Friday, October 1, 2010

Trivial Update - Ralphie's Run

#ThursdaysRTrivial episode 62 is coming up right after this PSA: Buffalo dung is only biodegradable at 5280 feet.

#ThursdaysRTrivial episode 62 "Bison and Dressing, then Pumpkin Pie" It's the Twitter Twivia show that's never gasping for oxygen...well, except after @namaman eats too much bean dip. REPLY back your answer for a chance at a fabulous prize. The Colorado mascot first appeared in 1934 on Thanksgiving Day in a win over the University of Denver. How much did the students spend to rent the calf?

Remember Ralphie? The female behemoth that nearly trampled the hedges back in '06 before one of her cowgirl handlers slipped and fell to the turf...?

You can require more than one leash and up to 6 handlers with fake chaps, but that doesn't mean you can upstage a dog that rests his manhood on a bag of ice for a living. Bitch please! But one thing Ralphie does have over the world's greatest mascot is a couple decades. Just ask anyone you know from the 1934 class at the University of Denver.

Go ahead...ask...

And evidently Shan was part of that class, cuz he knew those crazy bison herders paid $25 to rent Killer's calf. And for that he gets my Friday bar bill at the Boulder Beer Company and a giftcard to Ted's Montana Grill where he can eat as many buffalo chips as his heart desires. Alan slogged across the finish line, so he picks up my toll bill from the trip and an authentic guitar case from a hippie in downtown Boulder.

Well done boys. You can wipe your feet off before you leave.

**ADDENDUM** Nama also tweeted in, real late. He gets an official Colorado Tree Hugger tandem bike.

The Secret's Out...

...they know we're bringing AJ.

But there's nothing magical about that haircut Andy. (Whoa! Hey!)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Throttling Down

Yesterday we popped the clutch on offense. Today let's throttle down with the defense.

This Colorado offense is more perplexing than the defense. Although I would argue that the defenses Aaron Murray and company have faced are inarguably tougher, the Buffaloes' offense seems to have series of hits and misses very similar to the Dawgs' this season. 
Some of the same old problems that have led to four consecutive losing seasons have tripped up this season`s team, including penalties, missed assignments and players trying to do more than what they have been asked to do. Then there have been moments of brilliance featuring the athleticism and determination fans have hungered to see.
McKnight and quarterback Tyler Hansen correctly pointed out Tuesday that the offense and special teams have generally put the defense in bad situations in the early going this year. If the Buffs can play better in those two phases of the game, they should be in position to win more games because the defense is playing well enough to win.
At quarterback, it's all Tyler Hansen. He's thrown all 85 passes this season, completing 54 of them (63.5%) for 558 yards and 4 touchdowns. He's also thrown 4 INTs in three games, most of which came in their loss to California.

At running back, Rodney Stewart (#5) is the workhorse with 67 carries for 253 yards, including 106 yards in the win against Hawaii. But Brian Lockridge (#20) is their burner. After getting little in the way of carries the first two games, Lockridge exploded on Hawaii for 109 yards on 14 carries. At 5'7" and 185 lbs, this Carlton Thomas sized back seems to be a good set up for a screen pass. But ironically, he is seldom used as a receiver. He had one catch in '07 (for 22 yards) and just 3 last season. So far this season he has one for -2 yards.

And at receiver, Scotty McKnight (#21) and Toney Clemons (#17) are the go to guys as they have accounted for nearly half of Hansen's completions and 3 of his 4 TDs. But the Buffs have a total of 11 players with at least a reception. For the most part, Colorado uses "groupings" when substituting, meaning they send in packages of players for specific situations or play calls. They have two TEs with catches, but it appears that Walters (#81) is used to block primarily while Deehan (#34) also has 7 catches for 83 yards.

All in all, Coach Hawkins wants balance in the play calls. However, their difficulty running the ball has proven to be an obstacle that Dawg fans are all too familiar with. California was able to hold the Buffs to 73 yards on 42 carries. If Georgia can come close to replicating that and force some third and longs, Hansen may help us with some turnovers.

Along those lines, one thing I'll be paying particularly close attention to is our d-line rotation. I'm still curious as to why Geathers didn't play in Starkville. Garner I'm sure would rather go with Tyson's experience, but Kwame has matched him in tackles in fewer snaps. Plus he just seems to get in the backfield more so I'd like to see him get in the mix in Boulder given our lack of pressure up front.

