Saturday, September 4, 2010

Gameday UL-L: what I expect

First....Happy Birthday Coach Dooley!

Here's a few things I expect to see today against the Ragin' Cajuns:

- AJ Green play about a full half.
- a lot of Grantham nickel packages to defend a lot of quick, short passes.
- Therefore I expect to learn a little more about the new secondary than the new front seven.
- Russ on two bags of ice.
- Branden Smith to have a big game, on defense.
- Logan Gray will shine.
- Ogletree and T. King in street clothes, even though something's still fishy about that moped helmet.
- both the offense and defense will dominate, even more than expected.
- A blocked punt will highlight plenty of special teams' goodness.
- And Hutson Mason will play.

Those are mine. What are yours?

Be back tomorrow with some Sunday Thoughts. Enjoy your Gameday!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Warrant for Ogletree Issued

UPDATE: Richt suspends him 1 game.

There's evidently no statute of limitations on moped helmets. Much will be made over a $35 piece of safety wear this afternoon. The charge is theft by taking. The incident happened back in June. Evidently it recently became clear that it was our freshman safety that had the missing helmet.

If Ogletree needed a helmet bad enough to take another student-athlete's, I'd much prefer he just use the one Grantham issued him. Other than that, I would suggest that AD McGarity, Chief Williamson and Coach Richt have a nice long business lunch tomorrow. But I know Coach has plans and I assume Williamson has some jaywalkers to track down.

h/t Fred

(And c'mon message's ALEC. Not ALEX.)

Offensive Étouffée

Pretty good offensive preview going into the season opener by Weiszer. Given the injuries and illness that has hampered Bobo's unit, it's a fair question as to how ready they are even for a middling mid-major. I'm not one of the ones fretting too hard about AJs status, but with King and Ealey out the Dawgs' gun is only partially loaded.

By far the best quote comes from Cordy Glenn who's coming back from a bout of mononucleosis, but has regained his weight.
I'm a lineman. It's not that hard for me to eat.
Some more jambalaya Mr. Glenn?

Trivial Update - Turning the Andouille Over

#ThursdaysRTrivial ep 58 coming up right after this PSA: We always knew Spurrier was a cock.

#ThursdaysRTrivial ep 58 "What Makes a Cajun Ragin'?" It's time for the Twitter Twivia show that's got a hankerin' for some andouille. REPLY back your answer for a chance at a fabulous prize. In 2009 UL-L snagged 16 opponents' passes, which ranked them tied for _____ in the nation.

Reminds me of this gem:

So the Ragin' Cajuns are who we think they are...which is a team returning 10 interceptions from last year's team. So we can't get all loosy goosy with the ball even this week.

And Scott understands that. He came in with the correct tweet which he gleaned from this post at The Grit Tree. Scott takes home a full 10 pounds of sausage. I trust he knows what to do with it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Season: a Monthly Preview

After Monday, you can probably tell that I think this team has some lumps to take. The easy prediction is that it comes in Chickumbia. However, the closer that game gets, the more comfortable I feel about it. Which is to say it's more like an exam by an unfriendly proctologist as opposed to a colonoscopy without anesthesia. So I've gone from chalking it up to a possible loss to thinking we have a decent shot at being 2-0 this season.

And if we can get through the toughest game of the month on the road for the first time this season, I think the chances of running the September table are decent. Arkansas will be a dangerous game but more winnable than South Carolina. Mallett can beat most any team with his arm, but he can't beat the clock. We'll expose their posrous defense and bleed that sucker dry, one drop tick at a time. And Missy State is always a long trip back into the 1960s to get a win, yet always worth it somehow. But there's a loss in this month somewhere. If it doesn't come in game two, I think there's a let down game in three or four.

Month's record: 3-1
General outlook: good start that hopefully doesn't have us wondering what if by season's end

Now it's time to make hay. Colorado shouldn't be a problem. The upper classmen on this team remember playing in Tempe: get there, get acclimated, smash some mouths and come home ready for the schedule's main course. Tennessee may only require one bus, Vandy will only win the pre-game press conference and KenYucky will only hang on for three quarters.

