Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Checking out his highlights (I'm looking for some that I can embed here), he reminds me a lot of Knowshon in his running style, but he looks bigger than Knowshon.
Another plus here is that he is cousins with TJ Stripling, a DE prospect that the Dawgs really want, and there is also a rumor that he and fellow RB prospect Mack Brown might be a package deal...if this one leads to those two, it just makes this big news get even bigger!
- Checked out the Ron Moore (Creator/Producer of BSG) pilot/TV movie Virtuality on Friday night. This was originally meant to be a pilot, but then it didn't get picked up. So Fox decided to run it as a movie, even though there was no hope of any kind of storyline resolution (since it was intended as a PILOT), and then not promote it at all. Geniuses. It's a shame, too, because it was pretty good, as pilots go. Very interesting and thought provoking concept, which is why it obviously doesn't belong on American network TV. Hey, when does "More To Love" start?
Anyway, if you want to check it out (and all you BSG fans have to...you owe it to Moore and Taylor), you can check it out on Hulu....HERE.
- Just like a lot of people, I got caught up in the USA soccer hype over the weekend. I'm a little different than most in that I actually do watch the occasional soccer match, even when it's NOT the World Cup.
The 3-0 defeat of Egypt, the subsequent win over Spain (ranked #1 in the world), and the first half against Brazil were all good things for US soccer. They got a lot of attention and hype, in large part because these successes happened at a time when there is NOTHING going on in the sports world.
But, please...don't start with the whole "Now soccer will finally be a big deal in the United States" meme. We've heard it before:'94 World Cup, '96 Olympics, '02 World Cup...all of these were supposed to be some sort of "tipping point" when it came to the US sports fan embracing soccer. Not going to happen.
I've heard lots of reasons for this, including some really, really stupid ones...I actually heard somebody on the radio yesterday say that he couldn't get into it because the clock counts up instead of down. Seriously? Are you retarded? Why should that take more than about three seconds to adjust to?
Anyway, people point to the lack of scoring, or the somewhat nebulous and confusing rules, and I can buy that as to why it's never going to be football, baseball, or basketball. But I think it could be at the level of hockey if that were the only problem. But it's not.
The reason we at least sort of embrace hockey despite the lack of offense and confusing rules is that it is a sport played by MEN who behave like MEN. We admire hockey players for their toughness, and that helps sell the sport. Soccer players, especially the international ones, flop around like a bunch of pansies every time someone touches them, and the referees actually reward that behavior.
It's one of the main reasons the US will never be an international soccer power...we refuse to flop. It's 100% against our athletic DNA to actually ACT like we're hurt when we're not. In fact, we go in the complete opposite direction...NEVER let your opponent know you're hurt. And if you do get hurt, rub some dirt on that broken bone, walk that torn ligament off and get your butt back in the game. I hope we never change that mindset, but as long as we don't we are at a distinct disadvantage in international play.
I'll give Spain and Brazil credit, though...they are two of the very few international teams who don't do a lot of diving and flopping. Their mindset is to keep their feet, run through tackles and make plays, which is why the US/Spain and US/Brazil matches were so much more entertaining than watching, say, Italy. I hate those freaking pansies. Their entire strategy appears to be based on diving and flopping and drawing as many penalties as they can.
By the way, if the NBA doesn't get their referees under control, the international style of flopping and play-acting is going to ruin that sport as well.
OK, I promise...no more soccer talk until at LEAST the World Cup.
- Some quick Braves thoughts
- This is the worst hitting team we have had in at LEAST twenty years, especially with Chipper in his huge slump and Escobar on the bench with a sprained brain. There is absolutely no power in this lineup (Chipper leads the team with 9 HR, good for 38th in the NL).
- On the other hand, you can't ask for more out of the pitching staff than we are getting right now. Jurrjens and Vazquez both have ERA hovering around 3.00 and losing records, Kawakami hasn't allowed more than three runs in his last ten starts, and Tommy Hanson is the TRUTH (you heard it here first...or first-ish). He's 4-0 and hasn't allowed an earned run in 20 innings, including two starts against some pretty potent opposition (Yankees and Red Sox).
- Maybe it's time for Bobby to step aside...I think baseball managers in general are overvalued, but this is several years in a row now of diminishing performance. Time for a new voice, I think, and that means someone other than Terry Pendleton. Replacing Bobby with TP would just be a continuation of the same mindset.
- Dawg news:
- Dawgs now have 11 committments for the 2010 signing class. I have to admit, I've been a little concerned when I look at the star rankings and offer list from some of these early committments. From all reports, this is probably going to be another small recruiting class (probably closer to 20 rather than the norm of 25). Out of the 11, there are about 5-6 that are either not ranked or are ranked pretty low. I know, I know, trust the coaching staff. Believe me, I'm trying.
- We did get a committment from the Rivals.com #1 safety in the country, Alec Ogletree. Many analysts compare him to a taller Thomas Davis. I'll take it. Here's some footage, with h/t to Georgia Sports Blog...
- Also, another good article on Joe Cox at UGASports.com, with more references to his leadership ability. I am excited about his leadership, but I'm looking forward to when we can start talking about his play ON the field.
- Bubba 'n' Earl continue to do a great job counting down to kickoff...some very fun and creative stuff as they count down by the numbers.
- And, finally (cue wild applause), if you want a good way to lose several hours out of your day check out Flickchart.com. Discover your favorite movies, one agonizing decision at a time. My list is here, if you want to check it out.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Here's hoping for similar results...
GO DAWGS!!! 68 Days to kickoff!!!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
So, the starting line, as of right now, is:
LT - Sturdivant
LG - Vance
C - Jones
RG - Glenn
RT - Boling
Coach Searles likes to establish his starters early and get them as much work as a unit as possible, so I would say this has a pretty good chance of being the starting five in Stillwater. If both Sturdivant and Vance are healthy, this may be the best line we have had in the Richt era.
Not to mention a bench of: Chris Davis, Josh Davis, Justin Anderson, Tanner Strickland, Ben Harden, Dallas Lee, AJ Harmon, Jonathan Owens, and Chris Burnette. I'll take that.
Speaking of Burnette, I've been saying all along that he would probably redshirt, just due to the sheer volume of linemen on the roster. However, there have been several reports (from fellow players, since coaches can't be at practice yet) that he is looking very impressive. Maybe he works his way into the two-deep by the fall, but if he's not getting playing time early I still say we redshirt him.
We know Austin Long is almost definitely going to redshirt, due to injury. And I have been totally forgetting Kwame Geathers in all of this, but I completely expect him to redshirt (if he is academically qualified...did that happen already?).
I know I've mentioned this before, but I just enjoy bringing it up...out of all of these O-Linemen, only ONE (Vance) is a Senior this year. We bring back every one of these guys next year, as well as any recruits we bring in in 2010 (and we already have a good one in Benedict). Our starting O-Line NEXT season could be:
LT - Sturdivant (RS Junior)
LG - Anderson (RS Jr)
C - Jones (Jr)
RG - Glenn (Jr)
RT - Boling (Sr)
Bench would be: Harmon (RS Soph), C. Davis (Sr), J Davis (Sr), Lee (Soph), Burnette (RS Fr), Long (RS Fr), Geathers (RS Fr), Strickland (RS Jr), Owens (RS Soph), Harden (RS Jr), Benedict (Fr).
Wow. We only lose one starter off of that lineup, so the next season should set up even better, with a senior-laden starting five and TONS of quality depth.
