Here’s what I expect will happen, as far as future posts: I will almost definitely have a reaction to whomever the Dawgs get as our next defensive coordinator. I will certainly post some sort of recap to the Independence Bowl, and hopefully a season recap as well. If any big recruiting news breaks, I will likely react to that here as well.
After that, I plan on doing the same type of posting for American Idol and Lost as I did last year…consider yourself warned!
So, here are all of the posts I have been saving up for the past few weeks to tide you over until I get off my lazy butt and start posting regularly again…I’ll warn you ahead of time to pack a lunch. Even by my standards, this is gonna be a long one.
THE TECH GAME
- Maybe the most satisfying win of Coach Richt’s tenure, at least for me. Others may have been more important (the SECCG wins, Auburn ’02, etc), but there is nothing more fun than beating the gnats when they are just SURE that it can’t happen. Add in the fact that so many of them were such turds after the passing of UGA VII, and what happened last year, and the fact that this is supposed to be THE year for them while it’s certainly a down year for us…”sweet” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I also work with a bunch of Techies, and it’s amazing how much better I feel about having to interact with them on a daily basis now vs. how I felt for the past year. Many jokes have been made about how that win “set the universe right” or whatever…there is at least a kernel of truth in that for Dawg fans. I spent the last year simmering with rage every time I passed one of them in the hall…now we can all be friends again. Sort of. Until next year.
- And while it may not have been the MOST important game of Richt’s career, I don’t think you can overemphasize the fact that this win was definitely important. As bad as this season has gone (and a 7-5 season with a blowout loss to a mediocre UT team and a home loss to Kentucky is putrid), can you imagine what the fallout would be from 6-6 with 2 straight losses to the gnats? This game, plus the postgame decisions that showed that he was serious about fixing what went wrong this year, went a long way in restoring confidence in Coach Richt that some had lost.
- Many have asked where that team was all year, especially the running game. I think the resurgence of the running game started about 8 games into the season, and it can be attributed to two factors:
- Stabilization of the offensive line. Once Sturdivant went down in the opener, the o-line was in a state of flux until around the Tennessee Tech game. Once the current lineup was settled, things really began opening up.
- Caleb and Washaun got healthy. I think this was the biggest factor. Washaun is a true freshman who missed a lot of camp due to injury, so there was a definite learning curve. Caleb battled hamstring problems and then a broken jaw early in the season. Once these two got healthy enough to share the bulk of the carries (and send Samuel, God bless him, off to learn the linebacker position), the running game became a real threat.
- Overall, it was a best case scenario for me…we beat Tech, but it is not enough to keep from having to make changes. Which brings me to my next point…
THE COACHING CHANGES
- I let you know how I feel about the ongoing search here.
- As far as the actual move goes, I think it absolutely had to happen. There was no way to justify the steady decline in defensive output over the last four years, beginning with the Sugar Bowl debacle against West Virginia. I was still worried that Coach Richt would still find enough excuses to keep his friend around for another year, so I was very happy to see him make the tough move.
And once that decision was made, he decided to give whomever the new DC is the ability to hire his own staff by sending Jancek and Fabris away as well. This was less of a no-brainer for me, especially Fabris and his history of developing NFL-quality defensive ends, but it was probably the right move. Part of what doomed the Tony Franklin experiment at Auburn was the fact that Tubbs didn’t let Franklin bring in his own guys, and the old staff just never bought into his philosophy. If we’re going to go after a big-time DC, then I think a total house cleaning was necessary.
All that being said, I want to publicly thank all three of these guys for their hard work and efforts during their time in Athens. I didn’t always agree with the decisions that they made, but I never doubted that they were trying their best to bring a championship to the Dawgs.
