Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Secondary's Shoulders, Coach Lakatos' Voice

Like I said yesterday, today is a big test for our secondary. I think they'll need some help from up front, but you can't expect too many sacks and pressures the way Kentucky unloads the ball so quickly.

But perhaps the voice of Scott Lakatos will still be ringing in the defensive backs' ears...


Those were the DB coach's words for his players days after the Arkansas game. Now Boykin and Associates face their biggest test since Mallett came to town. If they are able to shoulder the burden today it will be a clear sign that they have stepped forward from the ugly shadow of ol' Willie.

Go Dawgs!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dawgs in Lexington: a preview

Some points of interest for tomorrow night as we try not to make history having lost two consecutive games to Kentucky for the first time, ever.
Don't make me tweet yo ass!
  • Has our defense really turned a corner? We'll know after tomorrow night. Kentucky loves to score as much as they love making bourbon.
  • Thank God Randall Cobb can't kick the football (at least I don't think that he can). It's nice to see him take a place on the sideline every now and then. He catches, throws, runs, returns, sells popcorn, conducts the band...even helped sell some tickets this week after calling out the fans.
  • Missing Locke would hurt Joker Phillips' club. But Cobb is the bread on which this offense is buttered. The 4th quarter game-winning TD over Carolina was Cobb's 5th of his career. Simply contain him and you're doing better than most.
  • And their QB Mike Hartline carved up a good secondary last week, 32/42 for 349 yards, 4 TD and 0 INTs. This is a big test for the Coach Lakatos' unit. I hope the front 7 is able to help out with some pressure.
  • You know what the Dawgs haven't done this season of course? on the road. In many ways they outplayed Colorado. In SEC road play, we just haven't been able to overcome crucial mistakes. There's no doubt in my mind that we can beat Kentucky. It's just a matter of how focused we can be for 60 minutes in a hostile environment.
  • Offensively it's simply about controlling the line of scrimmage and minimizing mistakes. I'm not sure if we can win a shoot-out with Kentucky on the road, but we can certainly put up a good number if we protect the football. If the players packed their razors for the trip, I sincerely hope they come home unused.
  • This game worries me a lot; has since August. It may come down to a late FG to win it. If so, it should help that Kentucky seems a bit unsettled at kicker. Could Blair Walsh recreate some magic from '78? Could he break Hap Hines' Commonwealth record? I know I wouldn't bet against him.
As much as it worries me, I'm truly looking forward to this one. Hope we're still barking about it Sunday.

Trivial Update - Hap Hines, the full Monte?

#ThursdaysRTrivial ep 64 is coming up right after this PSA: Hal we miss yo towel eating ass!

#ThursdaysRTrivial episode 64 "Nine Lives, One Joker" It's time for the weekly Twivia show that rarely plays with a full deck. REPLY back your answer for a chance at a fabulous prize. Commonwealth Stadium seats over 67,000 and has been the Wildcat home since 1972. What place kicker holds the distinction of kicking the longest field goal at Commonwealth?

During football season, I generally try to choose a question that has something relevant to the upcoming game. So when I started digging into Kentucky football history it lead me to Commonwealth Stadium, which in turn lead me to two records there painted in Bulldog red.

Buck Belue to Amp Arnold was the longest pass play of 
91 yards on October 25th, 1980.

Hap Hines kicked the longest field goal of 54 yards on October 26th, 1996.

I went with the second one thinking it might be a little more obscure...and desperate to throw off the winner of the past three weeks. Never once did I consider that Hap's record might be confined to collegiate play.

Jenn from La Jolla had other ideas. Her shot in the dark was Monte Merrick, a kicker for Western Kentucky. Had he beaten UK on a last second long one? Or had he played there in a high school game?

The answer to both was no. But Jenn played it up good, at least enough to get me on the google and dial up this Monte kid. Turns out, he's no Hap Hines. But he does have his own website. Either way, it made La Jolla a distant third. Good enough for an official Just Kick'n it with Monte t-shirt...whenever they come out with one.

