Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I guess I should say SOMETHING about the Dawgs...

Since several Dawg blogs and the geniuses over at Dawgbone continue to link to this blog, I guess I owe it to the blogosphere to say SOMETHING about the state of the Dawgs right now...

The problem is that I just don't know what to say.

After the South Carolina loss, I was frustrated, because I thought it was a winnable game that we let slip away, but I also knew that South Carolina was a pretty good team, it was the first road game, blah, blah, blah.

After the Arkansas loss, I was angry, because I thought that for the most part our players played well enough to win, only to be hampered in their efforts by poor game planning, especially on the offensive side of the ball (and this is coming from somebody who has been a Bobo apologist most of the time).

After last week, well...I'm just confused. I don't really understand how we got to this point. Taking a step back and really looking at the way we've played, I don't think this is a BAD team, per se...and I don't think I'm the only one. These posts at by Macon Dawg and T Kyle King say a lot of what I'm thinking about the quality of this team. It's not that we are terrible at anything, we just don't seem to be really good at anything. There just seems to be something "off", and I don't really know what it is.

I don't know...this post is threatening to go off the rails, since I'm really at a loss as to what to say about this team at this point (obviously), so let's see if we can work it out stream-of-consciousness style, mmm-kay?

- Aaron Murray has definitely been the brightest spot of the season so far. There's not a throw he can't make, as far as I can tell, he really hasn't made the kind of freshman mistakes we were expecting, and he has proven to have maybe been underrated as an athlete. And the heart he has shown, well...he makes me proud to be a Dawg. There is no quit in this guy.

- Kris Durham has been a revelation in the time he's gotten to play due to the absence of A.J., and Tavarres King has stepped up, as well. But we haven't gotten any real production out of any of our other WR, and the tight ends, inexplicably, have been a non-factor. Yeah, not having A.J. has hurt, but I think it was Blutarsky who pointed out that there are many teams in the past who have managed to get the ball to All-American level tight ends without the benefit of an All-American wide receiver.

Plus, if A.J. being gone screws up our offensive philosophy and game plan that much, what does that say about our chances next year when A.J. is in the NFL?

The passing game is one of the areas that you look at and just wonder why we haven't seen more production...nobody is playing poorly, and even the o-line has been fairly effective in pass protection (don't worry...we're coming back to that group in a second), and yet we're really not putting points on the board.

Part of that issue, of course, is that we seem to shoot ourselves in the foot so often when we have the chance to put the ball in the end zone. We have had at least 4-5 situations this year where we have either touchdowns called back or had the ball in obvious scoring situations only to blunder it away, either by turning the ball over (Washaun's two back breaking fumbles) or just putting it in reverse (the sequence last week when we went from 1st down at their 29 to 4th and 22 and a punt come to mind).

Moving on...told you this was stream-of-consciousness.

- The lack of running game has been by FAR the biggest disappointment to me. Our O-line is getting manhandled at the point of attack on a consistent is that possible? Our most respected and experienced coach coaching our most experienced and accomplished position grouping...and they have been horrendous. I have NO idea what is going on here. Maybe all of the people screaming about our strength and conditioning program are on to something? That doesn't seem right, either, though, because this exact same group was pretty dominant in the last half of 2009. If it was a S&C problem, wouldn't that actually get WORSE over the course of a season? I don't know...I'm stumped.

All of the running backs have been disappointments for various reasons...Ealy can't hold on to the ball and really hasn't shown any kind of big-play potential, King can't stay healthy (again), and poor Carlton Thomas keeps being asked to try and run the ball up the middle. Apparently Bobo hates him and wants to see him maimed. I may be mis-remembering, but have we even tried to throw a screen pass to Thomas, or a swing pass, or even a toss sweep to get him to the corner? It seems like every time we are running one of those plays it is to Ealy, when I think Thomas's skill set is more conducive to that than what we are asking him to do, which is take on defenders that outweigh him by anywhere from 50 to 150 pounds.

I'm sure this stupefying lack of success in the run game probably has something to do with why the passing game isn't working, either.

And although we have cut down on penalties and turnovers, it seems like every time we DO make a mistake, it is at the most crucial and costly times. It's not "We had 2nd and 2 at the 40, now it's 2nd and 7 at the 45". Instead, it's "We had a touchdown, and now we don't", or "We picked up big yardage on 3rd and 4 to convert, but instead now it's 3rd and 14".

One more thing on the offense...Bobo is SO predictable in 2nd and long situations. EVERY time it's 2nd and long, we run the ball up the middle. Now teams are expecting it, and it inevitably puts in 3rd and medium to long situations, and that's not where you want to be (duh).

- As for the defense,'s been about what I expected. We don't quite have the personnel we want, especially at CB and nose tackle. Not that Boykin, Cuff, Tyson, etc. aren't quality football players...they just aren't the body type you look for when you run this kind of scheme.

I've seen a lot of people complaining about lack of effort, or guys "not wanting to be there", but I don't think that's the case...I think it's that they are still thinking rather than reacting, which slows everybody down.

