Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What I heard (and then saw) from GDay

Wasn't going to post on the spring game as I wasn't able to attend. We actually just listened to it in the car on the way home from vacation. But then I found that my DVR had recorded it for me, so I checked the film to verify what I thought my ears had heard. Here's some thoughts.

From Coach Schotty's guys:
Faton Bauta, GDay 2015. (via GeorgiaDogs)
  • The QBs. Pretty much verified where I thought we were here at the end of spring practice - a big arm and a big leader. If the big arm (Ramsey) is going to win the starting job, the big leader (Bauta) is going to make him earn it. The players have been saying for awhile that Bauta out works most everyone on the team. I don't know about you, but that's the kind of player I want under center. Time for the Ramsey to step up if he wants to be the quarterback for the University of Georgia. Being the backup makes you popular on message boreds. Being the starter requires a lot more than popularity.
  • Speaking of stepping up, that's the big difference I see between the two guys right now. Bauta is quicker to react, knows where he wants to go with the ball, both more consistently and more accurately. Even on the long completion to McKenzie, Ramsey held the ball too long. It looked to me like he knew where he was going to go with it and simply held it another second to fit the ball in there. That may work in mid-April, but in a few months, not so much.
  • The RBs. Not much to say here. Schotty clearly wanted to give his quarterbacks some live plays to air it out. The running plays were very vanilla, between the tackles type runs, and they didn't challenge the corners much if at all. What was great to see was how definitively Turman accelerated with the ball. His first 14 or so carries went for a total of less than 30 yards I think. Then boom! After a few seasons of piecing together this unit, I still pinch myself at the quality depth we have now.
  • The OL. Solid starting five and better depth than I expected. And let's be honest, they had their hands full (figuratively and literally) with Pruitt's front seven. All around I was very pleased with what I saw. Coach Sale has made a splash recruiting. Early indications are he can coach em up too.
  • The WRs. McLendon had to be busy in his first spring coaching his old position, especially after McKenzie went down. Still, they'll be a solid and diverse bunch, specifically if some of the August additions can contribute right away and JSW eventually knocks the rust off. Bonus: is a full season of a healthy Malcolm Mitchell too much to ask for Football Gods?
  • The TEs. Any worries about depth at the receiver position are lessened somewhat by what we saw from the tight ends. That play-action from Bauta to Jordan Davis was music to my ears in the car. I couldn't wait to see it with my eyes. Tight ends have flourished during the Richt era, but quite frankly we've needed more from this position the last couple seasons. Some depth here can only help this offense in the fall.
From Coach Pruitt's guys:
  • The LBs. You just have to start here because of the absolute embarrassment of riches Pruitt has at his disposal, especially on the outside. How long did it take you to remember that Floyd and Bellamy were in street clothes? Jordan Jenkins plays rent free in the backfield; Natrez Patrick reminds me of a young Lorenzo; and Lorenzo is making me think he was holding back during his eye-opening freshman season. The only disappointment thus far from this group is the fact that we won't be able to hear Munson's multiple attempts to pronounce Chuks Amaechi's name.
  • The DL. I thought Mayes looked great, Bailey too. One of the by-products of a vanilla running offense is lots of gaps for the d-line to fill. And they stood up to that challenge for the most part, as well as pressured the quarterbacks multiple times. And at the risk of pouring on too much praise for the linebackers, that squad is only going to make the defensive front look better and better.
  • The DBs. And while we're referring to symbiosis, the defensive backs stand the most to gain from a plethora of pass rushers. Bauta was forced to check down many times. Some of that was due to the pass rush around him, but it also showed the young squad in coverage was doing their job. I forget who McKenzie beat, but that almost deserves a pass as that task must be like trying to grab the leash of a lathered down greyhound rounding turn three. I really liked seeing Tramel Terry fly around and lay some licks on receivers. Malkom Parrish seems to be worthy of some of the praise he's received as well. And as we know from Signing Day, there's a lot of help coming in August. Overall, this is still a position of much youth, but it's so much more stable than a year ago, is it not?
From Coach Richt's guys:
  • Special teams were....disappointing. No punt rush and we still can't get a decent punt off. No kick rush either and Morgan misses a 42 yarder. It all adds up to this - four and a half months to find someone that can punt a football into a well covered area (preferably more than 32 yards downfield) and who is going to hold place kicks for our senior kicker.
That's pretty bare bones and really nothing earth shattering. But that's the way GDay is supposed to be, right? What'd I miss?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The case for Faton Bauta

A little over a year ago I wrote this post supporting a redshirt sophomore hybrid/dual-threat/longshot as the next quarterback for Georgia. A year removed and I haven't really changed that position.

