Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Brannan Southerland Day!!

In honor of today being 36 days to kickoff, here is a great clip of my favorite #36, Brannan Southerland clearing the way for Thomas Brown against the gnats in '07.



Freshman video

Fall camp is basically HERE...players report on Monday, and practice starts Tuesday. Thank God...I was beginning to think it would never get here!

Rivals has finally made a lot of the video of this year's freshmen available for embed, so in anticipation of these guys about to see their first camp I've pulled some video of the guys that I think are almost 100% likely to see the field this year.

Washaun Ealy:
This guy is a "beast" on film, just like Coach Richt says...great power and balance, and although I don't think he has breakaway speed, he's fast enough.

UGA Freshmen: Washaun Ealey @ Rivals Video

Marlon Brown:
Just a man among boys...I don't know who the team in red is on this video, but the score must have been like 120-10 or something.......

UGA Freshman: Marlon Brown @ Rivals Video

Branden Smith:
Not a great video...the camera angles are too tight most of the time. But you definitely get a glimpse of his athleticism.

UGA Freshman: Branden Smith @ Rivals Video

Rantavious Wooten:

By the way...that QB throwing him the ball is pretty good, too. Anybody know who he is?

Freshman Video: Ratavious Wooten @ Rivals Video

Chris Burnette:
Impressive player, maybe even more impressive as a person. Only thing I wish we would see more of is a mean streak when it comes to finishing off blocks.

UGA Freshman: Chris Burnette @ Rivals Video

Aaron Murray:
Pay special attention to who the DB is on the first throw on this film, which was probably from the Elite 11 Camp..

Also, they don't have the Orson Charles video available for embed yet, but you can see him making some great plays on this video as well.

UGA Freshman: Aron Murray @ Rivals Video

Arthur Lynch:
Big, athletic get to see him doing a lot of blocking on this video, as well as playing some defensive end.

UGA Freshmen: Arthur Lynch @ Rivals Video

36 DAYS!!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

LOST - Thoughts from Comic Con

As many of you know (at least those of my LOST audience that are still around), the San Diego Comic Con was last week. This used to be exactly what it sounds like...a convention for the comic book industry. It has now grown into a huge gathering of pretty much all things sci-fi (TV, movies, and books, as well as the comic book industry) and is lovingly referred to as Geek Prom.

Comic Con has become the focal point for LOST when it comes to recapping the previous season and previewing what's to come. Damon and Carlton go into radio silence starting the week before the season finale, and Comic Con is the first public appearance they do in order to break that silence.

This year was the last one that they will be appearing...after the series finale next year, they won't be going back because they have no new season to preview (::sob::).

Since most of you, like me, were not able to get out to San Diego, here are video clips that I have gathered showing highlights of the LOST panel. If you watch all of these, I think you will have seen everything that the actual attendees got to see.

This is part one...there is a link in the info section that will send you to parts 2-4. {**UPDATE*** I have now included all 4 parts}

The panel is long, about 40 minutes in total, but it's a must-watch for LOST fans, for Jorge Garcia's appearance if nothing else.

Parental guidance - some brief "adult" language

The theme for this year, according to Damon, was Fan Appreciation. So they showed some clips of the many fan-created videos that are out there, most of which can be found on YouTube.

Michael Emerson (Ben) and Jorge Garcia (Hurley) steal the show on the panel, as usual, including a staged argument that leads to Jorge accusing Emerson of being jealous because he tried out for the part of Hurley and was turned down. Emerson denies it, until Darlton produces the "proof":

Not sure why this wasn't included on the panel video while Nestor Carbonell's (Richard Alpert) was, but here is the video they played before Josh Holloway (Sawyer) came out on stage:

Here is a montage they did of most of the main characters' deaths from over the years. I had kind of forgotten how many people they have actually killed off...

And yes, I can admit getting a little teary eyed at some of these.

Cool moment was as soon as this was over, the lights came back up and Dominic Monaghan (Charlie) was on the went nuts. He was at Comic Con to promote another show he is doing for ABC, but there are rumors that he and a lot of other people in this clip will be on LOST in some capacity next season.

This was maybe the most important part of the panel, and it's the part I'm going to spend the most time discussing...

The panel itself was pretty boring, real news coming out of it other than that both Faraday and Juliet WILL be on the show in some capacity next season. As will a whole bunch of other people, if this poster is any indication (thanks, Amanda, for finding this!!).

And, of course, it was interesting that in their "death" montage they did not show Juliet, Claire, or Locke...not sure if that is a clue, or if they are just trying not to give anything away regarding their status.

The key point, to me, was what was being shown in the "commercials"...Oceanic 6 has a perfect safety record? Hurley won the lottery, but instead of it ruining his life he is now the owner of Mr. Cluck's and apparently very happy? Kate's plan to murder her stepfather failed and she accidentally murdered someone else? WHAT IN SAM HILL IS GOING ON?!?

I think we can gather from this that Juliet's detonation of Jughead in the finale did SOMETHING besides just blow her off the show and onto "V". Looks like we are now going to be dealing somehow with alternate timelines/realities, and Carlton did say at the Con that they have already had the "time travel" season and the "flash forward" season, and that this one is going to be something completely different.

The Comic Con videos are not necessarily gospel, as we found out last year, but they are meant to give an indication of what the "theme" of the next season will be. Damon said we should "Trust them," and in my opinion they have certainly earned that trust. But something about this just seems...dangerous, I guess is the word I am looking for.

I do NOT want to see the first 5 seasons rendered virtually useless due to Jughead being a gigantic reset button. But since Jorge asked that exact question at Comic Con, I can only hope that means that is not the direction they are going to go.

So what ARE they doing? Darlton has said in the past that they do NOT want to venture into paradoxes, alternate realities, etc., so I think there is probably more (or less) to this than it appears on the surface. They have said multiple times that what we have seen in the flash forwards IS what happens...they don't want to go down the "Heroes" route (and thank God for that...what a disaster that show has turned out to be). So maybe there is SOMETHING that has changed in the timeline, perhaps even pre-crash, but then something else occurs that brings them to the Island anyway, leading to everything we have seen? Another quote that came out of the panel was that Season 6 is going to be very reminiscent of Season 1, with a feeling of a "loop closing." So maybe we will see some of the same scenes from the first season, only now with something slightly changed due to whatever has happened in the new timeline?

For those of you who have read The Dark Tower series by Stephen King (hi again, Amanda!)...maybe it's like what happened with Roland and Jake. Something has happened that has created two timelines, and now we have to get the two timelines back together again, and from there it will just go on to what we have already seen in the future.

Fellow LOST fans, what do you think? Do you trust the writers? Am I way off base? Are you even still reading, or did I lose you three paragraphs ago?


