Saturday, January 22, 2011

Case in Point: Thomas Brown

A couple days ago I said we had a hangover, that the last few years it's as if we have been waiting for players to step up. In short, Stafford and Moreno spoiled us. They're entering their third post-season as professionals and we're still looking for the aspirin bottle.

Dawgs and Dawgettes...I present to you, Thomas Brown:
“I think you can solve most problems with more competition...I think that’s one of the biggest things that’s different from when I was here as a player (to) what’s here now. I came in as a highly-recruited, No. 1 running back in the state of Georgia, No. 2 or three in the nation, and came in I was No. 7 on the depth chart of eight running backs. And I had to compete.

“I think that kind of makes guys raise their level of expectations. I think it’s harder for guys to be motivated when they kind of know they’re guaranteed to play.”
Thomas Brown makes barbells break a sweat. He eats iron and sprints for relaxation. If a bloody mary is the only true antidote to a hangover, perhaps Thomas Brown can be the antidote to entitlement.

Recruiting Roundup - 11 Days til NSD

The Dream team has given us what now? Well, to put it simply...we wait.

After getting commitments from Rome and Mitchell I feel that much more confident about the big uncommitted targets like Jenkins, Crowell and Drew. If I had to put a percentage on those three I would put 99% on Jenkins and Drew and about 98.5% on Crowell. But a lot can change in 11 days. Drew is set to announce his commitment on Friday; I don't expect to hear anything on Jenkins or Crowell until Signing Day.

Why so confident on them? Glad you asked.
  • John Jenkins - If he's not #1 on your board, it's just because you find Crowell's dreads so sexy. Two reasons really why I'm confident we land this guy: 1) we have a big need that he can fill both literally and figuratively. And 2) because he has placed an emphasis on family from the beginning. He said he appreciates visits to his home (all the way up in Connecticut) and Coach Richt's staff has put the rubber on the landing strips. Most notably, we're the only campus his mom will see. His entire entourage is in Athens right now. We'd have to really screw something royally to lose his fax February 2nd.
  • Ray Drew - I think he's been solid toward UGA for awhile, but carefully going through the process. He's developed a relationship with a number of UGA targets, commits, coaches and players, including Jenkins recently. Coach Richt fished with Drew back in December, the kid loves to fish even more than he loves crushing quarterbacks' dreams. If there were any doubt in my mind about his lean towards Athens it went away when the Valdosta kids put on their UGA cap. Call that blind enthusiasm if you will, but I think Drew follows suit on the 28th.
  • Isaiah Crowell - Rumors have run rampant that he's a silent verbal for Coach Richt. He's been UGAs biggest target for this class since the beginning. "Cootie" is committed and he looks to be the next Carver commit since the wall around that school came down. He's in Athens again this weekend for his official visit. I think Crowell wants to be the cherry on the top of this sweet as sugar Dream Team. And I believe that's where he sits in 11 days.
So what's left? A lot.

Kent Turene is also in town this weekend. He's a soft verbal for USC, but that's about as solid as KiffyBaby's own vocabulary. He could be swayed to stay much closer to his Fort Lauderdale home. And the doorbell at the Moultrie home of Xzavier Ward's is getting a lot of pressing. It's going to be interesting to see where he signs - MSU, Auburn and Tech are the other key figures. If Ward cools off, there are other offensive linemen we might try and steal last minute...otherwise known going forward as pulling a Kenarious GatesAnd there's a mostly confirmed rumor says offensive tackle prospect Antonio Richardson is in town for a visit. This would be huge.

It will also be interesting to see if Dickson and Bray stick with their Under Armour commitments to Alabama and Auburn respectively. With this recent momentum, as long as Coach Richt hasn't given up on them...neither should we.

Other than that we should hope we hold onto our commits. Cuz as always, none of this means anything until the Butts-Mehre fax machine eats its first doughnut.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Recruiting Roundup - 12 Days til NSD

UPDATE: click here for a great analysis of Rome and Mitchell from a guy who's seen them play a LOT more than any other expert, MikeInValdosta.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Nice to get some good news...especially in a double dose. And thanks to the guys at HedgestoHardwood for Live Blogging the day's events.

