Saturday, May 16, 2015

Herschel Walker, netline stalker

Forgot to share this earlier. Took the family to Athens last weekend for the NCAA Men's match against FSU. Pasha and Co. make quick work of Jameis' former team the Seminoles. Before taking the stands, we walked through the ITA Hall of Fame, aka the house that Magill built. It was quite the experience. Here's just one of the gems you can find there.

That's football's greatest player, executing a perfect net volley which assuredly blazed right past someone like Cris Collingsorth or maybe Bo Jackson before they just dropped their cute little wooden rackets and walked off the court.

Visiting the ITA HoF isn't quite the same now that it's legendary curator and Athens' finest Dawg has left this Earth. But it's a trip worth making, for sure.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Summer's most pressing questions

Spring semester classes are done. GDay and spring practices are a fairly distant memory. As we ease towards the summer months, here are the questions I have rattling around in my head.

1. Who will step up at quarterback?
Yes, why not start out with the obvious? The idea of bringing in the kid from South Bend was laughable to me. But uneasily so. After all, we are still waiting for the next starter under center to emerge. And I truly hope one does over the summer and especially into August camp. If this questions lingers into the season it could seriously hurt the team's chemistry. So if Park or Ramsey or Bauta want it now, the time has come for someone to take the reins.

2. Who will snap the ball to Bauta, Ramsey, and/or Park?
Unlike the question at quarterback, I think we have a better idea of who might start at center. Sophomore Isaiah Wynn is still in a race with some others for the starting job, but he seems to have only solidified his hold this spring. If he returns in August in the same form I would bet the coaches would like to name him the starter given his youth.

3. Who will catch the balls thrown by Bauta, Ramsey, and/or Park?
Aside from overly dramatic concern when a junior with four career catches leaves, the depth at wide receiver should come into question. Mitchell and Scott-Wesley are plenty qualified to sit atop an SEC two deep, but can they sit there for an entire season? McKenzie had a great spring expanding his role in receiving, right up until his injury at GDay. Other names to keep an on are Charlie Hegedus, Reggie Davis, and Shakenneth Williams, as well as true freshman Terry Godwin.

4. Will the run defense improve to a championship level?
Coach Pruitt's 2014 unit, except for a trip to Columbia SC, was very impressive against the run the first half of the season. Once Florida ran right through, around, and over us though all bets were off...until the bowl game. Hence the reason for the clarifier in the question; the run defense was good overall last year, but not up to SEC Championship/BCS Playoffs standards. As was pointed out in Kevin's roundtable, there may be some questions in the secondary, but the edge rush should be second to none which will only help ease the tension with the pass defense. So Pruitt just needs to find some run stoppers for first down and short distances.

5. Will Collin Barber return to 2012-13 form?
We'll especially need this early in the season as a new quarterback gains his footing and teams stack the box to slow down Chubb. Our punt game was strong until last season. I've wondered aloud about Barber's junior season. It makes me wonder, even though there are no lingering physical effects from his 2013 concussion, if he's just not over that hit on Rocky Top.

In a few months many at William Hill American football betting may be wagering on a big season for the Dawgs. Whether Georgia can live up to it may rely mostly on the answers to those questions.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Humpday Hilarity - Redwood Original edition

Recently finished binge-watching Sons of Anarchy. Great, great show. Think these guys could've stretched it into an eighth season though.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dawg + Dolphin

Thought this new profile pic in Ray Drew's facebook page was cool. Wish him the best.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Big OOC games on the (distant) horizon

We'll probably have flying cars by then, but McGarity is eyeing key non-conference matchups for the 2020's.
"I ask staff, I ask friends, I ask donors, if you had two or three places where would you like to go? And they've aligned with what I think," McGarity said Tuesday before a UGA Day in Albany. "So that's what we're trying to do, is do some experiences not only for our fans but our students."
You can scratch one possibility off the list: Ohio State.
Georgia and Ohio State had a memorandum of understanding to play in 2020 and 2021. But that was canceled by Ohio State, and McGarity said it will not be revived.
"Once Urban came in that was off the table," McGarity said of Urban Meyer, hired as Ohio State coach in 2012.
Michigan is another unlikely opponent, McGarity said, pointing out the Wolverines were "tied up" with other schools, including Florida.
But the A.D. played coy when other schools were mentioned by reporters.
"I think Penn State would be a great matchup," McGarity said, nodding when USC and UCLA were also thrown out. "You're thinking like I'm thinking. Those are the type of venues that we'd love to play in. You mentioned three, and those are three that I would agree with you on. You've got the Coliseum, the Rose Bowl and Happy Valley. I think our fans, that'd be pretty neat. So that's the type of iconic things that we're talking about doing." (via Emerson)
Nice dig at his former corch there, huh?

Losing that game in Corvallis a few years back has always stuck in my craw. There's some great beer up yonder. Hopefully they wouldn't run out like the Sun Devils of Tempe did when we came to town in aught eight.