I think it was after the 2003 season that Richt vowed to never go through another season like they just had...lost virtually the entire starting line after the '02 season and played with all freshemen and sophomores in 2003. It's taken a few years, and injuries have taken a toll, but it looks like he has finally made good on that promise.
72 DAYS!!! Happy Vince Vance Day!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
First of all, let me preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Joe Cox and I am really looking forward to seeing what he is going to do this year. His attitude during the time he's been on campus has made him one of my favorite Dawgs, even though his playing time has been limited.
But I want to talk a little about the REASON his playing time has been limited. There have been rumblings that this team will actually be better off with Joe Cox, with an implied "Good riddance" to Matthew Stafford...not HUGE rumblings, but enough that I noticed it.
My opinion is that Matthew Stafford is the best quarterback we've had at UGA since Fran Tarkenton. Period. Better than Greene. Better than Shockley (barely). Better than Zeier.
His detractors like to talk about unfulfilled potential and lack of big wins during his tenure...well, allow me to retort.
I'll grant you that it seems almost impossible that we didn't even PLAY in an SEC Championship Game while we had him and Knowshon, but let's look at the numbers...
Games I would consider "big wins":
Auburn '06: On the road against the number five team in the country, in what was shaping up as a disastrous season for the Dawgs. As a true freshman, Stafford goes 14/20 for 219 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT. Also, ran 11 times for 83 yards and a TD.
Georgia Tech '06: Remember, this was supposed to be the year that the gnats finally broke through against us...they were getting ready to play in the ACC Championship game, Bulldawg legend Reggie Ball was a senior, they had the best WR in college football, one of the best defenses in the country. After struggling for most of the day, Stafford drives us down the field on a 7 minute, 64 yard touchdown drive, culminating in a clutch 3rd down TD pass to MoMass, and providing probably the last truly great call from the legendary Larry Munson (on a related note...if somebody can find a link to the entire last drive, I would greatly appreciate it. The whole drive was just classic Munson, and I used to have the link, but I can't find it anywhere, even larrymunson.com).
Virginia Tech '06: I brought this one up a couple of weeks ago...posted here. But this was our third straight win against a ranked team, and served as the springboard to the '07 success. One of the greatest comebacks in Bulldawg history.
Alabama '07: ONE and DONE, baby!!!
Florida '07: Probably the biggest win of Stafford's career. This game is most notable for being Knowshon's breakout game (well, that and The Celebration), but Matt was 11/18 for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns (almost 20 yds per completion, and 12 yds per attempt).
Auburn '07: In what was definitely the trend, we beat Auburn up with the run, but Stafford was 11/19 for 235 yards and 2TD (21 yds per completion and 12 yds per attempt). The numbers from '07 are pretty telling...we were definitely a team that would beat you down with the run and then throw the deep ball off play action.
Hawaii '08: Yeah, it was Hawaii, but it was also a BCS bowl...Stafford was 14/23 for 175 yds.
Arizona State '08: First game west of the Mississippi for the Dawgs in about 50 years, national TV, many pundits predicted trouble for the Dawgs. Instead, it was no contest, and Stafford had a big night...16/28 for 285 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT.
LSU '08: On the road at the #13 team in the country, Stafford was 17/26 for 249 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT, and the Dawgs put up 52. We needed everything Stafford and the rest of the offense gave us, cause our defense gave no help. Dawgs win 52-38.
Yeah, the '08 wins are kind of weak...but also keep in mind that without his performance against Kentucky, then the season becomes a disaster rather than a disappointment. In Lexington, he went 17/27 for 376 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, and THIS:
That play shows the kind of athleticism that I don't know that Stafford gets credit for...as much as I love David Greene, if he's the QB there it's a sack.
As for those disappointing losses, let's look closer (I'm taking out the early '06 losses...he was a true freshman and wasn't even named the full time starter until about 4-5 games in):
South Carolina '07: Ugh. Plenty of blame to go around in this one, including a horrible game by our WR and TE corps and an inexplicable lack of touches by Knowshon...but Stafford definitely deserves his share. 19/44 for 213 yds (4.8 per attempt), 0 TD, 1 INT. Again, he got no help from his WR or TE, and the INT was on a desperation pass on the last drive, but still...this one was ugly.
UT '07: Dawgs get the ball first and go three and out...Stafford is 0/1. Defense allows the Vols to march right down the field and score, and it's 7-0. On the ensuing drive, Dawgs run 4 times, pass twice (Stafford is 1/2 on the drive) and then punt. Dawgs D force a punt on the next drive, but an illegal block on the return means we start at our own 12. Three straight rushes (including one of the infamous QB draws on 2nd and long) nets 8 yds and we punt. Two plays later it's 14-0 Vols, after the trick play for a 56 yd TD. Dawgs go three and out, get the punt blocked, Vols drive for another TD, 21-0, and the game is basically over.
I find it hard to put this one on Stafford. Our defense was just SHREDDED in the first half of this game, which took us totally out of what our strength was in '07. UT no longer had to worry about the running game, which rendered the play action game useless. We ended up being outgained 411-243, with a TOP deficit of around 12 minutes.
Alabama '08: Alabama gets the ball first, drives straight down the field, gets helped by a stupid Dawgs penalty, goes up 7-0. Dawgs get the ball back, pick up 2 quick first downs off two 13-yd completions, then bog down and have to punt. Alabama drives right down the field, helped by another stupid Dawg penalty, kick a field goal and it's 10-0. Dawgs go three and out (Stafford is 0/2 on the drive), Mimbs punts the ball freaking 19 YARDS, Alabama takes advantage of the short field, shreds our defense, scores a touchdown, and it's 17-0. Dawgs get the ball back, Stafford completes a pass to AJ Green, who fumbles. Alabama gets the ball, drives STRAIGHT DOWN THE FREAKING FIELD AGAIN, scores to make it 24-0. Ball game. Remind anyone of the UT '07 game?
Dawgs came back and almost made a game of this one in the second half, and Stafford ended up 24/42 for 274 yds, 2 TD, and one interception that came on the last play of the 1st half. He was running for his life for the whole game, as well, and was sacked multiple times.
This one was NOT on Stafford. Dawgs committed 10 penalties for 81 yards, and the defense allowed JOHN PARKER WILSON to go 13/16 for 205 yds, and basically rolled over and played dead the entire first half.
Florida '08: This one is tough...most people forget, the Dawgs were actually in this one early. Missed an early 37 yd field goal, which is when I started having a really bad feeling. After kicking a field goal to make it 7-3 Gayterds, we try a stupid onside kick that UF recovers and turns into 7 quick points, 14-3. We come right back down the field, stall out on the 10...and then miss ANOTHER field goal, this one from 27 yards.
To start the second half, defense stops them and forces a punt. We get the ball, drive to the UF 30, looks like we're about to make it a one score game...and Stafford throws a pick that gets returned all the way to our 1, UF punches it in and makes it 21-3. Ball game.
Lots of bad stuff in this one, including bad special teams play and a generally poor outing by the defense...but you can definitely point to that INT as the turning point in the game. Once we were down 21-3 in the third quarter, it was over. Didn't help that the defense made virtually no stops from that point on, but we would have had to score on pretty much every possession at that point. The Gayterds D knew that, and ended up picking off two more passes that would not have even been attempted under normal circumstances.
So this one is at least PARTIALLY on Stafford.
