Thursday, November 20, 2014

Clean, old-fashioned Love.

Most of you don't know Erin, but she's one of the blog's original followers. She's married to a good friend of mine and when we see each other she always asks how things are going in this little corner of the internet.

I've known her husband Chris since college, even though we went to school some 60 miles apart. He and I are alike in many ways, both true to our school, avid fans of the respective football teams, and always appreciate a good beer. On one occasion in the mid-90s after drinking too much of some good beer, we nearly came to blows over an argument related to our teams' rivalry. His brother Jim was kind enough (and just sober enough) to break it up.

Chris, Erin and their little boy Alex are my favorite Georgia Tech fans. And so when I received word yesterday that Erin is in a fight for her life, I reminisced on the days when the only people that read my words here were people I actually knew. Then I promptly set aside any earthly rivalry, bent my knee and prayed.

Some things are bigger than football. Much. So I humbly ask that at some point during the commencement of the yearly tradition of verbal barbs, online insults, and other words filled with venom, please also take a moment to send a good thought, a prayer, or just a moment of reflection for these good people and the doctors and nurses in Erin's care.

Thanks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Charleston Southern looking for win 100

The program started in 1991 and comes to Athens with only 99 tackle football wins since then. Do the math and that's not real good y'all. Like, worse than Chan Gailey Tech Era bad. But with last week's victory over Liberty, the Buccaneers have 18 victories in the last two seasons. So these are dudes that aren't used to losing.

And perhaps that explains their refusal to lay down for Vanderbilt on October 11th. CSU outgained the 'Dores in total yards and rushing yards. They also racked up 19 first downs in the 21-20 loss in Nashville. Of considerable note is the fact that Vanderbilt didn't score a point in the second half. The Bucs smelled blood and anchored down.

How did Vanderbilt pull out a win against this considerable FCS foe? Well, the most telling sign is that Charleston Southern was only 2/14 on third downs. Get them behind the marker and then force their hand. They'd much rather run the football than pass.

And that will hold true Saturday when they come to Athens. The more they run the football forward, the less time Bobo has to run the Wild Honkey Nick Chubb and Friends before giving Kid Ramsey his snaps.

Some links:
- Lead up article to CSU's game against Liberty last weekend
- The Bucs at 'Dores box score
- Their roster is filled with Georgia kids, including one with ties to AD McGarity

Humpday Hilarity - engiNerd safety dance

It's not too early. Nope.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pruitt is building an IPF this off season

Someone tell Damon Evans the new defensive coordinator has gone rogue!!


Evil Richt to Gus, waffles > turnovers

@BassinDawg with the cold, hard truth. Nicely done.


Georgia-Auburn rewatch: the defense

They are the story of the game. Because we figured we'd be able to move the ball on Auburn's defense. It really was just a matter of how much Bobo was tempted to throw the ball. But the defense was the same question mark going into this game that it has been all season.

And boy did they provide a definitive and resounding answer.

I sure sang the praises of the linebackers on Sunday, deservedly so. And much is being made of Pruitt utilizing Floyd at the nickel so he could have both him and Carter on the field at the same time. But looking over the game again it really shows how much work Mike Thornton and Ray Drew did in the trenches. As Richt said, it allowed Herrera and Wilson to "clean up". And with Thornton and Drew (as well as Bailey, Johnson and Dawson when they were in the game) standing their ground, the linebackers went to work. They were attacking the ball like they were back in October's road trip to Columbia and Little Rock. That road trip produced their best six quarters to date under Pruitt's new defense. Saturday produced it's first complete complete game since then.

In the secondary, Auburn did its fair share of testing Georgia on intermediate and deep routes. Marshall threw some into tight coverage and his receivers made some tough catches. Pruitt's d-backs made them earn it. Uzomah was targeted early and often. But the tight end never broke free on any crossing routes which Auburn likes to run on occasion. In the past those have killed us. Not Saturday.

I didn't realize until rewatching it just how much freshman Malkom Parrish played. He looked good out there. But really, the whole defense looked spectacular. And it really started with energy towards the ball; wherever it went there were red jerseys in hot pursuit. Disciplined and determined defensive football. That was a joy to watch again.

It's been something we've touched on here and there this season, and it's definitely going to get more and more attention as we transition slowly into Pruitt's second season, but the way he and his defensive staff shuffle in players is so nice to see. More importantly, as Tanner mentioned while tailgating Saturday, there's not a huge dropoff when Davin Bellamy or Reggie Carter or Sterling Bailey comes into the game.

And that speaks to coaching. These guys are being taught well. I know we're all still frustrated by the way the defense performed against Florida. And we should be. But there are sure signs to be excited about this defense. The consistency week to week will come. Saturday night, against a very dangerous offensive team with loads of speed and talent, was a big step.

On Gurley.

Look. I'm just not ready to address it. Many have asked my thoughts. I can promise you I will elaborate fully on his career at Georgia (and especially this last month) and what it means to me personally as a Georgia fan and what his three years in Athens should mean to the program historically. But, I'm just not ready.

Part of that is the fact that I'm always a program above the individual guy. Ironically, I believe Todd Gurley is of a similar mindset. That should be painfully obviously about now. Saturday night was a huge win. Huge. That can't be overstated. It wasn't just that we beat Auburn when we had to, it was how we beat Auburn when we had to that should speak volumes to us as fans and all those recruits that were in attendance and maybe even some of those suits that like to throw the program under the bus whenever it does the right thing.

