Saturday, October 17, 2009

Let's Revisit our Last Visit to Vandy

Looking back on our last visit to Nashteeville, we could also call it the game in which Tripp Chandler caught the football.

Video courtesy of Let's hope the Dawgs aren't too courteous towards their hosts this afternoon. Let's also hope that a victory over the 'Dores this afternoon creates the same kind of momentum the one two years ago did.

Go Dawgs! Give Vandy's Homecoming a blackeye.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Who's That Comin'...week seven

No scooters were ridden in the making of this post. Helium filled weather balloons...?? Well, that's a different story.

Trivial Update
Q - Now that BalloonBoy is officially GROUNDED (cue laughter...)...ThursdaysRTrivial ep. 16 "Dawgged History" brought to U by JiffyPop, Child Protective Services & Hurricane Heene. REPLY back your answer for a fabulous prize! This week's question: Given the #Dawgs success the last decade, their current record is very unsettling. So...when was the last time Georgia had a 3-3 record and what was their final record at the end of the season in question? Hold onto that tether...and good luck!
A - 1996, 5-6

Ugh...this one was painful. But good fans know where they've been, right? Well, call @allyugadawg a good fan. Back in Donnan's inaugural season the Dawgs limped into Nashville sporting a 2-3 record; and after an ugly 13-2 victory over Vandy, we limped out at 3-3.

Ally - rock that signature Donnan cap and the matching O'ahu shirt in style while you paint Nashville red. Then maybe throw in a tunnel screen to Wooten the ballcatchah. Bobo should remember that one.

Tailgate Predictions
  • Nearly 25,000 Vandy fans wear black to Vanderbilt Stadium, but don't realize how lame their black out is until they actually sit down....and it dawns on them that their sea of black is more like a small pond.
  • Bevo sits on Sam Bradford, spoiling the Sooner QBs Heisman campaign but securing the Longhorns' win in the Red River Shoot-out.
  • Speaking of Heisman campaigns, Jimmy Clausen's fictitious one takes on the Trojans. He comes up as empty as the doughnut box on his coach's desk.
  • Hokies use a little Beamer ball and a lot of Tyrod to keep PJs options in check.
  • AJ gets sick and tired of Drew Butler being the team MVP, breaks out again something mad on Dudley Field.
  • Saban bitch slaps Spurrier...then uses the back of the hand as an encore in the second half.
  • Vandy can't throw the football. Georgia can't defend the pass. An epic battle ensues.

Studio Analysis

No yawns during this week of preparation. Still awaiting word if Coach Richt indeed darkened Coach Landers' door. But I can confirm that Kirby Smart still resides in Tuscaloosa and Will Muschamp enjoys burnt orange. Jeez people....really?

Vandy lost to Army. Georgia lost to Tennessee. One's a bad loss for a program. The other is like getting depants'd as you walk into a high school cafeteria on pizza and tater tots day. Georgia needs a solid performance to build momentum heading into a bye week. Vandy needs an afternoon break in between studying for mid-terms.

Something's gotta give...

Maybe you've talked yourself into a huge Dawg win, one in which the coaches and players rally around each other. Maybe the players only meeting was just what the scoreboard needed. And maybe some minor traffic violations will prove to be the glue that holds this team together.

Me...I'm cautiously optimistic.

Dawgs 25

'Dores 23

On the legal side, those of you heading up to Nashville should be able to enjoy your freedom travelling in and out of alleys as you see fit. If you're staying in Athens however, don't go emerging from one without a license to do so.

Other than that, have a weekend Reader.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

SCAN Foundation Benefit - Dawg Tix, Memorabilia and other Giveaways

Just another plug for a foundation that is doing tremendous work. The Skin Cancer Awareness Network Foundation is putting on a benefit at the Buckhead Bar and Grill this coming Tuesday evening from 6pm to 10pm. You can get all the particulars below.

Vince Dooley has been a long time supporter of the SCAN Foundation and is how I first heard of it. He was on the radio promoting the annual Save Our Skin 5K Walk/Run. I tend to do whatever Coach Dooley says, so I lace up the Nikes each May in the name of skin cancer research.

Skin cancer remains the most common form of cancer in the US, with over a million skin cancers diagnosed each year. The prevention of these cancers can be as simple as a hat to screen the face, some lotion to screen the skin and a visit to the doctor to screen the moles.

If you haven't been touched by cancer directly, I'm sure you know someone who has. So maybe you're looking for a way to pitch in and help these good people find an end to this terrible disease.

And who a bonus you may walk away with Tenn Tech autographed football...some Delta SkyMiles...or one of the other fabulous raffle prizes. So if you're in or around Atlanta Tuesday evening, grab something with black/white polka dots and head over to Buckhead Bar and Grill.