Colorado's o-line isn't the largest we'll see, but they definitely have SEC size (average 304 lbs) and plenty of experience. Right Guard David Bakhtiari (#59) is the only underclassmen who isn't buried on their depth chart. He's a RS Freshman who stands 6' 4" and weighs 290. The rest are juniors and redshirt seniors. So we don't get any favors this week in the trenches.

However, I still feel like our defense should match up well against CUs offense. Hopefully Grantham can avoid the early scores that have hurt us the last 3 weeks. If we can do that and successfully stop the run with seven guys, that should bode pretty well for a victory in Boulder.

Another Tailgating Option in Boulder

In addition to the info posted by Cheri last week, she has come up with yet another option for those who find themselves wandering the streets of Boulder Saturday, thirsty...I just shudder at the thought of anyone getting to the game dehydrated.

Avery Brewing is open for business at 10AM Saturday. So if you're thirsty, they challenge your taste buds to try and keep up with their brew.

(BDB endorses responsible beer drinking, from glasses and everything)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Popping the Clutch

The offense has sputtered to a near halt. So it's time to start anew, and get this thing in gear. Can it happen in Boulder Colorado? We'll find out Saturday evening when the Dawgs meet the Buffaloes at Folsom Field. And getting #8 back can certainly provide the pop! to get this red and black engine motoring again.

This is AJ Green's third season in Athens. He intimated yesterday that it may not be his last. We'll see; it's a long way until January. But if it is his last season here as expected, he will leave UGA having never played a full one - nagging injuries in '08 and '09, then shelved with an illegal jersey for four games this season.

But he's the type of player that can open things up for himself, his quarterback and his fellow pass catchers. No one should be happier for AJs return than Orson Charles and Aron White. Well, maybe they do take a space in line behind Aaron Murray.

Another thing that may help pop the clutch to Bobo's offense...the Colorado defense. The Buffaloes are stingy with rushing yards, giving up just 71 yards per game (2nd in Big 12, 7th nationally). But they are giving up 241 passing yards a game (10th in Big 12, 87th nationally) as well as 22.7 points per game (9th Big 12, 59th nationally). 

Additionally, this is one of the smaller fronts (ref: CUBuffs depth/grouping chart) we'll see. They're biggest lineman is Will Pericak (#83) at 6-4, 280. After him there's a steep dropoff in size and production among the defensive line. BJ Beatty (#59) appears to be their biggest pass rushing and play making threat with 2.5 sacks, 9 total tackles and 5.5 TFLs. In the secondary, Anthony Perkins (#46) leads the team in tackles with 24 (14 solo) and 2 takeaways, an INT and a fumble recovery.

And if Carlton Thomas does indeed get the start, let's hope there's space out in the flats with safeties extra conscious of a #8 deep threat. PWDs belly button rule in full effect. Thomas and King both are best equipped on the edge. I'd also like to see Branden Smith stretch this defense to the sidelines with his speed on a reverse or two.

Before you know it we might even get to third gear for the first time since Labor Day weekend.

Locker Notes - Buffy the 1990 Slayers

So they're gonna celebrate their Nat'l Championship Saturday. Black us out. Sure. Sounds cool.

Oh, and have I mentioned that Ralphie is a girl? Ain't that a bitch?
  • Coach Bobo - Grantham's been holding teams in check. Let's get off to a fast start and try playing with a lead.
  • AJ Green - Welcome back. In case you haven't noticed, we could use a spark. Kinda like the one in Tempe.
  • Coach Searels - There's a bench behind you. Should fit anyone who can't block.
  • Rantavious Wooten - Again...please re-introduce yourself to Coach Mike Bobo. He's the one with the bloody nose.
  • Coach Richt - Hawkins thinks we're hungry. Let's show him how the big Dawgs eat.
  • Ben Jones - Maybe try eating some turf before the game.
  • Caleb King - There's a big game coming for you. I can feel it.
  • Branden Smith - Please remind Coach Bobo of you play in action. He's the one with the play call sheet...I think.
Those are mine. Now WhatchagotLoran?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Lakatos Way is a Question of When

From the stands against Arkansas I watched one of our starting cornerbacks hunker down at the line of scrimmage pre-snap. At that moment I applauded his aggressiveness. I practically licked my lips in anticipation.

