Friday, January 6, 2017

Rodrigo speaks

Well, I was right about one thing. Rodrigo Blankenship is happy in Athens and sounds like he plans to compete and get better. Because at midnight, with only 14% left on his phone battery, he tweeted this out:


Maybe now the dad will shut up and let his kid play football.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"...somewhat impressive track record..."

So somewhat in fact that it wasn't enough for Kirby to grant Rodrigo a scholarship.

This whole thing just doesn't sit right with me. And I'll openly admit that there was a time when I might have felt differently, like the kicker had done enough to earn a full ride. But right now, not so much.

Maybe that's because he seemed to have a season that was too up and down to devote a scholarship at this point. Or maybe it's more to do with the fact that I understand this is the New Georgia Way and we must trust Kirby to run things.

Probably a good mixture of both actually.

What I do know is that I believe the elder Blankenship may have answered his own question when he added the adverb "somewhat" to his description of his son's season. Sure, Rodrigo helped win the game in Lexington back in November, kicking four field goals including the game winner. He made 77% of his attempts this past season, good for 6th in the conference. For a redshirt freshman I would mark that as something to (hopefully) build upon.

But what really puts the "somewhat" in front of the "impressive track record" for me is the 36% touchback number. Granted, special teams overall were not good this season so maybe that's just par for the course of having a special teams coach (heyoo! did I just type that?!?)

However, when a young coach is building a program and is heading into year two, I would imagine he'd have to remove the "somewhat" and at least be able to put a "damn" or two in there before he'd give up a precious scholarship.

Especially considering the run Kirby and Krew are on lately in getting top tier talent to either commit, visit, or both.

And one last thought...I can't help but wonder where Rodrigo himself lies. He seems pretty happy in Athens. I'm still a couple-few years from shelling out the benjamins for college tuition, so I won't completely throw Mr. Blankenship under the bus. But if Rodrigo were openly pandering for scholarship offers in other area codes (which I admit may still happen before next season), this parental email to the media to grab a few more headlines might carry a bit more weight.

For me, I hope he stays, competes, and has a great season. I know Rodrigo has worked hard. Be nice to see him carried off the field, maybe in Jacksonville. Or in Atlanta.

Go Dawgs y'all!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Last chance, losers!

Bowl season starts today. So as of the moment this post publishes, you have a scant few hours to join the bowl pool, make your picks, and resign yourself to a big chair in front of a big screen for the next few weeks.

In other words, it's the greatest most excellent time of the year! A Festivus for the rest of us!

And the password is "JazzHands". Now, let's begin with the Airing of Grievances...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Staying home.

Jazz Hands if you wanna celebrate!

Maybe not a huge surprise, but still BIG news for sure.

Go Dawgs y'all!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Reminder: suits are paid for their analysis

Mel Kiper says Chubb and Michel should stay put.
"I don't think Chubb or Michel has maximized his grade yet, and another year might allow that to happen," Kiper said this week on a conference call. "This year did not allow it to happen, so if you're happy being a third-, fourth- or fifth-round pick, you come out. If you want to try and help your stock, you go back for another year."
Musics to my ears! But also bad advice. 

I have no idea what Sony and Nick will decide. Seems a no brainer for Chubb. Despite what some analysts might say I think he's proven to be a more than capable three down back. That's what NFL scouts want to see is a running back that can not only make yards on the ground, but also hold his own in the pocket and transform himself into a receiver when necessary.

But Chubb is also the kind of person that doesn't always succumb to conventional wisdom.

Sony could also become a three down type of back for the NFL. He can certainly pick up blitzes and can be both a receiver from the backfield or the split out wide as well. But he has more to gain from returning if you ask me.

However, I would advise both to leave and start preparing for the combine and Pro Day. Kiper is right that running backs should want to be taken in the top two rounds. But there's also no other position in football that has a shorter shelf life.

If either Chubb or Michel want to make a living playing this game that they're both so talented at, they should start sooner rather than later.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Annual Bowl Pool - Festivus is back!

In the long storied history of the blog's annual bowl pool, I've never won. Maybe the seventh time is a charm.

Regardless, we're getting the pole out of the crawl space and meeting at the Costanza's for dinner after the Airing of Grievances. Click the link and the password is "JazzHands". Then simply create your entry and join Kramer on The Strike line.

For you noobs...a historical catch you up. Please make your checks out to The Human Fund.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A little Friday SECCG Misery

This is basically the way I want tomorrow's game to go:

"Do you see that score?!? We're up by 50 Mr. Saban!"
That and as much national chaos as the CFB Gods will allow. Have a great weekend Reader!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bowlin' with Santa

My general malaise has lifted enough to take some glimpses at possible bowl destinations for Kirby's first team. I've heard a lot of people making bold statements about wishing we weren't going bowling and making negative predictions about the number of fans that would show up.

I take a different track. First, say what you want about the season, but these seniors deserve a trip somewhere and to suit up one more time as a tackle football player for the University of Georgia. Also, a young team could use the extra reps in practice.

Well hell, the coaches could too for that matter.

Anyway, stumbled on this list for Georgia specifically. Durham lists the potential bowl games as: Music City, Texas, Belk, Liberty and Birmingham.

