Friday, November 28, 2008

Tryptophan induced stupors are always cured..... a little gridiron gravy.

'nuf said Monday, right? As long as we're clear on who plays and who stays tomorrow morning, we'll keep this short and sweet. I've got some leftover turkey waiting on me and I'd also like to fit in 18 holes before the rain.

Almost a year ago things were Utopian-like in Athens, at least in the realm of football against the in-state rival. Coach Mark Richt had notched his 7th win in as many tries against the hated bees. Chan Gailey was doing just enough to continue on as the leader of the flats. And although Reggie Ball had moved on, his replacements had not produced a win against the Dawgs either.

Then Gailey was shown the door. I remember a conversation with Chris "Buzz" Miranda during the subsequent search for leadership. I asked him who he liked to get the job. During the history of our friendship we have disagreed on many things ranging from the sublime (whether Joe Hamilton actually played 7 seasons or not) to the ridiculous (who's triple bogey putt was more difficult). It turns out we agreed on one thing: Paul Johnson was the candidate best suited for the job.

Of course our angles were drastically opposed. He wanted Radakovich to hire Johnson right away. I hoped the talks would break down and Johnson would stay in Annapolis. I tried to place a call to Tech Athletic offices to voice my undying support for Gailey being rehired, but the phone just rang......and rang.

Come to think of it, Miranda? Did you give me the right number?

In the end of course, Johnson was hired. "Buzz" even reports that he was the only candidate of the seven to interview with Prez Clough and was offered straight away. And now on the precipice of another match-up between the Dawgs and Jackets, the two teams stand with nearly identical records.

I've spent a lot of time reading this week. One of the hot topics has been which side needs a win the most. The Dawgs are looking for another 10 win season and a Capital One bowl berth. The Jackets want to beat Georgia for the first time in this millennium.

But it is also worth wondering, who (individually) needs this win the most. BDB argues for Coach Willie. I know that Johnson has marked this game from the time he was introduced as GTs most important. And I know a win tomorrow would cement his first season on the flats as a tremendous success. But Willie doesn't just want a win. He needs it.

If the Dawgs D can put together a strong performance against an offense that shredded Miami on national TV it wouldn't necessarily put Martinez on a pedestal. But it would dampen the shrieking coming from his critics.

Another question......... which game is more important to Tech: The one between the hedges or the one up in Blacksburg? If given the choice between the two, would the average Jacket fan take a win versus the Dawgs over a Cavalier upset against the Hokies? Just a question.

If you force me to put the shoe on my foot, as a Dawg fan, would I rather have a W against Tech or a W against the gators? Well, ........I would insist on both. : )

The vegas line has shrunk since the beginning of the week. I still believe the Dawgs can put up some good numbers, but if they are to cover the spread (something the Dawgs have a knack for not doing) they will need to tackle .......WELL! Dwyer and any other pigskin carrier that had a turn was rarely touched near the vicinity of the line of scrimmage against Miami. And when they were it was fleeting.

If there is a bright side to facing this offense it is that our defense's Achilles heel this season has been it's pass rush. That will be but a small factor tomorrow. I expect the Dawgs to struggle some against Johnson's triple option attack, but not on the scale that the Hurricane D did.

And I also believe our offense will fair well against the bees' D. I remember Moreno not playing much last year against Tech so I think he will come out hungry; in fact he and the other skill players in silver britches should do very well. And if we can convert red zone opportunities into TDs it should keep our defense relaxed and on their toes.

Dawgs count to eight and send Johnson's Jackets back to Hotlanta empty handed.

Dawgs 28

pesky pests 24

Trivia this week brought to you by Bernie himself. Larry Munson shut off his mike earlier this year and will be honored in between the 1st and 2nd quarters tomorrow. One of his greatest lines came at the end of the '97 Tech game after the pass interference and the Bobo TD pass to Corey Allen. What did he describe that we did with our heart? Winning comment gets a hobnail boot. God bless ya Larry!

If you eat a hamdog, please don't forget your Monday morning cholesterol check. And if you show up at Sanford at 11:30, you will bark like a Dawg.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Please stand by.......

