.....to the second best team in the state of Georgia. It's a good thing Georgia State's football team is still in the building phase......
Fans who had withstood dampened tailgates, wet sacks and eggless HamDogs were rewarded with a misleading first half and a lackluster, uninspiring second. I'll be glad in years to come when I can tell my daughters I was there when Larry Munson walked out onto the playing field for the first time during a game and I stood to tip my hat. And I'll be proud to also tell them that I saw Mohammed Massaquoi nearly single handedly beat Tech with a stellar performance in his last game in Sanford.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock Saturday I tried to find Stafford and Moreno on the field. I figured this is likely the last time to see them dressed out between the hedges. I wasn't able to find Stafford in the chaos, but Knowshon could easily been seen sprinting out to the center of the field as a large number of Tech players converged on the "G". I also noticed that he was largely alone and that he was pretty effective in convincing his opponents to celebrate in other ways.
Many Dawg fans spent the remainder of the weekend finalizing their Santa Wish Lists. Knowshon returning for '09 had likely been atop most lists. I would reckon that now "Martinez leavin'" tops the lists. Richt quickly quashed that debate, but guaranteed changes in practice habits AND results next year. Hopefully tackling teammates to the practice turf on Bloody Tuesdays instills some intensity that can last for an ENTIRE game.
Against Tech we built a pretty good lead heading into the locker room. In fact I was pretty pleased with the defense that had allowed a mere 6 points in helping build a 28-12 halftime lead. But whoever spoke to the team at halftime should be checked for an engineering degree. That third quarter was pathetic. By the fourth we suddenly realized that just going through motions wasn't going to garner that 8th consecutive win, but by then it was too late. The killer buzz had turned into Killer Buzz that would not be denied.
Sure, if we had gotten one more shot in the waning seconds we may have put together a miracle. But MoMass and Stafford can only do SO much.....right?
And let's give some props to our beloved senior wideout. Eleven catches for 180 yards and 3 TDs. Wow! A day to remember for Massaquoi. I'm just glad his team gets one more chance to send him out a winner.
And speaking of that upcoming bowl game, remarkably Saturday's result (likely) did little to affect our destination. Of course it all trickles down from the top. If Bama loses to floriDuh they will surely get an at-large BCS (Sugar Bowl) bid. And the same can be said for the reverse scenario. So even with the loss to Tech, it's hard to imagine the Dawgs not going to the Capital One Bowl to face Michigan State. The only team within one game of the Dawgs is Ole Miss and they seem bound for the Cotton.
I had made the argument that Martinez needed this game more than the yeller jackets. I stand by that assessment, but it is apparent that Martinez's D lacked the ability to prove they could earn it. Halftime adjustments have been an area where our coaching staff has been getting outdone all season (see Jacksonville, Auburn, Kentucky). Saturday around 1:30 we had the chance to step on these insects and notch that 10th win. We were up two big scores and had just exploited a depleted secondary. What happened?
Fans want Martinez gone. Richt wants staff continuity. BDBs solution: promote Rodney Garner to Co-Defensive coordinator NOW. Garner is the lone leftover from Donnan's staff. He's shown loyalty to the program. He's also expressed interest in making the next step to coordinator. If the problem is preparation, let Garner coordinate practices. If the problem is in-game adjustments, let Garner game-plan and game-manage. (photo RedandBlack)
Would that be a bitter pill for Richt and especially Martinez to swallow? Sure. Would it keep the staff intact, the '09 commitments and the returning roster happy? To quote Sarah Palin, "you betcha!" Those that want Martinez gone are entitled to their opinion and I have certainly chimed in on that side of the field. But who would we get in his place? Muschamp was the hot name and is now off the market. And after seeing Texas give up big numbers (albeit to very good offensive teams) I'm not sure that is who we want. Plus he didn't exactly turn the SEC offenses on their ear while at Auburn. John Chavis is looking for a job off Rocky Top. He kept the Fulmer ship afloat for over a decade. Or how about stealing one from another SEC school: Ellis Johnson at South Carolina or the gators' Charlie Strong? Yeh right!
I'll take Richt's decision to keep Martinez, afterall it is his staff. But something's missing. It's been missing all season. We used to GATA. Now we just watch their ass run towards the end zone. It can be argued that some change is necessary. Give Garner a chance at an expanded role.......
Enough of the bad, let's get to the ugly. Suspensions:
- Miranda. I'm not real sure why. I guess I'm still bitter.
- Martinez. You say it wasn't bad scheme, just execution. So when you feel the heat you throw the players under the bus? You have a couple weeks to look in the mirror, then get ready for the next opponent. Letting three teams score over 40 and two others 38, that spells poor coaching my friend.
- CMR. The buck stops with the head man. Donnan won twice against Tech, but lost his last three. You won your first seven. Although many would like you to, no one really expects you to actually can Martinez. It's admirable to stand by a friend through rough waters. Just be sure to find your way back to solid ground if the water only rises....
- Blair Walsh. I hate giving freshmen a suspension, but you're a veteran now. Two kicks out of bounds? Your leg is well-celebrated and documented as a strong one. Tee it up and aim for the uprights, not the cheerleaders.
And due to the weather and dire conditions we must give a few shout-outs:
- David and Allen for stepping up in others' absence.
- Ann for showing her hubby who wears the pants.
- Papa Nama for picking up the slack for whoever forgot the ice......
- Chris Bryan for overcoming a Thanksgiving Day cornhole injury to help Bernie unseat the Nama/Trammell machine!
- And lastly, Bernie. Without him Fred would still be huddled in the bed of his truck outside of Plant Services. Who's the man?
It's been a long trip this season BDB readers. What started as a pea brained idea, grew wings with the help of VP Trammell and now our readership rivals that of the Saskatchewan Gazette's Op-ed pages. BDB will be back on occasion in the month of December with ramblings and other general nonsense. If you're interested in that sort of First Amendment entitlements, y'all come back now, ya hear?
Bernie's Dawg Blawg - it's what Jefferson and Washington were thinking of when they put pen to parchment and it's what Al Gore envisioned when he sat at his desk to invent the internet.
What better way to finish off the regular season than with a Chris "Search Engine is my middle name" Nama BDB trivia victory. His fingers did the typing and his iPhone discovered that "we picked it (our heart) up, and we (stuck) it back inside" when we nearly lost on the flats back in '97. Congrats my friend. It is no longer legal to mail hobnail boots as they are considered a weapon in SEC land, so you'll have to stop by the BDB offices to pick up your prize. Just call Betty, our front office admin asst at (800) BDB-rocks ahead of time to give her your boot size.
Happy Holidays readers! Next Monday we'll take a look at the juniors around the nation who may take their talents to the pro level. Your homework for next week:
- Paul Westerdawg's analysis of Moreno and Stafford's decision and how the potential NFL rookie cap may impact them with a link to Tim Tucker's AJC article.
- David Hale weighs in on the issue.
- If you can't get enough if our lovable Uga, you'll enjoy this piece from ESPN Travel.
- And pics of the tailgate: HamDog the Rematch.
We here at BDB wish you and yours all the egg nog you can swallow and as much fruit cake as you can stomach. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good defensive bowl game.