Saturday, September 11, 2010

Couple Quick Thoughts...

I'm sick and disgusted just like you. I'll try and have some more cogent Sunday Thoughts in the morning.

But right off the bat, two things. I certainly underestimated the job Shawn Elliot has done with the Carolina offensive line. I thought they would play over their heads, but they were good. Not dominant by any stretch, but played solid.

Secondly, I underestimated that kid Lattimore. He did his share to make his line look good and we were not up to the challenge of stopping him. My gut tells me Spurrier kept just enough under wraps with this kid against Southern Miss to keep us off balance. At least in the first half. And give the freshman credit; in the waning moments when his team needed him and a few yards, he was no chicken little.

Not looking forward to the rewatch. But when I do I'll be looking for these things:
  • why Nick Williams didn't factor more into the safety rotation
  • how many yards Ealey missed by succumbing to first contact
  • offensive play-calling; how much does Bobo trust Aaron Murray thus far...??
If you were at the game, at least you have plenty of time to get outta Hell. And if you're at home, at least you have time to digest this loss before bed so you don't wake up with that complete feeling of despondency.

In Remembrance

Friday, September 10, 2010

Carolina Preview - Get'N Cocky

I've had my doubts about this game. And now we have to throw the AJ Green suspension on top of it. But suddenly...if I'm that old dude on that ESPN day of the game show, I've got that wooden pencil in my hand and am about to shove it down Herbie's throat.

Not so fast dear Reader!

It's true, we played our best offense when AJ was out last year. Like ecdawg's reader pointed out, it's not that we're a better team when AJs benched...we just seem more focused. Our offense clicks more readily.

Why is that? Perhaps it starts with Coach Bobo's mindset and filters down to his playbook. But it also has something to do with the defense we're up against. They suddenly have more questions in their heads than answers. At least that's the way I see it.

Would I like Aaron Murray to have #8's hands to depend on in his first SEC road test? Sure. But getting Ealey back may be a bigger key.

All that being said, I think this game comes down to one thing: offensive line. Carolina's defense is stout. They're missing some pieces, but Ellis Johnson is always prepared and has them well coached. Our line is going to be stretched to their capacity, called on to be ready for a difficult challenge. And I think they'll be ready.

At least more so than the chickens. Our defense may have been going against a mediocre mid-major last week, but the key components were evident. They tackled, they hustled, the LBs covered midfield and the flats...they dictated the play. All that and I don't think Grantham's even begun to show his hand, yet.

In short, I don't think the Lamecocks are ready for Justin Houston. And they're certainly not ready for Coach Todd Grantham.

Dawgs 30
Fowl    13

Trivial Update - Running Thru the Chicken Coop

#ThursdaysRTrivial ep. 59 coming up right after this PSA: Grab a chicken Dawg. Almost time to smoke em!

#ThursdaysRTrivial episode 59 "Running Thru the Chicken Coop" It's time for the Twitter Twivia Show that never has that tired old chicken $hit smell. At least not on gamedays. REPLY back your answer for a chance at a fabulous prize. The last time the Dawgs barked in Chickumbia, this player was second on the team in rushing yards, but led the team in longest rush after a 30 yard jaunt down inside the Visor's 5 yard line. Who was he?

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Just two years ago we went into Lamecock Land pretty full of ourselves. High ranking. All star QB and an electrifying running back. But like most trips there, we quickly began to realize that this time would take as much guts, determination and quick legs as any other.

Stafford's legs weren't quite fast enough to take him to Glory, Glory...but it certainly stirred up the fowl. (about 2 minutes in if you're pressed for time)

Good stuff. A h/t to Mackie on the video sequence.

Back to the trivia, it was Adam who chimed in first, but he quickly redacted his tweet. Let's just say his reasoning was there, but his logic was off. Then came Scott who correctly guessed the current Detroit Lions QB (and reserve QB on my fantasy team) followed by Ally. These three tweeps are clearly ready to taste the chicken.

I've got some framed pictures to give out today. Although none are autographed, I can assure you they are chicken waste free. Scott gets one of the game saving fumble recovery. Ally claims the one of Spurrier's curious and quizzical jaw jut. Classic! And Adam...he gets one of Carlton Thomas.