Jay Rome AND Malcolm Mitchell chose the Dawgs and will remain teammates for at least another three years. Rome even was kind enough to do so on national television where he outlined his decision:
“I think I’m going to stay in state and go to Georgia,” said Rome, who said he made the decision about a week ago. “Georgia’s a great school, has a great football history. People call it `Tight End U.’ Just at the end of the day, it just felt like I wanted to stay home, stay in state and get all the in-state love.”
As for Mitchell, we're getting yet another exceptional athlete. He may eventually end up in the defensive backfield, but he's likely too good to not throw a ball or two in his general direction. In fact, Jamie Newberg rates him as the best uncommitted WR available:
You won't find many athletes in this class rangier and faster than Mitchell, a legit two-way prospect who will have offensive and defensive coordinators fighting over his services at the next level. His blend of speed, ball skills and athleticism are off the charts. He is explosive off the line and can quickly get defensive backs on their heels. Shows he can quickly stretch a defense and get behind coverage. 
Well, mark that kid committed as well. I don't know about you, but yesterday's news made me pretty excited about NSD. There's a long way to go before ink is spilled, but kudos to CMR and staff for helping this Dawg dream a little.

Tomorrow, we'll evaluate where we go from here now that the Valdosta duo is officially committed.

Sidenote: I'm considering a couple different options for my third annual NSD journal. My first year of coverage I just typed out my journal when I got back home. Last year I kicked it up a notch and added a running post for the day with pics and videos. This year I'm thinking about making it a live blogging event. I think with the app I have for the phone I can add pics and videos with that as well. But with this you all could comment too. I would just probably need to give it a test run before the big day.

Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments if you have a preference. Or maybe I'll get a poll up and make it fully democratic...sort of.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Recruiting Roundup - 13 Days til NSD

First of all, doesn't appear Coach Searels' departure will have any affect on this year's recruiting class. Watts Dantzler even tweeted as much - 

I've found no reason to suspect any of the others feel any differently.

Of course the big news of the day centered on Carver HS as Quintavious "Cootie" Harrow committed to Coach Richt just a couple days before his official visit. The significance of this is multi-faceted. Right now, everyone wants to see how much influence Harrow can have on his close friend and the nation's top RB Isaiah Crowell. But the bottomline is that our 19th commitment is a good player that can't wait to play in Athens.
"I plan to go up to Georgia and play safety and do whatever I can to help them on special teams," Harrow said. "I just love Georgia, so I will do whatever the coaches ask me to."
The coaches from Georgia were happy this afternoon when they received the call from Harrow.
"I called Coach [Mark] Richt and told him I was ready to commit. He said, great and welcome to the family. It was exciting."
And the big news of today is the announcements of two BIG targets, Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome. I have it on good authority from Mike that Rome is all Dawg. Mitchell's a bigger gamble. Especially when Saban treats schollies like Christmas cards.

If you're planning on following the announcements live, Mitchell has declined tv and will only be on local radio at 7pm. Rome will be in Tallahassee on ESPNU around 5:30. I would imagine both can be followed pretty closely on DawgPost and especially The Porch

Lastly, what the hell is up with Stephon Tuitt? 

A 24/7 Hangover

Since the symptoms of the Georgia tackle football program are plentiful, the diagnoses are many and varied. I doubt many actually believe that a new S&C program is a complete fix all. And those calling for Bobo's head alone are casting stones with a blindfold slightly askew. But a real solid defense, one with a tenacity towards destruction and disruption...and with an identity that summated each individual number into the whole of one unit...

Well, that could go a long way toward providing the prognosis we all want to hear.

Because there's a big part of me that believes we are still working off of a Stafford and Moreno hangover. Those two players transcended their own team like select few others have in the history of Georgia football. Of course Zeier, Hearst, Champ, Greene and Pollack were superstars as well, but the success on the field always equaled and paralleled their stardom...if it didn't precipitate it altogether.

I'm not planning on belaboring my point that we've become a team waiting for something to happen instead of one initiating the contact of the sport. But it's worth some typeprint to wonder if we can once again become one unit with a defensive identity; can we have that attitude that when the game is on the line our defense will be there to make the play?

I think the reverse was true a couple years ago. We had a couple superstars that everyone looked up to...and waited for their next highlight. They left town and the bulk of it was placed on a redshirt senior QBs shoulders, and Cox practically crumbled altogether from the weight. This past season our superstar sat out four games. By the time AJ returned we were essentially at the end of our leash.

Yes, Aaron Murray appears to be the newest star on the horizon. But there's something to be said for shaking that hangover altogether and embracing an identity of a hard-nosed, in your face, we're going to end this right now!, flying to the ball defense.