- A couple of interesting notes that have come out in the last couple of days:
- Nickell Roby, the cornerback out of Frostproof, FL that I think is a MUST get for this class, expressed some concerns right after the decision was made to let Martinez go. Martinez was the coach who recruited him, was going to be his position coach, etc. Robey took his official visit to Athens over the weekend and had some interesting things to say ($), including that Coach Richt told him he was going to hire “somebody that I like”. That sounds to me like maybe Coach Richt might already have an idea who that person will be, especially since…
- Several reports out of the GALA banquet this past weekend are saying that Coach Richt “has his man”.
Oh, and also…somebody needs to take Twitter away from David Pollack. If you are following him, you know what I am talking about.
- One more quick note on the Dawgs…the Outback really screwed us by taking Auburn. If not for that, we would most likely be in either Atlanta or Nashville, instead of 5PM on a Monday on ESPN2 in Shreveport.
NON-DAWG SPORTS STUFF
- Did the Falcons build their training facility on some sort of Indian burial ground or something? We are rapidly approaching having to hear for ANOTHER year about how the Falcons have never had back-to-back winning seasons.
How has this promising season gone wrong? Let us count the ways:
- Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Harry Douglas, Harvey Dahl, Sam Baker, Jerious Norwood, Todd McClure. All offensive starters, and all have missed significant time due to injury.
- John Abraham has been MIA all season.
- Jason Elam has Steve Sax Disease (or Mark Wohlers Disease for you whippersnappers who don’t remember Steve Sax).
- The defensive secondary is atrocious, just like we all knew it probably would be.
- I have no idea what the Braves are doing in their bullpen. We have replaced Soriano and Gonzales with Wagner and Saito…basically the same amount of money, but about 20 years older combined.
Wagner, in particular, concerns me…he’s 38 years old, coming off of Tommy John surgery. It always concerns me when these tiny little power pitchers start having arm trouble. They just have to produce so much torque to get the velocity that they are used to. Would not be at all surprised to see his arm fall off about halfway through the season. Maybe Lowe becomes the closer if we can’t find a taker in the trade market?
Still think the Braves are one big bat away from being contenders, but blowing up their bullpen really doesn’t help.
- I know most of you probably don’t care, but the Hawks are really good, and tons of fun to watch.
It looks like the light has finally come on for Josh Smith…he no longer fancies himself a three point shooter, and is instead going to the basket, attacking the offensive glass, and will probably make the All-NBA defensive team this year with his shot-blocking and skill at getting his hand into passing lanes.
If Jamal Crawford continues what he’s done so far, he will walk away with the Sixth Man award. Seems like he puts up 20 points off the bench every night. And we got him for Speedy Claxton and Acie Law?!?! BWAHAHAHAHA!!
Speaking of things most of you don’t care about…
NON-DAWG, NON-SPORTS STUFF
When I do get back on a regular posting schedule, I will be in all-TV, all the time mode. In fact, many of you who may have found this blog via various Dawgs football sites will probably have a whole different opinion of me once the winter TV season starts.
In that spirit…
Top 5 favorite returning shows I have been watching:
1) Mad Men. I’m counting this one even though the season is over now. Terrific storytelling, amazing writing, perfect acting performances…if you have not been watching this show, do yourself a favor and find copies of the first two seasons and enjoy television as an art form. This season was probably not as fantastic as season 2, but still better than 99% of what else is on.
2) The Office. Still makes me laugh harder than any other show, but can also pull off an episode like “Niagara Falls” that has as many heart-tugging moments as laugh-out-loud funny ones. The best ensemble comedy since Cheers.
3) Fringe. The “weird case of the week” stuff gets sort of pointless and monotonous sometimes (although no show has more cool gross stuff on a weekly basis), but when this show does shows like last week where they focus on the “big picture” story, it’s really superb stuff. Not to mention the fact that those episodes usually focus on the Emmy-worthy performances being turned in by John Noble as the heartbreaking and eccentric Dr. Bishop. Plus, it’s always good to have Pacey around, isn’t it?