That's not to say that I don't think Mason earned the right to be last season's starter. In truth, this time last year he had already taken the reins to end the 2013 campaign. I recognize my position as just a fan with keyboard and trust the coaches to make the true and actual decisions.

This spring is different in many ways. Of course, much like Murray was eventually succeeded by his backup in 2013, Mason was forced to give up the huddle early too when he couldn't finish the bowl game. Brice Ramsey entered to finish off the 2014 season and so began the speculation that he was the heir apparent. However, it's clear that Ramsey doesn't have the firm grasp of the top spot that his predecessor did a year ago.

Which is why these next few months and especially August are going to be so interesting to watch. Ramsey, once presumed the next in line, has had plenty of time to develop, but hasn't separated himself from his colleagues.Maybe some of that is due to the change at offensive coordinator. Maybe not. Jacob Park, according to reports, has the swagger, but does it translate into consistency on the field?

Here's Coach Schotty himself on what they're looking for:
“I think we truly have three guys that are capable of doing it,” Schottenheimer, who coaches the quarterbacks, said last week. “We’re rotating the reps with the ones, giving them all a shot to work in there with the first group. What we’re looking for as a staff this spring is there are going to be good days, bad days, but we’ll come to a point with, ‘Who’s being the most consistent?'" (via Weiszer)
Competition in the spring. Consistency in the fall.

Faton Bauta has something both of those guys don't, more experience. This is Bauta's fourth spring camp and I bet that is something the other offensive players appreciate. I have little doubt that over the course of a season Bauta would take much greater care with the football than Park, and maybe Ramsey as well. My reasoning with that statement is similar to my reasoning last spring; Bauta is more than an arm. He's the type of player that will look to make plays with his arm, his feet and most importantly, his head.

Heading into a season that figures to see a lot of handoffs to #27, don't you think Schottenheimer and Richt would like to see someone under center they can trust completely? We'll have a better picture of Mr. Park after GDay, but right now he sounds like a gunslinger with chip on his shoulder. Boy we could've used that a few years ago. In 2015, not as much.

Back to the word "experience", you're right. Ramsey has more of it when it comes to in game, non-garbage time, meaningful snaps type experience. He has a live arm that can make all the throws. And there will be downs and distance this fall when we need an arm like that to move the chains and maybe even win a ball game. But doesn't Bauta add more of a dimension to the backfield with the likes of Chubb, Michel, Marshall, Hicks, Turman? As defenses zero in on Chubb after he's carried the ball for 150+ on 24 carries entering the fourth quarter, wouldn't it be nice to have a quarterback that can not only call the read option but can also run it?

That's where having Bauta as the starter truly excites me as a fan. When we're talking about keeping defenses honest, I like Bauta's ability to do that with his arm, his feet and his head more than the other guys. And I think Schottenheimer is thinking that over pretty hard the next few months as well.

If nothing else, I'm willing to bet that if Ramsey or Park beat Bauta out for the starting job, the dual-threat junior from West Palm Beach will have made them earn it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mike Campo releases new IPF renderings

Mike Campo, renowned architect from the firm Merence Toore and Assoc., has provided more details about the soon to be UGA Indoor Practice Facility, most notably that it should come at a cost under two hundred....dollars....two hundred American dollars.

Reached at his Statham GA office, Mr. Campo provided these details:
"I've worked on this non-stop since earlier this morning. I think you'll see these renderings show a functional, or at least a practical use of space. And yes, I've told Mr. McGarity that I could indeed keep the price tag under $200."
Pressed for his inspiration in this unique design...
"Well, I took my kids to McDonald's for breakfast before school this morning. Little Mikey was playing with this pile of straws instead of eating his hotcakes. When I turned to yell at the little brat for the fourth time I realized he'd built this tower that reached almost all the way to the ceiling. Boom. Genius!"
Okay...but what will the roof be made of?
"Like I said. We're still in the early stages. But Lil Lucy spilled juice all over her McMuffin wrapper. It seemed to hold pretty well against those elements. So that might give us a start."
Sounds pretty lightweight in frame. Aren't you worried about the wind?
"Yes. I've already told Coach Richt that his team might have to wear jackets on certain days. You know, due to the open air design.
Look, I've got to go. Bubba Wayne over at the trailer park has a noon appointment. He's building a new deck for Lucinda Earl!"
He hung up before I could ask if he was an Auburn grad.


Addendum: The years have not been kind to the Mike Campo phenomenon. I should've suspected this. First, once Hale left Macon his old Dawg Extra blog became harder to bookmark as it auto-redirects to the Ledger Enquirer. The old blog was where I first discovered Campo. Now, the AJC has removed the original article (and subsequent comments that include Terence Moore getting duped) from its site. So, the only remaining evidence may be from my copy and paste job in 2013, which was actually copied and pasted from my first celebration of Happy Mike Campo Day in 2010 (albeit slightly embellished). 