Which takes us into the WLOCP. Simply put - this game goes to the Dawgs this year. As long as there aren't any insurmountable injuries (plural, like Murray + AJ + Houston + Boykin + Butler + Russ) I think we're as talented as the fight'n gayturds on the two deep. The talk of the game moving, circumcisions, the fake juice, the lopsided FU dominance ...all in the past. If nothing else, win it for Chapas dammit!

Month's record: 5-0
General outlook: a loss this month would either mean a slipup against a lesser squad, or something even less tasteful. In the end the Dawgs take care of business and set a nice table for the stretch run.

After throwing Idaho State into the same scrap heap we disposed UL-L in, we take a trip to AwwBarn. That will mark our 11th consecutive game, just before a bye week. The plain men catch us tired and sore enough to escape with a close win that'll have us either glad floriDuh already has two losses (Bama and an inspired LSwho) or hoping they're about to get their second against the lamecocks. And especially glad we took care of business in Jax.

After the bye week Coach Richt gives Bernie another terrific birthday gift against the enginerds and we all scramble for tickets to the Georgia Dome. Right after making a covert trip to Tusckieloosie to slash Saban's bus tires.

Month's record: 2-1
General outlook: Coach Richt trades in his hotseat critics for homegrown ones who are somehow dissatisfied that we backed into Atlanta with two losses. Once I sober up from my birthday, I rip em a new one.

While Saban's buses rest immovable in Bryant-Denny's parking lot, his airplanes fly into Georgia airspace. A solid gameplan keeps us in it and threatens the Alabaman economy, which assuredly will rest on the fact that the Tide will win the SECCG by at least 213 points.

A 10-3 Georgia team gets into the Sugar Bowl after Bama escapes into the MNC. We beat a one loss Boise State team that can't believe they lost to Virginia Tech in the first game of the season, ran the table against a difficult WAC conference slate only to end up playing Georgia.

There you have it. 2010 is in the books. We go back to waiting. And Remerton has a very slow spring.

Thank God.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Locker Notes - Louisiana Lafayette

I think the question for the tailgate vlawg this week will be what makes a cajun ragin'? But until then, it's time for the 2010 season's first round of Locker Notes!

  • Coach Grantham - That's what gets you to 8-5. My man crush just swoll up in spite of itself. I'm sure we'll see a lot of nickel sets and little of the 3-4 base, but that's ok. I'm sure the intensity will be the same. 
  • Trinton Sturdivant - Easy on the pancakes this first time out big guy. Let's make this a season long buffet.
  • Caleb King - last season I had doubts about your potential. I spent the off season replacing those with high expectations. Thanks for making me a believer.
  • Justin Houston - Too much cajun could cause indigestion. Save some room for chicken.
  • Aaron Murray - Just play your game dude. If we make you nervous, just picture us in our underwear. That'll be a bigger stretch for some as opposed to others...
  • AD McGarity - Enjoy the new seat. We're glad you're here.
  • Logan Gray - Show everybody how quickly you catch on.
  • Blair Walsh - I'm sure you'll enjoy kick'n it without a leash on.
  • Coach Richt - Thanks Coach. Have fun out there.
Those are mine. You remember how this works...what are yours?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yeh, But Can He Block Justin Houston?

We'll see Marcus Lattimore Thursday night when the lamecocks take on Southern Miss to kick off the 2010 season. If you're unaware, Lattimore is a homegrown true freshman running back who was highly sought after on the recruiting trails. He's not only expected to contribute, he may even start.
First of all, I want to win the game. And help the team in any way that I can -- scoring, any way I can.
 I don't give damn if he gains 350 yards against the Golden Eagles in the first half, as long as Justin Houston can get one good crack at him as Shaw/Garcia drops back a week later.

He Had me at Death Row...

I've tried to contain my enthusiasm. And I think I've done a pretty good job. I mean, Coach Grantham hasn't even registered his first sack...yet.

