Friday, July 24, 2015

Nick Chubb vs the 585lb squat

From Lucas Rogers of BulldawgIllustrated...
Damn.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Woerner! Woerner! Woerner!"

Y'all know I hate following recruiting. But this bit of news from Kipp Adams makes my Dawg heart proud.
Top247 prospect Charlie Woerner (Tiger, Ga./Rabun Co.) has committed to the Bulldogs, Dawgs247 has confirmed. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect visited Georgia with his team for the Mark Richt 7-on-7 in June, and returned for Dawg Night last weekend.
Woerner, considered the No. 13 prospect in Georgia, No. 19 wide receiver in the country, and No. 119 prospect in the 2016 class by the 247Sports Composite, chose Georgia over offers from Alabama, Clemson and others. His addition gives Georgia 14 commitments, and should push them past Michigan State for the No. 10 class in the country.

Spurrier vs the World, jumping the shark edition

Like most of you I'm sure, I spent part of last night on Steve Orr Spurrier's Wiki page trying to find the sentence that confirmed for me that the man had indeed obtained a degree in journalism from Florida. I didn't find it.

Same old Spurrier right? I guess. Has a bit of a different feel to it though. Probably because of this:
Regardless, the OBC can't make me feel sorry for Hack McBradley. And it's hard to bark too loudly as he's definitely made the annual rivalry against us...well, an actual rivalry.

But since the old guy is down, why not get in a kick or three.





Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday's Meatloaf - "I'll see you at graduation tonight, son."

Those weren't the last words I ever heard Mr. Mac say to me, but they were perhaps the most meaningful. Most educators will freely admit that they, at least partially, go into the field for those precious two months in the summer. If you meet one that says otherwise, they're either lying or fresh out of college. Probably both. But I feel comfortable speaking for those of us who are also very dedicated to making young lives better equipped for their future, that our hearts are anchored in our career.

And if you were to condense his (estimated) five foot nine, three hundred pound frame into one thought, that was Mr. Mac. I was saddened with the news of his passing earlier this month. So glad he had 77 years on this Earth to enrich the lives of everyone that came within his orbit.

My two most vivid memories of Mr. Mac are bookends to my high school career. As a freshman at Cedar Shoals someone broke into the locker room. While Coach Scott blew his whistle and as we expertly performed fitness drills in the gym, the thieves made off with some misdemeanor type valuables. I lost a grand total of five dollars and a belt. It was traumatic. Guess that new Yes album would have to wait. 

The next day I was called into the principal's office. Even though my dad had told me Mr. Mac was the gentlest of giants, I was petrified. The principal's office? I hadn't done anything, but obviously I was at fault for something. I remember sitting there in the chair across from his desk, waiting for whatever punishment it was I was there for to present itself. "I hadn't done anything!", I continued to scream inside my head. I'm sure y'all remember how the teenage mind can relentlessly torture its host in every way imaginable. And my imagination was in overdrive.

Mr. Mac finally walked in and introduced himself. "You're Dr. B's son right?" Immediately I was struck by his kindness. He came across as the most down to Earth school principal I'd known in all my years of formative education. Then again, he also seemed as big as the Earth itself. In the end, I had no idea how true that thought was.

The rest of conversation was lost in a blur of a heightened heart rate and the type of nervousness only a teenage boy of fourteen who is not wearing nearly enough anti-perspirant can understand. After a few moments he reached deep into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet, grabbed a five dollar bill, and handed it to me as he stood up.

He then smiled as I took the bill from his large hand. "I'm sorry my belt won't fit you." He winked as he said it, just to make sure I was completely at ease. I'm sure I thanked him in some awkward manner. And I hope some measure of sincerity was transmitted.

Today's Ingredients
- My dad told me that one March, Mr. Mac showed him a stack of papers bound together. Each one represented a home visit he made for a CSHS student who was in trouble of some sort. Here's a fund set up to continue such efforts for the Cedar Shoals community in his name, if you're so inclined.
- Hope you caught our tailgate roundtable. If not, here they are in order of appearance: quarterbacks, center, receivers, defensive standout, Coach Pruitt, schedule, and overall feelings.
- August isn't even here yet and Tyler is already looking at some cupcakes in November. I see his overall point, but Georgia Southern stands above the rest of those he clumps together. They've taken down Florida and gone toe to toe with Bama in Tuscaloosa.
- They also came as close if not closer than the Dawgs at taking the "State Champs" stamp off of Tech's shiny new 2014 rings.
- Speaking of the engiNerds, the AJC may have missed the latest chapter in Reuben Houston drug story, but Blutarsky didn't.
- And speaking of non-conference scheduling, G&B Attack looks at the Gamecocks' future slate.
- MaconDawg has a look at Coach Richt's new 2017 commit, DeeJay Dallas.
- "So many people.Weiszer writes about the spectacle Dawg Night has grown into.
- Over at Field Street Forum there's a challenge that, should you choose to accept it, could drop a lucrative prize into your lap. (No, not Bama in Sanford tickets. I'm talking about "BRAGGING RIGHTS" son!)
- I'm as much a sucker for a sucker punch at Coach Nicky as the next guy.
- Jason Isbell is a master at lyrics. Here are some words regarding the new album that I found rather astute.