If you're new to this April 1st tradition, I suggest you start there.

Humpday Hilarity - a Golf Poem

Starting to smell like one of the greatest weeks in sports. The Masters is like none other, with the beautiful backdrop of azaleas, dogwoods, and perfect lawns. If golf is a religion, then Augusta National is its own St. Peter's Basilica - beautifully constructed, awe inspiring, and brings grown men to their knees.

Next week it will be full of guys from all over the world, that rarely have recited this poem:
A Golf Poem
In My Hand I Hold a Ball,
White And Dimpled, Rather Small.
Oh, How Bland It Does Appear,
This Harmless Looking Little Sphere.
By Its Size I Could Not Guess,
The Awesome Strength It Does Possess.
But Since I Fell Beneath Its Spell,
I've Wandered Through the Fires of Hell.
My Life Has Not Been Quite the Same,
Since I Chose To Play This Stupid Game.
It Rules My Mind for Hours on End,
A Fortune It Has Made Me Spend.
It Has Made Me Yell, Curse And Cry.
I Hate Myself And Want To Die.
It Promises a Thing Called Par,
If I Can Hit It Straight and Far.
To Master Such a Tiny Ball,
Should Not Be Very Hard At All.
But My Desires the Ball Refuses,
And Does Exactly as It Chooses.
It Hooks and Slices, Dribbles and Dies,
And Even Disappears Before My Eyes.
Often It Will Have a Whim,
To Hit A Tree Or Take A Swim.
With Miles of Grass on Which to Land,
It Finds A Tiny Patch Of Sand.
Then Has Me Offering Up My Soul,
If Only It Would Find The Hole.
It's Made Me Whimper Like a Pup,
And Swear That I Will Give It Up.
And Take To Drink To Ease My Sorrow,
But The Ball Knows,
I'll be Back Tomorrow.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Some Charles Johnson Foundation news to share

HAWKINSVILLE, GA, March 10, 2015 – Registration is now open for the fourth annual Charles Johnson Foundation Sports Academy and Community Weekend on June 19-20 in Hawkinsville, GA. The event welcomes 1st-12th grade girls and boys in Middle Georgia to a free-of-charge two-day event.

The annual Sports Academy is former University of Georgia Bulldog and current Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson's opportunity to give back to his hometown and connect with the community. The weekend of activities not only focuses on athletic skills, but also team-building and the importance of education. Coaches emphasize to the participants the importance of following their dreams and saying no to negative influences in their lives.

The Sports Academy includes clinics in basketball, dance, tennis, football and cheer. Johnson and some of his friends and coaches in the NFL and NBA attend the event to help guide participants through various activities. On Friday evening, everyone is invited to Middle Georgia Community Night where the community gathers together to celebrate one another and the foundation’s community partners. The evening also includes a check presentation to the two high school senior 2015 honorees of the Charles Johnson Foundation’s $20,000 college scholarships.

The full schedule for the 2015 event is as follows:

Friday, June 19                      
Basketball Clinic: 1-3 p.m. 1st-6th graders; 3-5 p.m. 7th-12th graders
Dance Clinic: 1-3 p.m. 1st -6th graders
Middle Georgia Community Night: 5-8 p.m.

Saturday, June 20       
Football Clinic: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 1st-6th graders; 12-2:30p.m. 7th-12th graders
Tennis Clinic: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. 1st-12th graders
Cheer Clinic: 12-2:30 p.m. 1st-6th graders

To register for the 2015 event, please visit here. The Foundation is looking for volunteers for the event and those interested should visit the foundation’s website for more details. If you or your business is interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please

For media requests or with any questions, please contact Meredith Geisler at 703-740-5015 or

Charles Johnson is a native of Hawkinsville, GA, and a proud alumnus of Hawkinsville High School. After attending the University of Georgia where he starred at defensive end, Charles was drafted by the Carolina Panthers of the NFL in 2007 and now serves as a captain of the team.

Through eight professional seasons, Charles has received All-Pro recognition on the strength of 62.5 career sacks, placing him among the premier pass-rushers in the league.

In 2012, Charles’ passion for philanthropy and loyalty to Middle Georgia led him to launch the Charles Johnson Foundation. A non-profit organization, the Charles Johnson Foundation is dedicated to fulfilling a two-fold mission:

  • Providing opportunities for under-served youth to reach their full potential through athletic, recreational, and educational programs and initiatives; and
  • Providing support for single African American mothers through proven programs and initiatives.

The Charles Johnson Foundation Sports Academy and Community Weekend is the flagship annual event for the Charles Johnson Foundation, combining his efforts to advance education with free sports clinics in football, basketball, tennis, dance and cheer.

Humpday Hilarity - How many Hail Mary's for being overly judgmental?

h/t Mac