And tell Marilyn Bernie sent ya!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Lesson From Landers

Let me preface this by saying I'm a big Andy Landers fan. (I know the man has his lunatic detractors, so consider yourself forewarned - If you are a lunatic...this post may not be for you.) Our families are intertwined in various ways from way back. I respect the man as a dad, a coach and a valued community citizen.

Yesterday afternoon Hale teased a lengthy quote by Landers, playing on the desperate hearts of Dawg Tweeters and BulldogsBlog followers. If you haven't read the text, then it serves you right that I just spoiled it for you. Seriously, what are you doing reading my crap before Hale's awesomeness? You might think I'd be honored, but that's just beyond moronic.

Whatever...just go over now and catch up with the rest of us. We'll wait...

For me, the best part hits you right off the bat:
There's three things that are important: Where you've been, where you're at and where you're going. If those three things are ever the same you're in trouble.
I mean, that's just gold for any coach of any team at any level. And in what has to be one of the hardest weeks of Coach Richt's tenure, this would be a good way to evaluate the season. We all agree that there are some tough decisions laying in wait in the near future, mostly in terms of staff. The Bulldog Nation has fervently voiced their opinions over the airwaves, the vents and the message boards.

But that's all down the road...this is now.

Coach Richt has 5th year seniors who've toiled through the hardships of balancing their curriculum, personal lives and playing careers. He also has underclassmen who are looking at him for leadership, now. They signed on the dotted line and trusted their abilities in his hand.

There's a LOT of free speech being excercised among the Dawg followers. It's all well and good, for the most part. But we can all agree it crosses a line. Seriously, thinking Coach Richt is less of a coach because of the faith he practices...? Get a grip and take a look in your own mirror.

My wife once wondered aloud if Coach Richt ever yelled, know, lost a little control. I assured her that he does. You don't hear the testimony from the current players much, but the former ones will tell you that he can peel the paint with his tongue.

So I'm quite confident in saying that Coach Richt knows where we've been, where we're at and he's figuring out where we're going. And he damn sure isn't going to let those meet and mingle. He's too competitive. He loves this program too much.

When it's all said and done, know one knows what the record books will say about the 2009 season. But most of the leaders on this team have a clear frame of reference. Cox for one, feels the team is better suited to deal with this adversity than it was in 2006:
I think our unity is better than 2006, and I think we could end up having a better season than's something we can definitely get turned around and have a successful season.
The last time I got the opportunity to talk with Coach Landers was at the infamous Atlanta Bulldog Club meeting in August 2000 (you know, where Coach Donnan made his guaranDAMNtee). I found Andy wandering around outside the ballroom and we caught up on family news quickly.

Later, Landers was teased in front of the standing room only crowd as being the only Dawg coach in attendance without a National Championship. Donnan chuckled, Harrick smirked and Bauerle just beamed.

Richt has his own National Championships on the resume. It's hard to imagine the football team running the table at this point. But as a fan, I just want to see a team led by a coaching staff that believes it can happen.

And that might just start with Coach Richt knocking on Coach Landers' door.

Locker Notes - Vandy

Now more than ever...time for some locker notes.
  • Coach Richt - Please see Coach Landers before your next media session. Thanks!
  • Baccari Rambo - Another pick and this one went for six. I keep hearing something about increased playing time...are you sure the coaches know your number?
  • Zach Renner - You went after the ball like it was the last biscuit at breakfast. I like that tenacity and display of GATA attitude. Has Coach Searels approached you about doing some run blocking?
  • Blair Walsh - I do believe that FG woulda been good from 63. Please refrain from any further use of birth control. We could use another Walshian leg in 18.75 years....or whenever.
  • Fabris - Walsh's FG woulda been good from 63. He leads the SEC in touchbacks. Legend has it as an eight year old he kicked the neighborhood bully's ass so bad they have yet to find it. He leads the SEC in touchbacks!! Stick that in your pipe and choke on it.
  • Coach Searels - Please see Zach Renner.
  • Coach Richt - Seriously...see Coach Landers.
You know the drill Reader. Finish it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

If Emotion Don't Begat Execution...??

Was reading through Jim from Duluth's Bulldog Hotline Notes. If you did the same or even caught it live, the topic of emotion came up a couple times.

Here's what CMR had to say specifically to the idea of emotion relating to execution:

Emotion is important. But we also have to have better execution. If you take good execution and add emotion to it you have something special. But we've probably had more emotion than execution so far this season.

By that quote alone the component that is lacking the most is execution. And while that may be hard to argue after Saturday's pathetic performance in Knutsville, it also begs a chicken or the egg type question.