Remember where to place the beer cans tomorrow Reader.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

About AJ...and his jersey

Am I mad at the NCAAs ruling? Yes. Does it jive with Marcel Dareus' two games? No. But this is about one person, Adriel Jeremiah Green. My surprise at the ruling yesterday doesn't come close to the depths of my disappointment in AJ.

We thought we knew him. He's the kid that not only makes plays, but then carries himself just as gracefully when he returns to Planet Earth. He's as humble off the field as he is talented on it. But he turned his back on his teammates. He took a calculated risk knowing his coaches trusted his judgment; the same coaches and staff who undoubtedly had warned him of the NCAAs rules. He got caught. And now those players must go on without their 1st string All-SEC wide receiver. Those coaches must gameplan without their greatest weapon.

The fans...? Most are lashing out against the NCAA. Again, I get that. They've made themselves an easy target. As PWD pointed out using Clay Travis' twitter feed, a felony counts as less punishment than something that is legal. But AJ knew the rules. He risked it anyway. He lost. The talented receiver who catches everything thrown his way was caught himself.

We've all made mistakes. God knows I've made plenty. And I've never had mine so publicly played out for the world to digest. But AJs no victim here. I don't feel sorry for him. It was AJ who decided that a few hundred bucks was more important than playing college football. At some point he decided he would defy the rules, and turn his back on the coach who's been there for him for nearly a decade.

Can we win games without AJ Green? Absolutely. We will, in fact. Can we forgive AJ? Certainly, he's still a Dawg. But that doesn't mean he's the one who's been wronged. My point is simply, he's the one who was.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Focusing on PRACTICE Jerseys

AJ Green is gone for four games, pending appeal. I guess I shouldn't be stunned that Chuck Oliver's source inside Butts-Mehre is actually a crack dealer on Ponce. I'm still a little surprised by the ruling, but it is the NCAA we're talking about. However, neither touches my disappointment in AJ.

But for now, Coach Mark Richt:
Certainly I’m disappointed with the outcome. However, we have games to play, and that’s where our focus needs to be in the coming days and weeks. Other players will have to step forward and I’m confident they will do that.
Go Dawgs! 


- - - - - - - - - - - - -

He'll be cleared, soon. Chuck Oliver broke the story from what I can tell. I checked around some other sites last night that followed his lead. The consistent conclusion is that whatever punishment in terms of games will be time served. It apparently had to do with a jersey AJ sold to a third party. He evidently has made restitution and is ready to crush some souls in the Carolina secondary.

We all knew it was never about South Beach. But it just goes to show you how powerful words can be. That tmz entertainment conglomeration isn't in the sports biz. But they interrupted their coverage of millionaire whores to do a little whoring themselves, stating that AJ was also a guest at the party in Miami that had implicated the UNC players among others.

Evidently some pencil pusher in NCAA Compliance also logs onto tmz every now and again to catch pictures of Megan Fox's latest tattoo. So as a result AJ had to be investigated. Which leads me to my bigger point.

Because AJ had to answer investigators' questions as well as those from Coach Richt and the Butts Mehre brass, the truth about the jersey was certain to emerge. I'm sure they checked into his recently purchased insurance policy. Perhaps that lead to discovering an extra $1000. One false story lead to a dirty subplot. 

The fact that AJ Green is playing Saturday tells me he was honest and forthright with his coach first and the NCAA foremost. It tells me all I need to know to put this ridiculousness behind me. Words are indeed powerful tools that can be wielded as weapons. AJ chose the right ones to clear his name and make amends instead of wielding them on himself.

Dawg fans who've come to understand the person he is, expected nothing less.

Locker Notes - Tastes Like Chicken!

If there's a word for low functioning genetics, it sprung out of Chickumbia.
  • AJ Green - Now that the NCAA has found the napkin that they wrote Butts Mehre's phone number on, I fear for the hapless poultry that is charged with covering you. 
  • Aaron Murray - If Timmy Tebow can get sent to the hospital on a stretcher by a KenYucky LB, a chicken can easily do you great bodily harm. Eat the ball when necessary and live to play another down.
  • Derek Owens - It was nice to see your swagger firsthand. It should look even better in your first road trip.
  • Drew Butler - Still trying to figure out how you could possibly have gotten better in the off season. But it's one mystery I don't mind. Especially heading into this historically difficult matchup.
  • Ben Jones - I'd rather have him yelling at me than my mother. Just imagine Coach Searels in one ear and Momma in the other.
  • Kiante Tripp - Saw you Saturday. There's holes in this garnet and black offensive line too. GATA!
  • Jakar Hamilton - Every Saturday is bittersweet, and yet you still provide us with highlights. Amazing.
Also, for an interesting story on the truth behind Gamecock's fandom and season ticket sales, check out ecdawg's story on being in exclusive feathers. Other than that, feel free to add your own below. Here's a sharpie...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Consider the Source...

