Friday, October 24, 2008

Blitzkrieg in the Bayou

Portions of a letter from the Editor earlier this week:

Mr. Nama,

The hardworking, albeit distractable staff here at BDB would like to express our apologies to you as the runner up in last week's trivia. We understand you correctly answered the bonus question and then followed up with a terrific sudden death answer. However, the other contestant pulled the "Married to the Creator" Trump card, and the Burnette sofa is a lonely place. After 11 years of marriage, Bernie knows when to fold 'em and we hope that as a married veteran yourself, you will understand. Please accept this bonus link as a consolation and we look forward to your continued support of all things Blawg.

So ...........BDB readers, the winner is obviously Jenn from Lawrenceville. As luck would have it, last week's trivia was sponsored by Podere Le Caselle. Pick a week honey, I'll call Delta.

Last week's trivia results just prove that, with an imperfect system, controversy can happen. You know, just like with the BCS. The first BCS rankings were released Sunday afternoon and since then every college football fanatic, writer and coach has spent tireless hours poring over every detail. The humans love the Trojans, but the computers hate 'em. Is Ohio State making a move for a third consecutive BCS Title Smackdown? Could this be a dream season for JoePa? One where he could get a new hip and a BCS pat on the back?

None of that drivel here at Bernie's Dawg Blawg. It's LSU week ......which happens to precede the annual Border War in Jacksonville.......which happens to precede a trip to Lexington, which is of course followed by a trip to JurdanHair. (Deep Breath! .......exhale.) Then there's a bye week before Johnson's Jackets make their first visit to Athens.

You get the idea. There's much work ahead. Let's get busy!

I've been having this feeling in my gut the past week or so. Meals came and went and it was still there. We won Homecoming against Vandy and it only intensified, so I surmised that it had something to do with the Dawgs. I fretted and worried ....until finally it dawned on me. It was like the elephant sitting in the corner of the room that my psyche refused to address. Only when my mind came out of the fog, I realized there were TWO elephants. One was the fact that I am running out of reasons to predict Dawg victories. We've dominated two teams the last couple of weeks and yet the game wasn't over until the end. Perplexing. The other was the fact that this is BDB's 13th edition. I don't consider myself really, REALLY superstitious. My wife for instance will spend an entire quarter of a game adjacent to a concession line if she feels it is helping Coach Bobo focus. I don't go quite that far. But I do wear certain items of clothing to games if we are successful. I may adjust somewhat due to weather, but the basic outfit stays the same. Probably like you, my "black-out" attire has been retired.

But #13 coming just before LSU, that's hard to dismiss. From what I saw of their game against South Carolina the other night, LSU may not have all of the play makers they are used to having, but they are every bit of the physical team we have grown accustomed to seeing from our creole cousins. And "the HAT" is always innovative. Their big D-tackle Ricky Francois Jean Louis Jumbalaya (or whatever his name is) was out for the Carolina game and they found themselves thin, so they used four defensive ends on the front line. The result - 6 sacks, 7 tackles for loss against the chickens. I can't remember how many we had against the Visor, but I know it wasn't that many.

Nearly a year ago we all had penciled in Miles for the Michigan job; he stayed but Defensive Coordinator Pelini left for Lincoln. The LSYou defense is still very aggressive under co-coordinators Peveto and Mallory. And you can bet they wanna pressure our youthful big heftys. I expect they'll have their backers and safeties dialed up early and often to test Boling and company. I also expect Bobo to counter with some quick throws and a lot of I-formation to allow Chapas/Southerland and Moreno to help pass protect on second and longs.

On the other side, our D must prepare for one fairly inexperienced QB (Lee) who seems to have a talented arm. And they'll prepare for another (Hatch) who used his brain to get into Harvard, but used his SkyMiles to fly south as a transfer. Crowton likes to use Brainiac to create space with his legs, but he will pass on occasion. Both Lee and Hatch are still young in terms of SEC coursework, so I believe Martinez will throw multiple looks at the duo and try to pressure them into some mistakes. Crowton will counter by keeping our front honest with a steady diet of Charles Scott and Keiland Williams. But perhaps their most lethal offensive threat is one that barely towers over Mary Lou Retton. Trindon Holliday can run the length of the field faster than it takes us to sit down on a sofa. But at a meager 170 pounds, I think one shot from Rennie may just sideline Junior for somewhere between a few plays and an eternity.