Tech '08: We ALL know where the blame for this one lies, and it ain't on Stafford. He ended up 24/39 for 407 yds and 5 TD. Defense COMPLETELY let the team down in this one.
So....bottom line? Stafford won more big games than he lost, and the majority of the losses during his tenure were for the most part out of his control. For his career, he was 564/987 (57.1%, including 61% his junior year), 51 TD, 33 INT (including 25/10 his junior year). Passer rating progression his three years was 109-129-154.
7-4 as a starter against the Big 4 (Auburn, Tech, UT, and Florida)...unfortunately, you'd be hard pressed to find a QB with that kind of record against those 4, at least in the non-Herschel era.
This turned out to be a lot longer (and a lot more cathartic, actually) than I originally intended, but some of the criticisms I have heard about Staff kind of ticked me off. He was and is a DGD, and we will miss him next year...anybody who says otherwise is engaging in some revisionist history, in my opinion.
I hope for nothing but the best for him in the NFL.
Now, bring on The Ginger Assassin!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
For those of us who ever spent any length of time in Downtown Athens, there are a lot of great memories in that old place, not to mention some great nights that we have no memory of.
In honor of the legendary old hangout, here is video of Corey Smith performing "Every Dawg Has His Day" at the Georgia Theater in February of last year (with some new lyrics celebrating the 2007 win in Jacksonville)...h/t to Ally, whose tweet I pulled this from.
Good times, good times....
BUT...as we get closer, there is one facet of this team that gives me cause for great optimism. And, as luck would have it, it also happens to be a CRUCIAL aspect to any team's failure or success:
Our offensive line has a chance to be TREMENDOUS.
Here is what I wrote about it back during Spring practice. The names in bold are the projected starters, although I may be ready to change some of those (see below).
Offensive line: Clint Boling, Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones, Chris Davis, Trinton Sturdivant, Vince Vance,Josh Davis, Justin Anderson, Tanner Strickland, Ben Harden, AJ Harmon, Jonathan Owens, Kevin Perez, Dallas Lee, Chris Burnette*, Austin Long*
OUTLOOK: Yeah, that's right. SIXTEEN offensive linemen on the Opening Day roster. Kudos to the coaching staff for taking a position that seemed to be a liability a couple of years ago and changing it into what I think may be the strength of the team this year. If we can ever keep this group even relatively healthy, then the possible question marks at QB and running back all of a sudden look a lot more promising.
Boling is the MVP of this group, in my opinion. He has been a do-everything guy...he's played every position except center (at least I don't THINK he's played center), and has played admirably everywhere we've put him. If we can ever put him somewhere and leave him (RT is my guess as to where he ends up), there is no telling what his potential can be.The rest are an impressive mix of size, athleticism, and nastiness.
Oh, and one more thing...of that group, only Vince Vance is a Senior, and only two of my projected starters (Boling and C. Davis) are Juniors...everybody else has at least two more years after this one. So you might assume that they are too young...except that with the injury problems we have had over the last couple of years, there is a LOT of experience in those younger groups as well.
Now, when I wrote that I was thinking the lineup would look something like this:
LT - Sturdivant
LG - C. Davis
C - Jones
RG - Glenn
RT - Boling
However, now that the G-Day game has come and gone, and just based on some of what I am reading, I'm thinking it may look something like this:
LT - Sturdivant
LG - Glenn/Boling
C - Jones
RG - Boling/Glenn
RT - J. Anderson
Not only will I take THAT group and whip yours 9 times out of 10, but I still have:
- AJ Harmon, J. Davis, C. Davis, Vance, Strickland, and Harden on the bench...I believe all of them except Harmon have started at some point.
- Owens, who redshirted last year.
- Dallas Lee, who I expect to see the field this year.
- Burnette and Long, both of whom I expect to redshirt, but will still be adding depth during practice.
- And Kevin Perez, who...adds depth, I guess.
See, now don't you feel better? I know I do...not saying I'm leaning towards 12-0 or anything, but with an OL like that there should be a lot less growing pains than there could be otherwise.
Check them out HERE.
I hope to be back later with some thoughts on the O-line, since we are in the "O-Line" portion of our countdown.
Only 78 days to go...Happy Josh Davis day!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Stallworth gets 30 days in jail in DUI fatality - Browns (and former Vol) WR hit and killed a 59 year old man while driving drunk
Favre speaks about return, Vikings - The continuing downward spiral of Brett Favre's reputation
Leaf faces Thursday deadline to turn himself in - Former NFL draft bust indicted on drug and burglary charges
NASCAR says Mayfield expert lied about degree - NASCAR's Jeremy Mayfield, also known as "that NASCAR driver who tested positive for crystal meth"
Phelps gets first endorsement since scandal - Michael Phelps, Olympic gold medalist and recreational drug user
Burress hearing delayed to Sept. 23 - Hero of NY Giants Super Bowl run two years ago, facing gun charges after accidentally shooting his fool self in the leg.
Report: Marshall seeks trade; Broncos mum - This would be Brandon Marshall, serial girlfriend abuser, as well as....aw, forget it, there's too much to go into. Just look it up.
UK's Meeks opts to stay in NBA draft - Hey, LOOK...it's an actual sports story! What, did nobody actually get arrested today?
Judge rejects sale of Coyotes, move to Canada - Sports as a business...this is a team that was already taken away from one group of fans. They used to be the Winnipeg Jets.
Insider: Nebraska football's shot at 11 wins - What, TWO actual sports stories? AWESOME.
I know, it's a slow period in the sports universe. NBA and NHL finals are over, golf's next major is still a couple weeks away, baseball is in the dog days of summer, and football is still a couple of months away. But, still...that is an awfully depressing front page, isn't it?
In addition to Benedict, the Dawgs also picked up a WR commit, Michael Bennett of Alpharetta, or as I like to call him...Kris Durham II: This Time, It's PERSONAL.
This video is basically three minutes of him steamrolling guys:
He's 6-5, 280 pounds, and right now he looks like all muscle. I'm betting he's at least 25 pounds heavier by the time he hits the field between the hedges.
81 Days...Happy Aron White day, everybody!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Work is kicking my butt right now, so I'm not able to focus long enough to come up with a topic...not to mention the steady diet of muscle relaxers my dentist has me on for my TMJ disorder.
Friday, June 12, 2009
It is an excellent piece by David Hale about the difference between how Lane Kiffen goes about his business as compared to Coach Richt.
85 days to go! 12 weeks from tomorrow!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
We don't have a #87 currently on the roster, so here are highlights of a game that I will ALWAYS remember every time I think of another #87...Martrez Milner.
By the way...you think KREGG Lumpkin ever gets tired of being called GREG Lumpkin?
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Paul Westerdawg put this together prior to last year. There were a lot of these that popped up last summer...probably won't see as many this year.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I really do apologize for the delay on this...combination of being a little intimidated by trying to recap such a mind-blowing episode along with vacation and a pretty heavy load at work.
Also, I usually try not to read other recaps before writing mine in order to avoid accidentally mixing other people's thoughts with my own and not giving credit. That is not the case this time, so I apologize in advance to Erika, Doc Jensen, Vozzek, Cindy, and Jacob only knows who else that I may be pilfering from unintentionally (or maybe intentionally, who knows?).
And, fair warning...I'm going to be asking a LOT more questions than I answer in this one. I believe this is the most befuddled I've been by this show since Charlie asked us all: "Guys...where ARE we?"
On with the show!!!