Bottom line, the defense has played well enough to win all three of these games, in my opinion....they are being hampered by the offense's absolute lack of consistent success.

- Special teams have been fine, but not the overwhelming advantage many of us thought they would be. There have been several times when we really needed a game-changing play in the return game, like we got several times last year, but those plays just haven't come yet.

Drew Butler has been solid, but he hasn't seemed himself at times for some reason. Blair Walsh continues to be money when given the opportunity, we just haven't given him many.

The kickoff coverage seems to be much improved...guess that's what happens when the guys on the coverage team don't look so much like me.

- I love Coach Richt. I want so badly for him to get this ship righted and pointed in the right direction, because I don't think you can find a better person and role model to run your program. I am sincerely dreading the day when he is no longer our head coach.

But...I'm running out of ammunition to support him when it comes to on-field results, and let's face it: those results are ultimately what he is being paid for and what drives everything else.

Here's how "hot" I think his seat is:

If we lose three more games or more, I actually think he may be in trouble this year.

If we lose two more games, and those games are Florida and Georgia Tech, I think he keeps his job but is on VERY thin ice.

If we lose two more games, but beat Florida or Tech (and lose the other one), I think this is categorized as a rebuilding year and we go into next year hearing more hot seat talk, but he is still relatively safe.

Beat Florida and Georgia Tech, and I think he's safe even if we lose one or two others.

I do think the Vandy and Kentucky games may be must-wins, as well...we've lost to perennial bottom feeders WAY too often the last few years, and the Miss. St. game is another example.

OK, enough rambling....

Bottom line...we are in a precarious situation, no doubt about it, and one that Coach Richt has never faced, as a player or a coach. Now is the time for the Dawg Nation to rally TOGETHER and support this team harder than we ever have, not turn on the team and each other and devour ourselves. We still have a chance to salvage pride out of this season, if nothing else.

It starts Saturday in Boulder. Go win the game, and on top of that, go make a statement.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let's talk about something else...

Believe it or not, when this blog started I never intended it to be exclusively about Georgia football. It was originally supposed to be a place for me to talk about ALL the stuff I am into, the stuff that I was spending hours on end talking about every day with my friends and family. But I ended up not having nearly as much time to write as I did when the blog first began, and a weekly football game was a good reminder that it was time to post something again, so every post ends up being about the Dawgs.

But right now, it's not fun for me to talk about the current state of the Dawgs (or, more specifically, the current state of DawgNation), and this blog is supposed to be fun for me (and hopefully for you, too).

So, let's turn our attention to something else I love to talk about...television. I am a self-confessed television junkie. In fact, if I had it to do all over I might have tried to become a real television critic. I watch way too much. How I manage to fit in all of the television I watch and also help my kids with their homework, handle my duties around the house, teach a Sunday School class, etc. is a mystery to me. Obviously, a lot of the credit (blame?) goes to the invention of the DVR, but it also helps that my wife is as big a junkie as I am, so a lot of our "bonding" time goes on while we are enjoying watching and commenting on television shows. We like to "actively" watch (comment/criticize, try to come up with where we know actors from, etc) rather than just sit there staring at the screen, so it's actually a nice way for us to spend some time alone together.

Anyway...the fall TV season is upon us. Here's what we are watching:


Returning shows:

Mad Men (AMC): I know, it's over halfway through the season now, so it probably doesn't count as "returning". But I had to mention it, because it has been my favorite season of my current favorite show on television. The episode from two weeks ago, titled "The Suitcase", is probably one of the best hours of television I have ever seen, and the best part about it was how it paid off character development that has been going on since the very first episode the show ever aired. The Don/Peggy dynamic is the heart of the show, in my opinion, and this episode used everything we have ever learned about those two characters, plus an acting master class put on by both Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, to deliver an absolutely perfect episode.

If you're not watching this show, I don't know what else to tell you. Go. Now. To Netflix, or wherever, and I promise you won't be disappointed.

The Amazing Race (CBS): Yeah, I'm still in. I've been hooked for about six years, why stop now?

New Show I Am Extremely Excited About:

Boardwalk Empire (HBO): Let's's a based-on-a-true-story show about Prohibition-era Atlantic City, airing on HBO, starring Steve Buscemi, written and created by Terrence Winters (who was basically the #2 guy on The Sopranos writing staff), with executive producer Martin Scorsese.

So...yeah. I think this show might have been written specifically for me.

The premiere was Sunday night (if you missed it, I'm sure HBO is airing it about 7500 times on their various channels this week), and it did not disappoint. As always, it's hard to judge how good a show is going to be based solely on the pilot...this was the only episode so far that Scorsese actually directed, and it felt a lot like a 70-minute Scorsese movie rather than the first episode of a TV series. But the characters that were introduced are intriguing, the cast is magnificent (it's FILLED with some great "Hey, it's That Guy!" guys), the world they have created is gorgeous and authentic, and the writing staff has a great track record. I'm in.


Yeah, now it starts getting a little more crowded...