The self-proclaimed Kang of college football has tweeted. If his source is right, it brings good tidings of great joy:

From Athens: A.J. cleared tomorrow. NO Miami, NO ebay. Did sell jersey, has paid back the $$. Should be 1 game. for more

A Lamecock Update...

In his weekly news conference, the Visor intimated that he would have DB Chris Culliver back from NCAA Limbo in time for Saturday's game against the Dawgs. Culliver sat out Thursday night's opener against Southern Miss do to an NCAA investigation, one separate from WhitneyGate.

While this could mean that AJ Green's status should also be known soon, it is likely unwise to make assumptions when it comes to NCAA compliance due diligence.

Culliver recently moved from free safety to cornerback for his senior season. His experience against Aaron Murray's targets would be welcome news to all chicken farmers.

In other garnet and black headlines, Spurrier also opened up the possibility that his defense's quarterback, Shaq Wilson may miss the entire season. Wilson sat out Thursday's game with a pulled hamstring. So the injury may be deeper than originally believed. 

Why is that important? Because Wilson is exactly the type of player that would not be easily fooled by Murray's play action. Wilson's replacements on the other hand are...
Tony Straughter and Quin Smith were fine there Thursday against Southern Miss -- Straughter even picked up, and returned, a fumble -- but you don't get to play Southern Miss all season.

Physically, there might not be an incredible dropoff from Wilson to, say, Straughter. But mentally it's not even close. Wilson knows every little facet of Johnson's scheme - and he's seen most SEC offenses by now.
That's all for now. I'm off to fax the NCAA...again. 

When Awesome is too Awesome

You know your kickers are amazingly good when two long FGs and a handful of great punts aren't among the video clips on the coach's own weekly highlight show. I watched the Mark Richt Show yesterday and didn't see any of Drew Butler's long range missiles or Blair Walsh's field goals.

Saturday's ho-hummer: Butler averaged over 46 yards on six punts and had three downed inside the 20. Walsh connected from 52 and 48 yards.

I mean, if Chris Low recognizes a great day off the feet...
Georgia’s kickers: There are weapons in the kicking game, and then are Drew Butler and Blair Walsh....You don’t want to get into a kicking contest with the Bulldogs.
...shouldn't Coach Richt and Chuck Dowdle? I guess when you're used to it game in and game out...maybe not.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday's Laborious and Somewhat Sour Meatloaf

Happy Labor Day to you and yours Reader. Some big bites today, so we're using the everyday china in lieu of of styrofoam. You just can't get ready for Chickumbia with disposable goods.

courtesy David Manning
You know how when you pour a tall glass of sweet tea on a hot summer day? The ice crackles a bit as the brewed sugary goodness cascades over the cubes and fills the glass from the bottom to the top. A full 16 ounces of liquid refreshment that is just as eager to satisfy you and you are eager to gulp!

That's the feeling coming away from Saturday's effort. The entire team seemed eager to thrill, played with an ardent desire to do bodily harm and refused to remove their cleat from a lesser opponent's throat lest the cleat marks fade away too soon.

And as satisfying as that was, there's still a sour taste. Yes, this tea was left out too long and soured a touch. AJ Green's stats are nil. His silver britches were practice shorts. As much as I want to bark from my rooftop, I can't get past this. I'm sour myself. Bitter.

And in times like these I always find it wise to focus on that which we can control. I've seen some people refer to AJ as suspended. He was lumped into a category with Tavarres King and Washaun Ealey by numerous people who wear red and black. They even made such an egregious error on the post game call in show.

Some California fruits and nuts entertainment site and the NCAA have done enough to sully AJs good name. Let's not add to that within our own ranks.

