Saturday, September 26, 2009

Welcome to Athens, Helmets Required

Today...Rudy is glad he's not 'tween the hedges.

Let's do this thang! Go Dawgs!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Who's That Comin'...week four

Cocktail Party Stays, Flood Waters Finally Relent and The OBC Gets Giggety With It. Well, it's been quite a week.

Trivial Update

Q - According to Hale, who was there to give Coach Searels a hug after his O-line looked very non-aggressive in racking up the penalty yards last weekend?

ThursdaysRTrivial episode 13 was unlucky for many. And just as I thought I had my followers stumped and was about to throw out a serious hint, @namaman came through with the correct tweet. Episode 5 winner @ugaoo9 also had the correct answer while @BlakeMcCrary gets props for taking some stabs in the dark, in his words - a lot like our defense.

Whoa! Someone get Blake a press credential!

For their efforts both Nama and John will receive very used sweaty gray sweatshirts (sure it's redundant...but accurate) and a cup of Powerade.

Tailgate Predictions
  • Plenty of beer at Gordon Biersch's in downtown Tempe this weekend.
  • "Saint Simons" of AllJackCrap fame is the first to jump off the Paul Johnson bandwagon Sunday morning.
  • Bernie gets footage that's a little too raw for the next vlawg.
  • The fightin' Sabans win, but Piggy Petrino and RyanMullett keep it close. Which really pisses Saban off.
  • This is NOT the week that TeBow hurts himself playing too much tackle football (but it's coming...)
  • Iowa at Penn State...oh, who the hell cares...
  • Dawgs 42 Sun Devils 14

Studio Analysis

A get well game if I ever saw one. I know, I know. We won last week. But the defense is out of sync, off kilter. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils have an offense that puts the ick in anemic. Danny Sullivan may be a seasoned replacement for Rudy "Have ya met Rennie Curran" Carpenter (70 seconds in). But even the fans are sick of him by their third game. Justin at PitchforkNation even wonders if he might get pulled in favor of a heralded freshman.

And I would applaud that decision. A freshman signal caller getting his first significant snaps...on the road...'tween the hedges.

Thank you sir may I have another?

Sure, ASUs defense is pretty good (by PacTen standards). But we handled them last year. And if you remember, AJ had a coming out party in the desert. Which reminds me...why isn't anyone talking about the heat in GA like they did last year about the heat in AZ? Exhile goes there...before he comes here.

Gameday forecast from high of 77 and about a 70% chance of precipitation.
Gameday forecast from Bernie: IT'LL RAIN TDs, through the air, on the ground, and even one from the defense. That's right, last year I was picking this game blind practically...suggested it'd be close. This year, I'm hip to Erickson's jive.
Hey, if a rich, fat guy can make a movie crapping on capitalism and yet charge suckers honest hard-working people $12 a ticket to see it...well, there's hope for a decent pass rush against a middling team from the Pacific Ten.
Dawgs D gets well. We get to see at least a quarter and a half of what PWD coined as the Grayhound offense, some Wooten the Ball Carrier, and...Hale promises a Marlon Brown TD. But don't feel sorry for the ASU fans who traveled so far. They still have beautiful downtown Athens to enjoy.

Go Dawgs!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Enemy Line - Sun Devil Went Down to GA

Almost time to rosin up the bow...

In my never-ending quest to be half the rockstar that David Hale is...I decided to copy his correspondence with the enemy idea. My hope is that it would turn out better than when I tried to emulate his interviewing skills at the Coach Richt Meet and Greet. I wasn't surprised when a chicken didn't return my email. It is afterall, inherent in their name. I got a little frustrated last week with the razorbacks...then realized they're probably not quite used to this new internet thingie.

But Justin at PitchforkNation was kind enough to return the email, even despite the fact that real bloggers like PWD and Catfish&Cornbread had brought them up to speed on all things Dawg. However, in return I was able to get Justin to graciously agree to bring a true freshman placekicker and several beers from Gordon Biersch. You know, since they ran out prematurely last year in Tempe.

We'll take any advantage we can get, right?

We've read where ASU has sold their 6500 allotment of tickets to Saturday's out of conference matchup between the Sun Devils and the Bulldogs. Can Dawg fans expect to host more Sun Devil fans outside of the stadium?

I don't think so. The economic downturn hit some Sun Devil fans pretty hard, so many had to cancel their travel plans altogether. However, the ASU allotment of tickets did go quickly and we'll be there in full force looking for a 3rd straight victory AND for revenge for the whooping your guys put on us at Sun Devil Stadium.