Returning Shows:

Chuck (NBC): Love, love, love this show, and it's a shame it's not being watched by more people. If you aren't already watching, you may as well wait for this season to be over and then watch the whole thing on DVD, because barring a miracle this will be the last season.

The writing is smart and funny (with TONS of pop-culture references for geeks my age), the entire ensemble cast is extremely talented and entertaining (plus, Yvonne Strahovski). I will miss these guys next year.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS): Hopefully they will rebound from what was a pretty disastrous last season. The writers have basically spent the entire press tour admitting that last year was really really awful, and they are going to try to get back to what made the show good in the first place. The season premiere was last night, and let's just say it left me cautiously optimistic.

New Shows That Intrigue Me:

Lone Star (Fox): Interesting concept (con man living a double life who decides to try and live the life without the con), good cast (Adrianne Palicki from Friday Night Lights, Jon Voight, David Keith). Like a lot of the previews I've seen, I'm worried that there won't be enough "story" to make an actual long-running series, but I'm interested enough to tune in and see where it goes.

Hawaii 5-0 (CBS): Mainly for THIS, of course. But also in hopes that a cast that includes Scott Caan (who I have been a fan of since his epic turn as Tweeder in Varsity Blues), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin from LOST), and Grace Park (Boomer from Battlestar Galactica) will be enough to overcome the black hole of sucktitude created by Alex O'Laughlin. We'll see.

New Show I am Fully Prepared to be Massively Disappointed By:

The Event (NBC): Much like people used the term "The Next Michael Jordan" to describe every big, talented, athletic shooting guard that entered the NBA after 1990, this is around the 6th or 7th attempt by a network to create "The Next LOST" in the last five years. Let's see...there was The Nine, Six Degrees, FlashForward, V...I know I'm missing several others.

The creators of The Event appear to be making the same mistake that all of these predecessors have made...they think it's about the "mystery", when really LOST (as fully demonstrated by the finale episode) was about the characters who just happened to be in a mysterious setting. After watching the premiere of The Event last night, this looks like another case of a lot of sizzle, but no steak.

Go back and watch the LOST pilot...maybe the best pilot I have ever seen. And at the end of it, I had no INKLING of all of the super cool elements that were going to be introduced in the next six seasons...I was just looking forward to seeing more about these interesting characters we had just met and how they were going to try and get off the Island. Sure, we were introduced to The Monster, but it was secondary to the community that we were watching interact with each other.

After last night's premiere of The Event, I know little to nothing about the characters, and even less about this stupid "EVENT" everybody keeps referencing. There is a difference between being in the dark WITH the characters, and feeling kept in the dark BY the characters. So far, The Event feels a lot more like the latter.

Returning show you're not allowed to tell anybody I watch:

Hoarders (A&E): I have no idea why, but this show is a constant source of fascination for me. Plus, it always motivates me to do some sort of cleaning around the house, so that's always good.


Returning show:

Glee (Fox): As I've stated before, I was a performing arts geek in high school, so these are very familiar characters for me. I wouldn't call this a "great" show...there are too many continuity and logic issues with the writing, and too often the plots seem to be in place only to drive the song that is coming up, rather than the songs being driven by the plot. But the vocal performances are outstanding, the staging of the musical numbers is terrific, and there are some really good acting performances going on (Jane Lynch, of course, but also Mike O'Malley, Chris Colfer, and several others).

And I can't begin to tell you how excited I am that we are supposedly getting a lot more of my girl Brittany this season: "Did you know dolphins are just gay sharks?"

New Shows I am Trying Out, But With a Very Short Leash:

Raising Hope (Fox): From Greg Garcia, the creator of My Name is Earl. I enjoyed that show for about half a season, before the "Hey, aren't Redneck White Trash folks hilarious" humor got kind of old. This looks to be along the same lines, but with a cast that I am not as confident in (no Jason Lee, Jaime Pressly, or Ethan Suplee), so I don't know if I'll even last that long.

Running Wilde (Fox): The second half of the 9:00 Fox comedy hour, this one SHOULD be really good: from the creators of Arrested Development, starring the hilarious Will Arnett and one of my longtime crushes, Keri Russell. But every critic I trust who has seen the pilot and the next episode say that, against all odds, it's just not funny. I'm going to give it a shot, because I trust the people involved.

By the way, no matter how good these two shows are, expect them to stick around for a while, with the ratings juggernaut that is Glee as their lead-in.

No Ordinary Family (ABC): Looks like a live-action version of The Incredibles. I liked The Incredibles. Maybe I will like this.

New show I am trying to figure out if I'm going to watch:

Detroit 187 (ABC): I liked the initial concept, which was more of a documentary-style show that aimed to focus more on the cops than the cases (kind of a hybrid of Cops and Southland). But the network ditched the documentary concept (both because they felt it had been done before and some issues with the city of Detroit allowing the filming), and it is supposedly now just a typical cop show. I would be more excited if they kept the original concept, but it still interests me because it is shot on location in Detroit and it stars Michael I think I'm going to try it out.


