he can continue that pace.  In 2 games he has an 81.7% completion percentage!  Most QB's never have a single game with that type of percentage, and he's maintained it for 2 weeks.  Louisville wins this fairly handily, but Bridgewater will make it worth flipping over to the game for a while.

Notre Dame vs Michigan State:  I'm a big believer in Michigan State, especially their defense.  If their young QB starts to figure out the passing game to get their offense going, they could be in for a special year.  I think they win this game by two touchdowns.

Florida vs Tennessee:  No shocking revelations here......the Vols clearly have the better offense, Florida the better defense.  In games where Cam Newton isn't playing, I always take the better defense.  So, my pick on this one goes to the Gators.  I don't think Tennessee is quite as good as they've appeared thus far, and I think that the true Gators form is closer to what we saw in the 2nd half of the A&M game, as opposed to the prior game and a half.  I've got Florida by 10 in this one.

ULM vs Auburn: I'm actually not predicting the demise of the War Tiggers on this one.  I think QB Kiehl Frazier rebounds to have a decent game, and Auburn plays well enough to control the tempo and win this one. 

Alabama vs Arkansas:  I don't think anyone in their right minds is picking against 'Bama on this one, whether Tyler Wilson plays or not (and I think it would be a huge disservice to Wilson if Arkansas does allow him to play).  This one's gonna be ugly, RTR.

Arizona State vs Missouri:  I'm curious to see what Mizzou looks like coming off of their game against us.  I have not seen ASU play yet this year, but my sense is that ASU is gonna win this one, which will take a little luster off of our victory over the Tigers.  Mizzou expended so much emotion and energy before and during our game, it just wouldn't surprise me for them to be pretty flat coming out in this game.  Plus, we left them a little beat up physically.  Again, I haven't watched ASU this year, but my gut tells me that they win this one.  Let's just hope Missouri can get hyped back up for their visit to the 'Cocks the following week.

Hope everybody has a safe and fun weekend, and GO DAWGS!

-Rev.


Friday Frivolities


Happy Friday, er'body!
All is right in Bulldog Nation as we sit at 2-0 and welcoming (un)mighty Florida Atlantic to Sanford Stadium tomorrow that should serve as nothing more than a tune up for Dandy Vandy, i.e. a game-like practice.
Let's hope the O gets good, meaningful reps and the D, well, does their thing.

I have no idea whether or not to expect Ogletree back and don't expect to see Rambo, but there's no need in worrying about that until next week.  Let's just keep our boys healthy and keep on keeping on.

My prediction:
UGA:  48
FAU:  14

As far as Florida @ Tennessee, I won't be pulling for the Vols to win as much as I'll be pulling for the Gators to lose.  That's the only way I can do it.

If you'll recall, the Friday Frivolities have been used here at OTA to review the week in TV, movies, etc.
Well, there were 2 premieres of shows this week that I religiously follow and they did not disappoint:
Sons of Anarchy opened season 5 with a doozy.  Things are clearly on the downward slope for SAMCRO as Jax has taken over for Clay and they've become entangled with easily the most dangerous gangster/gang leader yet in Mr. Pope.  Tig's comeuppance for murdering Pope's daughter at the end of last season as a retaliation for (what he thought) one of Pope's guys shooting Clay was one of the most difficult scenes I've ever watched.  I got up and hugged my kids that night, people.  Wow.  This is not going to end well for Clay, either.

Parenthood is still clinging to life and is still one of the best shows on TV.  That show nails the difficulties of not only raising kids, but dealing with family.  They only have 15 episodes this season and I plan on enjoying every one.  I feel sure that it's head will be on the chopping block every week while Honey Doo Doo Child continues to draw monster ratings.  Oh, the humanity.

Onward & upward...and GO DAWGS!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lessons learned in MIZ-ZOU

COMO (Columbia, MO) is a great college town.  It's set up a lot like Athens where the north part of campus and the downtown area meet.  Both the campus and the downtown area remind me a lot of Athens.....just smaller.  Downtown is laid out in a grid and very easy to walk the whole thing.  The campus is also easy to walk around and has a UGA feel but the buildings are all different.  Our buildings around campus have different designs based on what section of campus they reside and when they were built.  The buildings across Mizzou are just different all over.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good road trip.

Columbia and Jefferson City (where we stayed) are all Chiefs and Cardinals.  Not a lot of Rams or Royals fans around.  

***Update, I also discovered one of America's great college mascots on the trip.  The Central Missouri Mules.  That's right, the Mules.  Colors of red and white.  Solid.

It rained all day Friday and cleared up just in time for Corey Smith and his outdoor concert Friday night, which was in the immortal words of a great friend of ours, "A+".

The tailgating scene wasn't bad but needs work to get up to SEC caliber.  All the fans I ran into were very nice and just happy to be in the SEC.  I didn't hear much trash talking going at all on either side.  I can only hope our fans show the same class next year when they come to Athens. 

They only seem to have one chant - half the fans M-I-Z and the other half Z-O-U and the "waltz" thing the fans did heading into the 4th quarter was just plain bad.  The stadium is nice but feels smaller then the seating capacity says.  It only has one level and it doesn't go up very high like a big 10 stadium.  It can get loud but nowhere near a South Carolina or the Swamp or even a Tennessee (I've always thought LSU and Auburn are the 2 loudest I've ever been in).

On to the game
The biggest thing I learned from the game is that we don't have to play a perfect game to beat a decent team by 3 touchdowns.  Going in, I really thought we had to play a close to flawless game to win and I was wrong.
  • Franklin had an awful game passing the ball, he missed a lot of guys badly.  He had the 2 big pass plays for TDs but that was it. 
  • Me and the guys I were around couldn't understand why we stopped running the ball in the second half.  We were getting 3 yards a clip every time we ran the ball but we just abandoned it.  And when we did run, it was in shotgun and hardly ever in the I, which seemed to work just fine.  Aaron got on a roll in the second half and looked good but I just don't get why 3 yards rushing is viewed as a negative.  It worked this game because Aaron and WRs were clicking but we've often seem where Aaron gets cold and misses a bunch in a row.  More of an observation than a complaint.  The offense was good but not great, the defense gave them unreal field position many many times.  
  • Defense was very good.  A couple of busted plays and 20 points against that team was excellent.  They were put in a bad position a couple of times with turnovers and held nicely.  They really played a great game considering the players that were missing and the offense they played in a big road game.  Missouri is a decent team and I expect them to give Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina all they can handle and win 2 of those games.  
  • Not sure what to say about special teams, good and bad again. 
  • Our offense still can't put anyone away but Jarvis can.  We're up 24-20, stop a fake punt and get great field position.  Chance to put it away = 3 points to keep it a TD game.  Defense holds, Gurley busts a huge run to get us to midfield and offense has another chance to put it away =  punt.  
  • The game was going very close to what I predicted until Jarvis took over and turned a tight game into a 3 TD blowout win. 
  • I would have taken a 3-2 win, so I'm very happy with the result, especially knowing that we won a tough road game and have room to get a lot better.  Very positive and happy that we got through this one.  We SHOULD only get better from here.  
And finally,
The Falcons defense looked pretty bad for a half but the team blew doors and completed an absolutely perfect weekend for me.  Chiefs fans are intense for a pro atmosphere and if anyone thinks that UGA fans are the only ones that turn on their team, you're wrong.  I got to see it first hand last year here with the Broncos and on Sunday with the Chiefs.  They went from Super Bowl bound in the first half to worst team in the league by the end of the game and ready to draft Matt Barkley. 