My faithful readers, let's huddle up a minute ..........We're at a crossroads in the season, ladies and gents. In nine days we'll be heading home from Jacksonville. If we cross that state line with two more losses than we have today, we've gone from dreaming of going to Atlanta for the SEC Title game to the reality of possibly going to Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. If we split the games and go 1-1, we better hope that one win is against Florida if we're to have any chance at an SEC crown. With either of those scenarios unlucky #13 will have bit us good and the rumblings will have turned into grumblings in terms of what is ailing this talented team.

But I'm staring straight at the end of this 13th blawg and I'm smiling. I'm smiling cuz I have faith in another number ...... 7!! Stafford has yet to have a moment as a Dawg. We've heard the pundits point that out on occasion, despite his talent and NFL upside. He hasn't had that moment that other Dawgs have had to transcend their status as another scholarship player into a BullDawg of Lore. Greene had his moment early in his career. Before Munson made his Hobnail Boot call, Richt and staff called for P-44 Haynes. Now we see the replay every home game on the BigBoard. Greene had another at Auburn the next season when he hit Michael Johnson on 70XTakeoff to secure a shot at the SEC Title. Pollack - INT @ South Carolina. Herschel - placing his cleat marks on Bill Bates chest in Knoxville. Buck Belue - Lindsay Scott. 'Nuf said there.

And how about this one....Quincy Carter - he had a performance of a lifetime as a freshman in '98. He was on the road to Freshman of the Year honors in the SEC and he was on the road in ........Baton Rouge. He was near perfect in leading the Dawgs to an upset of then #6 LSU 28-27.

We've seen highlights of Stafford ripping his helmet off and running to celebrate with his team after throwing the game winning TD in OT to Mikey last year at Alabama. But this blawgger doesn't believe that was his moment. He has more talent than David Greene, he has a bigger arm than Buck Belue and he has a better head on his shoulders than Carter. But those and others have moved their name into places of Butts-Mehre where they will stay long after we're gone. #7 has made plenty of big plays, but Stafford's moment (I will argue) is still out there. And I think it shows itself sooner rather than later. Why not this weekend?

Dawgs 31

Crazy Creoles

Trivia brought to you this week by humble pie and boiled crow. They don't taste good, but it beats sleeping downstairs. Standing 4 feet tall, weighing nearly 200 pounds and valued at $10,000, this rivalry trophy is believed to be the heaviest of all rivalry trophies. What is its name and what two teams battle for the chance to (....ugh.....UGH!!....) lift it?

To those travelling to Cajun Country, beware of voodoo dolls and undercooked Boudin. And if given the choice of spending 10 seconds in Mike's cage or Rastlin' with Ti-Paul Jean Phillipe it safe .......................choose the tiger.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vanderbilt victories are always weird.....

....but never very scientific.

First, a message from this week's sponsor, Forearm Shiver: the Great Equalizer.

Tired of your dull, monotonous career or part-time job? Are you looking for a little something extra in your work environment? Well, join Wilbur Hackett Jr and millions of other Americans who have taken lessons from the Macho Man himself and added some sauciness to their workplace. Not satisfied with just words? Go to YouTube and type in"South Carolina/LSU game, referee" and see for yourself. Too lazy to follow those directions. No worries. Click here!

Pardon the bleary eyes. Between the game and an emergency meeting Sunday of the BDB staff, your humble blawgger has not gotten much rest. For the first time since its inception (well over a month ago), the BDB has a tie in its Trivia qustion for the week. Jenn from Lawrenceville evidently has her own research team at the ready and quite swiftly determined that Zach Mettenberger is UGA's other Elite 11 QB commit. She let her research staff have the rest of the day off and Chris Nama swooped in with the answer to the bonus question. Nama's success at BDB trivia has been well documented. So it came as no surprise that he knew Mr. Mettenberger's mom Tammy, is an admin asst for CMR.

Over an hour into the emergency meeting yesterday, Senior Chief Executive Financial Advisor Lisa suggested the prize be split. This set off a brouhaha as Chief Executive Lead Editor/Publishing Consultant Wyatt Donnelly was quick to point out that Jenn was first to respond and should therefore claim to prize. Lead Publicity Communications and Relations Advisor Gary Wallace sided with Wyatt's suggestion, pointing out that Mr. Nama only answered the bonus question. Janitor Chet Donnelly then threw his mop at Wyatt and yelled, "Those science experiments have fried your brain, ButtWad! The Bonus was the harder part of the (inaudible) question....(grunts)......(inaudible)......"

