Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011s Young Gun

This may be viewed as too safe of a bet, but I really like Chris Conley's chances at breaking into the receiving rotation this season. For one, he's already on campus and gaining weight, working with Murray and getting acclimated as a whole. But secondly, he has the talent to make a difference at a position that we need him to.

AJ and Kris are gone. Can Troupe or redshirt freshman Bennett step up? Will Brown or Wooten finally get after it? Or will it be a newcomer?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentines Shopping for your Dawgette

I know it's not easy this time of year for you. The craziness of the college football season just slipped right into the insanity of the Holidays. Things have just settled down and going to the mall to pick out a gift for that special Dawg in your life is just too much.

Never fear...Bernie's here! Some of these items are repeats from last year. But I've added a few more just in case you've exhausted the previous list. Hope you've made room on that Visa...
  • Let's start out big, REAL big! If you've got the coin and the time, the dream of every Lady Dawg's heart is to visit Georgia legend Terry Hoage. After all, he's not only the best defensive player Dooley ever coached, he also grows a mean grape
  • Tickets to See the Dawgs Play. Whatever sporting event strikes her fancy, you’ll earn big bonus points with this simple, yet timeless gift. As a bonus, you get another opportunity to bark like hell.
  • The Georgia Snuggie. Help her stay warm in style.
  • Of course, if you really want to make her day special, a Customized Replica Jersey is a favorite of Mrs. Bernie. She even wears it to church.
  • Maybe your lady's a sports enthusiast. If so, she'll hit the links in style with this Lettermen's Club golf bag
  • Wanna get more intimate? How ‘bout these pajama bottoms paired with this tank top? Maybe you’re tired of the little lady’s dainties that came from that store in the mall with the awesome catalog. If so, buy her a set of these unmentionables.
  • Need to go cheaper get more practical? I understand. Perhaps your lady needs a new gameday purse (aka a bourbon transporter) or a new recipe book for tailgating goodness.
  • Redecorating the home? She’ll bark at this acrylic tapestry.
  • Maybe the wifey likes things with some more shine. I feel ya. Try this Executive Series Timepiece. You don’t have to tell her it came from WallyWorld, plus she might finally have dinner ready on time for once.
  • If you need to take her on a vacation, why not make it Athens on Gameday? If you already live in Athens, tell her You My Lady! all over again this fall against the backdrop of the St. John’s River.

And if all else fails…buy her a subscription to BerniesDawgBlawg and take her for a coupla chili dogs at the Varsity Monday night. You’ll thank hate me later.

Happy ValenDawg’s Day!

Trivial Update - Chariots of FUTA

#ThursdaysRTrivial is coming up right after this PSA: punishment runs should never be considered attendance optional.

#ThursdaysRTrivial episode 67 "Chariots of FUTA: Fire Under That Ass" Welcome to the weekly trivia show that just barfed doing stadium steps. REPLY back your answer for a chance at a fabulous prize. How many laps did Ben Dukes finish in his punishment run back in February of 2000?

How do you know you're cuddled up in the wrong doghouse? You keep hearing dramatic piano music and seeing men running barefoot on the beach. A fire was lit under Ealey's rear and he evidently decided to fart on it. However, 11 years ago offensive lineman Ben Dukes decided to do damage control instead. 

Having dug a hole, Dukes threw down the shovel and started running...

Actually, I don't see Dukes in any part of that trailer. But according to this post on his blog, he decided to GATA.

New to the Twitter Twivia Show, Andrea came in first place on her first try...and had the correct answer - 24. For her trouble she gets a replica of Ben Dukes alarm clock circa 2000 AD (the orginal is either encased on the floor of Butts-Mehre or was destroyed by a sleepy fist...). In second place, Mike had some issues with his blackberry app fancy doohickie device. He answered 26 a couple minutes after Andrea and gets a slightly used set of horseshoes. (Sorry, handgrenades don't ship FedEx any longer.)

Thanks for playing tweeps. Until next time, if you feel a flame on the seat of your's probably time to lace up the running shoes.

The Dawg Blawgs Podcast - NSD Wrapup

If the internets crashed on you last night, we do sincerely apologize. The Dawg Bloggers got together for another podcast. Grab some popcorn and enjoy while we discuss the 2011 recruiting class, strength and conditioning and whether or not String Theory can truly be classified as a Theory of Everything*.