Then it happened. The ball was snapped. It was a running play from the start. Our guy went right after their receiver and ended up getting dumped on his ass right in front of our bench. He then had the long walk of shame back to the huddle with a Hog right in his earhole.

Four games in we uncomfortably realize our d-backs aren't fully ready for Grantham's scheme and Lakatos' method. If you're as yet unsure, you can catch up with the rest of us by reading this piece on second year new England Patriot defensive back Darius Butler. The former UConn Husky spent Sunday getting torched by the Jets. The Boston Globe article goes generously into Butler's history and transition into a future second round pick out of UConn.

Butler didn't play d-back in high school. He was a quarterback, but he was athletic. Coach Lakatos prepared him from the moment he stepped foot on campus. I found this assessment of Butler very interesting:

After a year of learning and preparing for the position, Butler became a four-year starter. He was a captain for two seasons and had 10 career interceptions and 180 career tackles. When NFL scouts were assessing Butler’s ability, the buzzwords were athleticism, footwork, and ball handling, Lakatos said.
Butler may have played the position for four years, but he constantly had things to work on. Getting the timing of his jumps to compete with talented receivers was at the top of the list.
“That’s the hardest thing about the position in general is timing,’’ Lakatos said. “Just being able to get your hands on the ball at the right time and having the strength to dig it out. He’s increased his strength from the time he left [UConn], and that’s something he continues to work at. When you’re a corner, and you’re not strong enough, you get bounced around a bit.’’
There was enough the Patriots liked about the 5-foot-10-inch, 190-pound Butler to take him with their second-round pick in 2009 (41st overall). He found his way into 14 games his rookie season, collecting 33 tackles and returning an interception against the Texans 91 yards for a touchdown.
That's an interesting analysis of a guy that's sub 6 feet, sub 200 pounds and arrived on campus as a D-1 player who had never played defensive back. Certainly, every player is different. But the learning curve is just as steep for our current personnel. In fact, an argument can be made that it is more so. After all, Grantham wants to run a defense that is about the antithesis of what our guys were playing under in previous seasons.

Footwork. Timing. Ball handling.

I'm not one who's completely dissatisfied with the play of our defense. Nearly the opposite. Strictly statistically speaking, they've met my expectations to this point in the season. The question though has to do with going forward.

Our defensive staff faces some tough decisions. Carolina and Arkansas have large, physical wide receivers. I thought we'd see some better matchups Saturday, but the reality is MSU didn't need to pass much. The coaches seem to be going more and more zone coverage to hide the problems with our lack of pass rush. Perhaps as well to save our guys from losing face in front of their teammates.

Otherwise, we could be staring at the headline of that Butler article square in the face on the front page of the ABH - ______ burned, but not beaten....??

A Hotline to a Warm Seat

I surprised myself last night and listened to the call-in show. It was surprisingly cathartic. Am I still pissed and looking for drywall that has yet to be punched? In a word, yes. I think I'm somewhere between depression and acceptance. Listening in on Scott and Coach Richt didn't push me over the either direction.

Jim was quick in getting the transcript up, at least he's in mid-season form. Here's the important part for me:
Lance in Uvaldo thinks FSU players in the 1990s and UGA players in the early 2000s really went out and played heart. If a player doesn’t have his heart in it .. it’s got to start there. Maybe we just don’t have the intensity level we did in years past.
CMR said we do need to play harder. We’re playing hard, but are we playing as hard as we possibly can? Football is a game of momentum. You’d like to have everyone playing their hardest every minute of every game. It’s like in the Arkansas game in the fourth quarter? Bottom line is we need to make plays that will generate that enthusiasm level that will take everyone beyond where they thought they could get. 
I didn't see any heart Saturday. I still maintain that Coach Richt isn't going anywhere anytime soon. But if we are going to make the remains of this season something north of depressing, it starts with getting our players to play with Bulldog Pride. This isn't CMRs only challenge, but it's a big one.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday's Meatloaf - Stark Raving Mad

The (crap) hit the fan Saturday night. And when that happens the once proud and united Dawg Nation gets divided into factions. Some want heads to roll, NOW! Some are willing to keep personnel matters on the backburner. Some have never experienced this level of dysfunction. The rest of us have been down this road before.