Paige on the other hand, had the correct answer...just not quite quick enough on the trigger. Her Twitter might be uber, but it's no match for Shan. In it's long and glorious history, TrT has never had a 4 week winner. Ally and Alan came close, but couldn't run their streak to a full month.

As for the fabulous prizes, Paige gets a game used Hal Mumme towel and Shan gets a trophy case...and a racing form from Keeneland. It doesn't appear your luck is gonna run out anytime soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weapons on Offense Not Named AJ

Weiszer does a great job spelling out just what a difference (direct and indirect) AJ Green has meant to the Georgia offense since his return. What's been especially helpful (and refreshing) is that we've had guys ready to make the big play when defenses come out dead set on tightening a grip on #8. For example, against Vandy it was Kris Durham and Washaun Ealey with big gainers.

But the best illustration to the change in the offense the last couple weeks comes towards the end of Weiszer's piece:
Georgia rushed for 124.3 yards per game while Green was suspended and has averaged 185.3 per game since he’s been back. Tight ends Orson Charles and Aron White combined for six catches for 66 yards in the four games without Green and 12 catches for 193 in the three with him.
Certainly Kentucky will come out ready to try and stop AJ Saturday night. I wonder who will be ready for the challenge this time...

Grantham's D - Settled In, Hunker'd Down

While the last two weeks have shown us that the defense seems more confident in what they're doing, it's nice to hear the encouraging words being transmitted out of Butts-Mehre as well.

“I knew there was a possibility of a learning curve,” said Grantham, who spent the past 11 seasons in the NFL. “You’ve seen that earlier in the year because we’d play really good and then all of a sudden we give up a gimme play, a big play and those explosive plays early in the year. The fact that we didn’t win the game took away from a lot of good things that we’ve done. The difference in the last two games is we’ve won the game, which is a positive and the most important thing, but really we’ve minimized the explosive plays.”
And while it's still unclear whether Coach Grantham simplified things for his players...
Q - A couple players in the secondary said things were simplified after the losing streak...does that make sense to you?
A - Same stuff we’ve been doing.
Q - Same stuff? Is it presented differently?
A - (shakes head no)
...the truth is, I don't really care. I hope they have some more fun up there in Lexington. I hope they win the game for the team. Because it's past time this defense started getting some more attention for the vast improvements that it has made.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blowing the Candles Out on the isms

UPDATE: Some of Grizzard's books are being republished. (h/t dawgmikey)

Today would've been Lewis Grizzard's 64th birthday. As I've explained before, the man was pretty high on my awesome scale. Still is, of course. That southern gentleman's grits never get cold as far as I'm concerned.

Grizzard's impression of Dooley
Last year I celebrated the occasion by reminiscing a spell, a close encounters of the Grizzard kinda tribute. Whiskey Nazis in the Night is still my favorite column, but today's feature is another one I hold dear. Those who know me know I'm not real big on political correctness. To Grizzard it was a true Pet Peeve.
At any rate, now all of us, including myself, must deal with petism. I can no longer refer to my dog Catfish, the black lab, as my pet dog Catfish, the black lab. Catfish is now my animal companion.
It takes a gifted writer to both prove a point and have fun doing it. Grizzard could tell a tale and keep you hanging on every word dipped heavily in sarcasm and generously coated in humor. Take the issue he's making fun of above, and just imagine how much hilarity would ensue had he been around for PETA trying to force the Seilers into a robotic model instead of an Uga in the red and black tradition. I may not have survived that column without an underwear emergency.

Even though Lewis Grizzard has long been gone from under the Grit Tree, for me there will always be Great columnists and Great Columnists Not Named Lewis Grizzard. I grew up seeing the South through his horn-rimmed spectacles. He made cheering for Georgia even more passionate and brought characters like Kathy Sue and Dorsey Hill to life. My laughter never ran short. My appreciation knew no bounds.

So today's a good day to read a chapter from your favorite book, or remember a column from his archives. God Bless Grizzard. And God Bless Catfish too.