Maybe we relied too much on playmakers in years past to provide the emotion for our players to feed off of. And I'm thinking specifically of Knowshon; few running backs in the history of tackle football could instill such emotion with an 8 yard run the way Moreno could.

On the other hand, Coach Richt hints that the emotion has been lacking as well. I would argue that that is a direct indictment to the lack of preparation. Even the best pre-game speech is only worth peanuts if the other team is better prepared to execute the plays necessary to win the game.

Flashback to Saturday, I'm sure we can all remember more than a handful of play-action bootlegs and roll-outs that were uncontested. The accolades the last couple days being handed out to that moustached hillbilly should all have an asterisk: performed against Willie Wonder.

Hale has a post up today with some quotes on the state of the defense. Here's Martinez's take:

I just think they executed really well and we didn't....We had opportunities to make plays and we didn't. We got outcoached, outplayed, and they played really well and Tennessee deserves a lot of credit....It kept us off balance.

Our defense is at a stage in it's regression development where the play of the game is dictated to it. Gimmicks can help emotion swell within our veins, but my guess is it would be fleeting. We lack the playmakers to sustain it. On second thought, I think we have the playmakers to sustain it, but they haven't earned the opportunity. For a great post on that issue, I'd direct you back to the Senator's point on faith based personnel decisions.

Back to executing emotionally, it hasn't been that long since we had a balance of emotion and execution. There are players, coaches and fans who were 'tween the hedges and in the stands when the Dawgs used 28 unanswered 2nd half points to bury the Auburn Tigers in a sea of black. On that Sanford afternoon, emotion and execution found a perfect balance, a symbiotic harmony that was both beautiful and awe-inspiring. And yet less than two years later it seems as if it were playing back in our minds in grainy black and white.

Because today we are a different team. Engaging in grandiose histrionics after a tackle 14 yards north of the line of scrimmage is where we are right now. We need to get back to revving up the crowd after an 8 yard loss on a sack.

While the coaches throw the word execution around as an indirect way of saying the players didn't make the plays, I see the word as a two way street. We just recalled all of the bootlegs and rollouts by Crompton Saturday. How many weak side blitzes did we see? If you saw one, please remind me. I'd like to go back to the tape to cherish the moment.

Two years ago we had Stafford, Moreno and Howard. We may have players who six games into the season are still trying to fill those cleats, but we also have the same coaches, the same off-season workout regimen and at least a similar daunting task after an embarassing rocky flop loss. In 2007 we ended up with over 40 sacks. That was a lot of emotion.

And it was even more execution.

Mumme Poll - all poll, no bias

After getting punched in the gut by a hillbilly Saturday afternoon, the last thing I wanted to do was watch some football. But I remembered one of our biggest gripes about the other polls, legitimacy. One thing I have on Coach Richt is the opportunity to watch and digest some other action around the nation. So I hunkered down and used my remote control skills to gather some data for this week's Mumme Poll. (Although I do admit that once the wife got home from work, I lost control of the remote briefly...but I didn't have much interest in watching every minute of CBS brown-nosing UrTim MeyBow.)

So the training wheels are off. You can click here to get to the Mumme Poll results. Just remember that the results may not be released as of the time of this post.

Top Five
Alabama (no change)
Florida (up 1)
Texas (down 1)
Virginia Tech (up 1)
Southern Cal (down 1)

The Next Seven
Ohio State (no change)
Boise State (up 2)
Iowa (down 1)
TCU (up 1)
Miami (up 1)
Cincinnati (up 1)
LSU (down 4)

Bama, Florida and Texas still all have a legitimate argument for the top spot. Bama didn't do anything against Ole Miss but take a firmer grasp of #1 in my mind. Last week I had Texas ahead of Florida, but couldn't really keep that order after what I saw Saturday night.

I don't like to move teams down on an off week, but the more impressed I become with Bama the more impressed I become with Va Tech as well. They did what they should have done Saturday which is destroy a lesser opponent (Boston College). Plus, their offense this year is much more balanced than in the past with a legitimate threat at QB.

I thought I would be introducing a new team or two to the next seven, but the more I looked at possibilities the more I realized that LSU is still on of the best teams in the nation. So I moved them down to the bottom; they're probably just one offensive playmaker away from having a decent shot at threatening Bama for the trip to Atlanta.

The only other move of consequence was jumping Boise State ahead of Iowa. My only basis for that was the fact that Iowa looked pretty lackluster against Michigan from what little I saw.

The games I have circled this week are VA Tech at GA Tech, South Carolina at Bama,Oklahoma/Texas and USC at Notre Dame. If Texas and/or USC lose or look lackluster...then I'm gonna be putting in even more work into next week's poll.