-Simple

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mizzou Recap

There's a lot of things that can be taken from this game, both good and bad, but here's the thing that made me the most happy about last night...........For the first time in a LONG, LONG time, UGA appeared to clearly be the better conditioned team in the 4th quarter.  The defense was on the field for 91 plays last night, plus the special teams plays that have a lot of the defenders on them, plus the game just seemed to last FOREVER, yet our defense just kept stepping up and making plays.  At no point did I ever get the sense that we were starting to wear down, and that is a refreshing change.  The new guys that Joe T. and Richt brought onto the staff this year are clearly paying dividends.

Now onto the rest of my observations, as much as I can remember through my Malbec-induced headache this morning.

- We found out that no matter how highly rated they are, true freshmen are still going to play like true freshmen sometimes.  I lost count of the total number of false starts between Theus, Gurley, and I think Marshall may have even had one.  Gurley dropped a perfectly good toss on his first touch of the game.  And Theus got abused in pass protection most of the night.

- Speaking of Theus' pass protection, I hope that was due to some combination of the bad ankle and/or the false starts causing him to be a little gun shy off the snap.  I kept having flashbacks of Justin Anderson out there last night, and I wasn't expecting that.  But I'm going to chalk this one up to a kid playing his first SEC game, his first SEC road game, and doing it on a bum ankle.  I look to see pretty significant improvement from him as the season wears on.

- Every year we've heard how great Marlon Brown has looked during the preseason, only to have him disappear once the season started.  And I gotta admit, when he had to sit out last week with a bad hammy, my first thought was "Here we go again".  But that was a big time performance by Brown last night.  Michael Bennett had an uncharacteristic off night, with multiple drops, but Brown stepped up and snagged everything that came to him.  Bennett has proven his abilities, I have no doubt that last night was just an aberration, and I am excited to see our offense develop over the season with those two as reliable possession receivers, and King and Wooten (and possibly Mitchell) providing the home run threats.

- Murray finally settled down last night and did some good things once he got dialed in.  My Dad (Ugavet76) texted me early on that it seemed like Murray didn't trust his pass protection, and it definitely seemed like Murray was rushing things.  We saw the same thing as the Buffalo game where early on, he was just high or long on everything down the field.  To be fair though, I'm not sure I would have trusted the pass protection either because the OL just wasn't very good early in the game.  As the OL settled down though, Murray did too, and he ended up with a solid game.

- Jarvis Jones is one bad dude.  His impact cannot be overstated.  He's one of those guys who makes plays that he doesn't even get credit for ---- for example, that fumble that was a result of a missed handoff between Franklin and the RB in the first half.  The RB was more worried about blocking Jones, Franklin seemed to hesitate on whether to handoff or keep it, and the next thing you know the ball is on the ground.  That goes down as a missed handoff rather than a forced fumble, but Jarvis totally made that happen.  That's what the great players do.....of course they make the sacks, tackles, etc, but they also force the opponent to make mental mistakes that don't necessarily show up on the stats.  I'll never understand what Southern Cal was thinking when they let Jarvis walk.

-  It will still be nice to get Ogletree back whenever he's off suspension, but I love watching Armalo Herrera play.  His pursuit to the ball at his size is a thing of beauty.

-  He's still a big dropoff from Rambo, but Connor Norman came up and made a couple of nice tackles last night and never appeared to be a liability in coverage.  His lack of range was evident on the play where Bowman got burned deep, but that was the only play that stood out to me with him in a negative way.  I was very worried about Mizzou finding a way to pick on him, but he played a solid game, and the pressure from our front 4 didn't give the Tigers a lot of opportunities to throw deep against our safeties.  I'm guessing that we'll see Sanders Commings lining up at the free safety spot now until Rambo is back, but Norman showed that he can fill in when needed.

- Overall I thought both coordinators did a good job.  I thought we'd see a little more blitzing from Grantham, but we were getting pressure all night from just a 4 man rush, so blitzing wasn't necessary.  Grantham seemed to have them figured out pretty early on.  I texted the other guys just before halftime that if our offense would get their heads on straight at halftime, we'd win the game by 17 points, because it was clear to me that our defense could hold them in check.  Of course, when our offense came out still playing awful early in the 2nd half and the defense gave up that big pass play, I was getting close to throwing in the towel, but from that point forward it was what I thought we were going to see coming out of halftime.  I thought Bobo called a good game.  Take away some of those uncharacteristic drops by our WR's, and the offense would have been on track a lot earlier in the game.  But Bobo was eventually able to get Murray into a rhythm and the offense converted on most of the opportunities given to them by the defense.

- Oh yeah, and to the outside observer, that call by Pinkel for the fake punt was an awful call, especially with such a long distance to gain for the first down.  But as we all know with our history of stopping fake punts, that was a reasonable call to make.  And if the blocker had gotten a better block on Samuel, it might have worked.  But that's why I'm glad to see the staff getting the more experienced players out there on special teams now.  Samuel read it, and there was no way he was going to be blocked.  He made the play whereas a walk-on in that same spot might have been blocked out of position.  Great job by Samuel, and great job by the coaching staff to have the right personnel out there.

In the end, it was a 3 touchdown victory in a game where many of the experts were picking us to lose.  In its present incarnation, this is still not an elite team, but it is a good team that still has a high ceiling of room for improvement, based on potential.  Whether they can move forward and fulfill that potential is still a huge question mark in my mind, however.  I really want to see what this team can do once everyone is both eligible and healthy, but we'll see if that point ever comes.  But for now, I'm looking forward to a fun tailgate and hopefully an easy game against FAU before we hit the real grind of the SEC schedule.

Go Dawgs!

-Rev.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Looking Ahead to the Weekend

Not an overly impressive slate of games to pick from this week.  We had some really interesting matchups last week for the opener, but this seems to be Cupcake Central across the country, even moreso than what we see in a typical opening weekend.  Last night's game between Pitt and Cincy was a snoozer, as Pitt fully lived down to everyone's expectations.  But here's the games I'm looking forward to tomorrow:

East Carolina vs USC(e):  If I were a South Carolina fan, this game would worry me to death.  The Pirates essentially run the Mike Leach offense, and have the ability to move the ball up and down the field.  And based on what we saw from Dylan Thompson (SC's backup QB) against Vandy, if Connor Shaw can't play, the better offense is likely to be on the ECU side of the field.  Ultimately I think the 'Cocks win this one, but it'll be a lot closer than they'd like.