......the State of the BullDawg Nation address will commence shortly.

If everyone will take their seat we can get started, it's gonna be a busy start to an important week. While we wait for Bernie to take the podium, let's take some time to go over a few announcements. Can you hear me in the back? ...... Good.
  • Nama's research staff once again reins supreme. He walks away with a case of homebrew from Miranda's basement. Miranda is a true Tech fan and a great (albeit somewhat quiet) supporter of BDB. We can understand why he is reluctant to voice his opinion, especially this close to the BIG game. So we especially appreciate the question and the sponsorship. Nama - don't forget to use a glass.
  • Bye Week Shout-outs:
  1. Congrats to Mr. Rolle on what has to be one of his all time best days Saturday. Myron is obviously a smart young man, so smart money is on him choosing Oxford.
  2. The students in Dr. Burnette's class. I know your teacher all too well. If Dad starts to correct my writing while in class, please inform the principal....and my mom.
  3. Mohamed Massaquoi - happy birthday!
  4. Jack Bauer for surrendering himself for the good of the kids!
  5. Boomer-Sooners for going all PlayStation 2 on the Red Raiders from Lubbock. My oh My!!
  • Bye Week Suspensions:
  1. 790 the Zone for blatant, unabashed bias against Bernie. That's the last 790 contest I bother entering. They obviously can smell a 680 the Fan listener when he enters the building. Blow-hards!
  2. Florida Gators - just because.
  • When we mapped out our Saturday viewing schedule, we had no idea that the best game of the day would be the Versus Pac-10 matchup. Here's hoping the Beavers de-feather the ducks and create the rematch the granddaddies at the Rose Bowl deserve.
  • BDB "followers" welcome. Sign up today and receive a free Reggie Ball jersey. sign up over here - - - - - - - - - - >
  • And lastly, please don't overindulge on Turkey later this week. Saturday morning's tailgate needs your full participation.
And now for Bernie's Dawg Blawg's first annual address to the BullDawg Nation, BDBs creator and owner, head writer and floor sweeper, chief editor and toilet scrubber ..........Bernie.

Two words.....two simple words

State of the BullDawg Nation

Glory, Glory to ol' Georgia! Heroes have graced the field before you. Men with hearts, bodies and minds of which the entire Bulldog Nation can be justifiably proud.......

Gather round faithful readers and let's hunker down to business. There are but 5 days until the game defined best as Clean Old- Fashioned Hate. We've come a long way since the beginning of the season. There have been thrills and chills, ups and downs. We've had highlights and lowlights, TDs and 3 and outs. We've felt the dry heat and survived the cold wind on the plains. Now it's time to evaluate, reflect, reminisce. All to gain a clearer picture of where we stand, together as one nation. In a sea of red and black.

With dreams of a December trip to the GA Dome and even Miami in January proven to be of the pipe variety, many fans turn their thoughts to the 2009 season. Questions about the professional futures of numbers 24, 7, 2 and 95 are argued, debated and blawgged. As awkward as those conversations are, they are a welcome distraction to the red-faced shouts for the heads of coordinators to be sacrificed .......... immediately.

And now a new breed of bulldog stands ready to take the field of battle, to assume the reins of their Georgia forebears and continue that tradition.....

Coach Willie feels the most heat, although CMR has done a fair job of deflecting it. The defense has certainly lacked bite, but (in fairness) has saved us in a handful of tense moments. The main culprit from this blawgger's eyes has been the lack of consistent pressure from a four man front. You can argue that the D has been lacking in producing turnovers, but that is often a result of a heated rush, hands in the face of a QB with a sudden case of happy feet. In BDBs first edition the issue was raised: "Probably my greatest concern is defensive pressure. One sack against CMU - are you kidding me? Did Dooley use up all of Tardit's eligibility? Where's this season's Pollack/Johnson/Moses/Howard? Can Knowshon play from a 3 point stance???" Well, Martinez hasn't gotten so desperate that he's asked to use Knowshon on his side of the ball. But the fans have gotten desperate enough to wonder, "Why all the zone?"