Returning Shows:

Modern Family (ABC): Deserves every accolade it has received, including the Emmy for Best Comedy. "People are going to stare, Mitchell...they're not used to seeing only one clown in a car".

Survivor (CBS): This one is actually pretty new for me, although it is obviously not a new show. In the past it has always been on Thursdays, which (as we're about to find out) meant that it was getting squeezed out by everything else I was watching. I did watch a good bit of the last two seasons, as I wanted to see what all the hype was about this Russell character (who I hated for so many reasons it would take another whole post to list). This season has Jimmy Johnson on it (the football coach, not the boring NASCAR driver), and of course it is an iconic show as far as television history is concerned, so I figure I will give it a shot. After one episode, I really don't like the Old vs. Young concept, and Jimmy is already this one may not last long for me.

Cougar Town (ABC): Another one that is new for me, even though it is not a new show. Like many, I was turned off by the name and also by the fact that the first couple of episodes weren't funny. Like, at all. But supposedly the show got better as the season went along, so I'm going to give it a shot.

New Show I am Already Watching and Loving:

Terriers (FX): FX really has a hot streak going right now as far as developing new shows, especially dramas: Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, Damages, Sons of Anarchy (which, to my eternal shame, I am still not watching), Justified...that's a pretty impressive little hot streak, even if Rescue Me has diminished in quality to the point where I gave up on it a couple of seasons ago.

Terriers does absolutely nothing to diminish that string of success. The cast is really good (including a typically great performance from Donal Logue, one of the great That Guys of our time), the writing is wonderfully snarky and dark, and the plot does a nice job of combining an interesting serialized arc with "Case of the Week" stories that don't feel as procedural as they really are.

New Show I Will Be Watching only Because it's J.J. Abrams:

Undercovers (NBC): I'm only watching because it's J.J. Abrams. is where it gets a little embarrassing...

THURSDAY (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Smoking Wreckage of My DVR):

Returning Shows:

Big Bang Theory (CBS): Great old school, laugh-track comedy, with an ensemble cast that started out as good and has just gotten better. Jim Parsons is obviously the breakout star, but the writers and actors have done a really good job finding the right niche for all of the characters, and they do a pretty good job walking the line between laughing WITH the characters vs. laughing AT them.

Community (NBC): Another great ensemble show, and I can't tell you anything about it that you can't discover for yourself by watching THIS.

Yes, I meant go watch it now. I'll wait.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC): Fine, go ahead...get all the name-calling out of your system. Want my Man Card? Sorry, gave that up back when we were discussing Tuesdays.

You know how golfers talk about how you can spend an entire day hacking around a golf course, but then you hit that one perfect shot and that's what keeps you coming back? That's what this show is like for me. I spend about 85-90% of the time infuriating my wife by constantly pausing the show and telling her exactly WHY the writing is so ridiculously awful and contrived, but then every once in a while they will break out an episode like last season's finale, which was one of the very best episodes of television I watched last year...and that's why I keep watching. Because I would hate to miss one of the weeks when they manage to knock it out of the park, because when this show is good it's fantastic.

The Office (NBC): I'm watching out of habit as much as anything else right now. I hate how they have written Jim and Pam's characters for most of the past two seasons. Andy and Kelly are the only characters that I consistently laugh at (though I do love Erin, the new receptionist).

This is Steve Carell's last season, but surprisingly they are going to continue on after he leaves. I'm hoping that this season of change will re-energize the writers, because I feel like they have been in a pretty lazy funk for the last couple of seasons (Michael is borderline retarded, Dwight says something weird, Jim/Pam are obnoxiously full of themselves, lather/rinse/repeat).

Fringe (Fox): If any show deserves the "Next LOST" trophy, it's this one. Fitting, since J.J. Abrams is one of the creative minds behind this one, too. This is a sci-fi show that understands that we have to have characters that we care about and relate to, or it doesn't matter how cool the genre stuff is.

Over the first season and a half, the show had a tendency to ignore the "Big Picture" story for too long (sort of how I remember X Files being, though I was never a huge fan), and the "Case of the Week" episodes, while interesting, didn't do enough to move the story along.

But the last half of last season was, for lack of a better word, AWESOME. The whole Alt-universe concept was very well conceived and brilliantly executed, and the end of the season left us with a whole slew of possibilities as far as the story line goes. I can't wait.

The Mentalist (CBS): This one is not a must-watch for's one that we often build up 3-4 episodes of and then bang them all out at once. I'm usually not a big fan of the CBS procedurals, but Simon Baker makes this one worth watching, as does the underused and underappreciated Tim Kang as Cho...he cracks me up at least once a week.

Parks and Recreation (NBC): Wait...what? Parks and Rec isn't coming back until mid season?!? NBC decided to bump their best comedy for an insultingly gross and unfunny "comedy" made up entirely of "Hey, people from India are WEIRD!" jokes?

Is it any wonder that network is tanking?