Quite frankly, I'd much rather have that confident intensity when the game's in the balance this fall, than a bunch of eyes looking towards the one player they're expecting to rise to the occasion. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coach Searels, Planes and Mack Brown...

Coach Searels and his wife have left the state. They are expected to land in Austin, where one report has the UGA offensive line coach and running game coordinator being named to the Texas Longhorn staff as their offensive line coach.

Weiszer, who was one of a small gathering of reporters who met Searels at Ben Epps, said the coach was polite but had no comment.
“No comment,” Searels said when asked if he had accepted a job on Mack Brown’s Longhorns’ staff.
Searels was accompanied by his wife Patricia as he spoke outside Athens-Ben Epps airport this afternoon., the Texas affiliate, reported that Searels would fill the vacancy left on Texas’ staff when Mac McWhorter retired.
“You all always believe that?” Searels asked the three reporters who met him at the airport.
It seems like both the right and the wrong time to move to Austin Texas. Football coaching positions are tenuous at best in Athens right now. They aren't much better on the Longhorns' staff.

But regardless of how this plays out, I appreciate Coach Searels. He's a good man with a great family. I don't think he got the most out of his players this past season especially. But I always appreciate hard work, and I'm sure he put plenty of that in. 

Sometimes it's just the right time for a change.

Sympathy for Slurban...??

Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste...

One of my favorite Rolling Stones' songs. And it comes to mind because suddenly I'm having a momentary lapse of reason. I...I feel...just the...the slightest bit of sympathy for Corch Meyer.

Have you read this post by Spencer Hall? It outlines some tweets by Will Hill now that the account is public again (Hill recently declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft...presumably so he can take his debauchery and pimpin' lifestyle to a new level).

Now I know Corch is the one who brought Hill to campus. In that sense he created this headache that surely pounded his cranium for three seasons. But I begin to understand the reasoning for trying to leave after 2009 and then needing to leave after this past season. I've never met Mrs. Corch, but she can't be as rife with venereal disease and weed residue as Hill.

It's a shame Hill didn't need to spend overtime of the WLOCP in the locker room getting his next dose of penicillin...or in his car wit mommy...

Recruiting Roundup - 14 Days til NSD

Today's news:

  • Xzavier Ward has one of the busiest doorbells in the state, as his recruiting has heated up significantly. Despite only being able to offer him a grayshirt, UGA appears to be in this. This according to his Colquitt County coach, Rush Propst:
“I’ve had several of my former players, including [Atlanta Falcons backup QB] John Parker Wilson at Alabama, do the grayshirt thing, and it has always worked out well... I’ve told Xzavier exactly what it means, and he’s OK with it.”
  • Georgia coaches have been taking a little grief over not pressing harder for Ward's LOI. But truthfully, they have 5 OL commits already, two of which figure to be growing into the tackle position that Ward is sized for. A grayshirt (where he signs a Feb 2011 LOI, but agrees to wait and enroll next January...therefore counting against next year's 25) seems to be the best they could do.
  • How easy is it to commit a secondary violation in the NCAA? Weiszer explains how Coach Richt slipped up while trying to return a simple call.
  • In the more modern sense of the recruiting word commitment, Kent Turene is committed to USC. But he's still looking around and visits Athens this weekend ($$). I think this is a LB Grantham would really like to have.
  • UGA target Ray Drew earned a 5th star from Scout. And if you want more information on how teams are ranked, click here

Athletic Debts for Dummies

Facing athletic debts reaching the hundreds of thousands of dollars? Fearful of student athlete commodities leaving campus before being fully liquidated?

Athletic Debts for Dummies can help. Try this tried and true method...

*WARNING: results may vary, check with your local compliance officer before actually placing your head up your ass. If When caught, a defense of allowing the inmates run the asylum may result in fewer student athlete commodities to join the university campus. But what the hell...just keep throwing toilet paper. All in!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Recruiting Roundup - 15 Days til NSD