Today's Ingredients
courtesy David Manning
  • Lotssa reactions to Saturday, let's start with Cousin Walter over at Football on the Brain who saw some things he didn't see last year.
  • Exile runs down the good, the bad...but runs short on the ugly.
  • Lucid Idiocy wonders who holds the NCAA accountable for their actions. You beat guys...y'all been doing that, right? Cuz we have.
  • Herschel Blogger was just as unimpressed as I was in Tebow 2.0.
  • Former Dawg Ben Dukes enjoyed the taste, but is ready for SEC football.
  • Aaron Murray's goal was to have fun, and he did on Saturday.
  • Forget cocks, Spurrier has Grantham envy
  • Carvell says Hutson Mason and USC (the other one) are changing GAs rep for QB talent.
  • New to the Dawg beat, Gentry Estes runs down the eligibility uncertainties in the SEC opener.
  • No, I didn't chuckle at the post-game caller who criticized Grantham for the post defensive lapse (notice, singular...) tirade. But you can count me among those in this category.
  • "I saw guys running to the ball, I saw guys playing physical. I think overall it was a solid performance." My...what Rennie Curran coulda done under Coach Grantham.
  • I didn't expect Drew Butler to actually get better in the off season. But he may have done just that. As Hamp explained to me, it's like a howitzer. A perfect, LONG shot off the foot that is always on target. Here's his other impressions from Saturday.
  • In regards to Murray Saturday, perhaps the Senator put it bestMurray is going to have to think about what Ellis Johnson will throw at him, but it’s not as if he didn’t give Johnson a few things to think about from yesterday’s game, either.  He’s got a live arm, even if it isn’t Staffordesque, and he’s mobile enough that South Carolina is going to have to stay focused on containment with its pass rush...
  • Simmons catches up with Carver's Isaiah Crowell after a dramatic win Friday night over Buford.
  • Raise your hand if you're surprised Les Miles could be outcoached by Butch Davis who couldn't even fill his own three deep? No one? one? Me either. Always good to get a W, even if you have to steal it I guess.
  • Lastly, really...what's the difference in me buying a 6pack of PBR tallboys Saturday morning at 6:30am and 7:01am? With all these early kicks, the only person I feel more sorry for than myself was the little check out girl at Kroger that has to explain this silly GA law over and over again on Saturday mornings.
If there's a silver-britched lining to the NCAA/AJ mess, it's that he should be cleared in time for Saturday's SEC opener. And if so, I'm sure he'll be especially hungry for catches, yards and points.

photo.JPGOn a happier note, it was really nice to get back to Athens this weekend. I hope you were able to as well Reader. And as a result, I'd like to give some tailgate shout-outs to wrap-up this end of the main course.

First of all, Nama. The only thing he does better than tailgating is vlawg'n. He'll have video evidence of how badly my cornholin' training camp was later this week. Chuck...for kicking Cord out of his car...otherwise I wouldn't have been subjected to a 45 minute TCU-OSU preview at 7am. Awesome.

Donna from Dacula. Yet another great Cedar Shoals graduate. Chuck from Milledgeville and the Wrangler for having a great Dawg tailor. Cohen, for his great taste in beer and his mom for her quick hands. Cord for the duck sausage...if that ain't cajun, I don't know what is. And Tanner and the Wrangler for the cornhole lessons. I can't remember the last time y'all lost.

For the rest of you, it's chicken week. Shove a beer can up it's ass nether region and let's GATA!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Ragin' Thoughts

Seeing AJ Green in shorts on the sideline made me sick to my stomach. So my first thought is to roll TMZ up with NCAA compliance and burn em both to the ground. Burn em like the defensive backs that AJ runs by and jumps over. Burn em.

That's one thought, here's a few more:
  • Aaron Murray had a great redshirt freshman season opener. That may be the fairest way to put it. His mistakes were fixable and he made some plays with the arm and his feet.
  • The defense played with intensity the entire game. It was like our D suddenly enjoyed playing again. Practically flawless against a lesser opponent. Acted as if each series desperately needed to be a three and out.
  • Ultimately, the defense played as if everyone is still fighting for playing time. My God! What a wonderful thing.
  • The only part that was lacking was the running game. Ealey woulda helped. Hope he has a very mundane week. And comes hungry for some chicken.
  • I was wrong yesterday about AJ playing, was right about Hutson...and shoulda been right about the punt block. How did they miss it?
  • Lastly, great game for Kris Durham. Great to see him back on the field.
I'm exhausted. That's all I got for now. Feel free to pick up what I missed in the comments.