*no, not really.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Recruiting X's and O's, by Mike Bobo

I'm a firm believer in giving credit where it's due. I've been critical of our coaches for the results on the field the last couple of seasons. And as hard as it is to embrace a play action pass on 3rd and long, it's just as easy to appreciate the hard work our coaches did this past year on the recruiting trails.

And now Coach Bobo is getting some national love.
It was a great year for the Bulldogs in the Peach State, especially in southern Georgia. This is an area very familiar to Bobo, as he played his high school ball in Thomasville, Ga. Rome, Mitchell, Drew, OT Xzavier Ward (Moultrie, Ga./Colquitt) and QB Nick Marshall (Rochelle, Ga./Wilcox County) were all southern Georgia standouts. Bobo was also a key figure for Georgia in landing LeMay from North Carolina
We've known that Bobo could go up against the big boys in the high school hallways and living rooms for a while. This year was about as close to a home run as a coach can get in January/February.

Or a hitch and go down the sideline for 6, as it were.

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BONUS: The guys at DawgPost grade out the 2011 class. Wish I could've made those kind of grades on campus.

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UPDATE: Should've linked this earlier in case you missed it...Saturday Weiszer looked at the South GA hotspot that is Bobo's territory. It includes this great tidbit:
Bobo and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart – friends and former Georgia teammates – had lunch together in Valdosta before Mitchell’s announcement on the night of Jan. 20.
“We kind of didn’t talk,” Bobo said. “Most people there were talking. We just sat there in silence.”
If the two friends ever meet in Atlanta one Saturday in early December, I hope it keeps the same script. 

Oversigning: the gray area

I don't dip my toes in the waters outside of UGA Athletics very often. If you're one of the ten or so internet trailblazers that come here often you know that (Hi Mom!). But I found this article by David Wasson at Fanhouse to be a thorough, honest and often humorous look (which never hurts with a sarcastic mind like mine) at the debate of oversigning players to athletic scholarships. 

And it starts with an honest question from the headline, Oversigning is Legal, but is it Wrong? From there Wasson takes you through the stubborn rigidity that is a Nick Saban post National Signing Day presser and the plight of Jimmy ThreeStar trusting in the system only to be cast aside.
"Let's find you a better alternative, Jimmy, because riding our bench and not even sniffing the dress roster doesn't help you or us," coach Napoleon says. "Let me place a call to a comrade of mine, one who can develop you more as a player and get you some turf time. Does that sound ok to you?"
In this script, Coach "Napoleon" is on the correct side of the rules but many wonder just how ethical this treatment of student-athletes is. One such critic is none other than Florida president Bernie Machen.
"The universities, with full knowledge of what they are doing, extend more athletic scholarships than they have," Machen said in an open letter published by that also addressed "grayshirting", the practice of delaying a player's admission until January to put off the scholarship until after the football season. "These schools play roulette with the lives of talented young people. If they run out of scholarships, too bad. The letter-of-intent signed by the university the previous February is voided. Technically, it's legal to do this. Morally, it is reprehensible."
The bottomline this winter is that Saban is 10 over, Spurrier is 5 over, Miles is 9 over and the Granddaddy Giggety of oversigning Houston Nutt is a whopping 14 over (Alabama and South Carolina also have one offer still on the table in Jadeveon Clowney, expected to sign on Monday). So you can see why admins of opposing schools as well as fans are getting upset.

And not all are simply upset at the opposing schools. Many Georgia fans would like to see Coach Richt join in the fun instead of pretending to be a Leader or Legend in the Big Ten where oversigning is akin to 1st degree murder. 

Personally I don't ever see Richt going that route, I think we all know that. And I kind of prefer that to be honest. While I get the cut throat it's a business attitude, I think the honest approach is what works in the long run. And if you disagree with that, let me ask you a couple  questions: 

  • Was our 6-7 season due to not joining the oversigning party or was it due to some things that actually happened on the field?
  • Isn't "grayshirting" a more honest and up front way of standing in the (for lack of a better word) gray area of handling off season attrition?
  • And lastly, is it worth oversigning if you potentially burn some bridges with high school coaches?
Because the fact is, today's Jimmy ThreeStar may come from a high school that produces the next Five StarStud.

Barking Shaking up the family tree

A second early passing of the University of Georgia's beloved bulldog is leading us all to a dangerous path that will be filled with even more divisiveness and ridicule than anything previously witnessed.

