Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Earning Extra Schollies the Hard Way...

...and other miscellaneous musings.
Coach Mark Richt and staff have picked up three extra scholarships in the last week. Stafford, Moreno...and now Asher Allen has decided to attend the NFL combines this winter.
Most of us were not surprised when Stafford and Moreno cleaned out their lockers last week. But shame on me for having Asher all but ink'd in as returning for the 2009 campaign.
Honestly, this really hurts the Dawg defense. I realize that Stafford and Moreno were star players and accounted for just south of 90% of the offense this past season. And I also realize that replacing them will not be easy.
But for my money, losing Asher is a much bigger hit to a team that needs defensive leaders returning. Allen is an experienced cover corner that subscribes to a very physical style of play. His stats were down this season (only 44 tackles and no INTs), but he played the last five games with a broken hand. (Note: Allen had an INT against the reptiles, but a penalty negated it. What else?)

You only have to remember back to the Capital One Bowl to understand Allen's significance. Martinez used a lot of man coverage and the Spartans frequently threw in Allen's direction. Not sure why, they just did. 

Allen finished with a team high nine tackles and also recorded his first sack of the season. MSU receivers had a hard time getting off the line cleanly against him. And Hoyer and Cousins had an even harder time completing passes against him.

Asher joins Ramarcus Brown and CJ Byrd (both seniors) as departing players from the secondary. Assuming Bryan Evans stays at safety, there will be a lot of young, raw talent fighting for supremacy of the DB depth chart this spring. 

We saw a lot of Brandon Boykin in Orlando. The coaches also speak highly of redshirt freshmen Baccari Rambo's athleticism and Makiri Pugh's talent. Asher himself likes Sanders Commings (appeared in three games, no stats). Another possibility I guess would be moving Vance Cuff over from WC as Prince's backup.

Regardless, the competition going into spring at RB and now SC will be fierce. Come to think of it, with Shanahan being shown the door in Denver, maybe Champ can come back and use that last year of eligibility...??

Reshad Jones, Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins are on record as saying they are back next season. I guess that will become official after Thursday's deadline. No more surprises...right??

Today's Dose of Irony
John Kincade of 680thefan discussed this last week and even presented it to Stafford on the air after the QBs press conference last Wednesday. 

Ohh! The Irony...

Fifty years ago the Detroit Lions traded away their all-star QB Bobby Layne after he finished the season on their '50's version of the Injured Reserve list. So upset as he left town for Pittsburgh he placed a curse on the franchise. He supposedly declared that for the next 50 years the Lions would claim no championships. 

Since that day, the Lions have amassed the worst winning percentage in the NFL and have recorded just one post-season win. Oh! And they went o for 16 this season.

Is the curse over? Well...the 50 years are. The irony is that the Lions need a QB and have the first pick in the draft; the Dawgs' QB just declared himself available; and let's see...that's right! Stafford and Layne both graduated from the same high school, Highland Park.

If this ironic tidbit plays itself out, it could be the curse of Matt Stafford. The Lions put the awe in awful. 

And Stafford didn't take the bait Kincade was casting. After all, the Lions could be the team to take Michael Vick off of Blank's hands once he finishes his Leavenworth vacation.

Class Act
You've all likely seen the ad in the Athens-Banner Herald that 
Knowshon paid for last week. It was a class act by a young man that hopefully left an ounce of that trademark energy in his UGA locker. In case you missed it, click HERE.

And Knowshon, if my humble blawg is ever graced by your eyes and you happen to read this...NO! Thank You!

Recruitin' Update
  • Greg Reid has narrowed his choices and is evidently not swayed any closer to choosing Athens by Asher's departure. The Lowndes star has narrowed his decision to Athens, Tallahassee or latecomer Tuscaloosa. He wrapped up a "great" visit to FSU this past weekend. Next is Bama before visiting the Classic City on the 30th.
  • With Branden Smith's commitment Georgia has already landed one of the state's top defensive players. To land another top DB in Reid, that was once committed to the Meyer Machine would once again help CMR and staff seal the border...and give the Dawgs a tandem at defensive back to be reckoned with.
  • There's no truth to the rumor that Coach Kiffy used a fake ID last weekend at the Knoxville gas 'n sip. The AP is reporting that Kiffy's wife bought him the wine coolers he was drinking at the Justin Timberlake concert.
  • Derrick Favors, arguably the nation's top round ball player projected to play center, will announce his decision tonight. UGA, Tech and NC State are the finalists. In Georgia's favor is Trey Tompkins, a former teammate of Favors. Not in the Dawgs' favor is a series of second half collapses, most notably Tech. Bernie's prediction: Favors reteams with Tompkins this fall and saves Felton's job for at least another few months. (WRONG! - Favors favored North Avenue TS)
  • And this just in: Spurrier hasn't pulled a scholarship from a targeted player in nearly a week.
Sick Bay
Well wishes go out to Buck Belue. The former Dawg signal caller, turned 680thefan radio jock has been diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. He's expected to return to Kincade's side as soon as this afternoon. Bell's Palsy is a paralysis of the facial nerve and is not life threatening. To pass along your own well wishes, here's Buck's Blog.

Buck Belue = DamnGoodDawg

Site of the Week
For a good blend of Dawg news, video, cyber links and other things Dawg, check out BDB guarantees it's worth the trip.

Visitor of Note
BDB welcomes its first visitor from India. Not sure how long he or she stayed. But according to the report if you Google "water things down", BDB has the fourth hit from the top. And it was a good one too. I remember it fondly.

And lastly, congrats to Bryan McClendon. I think this is a great hire. CMR stands by his word in wanting Georgia blood and enthusiasm in his players and his staff.

There are rumblings about McClendon being a receiver coaching RBs and that being a position in transition with the absence of Moreno. I hear that.

And CMR could've gone out and lured some big name to Athens that may or may not have worked out. In McClendon he had someone who is vested in all things red and black. I think he'll bring some energy and experience to the sideline. And will turn out to be a great recruiter as well.

Mat Drills start soon. Better go hit the gym BDB readers. Coach Van Halanger isn't going to accept your lame excuses with that orange cheese doodle dust around your mouth. Drop the mouse, and strap on the spandex. 

Or maybe just a nice pair of sweats...



Anonymous said...

Wow, great post. I think there may be five posts worth of content in here.

Great insights, you are a true bleeder of the Red & Black, and this is one Dawg fan that thanks you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Re: McClendon being a wide receiver coaching running backs. I'll just says... Wasn't his Dad a pretty good running back? ;)

Bernie said...

Thanks Ridge. It's just how I roll.

And good point about ol' Willie, 8th on UGA's career rushing list. Luckily that apple didn't fall far...

Appreciate the post and the encouraging comment.