Ummm....Blue Bloods, maybe? That's the new Tom Selleck thing. Other than that, Friday night is its typical fall wasteland.

Oh, and IFC is replaying Freaks and Geeks on Fridays...that was a show that I missed that I always kicked myself for missing, and I can see why everybody still raves about it.


All football, all the time.

This is also usually when I catch up on a lot of stuff that I missed during the week...thank goodness for DVR. that's it. I feel like I just went through a confessional or something. That is a TON of TV, and I didn't even include the stupid reality stuff on cable that always seems to somehow incapacitate my remote and remove its ability to change the channel.

Now, it's your turn...what are some of the shows that you are most looking forward to this fall? Do you want to give my mother a heart attack by suggesting even MORE shows that you think I might be interested in?

Also, are there any that you would be interested in seeing posts about? I probably won't take on any recaps the way I have for LOST and American Idol, but maybe some short blurbs every week that could lead to some discussion in the comments?

Oh, gotta go...Hoarders is on!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When the Dawgvent is a source of reason... know things are in chaos.

I'm still not in a good place to try and articulate my thoughts on the Dawgs right now, but this is a pretty good version of what I would probably say.

From the Dawgvent, of all HERE.

Update: Looks like the message is what it said. (Again, this is from the poster HacksawDawg on the Dawgvent at

Last week, I was furious. This week, I’m just sad. Sad that we have somehow allowed the program to deteriorate to this level, and recognizing just how far away we are from where we want to be. And it seems we were there just a moment ago.

I’m one who constantly struggles in thought between my brain, and my heart. My brain is very clear on where we are as a program and what may need to be done. My heart is equally resolute, but in stark conflict with the conclusions of my brain.

Surely though, being a rational and logically-minded type, my brain is the one to trust. Right?

I’m reminded though of a documentary I saw last year that observed people committing suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was shocking how deliberate these folks were. They seemed to have clarity of mind, and would calmly climb the bridge’s barrier, look down at their chosen fate, and willingly let go. Most died instantly on impact with the water.

But a handful miraculously survived. The documentary interviewed each of them, and they all revealed a common experience. None had made a rash decision - they had given suicide careful thought and came to their decisions over time. They were absolutely certain of their decision and at peace with it when they jumped. But to a person, every one of them said as soon as they let go of the bridge, they were overcome with a panicked regret of, “What have I done?”

I’ve given the current state, and direction, of our program a lot of careful thought. I’ve reached some conclusions that I believe to be rational and prudent. But not until this weekend, did I really get cozy with the reality of some of those conclusions. And when I did, I was overcome with that same panicked regret as those bridge jumpers.

Georgia Football is a passion of mine. I love and revere the program with all of my heart. And for a moment, you can rationalize making some big changes in the program as the tough love demanded from those who only want what’s best for the program.

But you know what? I spend most of my week thinking with my brain, and making decisions I wish I didn’t have to. And I love Georgia Football, in part, because for 12-14 Saturdays a year, I get to spend four hours seeing the world through the perspective of my heart, and my heart alone.

My heart is 100% behind Mark Richt.

Does he have some flaws as a coach? Yep, and many more than we may have once thought. They may even prove to be tragic flaws in due time.

Is he a “nice guy.” No - he’s more than that. He’s the finest man in college football, and I’d be hard pressed to name a finer individual I know, period.

There is the crowd that’s weary of the “nice guy” point. And I understand that, and acknowledge it’s valid to dismiss that point in the context of winning football games as a head coach. But Richt’s character and convictions do matter, and they do count for something. An awful lot in fact. I don’t think we’ll fully appreciate or understand the role of Richt’s character in our Georgia experience until he’s no longer our head coach.

I’ve commented many times on this board before that Mark Richt “gets it.” He understands the big picture. He understands what really matters in life, in his faith, and ultimately what you’d really regret, or not regret, when you take your final breath.

And I’m reminded this is…just a game. A game that plays a large role in our lives, certainly, but it would do many well to watch a closed scrimmage in Sanford. I was always struck by seeing the game for what it is when it’s stripped of 93,000 fans and all the hoopla and fanfare. It’s just 100 dumb college kids playing…a game. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at all when you witness it in that context.

Georgia’s program under Mark Richt IS different. We pursue a grander mission than just winning football games. We genuinely care about our kids. We really, really do. In everything we do as a football team, we are mindful of how it develops our kids into quality men. And that’s an experience many of our kids have never been afforded in their lives, and wouldn’t at any other program.

I can only speak for myself, but that’s a big, big deal to me. Our grander mission is the backbone of our program and a source of immense personal pride. It makes Georgia different, and in the most noble way possible.

I’ve always embraced that mission, and I’ve always dreamed of the day when we might win a National Championship under Mark Richt and prove to everyone that you can do it the right way and still get to the mountaintop.

I am committed to that grander mission. I’m on board. I think it’s that important.

I think the commitment to that grander mission is going to make it harder for us to win football games, and even more so in a cutthroat conference like the SEC. And it may even produce some valleys like the one we’re in now, where our commitment to that mission is really tested.