Auburn vs Miss St:  For me, this is the game that will determine what I think of Auburn going forward.  They showed flashes of improvement against Clemson, but Van Gorder still has a long way to go towards getting that defense up to snuff, giving up over 300 yards rushing.  It will be interesting to see how they handle MSU's running game, and will also be interesting to see if MSU has expanded their playbook beyond the roughly 3 or 4 plays it seemed they ran all year last year.  I'm taking Auburn in this one.

Florida vs A&M:  Florida didn't look impressive in their opener, but the fact that they had an opener is a big advantage in my eyes.  A&M is going to be taking the field under totally different schemes with the new coaching staff without having had a chance to work out any of the kinks.  I'd love to pick the Aggies to win this one, but I think the Gators find a way to win an ugly game that comes down to the last seconds.

Kent State vs Kentucky: Ha, just kidding.

UGA vs Mizzou:  LC pretty much stole my thunder, I agree with everything he put in his prediction.  I fully expect them to come out and jump on us early, and expect us to be facing a 10-14 point deficit sometime early in the game.  I know we've been preparing for their offense all summer, but there's a big difference between practicing against your scout team trying to simulate an offense like Missouri's vs actually playing against Mizzou's first stringers who have mastered the tempo and precision of the offense.  I think it will take a few series for our guys to settle down and adjust to what Missouri is doing.  So then it becomes, how do we react and adjust?  I believe the veterans on the team will keep everyone's head in the game, and we'll be able to rally back and win in the end.  I'd love nothing more than to see us go out there and just flatten them like 'Bama did to Michigan last week, I just don't see that happening.  But in the end, I think we find a way to win this one.  But I'll be a lot more confident in that prediction if 'Tree and Rambo play.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and GO DAWGS!

-Rev

PULPWOOD RETURNS!

OH MY GOD!  THAT'S PULPWOOD'S MUSIC!

http://www.careerbuilder.com/monk-e-mail/?mId=43746883.2

Mizzou Prevoou

Well, it's finally here.  The SEC opener is tomorrow and it's always a day filled with excitement, yet a little bit of angst.
"What if we lose?"  "What if we win, but don't look impressive?"  "What if, etc?"  There's a lot on the line tomorrow, peeps.  More than you might realize:

Simple Man posted his preview yesterday and I am in complete agreement with him in that "something just doesn't feel right" about this game.
My feeling this entire week is that it is shaping up to be the perfect storm:  Missouri enters the SEC hosting the #7 team in the nation and is looking to make a statement.  Not just their first conference win, but their first conference win over a Top 10 team in a night game in a frenzied environment with lots of fanfare (I still can't fathom why GameDay chose to go to College Station, TX instead of here, but I digress).  I literally feel the stars are aligning for them to win.

But...

I don't think they will.  TD over at the GA Sports Blog did a great piece on Mizzou's offense.  Give it a read.  After you read it, tell me that you can't see Jarvis Jones making himself comfortable in their backfield.  Tell me you can't see our DL overpowering and eventually wearing down their OL.  Tell me you can't see our D doing their job, Ogletree or no Ogletree.  In no way do I think we'll shut them down, but I don't see them getting more than 24 (I see us getting burned on some deep balls and big plays by their BIG receivers).
We're going to see what kind of shape Mitchell's ankle is in and if he's even 90%, that's going to be very helpful.

Having said that (h/t Larry David), can our offense get more than 24?  I would hope so, but we're basing what we can do on what we saw vs. Buffalo.  Our OL should be able to open some holes and it's crystal clear what Gurley & Marshall can do when they get some space.  We have solid receivers and competent TEs at our disposal.

I don't mean to appear with a glass half full or half empty approach (because that sumbitch is going to be filled with Jack tomorrow all day long), but I'm expecting a flurry of excitement early, some big plays early and then it's up to us to weather the storm.  I don't think Mizzou is SEC-ready just yet, but let's just make sure they don't prove or think they are by beating us.

UGA 30
Mizzou 24

GO DAWGS.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Missouri thoughts

Flying out tomorrow to Kansas City for a full Georgia weekend.  I made a final decision to go a little late in the game, so the closest hotel I could find was in Jefferson City. 
  1. Friday night = Corey Smith concert
  2. Saturday night = time to tee it up between Kansas City and St. Louis #GODAWGS
  3. Sunday = let's see what all this Arrowhead Stadium talk is about  #GOFALCONS
 Arrowhead Stadium's exterior facade.
Key Points
  • Win 3rd down on both sides of the ball.  We need to have a lot of short 3rd downs on offense and most importantly, we have to get off the field on defense by winning 3rd down on that side of the ball.  
  • Turnovers - the total number is not quite as important as the type of turnover
  • Just try to break even on special teams, they look to have a pretty good return game and we must keep that in check.  Also, don't get burned on any fakes.
  • Coaching
We completely fell apart in the second game of the 2011 season.  Yes, this is a different season with some different players, but we have to play a "smart" game in order to win.  We dominated SC last year but somehow found a way to allow a mind-blowing number of catastrophic plays in one single game.  Even one of those in this game could be the difference.

This is a big game for us but it's HUGE for Missouri.  They want nothing more than to beat a top 10 team and defending SECEC  in their first SEC game ever.  Something just doesn't feel right to me about this game.

Prediction
If we are on the right side of my first 3 key points, we win going away.......BUT, I think we lose the special teams battle and make at least 1 bad turnover.  The defense will hold up just fine but simply be on the field too long.  Missouri just wants it more and makes one more play than us.  I'll be shocked if we don't make any mistakes and still lose.  They won't win the game as much as we lose it.
Tigers - 24
Dawgs - 21


Let the bashing begin.  I'll be there wearing my red and cheering as much as anyone but I have to be truthful here on what I feel.

Hope I'm very wrong because this whole trip will suck if I'm right.

-Simple  


Monday, September 3, 2012

So Bernie Got Me Thinking This Morning......

Bernie put up a thought provoking post this morning.  He puts out the possibility that we might see Rambo and Ogletree play this weekend, then be back on suspension for the FAU game.  My first thought when I read that was "Yeah right, that's wishful thinking".  But the more I chewed on it, Bernie just might be onto something.

Richt and McGarity have been steadfast in defending the drug policy of the school, which is more stringent than everyone in the conference except for Kentucky.  But what if the administration has decided that yes, it's worth having a more strict policy, but it would also be worth finding a way to not have it put you at a competitive disadvantage?  In other words, yes, you still suspend Rambo for 4 games, but you let Richt choose which games those would be, and they don't have to be in succession.  Certainly the fan bases of other schools will cry foul, but until their policies are as stringent as ours, would they really have a leg to stand on?  (And as a side note, it could be a factor that eventually pushes the conference toward adopting a standardized policy).