Afraid of the aggresive tone the meeting was devolving into, Lead Research Advisor Poindexter called on the head honcho himself. Bernie chastised the staff, especially Gary for wearing a bra on his head to the emergency meeting and decided to resolve the issue using a sudden death playoff question. So here's your cue Jenn and Nama, dig deep. The answer's out there somewhere: what is the name of Zach's father?

And now it is time to play another round of.............Good News, Bad News!

Good news - the Dawgs beat Vandy. Bad news - it couldashoulda been over by halftime.

Good news - the Dawgs only had 5 penalties this week.  Bad news - two pass interference calls (one VERY questionable, the other not so much) led to a Vandy score.

Good news - Stafford started really hot. Bad news - after starting 4/5, he seemed to lose a rhythm.

Good news - the D had two interceptions. Bad news - they left another handful on the field.

Good news - the O line created a lot of space for Knowshon to do his "thang". Bad news - another "big hefty" now getting coached by Ron Courson instead of Stacy Searels.

Good news - although my predicted final score was a couple field goals off, my overall assessment of what was to come was pretty accurate. Bad news - I take no special comfort in that.

Bonus Round - Double Bad News. Two arrests made early Sunday morning. Brandon Wood will not be joining his teammates in the Bayou. Vince Vance reminds me to renew my license next month.

Some thoughts from the Vandy game: I really thought the O line played well, but perhaps their greatest test lies in Saturday's showdown in Baton Rouge, cuz they like to "bring it", as my cousin Brooks likes to say. You continue to see some missed blocks, but it was nice to see them on a 2nd consecutive week, with the game in the balance late, grit their teeth, hunker down and shove some weight around. As for AJ Green, let's just take a moment to gaze into Bernie's crystal ball. AJ showed up on campus this summer. In a few months, he'll begin his first Van Halanger off season workout regimen. The kid is scary talented now, but with some muscle added to that frame - my oh my! He may be this year's most productive freshman receiver. This time next season he may very well be the country's best. The benefits are already suiting MoMass as Green draws more and more attention. Wonder who'll reap the benefits next year? (Marlon Brown - go ahead and commit!) And lastly, we saw Bryan Evans get pulled and Vance Cuff take his place. Evans was continually getting "picked on", especially close to the goal line on fade routes. He's given up 3 TDs the last two weeks. We heard the coaches last year (his freshman season) talk about how impressed they were with Cuff. Now's his chance to shine.

And one more "lastly", we seemed to blitz more against Vandy. And when we pressured Adams it either resulted in an INT, a shoulda been INT or a negative in down and/or distance. I sure hope it is a sign that Coach Willie is beginning to trust his secondary in more man coverage. Cuz we also saw that rushing three or four just isn't making the opposing QB sweat, at all.

Shout outs:
  • Bailey Simpson and Beau Gilmore for being named UGA Homecoming Queen and King, respectively.
  • Reshad Jones for a stellar performance, one Dawg fans had been waiting on from a kid who was once the nation's top recruit at safety. 
  • The kid on River Road before the game who overthrew his buddy and subsequently landed his football into the solo cup of some Vandy fan. Classic! Even if it was an "accident". You'll get more than a shout out if you can duplicate that "accident" against a Tech fan next month.
  • Terry Bowden for bringing national respectability to Yahoo! Sports with his insight and coverage of college football. 'Fess up! Raise your hand if you knew he wrote for Yahoo! before he gave Brother Tommy a forearm shiver - "yahoo style" last week? one???? Surprising.
  • Knowshon. Again. The 172 yards he gained were impressive. But the 5 or 6 he gained after the "facial" he gave Ryan Hamilton of the Commodore defense were the most fun!
  • DJ Shockley. Thanks for spending just a small part of your bye week with us as it is always a pleasure seeing you on the UGA sideline.
  • And an early shout out to CBS for making the rowdy cajuns cut their revelry a little short this coming Saturday. A 2:30 kickoff should be much more pleasant for the Dawgs, and the fans that follow them down there. You know, as opposed to a 6:30pm start.

Hope to see you back here on Friday for the LSU preview. I stayed up past my bedtime Saturday night to get a look at the Tigers. Some parts of their win in Columbia were encouraging. Others......very, VERY disturbing.

Yours in red and black,


Bernie's Dawg Blawg now accepting subscriptions. Unlimited access and bi-weekly delivery to your inbox. Act now while supplies last. Offer expires when Spurrier wins his next National Championship! Email to start the madness.