But like those bridge jumpers, I think we’re staring down at our fate and have a decision to make. Right now. Do we let go, or do we climb back over that barrier and go all in?

I’ve decided if I were to let go, I too would immediately panic, “What have I done?”

So I’ve made my choice, and it’s Mark Richt.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gone fishin'

I just can't do this right now. I love this team, and I'm not giving up, and I will be pulling like crazy. I just can't do the blogging thing right now. Too much negativity in the Dawgs online community already, and I'm not going to add to it.

Until later...GO DAWGS.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Initial thoughts on the loss in Columbia

Just some random thoughts...even though this may end up being the full recap, since our oldest managed to delete my recording. I think it's about time she started paying rent...

- South Carolina may be better than I thought.

- Not having A.J. had more of an impact than I thought it would. Not just the plays he might have made...we were outnumbered at the point of attack all day in our running game. Ellis Johnson was not scared of getting beat on the edge (getting Culliver back certainly helped), and there was just not enough room to run.

- When our O-line was able to create some holes, I thought Washaun was a little tentative...needs to hit those holes quickly. Maybe some first-game rust?

- We struggled to open holes in the running game, but the pass protection was outstanding.

- I thought Aaron Murray was EXTREMELY impressive. Very poised, not rattled at all. Good decision making, accurate throws. We have a quarterback.

- Red zone execution KILLED us. On our first trip, Orson dropped what might have been a touchdown, and then his bobble on third down kept him from picking up a first, and we had to settle for three.

Then, in the 4th, we drive to the three....and then Israel Troupe makes an absolutely INEXCUSABLE mistake with the false start. There is never any reason for a WR to get a false start penalty. So 2nd and 3 becomes 2nd and 8, and then....Washaun fumbles. And that was basically the game.

In three trips in the red zone, we got SIX points. Even one touchdown out of those trips, and may be a different game.

Side note...through two games, Carolina opponents have been in the red zone seven times and only have 12 points to show for it.

- Defensive scheme was not the issue...we had guys in the backfield all day at the point of attack, and just failed to make the tackle. Very disappointing.

We did have five sacks, and caused a big turnover, and appeared to be in the right place almost all the time. If we could have just made tackles when we got there, may have been a different game.

- Marcus Lattimore is the truth. Maybe not as good as we made him look today, but he is going to be a great one.

- I really don't have a problem with Mike Bobo in general...I question individual play calls at times, but that's going to be the case with every offensive coordinator.

One thing I do have a problem with, however...EVERY TIME we face 2nd and long, we run the ball. EVERY TIME. I understand the thinking behind doing it, but you have to change it up sometimes, because I think opponents have locked into it now.

- Since I may not get a chance to do a full recap, I'll give the grades:

Offense: C
- Some good things, especially out of Murray, but lack of execution when it counted in the red zone and 5 three and outs just won't cut it.

Defense: C
- Again, some positives when it comes to getting pressure and being in the right place, but just piss-poor tackling.

Special Teams: B-
- Walsh was perfect, kickoff coverage was great except for the first kickoff. Drew just didn't seem himself today, though, and Branden made a couple of VERY questionable decisions on punt return.

In June, I said we would probably lose this game. As always, by the time we kicked off, I had talked myself into a dominant Dawgs performance.

We certainly didn't lose the WAY I thought we would...I figured Aaron would be rattled, their defense would make a couple of big plays off his mistakes, and our new defense would be confused by Spurrier on some big pass plays. Instead, Aaron looked great, but we couldn't establish a run game, and USCe managed to control the clock by running through our tacklers at the point of contact and staying on the field all day.

Next week now becomes a must-win. I think we match up better with Arkansas than we do with this South Carolina team...let's see if we prove it on the field.

Lots of work on tackling this week in practice, ya think?


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Recap - Louisiana Lafayette

That was everything we wanted to see out of an opener, other than A.J. Green. So, seeing as how I'm already a day or so late with this (combination of the holiday, a summer cold, and a couple of Comcast meltdowns), let's make it short and sweet, huh?

- Aaron Murray had about as well a day as could be expected. I think he put to rest a lot of the questions surrounding his arm strength, especially on the early incompletion to Logan in the end zone...that one went about 45-50 yards in the air, and he threw it on the run off his back foot, and it really should have been a touchdown.

He also showed off his running ability, which I think a lot of people were discounting. Watching his high school highlights, you could tell that he is extremely athletic, able to avoid the rush and "run to pass" as well as pick up yards on the ground, and he showed that ability Saturday. Now if he could just learn to slide rather than dive headfirst...

Couple of freshman mistakes, of course...that horrible throw into the endzone where he was trying to throw it away, and the much talked about decision to risk getting no points at all at the end of the first half by running the ball in with no time left. Both very correctable, and I'm not going to give him too much grief about the second one anyway...if it's a senior doing that, then we would probably just say he was a playmaker making a play, but since he's a freshman we chalk it up to bad decision making.