- We open with a youngish looking guy, who I'm proud to say I pegged as Jacob almost immediately (just like most of you), surrounded by enough Greek and Egyptian imagery to keep us all busy doing research until next season. There's the Eye of Horus with about 18 arms coming out of it, there's Isis, there's a bunch of Greek and Egyptian writing...I'm not going to get into all of the connotations and possible clues or anything, I'm just going to stick with the obvious. This stuff is old.
I will say that the tapestry-weaving is probably important...we'll get back to that one later.
- Everyone is assuming that the approaching ship is The Black Rock, and it probably is, but...I have always thought that the Black Rock did not arrive on the Island via conventional means...like it "fell" through one of the vile vortices that we have talked about before and landed on the Island, similar to what happened to the Nigerian drug plane, and Flight 815, for that matter. But if this IS the Black Rock, I'm curious as to how in the world it ended up in the jungle in the MIDDLE of the Island, which is where the Losties found it way back in season 1? In fact, according to the transcript, they found it a couple of MILES inland. Interesting.
Quick aside...what kind of name is Black Rock for a ship, anyway? Not exactly the imagery I want on a vessel that I would really prefer not sink.
- Could it be that the conversation between Jacob and the Other Guy (who I'm going to call Esau because I'm not very creative) is the most important conversation we have EVER seen on this show?
- How does Jacob "bring" people to the Island? He didn't bother arguing when Esau said that's how the folks on the ship found it, so I think it's safe to assume that is in fact how they got there.
- What does Jacob think Esau is "wrong" about? Obviously, Jacob has done this in the past, and according to Esau, it always ends the same...death, destruction, and corruption. So is this an argument about human nature? Power? How are the groups "corrupted?" Does it happen naturally, or are they influenced, perhaps by the Island itself, or maybe Esau? We'll probably touch on some of this later, I think, but in case I forget...Jacob says Esau has come "because" the ship is coming. If we assume, based on what we learn later on, that Esau is Smokey, then he also came to the Flight 815 castaways almost immediately after their arrival (they heard the Monster in the jungle on the very first night). So is it ESAU that is actually manipulating people after they arrive, causing them to turn to corruption, destruction, and death? And Jacob is trying to break that cycle somehow, maybe by choosing the "right" group to bring to the Island?
- Esau wants to kill Jacob, but there are obviously some sort of rules governing these two so he has to find a "loophole." So...A) why does he want to kill him? Did Jacob perhaps take something from Esau that he felt was rightfully his, much like Jacob in the Bible stole Esau's birthright (yes, I know that we don't know that this guy's name is Esau, but I think the name Jacob might still refer to the Biblical Jacob)? And...B) what are the rules, and who or what enforces them? Esau obviously can't just kill Jacob himself, but why? Who says?
- Think there's any significance to Esau's use of My Friend? "One of these days, sooner or later... I'm going to find a loophole, my friend. " That's now at least three times we've heard this used, the first two by Caesar and then Bram (the dude in the van who kidnapped Miles). Are all of these guys connected somehow? Based on what we learn about Bram later, I don't think he's on Esau's team NOW, but that doesn't mean that they don't have some sort of connection. Or maybe the writing staff just kind of fell in love with that phrase, the way I do "Actually" or "Due to the fact" or "basically."
- Love Jacob's response: "Well, when you do, I'll be right here." Don't sing it...BRING IT.
So...which of these is the good guy, and which is the bad guy? Lots of interweb speculation on this one, but I'm sticking with Jacob as the good guy until proven otherwise. There's been too much black/white imagery on this show for us to ignore it now, and Jacob is the guy in white while Esau is the man in black. You have to keep SOME of the stuff on this show simple or you'll drive yourself crazy.
And then the camera pulls back to show that Jacob is actually LIVING...in the FOUR TOED STATUE. Awesome. I love this show so much.
And, the statue is confirmed to be of Tawaret, who is the Egyptian goddess of birth and rebirth, according to Lostpedia. Some obvious connotations there...the problems with fertility on the Island (birth) and the fact that there are people brought back to life running around ((maybe)Christian and (presumably) Locke).
- OK, I've now covered the first two minutes or so of a two hour episode...are you beginning to see why I kept putting this one off? :-)
- Kudos to the casting department in the casting of young Kate...even before we saw the infamous toy airplane or heard the always-present-in-Kate-flashbacks Patsy Cline music on the store PA, it was obvious that we were seeing a very young Kate Austen.
- Funny...Kate never struck me as a NKOTB fan. Maybe she was really stealing it for Tom. Most of the males who liked New Kids were ashamed to admit it in public.
- So...did Jacob simply save Kate from getting in trouble, or did he help her to avoid consequences, therefore guiding her down the path of delinquency that would ultimately lead her to being arrested and handcuffed on Flight 815? I'm going to go ahead and say now that I have NO idea. We'll touch on this later, but I am basically at a loss as to what the visits by Jacob really mean, because there is no real pattern that they follow. At the end, we'll look at all of them together and I'll see if I can't piece something together.
- One thing that I think we WERE supposed to notice...Jacob physically touches everybody he visits. Here, he boops Kate on the nose...which, knowing Kate the way we do now, I'm surprised didn't result in a solid kick to the shin.
So, what do these "touches" mean? Umm...let me get back to you on that.
Really, a boop on the nose? Who DOES that?
- Meanwhile, on the Awkward Submarine....Kate is doing her best not to look at Juliet while she tries to convince Sawyer to help her stop Jack from blowing up the Island. Since this whole storyline really got on my nerves for much of this episode, please excuse me if I blow past the scenes that don't have a whole lot of action. Like this one.
- OK, so Sayid says that Faraday left "detailed instructions" on how to remove Jughead's core and detonate it. Almost like he knew that he wouldn't be the one moving it himself. Hmm....
- Cut to the drill site, where Radzinsky continues to cause me to REALLY hope that we get to see how his brains ended up all over the ceiling of the Swan station. Dude is annoying. I understand that he feels his work is important (and nice little continuity with what we know of the DI from The Lost Experience game in that they were brought there to help "save the world"), but why is he so dead set against stopping the drilling for, like, ten minutes?
- Our first "Michael Emerson Rulz" moment of the night:
SUN: Who's Jacob?
BEN: He's in charge of this Island.
SUN: You said John was in charge.
BEN: No, I said he was the leader, a title that I've discovered is incredibly temporary.
- Another mindblowing conversation, this one between Locke and Richard:
LOCKE: You've been staring for the last ten minutes, Richard. Is there something you'd like to ask me?
RICHARD: Ben told me that he strangled you.
LOCKE: That is my recollection, yes.
RICHARD: He said he was sure you were dead. That he saw your coffin loaded onto that plane that you came back on. How are you alive?
LOCKE: Well, you've been on this Island much longer than I have, Richard. If anyone should have an explanation, I'd think it would be you.
RICHARD: I - I have been here a long time, John. And I have seen things on this Island that I could barely describe, but I've never seem someone come back to life.
LOCKE: And I've never seen anyone who doesn't age. Doesn't mean it can't happen.
RICHARD: I'm this way because of Jacob. And if I had to guess, he's the reason you're not in that coffin anymore.
LOCKE: I agree completely, Richard. That's why I'm doing this. So I can thank him.
I believe this is the first time anybody has actually confronted Richard on the whole "you don't age" thing, right? He is this way because of Jacob...interesting. Maybe Jacob granted him eternal life in exchange for his agreeing to be the "advisor" to whomever was the current leader. Or maybe it's not a gift, but a punishment.