The O line has been in the spotlight since Sturdivant was lost in two-a-days. But has performed well considering all of the juggling. AJ Green has exceeded expectations. And Knowshon seemed to respond to the questions about his substitution practices with a focus and determination that will almost certainly see him eclipse all of his totals from last year (needing just 91 yards and 38 carries to finish it off). And statistically Stafford has certainly surpassed his 2007 season as he looks for just 200 more yards to pass 3000 for the season.

Certainly there has been reason for confidence, optimism. All fans can remember a time when just sniffing another 10 win season was a pipe dream. AHEM!! (raygoff) AHEM!! Excuse me. And yet, there are blisters on the hand of this season that just won't go away.

The two biggest sores aren't just the two losses. It was more the way in which we lost. The build up to the Bama game was immense. It had been more than 9 months since we had ALL gone Johnny Cash on an opponent. ESPN Gameday had returned after a 1o year absence. We'd been to the desert and handily dispatched the diablos de la Sol. Knowshon had leaped into the endzone without a red cape. This was gonna be huge! And yet the game was over before Uga VII had a chance to get cozy with his bag of ice.

Three wins later we were heading down to Jacksonville. All we found was a determined reptile with the memory of an pachyderm. We were outmanned, outcoached and outplayed by our arch nemesis. It was the kind of loss we're not used to seeing under the Richt regime. And it was the kind of loss we never expected from this team that had started the season at the top. We drove back up to Athens with the realization that starting the season ranked #1 only allows you to start the climb at the front of the pack. The spoils go to the team that finishes the climb on top. Worst of all was the realization that we would not be that team, nor would we be the team that danced on the Dome floor in Atlanta.

It hurt.....bad.

The two wins since, remarkably have done little to soothe the burn. Kentucky by a hair and Auburn by whatever fraction was left. The grumbles had grown into shouts. The angst was all out turmoil.

As we prepare for another meeting between the hedges, let all of the Bulldog faithful rally behind the men who now wear red and black with two words, two simple words which express the sentiments of the entire Bulldog Nation......

My friends, we have muddled through a season that we had hoped and dreamed would be a pathway of entitlement. We were wrong. Wrong about our talent level, wrong about what to wear to certain games and wrong about where we stood in the national landscape.

But the season is not over.

Even as these blisters fester and make grasping anything difficult, painful ........we all know that Sanford Stadium will be a welcome sight come Saturday. We know the house will be jumping and the support not just unified but thunderous. As we watch our seniors hug their mamas we know we will cheer as one voice. And when the team bursts through the big G we'll all become unglued.

There will be one focus come Saturday. The memories of Jacksonville will become distant. On the graph that defines Saturday's game, that devastating loss on the first of the month will simply become a remote outlier, inconsequential. The loss at home to Saban's Herd will not only be in the background of our collective memory, it will be irrelevant. A double non-factor in a game that can define so much.

The Yellow Jackets will be visiting. Their bottles of white-out may still be half full, but they are looking to define their own season. The Dawgs will need our voices, our barks and our attitudes. There will be no other option than one of support, fevered fandom and concentrated chaos. It will be time to "tee it up between the hedges."

If you awaken Saturday morning and you ain't got it ......we kindly ask you to not bring it. If you are on your way down 316 and your red and black tank is only half-full, please turn around. Don't wait for the next stoplight. Go right through the median. I'll gladly pay the fine. If you are walking down the tracks towards River Rd and your bark is greater than your bite, you must find the maturity to sit this one out. Because you can only bring us down at that point. No late morning intervention is gonna pull you through. We'll talk you through it during the off-season.

Five days Bulldog Nation. Five days to come to peace with our two losses and embrace our 9 wins. It won't feel cuddly warm at first. But it is necessary and you will feel the rewards when you sit down at 11:30 to watch these seniors get their props. It will feel great when MoMass the Tech killa hauls in that first pass. It will feel incredible when Southerland pancakes a pocket intruder.

And when you do get that feeling, don't look for me. Don't feel like you have some overwhelming desire to thank me. Your attendance will be thanks enough. So don't look around for me.....

Just start barking your ass off!