Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Random thoughts - Dawgs, Braves, a goodbye to one of the best in the business, other stuff...

TOLD you posting would be more sporadic now that I am back from vacation. Work has been kicking my butt pretty hard since I got back, plus some Father's Day, yeah.

Some random thoughts that have been building up over the past week or so...

- First things first...The Dawg Nation is facing a big loss in the next month or so, as the magnificent David Hale is moving on, let's just say different pastures, rather than greener ones.

Hale has produced a steady output of the kind of material that I wish ALL of the online "journalists" would aspire to...informative, entertaining, insightful, must-read articles, sometimes multiple times a day.

The two aspects that made him the best: First of all, he always seemed to ask the questions that we as fans would ask if given the opportunity, rather than just the typical cliches. I think that's harder to do than a lot of people think.

Secondly, his accuracy and integrity were never in question. Among all of us Dawg Tweeps, Bloggers, and 'Venters, there was one thing we knew for sure: no matter the situation (coaching change, position change, player suspensions, etc), it wasn't for SURE true unless David Hale had reported it.

Hale never attended UGA, but it's safe to say he is a DGD and will be missed by the Dawg Nation.

- My biggest regret about falling behind on my countdown to kickoff? I missed my opportunity last Saturday to post THIS:

Yep...Saturday was 77 days until kickoff, so we honor Trinton Sturdivant and his groovy dance stylings.

The other thing that means is that this week we are only TEN WEEKS from GAME WEEK! I can smell the ribs already! And the bourbon...and the VIOLENCE.

The more I think about this 2010 Dawgs team, the more excited I am. Only 73 days to go!!

- If there are any of you still reading this who were loyal readers of my American Idol recaps, I appreciate it...and you can rest knowing that you may have been witnesses to history. If this little news release turns out the way I am afraid it will, I will likely no longer even be WATCHING, must less recapping, so THIS was likely my last American Idol recap ever. With three daughters in the house, I hear plenty of 15-year-old marginally talented "singers" need to expose myself to any more, thank you very much.

- U-S-A!!! U-S-A!!!

That concludes the soccer portion of our blog.

(Even if you're not a soccer fan, check out the second video)

- Braves continue to play good baseball...but one of my favorite stories of the season so far is Stephen Strasburg. Between him and J-Hey, I feel like we are watching the first green shoots of two guys who may go down as some of the best ever.

Check out some of these numbers, courtesy of Buster Olney's blog on (daily reading for baseball fans, by the way):

"After opposing hitters have reached a count of no balls and two strikes against Stephen Strasburg, they are 0-for-20 with 16 strikeouts. That's not much worse than what happens after they fall behind in the count of 0-1: Opponents are 4-for-36 with 22 strikeouts after the first pitch goes for strike one."

"How unusual is Stephen Strasburg's efficiency? Well, consider this note generated by the Washington Nationals' staff: In 2010, only three pitchers have struck out 10-plus in a game but required less than 100 pitches to do so. Strasburg has two of these zero-walk, 10-plus K tallies. On April 6, Dallas Braden struck out 10 over seven innings against the Mariners, while throwing 91 pitches. On May 15, James Shields struck out 10 with 93 pitches against the Mariners. Then, in his debut, Strasburg threw 94 pitches against the Pirates and struck out 14 -- before striking out 10 with 85 pitches against the White Sox Friday."

Pretty amazing fact, if J-Hey doesn't find a way out of this slump he is in, Strasburg might steal his Rookie of the Year award.

One thing I don't like about the guy...he's a Scott Boras client. And, even though Strasburg signed the largest contract in draft history, he was "undervalued", according to Boras.

Whenever the first contract negotiation between the Nats and Strasburg happens, I think Boras' end of the conversation may sound something like this:

"Our demands are these: $350 GAZILLION dollars. And a unicorn... Wait, not a unicorn...what's the one with the wings? Oh, right, a Pegasus. We want $350 GAZILLION dollars and a personal Pegasus. What do you mean, how many zeroes are in a gazillion? I don't know...that's for YOU to figure out!"

OK, that's about it for about I leave you with this, just for fun?


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Catchin' up

Well, I'm back from Florida...which, of course, means that posting will actually be MORE sporadic, not less.

Go figure.

So...what's been going on?

- First of all, my long ago promised (and even longer overdue) apology to Troy Glaus. I was as hard on him as anybody early in the season, hitting him hard both on the blog and on my Twitter feed.

All he's done since then is win the NL Player of the Month for May and take over the NL lead in RBI.

So, maybe instead of apologizing, I should just're WELCOME!

Just kidding...I was wrong, so I'll gladly admit it.

Troy Glaus for MVP!!

- While I was in Destin, the mighty Trojans of USC got as close to the death penalty as any program is going to get post-SMU.