Mind you, I have absolutely no information that any of this is actually the case, again I'm just dwelling on what Bernie had postulated.  I think it has some credence as a possible reality.

How would you feel about it if this were the case?  Would you feel like UGA was compromising any integrity?  I personally don't have a problem with it.......to an extent.  I think the suspensions should have to be served within a certain time period, say within the first 6 games after being announced, or something along those lines.  Just as an example, I don't think it would be right for the Georgia Southern game to serve as a suspension game for penalties that were determined before the season started.  In the situation of Rambo, my guess is that would have him playing in the Missouri and SC games, but would have him sitting out Buffalo, FAU, Vandy, and Tennessee.

What do you guys think?  Do you think it's even possible that the administration would agree to this?  And if so, do you think it's a good idea?  What drawbacks do you see?

-Rev.


Buffalo thoughts

Full disclosure, I didn't watch the game live as I was up in the mountains again.  But I have watched it twice since.

Offense
Not bad overall, some sloppy play at times but that's to be expected with our teams.  The rushing average was poor for well over a half.  We had some longer runs later in the game that made that number look respectable in the final stats but when you have a big size advantage on the lines, you expect to control them a little better (more about that on the defense later).  Having said that, Aaron did have a lot of time to take plenty of shots deep and the running backs were not getting hit in the backfield very often at all.  Biggest positive on offense for me = zero turnovers.  Gurley obviously had a good game running the ball and Marshall has a fast first step.  Marshall seems to have a very quick burst but he'll need to break more tackles to become elite.  They all need to improve in passing assignments but that comes with experience.  With all the talent at RB, I really hope we get creative in using the guys and get them more involved in the passing game.  Hopefully, we were just saving some pass plays to the TE's and RB's for SEC play.  After all, this is Georgia football, I expect to see screen plays on 3rd and longs.  The ball needs to touch more than 4 guys in the passing game going forward.

Defense
I posted earlier in the week that I wasn't going to take too much from the D because it was game 1 against a bad team.  Obviously the running QB gave us a little trouble.  I wouldn't say it was as bad as everyone made it sound, at least to me.  He broke contain a handful of times and made some big plays but it wasn't like we were getting beat on the read option (which we'll see against S Carolina and the spread option version against Missouri) the whole game.  My biggest concern from the D was the lack of push.  We didn't spend a lot of time in the Bulls backfield which is a little worrisome.  I thought the tackling was decent for our first game but will have to get a little better, hopefully that comes with the return of some players.  Of course it would have been nice to get a turnover but it didn't look like we were taking a lot of chances and really kept the big plays down to a minimum.

Special Teams
Tough to grade as a unit because we saw good and bad.  Instead of breaking down every aspect, let's just say that my concerns from last year are still there and I'm still waiting for that warm fuzzy feeling when this group takes the field.

Overall - It was a win, which took us 3 games to get last year and like Rev said, a lot of teams did not impress this weekend.  Of course we have a long way to go to compete with an Alabama.  This week's game against Missouri is huge in so many ways.

Final Thoughts
I usually don't get a lot of things right, but here's 2 things that I said years ago:

  1. When Alabama hired Nick Saban, I told the guys that he was worth every penny and no amount of money was too much.
  2. After watching the first half of Ohio St and USC back in 2009, I texted the guys that Matt Barkley would win a Heisman.  He may leave UCS without one but the kid can play.  
-Simple

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Buffalo Recap

First off, it wasn't as bad as it seemed.  Yes, the team relaxed after we went up 24-6, and the defense gave up 2 really long drives and a third medium length drive in the first half, but I was impressed with how the team responded coming out of halftime.  Guys were going in and out of the game with cramps (Gurley was out with cramps as early as immediately after his TD on the kickoff return), we had the suspensions/injuries, and it was just a rough day due to the heat and humidity.  However, there were definitely some concerns that came out of this game:

1.  Depth - Richt has been maintaining all along that we still had plenty of players despite the shortage of scholarship athletes.  But today really reinforced how dangerously thin we are in some areas, especially in the secondary right now.  I felt like the guy we missed the most was Rambo.....God bless Connor Norman, I know he works hard and knows the defense backwards and forwards, but the guy just isn't an SEC-caliber athlete.  Especially in the first half, he got blocked out of seemingly every running play they had, whereas Rambo seems to always be there to clean up when a runner breaks through the line.  If Rambo's suspension really does end up being a lengthy one, I hope we see Corey Moore getting a shot back there.

2.  Murray continues to be streaky - overall, his numbers weren't that bad.  He was one completion short of 60%, had over 250 yards, 3 TD's, and no interceptions.  All in all, not a bad day's work.  But there's a difference between a guy with a 60% completion rate who completes 6 out of every 10 throws, and a guy who completes 12 straight passes, then misses the next 8 in a row........it's great when he's hot, but when he misses those next 8, it just takes all the momentum out of the game for your team (yes, I'm exaggerating a bit, he never had 8 straight misses or 12 straight completions, but he was very hot and cold).  Once he settled down, he definitely played better, and had a couple of nice deep throws, but I was really expecting a little more consistency from him yesterday.  But again, his overall stats were solid, so I'm not intending to be too critical, but I think everyone - including Murray himself - has higher expectations for him this year.

3.  Injuries - Yikes, Theus didn't look good hobbling off the field.  Mitchell was on crutches.  Malcome's hand.  If you'd asked me to list 5 guys we absolutely couldn't have injuries to, Mitchell and Theus definitely would have been on the list.  I hope the injuries aren't as bad as they looked.

4.  Defending against a mobile QB - Ok, I've seen it noted in several places that our coaches spent way more time preparing for Mizzou than they did for Buffalo.  However, Mizzou has a very mobile QB, so if we've been preparing to defend against that, then the 1st half defensive lapses are a little hard to explain.  I don't doubt that Grantham will have us ready to play a lot better this week, but it still makes you worry a bit.

Now for some of the positives:

1.  Todd Gurley - Don't think I need to say much here, other than he is now at the top of my list of guys we absolutely cannot have get injured.  Marshall wasn't quite as impressive, but wasn't a disappointment either.....he seemed a bit "stiff" at times, but as he gets more comfortable, I think both these guys are gonna be fun to watch.

2.  Jordan Jenkins - That kid is QUICK off the line.  He was blatantly held on one play in the first half after blowing by the tackle (I have no idea how that one wasn't called), and was in the backfield several other times throughout the game.  Grantham obviously feels like Jenkins still has a lot to learn because he was pretty much only on the field in passing situations, but he's going to fill in nicely whenever Jarvis Jones moves on to the NFL.