It looks like the injury bug has been running rampant in the ASU locker room as well. Who are the Sun Devils missing the most? And what's the latest on kicker Thomas Weber's injury? Does it look like he'll make the trip? If not, how much will ASU miss his leg?

I'm merging my answer for these two questions because as soon as the Sun Devils began to get healthy at the right part of the year, the blow of losing Thomas Weber for 5-6 weeks set us right back. Weber, of course, was the 2007 Groza winner as a true freshman and has been easily the best kicker this program has seen in decades. He's not just a kicker; he's one of the most dangerous offensive and special teams weapons this team has considering that his range on FG's is outstanding, he booms kickoffs through the end zone and admirably handles our punting. It's a tough pill to swallow to have to miss our kicker...something I never thought I'd ever say.

The Devils offensive line, like usual, is banged up. Thomas Altieri will play again at center and I think he's a major step back from Garth Gerhart, the 1st stringer. However, everyone else seems to be getting healthier; having Lawrence Guy back on the defensive line and Shelly Lyons healthy for depth at LB makes this nasty defense even more intimidating.

Our DC is looking to placate fans who are disgruntled with a defense that is bending and breaking, hesitant to cover passes or tackle... What can we expect to see out of Coach Dennis Erickson's offense this year? Is there a specific playmaker that could use a generous dose of ExLax with his pregame meal?

We haven't seen a lot, honestly. DE hasn't opened up the playbook enough so far in games against Idaho State and Louisiana-Monroe to give us a real look at what this offense might be able to do. However, despite putting up 88 points in two games, I still have my doubts about this team's ability to move the ball.

The unit is still led by senior Danny Sullivan, who despite being in the system for 3+ years still looks uncertain of his skills. Dimitri Nance emerged as the Devils' clear #1 at running back against the Warhawks but, as you know, running backs are only as good as the line they run behind. That could create a problem on Saturday. Kerry Taylor is back healthy at WR and his presence only adds to a sick group of receivers...Taylor, Chris McGaha and Kyle Williams are all dynamic playmakers who can make things happen very long as they actually catch the ball.

It looks like the 2-0 record ASU is bringing has come rather easily. Has Erickson used the first two games to get some snaps for players buried on the depth chart?

It has. No one ever disputed the fact that the Bengals and Warhawks weren't quality opponents. However, it has been nice to see the depth this team sports, especially at running back. The Devils boast guys like Nance, freshman Cameron Marshall and dynamic sophomore Ryan Bass in the backfield and Nance and Marshall have both received significant carries so far, despite the fact that neither have really been remarkably impressive nor stepped forward to grab the starting job.

Along the defensive line, this team is stacked. The Devils are without James Brooks this weekend for the 3rd game of a 3 game suspension, but Dean DeLeone has stepped in admirably for him. Lawrence Guy will be back in full force on Saturday but Saia Falahola performed very nicely in his absence and provides nice depth there as well.

Then comes that nagging question at quarterback. Fans have been clamoring for months to see highly touted freshman QB Brock Osweiler get meaningful snaps since, in my opinion, he's clearly the most refined and most talented signal caller the Sun Devils have. However, Sullivan has "seniority" and clearly beat out current 3rd stringer Samson Szakacsy (who has a noodle for an arm but great wheels) for the starting job. Sullivan has looked OK in his first two games but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the hook if he struggles on Saturday. On the flip side, if you put in Osweiler and he performs poorly under this kind of pressure, you don't get that kind of confidence back. It's a double edged sword here for Arizona State.

Lastly, please give the lovely waitresses at The Library our best. And we hope Gordon Biersch was finally able to replenish their beer supply. Tempe = awesome.

The Library says hi to you, though I'm not the biggest fan of that place. I'm more of a The Big Bang kind of guy. However, Gordon Biersch does have some of the best beer in the world...Marzen flows in my bloodstream.

Tempe is awesome but I can't wait to get down to Athens on Saturday and experience all the SEC has to offer. To your readers: if you see a short guy with curly hair wandering around with a Sun Devil jersey on, rope me into your tailgate. I promise, I'm a nice guy!

So there you have it, straight from the Devil's mouth. Look for Justin Saturday, give him a cold one and when he asks - "Granny does your dog bite?" Your reply:

Especially 'tween the hedges Son.

September 20th, 2008
Outside Sun Devil Stadium
Go Dawgs!

We Pick'd the Pig Then Watched the Barn Burn

No barns were burned in the filming of this episode...that took place in Fayetteville.

The game was an epic battle that required more bourbon (and TUMS) than expected. But the pig was sooooooo choice. I really wish we played the razorbacks every year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Locker Notes - Arizona State

Sun Devils are on the horizon. They looking for payback and they're bringin' hell with em...