I typically really enjoy Bill King's Junkyard Blawg, one of the few mostly redeeming sections of the AJCs sports (quote) journalism (unquote) department. And given the untimely passing of Uga VIII Friday it's hard to claim King's post yesterday was unnecessary. But it still strikes me as irresponsible to claim to be in a position to advise someone on how to handle their own family's business.

My wife and I attended our kids' parent teacher conferences last week. Since my kids are so freakin' awesome they of course had really good reports. But if instead the teachers had spent the time suggesting we change their diets...or use a firmer hand when disciplining...or perhaps use Colgate instead of AquaFresh for their dental hygiene...well, we'd have a serious boundary issue.

King's correct, UGA can choose a different breeder for Uga IX. He's also correct that the University will not venture down that road. The Seilers are the Duke and Duchess of all things UGA Athletics. They don't have supreme power by any means, but have earned a right to be treated with respect.

I've had to take a family pet to be euthanized recently. I'm sure many of you have as well. It's no easy thing. My kids adored our black lab and my wife and I had raised him since he was old enough to barely peek over his water bowl. So regardless of where you stand on this divisive issue you certainly have a right to your opinion. I just think having to read or hear about them publicly can only do more harm than good.

So write your letters to AD McGarity if you feel the need. Hell, go visit him in Athens as he seems more than eager to hear opinions and perspectives from the fans firsthand. But other than that, let the process run its course.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't go poo-poo on Drew

Now that the AJC investors have gotten as much juice as possible from the Dream Team headlines, the mood was bound to drift towards skepticism. Rev. Ray Drew is the target, being labeled a project.

Longtime Georgia sportswriter Todd Holcomb, who covers high school football for us and serves as publisher of Georgia High School Football Daily,wrote a piece for on this subject. Holcomb broke down the 27 highest-rated prospects in Georgia this past season and offered his personal opinion on how each one fared as a high school senior based on his personal observations and feedback from opposing coaches.
For instance, sees UGA’s five-star defensive end signee Ray Drew of Thomas County Central as “a project” based on a tepid performance as a high school senior. 
His senior season Drew spent playing against mostly 10-12 players depending on how desperate the opposing coach was to stop him. The MaxPreps article mentioned does point out his 2.5 sacks in the US Army Bowl, which I think is a much better harbinger of what is to come.

But probably the best news for Georgia fans is that Grantham plans to use Drew from Justin Houston's old weakside spot. This allows playmakers like Drew to do what they do best: wreak havoc. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Washaun Ealey's frayed rope

Hard to tell if he's hanging himself, or just waiting until it comes completely apart.
Georgia running back Washaun Ealey, the team's leading rusher last season, has been indefinitely suspended from all team activities, sources close to the situation told Tuesday.

Ealey, who ran for 811 yards with 11 touchdowns in 2010, is being disciplined after failing to report for a punishment run last week, the sources said. Ealey, a junior from Stillmore, Ga., is banned from working out in Georgia's facilities or participating in any other team activities.
Ealey's suspension comes less than a week after the Bulldogs signed incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell, rated by ESPN Recruiting as the No. 1 running back prospect in the country. 
I can understand how the Crowell recruiting story would ruffle the former ECI running back's feathers. But it's the current scholarship tailbacks' inability to handle things both on and off the field that made the nation's #1 2011 RB recruit so vital to this class. Ealey should cut his coaches some slack instead of slacking off.

I doubt we see Ealey in the Georgia backfield again. If he proves me wrong, so be it and good for him. Right now I'm more concerned that the rest of the players in the locker room get the message that Coach Richt and staff is giving. 

And to be fair, it's a message that should have been given a while back quite frankly. Who's got next? Shape up or ship out.

At least we're still ahead of Vandy...

According to Vegas odds at Bodog we're at 50-1 to win the BCS next season. Chris Low breaks down the conference as a whole:

  • Alabama 15-2
  • LSU 12-1
  • Florida 15-1
  • Arkansas 30-1
  • Georgia 50-1
  • Mississippi State 50-1
  • Ole Miss 50-1
  • South Carolina 50-1
  • Auburn 70-1
  • Tennessee 125-1
Logjam there in the middle. Hard to believe at this point we're anywhere close to this discussion, but recent history has proven that there's a safer bet in there at the top than anywhere else in the nation. Can Coach Richt clean up the DawgHouse enough to break tweak the SEC MNC trend?