Great old-school reporting

I know this is random, but I just really enjoyed this clip today...some really great old-school type reporting that we rarely see anymore, especially in this one-paper town.

"Is Chief Pennington still on the payroll?"
"Some say the Chief has checked out....have you checked out as well?"

Great stuff...

Non-Atlanta readers, the little lady no-commenting over and over in this clip is the Mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin...Shirley-Girl to us natives.

Audio doesn't kick in until about 7 seconds in, for some reason.

Fair warning...

I'm probably going to be posting some non-Dawg, non-sports stuff today...

So to make up for it, here is one of my favorite Dawg moments of all time...I like everything about it except the black stripe on the helmet.

One of my favorite Munson calls of all time, as well...



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rex Robinson - DGD

For those who haven't noticed, legendary former Dawg Rex Robinson has been doing a great job with his new blog.

Today, he has outdone himself. A must read for all Dawg fans and NERD haters.


Can't tell the player without a program!

Don't know how many of you are as geeky about stuff like this as I am, but most of the incoming freshmen have had numbers assigned to them, according to the roster on

In case you're interested:

#1 - Branden Smith
#5 - Zach Mettenberger
#7 - Orson Charles
#10 - Jordan Love
#11 - Aaron Murray
#13 - Chase Vasser (weird..Drew Butler also has this number, and this is a strange number for an LB)
#15 - Marlon Brown
#17 - Rontavious Wooten
#24 - Washaun Ealy (hey kid, here's Knowshon's pressure or anything)
#32 - Brandon Bogotay
#36 - Shawn Williams
#55 - Mike Gilliard
#64 - Dallas Lee
#68 - Chris Burnette

Not yet assigned numbers (per UGASports, feel free to update me in the comments if you have updates): Abry Jones, Austin Long, Arthur Lynch, Derrick Lott, Montez Robinson

VERY exciting piece from David Hale today

David Hale posted his list of the top 5 Dawgs who he expects to make a huge leap forward in development this year. The whole article was enough to get me even more ridiculously fired up about this season already, and definitely worth a clicky, but check out his quote about Joe Cox:

"For whatever reason, people are worried about Joe Cox. I'm officially convinced they shouldn't be. No, he doesn't have Stafford's arm -- but how many times did Stafford's cannon really make the difference in a game? Cox can make all the throws he needs to make, he's extremely accurate and he has a great rapport with his receivers. More importantly, the kid is as good a leader as you'll find. I don't root for Georgia and I definitely don't play on the team, but I've left interviews with Cox thinking, "Man, I can't wait for the season to start." He just has an infectious personality that gets people excited to play for him. And while Stafford brought a lot of tools to the table, I can't help but wonder if having the vocal Cox as the starter might not have made the team better last year. Regardless, he's the man this season, and he'll have a tremendous offensive line and a guy named A.J. Green to work with. I think there's every reason to believe he'll be a David Greene-like player who puts together a D.J. Shockley-like season."

Holy Crap...a combination of David Greene AND D.J. Shockley? That's can't even think of an apt comparison. Wait, yes I can....

That's's like chocolate covered bacon. Two of the greatest forces in the world, uniting for the good of humanity.

I've made my love for Joe Cox clear, I think...but if he puts together the kind of season that Hale forsees, I might just have to stalk him.


38 DAYS!!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Old School Rasslin' Post of the Week

Picked this one for two reasons...

- I think Tully Blanchard is extremely underrated, both on the mic and in the ring

- Check out the guys in the audience calling the Dawgs right in the beginning of his promo...they continue to just be totally obnoxious the whole time, to the point where it really throws Tully off his game. Awesome.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mini-weekend thoughts

I mean the THOUGHTS are "mini"...I'm actually enjoying a long weekend. Last day off work for a while, as 2010 business plan season starts next week. Somehow, I'm not nearly as fired up about that one as I am college football...

These weekend wrap-ups have been pretty much exclusively Braves and recruiting talk, so why should this week be any different?

- OK, the Braves have almost pulled me back in again...they keep winning series, which is all they can do at this point. Don't worry about scoreboard watching, because there are too many teams to try and watch. There are seven teams all within 5 games of the wild card lead. Just win, baby...let the chips fall where they may, and try not to think about that stretch a couple of months ago when we couldn't win a series to save our life.

Trade deadline is Friday, but I don't see the Braves making a move. There is just not anybody out there who is worth dealing away any significant piece of your future for. Kelly Johnson just came back, Omar Infante isn't far behind him...that's a pretty good upgrade of your bench without making any other moves.

Speaking of guys coming off of the DL...Tim Hudson is set to come back in a matter of weeks, as long as his rehab starts go OK. When that happens, what do you do with your pitching rotation? Who goes down? Who gets sent to the bullpen?

Well, Lowe, Jurrjens, and Vasquez obviously stay in the rotation. I don't think there is any way they send Hanson to the bullpen, and I don't see them sending him down, either. So it's either Kawakami or Hudson to the bullpen. Kawakami has been very effective since May, so you hate to move him out, but I think that's the only viable option they have.

Whomever goes to the bullpen, I think Medlin is the guy who gets sent down...get him back in a rotation and let him continue his development as a starter.

Whatever way they go, it's a nice problem to have. Not too many teams are dealing with too MUCH starting pitching. Which is also why, if the Braves DO manage to nab the wildcard, they are going to scare the pants off of somebody in the first round.

One complaint, and it's a repeat of one I've already made: I still think Bobby is using the bullpen too often, and I hope it doesn't come back to hurt us in September. Yesterday, Lowe pitched six innings and Bobby pulled him after throwing only 94 pitches. Which meant that Gonzalez had to make his 50th appearance of the year, and Peter Moylan had to make his 55th. Moylan leads the NL in appearances, Gonzalez is 5th, and Eric O'Flaherty, another Brave, is tied for 4th. There is no reason why our bullpen should be this overworked with the quality starting pitching we are getting. Can anybody give me a reason why Lowe couldn't have pitched another inning or so, having thrown only 94 pitches and sporting a 6-2 lead?

- To hear the AJC tell it, the Dawgs were beat out by the Gayters for the number one running back in the state, Mack Brown.

True, he did commit to the lizards (although he hasn't ruled out the Dawgs, according to, but let's look at a couple of numbers:
  • We probably have two spots left in this class. In my opinion, we still have needs at DT, CB, and WR. Even if one of our many DE committments moves inside, we still have as many spots as we have needs, and running back is NOT one of those need positions, because...
  • On our depth chart right now, we have two sophomores and two freshmen. We also have another big-time running back commit (Ken Malcome) already.
We can't take EVERY recruit in the state. I wish he hadn't decided to go to Gainesville, but it didn't make any sense for us to take him or for him to come to Athens.

That's all I got for back soon with thoughts on the LOST Comic-Con panel. VERY interesting stuff, and they may be going in a very dangerous direction..