Locker Notes - KenYucky Downs

Can these Wildcats finish the race? Or will the Dawgs turn these Big Blue into sticky glue?
  • Kwame Geathers - You're impact on the box score may be slight, but we can see you drawing double teams. I'm sure Robinson and Dowtin appreciate it.
  • Alec Ogletree - There's no turning back now, fans have set your expectations through the roof. And there's no question in my mind you can set the bar higher.
  • Carlton Thomas - Some pretty big runs last week. I doubt even Justin Houston could've kept you out of that endzone.
  • Coach Grantham - Big test this week. Let's hit em hard, early. GATA!
  • Sanders Commings - Leading the team in INTs. Gonna be more opportunities out there Saturday night.
  • Aron White - Pretty clear you're ready to cross the goalline. I think Saturday's just the game for it. 
  • DeMarcus Dobbs - You remember Lexington...right?
Don't be shy. Let's see what you got Reader. 

The Red and Black...another exercise in pretension

I've gone on record before with my displeasure for the student run newspaper at the University of Georgia. Unfortunately, it now appears there's a contest to see who's a bigger douchebag than Michael Fitzpatrick. Given my frustration level with their printed drivel, I'll keep this short.

Adam Carlson is bound and determined to ignore facts in an effort to be humorous and downright cute. How else could you explain his opinion piece yesterday? The problem is the word felonious implies that there are actual felonies being committed by the football team. Most people don't need a Law 101 class to understand that speeding tickets and improper emergence from alleys are not felonies in the eye of the law. Hell, even the assault charges against former player Montez Robinson were misdemeanors.

Another problem is that it's not at all cute to ignore the fact that students all over campus are getting caught committing crimes. To cast a lily white finger towards Butts-Mehre only comes across as best.

Make jokes about 40 times and running from police Mr. Carlson. Maybe your fellow writers, aspiring TMZ  journalists will even buy you a Zima for your lack of effort. However, until you use actual facts to justify your opinion, your journalistic integrity is the only felony I see.

UPDATE: DawgFanTC takes Carlson to task in a letter to the editor.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ogletree's Expanded Role

Sometimes I swear Coach Richt tailgates with us. Because we were talking about our safety play at length Saturday morning. Then again, I bet Alec Ogletree has entered into a lot of discussions regarding Georgia football lately.

The last two games, the true freshman safety from Newnan has seen more and more snaps on defense. He's already played a pivotal role on special teams, and has been brought in on offense even to deliver a bone crushing block.

The kid loves contact more than my daughter adores puppies. He craves it as if his body depends on it for survival. And now it seems he can be trusted in pass coverage as well as run support. His role will expand in the coming weeks according to Gentry Estes.

Ogletree was the first safety off the bench during this past weekend’s 43-0 victory over Vanderbilt, subbing in for starter Shawn Williams ahead of Jakar Hamilton, who didn’t play many snaps until the fourth quarter of the blowout.
It wasn't a random move. Richt says to watch for more from Ogletree this season.
“He’s starting to work his way into the lineup,” Richt said, “the base and we’re teaching him the nickel too. So he’s going to get a lot more reps. He’s proved that he’s not going to make any more mistakes than any of those other guys. He understands it enough where coaches have a comfort level to let him play more.”
CMR even gave Ogletree mention on his call in show last night after a caller specifically mentioned Thomas Davis (Saturday's motivator) and how physical play can change the game. Richt said #9 is on the rise.

The higher the better.

We Interrupt This Football Season for Some Basketball News...

Thompkins received 18 of the 20 votes for PotY. Georgia may get a preseason nod for one of the nation's top 25 teams. It's hard to decide which is more impressive. But in truth, they go hand in hand.

Coach Mark Fox enters his second season as Georgia's head coach with a little buzz surrounding the program. The Dawgs held their own at home and gave some teams a scare last season. Thompkins and Leslie both decided to return to Athens. Excitement is building.

I remember one of the things Mark Pope spoke about before the Kentucky game back in March. Someone had asked about the team's progression with Fox's system. Pope (Fox's Operations Coordinator last season) basically said that Fox was having to coach both ends of the floor last season. The implication was that in the coming seasons the players (namely the point guard of course) would be running the offense. The recent comments from Fox have had a heavy emphasis on defense. He's not waiting for the season to start to set the tone for his players or the fans.