To which I say, simply:


Oh, man, that's AWESOME.

My favorite part was when Kiffykins said that the sanctions (loss of 30 scholarships over three years, two-year bowl ban, and most interestingly, the release of juniors and seniors to transfer to another school without sitting out) will have "no impact" on recruiting.

He followed that up with "DERP DERP DERPITTY DERP".

- Also, the Big 12 threatened to explode, only to be saved at the last minute thanks to Texas graciously accepting an additional $15 MILLION DOLLARS or so to stay put. Such a charitable gesture.

I was pretty out of the loop while all of the conversations were going on last week, so I will leave it to others to go through all the ins and outs and backroom politics. I just know that I was extremely glad that the rumored Texas A&M move to the SEC didn't happen. I really don't want to see the SEC expand at all, and I especially don't want them to make a move just because everybody else is and water down the conference by bringing in inferior teams.

I also don't like what SEC expansion would do to the schedule. I don't really want to see more than 8 SEC games on the schedule, so even if the conference was to only expand to two seven-team divisions, in order to keep from going to 9 SEC games you would have to drop one of the "rotating" games. So we would have 6 division games, the game against Auburn, and then only one rotating SEC game, which would mean we would go 10 years or more between games against LSU, Alabama, and the other teams in the SEC West. I don't like that.

Surprisingly enough, Mike Slive didn't ask my opinion, and I don't expect that to change when this comes up again in a couple of years. Expansion is inevitable, I'm afraid...I was just glad the SEC dodged the bullet this time around. the Big 12 (or whatever they will be called now) really going to go with just ten teams and no championship game? If so, can we take their automatic BCS bid away? Otherwise, won't the winner of the Texas-Oklahoma game just cakewalk to the BCS every year?

- Remember when I was so excited about the fact that the Hawks let Mike Woodson go, and maybe the team was going to go in a different direction other that stagnant mess we've seen over the last two years?

Yeah...never mind.

- Couple of key additions to the Dawgs over the last couple of weeks.

First of all, we got a big commitment from Nick Marshall. I absolutely love this story...this guy grew up a Dawg fan and Georgia was his dream school. We were recruiting him as a quarterback, as were most of the other schools pursuing him, but then we received the commitment from Christian Lemay and Coach Richt said we probably wouldn't take another quarterback in the 2011 class. The gnats were his second choice, so he came very close to committing to them...and then Coach Richt called and offered him as a defensive back. Nick JUMPED at the second chance to be a kind of guy.

On top of that, he is also one of the top basketball recruits in the state, and he will be playing for Coach Fox's Hoop Dawgs as well. The basketball program is making HUGE strides in the right direction under Coach Fox...with the talent we have coming back plus a couple of big recruits, I think we could really make some noise in 2010-2011.

Here are some highlights of Nick playing DB (h/t to Bubba 'n Earl):

Then, today the Dawgs got some more big news when Jarvis Jones decided to transfer to UGA from USC. Jarvis was very highly recruited in 2009, when Rivals had him rated as the 3rd best prospect in Georgia. He had a neck injury last season, after which USC released him from his scholarship, but all reports from both the USC and UGA medical staff seem to indicate that he is ready to play.

I think Jarvis fits in EXTREMELY well as an inside linebacker in Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense. If he does step in there and live up to his vast potential, we could be looking at a possible 2012 linebacking corps of Cornelius Washington (assuming he doesn't have a big enough year to jump to the NFL in '10), Jarvis Jones, Richard Samuel, and T.J. Stripling.

I'll take it.

Here are some Jarvis Jones highlights from when he was being recruited:

Getting fired up yet? Only 81 DAYS TO KICKOFF!!!

To celebrate, here is a very well done highlight video of the Dawgs win over TAMU in the Independence Bowl...our #81, Aron White, has a couple of big plays (at the 2:35 and 4:36 marks):

And, while I'm at it, since I missed yesterday, here is one of my favorite highlights from the career of #82, Fred Gibson...a fingertip TD catch against the gators:

Good to be back...


Sunday, June 13, 2010

83 days to kickoff!!

Couldn't find any cool Cornelius Washington video, so how about some video of a couple of guys who, if reports can be believed, are actually SLOWER than Cornelius Washington?


Saturday, June 12, 2010

84 days to kickoff!!

This video has nothing to do with the number 84. I just like it.


Friday, June 11, 2010

85 Days to kickoff!!

As promised yesterday, here are some highlights of some of the Dawg signees from the offensive side of the ball. suggestion is to turn the sound down, as these videos have crappy background music. YouTube gives, YouTube takes away...


Ken Malcome:
I'm really excited about this guy...I think he is a little underrated. I don't know how much time he'll see this year, because we are pretty stacked at the tailback position, but I'm looking forward to seeing him hit the field.