Stegeman Symbiosis

I'd like to come back to an ingredient from the meatloaf, more specifically a point raised by Exile. Stegeman is struggling under it's new identity as a soldout, or nearly soldout venue. And while I agree with my favorite misplaced southerner, I can relate to what's going on at the campus arena on game nights.

Two points:

1. I've only been to two games this season, but they were both at or near capacity crowds. The audience goes from deafeningly volatile to deafeningly silent. The students in the UGA Speedo Guy's section and Rocky's section are unbelievably distracting and quiet at the right times. It seems like the rest of us (yes, I'm including myself) just kind get caught watching what's going on and waiting for something to force us out of our seats.

2. Another problem I see is that there are many parts of the upper level that when you sit there you feel separated from the action, distant. This is a problem in many arenas, unlike in Sanford there's a feeling of solitude (for lack of a better word) and an uneasiness about interrupting what's going on down on the floor. Hard to adequately explain and now that I've typed it out twice and retried, I'm pretty sure I'm doing a crappy job. But if you've been in both Sanford and Stegeman, you probably get it.

Anyway, both of these need to be addressed in the next few hours. Tonight's a big BIG game and the two problems listed above aren't just Stegeman issues, plenty of other teams face similar problems and overcome it by doing one thing...winning.

And to win, the team has to continue to play above the boards...and the fans have to make it harder for the other team to do so. Tonight it's Xavier. If given the choice of taking one of two friends, please take the louder of the two.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The OL Coach Hiring Process

As I sit here admittedly in the afterglow of NSD and the Dream Team, I'm a little bewildered upset curious about the hiring process for our offensive line coaching position. I wanted to keep this separate from the meatloaf to give it the proper weight.

First, I'm not (yet) bewildered because it's not yet official. And I'm not (yet) upset because it's not yet 100% certain. But lay your eyes once again on this passage from Weiszer's piece about Will Friend's upcoming announcement:
One coach who was interested in the opening to replace Stacy Searels said he was told by somebody at Georgia that Friend was in line for the job. That coach said he believed Friend was the only candidate that was brought in for an interview.
Now maybe this source is misunderstood. Maybe he's bitter. Hell, we just don't know. And we certainly aren't anyplace near where we can assume people would be falling all over themselves to get their résumé in Coach Richt's hands.

But I certainly hope each candidate was properly vetted. I certainly would expect more than a solitary interview to take place. Especially since we were told that the head guy's phone was blowing up. And especially now that we know there was at least one candidate that didn't get the job.

Nothing against Will Friend, I'm sure he's eager to get here and I hope he's up for the task at hand. We can complain all we want about wanting someone with a better résumé, but 6-7 gets you mostly names you have to take a chance on. What I'm wondering is just how big of a chance Richt took? One interview with a guy from UAB doesn't cut the mustard for me.

Monday's Meatloaf - a Super Dad Gone Bad

What is it with dads and their crappy football sons? First we had Craig James defending his progeny while wielding his Bristol power a little too mightily, now we have Phil Simms criticizing Desmond Howard for calling a crappy SEC quarterback a spade.

Howard, striking yet another smile.
Hey Phil, this just're son rolls reefer with greater accuracy than hitting wideouts on slant patterns. And evidently it's a family affair. So perhaps take a look at the family tree branches before wearing your ass over your shoulders. 

Here's the rundown: DaddySimms approaches Howard's area - “Hey Desmond, I saw the tape. You called my son the worst quarterback in the country.” Desmond responds - “I never called your son the worst quarterback in the country, I said that in the Tennessee-LSU game you will see three of the worst quarterbacks in the SEC.” This only incenses Simms more - That’s bull—-, you don’t say that about anyone else. To which the College Gameday "analyst" responds - I just said it about two other guys and statistically, they were.

What a fall from grace, once a Super Bowl champion and now defending his family no matter who's Heisman pose he's besmirching. I mean can't we all just take a moment and reflect on the fact that for once, Desmond Howard has put together a coherent thought in under 20 seconds that is both factual and statistically relevant? This doesn't happen everyday folks. Those who've watched Gameday know that Howard adds 99% more smiles than he does appropriate discourse to the discussion.

I can only imagine what Simms had to say to lil Coach Dooley back in the fall when his boy was replaced by a freshman. More importantly, I hope he never kissed Parcells with that mouth.