3.  Damian Swann - I was really impressed with him.  He looks big, strong, fast, and confident.

4.  We won pretty convincingly - look at the scores from around the country.  There were many less than impressive performances this week (SC, UF, Arky, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, etc).  But at the end of the day, we scored 45 points and the 4th quarter was just a formality, playing in some pretty rough heat/humidity.  The forecast in Columbia, MO this Saturday is calling for a high in the low 80's, so especially with a night kickoff, the conditions should be much better and I expect the team to look much sharper.

5.  Second half adjustments - the offense was still hot and cold in the 2nd half, but the defense came out and really shut things down.  Buffalo started moving the ball again when we were putting in all of our backups in the 4th quarter, but the first stringers definitely responded to what I'm sure was very gentle prodding by Grantham at halftime.

Ultimately, it was a solid win.  Would you categorize it as an "impressive" win?  No, not even close.  We must play much better if we're going to win in Columbia.  But there was nothing I saw that makes me worry too much either.  Think back to last year, about how much better we looked in Week 2 than we did in Week 1.  If we see a similar improvement this year (and Murray can avoid the turnovers he had in Week 2 last year), we're gonna be just fine.

What did you guys think?  What did I leave out?  How do you feel going into the Mizzou game after watching us play?

-Rev.


Friday, August 31, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Mitchell Out Tomorrow

As Bulldog Nation sits and waits to hear about the suspensions of Ogletree & Rambo, word just broke that Malcolm Mitchell sprained his left ankle in practice and will definitely miss tomorrow's game.

I think I speak for everyone when I say I hope it's mild and they're holding him out because it's Buffalo and not because it's a nasty sprain and he's iffy for Missouri.

Damn.  Just damn.

Looking Ahead to the Weekend

I haven't gotten around to doing a season prediction thing like we did last year, but I wanted to throw some thoughts out there for the weekend.  If I'm feeling especially motivated tonight, I may still put up a post for tomorrow morning about my thoughts going into the season as a whole, but I got into some Chardonnay last night during the SC-Vandy game, and I ended up drinking a little more than I intended to.  I ended up regaling LC and SimpleMan with a number of texts containing disparaging comments about the 'Cocks, the 'Dores, and Matt Millen.  Yep, Matt Millen.  I have no idea why I went off on Millen, but in my own mind it was quite amusing at the time.  Anywho, I've got a feeling I may have a hard time fighting to stay awake tonight after imbibing last night, so don't know if I'll get to that post or not.

But without further adieu, here's what I see happening this weekend:

Boise State vs Michigan State:  Both these teams beat us last year, and if this were last year, I might well pick the Broncos to win.  But I really think the Broncos are going to take a step back this year, they just lost so much talent due to graduation.  I know Michigan State is breaking in a new QB too, but that defense they're bringing back has the potential to be among the nation's best.  It won't be a blowout, but I see Sparty taking this one with about a 2 touchdown cushion.

Auburn vs Clemson:  I think this is going to be an ugly game to watch.  Clemson's got a fair amount of talent at the skill positions on offense, but a very suspect OL.  On defense, they're very, very young, and adjusting to a new DC.  But Auburn has plenty of their own question marks, most importantly at the QB position.  If Clemson had Watkins, I'd pick them to win comfortably, similar to last year.  But I think this one ends up really close, with a field goal at the end pushing Clemson to a close W.

Alabama vs Michigan:  Denard Robinson will get a few big plays early in this game, but you know Saban is going to make quick adjustments.  I'm no expert, but it would seem to me that against a guy like Robinson, you really don't want your DL getting a whole lot of penetration up the field.........rather, you want them to hold their lanes and just keep him in the pocket.  If 'Bama can turn Robinson into a pocket passer, they win this game with relative ease.  Brady Hoke has done some great things in the short time he's been in Ann Arbor, but I still gotta say RTR on this one.

Tennessee vs NC State:  I have no idea.  None.  Two very physically gifted passers in this one, surrounded by tons of question marks.  I'll pick the Vols just because of my SEC bias.  Conference homerism, baby!!!!

Nerds vs Va Tech:  All along I've thought I was going to pick the Hokies in this one, because it makes total sense.  The Jackets always struggle against teams that have extra time to prepare for them, they're going into a hostile environment, Al Groh is the new Ted Roof, and top to bottom Va Tech should be better...........but I don't know, I've just got this nagging feeling on this one.  I'm taking the Jackets in an upset.

Buffalo vs UGA:  It's going to be crazy hot, with approximately 143% humidity.  I'm putting the over/under at stoppages due to cramping at 4.5.  I hope the first stringers come out and put this game away early, and let the youngsters get a lot of 2nd half snaps.  I won't be there this week, but I'll be thinking of all you guys that are there losing 10 lbs of sweat while I'm watching the game on my tv.......in air conditioning.  Seriously though, I'm super pumped about seeing what some of our young guys on both sides of the ball can do, and just hoping for no injuries.

Let me know your thoughts on the games in the comments below.

Have a nice holiday weekend, people, and GO DAWGS!

-Rev.


Friday Frivolities



It's BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!
Not just the Friday Frivolities, but UGA Football.  It's about damn time, too.
I have tolerated all of the teeth gnashing over the Braves that I can handle from others.  It's time to gnash what's left of people's toofies on things that matter.

Hold on while I whip this thing out:  the Cocks failed to impress me last night.  Their secondary is as mediocre as advertised and their offense is nothing scary (granted it was just the first game, but it is what it is).  With Spurrier intent on killing Shaw by repeatedly sending he & his dead arm out there, he's clearly going all out this season (their next 2 games are against cupcakes and no way he was going to start out 0-1 in the SEC East race).  I thought Vandy did an admirable job of keeping Lattimore somewhat in check (or is he not the same player...yet?) and hanging in there, but they are what they are.

I'm not going to address the no call pass interference, but I was surprised Franklin didn't challenge it.

As for the Dawgs, there's no reason to expect anything less than a 30pt blowout and for the new guys and unproven guys to get meaningful reps. 

I hope we look somewhat competent on offense and our TBs show what they can do.

Today should also be the day that we hear about Ogletree & Rambo...I expect suspensions, but maybe not as lengthy as we anticipated.  If we were coached by Meyer, this would be a non-issue.  We aren't, obviously, but Richt's silence and refusal to even hint at anything could be telling.
I'm not for bending the rules, but we need those guys vs. Mizzou.  A special season is potentially in the offing, so like the team motto states:  NO REGRETS.

I will be beaching it this weekend for one final getaway, but will be following the game on my phone.
For those of you either going or watching at home, shout loud and proud.

GO DAWGS!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Columbia's

For now, the only 2 games I'm going to this season are both Columbia's.  Living in Colorado makes my gameday trips to Athens a little more expensive.  I have "connections" at South Carolina, so getting tickets to that game is usually pretty easy, but I did have to pay a nice penny to experience another Tiger environment a couple states over. 