But then there's stuff like this:
That's where I really began to get a feel for taking people away, making people beat you left-handed (trying to negate what opponents do well) and trying to utilize your players maybe a little bit differently. I would have to give Nick (Saban) credit for that.
Then this:
They (his '95 d-line at Virginia Tech) kind of came up with that (the moniker Death Row) on their own and got shirts for it. It was a fun group to coach because they worked hard, they practiced and they made plays. They had a little bit of an attitude to them .
The comparisons to Erk may be premature, but I'll be damned if dude doesn't talk the talk. Just hope he walks with a similar gait as well.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Season: a Positional Preview

Like any team in August, the Dawgs have a ceiling and a floor in 2010. I personally think the ceiling is a one loss SEC Championship with a trip to New Orleans. I think the floor is a five loss season that sees more than its share of discourse. To illustrate the broad spectrum, let's look at four specific areas:

This offense is stocked with talent in all the right places. First and foremost, this is shaping up to be a banner year for our offensive line. We've recruited well there recently, it's a good mix of experienced talent and young guys ready to prove their worth. Plus, we have the best line coach in the country.

The skill players are deep too, especially at TE. Orson Charles and Aron White have all world talent while Bruce Figgins has to be hungry for action after sitting out last season. Artie Lynch I thinks redshirts given his position's depth. The receiving corps isn't necessarily stocked with experienced talent, but I expect a break out seasons for Marlon, Wooten and Durham. Along with Gray, they'll provide plenty of compliments to Mr. Green.

While the QB position is plenty talented, it's dangerously thin on experience. And to be quite honest, I really expected to be rather high on Murray at this point. While I think he has all the tools necessary to match David Greene's epic RS-Fr season, there are two things I'm not sold on yet: longevity and coolness. If Murray can stay healthy and lead his team to a road win on 9/11...then, the comparisons to Greene will be validated.

By season's end I think the reviews for Coach Grantham's defense will be extremely high. From what I've read and heard, my expectations are like a dream come true: aggressive play that attacks the ball, a depth chart based on competition not seniority and a philosophy that attempts to dictate play, not react to what the opposition has already done. Football was invented for tackling, not containing.

But pre-season expectations are a dime a dozen. This defense has made progress in the off season and in camp, but the learning curve is still awfully steep. It all really reminds me of Coach Richt's first season. We were hearing good things that made us all warm and fuzzy. But it wasn't until the hobnail boot fell on the cream sickle checkerboard that we were actually able to visualize it. Our team had just finished the drill.

Same thing here; Grantham's defense will face it's first SEC opponent on the road in a historically pesky environment and follow that up against a future NFL first round pick in Athens. There's gonna come a point early when practice is gonna have to make perfect. If the response is solid, the season could take a strong tilt in our favor.

Special Teams
These may be the least of my worries. Hard to complain when you have the 2009 Ray Guy winner in Drew Butler and a '09 Lou Groza Award finalist in Blair Walsh. But in truth, we all know that Jon Fabris damaged us deeply. Our special psyche is at best tattered.

But indications are that the special teams have not just become a point of competition for all abled bodies, but a point of pride as well for those who make the field under these circumstances. It's a great thing to be confident that you have a kicker that can grab you points once you cross the 50 a spell...and that you have a punter that can flip the field with one graceful swing of his leg. It's even greater when you can add speed, violence and mayhem to the mix.

When the first punt is blocked Saturday, you should practically see me smiling.

There are a number of things I could put here in this section. But with the new blood on staff I think the biggest intangible is team identity. I drew the parallel earlier to the 2001 season. Let me take that a bit further.

There's a lot riding on Aaron Murray's arm. It's one thing to win the starting job at the University of Georgia as a second year freshman. It has a much different taste to it when your chief competition was taken out of the equation by his own drunken decisions. To me this is a team that needs it's defense to lead the way and let the offense mature.

And I think eventually this team evolves into one that has a defense that defines the team's identity. It might be next season, it might be in time for Arkansas. I don't know when. But the sooner it happens will go a long way to determining whether this 2010 season is closer to the floor, or the ceiling.

Monday's Meatloaf - Summer's Over, Let's Fall In

So we're down to one hand Reader; just five solitary days until it's finally here. But it's not all smiles and giggles. No, we have our own responsibilities too. The team needs our hearts, our barks and our commitment.