But this is the first time we've been 1-3 during the social media age, so everyone feels it necessary to share their opinion. (Yes, as a blogger that is me the pot calling you the kettle black...whatevs) I've read both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. Y'all don't worry, Richt's got this thing handled. Go Dawgs! Richt couldn't coach his way outta a wet paper bag. Go Dawgs! (last example cleaned up a bit so as not to offend my younger clickers) 

The truth, as is often the case, is somewhere in the middle. He most definitely does not have this thing handled. Otherwise our line of scrimmage wouldn't have gotten manhandled by Missifrick'n State. Yet he's proven he can coach, and bears the rings to prove it. The reality is as fans we must resist the temptation to fall in the rut many fans are trying to pull us in. They see 1-3 and wanna treat it like 2-10. For them the leaves have already fallen and the Salvation Army is already stationed outside of Wal-Mart.

There's a time and place for everything. We have certain rights as fans. We pay for those seats in Sanford, we suffered through Ray Goff. We skipped our share of Friday morning classes and we paid our dues in downtown bars. We walked abreast of the Arches in hopes of one day having the privilege of walking through them.

We can (and should) be mad. If things are bright and rosy in your Dawg morning Reader, your prescription of happy pills may soon need a refill. Yet, if you think it's your right to mandate change and spout off at the piehole...well, just remember one thing: while you're blowing your hot air, there's football left to play. So as you spread your vile Christmas Cheer in the waning days of September, the players are getting ready for the next challenge.

Things are not bright and rosy in my morning. But when the weather's less than fair is when my team needs my bark the most. How 'bout you?

Today's Ingredients
  • Groo is offering triage, but wonders how much first aid can help.
  • Meanwhile, in Quinton's eyes, we need a prescription from AD McGarity because the diagnosis is in.
  • Given our offensive woes, I do have a silver lining of hope to offer. Since the air's thinner in Boulder, we should be in Blair Walsh's range most of the night Saturday.
  • Demetre Baker is no longer with the team after his arrest Sunday morning.
  • Here's what they're saying back in Starkville. Pretty fair analysis. But I still maintain that hit on Ealey was more than a game changer. It was illegal.
  • Streit, like many of us, finds himself much closer to the edge.
  • The mess Saturday night left The Senator wonderin'... 
  • Exile thinks it could be worse for Dawg fans. We could be recovering from a home loss to UCLA.
  • Murray Poole hopes the self-inflicted wounds don't find their way into the travel luggage this week.
  • Over at the DawgPost, Dean Legge adds his thoughts ($$) on a new low while Chad Simmons' updates us on the 2011 recruits' reactions ($$).
  • McGinty's coming to grips 
  • Verron Haynes will always be remembered for that one play. But recently I've thoroughly enjoyed following him on Twitter. He's engaging and eternally positive. So I was thrilled when Jennifer from La Jolla shared her interview with him. It provides a picture of a tremendous man, great father...and a Damn Good Dawg!
  • For those already looking forward to basketball season (yep, that's about everyone...), DaugMan is glad we got Georgia's Mr. Basketball. But also wishes we had nabbed Polee.
  • Lastly, with our bowl hopes clinging to a thread right now, Erica sends this nugget in just in time. You can register to win the Ultimate Bowl Tour once a day through November 15th. 5 games, 9 days, 1 winner. Maybe it's you!
I mentioned yesterday that one of the more disturbing things to me Saturday was the lack of leadership. I'm pretty sure Kris Durham wanted a win. And I'm definitely sure Aaron Murray did. But we should be seeing it all over the place in times like this. Have the players had a come to Jesus meeting yet? You know, the one where Chapas shuts the door in Coach Richt's face and says, It's ok Coach...I got this one.

Believe you me, I'm putting my money where my keyboard is. I'm down, despondent. I ran out of corners to curl up and cry in yesterday. I need words of reason. I knew listening to the Dawgcast last night wasn't going to make me feel better about a loss to Missifrick'n State, but I was thrilled Derek and ol' Dawg didn't let it turn into their Thanksgiving show.

In my current state I can't tell if up is down or if right is wrong, but I know reasoned realism when I see and hear it. So for your words Rex, I thank you. I wasn't on the ledge like some fans, but my head does hurt from constructing that hole in the wall next to my television set.