I've been to Kansas City but know nothing of Missouri's Columbia.  Any suggestions of food or beverage establishments would be appreciated.  Hey, maybe I'll buy you a gurg (drink) if we bump into each other.

Friday night is planned as I'm pumped about seeing Mr. Corey Smith again.  
Mr Smith goes to Missouri

I have a very uneasy feeling about the Mizzou game.  In the early years of CMR, it seemed like we always found a way to win these early games against "outside" opponents and I always felt good about the Clemson's, Boise St's, Arizona St's, Oklahoma St's of the world.  But the last few years have not been good to us when it comes to these types of games.  I know Mizzou is now part of the SEC but let's be honest, it still feels like a big non-conference game....at least for this year for me.

I'll give my prediction next week but was curious how everyone else was feeling about the newest Dawgs vs Cats rivalry?

-Simple

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Season overview and Buffalo

The time has come to throw out some predictions that mean absolutely nothing.  Football is finally here. 
  •  The real USC slips up somewhere during the season.  The depth issue will get them at some point.  Still win the Pac something and finish top 5 but don't make the championship game.
  • Leaders and Legends produce a bunch of garbage this year.  No one finishes near the top of the final polls to sniff the crystal ball.
  • Big East is a joke.  What the hell, Temple wins it.
  • The ACC has to come down to Va Tech, Clemson, and FSU right????? I'll go with the only one I feel like I can trust, Va Tech.  They might sneak into the title game.   
  • I'm actually really interested in the Big 12 this year with the changes they made.  Having West Virginia and TCU in there is going to be fun to watch.  Conventional wisdom says go with OU, so I'm taking first timers West Virginia to win the crown.   
  • Finally the BIG BOYS.  It seems way too obvious that the champ comes out of the West again, but they do. It's very hard to repeat in this league, so I'll go with LSU.....oh wait, that is a repeat.  I think this is the year that the SEC really beats up on itself though and everyone has at least 2 losses.  
The SEC streak dies this year only because of the brutality of our conference.  West Virginia and Va Tech meet in one of the most exciting championship games and least watched in BCS history.  That area of the country will be very happy. 

As far as our Dawgs, we really should get to 10 wins again.  I don't like predicting out every game of the season but we are much better than most of the teams on our schedule and anything under 10 will be very disappointing to me.  Honestly 8-4 would be a disaster in my mind, 9-3 disappointing, 10-2 good season, 11-1, great season.  More than likely 11-1 would get us back to Atlanta for the SECCG and that's always considered a successful season.

However, I got us at 10-2 and losing a tiebreaker in the East.  Not sure if it's to Florida, South Carolina, or Missouri but I think we're just on the outside looking in (see what I did there).  Of course, as I always say when picking against us, I love being wrong.

Finally, the Buffalo game is just what we needed last year to start the season but I'll take a tune up this year before Missouri.  This team from the north is really bad.  My main interest will be on special teams and the receivers.  I'm not going to take much from the defensive side of the ball.  I know that unit is solid and won't care how they look.  If they give up yards/points, I'll just chalk it up to them not caring and if they completely shut them down, I'll be happy that they came fired up for a nobody. 

-Simple

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dawg Nibbles

Seth Emerson has some must-read goods up at his blog about where things stand thus far for the Dawgs.
I'm feeling better about the OL than I was a month ago, but the pups have got to stay healthy and continue to gel.  By all accounts, Coach Friend has done a tremendous job.

I just got my SI College Football Preview in the mail and lotsa love is given to the Tide.
As far as SEC rankings go, they have Bama #1, LSU #3, SC #7, us #9 (which I agree with), Arky #12 & AU #24.
Random blurbs from the mag:

  • The Tide & their new D players will need to adjust to Saban's defensive scheme early with tests vs. Michigan & Arky very early (games 1 & 3, respectively) in the sched.  
  • They think that JR S Eric Reed will be able to offset the loss of Copper Top for LSU & that Mettenberger will have a big year behind their experienced OL & the offense will be "amped up", which means they might get it past the 50 yard line at least once.
  • They feel that South Carolina will be in the hunt for not only the SEC title, but the BCS Championship, as well.  Putting on their Captain Obvious Hat, they point to our game on 10/6 being pivotal.
  • Most of the ink for us revolves around (what else) the suspensions and whether or not we can overcome them early.  Our D gets mad props, which it should, and Malcome is predicted to be our breakout player.
  • I think the loss of Petrino will be huge for Arky, but SI thinks they have a "genuine" shot at being undefeated.  Did I mention that they play LSU & Alabama?  And that they lost Petrino?  What do I know...
  • They rank the Nerds at #20, but no one cares.
  • They feel Aubarn is one year away...from another scandal.  All In...Their End Zone!
2.5 more weeks, peeps.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Brice Ramsey

ESPN is showing the competition for the Elite 11 and UGA commit Brice Ramsey is among the group trying to make the final 11.  I assume most of you know what this is since you're reading a UGA blog but in case you don't, it's basically a ranking of high school quarterbacks.  They all get invited to a camp to train with professional staffers, some NFL or ex NFL guys.

Stafford and Murray both were Elite 11.  Anyway, I believe the next episode is on Tuesday, August 14th on ESPN around 7 ET (check your local listing).  Aaron Murray was actually at the camp helping out this year so don't be surprised to catch a glimpse of him. 

Here's a quick interview with Brice at the camp

And a clip from the local tryouts 

And a profile from the camp and ESPN

-Simple

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sign Language

This is an interesting feature ESPN.com is doing showcasing certain teams' slogans on locker room, meeting room, etc., walls.
Ours is obviously "Finish the Drill!" & 2-way stud Malcolm Mitchell is interviewed.

Give it a look.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kolton Houston Case

This (h/t Seth Emerson) might be one of the damnedest things I've ever heard of.  I hope (trainer) Ron Courson's harsh wording in his reply carry some weight, but I doubt it.  This is the NCAA we're talking about, remember?

This is sad for a kid that waited for his chance, was competing for (and won in the spring) a starting spot on the OL at right guard and is getting held back for something as technical as this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mizzou tickets???

Looking for 2 tickets to the Mizzou game.  Making last ditch effort to get over there and see the game since this is as close at the Dawgs play to me these days.  It's right around the corner.

Also, does anyone know the sections we'll be in?  If I'm buying through Stub Hub, then I want to at least be close to our section(s).

-Simple

Monday, July 16, 2012

Official Kickoff Times for Weeks 1-3

You can find it here.

As for us, the nooner vs. Buffalo wasn't a surprise.  Mizzou HAD to be a night game, all things considered.
FAU, tho?  Wow.  7:30 Between the Hedges.  Could be a festive tailgate day.

6 more non-football Saturdays and it's GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kickoff Times

Kickoff times for the first 3 weeks of the forthcoming season will be announced by the SEC tomorrow a.m.
TD over at GA Sports Blog has his projections for our entire season and I think they're spot on.