SEC Media Days - Day 3

OK, let's get Chizik out of the way so we can get to the Spurrier/Miles/Kiffykins trifecta...

- I was disappointed that he talked about spring recruiting with no mention of the War Eagle Express. Seriously, that was the ONLY thing I was interested in hearing ChiZZZZZZZZZZZZZik talk about.

- The SECOND most intriguing thing to me about Auburn next year is what Gus Malzahn, their new OC is going to do. They're trying again with a spread approach. I think Malzahn is a better option than Tony Franklin, and now I think they have a coaching staff that will actually support the philosophy, so I think this one has a better chance at success. Chizik brought up the fact that over the last two years, Malzahn's offenses have averaged over 270 yards on the ground. Last year at Tulsa, his offense was #5 in the country on the ground and #9 through the air...I don't care where you are, that's impressive.

Chris over at SmartFootball gives his thoughts on the Malzahn running game here.

- He made mention of the PR push that has seen Auburn billboards go up all over the place...I've seen a couple of them in the Paulding and Alpharetta areas.

I'm putting up a bounty...if you can give me verifiable proof of you defacing one of these billboards, I will personally award you with a prize package that defies description.

- Let me add my voice to the chorus of people who do NOT like the new watered down, apologetic, humble Steve Spurrier. I like watching him lose, but I don't like watching him snivel.

Brandon Adams on 790AM made an apt comparison the other a kid, we watched Darth Vader through the first two and a half Star Wars movies and just hated him. Even if we thought he was a cool villain, we still loved to hate him. So then he finally dies in Return of the Jedi, and Lucas turned him into a sympathetic figure...bullied by the Emperor, weak, vulnerable. I felt a little bit cheated...I don't want to feel sorry for Darth Vader! I want to EXULT in his destruction, not sympathize with it!

Similar situation here...I want to ENJOY the downfall of Steve Superior, but instead I have to watch it happen to this pathetic shell of what he used to be.

- Case in point...we start fall practice next week, and he still doesn't know who is going to be in charge of play-calling. Who would have ever imagined that on a Spurrier-coached team?

- But there was one little bit of vintage response to a question about Stephen Garcia, his entire answer was about incoming freshman athlete Stephon Gilmore possibly playing some quarterback. So don't be surprised to see the typical quick hook we've all come to know and love.

- More about a true freshman, he is already penciled in at one of the starting corner spots...Joe Cox should have some opportunities to make some plays on 9/12.

- He actually said he was trying not to talk about other schools anymore....that's just sad.

- No hat? What's up with THAT?

- Best hire of the offseason, in my opinion: John Chavis as LSU's new DC. That guy saved Phat Phil's job on NUMEROUS occasions.

- Another reason to love Les Miles (which I do)...he was the only coach to bring up the new focus on helmet-to-helmet contact, saying it has a chance to be "over-officiated." You can COUNT on SEC officials screwing this one up at least one or two times a week.

The sissification of America continues....

- This was maybe the most enjoyable Q&A of any of them...a great mix of humor and real football talk.

Bottom line, Jordan Jefferson should be much improved, they still have tons of playmakers on offense (LaFell, Charles Scott, Trinton Holliday, etc) and the defense has nowhere to go but up, especially with the addition of one of the best defensive coordinators in the country.

A lot of people are jumping on the Ole Miss bandwagon. Not me...I'm calling LSU as the SEC West champs.

- Kiffykins! I think it should be mandatory that his wife appears with him at ALL media functions. Yowza.

- He continues to spout this crap about how all of this attention has been good for the program, stating that every 17 year old in the country is seeing UT in the news more than any other school. I don't see how being a national punchline on a regular basis can be construed as a good thing. If he actually believes that, he's extremely naive...if he DOESN'T believe it, then he just thinks that all of us are.

- Another example of The Lane Kiffin Reality....the injuries to all three of his top 3 receivers is a GOOD thing. O....Kay.

- Oh, and he continues the B.S.....he actually is throwing that crap out there that he took less money so that they could pay assistants more. Baloney. He took what he could get from UT, as a head coach with ZERO track record of success. He was the best UT could get, and he was paid according to his record and worth on the market. THEN they went out and overspent on assistants, to make up for the fact that they have a pubescent as a head coach.

Sorry, there is no way you're going to convince me otherwise.

You know what? That's all the Kiffin I can take. And the amazing part is that he actually came off as more likeable than I would have thought possible. But he is either fooling himself, or he thinks the rest of us are fools, if he expects us to buy this whole "Master Plan" nonsense.

That's a wrap, folks...hope you enjoyed my rather lengthy Media Days thoughts. Almost time to tee it up....BETWEEN the HEDGES!!!



Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Justin Houston Day!!

That's right, only SIX WEEKS until kickoff! I can smell the pulled pork and ribs cookin' already, Holt!

Here's a clip of a former #42 to get your blood pumping on a Saturday morning!

h/t to Cousin Walter at Football on the Brain


We interrupt this program...

...more to come later on SEC Media Days, but in the meantime...Nirvana just got Rick-rolled. And it is AWESOME.

h/t to Doug

Friday, July 24, 2009

SEC Media Days - Dawg edition

Yep, there he is...the most tenured coach in the SEC. Nine years of unquestioned, unequaled success in Athens. I feel supremely confident with Coach Richt at the helm, and am always proud to see him represent UGA at these functions.

On with the highlights...

- Starts off hitting the "team" aspect for this year, with the absence of the "starpower" that we had in 2008. I understand the concept, but I don't necessarily agree with the assertion that A) the combined superstardom of Stafford and Moreno caused the rest of the team to be complacent or; B) that them not being here anymore is somehow a good thing.

Losing Stafford and Moreno has to hurt us...there is no way around it. Now, guys are going to have an opportunity to step up and fill in the gaps, and of course I hope they do. But they had those same opportunities last year (most of them, anyway), and I think it's a little bit revisionist to say that the presence of those two guys caused everybody else to shrink like wallflowers. Maybe I'm wrong...Richt surely knows more about the team than I do. But, in my humble opinion, any complacency was caused more by guys reading their own press clippings.

- First question, right out of the box, is about Joe Cox. Richt lists Cox's assets thusly:
  • Accurate passer
  • Great decision maker
  • Handles pressure well
  • Leadership ability

These are the attributes that Richt says make up a great quarterback, and he says Joe C has them all. All of that sounds great, and I believe him in every case...I just can't wait to actually see these attributes manifest themselves on the field.

- And, as we know now, Coach Richt is also slightly psychic...he said in his answer to the ever-present Tebow question that whomever snubbed him probably made a typo. Which, as it turns out, was exactly right. This man is a GENIUS!