I also look to my own parents. It's a good time for a break. A break in SEC play will be nice. A trip to Boulder is just what the doctor ordered. I don't need a new coach right now, I need fresh thin air and cold beer from an endless Rocky Mountain stream.

Unless of course Mom doesn't make it through customs tomorrow night. Then I'm heading to England for two weeks with Dad. I can hunker down with a few pints there, pass the chips ya bloke! 

As for you, here's your napkin Reader. Don't fumble it at the goalline.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Freshman LB Arrested - UPDATED

UPDATED - Baker Dismissed by CMR.

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

Demetre Baker was arrested in the wee hours this morning on three alcohol related charges: DUI, underage possession and improper driving.
The 19-year-old Baker was reportedly charged by ACC police with DUI, improper driving and underage possession of alcohol. He was booked at 4:26 a.m. 

Baker did not make the trip with Georgia's team for Saturday night's defeat at Mississippi State and has spent much of the season to this point as member of the Bulldogs' scout team.  
There's never a good time to get arrested for being a dumbass. But as Coach Richt deals with the backlash of losing to MSU and getting Georgia off to their worst start since the 1950s....probably not a good time to be in his office to try and explain your mugshot.

I would just go back to bed again, but every time I wake up the nightmare has a new more disturbing twist and turn. Just damn.

Sunday Thoughts - Stop the Insanity

South Carolina and Arkansas have proved to be credible opponents, even at this early juncture of the season. But Missy State is a program that is still building. It was on the road, but there's no excuse to losing to them.
  • The appropriate perspective is that we are a program building towards next season, yet with plenty to play for this season. Unfortunately, we played like the former and not the latter last night.
  • And for that there is little to no excuse. Understand, I'm not condoning the discourse that demands Coach Richt's head. He's our head coach today, tomorrow and next season. But in my estimation he needs to evaluate how he prepares his team for play. He took a young, growing, talented team into Starkville MS and lost to a team that is not as deep, but wanted it more. No excuses, it starts at the top.
  • If Coach Richt wants to be coaching this team beyond 2011, he needs to instill that urgency in his staff first, and his players second. Because right now, it's not there. It's not even in the same area code.
  • As far as specifics in the game, I was right about Murray to Durham being the difference. But I didn't account for poor ball protection and poorly timed penalties.
  • The only ray of sunshine this morning is Aaron Murray. More on this later, but Granthams' defense has let us down. Bobo's offense has let us down. But Murray has been above expectations. Yes, he had some very poor decisions last night that could've been disastrous. But he has guts and a desire to win. If a redshirt freshman continues to be a shining example of leadership for this team, that says a lot for the lack of leadership that we saw last night.
  • The last play of the 3rd quarter exemplifies how I feel about this kid. Facing a crucial 3rd and 6, he goes deep and trusts his receiver (Tavarres King) to make the play. Stood up, stepped in and made a throw.
  • Offensively, I thought last night was a microcosm of the season. No one ready to step up to the challenge. Ealey was on the cusp, but fumbled it away. Murray wants to, but isn't quite ready. Offensive line has the experience to, but can't seem to dominate for more than a series of downs. AJ....he was in Athens frackin' Georgia....
  • Defensively, I thought we looked like a team in transition. After the first few minutes we played well. But wilted down the stretch. Our pass coverage seems lost between aggressive and Martinezesque. As much as that should seem expected, I had a much different set of hopes. Chris Damn Relf isn't the QB that should've beat us with his legs and his arm.
  • Special teams continue to disappoint. We need kickoff coverage and punt coverage to help with field position. Yet they continue to do the opposite.Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...
If I'm hurting now, I know you are Reader. I argued earlier that the two toughest games of the season could be behind us. They were both games that could've been wins. Then came last night. Mississippi Sate is no South Carolina or Arkansas. If you're Georgia you win games like this. I expected it to be close for 3+ quarters, but it was the other dogs that pulled away at the end.

I can only urge you to draw closer to this team, this coach. I'm as mad at Coach Richt and his staff as you are. But the reality is that no matter what is said or written...he's our guy. If you start pulling for this season to go in the toilet, you're not a Dawg fan. Strap your chin strap on tight. It's gonna be tough.