Brent Benedict:
Here's three minutes of Brent Benedict knocking the crap out of people. Man, I hope he's healthy.

Hutson Mason:


Thursday, June 10, 2010

86 days to kickoff!!

With all apologies to Derek Rich, our current #86, I couldn't really find any cool videos related specifically to this could I interest you in the highlights of some of our 2010 defensive signees, starting with the guy I am probably MOST excited about?

These are the four guys who I feel have the best shot at seeing early playing time, based mainly on the need at their positions.

By the way...I would watch these with the sound down. Why do people insist on setting these highlights to awful so-called music? Unfortunately, YouTube is about the only place you can get videos that you can embed, so you take what you can get. back tomorrow with some offensive highlights!

Don't know why they called him Allan Stripling, rather than T.J. Anybody know if that is his real name?

Alec Ogletree:

Garrison Smith:

Mike Thornton:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

87 days to kickoff!!

This one is a repeat of last year's countdown, but I don't's still one of my very favorite Dawg memories, and #87 Martrez Milner made several big plays.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

88 days to kickoff!!

Couple of videos to celebrate the 88 day mark...

First, from our current #88 Arthur Lynch, a fan's-eye view of his John Mackeyesque TD at the spring game...not sure who that QB is, though.

And, for nostalgia's sake...highlights of the 2006 win over Auburn. Kenneth Harris (#88) makes a fantastic catch at about the 0:40 mark.


Monday, June 7, 2010

89 days to kickoff!!

Can't believe it's only 89 days!!

Our current #89 is Bruce mind is blown that a guy like him is at best our third string tight end. The guy is 6-4, 260 with decent speed and hands and is a fantastic blocker...but he is buried behind Orson Charles and Aron White, and may have been passed by Arthur Lynch last season while sitting out a combination of injury and stupidity.

To celebrate, here are highlights of the only game in his career that he has notched a touchdown...the 2007 opener against Oklahoma State.

Bruce's TD catch comes at about the 1:20 mark of the second favorite part of that play remains the fantastic blocking by MoMass and how pumped he is by it.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

I'm outta here!

Don't worry...I'm not shutting down the blog or anything. I'm just heading HERE:

Hopefully, it will still look like that when we get there...praying for no oil sheen or tar balls!

I am still planning on one more LOST post...since I've already written a lot about the finale (plus we're probably past the point where any of you are looking for a full "recap"), it will probably just be my leftover thoughts, stuff that I particularly loved, little things I want to point out, etc. Look for that sometime next week.

In the meantime, I have posts scheduled to go up every day while I'm gone...which means I will actually be a more prolific blogger while on vacation then when I am at home.

The posts are part of a "Countdown to Kickoff" type thing...not nearly as good as the ones going on at Bubba 'N Earl or Catfish and Cornbread, so be sure to check those out every day, as well.

Have a great week!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why I am at least cautiously optimistic about the Dawgs in 2010

Can you believe it's only three months to kickoff? I don't know if it's because I'm getting old or what, but time really seems to be flying...seems like it was just yesterday we were beating up on the Aggies of Texas A&M, and now it's already Athlon/Lindy's/Phil Steele season.

I am definitely optimistic about this upcoming season. I define success for the Dawgs as winning 10 games and at least competing for the SEC title...we won 8 games last year, and I think we have an EXCELLENT chance of picking up at least one or two more wins.

Here's why...

- I think we easily pick up at least one more win just based on the schedule.

Looking at out-of-conference scheduling first...Let's say the Tennessee Tech - Idaho State tradeoff is a wash. Outside of that, we lose an away game at Oklahoma State and a home game against Arizona State from our OOC schedule and replace them with a home game against La.-Lafayette and an away game at a bad Colorado team. So, basically the away game at Oklahoma State is replaced by an away game at Colorado (MUCH easier opponent, and also not the first game of the season), and the home game against Arizona State is replaced by a home game against La-Lafayette.

On top of that, the game against the gnats will be in Athens this year. Not that we are intimidated by playing at The Joke by the Coke at all, but it's still a plus.

Let's turn our attention to the SEC schedule...for our SEC west opponents, we lose LSU and pick up Mississippi State. Even having to travel to Starkville (we played LSU at home last season), I think that's definitely an easier road.

Last year, we played Arkansas and UT on the road...they both come to Athens this season.

Now the bad news...Auburn and South Carolina were both home games last year, so we will be on the road for both of those this season. The Auburn game, especially, makes me nervous...I think Cam Newton may end up a star in Gus Malzahn's offense, and we've beaten them 4 times in a row now in a series that's usually a lot more back-and-forth than that.