Great to see Hutson Mason get in and throw a touchdown pass to Logan (a truly great moment, and I was especially happy for Logan there)...but from then on out, Hutson showed why we REALLY need Aaron to stay healthy this season. I still say that (God forbid) Aaron goes out for any multiple-game type injuries I would rather see Logan get the call at QB, but that is appearing less and less likely. Let's hope it's not a decision that has to be made.

- I thought the wide receivers did a pretty nice job stepping up in the absence of A.J. and Tavarres King, especially Kris Durham. Man, it was great to see him back out on the field after a 707 day absence, and he made the most of it.

And we finally have signs of life from Marlon Brown...he had one egregious drop, but otherwise played well, and probably would have his first touchdown as a Dawg had he not slipped after catching a little curl on the five yard line.

Bottom line is that when A.J. and TK come back, this should be a very deep and dangerous group of receivers, especially when you factor in the tight ends.

Speaking of which...

- I think Orson Charles had a better day than the box score gives him credit for. Aaron missed him at least twice that I can remember when he was WIDE open, and I also think that if Aaron had waited about another second or so on that scramble at the end of the half, Orson was about to break open on the corner route into the end zone.

In general, we didn't use the tight ends as much as I thought we would, but I think that may have to do with how little of the playbook we chose to show against such an overmatched opponent.

- I was a little concerned that we weren't able to just line up and run whenever we wanted to. It's true that the O-line didn't get to practice together much during fall camp due to some injuries, but it's not like they've never played together before.

I'm going to chalk it up to those injuries, missing Washaun (although I though Carlton Thomas acquitted himself nicely, and most importantly did not fumble), and maybe an intentional lack of imagination with regards to playcalling....and hope and pray it gets better starting this week.

I know this...ULL was stacking 8-9 guys in the box consistently. That will be a much dicier situation for opposing defenses to put themselves into once we get Green and TK back.

Overall, I would give the offense a solid B+, and that is without three of our primary weapons. This offense has a chance to be REALLY good.

- Wow. That was TONS better than even I expected, and I am known to be overly optimistic most of the time.

NINE tackles for loss, three sacks, numerous QB pressures (all three of the INTs were due to the QB under duress), NO PENALTIES....really, everything we could have hoped for.

There was the one blown coverage, but we've been saying for months now that those are going to happen occasionally, especially early on. The hope is that the new scheme and attitude balance those blown plays out by MAKING some big plays of our own. One game in, the prognosis for that looks pretty good.

Yes, I was Louisiana Lafayette. Things are going to get MUCH tougher starting this week. But I get the feeling that our players are having a blast running this defense, and I think that enthusiasm and intelligently aggressive attitude is going to be a refreshing change over what we've seen the last couple of years.

- Did you see my man T.J. Stripling out there in the second half? Not sure how much help he's going to be in run support until he puts on about 25 more pounds, but line him up outside and say, "See that QB? GO GET HIM!", and he is going to wreak havoc.

- Loved Coach Grantham holding the players accountable after the touchdown play. Not sure how many of you heard the postgame show, and I don't remember the exact quote, but when he was asked about the tirade he basically said that when you are dominating a team the way we were dominating, he doesn't want to give them ANYTHING...just step on their necks and finish them. He felt like we let up, and that was why he was angry.

Love it.

- It was also nice to see that we were able to maintain the intensity and the execution even though we played a ton of people, especially on the defensive line.

- Great interception by Sanders Commings...maybe a sign of the new "play the ball, not the man" mentality we have heard about in practice? In years past, I don't know if that interception happens, or if instead we either get an interference call or the pass is completed because our defensive back never turns around and finds the ball.

Overall, I would give the defense an A...the only thing that kept it from an A+ is the one blown coverage.

- We have the best special teams unit in the nation...I defy you to come up with a better one. Blair Walsh kicked 100 yds worth of FG (on only two kicks) and continues to be perfect on PATs, Drew Butler is a true weapon at punter, Smith and Boykin both showed out, and there were some MASSIVE blocks thrown on punt return.

- What little punt coverage was needed was just fine...when you have a weapon at punter like Drew Butler, they don't often have to do much, and that was the case on Saturday.

- I do admit to one of my earliest hat-throwing incidents ever...when the Cajuns returned the first kickoff to midfield. But after that, the kickoff coverage was much better, and I expect the kicks to be deeper once Walsh is back in on every kick (he had some leg fatigue in the week leading up to the game, so Bogotay was in on about half the kickoffs).

Overall, a typical A performance out of the special teams.

Again, everything you could want out of an opener. Beautiful weather, great crowd (and LOUD, especially for a noon game against a lesser opponent), a very dominating win, and most importantly...NO INJURIES.

This week, we get Ealy, TK, A.J. (yep, I'm going to stick with it another week), Ogletree, and Sturdivant all back...time to go up to Columbia for a STATEMENT game!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Guess I was wrong about A.J., huh?

Just got back from Athens, and wow...what an opener. I'll have more to say about it in the next day or so after I watch my recording, but there was very little to complain about in that one.