Richard has seen things he can "barely describe"...my first thought was, "Man, I hope we get to see some of those things." Then I started thinking about the "things" he has seen: Smokey...men appearing, announcing that they are from the future, and then disappearing, only to show up again 3o years later...people showing up in 1977, detonating a nuclear bomb, and then showing up again 27 years later...crippled people made whole...yeah, I think we've probably seen a lot of the same indescribable things that Richard has.
- LOCKE: Once I've done that, we're gonna need to deal with the rest of the passengers from the Ajira flight that brought me here.
RICHARD: What do you mean, 'deal with them'?
LOCKE: You know what I mean.
[Richard looks at Locke, shocked.]
LOCKE: Let's go!
You guys? I am starting to think there is something REALLY strange about Locke....
- Now we cut to Bram and Ilana and their group carrying the crate...this group continues to confound me. They are obviously part of some clandestine group...Bram says of Frank "Why is he important? He didn't even know the answer to the question!", which kind of reminded me of Desmond's "Snowman" question he used to test whether his visitors were friend or foe. And Frank may be a "Candidate"? A candidate for what? I have no clue.
- When Frank looked in the box, I thought from his reaction that it was most likely either a body or Jughead's detonators. Still didn't guess what it actually turned out to be.
- Another Jacob visit, this one to young Sawyer. Pretty cool to watch him writing the infamous "Sawyer letter," and the whole funeral scene was heartbreaking.
- Old Uncle Doug must not have any kids of his own:"You promise you're not going to write any more of this letter? OK, here's your pen and paper back."
- Another Sawyer/Kate/Juliet scene, notable only for two things: One, Juliet is adamant that they can't let Jack set off the bomb, because it's not right to just let him kill everybody on the Island. REMEMBER THAT LITTLE BIT OF LOGIC FOR LATER. Second, we get to watch Juliet kick the crap out of the guy bringing them their little sedative cocktail...that was fun.
- Did anybody else find it strange that there just HAPPENED to be a backpack in these ancient tunnels that was just big enough to store a nuclear detonator in? Almost like somebody knew that it would be needed someday. Hmm....
- RICHARD: Over, uh, twenty years ago, a man named John Locke, he walked right into our camp. And he told me that he was going to be our leader. Now I've gone off the Island three times, to visit him. But he never seemed particularly special to me.
JACK: You said you had a question.
RICHARD: You know him? Locke?
JACK: [chuckles] Yeah. Yeah, I know him. And if I were you, I wouldn't give up on him.
Man, after seeing the end of this episode, this dialogue seems really depressing, for reasons we'll get to later. Unless it's the writers' way of telling US not to give up on Locke? I hope that's it...
- "Michael Emerson Rulz", Part 2:
LOCKE: Richard. Why haven't you told him about my plans for Jacob?
BEN: If by plans you mean murdering him, John, I assumed you'd want to keep that a secret.
- OK, here is where I'm confused (and I know I'm talking about things we haven't gotten to yet, but I can't help it here): "Locke" seems genuinely surprised to hear that Ben received a visit from Smokey Alex. The general consensus (which I share, by the way), is that Smokey is a manifestation of Esau, as is Locke at this point, as was Alex in the Temple. So, with that in mind, is he just playing Ben here? If so, he's an even better manipulator than old Mr. Linus himself, because I was certainly convinced that this knowledge was news to him.
- Another visit from Jacob, this time distracting Sayid long enough for his beloved Nadia to wander out into the street and stop long enough to get flattened.
Couple of notes about this...Ben told Sayid that it was Widmore's goons who killed Nadia. So was Widmore actually gunning for Sayid? If so, why? Why would Widmore want to kill any of the O6, for that matter? I would think that he would instead want them alive, if he really wants to get back to the Island so badly.
Or, of course, Ben was lying...always a good fallback plan.
I don't know that Jacob was trying to make sure Nadia was flattened, as I've seen some suppose, or if he was just trying to make sure that Sayid stayed three-dimensional so that he could go back to the Island. Like I said, I'm still pretty in the dark concerning Jacob's off-Island motives.
- Yeah, Eloise...we know that you won't hesitate to put a bullet in somebody. We watched you shoot your son in the back.
- How did Jack become such a gunslinger? He was firing off shots like Clint Eastwood, instead of like a spinal surgeon.
- And, once again, Hurley shows up in the Dharma van to save the day. Nice continuity.
- Maybe my favorite exchange of the night (sorry for the language, but this is a direct quote):
SAWYER: Vincent! Come here! Hey! Hey! How you doin', boy? Haven't seen you since the flamin' arrows three years ago!
JULIET: Hey! How'd you survive alone out here?
[Suddenly, a woman's voice is heard.]
ROSE: Oh, hell no. Bernard!
[Bernard runs out of the jungle, bearded and carrying a staff.]
ROSE: They found us.
BERNARD: Son of a bitch.
Maybe my favorite part is how clueless Sawyer, Kate, and Juliet are as to why Rose and Bernard are NOT happy to see them. They are RETIRED. As Rose puts it, "We traveled back 30 years in time, and you're still trying to find ways to shoot each other?" They are so over the whole thing. It's great.
- A lot of people are remarking on two aspects of this scene: First, Bernard seems to make a special effort to get Juliet to stay behind, almost like he knows what's in store for her. Second, Juliet has her hand on her stomach in the classic "I'm Pregnant" TV pose. I don't know what to make of either of those things, but both did in fact happen. Maybe Juliet actually was pregnant, and it is her death (oops...SPOILER!!!) that causes the fertility problems later? I would certainly be in awe of the irony, considering that she is so determined in her efforts to SOLVE those same fertility problems.
- Oh, and of course, I can't forget...Sawyer looks at Kate in this scene. I know, it doesn't seem like much, but it becomes inexplicably crucial later on.
- Back to Frank and The Crate People. Bram continues in the great Lost tradition by telling Frank that they are the "good guys." Frank, however, has been watching this show from the beginning: "In my experience, the people who go out of their way to tell you that the good guys are the bad guys." Well played, Lapidus.
- OK, another Jacob visit, this one to Ilana. We better get some backstory on this one...these two obviously know each other already, and Ilana is covered in bandages and is apparently in some sort of Russian medical center (the staff are speaking Russian, according to Lostpedia).
One interesting thing...Jacob is wearing gloves for this meeting, so no "touching" is involved.
- So Jacob hasn't been using that cabin for "a long time," according to Ilana. My guess is that everybody we have seen in that cabin...the shadowy figure from "Man Behind The Curtain," Christian, Claire...they have all been manifestations of Esau.
- Frank has a seemingly throwaway line..."pretty good way to torch the whole jungle, don't you think?" I think we will find out that it is not so throwaway at some point. Just a hunch.
- Another Jacob sighting...this time he's calmly reading a book (here, do your own research) while Locke is shoved out of an 8 story window by his father. Anybody else think that Locke is not just unconscious before Jacob goes over and grabs his shoulder? Looked to me like Locke was not breathing until being "revived" by Jacob.
- Back at the old camp:
LOCKE: Home sweet home. [to all] Alright, everyone! Richard tells me we should get to where we're going by nightfall. So why don't you all take this opportunity to rest up and catch your breath. Considering what I have planned for you, you're gonna need it.
Ummm...what does he have planned for them? I actually didn't catch that until just now. As far as we know, his only plans are to go find Jacob so that Ben can kill him. What does he have planned for everybody else?