Going from Good to Great

With a scant two weeks left for Georgia coaches to add the finishing touches to what is a good class, signs are pointing towards greatness. But anything can happen in 15 days.
  • John Jenkins appears to be ours to lose ($$). He was in Miami this weekend, but Thursday we begin the full court press for our future NG. Coaches will see him in Connecticut one day before the entire Jenkins clan is expected in Athens. He along with Crowell would tip this class from good to great.
  • Jenkins spent a lot of time with Ray Drew in Miami as they visited Coral Gables together. The Thomas County DE could announce as early as Sunday. And Jenkins claims to know where Drew will go. 
“He and I really clicked down there,” said Jenkins, back at school in Gulfport, Miss., Monday. “He knew about me when I got down there and we just ended up hanging out together and talking a lot. He was just saying how he’d like to play where I play at. He said he wanted to be where I was playing nose so he can make some plays. We were talking about playing on the same line.”
  • Of course the big news this week will be the Jay Rome and Malcolm Mitchell's announcements Thursday. The Valdosta teammates were in Tuscaloosa this weekend. I'd be shocked if we don't get a commitment from Rome, who hasn't really made it secret that that is the way he is leaning. Mitchell....about as close to a coin flip for recruitniks as there is.
  • And one other thing to keep a close eye on this weekend will be how Quintavious Harrow reacts to his official visit to Athens. He'll be there with a lot of official talent, including his close cousin Isaiah Crowell. If Harrow commits to the man who slung him an offer as soon as the qualifying test score came in, could that be a tell for the nation's best running back?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Attention Wal-Mart Barners!

Some WallyWorld WarTiglesmen Observations. Was thumbing through some of the pics over at Deadspin of sCam's minions posing in between housewares and hunting. Selected a few favorites to share.

Can you say Cam 2.0?!?

I found Waldo!
If I stare through it, it makes him look even younger.
She just found out it's a rental.
Finebaum!!...for shame.

Rep. Corinne Brown? Is that you? Go Tiguh!

Monday's Meatloaf - From the thumbs of babes

I recently downloaded the NCAA Football game for my six year old's iTouch. She plays that game until the battery insists she take a break and do her chores...or maybe that's her mom. under pressure.
Anyway, she's pretty good. I tried the thing once and had no idea what I was doing or how to control Abry Jones at nose tackle. Losing 23-0 at halftime to the Ol' Ball Coach, I decided to retire my thumb back to twiddling its way through the off-season. Ainsley however, picked it up quickly. I recall asking her what the score was the first time she was playing it. She reluctantly said the Dawgs were losing 19-0. Later when I pressed her for the final score, she cheerily said "43-19...I won."

She's not one to lie. I took her at her word. But after the battery finished recharging (and her laundry was put away) I watched a little closer as she demolished LSU 56-10 and then stomped Penn State 32-7. 

You see, her secret is simple - punts are for the pansies on the other sideline. Don't get me wrong, she uses Drew Butler. But on her digitally imaged turf tween the hedges he's thrown for 324 yards on the season with 4 TDs. "Fake Punt Pass" is her favorite play. And according to her the "FL Fly Pass" is practically unstoppable.

Just yesterday I saw Orson Charles drop a perfect Butler pass on 4th and 8. He would've taken 87 yards to paydirt. No one was near him, despite the fact that this was the fourth time she'd run the fake in the game. Instead the Dawgs were backed up against their own endzone, seemingly about to relinquish the lead to Chizik's semi-pros.

"Sorry Honey," I said sympathetically.

"Don't worry Dad...I'll intercept him right here, watch!"

She did, the very next play. I'm not suggesting Richt and staff play hand held video games in between sit ins on recruits' sofas. But there's something to be said for making the opponent make a play to stop you. That and my girl's ready to help coordinate special teams. Just start recruiting that rare hybrid punter with a surprisingly accurate arm.

Today's Ingredients

  • Hoop Dawgs runs down the dominant performance by Fox's Dawgs in Oxford.
  • Landers' Lady Dawgs came back from a 16 point deficit to do the world a favor yesterday. BI was there for all the action.
  • Unfortunately, Utah was too much for Coach Clark's GymDogs Saturday night.
  • Ho-hum. Another year, another dominant UGA tennis team. Coach Diaz's netters have their eyes on the prize at the SEC Indoors.
  • Probably the biggest mystery of the 2010 football season is the play of the offensive line. Garbin breaks em down like only he can.
  • Mike is looking for any ray of sunshine, and found one just across the border.
  • Ben Fratlock takes a couple of recent tweets and tries to determine what it might mean to this year's recruiting class.
  • In yesterday's recruiting update, ecdawg discovers the Dawgs still very much in the thick of things on the recruiting trail.
  • Meanwhile Chad Simmons' brings us up to date ($$) on the Quintavious Harrow offer and when he might commit.
  • the Senator wonders why we're all so focused on the lack of a playoff, when there is much dirtier dealings from the NCAA to fret over.
  • Some Rivals writers discussed hot seats going into 2011. And while I understand Neuheisel's steamy rear end...this is the SEC baby! It don't get no hotter! 
  • I warned you last week, tickets went on sale last Monday for the Gwinnett Baseball Classic between the Diamond Dawgs and the Crimson Tide. So don't come crying to me when they're sold out and your ear is pining for that PING!
  • As my regular reader(s) know, I luvs me some self-deprecating humor. And in this post, Adam goes B1G!
  • Lastly, after the J-E-T-S-jets jets jets upset of the Pats yesterday...shouldn't the NY Post headline read We TOED you so!...??

