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.


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 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!


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. 


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!


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!




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.


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


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.

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.


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 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?


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.

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.

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.  

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'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?