The media is listening. Opposing coaches have long been listening. I have a feeling the fans are gonna start filling the Steg early and often. Most importantly, they won't be disappointed.

Mumme Poll Ballot - week seven

Like last year (and many others in the blogosphere and on Twitter), I plan to make my Mumme Poll balloting transparent. So here's my ballot for this week:
  1. Oregon
  2. TCU
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Auburn
  5. Boise State
  6. Alabama
  7. Michigan State
  8. LSU
  9. Missouri
  10. Stanford
  • Oregon was easy at the top. But I had some difficulty with the order after that. When faced with pesky pecking order decisions, I try to balance strength of schedule to date and quality wins. Therefore Boise is barely in my top five.
  • One of the more interesting sub-plots to the SEC season I think will be how well Auburn handles their rise to stardom. It's one thing to use TP for Toomer's Corner, it's quite another to use it to clean yourself.
  • Towards the bottom half, I have Alabama ahead of a couple undefeated teams (four actually if you include the two that didn't make it: Okie State and Utah). This decision will either be affirmed or die in flames in the coming weeks.
  • I struggled some keeping Wisconsin out. That was a big win Saturday night. But I'm not one who was too high on Ohio State to begin with. I'm actually hoping the Badgers prove me wrong. If they beat #15 Iowa on the road Saturday there's a couple teams they should hurdle.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blowout Brings Honors

Saturday's beat down of the 'Dores has given Aaron Murray his second consecutive SEC Freshman of the Week honor. Murray accounted for over 300 total yards, by land and by air.

Also getting honored was his center as Ben Jones is the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week. According to Weiszer, Jones graded out at 100% for passing plays and 83% for the game.

Monday's Meatloaf - The Beastly East

Wow. What a wild and wacky...and wonderful Saturday of football. If only the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee had used their own Ti-89s (h/t Kathleen) to defeat the engiNerds at their own game it would truly have been one for the ages.

Better days may be behind them...
Dawgs have now dominated two inferior opponents just as we should. The fact that it has happened in consecutive weeks gets me closer to actually believing we may have shed the skin of playing down to our opponents (read: Colorado et al., ad nauseam) With the ├╝ber tough suspension of Caleb and the gritty play on the field, it appears Coach Richt is trying to regain control of this team, program. But a trip to Lexington is gonna be a true measuring stick.

Cuz these cats are wild. Came within a whisker of beating AwwBarn and managed to figure out a way to stop that Lattimore kid...tackle him into a training table. Genius! I could never come close to replicating the ignorance of a fan from South Crackalacky, but the play call at the end the other night wouldn't bother me if I were. Using the time to call it and then throwing it into a sea of blue was however deliciously perplexing.

Speaking of tasty morsels, down in Slurban City, things are slithering south fast. Dan Mullen stirred a little chaos into the swampjuice those jorters have been gulping down. Lemme quote: Urban is riding on his 2 NC's that he got for Florida. He has not done a thing lately. His football team will be unranked. The "his" jumps right out at me - denying ownership, sign #1 of dire straights. The "lately" jumps out to me too. In all fairness, it has been like a year and a half since Corch brought home a trophy.

And then this response to a "bandwagon" jab: so because we don't have blind faith in urban and we can see that his program is in shambles and he's lost his mojo we're banwagon fans. 

Awesome. I'm assuming that reptile could actually spell "bandwagon" correctly were it not for the angst in his veins. But the lack of a question mark at the end I guess makes it a rhetorical statement. Kinda like Swampbillies are cold-blooded.