But to be honest, this work is actually pretty fun.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday's Meatloaf - Layin' the Cards on the Table

Some quick programming notes. Today's meatloaf has an untraditional shape, form....taste. Desperate times, desperate measure. All that jazz. Also, yesterday's thoughts have been edited a bit. Matt (aka Dawgmjs) helped me realize that my words had been carelessly typed. I in no way believe that a house cleaning should be the order of business in Butts-Mehre this morning. But a good cupboard cleaning...that sounds about right.

Now grab a fork. Hope this isn't too hard to digest.

Getting whallop'd by the voWels is a big story. But there's a bigger one brewing after Saturday's early matinee. And the plot of this tale has a bitterness to it.

Georgia's rockstar is under fire. To make matters worse, it's a fire he started himself. The 45-19 drubbing in Knutsville led many to the common knee-jerk reaction: fire the coach! And while that reaction has a true lunacy to it that may be comforting to some, for Damon Evans to follow up in that direction would certainly be a mistake. Mark Richt has led our Dawgs to the promised land. He's showed us the road to BCS riches goes directly through Atlanta in December.

He's given us a taste. We cheered.

Things the last couple weeks have been less cheerful. And while Coach Richt can survive (by my estimation) an ass handing of epic proportions from the HillBillys to our north, there are a number of things he cannot survive.

Again, my estimation:
  • The Stones to Shuffle Look, I get it. I have friends who I would give countless chances to disappoint me further. But there comes a time when separate roads can lead to a more lasting relationship. We've tried to be patient. The results only get less favorable for the hand we're trying to play. Barring a surprising resignation, there should be no drastic changes in staff in October. But there can be tweaks. And when the time is right (should it arise in earnest), there can be a reshuffling of the deck.
  • Call a Spade as Such We've all grown tired of the relentless stream of bull(crap). If I can recognize that it's not the placekicker's fault we give up several free first downs a game, surely the head coach can. It does not become him when he spins it a different way. I'm effin' sick of it, so I assume I can say with relative certainty that we're sick of it. If you can't let your words to the media hold accountable parties as such, then let your actions. Case in point: kick it deep for goodness sake!
  • Play the Hand You've Dealt A head coach cannot force a seventeen year old to choose his program, but that same head coach can choose his own staff. Blaming those players who have moved to Athens to help better the Georgia Football program is doing us no favors. It's an old, very tired method of operation. The fans don't like it, the media sees through it and I would imagine recruits soon should take notice. When a coach on staff fails to prepare those under his tutelage to do their job on Saturdays, let's remove any appearance of impropriety and be honest. If that won't work, then repeat after me: No comment. If you couldn't blow sunshine after Okie St. or LSU, it ain't gonna fly after Tennessee.
Sure, there's more to do. But this is a start. And in case I wasn't clear yesterday, lemme be clear today. Coach Richt is my guy. He was my guy as a coach from the moment Haynes crushed their face. And he was as a man when he stayed an extra hour to satisfy a long line of fans who had waited to have their picture made. My daughter and I were at the end of that line.

So I'll always return the favor. Have yourself a Columbus sized Monday Reader. And if a HillBilly gives you any type of hell, just show em your dental insurance card.

Boom. Roasted!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday (Sucky) Thoughts

3-3, 2-2...ugh...
  • Folks, this ain't the time to call for coaches' heads. Despite the fact that there are plenty of targets to choose from this week. Between the 6th and 7th week of the season is no time to go looking for a new DC or OC...or HC.
  • That being said, this staff could use a kick in the butt.
  • Bobo/Richt couldn't match up with Gramps. That says a lot about our team.
  • Willie was outschemed by Lame Kitten. That says a lot about our team.
  • AJ was a non-factor, thanks mostly to the second bullet. That means that Drew Butler is officially our team's MVP. And that says a lot about our team.
  • We were the team that gave that asshat his first SEC victory? Are you frickin' kiddin' me?
  • KiffyBaby questioned Coach Richt's ability to run his program and CMR couldn't get his team and coaches up for this game...?
  • Losing 45-19 is one thing. To show up on the road with so little fire and determination...inexcusable.
  • As sick and tired as I am of the excuses and bull(crap) shoveled to us through the media, I wonder what lines CMR is giving the movers and shakers of UGA Athletics at this point.
  • You know, the big money donors that have the pull.
  • All this and I still believe we have more talent than every team we've played thus far. Coach Richt needs to step over this line in the sand he's drawn and use some honesty to address the state of his team with the media, the fans, the coaches, the players....and himself.
  • And that...says a LOT about our team.
More in tomorrow's meatloaf. But be warned, it ain't gonna taste heavenly.