To sum up...our OOC schedule is TONS easier, we trade LSU for Mississippi State, and we trade a couple of really tough road opponents for another couple of really tough road opponents. In my opinion, one of the extra wins we are going to need to reach 10 is already baked in to the schedule.

So..what do we keep hearing from pundits who think that the Dawgs might NOT be as good this season as last? "Freshman QB and brand new defense", right?

Well, allow me to retort....

- First, let's look at the quarterback position. Now, I have no idea what Aaron Murray is going to be, and you don't either...he's never taken a snap in a game. I've seen his high school tape, which was very impressive, and I've seen him play really well in one meaningless spring practice and just so-so in another meaningless spring practice.

So, let's look at a couple of comparison points.

The last time we went into a season with a RS freshman as our game 1 starter was 2001, with a young man by the name of David Greene (maybe you've heard of him). Here are his 2001 stats (bowl game included):

362 passes, 214 completions (60%), 3,077 yds (256 ypg), 18 TD, 11 INT

I have a feeling that Dawg fans would be pretty happy with those numbers, right?

Yes, David Greene was a special case...mature beyond his years, incredibly smart, understood the offense perfectly, etc. But...can anybody watch Aaron Murray play and not say that, at least PHYSICALLY, he is more gifted than Greene was? I think those physical gifts (stronger arm, TONS more mobility) wipe out at least some of Greene's perceived "mental" edge. For that matter, all we've heard about Aaron from the coaching staff seems to indicate that he is another guy who understands the offense, is a great leader, and is also extremely mature for someone his age.

Another factor in Aaron's favor...his supporting cast is going to be better than what Greene had in his freshman year. Not only did David not have an A.J. Green to throw to, I don't think he even had a Tavarres King or Kris Durham. Terrence Edwards, Damien Gary, freshman Fred Gibson...all nice pieces, sure, but I think we are in much better shape now at the WR position, and that doesn't even include the tight ends. Randy McMichael was very good and made tons of big plays for us, but I don't think he was as good as Orson Charles is right now...and then behind him we have 3 other All SEC caliber tight ends in Aron White, Arthur Lynch, and Bruce Figgins.

The running back position is not even close...David had nothing approaching the two-headed monster of Ealy and King in the backfield his freshman year. Verron Haynes (besides doing THIS) came in at the end of the year and played very well, but it was a position in flux all season long.

I think the offensive lines are comparable, though this one is more seasoned than that one was...Greene's offensive line didn't really come into their own until the 2002 SEC championship season.

So I think I can make the case that Aaron Murray has a very good chance to be as successful as David Greene was in his freshman year. But, if you think that may not be the best comparison, let's look at some more recent numbers...Joe Cox's stats in 2009:

331 passes, 185 completions (56%), 2,584 yards (199 ypg), 24 TD, 15 INT

Wouldn't you think Aaron Murray could maybe land somewhere in the middle of those two, adjusting for the fact that he will probably have fewer attempts because of the running game? Let's say something like:

290 passes, 165 completions (57%), 2,310 yards (178 ypg), 20 TD, 12 INT

If he is able to pull that off (and honestly, I think I am being pretty conservative there), then I say the "Freshman QB" excuse for the Dawgs this year turns out to be basically a wash. I mean, I love the Ginger Assassin, but he was basically a freshman at the position last year, as was his first meaningful experience as a college QB, and you could often tell it.

- Now for the defense...I'm just going to put it like this: brand new scheme or not, is it reasonable to expect this defense to be WORSE next year than it was in 2009? 37 points vs. South Carolina...41 points vs. Arkansas...45 points to a mediocre Tennessee team...41 points vs. Florida...34 points vs. Kentucky, for crying out loud...

If the 2010 produces results that are the same as last season I'm going to be bitterly disappointed...which means that at worst, the "brand new defense" excuse should be considered a wash as well.

That's a whole lot of words, just to say this...I think the schedule sets up for the Dawgs to get from 8 wins to 10 pretty easily, and I think that what are considered to be our biggest "question marks" are at worst a wash vs. last season, and at best they may even turn out to be upgrades.

Now the real question...if we win 10 and lose three, who are the three losses going to be against? Because, although I will most likely be happy with 10-3, who those three losses come from will go a long way in determing the ultimate success level of this team.

My WAY too early prediction? We lose to South Carolina (first true test of the season for Murray, on the road, noon start, early enough in the season that the 'Cocks still think they may actually be good), Auburn (for reasons already specified), and Florida (out of habit).

Win the bowl game, and we are 10-3, 5-3 in the SEC, probably playing in the Capital One or Outback bowl.

What say you, Dawg fans? Would that be a good enough year for you to qualify as a "success"?


P.S. - to the Anonymous poster who has been trolling every Dawg blog and spewing your nonsense after every similar post to this one...just prepare to have your comments deleted if you show up here again.