- I started to copy/paste some of my favorite lines from the Locke/Ben conversation on the beach, but it's all just too good. Here is the link to the transcript of the episode if you want to relive it.
What I found interesting is that this UnLocke (oops....SPOILER!!! again) seems to share the memories of the actual Locke. This is one of the reasons I believe him to be a manifestation of Smokey...remember, Locke was "scanned" by Smokey very early on, and it appears that the monster is reading people's memories when those scans are done.
- OK, fine...here is the whole conversation. It's too good to leave out. I'll just bold my favorite parts:
BEN: I was enjoying some alone time.
LOCKE: You see what's behind you?
[Ben turns to see the hatch door embedded in the sand.]
BEN: It's a door. How about that?
LOCKE: Not just a door, Ben. It's the door to the hatch. Where you and I first met. [Ben looks at him, then looks away.] Do you mind if I ask you a question?
BEN: I'm a Pisces. [ed. - Another Ben lie...he was born in December. :-)]
LOCKE: What happened that day at the cabin? When you first took me to meet Jacob?
BEN: Well, you clearly already know that I was talking to an empty chair, John. That I was pretending. Which is not to say that I wasn't as surprised as you were when things started flying around the room.
LOCKE: But why would go to all the trouble to make something like that up?
BEN: I was embarrassed. I didn't want you to know that I had never seen Jacob. So yes, I lied. That's what I do.
LOCKE: Alright, then.
BEN: Why do you want me to kill Jacob, John?
LOCKE: Because, despite your loyal service to this Island, you got cancer. You had to watch your own daughter gunned down right in front of you. And your reward for those sacrifices? You were banished. And you did all this in the name of a man you'd never even met. So the question is, Ben, why the hell wouldn't you want to kill Jacob?
Awesome stuff. Great writing, delivered by maybe the two best actors currently on television.
- The Jacob visits are coming fast and furious...now he is at Jin and Sun's wedding, touching them both on the shoulder, and encouraging them never to take each other for granted, in perfect Korean.
- Was it me, or was Sayid almost giddy when he told Jack, "You can't stop the bleeding." I think Sayid truly has a death wish at this point. Probably has for a while, actually.
- My favorite random line of the night:
LOCKE: Well, it's a wonderful foot, Richard, but what does it have to do with Jacob?
Again, we know now that UnLocke should know EXACTLY where they are...so I guess this is all just an act for Richard's sake? It's still pretty funny, though.
- Also cool to see the famous "Five Second" surgery that Jack told Kate about way back in the Pilot episode. Interesting that in the re-telling, he left out the part about his dad being the one who got him through it.
Not that Jack is grateful for his help, of course...I was really irritated by his response to his Dad. Hey, Super-Doc...if your father wasn't there, your patient would probably be paralyzed because YOU froze in the middle of surgery. You're worried about how your team looks at you? How would they look at you if you had paralyzed a little girl?
And, Jacob is there...to hand him a candy bar. OK.
I mean, I'm sure the dialogue there is meaningful (I guess it just needed a little push). But on the surface, it doesn't seem like Jacob really had much influence here.
- OK, and the next scene is maybe the first time I've been really angry at the writing on this show.
Seriously, Jack? You're willing to blow up a nuclear bomb, perhaps killing everybody on the Island...because of KATE? Like Sawyer says...she's right over there, moron!
I've had several people try to justify this writing choice to me...don't bother. I hate it...I've dealt with it, and I've moved on, but I hate it.
I was so mad that I didn't even hold it against Sawyer when he gained the upper hand in the fight by kicking Jack in the Jimmy.
- Oh...OH!!! and then Juliet shows up. And she's changed her mind. Now she's ready to blow everybody up, too. More on that in a minute.
- Juliet's parents got divorced.
- Yeah, Juliet is ready to blow up the entire Island, completely contradicting everything she has said up to this point in the episode...because Sawyer picked an inopportune moment to look at Kate.
Dumb, dumb, DUMB.
Only thing that ALMOST saves it is that it was beautifully acted by both Elizabeth Mitchell and Josh Holloway.
- And then, just to make my point for me, there is the scene with Jack and Kate in the jungle, where Kate is quite obviously trying to show Jack that she still cares about him, she's still with him...and yet, although we're supposed to believe that all Jack wants is to be with Kate, he doesn't act on that, and instead seems to almost use it as added motivation to carry on with the whole "Blow Everybody Up" plan. I just don't get it.
- Next Jacob visit is to Hurley...great dialogue between the two, as Jacob has to convince Hurley that he's not crazy.
So now we know why Hurley showed up for Flight 316...but we'll have to wait on what is in the guitar case. I'm betting it's not JUST any old guitar, if it's a guitar at all.
- Sayid: Nothing can save me.
Hope he's not right...in every way.
- MILES: Has it occurred to any of you that your buddy's actually gonna cause the thing he says he's trying to prevent? Perhaps that little nuke is the incident? So maybe the best thing to do... is nothing?
MILES: I'm glad you all thought this through.
I love Miles. And I agree with him. More on that later.
- I had to pause it as the next scene unfolded...I wanted to let it sink in that LOCKE and BEN were on their way into the FOUR TOED STATUE to find JACOB so that BEN could KILL JACOB on LOCKE'S ORDERS. Could there be a more pivotal point in the mythology of this show?
- INTENSE scene back at the drill site...between the shootout, and then the incredible tension of the moment when Jack drops the detonator down the shaft, I was barely breathing. That's why that little moment of levity when everybody looks around and sees that nothing happened was such a welcome relief.
- Glad to see Phil got his, but am I wrong to wish that, A) it had been more gruesome, and B) that Sawyer could have been the one to kill him? Maybe we have come too far in Sawyer's "Redemption" arc to have him still killing people, but I certainly would have made an exception here.
- Ugh, the scene with Juliet getting pulled into the shaft was just heart-wrenching. FANTASTIC job by Holloway and Mitchell. ALMOST made up for the earlier scene in the jungle.
- Back at Tawaret...Ilana knows Richard as "Ricardus", which was probably his name when Jacob met him, further proof that Ilana and Jacob have known each other for a while.
- Most of you have probably already heard/read this by now, but the answer to Ilana's question is: "He (or That) who will protect (or save) us all." He answers in Latin, which we know from earlier episodes is the language of The Others.
- And then Locke's body falls out of the crate (why didn't they leave him in the coffin? To keep it a secret that they were carrying a body, I guess). After my initial shock (and I really was shocked...I didn't see that coming), I was very sad. As many of you know, Locke is probably my favorite TV character of all time. I was digging the fact that he was somewhat vindicated by his Island resurrection, that he really was "special" like he thought. But now, unless something changes, it appears that he really was just an easily manipulated fool who died a broken and defeated man at the hands of that weasel Benjamin Linus. That sucks. And, hopefully, Jack's earlier words to Richard are true, and there's still hope for him.
- I still totally thought that once they got into the statue, "Locke" was going to reveal himself to be Jacob. So I was surprised to see Jacob hanging out waiting on them.
And now we see that the tapestry is almost finished...I definitely believe this is a picture of the way Jacob has been "weaving" all of these threads together now for perhaps hundreds of years, and he is now approaching the finished product.
- JACOB: Well, you found your loophole.
"LOCKE": Indeed I did. And you have no idea what I've gone through to be here.
SCOTT: WHAT?!?!? HOLY CRAP!!!!!
