Monday, August 21, 2017

Overcoming the Malkom Parrish injury

Smart said it's no "doomsday". And I tend to think the senior defensive back will be ready for the opener against App State. But it's worth looking at what our secondary would be like without him through the rest of August's practices as well as the season opener. After all...
“We could sit around and cry and whine about it. But it’s not a position we’re real deep at right now. It’s not a great situation but that’s what football is, guys. In football, you’re going to have injuries and you have to overcome them.”
In the short term, the lack of depth and experience in the secondary will get a boost as those young guys get more reps. There should be a lot of raw talent there and I imagine Smart will have a keen eye on their progress while Parrish is on crutches healing that tender foot.

But in the long term, with uncertainty and now an injury to a key starter, we should definitely be worried about our secondary unit opening up against a team that likes to chunk the rock around. Taylor Lamb is a senior quarterback for the Mountaineers and he'll bring a squad of shifty, athletic, and TALL receivers.

Parrish has experience, but the younger guys behind him have more the height you'd like to see at this level. Kirby and staff have been recruiting it, hard. Tyrique McGhee is largely believed to be the first guy behind Parrish. McGhee brings some game experience and will certainly be counted on regardless of whether Parrish makes it back for the opener or not. But I'd bet these freshmen step up to show what they can do.

At least I hope so. Because an injury can be a setback. But it can also be an opportunity. Is Parrish's injury just a chance at some more reps in shells? Personally, with their talent and size, I'd love to see someone like Speed, Brini or Poole step up and earn some actual playing time.

Friday, August 18, 2017

2017: will the scenery change this season?

When collecting one's initial thoughts about an upcoming season of Georgia Football, Lewis Grizzard is as fine a place to start as any:

"If you ain't the lead dog, the 
scenery never changes."

For Dawg fans, the scenery has been about the same for some time. Since our last December trip to Atlanta in 2012, the SEC East has remained very much winnable. But Georgia has only gone 20-12 in conference play during that span, finishing 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd. So, far from the back of the pack, but still staring at a lot of rivals' asses.

Pass the Lysol please.
What we hope is the gators' view this season.
(pic taken @ Kenny B's French Quarter Cafe,
Hilton Head Island, SC)

A quick glance shows that the division once again is firmly in Georgia's sights this year. Tennessee, 2016's pre-season darling, lost most of its starters and plays at both Florida and Alabama. South Carolina should be improved but is still at least a year away from bringing in the talent necessary to compete for the East. Missouri is awful, and Kentucky and Vandy will do their best to keep the western Tigers in the cellar.

That leaves Florida. I tend to think our schedule is very favorable this season, but a look at Florida's proves they may have an easier road to Atlanta. We have road trips to Knoxville and West Opelika. They're biggest test away from The Swamp is a toss up between Columbia East or Lexington's new Kroger Stadium. The Gamecocks might be improved, but they're still a young offense and Florida's defense will once again be one of the conference's toughest. And while the former Commonwealth Stadium may not be a true beauty to look at, there's only one brand of conference turf whose recent life mission has become to shred as many Bulldog's knees as possible within a 60 minute game - Knoxville's Neyland Stadium.

"It's bad." Advantage gators.

If all that plays out in the division the way that I just typed it, then it will come down to the annual clash along the St. Johns River. Well, I should say it could come down to the Georgia-florida game. We lost there in 2002 and still made it to Atlanta, but wasn't the trip a little sweeter in 2004, 2011 and 2012?

After all, the lead dog shouldn't need a back door in. Go Dawgs!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Cleaning out some off season clutter

Before we get to truly preparing ourselves for the Mountaineers (App State is the Mountaineers, right?) there's a few things I want to clear off the desk so that we can truly focus on football.

A brief Q&A. Yes, I do actually remember the password to this little blog thing. How 'bout that!

No, I did not spend the off season at at the "spa" with Nurse Ratched.

Yes, I will be around more frequently so that we can do all of the gnashing of teeth, fist bumping, high-fiving, commiserating, and crying together, as well as share a drink or three.

No, Jim Cheney still won't answer my calls. So I have no idea how good our offense will be.

Yes, I'm hopeful.

No, not overly so.

At least I don't think so.

BBQ. I'm done tweeting about this, and in a moment I'll be done typing about it. Does it make a huge impact on gameday experience that Dreamland is now contracted by Aramark to provide food for Sanford's visitors? No, and I agree this development has garnered way, WAY too much noise. But that's just the problem, it's a small decision that is indicative of a dangerous separation between Butts-Mehre leadership and us, the fans. It's just the Athens-native in me I guess, support local businesses. Or at least make them say no before you call a business on Central time.