If the Mizzou game isn't at night, I'm going to kick & scream like a petulant child in the midst of a furious Walmart fit.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Repeating football history

LC recently asked who we thought our biggest game was this year and I said SC because of a number of reasons.  It got me thinking if we had ever lost 3 in a row to the g-cocks and the answer is NO! 

We've lost 16 times to them over 100 years of football and 6 times they've beaten us in back to back years but never ever have they beat us 3 times in a row.  In fact, we've only lost 3 in a row to 18 teams in our football history and only 14 of those were over consecutive seasons.

Looking at overall records of opponents, South Carolina is closer to Kentucky and Vanderbilt than anyone else.  So in the most basic of terms, we need to put them back in their place.

A few more historical facts:
  •  Our only other meeting with Missouri was a 1960 Orange Bowl victory (14-0)
  • 10 years ago we went 13-1 and won the SEC
  • 20 years ago we went 10-2
  • 30 years ago we went 11-1 and won the SEC 
  • and 70 years ago, we won the 1942 National Championship
Here's to history and hoping that we can repeat some things.

-Simple

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thoughts on Crowell a Day Later

I didn't want to post anything about Crowell yesterday, because the knee-jerk reaction that I felt yesterday morning would have come across much more negatively than I probably would have liked.  I felt anger, I felt disappointment, and even embarrassment.  It was easy to sit there and think "How could he blow such a great opportunity?"  Then, as the day wore on, I began to realize that I was being pretty hypocritical.  I've blown more than one great opportunity in my life, especially when  I was younger, due to immature decision making.  And it was pretty hard dealing with those sorts of things within the limited exposure I had to family and friends, so I can't imagine what Crowell is going through right now with thousands and thousands of people judging and critiquing him.  So, long story short, I'm not going to kick the man while he's down.

I still believe that at his core, Isaiah is a good person.  Carrying a weapon (even if illegally obtained) does not automatically make you a bad person, especially if there is no intent to use the firearm for anything wrong (there's nothing to suggest he had the weapon with the intent to do anything).  Smoking marijuana does not make you a bad person.  Not being perceived as "tough enough" by your fan base does not make you a bad person.  What these things speak to, though, is really his greatest crime......which is just being extremely immature and not maximizing his talents.  However, maturity and the desire to excel are things that can still come over time, and I hope those things do come to Crowell.

I'm not trying to defend Crowell's actions or say he shouldn't have been dismissed........he left Richt no choice whatsoever but to dismiss him.  You may not be a bad person, but you still have to be held accountable for your actions and deal with the consequences.  I'm just saying that we shouldn't write him off as being a total waste or assume that he is destined for failure in life.  I hope he gets through the legal situation, is able to maybe catch on with a JUCO for a year, then go on to achieve his goals - whatever or wherever they may be.

On the positive side for us as fans, I feel more comfortable with the trio of Boo, Marshall, and Gurley right now than I did about the trio of Samuel, Crowell, and Thomas this time last year.  Whereas I only thought one of those guys last year had any upside as a tailback at all (Crowell), I feel that all 3 of the current guys have great upsides.  It sucks that all 3 will be on a pretty good learning curve (Boo still has a lot to learn too), but all reports indicate that the work ethic of those 3 is extremely high, so hopefully they'll pick up the nuances quickly.

We sure are cutting away any margin for error we had this year though.  Anymore major disciplinary issues or major injuries to one or two key players could derail us.  Let's hope the worst is behind us.

-Rev.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hiking - Blanca/Ellingwood

Link to latest hike, this one hurt.  Thoughts to anyone dealing with the wildfires out here or the flooding in my last home down in Tampa.  This hike was southwest of Denver about 4 hours away and right by the Great Sand Dunes.  It's a long way from anything but if you happen to have some time and want to see something cool, you should plan a trip to see them, it's pretty amazing.






-Simple

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pass me a beer

Beer video

Can you imagine how many beers (sodas) they went through testing these out.

Have a good weekend everyone, I'm heading up to the mountains for a week of hiking.

-Simple

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Biggest Game of Our Season?

Bernie over at BDB has a good post up today about what the biggest game of the season is for us and has 6 bloggers/fans/friends of his give their responses.
Not surprisingly, Mizzou, Florida & South Carolina are the 3 answers.

Obviously, Mizzou is huge because it's the first conference game.
Florida is obvious whether they're winless or undefeated entering the game.
South Carolina gets my vote, but it will become even more critical should we drop that first one on 9/8 (I don't think we will, depleted backfield be damned).

What about you, readers?
Who is it for you, Reeder?
Simple?
Rev?
Mulva?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tuck Fech

Those bastards.

10 of 11 & counting and I feel sure this will be bulletin board material when we host the virgins this season.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CMR era review - stats

*Disclaimer - these are my stats, so don't be shocked if something is off*

11 Years under CMR

Overall - win % of .736  and 7 of 11 seasons with at least 10 wins
106 wins  - 57 home, 37 away, 12 neutral
38 losses -  13 home, 10 away, 15 neutral


Conference - win % of .674 and 8 of 11 seasons over .500
62 wins   - 28 home, 29 away, 5 neutral
30 losses - 12 home, 8 away, 10 neutral

SEC Records  - 4 SEC Championship games, 2 titles


Record
Team W L
Alabama 3 1
Arkansas 5 1
Auburn 7 4
Florida 3 8
Kentucky 9 2
LSU 3 4
Mississippi St 3 1
Ole Miss 5 0
South Carolina 7 4
Tennessee 7 4
Vanderbilt 10 1

I must say outside of the Florida number, I'd take another 11 years of this, especially if 1 of them resulted in a National Title.  So fun fact from above, Ole Miss is the only SEC team that CMR is still perfect against.  We're also 10-1 against Georgia Tech, which is a very important number that can't be ignored. 

-Simple

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Merritt Hall?

Dawg fans, meet our starting FB.

Calm down, calm down.  This might not be the case in September or even 2 weeks from now, but this kid is either lighting folks up or Richt is trying to light a fire under someone else.

UGA favored

The vegas lines are out and we are one of four teams in the country currently favored in every game we play this fall.  The others are Oklahoma, LSU, and USC (the real one)

One of these is not like the other.  Yes, I think we'll be a good team but this has more to do with our schedule than how good the other 3 are predicted to be.  I am very happy to be favored though.......math will tell you that the favorite wins more times than not.  

I can understand how we are favored but won't be surprised if those numbers change in a few of the games as we get closer to the season, mainly thinking of Missouri and South Carolina early on.  **This is a gambling/betting statement and in no way is my personal opinion for those that want to lose their minds** 

Anytime you get mentioned with those 3 teams, it's probably a good thing.  And if we happen to play one of them this year (or early 2013), it also probably means we had a really good year.