Yeah, this was the moment when my brain broke. I still can't talk or think about it for very long without getting facial tics.
So, Esau somehow took the identity of Locke (not his body, though, since that was in Ilana's crate). I have no idea how, or why this was the "loophole" he was looking for. Maybe BEN was the loophole, and Esau figured out that Locke was the best way to manipulate Ben into killing Jacob? Oh, the delicious irony that it is LOCKE (or at least an image of Locke) who is now manipulating BEN.
So, is Christian also Esau? Yeah, I think so, even though I still don't know where Christian's body is in that case. I also think that Esau was Smokey, which is why Locke and Smokey were never seen together when Ben went to the Temple.
So, in that case, what about Claire? After all, she was in the cabin WITH Christian. So can Smokey be two people at once? I don't think so (see above reference to Locke at the Temple)...so I have no idea whether Claire is alive, dead, or in-between at this point.
Suffice to say that I am going to need a LOT of explaining in Season 6 as to how this whole "loophole" thing worked. Good news is that I expect we will get that explanation.
- Great stuff (again) from Emerson:
BEN: Oh... so now, after all this time, you've decided to stop ignoring me. 35 years I lived on this island, and all I ever heard was your name over and over. Richard would bring me your instructions--all those slips of paper, all those lists--and I never questioned anything. I did as I was told. But when I dared to ask to see you myself, I was told, "Tou have to wait. You have to be patient." But when he asked to see you? He gets marched straight up here as if was Moses. So... why him? Hmm? What was it that was so wrong with me? What about me?!
How is it that Ben...little lying, weaseling, Locke-murdering Benjamin Linus....can still make me feel actual SYMPATHY? Oh, that's right. Because Michael Emerson RULZ.
- OK, is it just me (again), or did Jacob seem to WELCOME Ben's knife? He did not attempt to protect himself at all. Maybe he just didn't really think Ben would do it? Or was he sacrificing himself for some greater good?
- "They're Coming." I think that's our Season 5 equivalent of "WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!"
- So who is coming? Ilana's group? Maybe, but I think it's the Losties currently stuck in 1977. I think the "touch" that Jacob gave them has something to do with preparing them for whatever it is that they have to do next. I have NO idea what that is, so don't ask.
- And then Juliet blows the whole frakking thing up.
Good grief, that whole last 45 minutes or so was some of the most intense television I've ever seen.
Before my feeble attempts at predicting what comes next, let's look at Jacob's visits: He visits Kate, Sawyer, Jack, Jin, Sun, and Locke BEFORE Flight 815, but he visits Sayid and Hurley POST 815, but BEFORE Flight 316. I think that he was making sure all of them got to the Island somehow (although I'm at a loss as to how his visits to Jack and Jin/Sun did that). He was "course correcting" them, and Sayid and Hurley didn't need any correcting to get them on to 815, but they did need the extra "push" to make sure they were on 316. (Maybe...I wouldn't be surprised to find that Jacob was behind some of the "luck" involved in making sure Hurley barely made it onto 815). I'm not sure what all of the "touches" mean...hopefully we'll find that out next season.
OK, so what does it all mean? My early and tentative theory is that Miles is right. The Swan is going to be built right there, where it always was, Desmond is going to go press the button and save the world, Flight 815 is gonna crash, etc. Whatever happened, happened.
Juliet just blew all of the 1977 Losties (except for her...good luck on "V", Elizabeth!) into 2008 on the Island. They are going to be there to take part in the "war" that Widmore told Locke was coming. Season 6 will be a combination of showing us the "war" and all of its ramifications (which I think involve Widmore, Hanso/Dharma, Desmond, Aaron, Walt, etc), maybe showing more of how all of these folks share a connection (possibly through Jacob), and also filling us in on the back story of Jacob and Esau, whose centuries-long ongoing struggle will ultimately turn out to be the underlying story behind the whole series.
Wow. I freaking love this show.
Thanks for joining me this season. It's been a blast, and I appreciate all of you who read these and have let me know that you are reading and that you get something out of it, even if you never comment.
Everybody, please feel free to comment, let me know your thoughts, theories, etc...
On the days when there is no real Dawg "news," I may just post stuff like THIS, if only to brighten your day a little:
I had forgotten how big a game Michael Johnson actually had that night...13 catches, 140+ yds, and one of the biggest plays in UGA history. Not a bad night.
Funny story...a friend of mine at church had won free SEC Championship tickets at work, and he promised me that if the Dawgs made it to the game he would take me. As you probably remember, the Dawgs had already lost to the Gayturds, so a loss in this game meant we would almost definitely be out of the SEC Championship picture. The Sunday before this game, he actually brought the tickets to church with him. He showed them to me, and right as I took them from him, I remember thinking, "Scott, what are you DOING?!?! Holding SECCG tickets in your hand before our spot is secured? Are you TRYING to jinx us?" I immediately handed the tickets back, but I had a bad feeling.
Fast forward to 3rd quarter of this game...Dawgs are down 21-10. I was CONVINCED that it was my fault. I wasn't even surprised that we were losing...I had HELD UNEARNED SEC CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS IN MY HANDS. Serves me right.
After we went down 21-10, we faced 2nd-19 from our own 2 yard line with only about 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Musa Smith (MUUUUUUUSSSSS) then busted out a 32-yard run, and we drove down the field. On 2nd and Goal from the one-yard line, David Greene tried to sneak it over and fumbled. You know those moments when everything seems to slow down and your brain has about 600 thoughts at once? As that ball was bouncing around in the end zone, I was having one of those moments. I kept flashing back to Sunday, holding those freaking tickets in my hand. Dreading having to call Brent, Josh, and everybody else and apologize for costing the Dawgs a shot at the SEC title.
Then, who comes out of the pile, waving the ball over his head? Jon Stinchcomb. STINCH!!!!
We all remember the Greene-Johnson play, and for good reason...but those two plays by Musa and Stinchcomb were every bit as big, if not bigger.
ONLY 93 DAYS TILL KICKOFF!!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Georgia's Cox hopes patience will pay off
No matter what this guy does this year on the field, he is always going to be one of my favorite Dawgs. He bleeds red and black as much, if not more, than any of our in-state guys, he takes losing personally (as his 31-0 career record in high school indicates). He's a true leader both on and off the field, a guy who works hard, studies hard (both in the film room and the class room - he's on track to graduate in December with a psych degree, which will serve him well as a coach). I have always loved watching his reactions on the sidelines when the Dawgs make a big play...a lot of guys who are forced to watch from the sidelines often look like they aren't even interested in what is going on in the game. Not Joe. NOBODY was more fired up by big plays than he was, even (and especially) when Stafford - the guy who was relegating him to mop up duty - was involved.
The more I read from him, the more excited I get about watching him get the chance to prove himself on the field. I don't expect a D.J. Shockley-type performance out of him, but let's be honest...how many of us expected a Shockley-type performance out of D.J. himself before the 2005 season? Last time we had seen Shock on the field, David Greene was being forced to bail him out, broken thumb and all, after a miserable performance against the gnats in the 2004 regular season finale.
Cox doesn't have Shockley's physical skills, but he does have his heart and leadership, and, perhaps most importantly, he doesn't have D.J.'s offensive line. And he DOES have A.J. Green.
ONLY 94 DAYS TILL KICKOFF!!!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Stat of the Week/Hero of the Week
NCAA baseball tournament, Austin Regional, University of Texas, Sunday morning, 1:05 a.m. Central time.