Did Kirby's shiny IPF put a blindfold over CMR's "Eye on the Sky"? I do not miss the team having to travel all the way to Flowery Branch to practice football. I do kind of miss Richt talking about the weather some though. Storm clouds in August and hot chocolate in November..ah, good times. Friend of the blog Robert likes to remind me of my staunch opposition to building that thing. And no, I'd rather the team not use it unless it can be filed under "Drastic Measures Taken". But I have to say, I have no issue with how Kirby has managed practices thus far. I've said before he has always struck me as someone who would have the team's overall development at heart when making decisions about whether to head indoors and make 'em grind it out in the actual true-game elements.

Ole Miss. Holy sh*t what a mess. Whether it's mascot changes or bucking the system, you gotta admit those Oxford Grovers go all in. Like you, I'm still spending a little too much time grinning at the fall that Freeze is taking. Man that SOB has had it coming!

One day I swear I'll get more in line with feeling sorry for the true victims, the players, the Freeze family and the Ole Miss fans. But probably not tomorrow and Wednesday ain't looking good either.

I asked, Siri answered. The more you know... The news caught me by surprise, so:
Have a great week y'all. Go Dawgs!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"Get a BIG neck."

Since everyone showed up by Sunday evening and camp began successfully forthwith, your Georgia Bulldogs have earned a preseason ranking of #15!
"It’s the sixth straight year Georgia landed in the top 25 in the first poll, but has finished unranked in two of the last four seasons in 2013 and 2016."
To avoid finishing unranked again, our offense line is going to have to be much better (because it can't possibly be....nevermind, not going to even finish that thought). To go from #15 to top four, our playmakers are going to have to stay healthy well past that Autumn visit to Neyland Stadium's zombie hillbilly turf of the walking dead apocalypse.

Anyway, thought I'd just off the ol' blogger password and say "Hey!" and whatnot. And also remind everyone to keep following their Erk calendar!

Go Dawgs y'all!

(click to enlarge)
h/t Mac...h/t Kid Terrell

Monday, May 8, 2017

"I think in order to truly succeed in life is dependent on how you truly transition in those seasons.”

This is real good stuff from Emerson on how Tra Battle has "transitioned" through Life's different seasons. He's the one former Georgia player to have been roommates with both Paul Oliver and Quentin Moses, so it hasn't been easy.
“In rationalizing death and grief, you do realize that the people who are no longer with us wouldn’t want you to meet them this soon,” Battle said. 
Jon Fabris, the former Georgia defensive assistant, had a saying that stuck with Battle: “Every man a brick.” So a brick by itself is nothing. It’s just a piece of clay. But when you get every member of the team mortared together, you can build skyscrapers, monuments, etc.
 “The things that were important to Q-Moses, from everyone that was close to him, you still have to continue that body of work,” Battle said. “For things that were important to P.O., in accountability to him, you have to continue that body of work. So the things that were important to those individuals, they have to become important to you.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Greg McGarity is the Michael Scott of athletic directing

The Office icon was a humorously ineffective leader that managed to stumble around his own blunders long enough to sell ads for NBC. The head honcho of Butts-Mehre's blunders aren't funny. At all. More like a really bad record that skips to its worst part over and over again.

I think HooDawg and Blutarsky are right, In these days and times with UGA Athletics there's so much to live for and also be enormously frustrated about that it's confusing. It's frustrating. It's sad and it's depressing.

It's confusing.

McGarity should bear the brunt of that ball of emotions. His hiring record is not up to SEC standards and he's about to hire yet another gymnastics coach (and likely a baseball coach as well). His public relations skills are worse than early pre-WWI editions of socialist propaganda, mainly because they lack the public censorship necessary to drive the points home. Which is to say that once he realizes he's disenfranchised a large enough percentage of donors he'll sit down with someone at the AJC and clumsily pull a shiny quarter out of his pocket.

The problem is that not enough people are calling McGarity on it. Bloggers and active social media users can vent, and the media will reference our discontent enough to get that quarter back out of Gregory's dockers, but for the most part I get the sense that there's a wait and see philosophy amongst the higher ups.

Maybe everyone's hoping Kirby can break the ceiling again; if the Sky Suite wallets are happy the Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin can keep on selling paper. Or maybe McGarity has compromising pictures of somebody. If so, I wish said somebody would find a way to burn that evidence so that the rest of us can move on.

I don't know what exactly it is that keeps Greg from forced retirement. However, I do know that, administratively speaking, leadership is lacking in UGA's athletic office. McGairty has proven he's not Jeremy Foley, as we once wished when he was hired to replace Damon Evans. In fact, our AD is so far from that level of competence it leads me to believe that McGarity spent all his time during Florida's hey-days making paper clip chains and jamming the Xerox machine...again.

UGA alumni and supporters can continue to turn their heads, but eventually that practice leads to trouble.