- Richt on moving the WLOCP out of Jacksonville: "This is what I want to do. I want to focus on winning that game. That's all I want to focus on when it comes to that game. That's my goal from here on in. That will be my pat answer from here on in. "

Bravo, Coach. Exactly the response I wanted to hear.

- His two explanations for the defensive debacles last year:

  • Injuries. In my mind, the Jeff Owens injury was the biggest, but our DE position was also decimated, as well as the safety position at times.
  • He told the story again about how he had the team stop tackling after the second practice, due to the injury situation. I know that's one that he would do differently if he could do it over, and the defense certainly looked a lot more aggressive and fundamentally sound in the bowl game after they switched back to full contact

My explanations were severe deficiencies in both rushing the quarterback and, especially in the later part of the season, breakdowns in fundamentals.

- Hasn't ruled out a blackout game this year. Sorry, but at this point the whole concept makes me queasy. I say we give it a rest for a year.

- He said there has been no difference from the coaching perspective when it comes to off-field incidents, and says that the difference is the leadership coming from the players. Also, he said the players were as sick of hearing about it as everybody else was, so they just wanted to make sure it didn't happen again.

He specifically mentioned both Owens and Joe C as guys who have led the charge against any of the stupid behavior. I can definitely see that.

- The schedule this year is a bear. As much as we talked about how hard last year was, this one is probably just as tough. Only things that might make it easier is that we don't have to go to Baton Rouge (we have them at home), we replace Alabama with Arkansas, and we get the off week before Jacksonville.

But our out-of-conference opponents? I'll put them up against anybody's schedule in the country.

Richt said that the goal was never to have three BCS-level opponents in the same year, but it's just the way the schedule fell this year. I agree that we probably want to avoid something like that if we can, but as a fan I do love the cajones we are showing by beefing up the schedule.

- When asked about the strengths/weaknesses of the team, Richt started with the strength up the middle on defense...the beastly quartet of Owens/Atkins/Weston/Tyson at DT, Curran/Dent at LB, and then Jones/Evans at safety. I will agree with him, even on the safeties...I think Evans has really found a home there, and I have high hopes that Reshad has matured enough to fix the fixable issues he had last year.

Mentioned DE as a position where we have to improve, but brought up the point that I talked about last week...this coaching staff has a history of getting production out of our defensive end position. Last year was the aberration, and hopefully not a trend.

On offense, the strengths he listed were the O-line (agree wholeheartedly) and experience coming back. And he is very confident in Blair Walsh's ability to kick extra points. O....K?

Needs Drew Butler to be more consistent. Not sure where all of the special teams talk came from all of a sudden, but I guess I agree with him. He did say that he knows that we will be more effective in kickoffs. I guess we can't go anywhere but up.

- Sounds like Brandon Boykin has the starting job for now opposite Prince Miller, but Sanders Commings and Branden Smith will both get a shot. I have to say, this position is one of the most concerning for me...not a lot of experience, and we will be playing a lot of teams that like to sling the ball around.

Richt's quote: "Losing Asher Allen was not a good thing for us." To which I say AMEN.

- At running back, it still sounds like nobody has separated themselves as The Man, but Richt says that is more due to having a bunch of talented guys rather than a pack that isn't very good. I think we are going to be fine at running back, mainly due to the fact that I think the offensive line has a chance to be tremendous.

- He basically said that the #2 QB is an open competition, and he's not afraid to give it to one of the freshmen if they earn it. He also mentioned the possibility of a Wildcat-type package for Logan Gray (although I agree with Blutarsky that we would probably call it the Wild Dawg)...that's exciting to me. I love Logan's athleticism and was very impressed with the way he threw the ball at G-Day. That's quite a weapon, and I'm glad to see that they are looking for ways to use him.

- More assurances that he's not looking to go anywhere:

"You know, every decision I ever made since I've been at Georgia has been to try to make a decision that would help us in the long run. I didn't try to do anything in a quick fix fashion. I was used to working for a man, named Bobby Bowden, he had so much success at one place, you know, that was attractive to me. I wanted to provide that same kind of stability for our players and our program and our staff and their wives and children, as Coach Bowden did for me and my family. So everything I've done is to try to make sure we will be here for the long haul."

Overall, some refreshingly boring stuff from him, in my was nice not to have to hear any questions regarding arrests, injuries, The Celebration. Looks like we are entering the season under the radar, which is just fine by me.

Joe Cox highlights: Mostly from Hale's Blog

On whether he ever considered a transfer...
"I never thought about leaving. When I signed to come to Georgia, it was for good, and I love everything about the school. No matter what happened, even if Matthew would have come back, I wouldn't have regretted anything. I've made too many good friends, had too many good times and having been part of this team to just pack up and go somewhere else."

On people's expectations of Georgia this year...
"I figured a lot of questions would just be about how we're going to come back this year after losing so many guys, about everybody's expectations. Our expectations haven't changed. We know a lot of people are probably overlooking us, and that's probably the best thing for us. It's made us have a good offseason, and we're looking to keep rolling on through into camp and through the season."

On becoming a leader:
I have stepped into my role as a leader of this team. I am right where I want to be. I've worked hard and a lot of guys look up to me and are ready and willing to follow me.

On his leadership style vs. Matthew Stafford's style of leadership:
We are different types of leaders. I'm more vocal that Matthew was. That's not a good thing or a bad thing. Matthew was a great leader, but the distinction is the team. I don't think he had enough help. This year a lot more guys have stepped us as leaders as well.

That last part jumped out at me...Staff has taken a lot of heat about not being the "leader" that the team needs, but Cox kind of hit on what Richt said. Sounds like guys just expected other people to lead (whether it was Stafford, Moreno, or whomever), and there weren't enough guys taking accountability.

Jeff Owens highlights:

On losing star players Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford:
The star of our team this year is our team. AJ Green stands out as a star. But this year its all about the "team." Everyone has to be a star to win and be successful.

On the off-season this year:
It has been a lot different than last year. It's been a low-key offseason. I've stepped into my role of leadership. I challenge my teammates and we combine everything for the Georgia football equation for success.

Again, great choice by Richt to bring these guys, and I think they all did the Dawg Nation proud.


43 DAYS!!!

SEC Media Days 1 and 2

Ahhh, football season is right around the corner. And what better way to spend it than in Hoover, Alabama with a few thousand Alabama fans clamoring for the chance to touch the hem of Saban's garment?

This picture is from Jeff Schultz's blog over at is actually doing a fairly entertaining job of covering the festivities, including this quote about the above picture.
"You see what I see. Fortunately, you don’t smell what I smell — like these Bama fans who’ve been waiting in the hotel lobby since 7:30 a.m., hoping to get a glimpse of a football coach or a left tackle. They didn’t move. For hours. It was a Thursday. I can’t verify their employment at this time."