4) Big Bang Theory. I just picked this one up about halfway through last season, but I have gone back and watched the entire series. Just when I thought the three camera sitcom with a laugh track was dead, this show comes along and consistently cracks me up. The only drawback is that the laugh track is overused, and it’s a little distracting. But the writing and acting more than make up for it, and Sheldon Cooper is in my top 5 favorite TV characters right now (the others, in case you were wondering: John Locke, Benjamin Linus, Betty Draper, and…Ryan Seacrest).
5) Dollhouse. I know we should consider ourselves lucky that we even got a second season of this Joss Whedon production, considering the abysmal ratings. But the geniuses at Fox really outdid themselves by pairing it with “Til Death” on a Friday night. Regardless, this season (especially the last few episodes) have been television at its best: funny (Topher Brink is hilarious), thought provoking, action filled. And the cast, especially Olivia Williams (Adelle), Enver Gjokaj (Victor), and Fran Kranz (the aforementioned Mr. Brink) have been amazing, along with superb guests Summer Glau and the always fantastic Alan Tudyk.
Honorable mention: The Mentalist, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Amazing Race, How I Met Your Mother
Top 4 favorite NEW shows I am watching:
1) Glee. Now THESE are my people. I watch this show feeling like I am watching home movies. As I’ve said before, I grew up a performing arts geek, and so much of this show is dead-on.
This show doesn’t feature great writing, subtle plot development, or any of the stuff I normally look for in a television show. It’s just FUN. Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester is…well, I can’t think of an adjective that would accurately describe my love for Sue Sylvester. It’s also fun to watch this cast of virtual unknowns (most of them had little to no prior television experience) get a chance to show off every week. And, man, do they show off…the musical performances are outstanding and are prominently featured on my MP3 player.
2) Modern Family. Best new comedy of the season. By FAR. I’m still cracking up about Fizzbo the Clown three weeks later. (People are GOING to stare. They’re not used to seeing only one clown in a car).
3) V. I was looking forward to this show more than any other one besides the very frustrating FlashForward. So far, so good, other than the incredibly annoying and clichéd “Teenage Moron” storyline. Alan Tudyk shows up on this one, too, and is his usual awesome self, as well as Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet from Lost) and the perfectly cast Morena Baccarin as the stylish, sexy, slightly murderous and evil leader of The Visitors. Tons of good stuff here, with nods to philosophy, religion, psychology, fascism, etc, etc. I think this one is going to get really good once it comes back from the long winter break, at which point it will be paired with LOST on the ABC schedule.
4) White Collar. Continues a great run of new shows on USA (Burn Notice, Psych, etc). I love how the shows on USA have a kind of “network TV in the ‘80s” feel to them. This is just another fun little show that they are getting really good at producing…likable characters, witty writing, nothing too challenging. The perfect show to tape on Friday night and then watch over breakfast on Saturday.
(Dis)honorable mention: FlashForward. This one has been a big disappointment, but still I keep watching. I feel like maybe the concept is too big to handle on a TV show. I keep thinking of all the ramifications of a blackout wherein the entire world gets a glimpse of the future, and all the cool things they could do with that, and instead...I am just waiting for something to actually HAPPEN. Not to mention that the lead is played by Joseph Fiennes in one of the most excruciatingly boring performances I have ever seen.
- On a semi-related topic, have any of you been watching Sons of Anarchy? If so, would you recommend going back and watching the first couple of seasons?
- One more note…if you are looking for a good book, and your tastes lean towards the slightly geeky (as mine obviously do), I strongly recommend the “Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin. There have been four written so far, and I am about halfway through the fourth one. I would describe it as either Narnia for grownups or a slightly more modern Lord of the Rings.
There is also production being done on a possible HBO series based on the books that I think has the potential to be phenomenal, so by reading the books you can actually be ahead of the curve!
OK, and with that…I am probably gone until the Dawgs DC is hired, unless something comes up that I REALLY want to write about.
Merry Christmas to all of you, and thanks for reading!