Today's Ingredients
  • Perhaps the best place to start would be with a week seven wrapup. Battle Hymn Notes obliges.
  • Clarkson grades out the game. 
  • Kim ranks the top performers from Saturday. Can't say I'd argue about Butler either. Was his best game since the opener. 
  • Danny has some compelling picture evidence in regards to that mysterious incomplete pass that took away a TD for Christian Robinson.
  • Now that Blair Walsh has the UGA record for consecutive PATs, Rex updates us on where he stands in terms of the SEC record.
  • Paschall finds Washaun Ealey finally with something to smile about.
  • "...winning the game sometimes, yeah, it's good enough, but this time you can shut them out. We can stomp on them."
  • Ben Dukes offers objectivity amid the excitement.
  • I didn't know they had the Twitter in KenYucky, but evidently Randall Cobb uses it frequently to cut Big Blue fans off at the knees. Randy doesn't think this playmaker needs any more reason to be pumped about this game.
  • At least we're no longer the signature win of the Dan Mullen career in Stark'dville.
  • Big Muddy uses a mystery train to arrive at a shocking conclusion regarding floriDuh's Chas Henry.
  • the Senator wonders where all the geniuses have gone.
  • With the BCS Standings released for the first time this season, Chris Low evaluates how the SEC is faring in the race for the MNC.
  • Speaking of the BCS, Mike foreshadows great tumult and near chaos.
  • Lastly, with basketball season approaching quicker than a Travis Leslie breakaway, DaugMan offers a synopsis of Coach Fox's interview. And, found some good stuff in an interview with UKs Calipari.

So we've gone from the Folsom Field Blues to the Homecoming Highs. A welcome relief to the suffering Dawg hearts that all but broke so early in the season. But longshot scenarios are a tenuous footing even in mid-October. I'm glad the fans have something positive to talk about, but I'm sure the coaches aren't letting Atlanta enter into any discussions; at least any lengthy discussions.

He snaps the ball even better than he poses.
Sure, use the tight East race as motivation to keep working. But if the last matchup with the Wildcats back in November taught us anything it's that they are no lap kitty. Saturday night will be tough. I hope Bruce is ready to bite, cuz these cats claw. Homecoming's over. The cupcake's been eaten.

If you were to force me into a situation where I had to pick Saturday's winner, at this point I would likely go with Georgia. There are a number of things going in our favor, AJ Green, Aaron Murray, their rushing defense, Randall Cobb's twitter...

But what really swings it to our side for me at this point is a guy that can kick the whatchamacallit out of itYup, we have Blair Walsh. And Saturday may come down to a placekick (h/t Alan). 69-13-57. A winning combination from snap, to hold, to boot.

Can Frix, Butler and Walsh create their own blue grass memory? Can the running game stay on track? Will the secondary be up for the test that Joker's proctoring? Will UK fans put basketball off one more week? We've got a week to get ready, the answers are out there somewhere.

Hope your Monday has more answers than questions Reader. Here's your fork. Take it one bite at a time.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday's Vantastic Thoughts

In an effort to get the bad outta the way...the attendance yesterday truly disappointed me. I mean REALLY disappointed me.

- Well it was very nice to meet you Uga VIII. Wow! You are big and bad.
- In case you were one of the ones late to the game...yes, we used every timeout afforded us in the first few minutes. Vandy never saw THAT coming!
- Kris Durham is my PotG. Lionel Ritchie et al understandably took away AJ early and Durham stepped up BIG!
- Great game by Ealey. Ran with determination. Ran hungry. Just needs to be a little hungrier.
- Along that line, great game for the O-line. Pass protection was great and run blocking was good.
- This just in...SEC refs failed their SATs. But it could be worse, we could be Arkansas today. Damn.
- Maybe now some fans will realize our defense is vastly improved. VASTLY. That's not to say they are of championship caliber yet. And I know it was Vandy, but they didn't get into the RedZone the entire game. Sixty minutes and no...ZERO snaps inside the 20. Great game, and great preparation by Gratham et al.
- Special teams shout out to Drew Butler. Best game since Lafayette. And Blair for entering the UGA record books.
- At the tailgate we had a passionate discussion about former UGA safeties. lo and behold, Thomas Davis was on the sidelines. Hope he had an opportunity to bend Ogletree's ear.

That's a brief synopsis of what I saw. What'd you see?