Let's hit the highlights:
(fair warning...this turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would be. That's what happens when all of the bosses take the same day off.)

Day 1:
Wow, they must have really backloaded the schedule this year. Today we get Petrino, Bobby Johnson, Dan Mullen, and Rich Brooks. Should be a real laugh riot.
Before the coaches took the podium, we did get the "State of the SEC" speech from Commissioner Slive. To sum up: The SEC is doing just fine. Or, as Orson Swindle put it in his twitter: "Mike Slive, paraphrased: We're getting hit by the recession just like everybody else. Please excuse me while I adjust my platinum underwear."

Then the ESPN guys talked about the new contract with the SEC...the gist of that is that SEC football is going to be on ALL THE TIME. Like, every day. On every channel.

Really cool news coming out is that Matt Stinchcomb, former Dawg great, will be co-hosting the studio show for the early games. Great news for him, and I think he's going to do a great job. I have also heard that Pollack may be involved on some level as well, but I don't know the specifics on that one.

On with the show...

I have made my thoughts about Petrino pretty clear in this post...let's just say I'm not a big fan.

Most interesting quotes:
- He made some pretty interesting comments about high school offenses. He said that while he is excited and happy that high schools are throwing the ball around a lot, going no-huddle, having a lot of 7-on-7 drills/tournaments, etc., he thinks it's hurting the development of quarterbacks when it comes to getting a play, calling it in the huddle, and walking up and taking the snap from under center. He said that one of their backup QBs, Tyler Wilson, had taken every single snap since 8th grade in the shotgun, in a no-huddle offense. When he got to Arkansas, they had to start by teaching him how to simply get a play called in the huddle that has been sent in from the sideline. Not to mention things like the footwork involved in taking a snap under center and turning to hand the ball off to your running back in the right place. He said he wishes they would institute a rule that HS offenses have to operate from under center at least 25-40% of the time. That will never happen, of course, nor should it (and if somebody tried to tell Petrino what type of formation he had to run 25% of his offense from, he'd tell them to stick it), but it was still an interesting train of thought.

- Ryan Mallett was over 265 pounds when he showed up on campus, which explains why he probably would not have been effective in the Rich Rodriguez spread at Michigan. They now have him down to under 240. I wish they had gotten him to go the other way, and just see how big he could get and still throw the ball. I can't be the only one who misses Jared Lorenzen.

- He never thinks about how his stint with the Falcons would have been different had Vick not gone to jail. Yeah, Coach, I'm right there with you...I don't like to think about it, either. I wouldn't trade Smith and Ryan for Petrino and Vick even if you threw in the '85 Bears defense in the deal.

- He voted for Tebow. I could not care less, and have no idea why this is a story. I only wish it had been Richt who didn't vote for him....since it wasn't him, this will be the last I mention of this absurd obsession.

Most interesting quotes:
- ummm....still searching the transcript....oh, here's something: They play 12 straight weeks without a bye week. Sucks for them.

- And, according to Coach Johnson, Florida has a chance to be pretty good. That's the kind of insight you will ONLY get at SEC Media Days.

And, that pretty much wraps up the Vandy portion of our show.

New head coach Dan Mullen proves to be the funniest speaker of the day (not that there was a lot of competition in this group), by claiming when he gets to the podium that he will ONLY be communicating via Twitter for the day.

By the way, Mullen talks a LOT, and he talks very QUICKLY. I would hate to have been the one transcribing him.
Most interesting quotes:

- Claims to be very excited to be living in Starkville, Mississippi. Yep. Told you he was funny.
- Talked about how excited he was to have Carl Torbush as the Defensive Coordinator. That one, I will agree with...not so much the Starkville thing.

- Very excited to be playing a SWAC school in the opener. I was just surprised to learn that the SWAC still existed. I thought it disbanded back when SMU got the death penalty, Arkansas joined the SEC, and Texas A&M went to the Big 12.

Oh...that was the SWC. So who are they playing in their opener? JACKSON STATE? Wow...way to go out on a limb there, guys. No wonder Mullen is excited about it.

(By the way, I know I'm using the word "excited" in every one of these bullet points. Trust me, I'm leaving out 95% of the times he used the word)

- He also gave a description of his "spread offense" that would make Chris Brown cringe:
"I'll give you all my definition of a spread offense. I don't know if we're spread option, spread passing, spread running or just spread. To me, we're a multiple spread team. We're going to be a team that goes out there, spread offense. I want to make sure the defense has to defend the entire field sideline to sideline. Through personnel and through formations, we want to create advantageous one on one matchups, where I get a player in the open field matched up against someone that he's better than. That's the spread offense, the offense we're going to run. The biggest thing we have to do is make sure our personnel fits that. " the point of his offense is to create matchups that are advantageous for his team. BRILLIANT!!! Dude, Urban is going to miss that kind of forward thinking at Florida this year.

- Seriously, he just went on and on at the beginning...just a stream-of-conciousness type ramble where he starts every sentence with the word "and" or "so" and uses the word "excited" about 675 different times.

Here's an example of one of his, for lack of a better description, "sentences":
"You see our team play, hopefully if you do, hopefully win enough games y'all want to show up, watch us play one week, if you do come to that stadium, you're going to walk out of there, my expectations, I'll be proud of my team if you walk out of that stadium and say, Wow, did you see how hard those guys played every single snap of that game."

I believe Coach Mullen had one too many Red Bulls.

- That's enough time spent on Miss. State, but the transcript of his time at the podium is just fascinating...just a big ole word vomit, as the answer to every question.

Oh, and there's this...he has a deep and unending love for Tim Tebow. Just like the rest of us.

Coach Brooks gets off a zinger, saying it's appropriate that he was going last, since that's where they are picked to finish every year, anyway. Ha...ha? I don't think I would find that too funny if I were a UK fan. Actually, if I were a UK fan, I would be too busy worried about how Calipari is going to do and monitoring basketball recruiting to even know that Coach Brooks was speaking today.

Most interesting quotes:
- He was as surprised as the rest of us that Trevard Lindley came back for his senior year, and thinks he's the best returning corner in the country. He may be right. I at least think Lindley will be the best returning corner in the conference...sure wish Asher had made the same choice.

- Mike Hartline will be the full time QB, Randall Cobb will play mostly at WR with some Wildcat packages thrown in there for him at QB. I think this is the right move for them...a lot fewer negative plays with Hartline back there, I think.

- You know, the more I look at this UK team, the more impressed I am with them. In Hartline, Cobb, Lindley, Corey Peters, and Micah Johnson, they have some playmakers on both sides of the ball. Four seniors on the offensive line. They have really played us pretty tough the past few years, and there's a chance that we may be looking past them to the gnats when we play them. So now I'm if I needed ANOTHER game to worry about.

WHEW...that was just Day 1. Day 2 is when the fireworks REALLY start.