Both literally and figuratively, I was ready to put Trigonometry in the rear view mirror. It was the last exam that stood between me and life beyond the last 12 years of formal education; one final hurdle before I cranked up my 1967 Malibu Chevelle and conquered the world.

(not an) Actual picture of me performing some mathing
I resisted the temptation to speed through the parking lot. As the rest of the underclassmen finished their last day of school, I was heading home mid-morning, with nothing to do but go back to sleep...after setting an alarm that would allow me to (possibly) brush my hair, (potentially) brush my teeth, walk across the stage, and accept my ticket to adulthood.

Yes, every ounce of me wanted to punch the gas and crank Telegraph Road one last time as I peeled onto Cedar Shoals Drive. But I was also compelled to savor the moment. And I was glad I chose the latter.

At the end of the one way conduit from the student parking lot to the front drive beside the school sat a metal chair doing its best to contain a man better suited for a La-Z-Boy. Even as a soon to be graduate, I wasn't one that was familiar with the ins and outs of leaving campus before the final bell. While I wait for you to stop laughing I'll simply add that based on my limited experience there was a 50-50 shot of getting the security officer as opposed to clear passage. I'll also add that the seniors had been reminded (repeatedly) that if we intended to leave campus early we were to bring a note from home.

"Good morning Mr. Mac."
"How'd the trig final go?"
[What?!? How'd he know? Oh God, I'm doomed to go spend four hours in the library shelving books or something. Damnit! DAMNIT!!!!]
"Um..good Mr. Mac. I, um..."
"You forgot a note didn't you?"
"Yessir. I just.."
"I'll see you at graduation tonight, son."

Suddenly I was that awkward 14 year old again - overly excited and equally amazed by my principal's ability to relate. He moved his steel chair from the middle of the lane to the side so that I could pass and gave me a wink.


It was the same wink Doug McLaughlin gave me later that evening when I crossed the stage at Stegeman Coliseum and received my diploma. My formative education was done. That one wink, just as his incredibly firm handshake and every single slap on the shoulder he gave me and thousands of other students that passed him in the hall on the way to their next class, told me that what was waiting for me tomorrow was greater than anything I could leave behind in a trail of gas fumes and a Mark Knopfler solo.

Mr. Mac always had the bigger picture. I'm proud to have shared a few frames in it.

Have a great Monday y'all!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Seniors

Been stewing on this for a couple weeks. My biggest takeaway from the UGA SEC network take over day, was from the 2005 SEC championship game against LSU. They kept talking about how Georgia was not expected to do well that season. Uncle Verne et al continually attributed our success to the seniors on the team.

Now, think back. This was a team that was really one knee injury away from a potential national championship game. This was a team that had exceeded even its own fanbase's expectations. They used a stingy, aggressive defense. And an offense that took whatever the defense offered. Add in a quarterback that had been chomping at the bit, and you had an SEC East team ready for mayhem.

Sure. The seniors under 2005 Coach Richt are different than the ones under 2015 Coach Richt. Back then the roster was set based on some kind matriculated status as opposed to talent. But the basic premise is the same. At least that's what I believe. You have to have good leadership to make it to Atlanta in December. 

So, we had it then. Do we have it now?

Much has been made about Chubb being left off this morning's private UGA charter to SEC Media Days. Last year we took two seniors (Ramik and Conley) and a junior, Todd Gurley. Sure, Nick Chubb is the key to the season. But is it really so bad that we leave him at home?

I don't think so. I think the 2015 Georgia Bulldogs will rely on young talent to make plays. But Richt will always rely on senior leadership to drive the bus. And if you look at the roster, we have upper classmen all over ready to lead. That's going to become important somewhere down the road.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Penn Wagers, Karma, and kitten sweaters

I was going to tweet something like this last night:
This morning I let nearly 30 people into traffic north of Myrtle...on a Saturday morning....after Waffle House...and one last visit to "Whales". AND...this afternoon I switched out my aunt-in-law's pre-1980s thermostat with a new fangled programmable wifi-enabled one. 
Successfully.
I think I've garnered enough Karma to power the Dawgs through a mid-September road trip to Nashville.
On one hand it's like 5000 characters and twitter allows a mere fraction of that.

But also, the last time we were in Nashville, the referees lost their gotdamn mind.


Now, you can believe what you will about Penn Wagers [supposedly] "retiring". But the word "returning" is remarkably close in spelling and I just refuse to believe that bastard has given up ways to screw Mark Richt in places and means that are ill-suited for Saturday afternoons.

So until I see him in a SEC Network teleconference in the Fall from Spokane Washington while he knits sweaters for his kittens and sips Earl Grey tea from a World's Greatest Kitty Momma mug....I'll be saving all the Karma I can get.

Because Wagers is the biggest cat person to ever officiate in the SEC.