Let's all join hands shall we...and give thanks for the opportunity to live in the 21st century. Yesterday was the perfect example of why it is SO much easier to be married in 2011. Started like any normal woke up a half hour too early...wife forgot to make my bloody insisted on being what I thought was a good parking spot at church, then walked past 10 better ones before getting to the Sanctuary...

But later, the lady left for a movie with a friend. I LOVE going to movies. Wife and I used to catch at least two a month in an actual theater before kids came and stole our money...and time. But one day before we were robbed she took me to see a movie called "The English Patient". Yeh, it was a long time ago. Almost as long as the actual movie. 

I was miserable. I spent the last three and a half hours of the movie listing the things I would rather be doing at the time. To give you an idea, number 10 was clean the gutters naked in a snowstorm. So I was not real upset when Heather offered to see some movie about a king with a speech impediment with the wife.

It frankly gave me time to feed the kids some BBQ and tater tots...all perfectly timed for halftime of the Jets/Pats game. Hey!...I'm no rookie.

But when she returned is when the 21st century really came of age. Something called the gold globes was starting so I quickly claimed the upstairs tv, the one with both wireless blu-ray and Netflix. Way back in 1997 when we were newlyweds all we had was a tv that had a VCR hooked up to cable. I woulda been stuck evaluating red carpet dresses and pretending to appreciate Hollywood polytheism.

Instead I had Ferris Bueller failing Econ and Patty scaring the beejeebus out of me. Seriously, Fatal Attraction's Alex Forrest has nothing on Patricia Hewes. Ever since I started watching Damages I keep waking up in a cold sweat with the psycho OCD lawyer standing over me clutching my remote control. And I have no interest in changing the channel. She's like a Netflix train wreck: so scary yet I can't stop watching.

I just hope if my wife and I ever get transported back to a life without multiple spontaneous entertainment options...she doesn't retain Hewes and Associates. I'd rather live through The English Patient again. As for you Reader, here's a fork. Just don't go and stick it in a boiled rabbit.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pagan decides to touch that rock

Jeoffrey Pagan, one of the nation's top DE prospects out of Asheville NC, has committed to Clemson. After de-committing to Florida, he had included UGA in his list and even visited back in December.

But after visiting the Tigers this weekend he committed to Dabo Swinney during his exit interview.

Trifecta imPerfecta

I guess when you look at the odds of yesterday's wager, one of three ain't bad. A few random thoughts that are sure bets:
  • Grantham and Belin have a plethora of new starters this fall. And while we've lost a lot to graduation, attrition and the NFL Draft, from what I've heard Jarvis Jones could've been our biggest talent there. Richard Samuel's ready too. And don't forget about TJ Stripling. He's recovering well, but will miss spring ball due to rehab.
  • And give Coach Richt and Grantham a LOT of credit for making this decision a difficult one for Houston. They really got in his ear about coming back and making himself a top pick. But in the end he had to make the choice he was most comfortable with. 
  • Speaking of pro football, it really sucked last night. Looking back on that Nicholas induced fumble early I guess we should have paid more attention to how wide open the Packer receiver was. The secondary was the primary problem all night.
  • The decision to go for points at the end of the first half I thought was the right one. Coach Smith is a good coach. He's seen Mularkey and Ryan take his team down the field in fewer ticks. So if you're upset with him over that you probably got a late seat on the bandwagon.
  • And big kudos to Coach Fox and the Hoop Dawgs. I really thought we'd get that SEC road monkey off our backs yesterday. But I had no idea we'd throw it off and stomp on its face like that for a full 40 minutes.
I heard Andy Kennedy couldn't even hail a cab home from Tad Smith Coliseum last night.