DAY 2:
UGA had our day on Day 2, but I think I'm going to do a separate post for them, since I will obviously want to go into some more detail with the Dawgs.

- First of all, Orson was on fire with his tweets during Saban's time at the podium. My two favorites:

- "Saban approaches the podium, looks like money and anger"
- "Someone's phone rang loudly while Saban speaks. He has been taken out by snipers, and the body pulled through a trap door"
- "Saban: No one player can make a team great, but one player can destroy everything. That player? ERIC BERRY"

- Seriously, the hysterical reverence that the Tide faithful have for this guy would be funny if it weren't so scary.

- I do kind of like the guy, though, or at least admire his intensity. Check out this quote:"I think it's also important that you establish a work ethic on your team, that your team understands they're working to dominate the competition. It's not relative to what they think hard work is; it's what they need to do to dominate the competition in a very competitive, difficult, tough league, with a very difficult, tough schedule." (emphasis added)

That's what I want to hear from a football coach. Your goal is to work hard enough to DOMINATE, not just work hard enough that you feel like you worked hard.

- VERY interesting stuff about leading up to the bowl game. Basically called Andre Smith out...said that one player not doing the right things can destroy everything you've worked on, and an example of that was what happened to them in the Sugar Bowl, where they embarassed the conference by getting destroyed by Utah.

Seriously, that's pretty blatant. He just shifted the entire blame for that debacle onto one guy. I'm surprised nobody called him out on that.

- They are in a tough spot on the O-line, having to replace two All-Americans in Smith and Caldwell. How they do that could go a long way in determining their success.

- He's very happy about the recruiting bump he gets from playing the opener in Atlanta two years in a row. Coach Richt has talked about that...I hope to see us in that opener sometime soon, if we can find a place on the schedule for it.

- Soldiers have DIED for the rights of SEC coaches to vote privately for the All-SEC team. Hey, Saban said must be true. So, thank a soldier today!

(seriously, thank a soldier today...but I do not remember from my history class the great Battle of Hoover that won this right for SEC coaches)

- I do love hearing him talk about defense.

- On the other hand, I do NOT like to hear him talking about how they are going to get down to the 85-scholarship limit. I think that the way they go about these things is disgraceful...oversigning every year and then having to find ways to take scholarships away.

I haven't said anything about the whole "UGA is banned from Carver-Columbus HS" flap, but I will say this...if I were a HS coach I would MUCH rather my players go through something like Devin Burns did (even though I don't think we handled it right, which is why Richt called and apologized) than to have a team accept the committment and then find a creative way to pull the scholarship after he is already signed.

- He went on and on about how the fans and players are going to react to seeing him wear LSU colors in the movie adaptation of the Michael Oher book "The Blind Side." I'm not sure why they would be expecting anything else...does somebody need to explain the difference between real life and a movie?


Most interesting quotes:

- Coach Nutt talked about some of the same things I have thought...lots of high expectations for them, but replacing Michael Oher and Peria Jerry will be tough.

- It had been 727 days since they won a conference game when they beat Florida. That says a lot about what an impressive performance and huge upset it was, but also...this is the team that so many are picking top 5 and handing the SEC West to? A team that, as recently as last year, had a TWO YEAR conference losing streak going? Excuse me if I don't jump on that bandwagon just yet.

- Jerrell Powe is still there? Well, most of him is...he's down to 320 from 383. Hasn't he been there for like 6 years now? How is he only listed as a sophomore? He signed in 2005, for crying out loud!

- And, as a sort of follow up to my Alabama scholarship thoughts...Ole Miss signed THIRTY NINE guys last year. There is no way that should be legal...that's a disgrace.

- Last in the SEC in pass defense last year. I'm just sayin'...this team is getting an awful lot of love.

Meyer said he has never been more anxious to coach a team than this one...kind of reminds me of Donnan's "I've been waiting thirty years to coach a team like this one" quote before the 2000 season. Somehow, I don't expect similar results.

- Man, this guy is boring. Intense, sure, but very boring to listen to.

- Interesting to see what happens with the play-calling this year. Mullen always called the plays from the box, but Adazzio will be calling from the sideline. I know Richt has talked about what a transition that is, so it might cause some issues.

I know, I'm grasping at straws.

- He's fine with FSU being their only big out-of-conference game. What a pansy. For somebody who talks about "competition" so much, he sure wants to reduce the amount of competetion they have on their schedule.

- Refuses to answer any questions about suspensions. Funny how they don't take the heat the Georgia did last year regarding behavioral issues, even though their arrests have been for much more serious offenses than ours. Not like funny ha-ha...more like funny-makes-me-want-to-punch-somebody-in-the-throat.

- In case I haven't mentioned it before...Florida brings back their entire two-deep on defense. All 22 of them. Ridiculous.

- Still looking for an every-down running back...haven't found him yet.

- Ongoing theme we hear from Meyer a lot...people talk about his offensive "scheme" all the time, but he's not married to any one scheme. It's all about personnel, and finding the right system for the players you have. He's made enough adjustments to what he does over the years that I believe him when he says that, and it's part of what makes him a great coach.

- Funny story...Brandon Spikes was originally supposed to go with them to media days, but get this...he's scared of crowds. I can only wish it affected his football ability, and not just his public speaking ability.

- I haven't talked about the players Q&A portion, mainly because they were very boring for the most part. But Tebow can really work a room. He came off as intelligent, humble yet confident,, I hate that guy.

And that does it for now...I'll be back later with thoughts on the Georgia portion of the day, and then later tonight or tomorrow with the Miles/Spurrier/Kiffen show...should be fun!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Off work today...

...and taking full advantage of it, so I don't know how much I will be at the computer.

So, quickly, here's the scoop on today:

- TJ Stripling verbally committed to the Dawgs early this morning. This is just more great news on the recruiting front, as this guy is the kind of strike-terror-in-the-hearts-of-quarterbacks guy coming off the edge that we have been missing. He is our 5th commitment who is classified as a defensive end, so I would expect to see some position changes. Maybe Morant or Fields move inside, since they are both around 240 right now, or maybe Stripling (who is around 215) moves to linebacker. Either way, the Dawgs got themselves another playmaker today.

Plus, his hair is cool...looks kind of like the Predator.

- SEC Media Days start TODAY. I will be following Hale and Forde on Twitter, as well as following all of the typical outlets. Hope to have my thoughts posted on the days events each night.

- Also starting this week (tomorrow) is the annual Comic Con event in San Diego. Should be getting some cool news/updates/interviews regarding a lot of my favorite shows, so don't be surprised to see some of that geektastic stuff find its way into the blog, as well.