Honey-do lists are a heap of ashes on the back burner. Golf clubs a side item awaiting a spare moment. The lawn gets mowed on a weekday until next spring. Football is here. Beer is even colder. Welcome, unfold your chair.

Tailgate tales are full of legendary heroics from fans.  The one I'd like to inspire you with today exemplifies fan commitment. Back in August of 2000 Nama dunked on a former AAU player at the local YMCA, but as he returned to Earth his knee ligaments became tissue shrapnel. Surgery was needed but would've meant sitting out the season. I love the guy, but I'm not carrying an extra 2+ bills from the tailgate to Sanford Stadium each home game.

Instead, Nama put the doctor on hold, waited until the Monday after Jacksonville to go under the knife, recouped during a bye week and an away game on the plains, then returned to Glory, Glory and used his crutches to signal touchdowns as the Dawgs pounded the Rebels 32-14. Nama's heroics weren't enough to save Donnan's job...but it was one for the UGA Fandom Record Books.

Nama knows where his seat is. His bark measures up to his bite. The rest of us have just a short time to fall in line.

Today's Ingredients
  • This weekend kicked my butt. I'm very glad Cord HamDog only turns 40 once. As Zach Galifianakis would say, I think I African-American'd out.
  • With the Ealey suspension, the 3-4 offense will not be unveiled until Chickumbia at the earliest. But the 3-4 defense is primed and ready for Saturday.
  • One guy who has completed his 2010 predictions is Mackie
  • BullDawg Josh gave us Terry Hoage in the B'nE countdown yesterday.
  • Exile projects out the Dawgs' tv schedule.
  • Hamp's back, and gives us a run down of what to expect from Aaron Murray.
  • Ton of stuff in the ABHs football preview. I particularly enjoyed Clarkson's piece on Clint Boling.
  • Carvell posted a video of Dawg recruit Jay Rome. No highlights, but you can get to know him a little better.
  • Speaking of recruiting, Friday Night Lights have been lit! And Scott and Martin Van Dawgin each took in a future Dawg's performance. Hedges has a wrap-up of Sterling Bailey's performance for East Hall and Stuff of Legend has North Paulding's Chris Conley covered. Not an easy task.
  • Also from Hedges, Dawgola Tesla had the privilege of attending Saturday morning's practice.
  • Akeem Dent's nearly ready to put a dent in opposing running backs.
  • Much of my hangup on the direction this season takes rides on the contest in Chickumbia. Where else right? The Senator points out my one thread of optimism in the season's second game: Spurrier's choice between a true freshman QB against Coach Grantham's aggressive defense, OR...a junior QB still searching for an identity and drowning in The Visor's sea of turbulence. I'll take a little of both, and let it ride.
  • Speaking of the head chicken, he ain't skeer'd of playing potentially pro players.
  • Surrounded by green hornets, Rex remembered an important motto, a mantra of his 1980 team.
  • Lastly, I've seen some crazy things happen on a golf course. But I've never had to let a Cessna twosome play through.
Lemme come clean. And while I'm at it, I should also apologize. 

I typed a couple weeks ago that I would have a season preview out, and I failed to live up to it. It's not because I slacked off. Honest. I just can't help but be torn. I feel like the little kid on the edge of a swimming pool's diving board for the first time. I desperately want the thrill of jumping into the cool depths of refreshment, but I'm also afraid to take the leap.

I'm typically a homer, and think the Dawgs win every game. But last season that didn't work out too well. This season I can honestly see the team heading into Atlanta in December sporting one single loss. The hesitations of a redshirt freshman QB seemingly laughable. The cautiousness of accepting Grantham's 3-4 ludicrous in retrospect. 

On the other hand...this could also be a 4 or 5 loss team, riddled with injuries and struggling to accept an identity. I can see them limping through September, then gain some momentum before stumbling through the season's midpoint. 

So I'm sorry. I should've just stuck with a thought process and not talked myself out of it. August is no time for indecision dammit! Toe meets leather in 5. So long La-Z-Boy Saturdays, hello tailgate chair heroics. I'll post my prognostications on Wednesday.

For now though, enjoy the lunch Reader. Here's an extra napkin.