The final: Texas 3, Boston College 2, in 25 innings.
Texas went 22 consecutive innings without scoring, and won.
The most valuable player in the game was the senior closer for Texas, Austin Wood. He entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out and a runner on second base ... and threw no-hit baseball for the next 12 1/3 innings. Wood had 15 saves this year. His longest outing before Saturday night was 4 1/3 innings. In this game, he closed for 13 innings. Austin
Wood's pitching line from one of the greatest games in any sport in NCAA history:
13IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 4BB, 14K, 46 batters faced, 169 pitches.
"In my 41 years of coaching,'' said Texas coach Augie Garrido, "the effort by Austin Wood was the best pitching performance I have ever seen.''
I got Austin Wood on the phone around noon Sunday. He's a lefty, more breaking stuff than fastball, with a fastball topping out at about 91. He's done everything at Texas in four seasons, closed, pitched middle relief and, for two years, started. He was named closer by Garrido this year.
And so he was out in the bullpen on a 95-degree Austin evening at the Longhorns' home field when starter Chance Ruffin got into trouble. In a 2-2 game against Boston College, Ruffin put a runner at second and Garrido went out to make a pitching change. Wood jogged in on the steamy night, hoping to save the day.
"Pick me up,'' said Ruffin, handing him the ball on the mound.
"Make pitches,'' said Garrido. "Get us out of the inning.''
The first batter Wood faced, Andrew Lawrence, fouled off seven pitches before striking out swinging. Not going to be a very long outing if every batter has an 11-pitch at-bat. The next Eagle grounded out. In the eighth, Wood walked an Eagle, but nothing came of it.
BC went 1-2-3 in the ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th. No-hit ball for 6.2 innings.
"All I kept thinking was what I've been taught over and over: 'One pitch at a time, one pitch at a time,' '' Wood said.
What was odd, Wood thought, was Boston College being the home team. Just because a team hosts the regional doesn't mean it's the home team; the NCAA has a formula that tries to equalize the home-road factor, and in this game, Texas was the visitor. So every time Wood went to the mound, it was sudden death. In a broiler.
It was still in the mid-80s by the time it got to the 12th. In between innings, Wood drank until he couldn't stand to drink anymore. Over the course of the night, he's sure he drank 30 cups of Gatorade, Pedialyte (the electrolyte-laced fluid given to dehydrated infants) and water -- more than 200 ounces of liquid in all. That would become a, well, a bit of a problem later. But for now, there was another problem Wood had to solve.
"After four or five innings, I came to the bench and I heard coach Garrido and Skip [pitching coach Skip Johnson] talking about how they had to get me out of there, that I'd thrown enough,'' he said. "So I walked over to where they were in the dugout and I said, 'I'm not coming out of this game. This is my game. We need it.' And they said, basically, 'OK.'''
A two-out walk in the 14th resulted in nothing. Then seven more Eagles were retired in a row.
It was becoming a running joke on the bench, the marathon. "I'd come into the bench, and all I could do was laugh,'' he said. "What an incredible ball game! I was so involved in the moment, but I knew what a great game it was, what a fun game it was -- the funnest, easily, that I've ever been involved in. And if I'm never involved in a more fun game than that, fine; I mean, who ever could be in a game this enjoyable? And every time I'd come in, the guys would say, 'Hey, don't worry, we'll pick you up. We'll score this inning.' ''
Wood started cramping severely around the 15th. The trainer, between innings, would stretch him out, and he'd drink more and more. Before he went out for the 17th, Wood adjourned to the locker room and threw up violently because he'd been drinking too much too fast.
"Did you think you'd be too sick to go back out?'' I asked.
"Oh, I wasn't coming out of that game,'' he said.
He walked the leadoff hitter in the 17th, and the next batter reached on a sacrifice that Texas couldn't get the out on. But Wood got the next three batters groundout-strikeout-flyout, and it was on to the 18th. Each side went 1-2-3.
Wood now had thrown 11 2/3 no-hit innings.
"I didn't know,'' he said. "I had no idea until later.''
In the 19th, Texas opened with back-to-back singles, and eventually had the bases loaded with two out. But a flyout to left ended the threat. The grandstand groaned. There were 7,000 at the game at the 6 p.m. start. Now it was approaching midnight, and about 4,500 remained, on the edge of their seats.
Bottom 19: BC opened with two quick groundouts. But Wood walked the next hitter. And on an 0-1 fastball, BC's Tony Sanchez grounded a single through the left side. Wood had no idea that was the first hit he'd allowed, and paid no mind to the big hand the crowd rained down on him for pitching 12.1 no-hit innings.
Now Wood had to bear down. First and second, two out. Here came cleanup hitter Mickey Wiswall. Wood painted the black on the outside corner for two quick strikes. Then catcher Cameron Rupp called for a slow curve, and Wood bounced it in the dirt.
Wild pitch. Runners moved up, and now it was second and third, two out. The biggest win in BC baseball history was 90 feet away.
Rupp called for another curve. "You gotta be kidding me,'' thought Wood, who shook him off. Rupp called for the fastball and set up outside.
Strike three. Swinging.
That was Wood's 163rd pitch. Usually he'd throw between 10 and 30 in an outing. Never, ever in his high school or college career had he gone this far in a game, thrown this many pitches.
"Maybe it was adrenaline,'' Wood said, "but I couldn't believe how good I felt. My arm felt great. I wasn't sick, even though I threw up. But my body felt great, my arm felt great.''
Texas got a two-out double and a walk in the top of the 20th. But a strikeout ended the threat.
With one out in the bottom of the 20th, Barry Butera singled up the middle for BC. "He hit a great pitch,'' said Wood. "Good for him.'' Then Wood hit Lawrence, the next batter. First and second, one out. Here came the coach. There wouldn't be a discussion. "He was coming to get me,'' Wood said. "That was it.''
When he walked off the field, just after midnight, everyone in the stadium rose and cheered. The Longhorn bench emptied and met him with cheers and high-fives and hugs in front of the dugout. The BC dugout cheered.
"The coolest feeling I ever had on a baseball field,'' Wood said. "I can't lie. I wanted to soak in every second of it. The BC kids, what class. That was incredible. I just wanted to make sure I enjoyed the best moment I've ever had in baseball. But I wasn't satisfied. Not at all. We had to win this game.''
Austin Dicharry, the reliever, got two quick outs to send the game to the 21st. and Texas won it in the 25th, finally, on a Travis Tucker RBI single to right -- after Tucker had gone one-for-11 up to that point.
Wood heard what Garrido said about him, about how it was the greatest pitching performance he'd seen in 41 years. "Now that is pretty cool,'' Wood said. "I can't lie -- that's some unbelievable praise.''
There may have been higher praise. "But I have to tell you what was the most incredible thing after the game. The president of the university came to me after the game, and this is a direct quote. He told me, 'That's probably the best athletic performance ever at the University of Texas.' I mean, wow. Earl Campbell, Vince Young.''
Now there came the physical toll. "As soon as I started icing it,'' he said, "I knew it was going to hurt. And it did. It does. But boy, is it worth it. I was on Cloud 9 all night. I couldn't fall asleep. I got to bed around 4:30, I guess.''
"Did you sleep OK?'' I asked.
"About four hours,'' Wood said. "But I'll tell you this: Fell asleep smiling, woke up smiling.''
And that is why we love sports.
The REAL DEAL
Monday, June 1, 2009
Only 96 days to kickoff!