Tailgate Roundtable - prognosticating 2015

Last day. Thanks for joining us. We wrap up the series with our overall feeling about how the season will play out.


Okay. Here in July, what is your overall feeling about the upcoming season?

AHD - There is not anyone on our schedule we can't beat. Stay healthy, catch a few lucky bounces, and we are in Atlanta! And we will be 8-0 at Mark Richt Field after this year. ;-)

Robert - I am not very optimistic.  That may very well be a good sign, because for the last 10 years I have predicted UGA going 12-0 and playing for a national title.  There is a lot of potential if they find an answer at the quarterback position and he plays above everyone’s expectations, but the schedule is challenging.  Road games at Tennessee and Auburn will be huge challenges, and I learned my lesson not respecting the Florida Gators last season.  Combine that with Alabama coming to town, but the truth is, they are the least of our worries.  It isn’t all doom and gloom for me though.  I expect to see improvement overall.  I think we will cut down on some of the mindless mistakes we made last season. I think we will see this team play with more intensity.  I think the defense improves as a whole.  We are recruiting at a new level.  Overall, UGA is on the rise!

BDB - My optimism really rides on the feet of Chubb and what I think will be the best Georgia defense we've seen in about a decade. Still, we're young at some key spots. And I agree with Robert that there are some key challenges in this schedule. Even though I'm one of those old guys that hates the cupcakes, this is one of those seasons I'm kind of glad we open the season slowly. Getting to Atlanta will be a difficult row to hoe, but it's one I could see this team navigating. So I'll go with 12-3, a trip to the Dome, and just outside the CFP.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tailgate Roundtable - let's look at the schedule

Day six of seven. Today we take a look at the schedule and discuss what might be the biggest road bump.

Which game on the schedule worries you most and why? 

AHD - UT. They are next after Alabama. It is at their house. They will come out and smack us in the mouth from the  opening whistle. We are the better team. That won't matter. We will need to play some "old man football". 

Robert - Just like the yearly predictions of who is going to represent the east and the west in the SEC Championship game, the answer to this question never seems to play out as we suspect either.  In the SEC, all games are big.  When I look at the schedule, I just do do not see how UGA can make it to Atlanta if we do not win in Tennessee.  If UGA goes into Knoxville without a blemish on the schedule, it means that UGA defeated a top ranked Alabama team 7 days prior.  That is a prime let down spot.  If UGA were to lose to Alabama, a loss in Knoxville would most likely end all hopes of playing the first weekend of December.  Tennessee is the biggest game on the schedule, and therefore the one I am most worried about.

BDB - I usually point to Jacksonville. There's never a bigger game in my mind than the next time the Dawgs are on the banks of the St. Johns. But...that's voting with my heart. You've both convinced me on Tennessee. A lot of "new talk" coming out of Athens of a revived and renewed purpose towards winning. If that holds true, this revamped coaching staff is going to find a way to avoid the annual "let down" game(s). I think we match up well against Bama. That's doesn't mean I'm sure we win. But I agree with AHD and Robert that regardless of what happens on October 3rd, the following week on Rocky Top will be huge.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tailgate Roundtable - Pruitt in year two

Staying on the defensive side of the ball, today we talk about what Pruitt's defense might be able to build upon in his second year in Athens.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is quite popular among both fans, players, and recruits. Does the defense's struggles against the run last season concern you? Do you anticipate improvement in that area in 2015? 

AHD - Pruitt had his hands full straightening out a young and thin secondary. We were middle of the pack performance wise in the SEC against the run. We've added some talent and it will show on the field. We had our moments in 2014. Held the Barners to 7 points, shut the Zoo out and Arky couldn't push us around on that front line. We will be better. 

Robert - Not being able to stop the run against Florida and Georgia Tech was especially troubling, but I do see improvement.  I would be surprised if we didn’t see Pruitt’s defense improve across the board.  Grantham wasn’t the best recruiter or evaluator of talent.  Pruitt is starting to get some of “his guys”.  I am particularly interested to see Trenton Thompson and how quickly he makes an impact.  All reports are he is a beast, and him clogging holes along the defensive line should aid the rush defense.

BDB - I see nothing but improvement too. Given his propensity to connect with recruits, and his knack for downright coaching, I think we've only just begun to see what Coach Jeremy Pruitt can do. In fact, we may be a year away from truly seeing the results of all his efforts. But if a couple things click, look out in 2015!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tailgate Roundtable - filling the gap on the defensive side of the ball

Day four also tackles some shoes that need to be filled. This time from the other side...


Similarly, on the defensive side of the ball a lot of tackles need to be replaced now that Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera are gone. Who do you see stepping up to drag opposing ball carriers down? 

AHD - Thompson,Floyd,Carter, Jenkins, plenty of talent!

Robert - Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Carter, and Leonard Floyd are all studs.  They can all throw opposing ball carriers around like rag dolls.

BDB - Hearing great things about Thompson already. Don't think he stacks up a bunch of tackles in the stat line, but if he can plug the middle the way we need then those guys behind and around him stand to gain from the fruits of his labor.