How geektastic? Well, last night I watched Torchwood (the Dr. Who spinoff on BBC), Big Bang Theory, and Warehouse 13 (a really cool and entertaining new show on SciFi), and I am also reading through Ender's Game again. So, yeah, I am really embracing my inner geek at the moment.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekend/random thoughts

- First things first...SEC Media Days start TOMORROW!!! WOOT!!

Like David Hale said earlier this week, that's our equivalent to pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training...there's no real activity yet, but it's the first sign of life since Signing Day.

This year's festivities should be's Lane Kiffen's first year, for one thing, so we get to hear 100 different variations on whether it's true that A) All of this making a public fool of himself is some sort of master plan; and B) All publicity is good publicity.

No Phat Phil this year, so the possibility of subpoenas drops drastically.

I'm personally really looking forward to the quotes from the two Dawg representatives, Joe Cox and Jeff Owens. Pretty much everything these guys say fires me up to the point of wanting to run through a wall, and they were definitely the perfect choices as our representatives, despite what Pat Forde says...he seems to think that the reps should be the biggest "stars" on the team, so he wanted AJ Green and Rennie. I think it should be as Richt has always done it, with two senior leaders going to speak for the team, and these two definitely fit the bill.

- Dawgs recruiting is continuing to roll...two more huge commitments over the last couple of days:

  • Garrison Smith, DT out of Atlanta: We need DT's desperately this year (we lose three of our top 4 to graduation after this year), which made this guy pretty much a must-have. He's 6-4 250 right now, and he is so athletic that he actually plays mostly at DE in high school.

  • Nickell Roby, CB/ATH out of Frostproof, FL: If the name of that city looks familiar, it's also the hometown of his cousin and future teammate, Carlton Thomas. This guy is a burner, and's scouting report just raved about him. He's also 5-8 and 165 pounds, which means he'll wear #23 when he arrives on campus. I'm convinced that we had a special tiny jersey made for Tim Jennings when he showed up at school, and rather than throw it away, we just sign another diminutive corner every four years and just pass the jersey down. He's a little guy, obviously, but runs a 4.4, and at 165 has max lifts of 285 at the bench and 445 squat listed...that's nearing Thomas Brown territory.

This makes 17 commitments, which means I only seeing us taking about 3-4 more...if I had my wish it would be one more DT, one more WR, and then whomever we can get out of Mack Brown (highly rated running back) and TJ Stripling (pass rushing DE).

- Braves continue to be on a roll...unfortunately, it's too little, too late. This team had a chance to make noise earlier in the season when nobody in the NL East could seem to win any the Phillies are on a monster roll (9 game winning streak, 12 out of their last 13), and even though the Braves are playing much better baseball over the last couple of weeks they are actually losing ground in the standings and are now 6.5 games back. We are only 4 games out of the wild card, however, so that's a possibility....but I'm not getting my hopes up. We're swinging some hot bats right now (especially the middle of the order), but I'm not sold that we can maintain that level of success...this is still the same team who, not too long ago, was losing series while only scoring 3-4 runs over a three game span pretty consistently.

And if the offense DOES fall off, we're in even bigger trouble, because Bobby is working this bullpen like crazy. Just about all of our top guys are near the league lead in appearances, which shouldn't be the case...number one, we haven't won enough games to have used our setup and closer that often, and number two, our starters have been extremely effective for the most part. The problem is that Bobby rarely lets anybody pitch past the 7th inning, no matter how effective they've been. The other night, Vasquez was throwing a gem and was lifted after the 7th having thrown only 101 pitches...we should have gotten at LEAST another inning out of him.

One more Braves note...Nate McLouth may be my new favorite player, even though he can't hit his way out of a paper bag right now. I just like saying his name really loudly with a thick Scottish accent. Try it always puts me in a better mood.

- Doc Jensen at continues to put out pretty good LOST content, even in the long hiatus. This week, he looks at 15 reader-submitted mysteries that "must" be solved before next year's series finale.

Hate to break it to him and his readers, but some of those ain't gonna happen...I think we've seen the last of Libby, for example, and I also think we've received all of the explanation we're going to get on the numbers (try researching the Valenzetti Equation).

- And I'm about 9 games into my first season on NCAA 10 from I mentioned before, I have a PlayStation 2. The only game I play is this one, and I can't talk myself (or more importantly, my wife) into ponying up the cash for a PlayStation 3 for just one game. Apparently EA is also not ponying up any more money for improvements to games on the PlayStation 2 platform, because this one is EXACTLY the same as last year. Only updates are to the rosters. I literally can not tell any difference in the game play, and there have only been minor font changes to the overall appearance.

As for the rosters, there are the usual interesting screw-ups (Vince Vance is white, for example), and I wasn't too happy with some of the player rankings, but those were rectified pretty quickly (how is Michael Moore a higher rated WR than AJ Green? Did his mother help with the programming?).

If you've never bought the game before, I would give it an A-. It's still the best as far as gameplay and overall enjoyment. But if you have bought the game in recent years, it's only worth it if you want the roster updates.

OK, that's enough worthless stuff for now!



Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy David Pollack Day!!

Yes, today is only FORTY SEVEN days to kickoff...Happy David Pollack Day, everybody!

To commemorate, here is some Pollack-y goodness to start your day (or get you through lunch, or end your day...I don't know when you guys are reading this)....


Friday, July 17, 2009

Something else to help pass the time till kickoff...

Season 3 of Mad Men, one of the best shows on television, starts back on August is a piece that Yahoo did (pulled from Basket of Kisses, THE site if you are a fan of the show) on the Top 10 most shocking moments of the first two seasons.

Obviously, spoiler alert, but if you haven't been watching this show, go now and watch the first two seasons (both available on DVD)...watching this piece just reminded me of how incredible the first two seasons of this show have been:

50 days to kickoff!!

Ohhh...I'm ready...I miss Sanford Stadium so bad right now.

It's days like today that I like to go back and read stuff like this, originally posted by ibdawg on the Vent, and now archived over at the Anti-Orange page. Yeah, it's a little outdated (since the Seven Notes are now played inside the stadium), but the sentiment will always be the same....GLORY!!!:


It is Saturday. All week long you've waited. What started out on Monday as a tight feeling in the pit of your stomach, is now a 10,000-pound gorilla tap dancing on your spleen.

You've done your best to concentrate and do your job this week. You made an honest effort to put "all this" on the back burner and focus on "the important things", but to no avail. The images just kept coming: bright fall sunshine and crisp autumn air painting the classic city in Hellenic splendor. The aroma of a thousand tailgate feasts wafting through the air, and everywhere, everything - - Red and Black.

You've gone from sports page to magazine, to news show, to internet site, and in every conversation in every office, diner, hallway and cubicle you entered this week, you have tried to reassure yourself of the outcome of this week's contest. But in your heart of hearts you know there's only one way to settle it: 'Dawgs gotta tee it up and play.