Grab a handful and paste em up. And if I've missed one, by all means add your own.

  • First and foremost, Joe Cox - Congrats on the awards. Can't think of a more deserving recipient.
  • Orson Charles - So you're a TE that also catches balls thrown to you. Is that what they mean by hybrid?
  • Caleb King - I pray you make me eat my words. I like the way you block...and hold onto the ball.
  • Richard Samuel - You seem hellbent on testing CMRs patience. As long as you keep blocking well, he and Bobo will likely keep you in the backfield. But each slip of the pigskin makes those 80 yard jaunts a LOT less tasty.
  • Bobo - Great work. Let's see what these freshmen can do before we hit October.
  • Willie - Please see me in my office.
  • Cornelius Washington - I see many sacks in your future. Owens says others need to play with a motor like yours. Already leading by example. Keep it up.
  • Bryan Evans - We're well aware of what happens when a safety locks in on the's devastating. Play it safe.
  • Drew Butler - I hope my ass never gets in the way of your cleat. Gawd!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting Defensive - Aberrations Becoming the Trend

I've cut him some slack. It's time to tear him a new one.

21 17 7 10 41 14 14 38 49 38 13 45 24 37 41

Those are the opponents point totals from last season + three games into 2009 (h/t Mac). Dawg fans love to bark back to the days of Erk Russell and even Brian VanGorder. Only the lowest of those numbers listed above would have been commonplace under those regimes.

Today is a new era in Dawg defense.

Before I go any further, a word from the rational side of my brain: In Coach Mark Richt I trust. There is absolutely NO other coach in the business of tackle football I'd rather have at the helm of the Georgia football program. He is class personified. He has made winning in Athens an expectation once again.

Back on point...our defense on the other hand, is an embarrassment.

We're undisciplined. We're unable to dominate in the trenches. We can't cover a sleeping baby. Our bend breaks regularly. We give up yards. We give up points. We disgrace our forbears.

Those bolded numbers up there would've been aberrations in the old days. They're undoubtedly commonplace now. Hale stated yesterday that Erk and VanGorder aren't returning home to save us. My question is, why would we need them to?

We're the University of damn Georgia! We have the talent. Do we need the desire? We have the leadership. Do we lack the passion?

I have no doubt that Willie Martinez is a nice guy. There's no doubt in my mind that he works hard. When I call forth a mental image of him at work, I don't frame a picture of him with his feet propped up on the desk eating doughnuts and reading People magazine.

But what he is doing isn't working. There were Razorback catches made Saturday night where a white jersey wasn't anywhere close to being in the same area code. If DJ Williams is able to play more snaps (or any at all in the second quarter) we likely lose that game. He's one of the best TEs in the country and he was wide frickin' open on that misdirection rollout in the 3rd quarter.Then he wasn't blanketed at the goal line on 3rd down and caught the TD pass.

It's evidently impossible for the defense to produce turnovers. We don't tackle well. Our LBs can't defend the pass. Our DBs can't defend the pass. And our defensive line can't rush the guy who's throwing it. It's a recipe for disaster.

And yet, the defense is a large part of the reason we've won the last two weeks. Martinez's unit has done just enough to provide the margin necessary. But is what he's doing enough to carry the Dawgs to another level? Having been the DC during an SEC Championship season, the answer may seem like a yes. But the recent numbers above may beg to differ.

Martinez's method of operation is to react to what the offense is doing. I understand that today's offenses are not what they were in the late 70's. But we're still reacting in a league where championship defenses often dictate the play. In my estimation, Willie Martinez's philosophy requires adjustments to what the offense does. And yet he consistently fails to make those adjustments.

Sure. He mixes up zone with man. He blitzes LBs and the occasional DB. But his defense fails to dictate the play on the field. We're less Junkyard Dawg and more like a leashed, well vaccinated canine.

Sure. He is not a player on the field, but is he not accountable to some measure for their actions? On a larger scale, with the play we're seeing out of our defense...the day is past due when Coach Richt must be accountable for his coaches' actions.

I had high hopes for our defense this year. I really thought the stars were aligning for a great defensive season. So far I'm wrong. As Hamp reminded me yesterday, Arizona State provides an opportunity to get some things straight before a difficult October stretch.

Coach Willie - You are the Dawgs' DC this season. The next few games should determine whether you are beyond '09. So...if it's personnel, address it. If it's scheme, adjust. Passivity does not become us. Our lineage is the Dawg that is forgotten, desperately hungry, misused and maltreated...relegated to the junkyard.