Kirby is recruiting at a level that could break that ceiling. Even if he does there's no amount of McGarity propaganda that can convince me that his "search firm" made the decision in Kirby's favor. Should we let this man continue to make important decisions about the other coaching hires, the facilities, whether or not two trash receptacles are enough for a gameday weekend in the Fall, just how full the UGAA ca$h coffers should be, and whether or not he should be so bold and brazen to...I don't know...pick up the phone and call Greg Sankey to say something along the lines of "Hey! Enough with the noon games goddammit!!"

I was lucky enough to attend the annual Terry College of Business Gala the other night. As we waited for friends to arrive we noticed many faces of UGA prominence, in the business, administrative and athletic fields. (The wife even finally got a picture with Sean Bailey!)

My point is that you tend to take notice of people of importance as soon as they enter a room. There's a shift in the air movement, and if you miss that sign you surely notice other heads turning. "Hey, there's Dan Cathy. Yep, that's President Morehead."

Then...there he was. He slipped in practically unnoticed all the way through check in and was putting on his name badge. "Hmmph, there's McGarity."

We need a leader for an athletic director. Instead we have a limp dish rag. And the only ones laughing at these jokes are our rivals.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Love...true love...should be reciprocated.

McGarity would like us to know that he hears us.
The state of the bathrooms has been criticized, as well as long concession lines and other areas of complaint. McGarity, whose initial response when that was brought up two weeks ago didn’t please some fans, made clear Thursday that he hears them. 
“It’s important to us.,” he said “We’ve made strides. Have we made enough strides, no. Is it important to us, yes. And I think the message that we’d like to convey is that it’s a huge deal for us.”
I can guarantee you that I've stood in those long concession lines and waded through the "water" in the restrooms MANY more times than AD McGarity. But, it's not a "huge" deal to me. I mean if I'm being honest, it's something I have to deal with just a few times a year. So how can it be a "huge" deal to him and the other penny pushers in Butts-Mehre?

You're right. I need to stop picking nits. But what's so damn frustrating is that despite all the calls and emails McGarity has undoubtedly received since the Sanford Stadium expansion news came out a couple weeks ago (and kudos to Bill King by the way for this excellent follow up that I believe really drives the point home) is that I remain wholeheartedly unconvinced that he nor anyone else with decision making power in the athletic office understands any of us.

Hearing what someone is saying, or reading what they've typed at you is easy. Understanding those words requires true public relations and moderate or better empathetic powers.

This past season I missed just one home game and attended two away games. That's about standard for me actually. For those of you that make the trek to see the Dawgs play understand that the decision to do so can be compartmentalized into two categories - tailgate experience and game experience.
"Wooo boy you should see the size of my reserve fund!"

I love watching Georgia play football. Despite it's drawbacks and inadequacies, Sanford's still the best place to be on a Saturday in the Fall. (And again, for those of you that also make the trek, I hope you've been following Silver Britches Blog's recent series about bringing glory back to Sanford. I sure wish McGarity would...) But a big reason I like to go to Athens is to see old friends and be on campus with them again. Share some food and drink and catch's as simply southern as you can get and it always scratches me right where I itch.

I would imagine you feel similar if not the same dear Reader. But what have we gotten lately? If I get up really early I can get to the tailgate in enough time for a brief "How's ya mama and them?", a couple beers to chase the bloody mary, and then hurry off to see another noon kick. "Oh, and for your troubles here's a shitty pretzel and a half-filled cup of Coca-Cola. Yes, the 1970's era urinal stand is around the corner. Follow the smell!"

And that's why we're upset. That's the point Bill King made so well in that post and that's the point Silver Britches is making with their posts on Sanford Stadium upgrades. Why can't Sanford Stadium be in the upper echelon of collegiate tackle football venues for ALL involved - the coaches, the players, the recruits, the mamas of recruits, the sky suite denizens, the referees, the grandmamas of recruits, as well as, and me, the average fan? 

UGAA has the money. So what everyone is wondering is why not make all the changes that need to be made so that everyone can be happy on Saturdays in the Fall?

In many ways, it'd be so much easier to invite some friends over and tailgate at the house. You'd save a lot of money, get the convenience of a modern toilet, and see the game in high definition. "Oh, and for your troubles you get to spend the day feeling appreciated rather than as an after thought."

Because that's what McGarity's version of Butts-Mehre gives us - after thoughts. "Ladies and Gents, look at these amazing upgrades that're coming to Sanford!" Two weeks later, sitting down with an AJC writer,"Of course we care about [insert latest list of latest gripes and grievances]. Here's what we are planning and by the way here's the obstacles that we've had to deal with."

Like Bill said, we find Georgia football hard to give up. It's entrenched in our hearts and minds. The suits should care about that, right? More and more each year it feels like a one-sided relationship.

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!