On a related note, the administration is spending more money and they're scheduling big non-conference games that will excite the players and the fans alike. Now if they'd just stop piping in that engiNerd song I might just have to pinch myself.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Roundtable wrapup

Really appreciate Kevin at College Football Zealots setting this up. It was a fun way to pass some time in the off season.

Here are some parting thoughts after yesterday's conclusion.

If the season started today, which of our quarterbacks would you want under center (and why)?

I think Greg hit the nail on the head with his last sentence - "Leadership will go a long way toward making up for any for any athletic deficiencies that Bauta might have relative to the other candidates." He and I seem to be on the same Bauta Bandwagon. Ramsey adds a dimension we need in the offense; a vertical passing game is the perfect compliment to Chubb's chunks of yardage on the ground. 

We knew the coaches weren't going to name a starter this spring. The last thing we need is a quarterback or two transferring because they feel the competition is over. It's pretty evident, just from how the first team reps were shaking out the last couple scrimmages, that Park is the longshot. I think Bauta has the commitment off the field that the coaches like to see. The next few months gives Ramsey a chance to show some of that leadership Poole referred to. I'm sure Coach Shotty is watching carefully. 

Georgia must replace both of their leading receivers, Chris Conley (36 rec in 2014) and Michael Bennett (37 rec), this season. Barring injury, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley should be able to contribute greatly in 2015 but depth is a big concern. Who needs to step up in this area and who do you see as the other top contributors?

Expectedly, the tight ends get a lot of mention in the responses. And both Greg and Tyler make mention of some of the talent coming in August that could add depth. But Kevin reminds us of the threats in the backfield, specifically Sony Michel. "One guy that didn’t show up in any of the other responses is Sony Michel. Yeah, he’s a running back but in his freshman season we saw that Georgia had the ability to line him up anywhere in the offense including quarterback and wide receiver. In the first four games last year before he started to get banged up, he had six receptions with one for a touchdown. With Michel and McKenzie, Georgia has two wildcards that can be play-makers from anywhere on the field and from any situation. When it comes to making a difference in 2015, keep an eye on both of those guys."

Then BassinDawg picks it up in the comments and on Twitter (make sure and click the link for video evidence):
Yeh. That'll do quite nicely.

What is your biggest concern on defense (and why)?

Perhaps I just wanted to keep the memory of the 2014 WLOCP in the dark recesses of my mind, but Blutarsky is dead on with this point - "Interior run defense. Georgia has to replace a lot of experience on the defensive line and at inside linebacker. And it’s not like last season’s run defense was all that stout at times. You wonder if Pruitt can find that happy balance between having lots of defensive speed, which generally means not having as much defensive mass, and being able to stop power running games.

I really think the front seven will be much improved this coming season. But until we see that with our own eyes against the likes of the Gamecocks, Tide, Tigers, and Gators, this has to be the primary concern.

This could change but right now what is your gut feeling on what makes this season a successful one for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs?

This question was taken in a different direction by yours truly. And I agree with my colleagues on their responses. Winning the East should always be the standard by which seasons are judged. You can't win the SEC without taking out the garbage in your own division. And if you win the SEC then you stand a good chance of being in the national discussion.

But after all these years of watching the program come close here and there, the fact that the coaches have no excuses is what intrigues me most. As I said, "I’ve never disagreed with those fans that expect more from the program, just in where the blame lies ultimately. Now all that is just noise from years past. It’s time to put up or shut up. No excuses."

Whether you like Coach Richt or not...and whether you blame him or support him...he's the head football coach at the University of Georgia and deserves the full support, both vocal and financial, of the administration. I'm interested to see what he can do now that the bar has been raised.

Thanks again to Kevin and the other guys. That was fun.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CFBZ post-Spring roundtable questions

Kevin Causey at College Football Zealots asked some Dawg bloggers a few questions. If you've been reading here you probably know my feelings on the QB competition. But if you'd like more intelligent, well thought out answers to such questions, you can do yourself a favor by checking out Kevin's site the next few days.
1- If the season started today, which of our quarterbacks would you want under center (and why)?

2- Georgia must replace both of their leading receivers, Chris Conley (36 rec in 2014) and Michael Bennett (37 rec), this season. Barring injury, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley should be able to contribute greatly in 2015 but depth is a big concern. Who needs to step up in this area and who do you see as the other top contributors?

3- What is your biggest concern on defense (and why)?

4- This could change but right now what is your gut feeling on what makes this season a successful one for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs?
Should be a fun way to wrap up Spring practices. Appreciate him giving me a seat at the table. Go Dawgs!

Humpday Hilarity - "It's a trick Gen. Sherman!!"

God, I miss Grizzard. And I know you do too.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Nobody out-works you today!" - Jeremy Pruitt

I know it was released to the official site last week, but...Spring practice ended last week. So we're officially in the never-ending doldrums. Which is why I'll just be sitting quietly in a corner watching this on a loop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015