Today's Ingredients
Wynn gets a Super MVP hug
  • The funniest part of the Super Bowl was seeing John Madden text on a blackberry the size of a deck of cards with sausage fingers ill-equipped for the purpose.
  • Spoken from the commercial was the Teleflora one, even without getting to see "Kim's rack". It made me completely forget about Christina Aguilawhora butchering the national anthem.
  • Former Dawg Jarius Wynn had a day not many will ever compete with, new baby boy hours before a Super Bowl win. Coach Richt might want to go ahead and start recruiting the 2029 Dream Team with Jarius "Super" Wynn, Jr.
  • Speaking of this year's class, Fletcher Page compares and contrasts ($$) the members of it to the original Dream Team.
  • Nice story over at The Grit Tree about Coach Richt and Valdosta High School's James Eunice, who passed away recently.
  • Pending background checks, we've got a new offensive line coach in Friend. Martin van Dawgin thinks it's a solid hire.
  • Big Muddy thinks we've found the missing link in John Jenkins.
  • agree completely that Big John will make an immediate impact, but on offense? Whoa whoa whoa! Hold it right there and listen to these two words: Charles Grant.
  • Mike wraps up the success recruiting in south Georgia this year while Battle Hymn Notes summarizes the entire class.
  • GenXDawg takes a look at Isaiah Crowell's goals while in Athens.
  • The Lady Dawgs gave Coach Landers his 850th yesterday while expertly dispatching Bama.
  • Hoop Dawgs analyzes the win over AwwBarn Saturday and takes a peak at the coming week. Meanwhile Daugman wonders if Price's performance might help with the recruitment of Jarmal Reid.
  • And speaking of the hoops win, Exile is not pleased with the fan showing overall and wants it to improve in Tuesday night's important contest against Xavier.
  • And lastly, Uga VIII's Big Bad Bruce was buried Saturday alongside his predecessors in a private ceremony in Sanford.

    I suppose this next part has been coming for some time. I've just been delaying the inevitable. When the Great Hale left, I vowed to honor his legacy by referring to further fantastic feats in Georgia athletics coverage as a Haleian Effort.

    I considered bestowing the first mention on myself after last Wednesday's coverage of signing day. I mean, my arm still has a cramp in it from holding up that 4.8 ounce iPhone during the Q & A. But seems a bit over the top and self congratulatory. So I just took myself out to lunch, even bought myself a beer. Kept it rather small scale, laid back.

    Anyway, where was I? Oh yeh, Fletcher Page travelled somewhere just south of Nova Scotia to cover the John Jenkins signing Saturday. He answered questions on Twitter, set up a video camera, recorded the event for all to see...and then made a U-turn, only to get re-routed and delayed north of the Mason Dixon line.

    That's dedication my man! The video reached nearly 3000 live views. Clearly helping married male Georgia fans escape their weekend honey-dos for another 30 minutes or so. Impressive work. Solid effort. No, truly...a Haleian Effort.

    Sounds to me like Legge may owe Page another steak from Chili's. But for the rest of you, it's meatloaf with a side of smashed taters. Here's your fork. Just leave the plate in the sink.


    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Jenkins quotes

    (Again) With all due respect to Isaiah Crowell, John Jenkins is the top of this class. Like I said earlier, if you put the Carver running back on the pedestal overlooking this class I certainly understand, but you probably think his dreads are sexy. It's Jenkins that heads this class base merely on the fact that he plugs a hole on defense that desperately needed it. 


    And how can you not love this guy?
    • “Coach Richt is a genuine guy,” he said. "He and I just had a special bond. He came out and we talked, but we just vibed with each other. We played pool and had a competition going on. There was just something about our vibe. I hear from other people that he is a competitor. It was a special bond.”
    • “Georgia was the best fit for me playing-wise and the scheme,” Jenkins said. “Georgia will be the best place for me. My family and I both agreed on that.”
    • “It was more of just the way I felt and how I felt I could adjust,” he said. “I asked myself, ‘If things didn’t work with football, could I still see myself going to that school and living in that town?’ ”
    • As for Jenkins wearing No. 6, Grantham said, “I think he’ll stretch it pretty good.”
    • Jenkins will have three years to play two seasons at Georgia. For now, he says he’s “at peace and happy” with his decision to become a Bulldog.
    • “It’s overwhelming, but the experience has been fun,” [Jenkins] said. “You can’t really share this experience. You can’t really expect people to understand what you’re doing. It’s something you have to do for yourself.”