Personally, I think we can strike the Music City and Belk Bowls from the list. Sure, anything can happen when conference management and egotistical athletic directors get together on a conference call. And yes, we all know our own AD is just an overcooked angel hair noodle in a suit. But I'd place my bet on the Birmingham Bowl first and then possibly the Liberty.

There's been some murmurs about the Texas Bowl being willing to part with their SEC West team preference and take Georgia in. That'd be news if it happens. And the bowl rep is surely talking up Georgia nicely.
“Yeah, we absolutely will do whatever the SEC thinks is best for our event, and for the conference,” Fletcher said. “It’s tough not to love Georgia. A national brand, a great history, had a fantastic season on the field, has a lot of young talent. As you’ve seen with coach (Kirby) Smart, Houston has become more important – and really Texas as a whole – has become a more important market to try and build a base in going forward.” 
Fletcher said he also heard there was a “large contingent” of Georgia alums in the Houston-Dallas corridor. In fact, UGA has been holding fan days in those two cities over the past few years, including a Kirby Smart appearance in Houston last June.
McGarity of course deferred comment to the SEC offices. Perhaps those alumni in Houston can make a pitch to Sankey in our AD's stead. I'm one that actually takes some pride in our bowl streak, and it'd be cool to finish off a difficult season with a new bowl game to add to the resume.

But that's just me. Go Dawgs y'all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The 2016 season in one word


I was prepared to have even more of it when the fourth quarter began last Saturday. The odds seemed in our favor . We had a three game winning streak. But what’s more is that the team seemed to finally be in sync with the coaches and their game planning and play calling. What’s even more is that we had just dominated the third quarter against Tech; the coaches had made adjustments at halftime which had pulled us out of the 14-14 deadlock.

I still have hope. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a hit walking away from Sanford Saturday afternoon.

Before the season began I was on a podcast with CorbinDawg, and Bulldog Bob asked us what we needed to see this season to reassure us for the future. For Corbin it wasn’t a record or a specific win against a specific opponent. It was a moment when it was evident the team (and by default the program as a whole) had taken a step forward. He was looking for Kirby’s stamp on the program that showed better days were ahead.

I took that nugget with me throughout the season and waited. I thought Corbin’s approach to the question was good practice given the new direction under a new coach. So it may not have been crystal clear, but I thought I caught a glimpse against Auburn. That was a team win. It was a tighten the chin strap and go get ‘em game. And they can say what they will about Auburn’s injuries or whatever else they want, but it was a dominant performance by the defense. Best online casinos Johannesburg.

And it could’ve been what propelled the team to a potential 9-4 record and plenty of momentum heading into Signing Day and Winter workouts.

But as we’ve reminded ourselves for nearly a full year now, first year head coaches come with growing pains. They come with moments of both weakness and trepidation. Which has caused a lot of people to question the decision a year ago to run Richt off. And to be clear, I think it’s a fair question. I don’t believe that Richt could’ve won the East with this team, but there’s an argument that the Tennessee, Vandy, and Tech losses might have played out to a different outcome.

It’s all fair and bipartisan analysis. But I won’t spend much time nor energy dwelling on it. Kirby is our coach. I’ve said all along that I’ll support him just as much as I did our former coach and the ones before him. The only caveat is that it comes with a hard and fast deadline. Championship games must be in the near future or it is onto the next guy. That’s just the program that we are now.

So, back to that one word. Do I still have hope? Yes. I do have hope even as the sting of Saturday’s loss strikes so many nerves. I’ve listened to the theories of Kirby playing the long game - forgoing potential immediate highs in favor of doing it his way for the future. And there’s plenty of evidence to back that theory up in game planning and even specific substitution patterns, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Kirby’s Way is one we’re forced to trust. I have hope for what’s ahead, but like many of you I’m concerned about some problems that Smart inherited, most notably our offensive line depth. And to be perfectly frank it’s talent overall. That in particular is not an easy and immediate fix. There’s no (official) free agent market in college football. And the fact is that any true freshman offensive lineman needs a year to redshirt and develop his body to the size required for this level of football. We lose two linemen to graduation, which means Pittman must develop next year’s rotation and starting five from scratch, again.

Anyway, that’s a big problem for a later date. I think the bigger struggle right now is that the season is over, and barring some huge performance in a minor bowl game, we’re left at the finish line without something definitive to grasp a hold of and say “Yes, this is going to be fun to watch again soon!”

Until then, I think I still have enough hope left.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday thoughts on the fourth quarter

The game was in hand. The players had made plays and the coaches had called a good game. We were running the ball well and the defense was limiting the triple option's effectiveness.

The game was in hand. And then it was not.

Sure, we can point to a bad pass, a drop, or a missed tackle. But that loss is 100% on the coaches. We got away from what was working and paid mightily for it. Hell, the third quarter was masterful as we stepped on them and opened up a thirteen point lead.

For 50 minutes Kirby and his staff had the better plan and the better adjustments. The last ten minutes was a clinic in what not to do to close out a ball game.

On a larger scale, I'm really disappointed because it seemed we had turned a corner. It seemed as if things were starting to click between a young coaching staff and their young players. It really just puts me at a loss for words.

I'm glad this season is over. And it makes me sad to type that.