But since I have been so ADAMANT in my stance that A.J. Green would not miss any time due to the whole NCAA inquiry nonsense, I figured I should at least come back and say I was wrong.

Lesson learned...never underestimate the incompetence of the NCAA, nor their ability to mess things up for absolutely no reason.

Off to watch the late games! So glad to have my Saturdays occupied by college football again!



By the time this posts, I will already be on my way to Athens...we finally made it to GAMEDAY, Dawgs!


Friday, September 3, 2010

A (sort of) preview for the opener, and some other random thoughts

I gotta be honest, I know next to nothing about Louisiana-Lafayette...I can't even keep up with whether or not we're supposed to drop the Lafayette from their name or not.

Here are the two things that stood out for me in my very limited "research" (research=reading Jody's writeup at View from 336):

- Holy crap, they have an offensive lineman who is 6'7, 350 lb? He has to be a fat tub of goo, right? You would think that if he had ANY athletic ability at all, he would be in Baton Rouge instead of Lafayette? I mean, even if he's too dumb to get into LSU (a stretch, I know), then at least Mississippi State would be on the table. I'm going with my first instinct...he has to be a fat tub of goo.

- I think this is a perfect opponent for us to play the first week:

1) Their offense is not all that impressive, but one thing they DO have is a play-making tight end who they like to get the ball to over the middle. This is an area that the Dawgs defense has struggled MIGHTILY in for the last few seasons, so this may be a good indication of some of the strides we are making under Coach Grantham.

2) On defense, they are very small up front, so we should be able to run at will (Jody points out that the DL lining up from Cordy Glenn is 5'11, 287 lb. Cordy may eat him by accident on the first play and poop him out sometime in the 3rd quarter). At the same time, they have a very opportunistic secondary that picked off 16 passes last year, so we may get a good idea of how well Murray is doing at this point of valuing the football.

I never know how these games are going to go, other than that we will win handily, but not as handily as a lot of our fan base would like. I'm going with a 34-13 prediction, but I would not be at all surprised to see us beat them worse than that.

Couple of other random thoughts...

- Those of you who follow me on Twitter have seen several variations of this rant from me over the last few days, but it's driving me crazy that the media keeps making it seem that A.J. Green's status for the opener (or any other game) is somehow in question. They keep bringing up the point that we haven't heard anything from the NCAA, and that Coach Richt and A.J. are not allowed to comment. Well, what exactly are you expecting to "hear" from the NCAA? They have not ONCE mentioned A.J. to the press...the only reason we know that the inquiry was centered around him was that the UGA SID office and A.J. himself told us so. So, if they are not the ones who put his name out there in the first place, why is it up to them to "clear" him?

Every reputable source I have read says that the inquiry was specifically related to the infamous agent party in Miami, and whether or not A.J. knew anything about it, not even whether or not he went (since that hasn't been in question a single time since the story broke). Richt, A.J., and everybody else has been instructed not to say anything to the media because there is an ongoing investigation into that incident that is still happening. Why is that so hard for certain media members to understand?

I honestly don't expect to EVER hear anything from the NCAA that says A.J. is "clear". The fact that he is going to suit up and play every week will be the only evidence we get, and it's the only evidence we need.

- The other "story" that is going around this week that is driving me crazy is this notion that Coach Richt and Coach Bobo are still undecided as to how they are going to handle Hutson Mason, specifically whether or not he is going to play this weekend.

Let me make it simple: Yes. Hutson will play on Saturday.

Bobo and Coach Richt both explicitly said that Hutson is our #2 QB, and in any situation where the #2 QB will play, it will be Hutson. How much more definitive do they need to be? The only thing they didn't say was that we are going to put Hutson in WHEN we are up by four touchdowns on Saturday...but they're not going to say that, because those type words really come back to bite you if someone manages to pull an Appalachian State on you.

Again...Mason is going to play on Saturday. Does it give me heartburn to know that this true freshman is one twisted knee away from being our starting quarterback? Yep...but that doesn't mean it's not true.

- Yeah, I watched South Carolina last night. No, I ain't scared. We're not Southern Miss. It was the home opener, night game, against a mediocre C-USA team. The 'Cocks did exactly what I would expect them to do.

I also saw an SC offensive line that had a real problem keeping pressure off of their quarterback, and a secondary that actually appeared overmatched at times.

Let them go into next week all "cocky"...I'd rather that than the opposite.

Yes, I saw the Alec Ogletree news, and I'm going to continue my tradition of not commenting too much on these matters (especially since we know so few details right now), other than to say this...people who say that UGA is becoming "Thug U" are either disingenuous or have a much different definition of the word "thug" than I do.

All right, I'm out...going to spend the rest of the day jamming to my Redcoat Band CD and counting the minutes until I am sitting in the best place on earth...Sanford Stadium for another Saturday Between the Hedges!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


SO close now...

I will probably be back tomorrow with a preview (sort of) of the game against the Ragin' Cajuns on Saturday.