Let's get back to our roots. And reverse the trend.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday's Meatloaf - Leftovers From the Pig Pick'n

I have a mental image of Coach Searels barking at a (large) pack of guilty Dawgs in the dark hours of the early morning. The rain coming down in sheets soaks that trademark gray sweatshirt as stairs are climbed and punishments are endured.

Last week I was frustrated by the dink and dunks that Ol' Willie was satisfied with allowing to Stephen Frickin' Garcia. But I laid off the Dawg DC cuz it's hard to throw him under the bus when the offense and special teams did the defense no favors. Plus they continually held the lamecocks to FGs, which won the game for us.

Saturday night the dink and dunks turned into apathy in the secondary. We again had little pass rush, but added the fun twist of letting burgundy jerseys run uncontested in the vast open spaces of our secondary. It was as if we were an arena league team only allowed 8 players at a time on the field.

Awesome. I guess Martinez likes a challenge as much as Fabris does.

Richt has an iron for the turnover problem. Okay. We have stadium stairs for the dumbass non-aggressive penalties. I assume. The ineptness of the defensive philosophy and overall play may be our most formidable opponent this season.

Hunker down...and dig in deep.

Today's Ingredients
  • You take away Walsh and Butler and...well, the special teams weren't so special. And I expect either Walsh or the fans to be blamed for the out of bounds kicks. Maybe both.
  • Our defense has many serious flaws that need to be remedied in the next two weeks before serious SEC play begins. No pass rush, erratic and inexplicable pass (un)coverage, piss ass sorry tackling.
  • Joe Waterloo may have put it best, Why exactly is Arkansas bothering to run the ball?
  • Blackledge after ARKs second TD: Bryan Evans was never in position to make a play on the ball. Kinda goes against the very definition of what a safety is, huh?
  • I assume it goes without saying...but we can't count on 500 yards of offense when the Tigers and Vols come a callin'.
  • I coulda sworn we had decided after Stillwater that Carlton Thomas has no business running inside.
  • Some analysis from the Dawgwebs: the Senator sums up another wild night, Bill King wants the D to turn the page, Hale has some fleeting thoughts, Hamp pontificates, BUI compares the road test to a Rumble in the Jungle, Mackie has a morning after pill and Rex spent the day dodging lightning bolts and now wants your thoughts on the defensive philosophy.
  • No word yet on Justin Fields (shoulder) or Vance Cuff (knee), the injured Dawgs.
  • Joe Cox. The proud recipient of this week's Walter Camp Nat'l Offensive Player of the Week.
  • Lastly, a BIG BDB shout-out to Frank in Conyers, Class of '70. Frank wrote in and actually called last week's vlawg on the chicken tailgate a cult classic. This after SilverDawg nominated it for one of those bald-headed man gold statue thingies...Pretty soon, Nama's gonna ask for a raise.
Not sure how much magic Nama will be able to perform with the vlawg this week. The game kept us pretty busy, so there's little footage to work with. But rest assured the house was rocking. Kids were screaming, BBQ and brownies coming out our ears, bourbon, Logan bringing the swine jokes, beer was iced, juice boxes juiced, Twizzlers (h/t Joe) on hand, chest bumping with Noah, to the carpet tackling and no pulled fingers.

Good time.

Meatloaf's ready. Take a firm grip of the fork Reader and dig in. Then go and swim through your Monday.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

There's not enough nitroglycerin (or bourbon) in the world to get me through this season.

  • One more time all together: Joe's Turn, Joe's Team!!
  • This defense will be a LOT better when we decide to actually cover eligible receivers
  • A note to Ramon Broadway, the piglet DB who ran his mouth this week: you left some unmentionables on the field.
  • NotHer Dame isn't good enough to have their own radio network, much less television. Sparty shoulda won that game. Dude was wide open...ugh!
  • Bet Pete Carroll wishes he had recruited Jake Locker.
  • Can't believe we waited the entire off-season to see one of two things: Urban put up three digits on Kiffybaby or the HillBillys live up to their coach's glorious expectations. And neither happened.
  • Slurban and Kiffikins coulda at least exchanged unpleasantries at midfield to make the three.5 hours worth it...nothing!
  • Back in F'ville, ya like doin' it Dawggy Style?
  • And I'll leave you with a tweet from @dawgsonline from last night that just about sums it all up 3 games in: -7 turnover margin, double-digit penalties, can't kick off, and 2-0 in the SEC. Gonna be that kind of year.
I'll be back with more in tomorrow's meatloaf. You have a nice Sunday Reader!