-Simple


Monday, June 11, 2012

Early Summer Dawg Porn

This is a neat little read here about how we're favorites in our first 5 games (h/t sicemdawgs.com).

As you can imagine, we'll be going over those first few games in greater detail and excitement (or dread, depending on the volume of liquid in your glass) as the season approaches, especially the HUGE SEC opener @ Mizzou.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thoughts on McGarity and the New Contracts

So we finally got all the details on the new contracts for Richt and Grantham, and then got the surprise news of a new contract for McGarity as well.  The details of the contracts have been pretty well hashed out by everyone, so I won't take the time to list out the details.  But with these contracts for Richt and Grantham, I continue to be impressed with McGarity and his handling of the athletic department.

Richt's contract couldn't possibly have been done any better.  Though last year was a huge improvement, the overall performance of the team the last 4 years did not merit a raise on his base salary, but building in additional incentives was a nice gesture to both the coach and the fan base.  Dropping the buyout requirement on Richt's side was brilliant, because that then gave McGarity the leverage to significantly lower the buyout on the University's side, and the risk of Richt deciding to walk away for another job is pretty low anyway:
"I think the bottom line for me, gosh, I think I’ve been here long enough for everybody to understand … that Georgia’s my home. Georgia’s where I want to be. Georgia’s the only job I want."
The buyout on the University's side under Richt's previous contract though was just not something that could be repeated.  At the time that contract was signed, we all probably thought it was a great idea to have such a mutually large buyout in place, but once the program got off course, it was clear that having such a large buyout was a mistake.  I do believe that Richt has us back on the right course now, and I do want him to perform well enough to stay at UGA as long as he wants to be a coach, but even with last year's improvement, there is still a bit of lingering doubt in much of the fanbase right now, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't still have some doubts way in the back of my head too.  McGarity was right to address this by finding a way to lower the buyout.  He has said that he always wants his coaches to feel a sense of urgency, and while Richt is not a materialistic man, making a lot of money has to be something valuable to him because it will allow him to do the things he wants to do with supporting missionary work and other areas of ministry.  Having the additional incentives and the extra urgency from a lower buyout will help Richt to not let the program lose focus like it did in the 2006 - 2009 era.  Again, well done all the way around by McGarity.

As for Grantham's contract, I think it is pretty straightforward and right in line with what many of us expected.  I thought we might see something more like $850,000 - $900,000 annually based on the contracts signed by VanGorder, Chavis, and Smart, so at first I was a little surprised to see the figure of $825,000 until I saw the additional incentives that were built in.  It's hard to argue with McGarity's logic:
“With Todd’s new bonus structure, we feel like he’s right behind the two guys who have won national championships here in the last two or three years,” McGarity said. “We feel like it’s a fair deal.”
Agreed.  There are some protections built in to prevent Grantham from making a lateral move, though I don't see a potential lateral move (DC at another college) as a threat whether there is a buyout or not. Grantham has his eyes set on bigger things (NFL DC or college head coach), and he will get his opportunity.  I hope we can get at least 2 more years out of him, though his star is likely to be at its highest after the 2012 season considering how much talent we have coming back now and how much we lose for 2013.  Just look at Gus Malzahn....after their big season in 2010, he was arguably the hottest candidate in the country, and even had an SEC head coaching offer in hand that he rejected.  But after coaching another year without a stud like Newton running the show, Malzahn could barely get a sniff from any decent size schools, and ended up in a Sun Belt head coaching position instead - quite a change in scenery.  So it wouldn't surprise me if we lose Grantham after this year if the defense ends up being as good as we think it will, but it won't be because McGarity did anything wrong with his contract.  McGarity is making sure Grantham knows he is valued in Athens.

There's been a couple of other things that have stood out to me about McGarity as well.  I really liked how he was willing to shake things up by trying things like relocating the marching band.  But what impresses me even more is that he is willing to undo one of his own ideas like that when it doesn't work out, instead of being bullheaded about the decision.  He has for the most part been firm and assured in dealing with the various coaches and handling hiring of replacements.  There has been a bit of grumbling in his handling of the baseball coaching staff, but with everything else he has done, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.  He's taking a bit of a gamble by keeping Perno and allowing Perno to just reshuffle the existing assistant coaches, but he must see something there that is worth giving a shot.  In no way does McGarity strike me as being indecisive, so I trust that he has good reasons for retaining the Diamond Dawgs staff.

What do you guys think?  I've focused on the positives of McGarity in this post, but are there any things you would like to see him do differently?  Hope everyone has a great Sunday.

-Rev.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Climbing Back In The Saddle

Whew, it's been a while.  I've had a lot going on in my life these past few months that has kept me from having the time and energy needed to write, but I'm ready to get going again and see if we can crank this blog back up.  "Thank you" goes out to LC and SimpleMan, who have still been putting up some material in my absence.  And thanks to DawgFaithful for recently making sure our commenting system still works.  :)

I've hated sitting out recently, because this has been yet another active offseason.  Clearly we are going to see some changes in the postseason format, though the extent of those changes is yet to be determined.  Conference expansion still seems to be on a lot of people's minds.  McGarity, Richt, and Grantham all have new contracts.  Steve Spurrier apparently wants SEC exhibition games.  Adams has announced when his Imperial Reign time as the President will end.  Although my opinions will be a little late to the game, I plan on touching on all of these issues soon, then staying current going forward.

Kickoff will be here before we know it!



-Rev

Friday, June 8, 2012

Belmont

** BREAKING**  Per Trainer on Dan Patrick Show, I'll have another out for race.  Practice injury. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

UGA/UF Time Set (Well, duh!)

CBS has announced some kickoff times for the upcoming season, but none are really groundbreaking or surprising.
We should be set in stone @ 3:30 p.m. EST from now until the end of time for the WLOCP.

The other highlight on the sched is Bama @ LSU in primetime (8 p.m.) on 11/3.

It's just around the corner, folks.

GATA.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Week 16 PRR Training

Week 16 (3 days)
Final week of my plan.  I know the race isn't for another month but all you have to do is maintain from here, you already have the distance.  You can work on speed for a month.  
  1. jog 4 miles, only short walks when needed
  2. jog 4 miles, only short walks when needed
  3. jog 6.5 miles, only short walks when needed
Bonus Day
  • find a bar, grab some very unhealthy food, and have a beer
My Update: 

My race is this coming Sunday (6/10).  Garden of the Gods 10 miler.  Here's the situation again, I'm running this to qualify for an August race up Pikes Peak.  The 2 cutoffs are wave 1 < 1:30:00 and wave 2 < 2:30:00.  Normally, doing 10 miles under 90 minutes would be fairly easy for me, but in my current shape, I'll more than likely be looking at qualifying for wave 2, which is just fine with me. 

Mon - hiked La Plata Peak
Wed - 4 miles
Thurs - 6 miles
Sat - hiked Mt Sherman

-Simple