That should be the focus. Not an injury. No, not even an injury to Todd Gurley. As much as it hurts to see #3's college career end like that, at that time, and in that way...I'm still forcing myself to relish what was, I believe, a signature win for the University of Georgia football program.

Go Dawgs!

Yep. What Tyler said.

Tyler nails it. The response is to the Auburn fan's reddit letter that I'm sure you've seen by now. I'm jumping to a reckless assumption, but I don't believe reddit was around back in 1986.

Anyway, Tyler's tone echoes most everyone that I know of and have talked to on this subject. I go to as many away games as I am able to. I learned many things about my mother walking out of Williams-Brice a couple months ago. Although I still don't believe those things to be true, I wasn't surprised that a close, emotional game that followed an extra hour or so of USCjr students tailgating funneling Natty Ice during the weather delay would create an environment that made me entirely uncomfortable.

It pissed me off, almost as much as the game itself did. But I eventually got over it.

Like Tyler, and hopefully many of you reading this, what I will never get over is seeing my fellow Dawg fans treat an opposing fan rudely. Yes, I'm aware that I just said I expect opposing fans to do and say such things to me when I'm in their stadium but not us. Not here. We should have a different standard. As he says, it's shameful UGA has rude fans, but like any other school with a tackle football team that plays outside of a dry county, we have them. It's our duty to step up and correct the behavior whenever necessary. Do whatever we can to keep a clean and welcoming house.

The first thing I did upon reaching my seats Saturday evening was find any Auburn fans within a close proximity. I didn't do that to single them out and make them feel unwelcome. And I certainly didn't immediately judge whether I would be able to propel the DNA in my mouth far enough to reach them. I found them so that I could make sure they behaved themselves while visiting my section. And more importantly, so that I could make sure they weren't treated in a way that would embarrass me, my family, and my alma mater.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dawgs and "Zombie Nation" don't mix

(What follows is the exact letter I just emailed to Greg McGarity. If you have similar feelings, you can as well.)

Mr. McGarity,

Great game Saturday night. There's truly nothing like watching the team, after going through so much adversity this season, handle business against a big rival like they did against Auburn. It made it all the more exciting as the fans matched the team's energy throughout. It will go down as one of the more cherished memories I have at Sanford Stadium.

I must admit, I was one of the old guys that had strong reservations about the use of piped in music during football games. I've seen the way they use it at other venues on the road and thought it might take away from the tradition of the Redcoats. But the way UGA has used the music has been a great addition to the spirit and energy of the Sanford Stadium experience. Anything to keep the fans enthused and the players excited is a good thing. What's more, the selection of music has been really good, appealing to all audiences and none of which has embarrassed myself as a parent sitting next to my kids.

However, I wrote you a couple years ago when we used one of Georgia Tech's songs, something called Zombie Nation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLEhyYp_5HI), over the PA system. I objected to its use as a Georgia fan that has listened to it many times while visiting in Bobby Dodd as well as other ACC stadiums like Clemson's Memorial Stadium. To be fair, I believe it is a very popular song in many college and professional sporting events, not just ACC football stadiums and arenas. But I, as well as many Georgia fans, equate this song to a Georgia Tech tradition. 

So I am writing you again in hopes that it will not be played going forward.To be frank, it's beneath us and it needs to be removed from any playlist in Sanford Stadium and Stegeman Coliseum. If it's played this Saturday against Charleston Southern you will probably see small groups of fans jumping up and down energetically. Those are the fans that are in the dark as far as how closely the song is tied to our in-state rival. The rest of us will be standing there shaking our heads.

And if it is played the following Saturday, you will see the opposing team rejoicing as if they were playing in Atlanta rather than Athens.

Thank you for your time. I hope that you will again pass along this concern to the Promotions Staff. My family appreciates all the hard work that goes into making Saturdays at Sanford such a memorable event - from the time the trumpet plays in the southwest corner 'til the time the scoreboard says "DAWGS WIN!!".

Go Dawgs!

Bernie

Georgia-Auburn rewatch: What if...

I've decided to break my rewatch into a couple different posts. Truly, there's not much more to say about this game other than Georgia dominated the Tigers. It seems as if Pruitt has Malzahn's number, for sure. But Auburn never really attempted to adjust to what Georgia's defense was doing. I didn't think Auburn challenged Georgia up the middle nearly enough to win the game. Seems like there were yards there to be had. And Artis-Payne was having a much better game than the Tigers' other playmakers.

I'm not saying that would've turned the game in Auburn's favor completely, but it's worth asking; what if Auburn had run Artis-Payne, the SEC's rushing leader, up the middle more?

Next, what if Gurley's kickoff return had stood? First, it was a good call and the touchdown should've come off the board. Vavlas Rankin had a good hold of an Auburn guy and it was an easy call to make. But as I rewatched it this question stuck out to me. Because Auburn had just scored on their first possession. Granted, Pruitt's defense forced them to convert a few third downs, but first blood was still theirs.

Then Gurley totes it 105 yards. If it stands we may not even go to a commercial break there. ESPN might have just replayed the return a couple times, sent it down to Holly Rowe for a quick update, and then suddenly the defense is right back out there.

Again, it may not have swung things in Auburn's favor completely. But we spent some time talking about the energy and momentum of this game as one of the keys all last week. Turns out Georgia's defense was prepared and ready to be a dominant force. Would it have been able to do that had it spent most of the first quarter on the field?

No, I'm not saying I'm glad Gurley's return didn't stand. Especially given the way things ended, it would've been nice for that to be one of the official highlights. But this was a game of momentum and this defense continually stamped out all of Auburn's after that first drive. So it just made me wonder...