And now it's Saturday. As you contemplate the day ahead an image of The Hedges flashes in your mind; green grass, crisp white lines, sunshine ricocheting off the instruments of the Redcoats, and 90,000 - plus fans volleying "GEORGIA - BULLDAWGS" back and forth across the stadium, rattling you all the way to the soles of you feet. You swing out of bed, heart pounding. Grab a cuppa Joe and a quick shower as you prepare for the pilgrimage to A-town. You slam in a tape of the Redcoat Band and crank up the stereo. "Hail" bounces off the walls while you don your lucky shirt (socks, hat, pants, whatever) as you perform the pre-game ritual.

The phone rings - - Yes, you're up. Yes, you have the tickets. "No, my cooler's full, we'll have to take yours, too. I'll stop and get some ice on the way." Gather up the tailgate supplies and load the car. Why does it take so damn long for everyone else to get ready? You check and recheck the supplies - - table, chairs, food. No need to check the drinks, no way those'll get left behind! Cigars? Check. Binoculars? Check. Camera? Blanket? Check. 'Dawg flags secured to the car and ready to fly - - all packed up and ready.

Finally! Time to go. You reassure yourself for the millionth time that the tickets are in your pocket and you "saddle up." Headed to The Classic City. Dawg-patch, USA. Larry and Scott and Loran on the pre-game show, telling you how good these guys are gonna be (yeah, like you need something else to worry about!). Loran threads in a history lesson, and hey - - an interview with one of the Dawgs from way back when. Always wondered what happened to him. Corporate exec in N'awlins. Who'd of ever guessed? You smile as you remember a moment of glory for him in a past game. On the radio, James Brown is hammering out, "Dooley's Junkyard Dawgs" and as your friends get in the car, you all sing along.

En route, cars pass by you by: they're singing too, and barking as they pass. It's a rolling party and the gangs all there! You sense the excitement as it grows, mile by mile. Traffic slows to a crawl somewhere near the Clarke County line. It is a long, happy, red and black serpent winding its way toward Sanford Stadium. Dawg flags and bumper stickers. "Boiled P-nuts just ahead". White shoe polish on windshields proclaiming the magnificence of the Dawg nation, and snatches of Larry pleading from the speakers of passing cars and trucks: "He's at the 40, the 35, the 30, run Lindsey, run!" And your heart races, your gut tightens - - you just can't wait to be there.

Now on final approach - - you turn down Lumpkin (Milledge, Baxter . . . ) homing in on THE tailgate spot. Other friends are already there and as you get out of the car, it hits you! Carnival atmosphere. Red. Black. "How 'bout them Dawgs!" "They Hell ain't they?" The fragrance of charcoal heating up and barbecue on the grill. Opposing fans drifting by, good natured ribbing , and "hey, y'all eat some of this, we got plenty". Introductions all around, and then serious discussion and comparison of the teams. Who's hurt? How fast is that wide receiver? That O-line looked awesome last week. Y'all gonna keep that coach around next year?"

Drinks with old friends and new ones. Stories about games gone by. "Man, they've added a lot to the campus since the last time I was here!" and "I don't think they grew 'em like that when I was in school!" Have another drink. Have some more barbecue. And another drink. Or two. And finally, pack it all up, it's time to go! Man, you really didn't need that extra barbecue, that 10,000 pound gorilla is kicking to get out right now!

You merge into the red and black sea that is moving inexorably toward Sanford, the Temple of the Dawg. The sun is as bright as you imagined it would be. Not too hot, not too cold. 'A crisp, fall day' as Larry might describe it. Red and Black everywhere. Sequined coats and polyester pants. Hats. Shorts. Boots. Faces painted with renderings of Uga and "Dawgs". "Buy a program?" "You bet." And, "Oh man, I gotta have that tee-shirt." Barking Dawgs everywhere as you're more or less towed towards the stadium by the throng of the Dawg nation.

But underneath the bridge, near the student center, the crowd stops. And there stands the band in all its splendor, Redcoats blazing like fire. Sequins from the Flag Corps' costumes glittering like diamonds. Notes and rifts fill the air as they mill around, warming up, waiting impatiently for the spectacle to begin. They pose for photos with family and friends. Kisses and hugs all around. "There's Uga!" and everyone tries to get a look and a photo. "Hey Mr. Seiler." "Hey Coach!" Kids run around at your knees; stadium urchins already beginning their collection of souvenirs from a day in Dawgpatch.

The moment freezes in your mind as you notice that somewhere close to the middle of the band, beneath the crowd assembled on the bridge, one lone trumpet swings skyward. . .

The atmosphere is instantly charged with about a gazillion volts, and the crowd waits expectantly.

You KNOW what's coming and still, you can't control your reaction. Goosebumps rise on your arms. The hair on your neck stands straight up and a lump forms in your throat. Your eyes well up. All those memories of all those years and all those Dawgs suddenly converge in your mind and your chest feels like it's gonna explode. And then come the seven notes. . .

Seven plaintive notes, rendered slowly, proudly, reverently into the heavens. "Mine eyes have seen the glory. . ."

And Dawgs all around you, and above you begin to answer back. Just one or two at first, but it continues to grow like a pack of hungry wolves, becoming louder and wilder, until the bridge itself threatens to collapse from the clamor! And then the rest of the band joins in, and suddenly the whole damn world is ablaze with the fire that burns in the breast of the Dawg Nation.

GLORY. Not "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". Not the fight song of some backwoods pretender in Alabama. GLORY, the battle hymn of the Dawg Nation!. Glory, Glory to Ol' Georgia.

The uproar grows and the crowd melds and begins to move in unison, the fans, the band, all one. . . Suddenly it's not a crowd anymore. It has become something else entirely. You can't describe it, but you know its composition. It is Theron Sapp and Mike Castronis; Buck Belue and Lewis Grizzard; Craig Hertwig and Cowboy Parish and Preston Riddlehuber. Larry, and "Loran, whatta ya got?" Ray the quarterback and Ray the coach. Squab the equipment manager and Jake Scott. Hell, it's Herschel Walker the Endzone Stalker, and Vince Dooley and Joel Eaves, with a little bit of Wally Butts and Erk Russell thrown in. It's "He's got a man open - - he's gonna throw a long bomb! and "Look at the sugar falling from the sky!" It's Robert Edwards tight-ropin' down in the corner, and he got in there! And Verron Haynes stepping down in Knoxville with the winning catch. It's every friend you ever sat with through a game on a Saturday in Athens, Georgia.

And suddenly, what moments ago was merely a crowd has transformed into an indomitable entity ; a juggernaut of energy and pride that streams into the stadium like smoke from a battery of double-barreled canon.

It's game time, and so we press - - into the Temple of the Dawg, we enter; a huge machine in Red and Black.