Saturday, April 16, 2011

GDay Preview

This "game" isn't about the plays. And it ain't about the score. At least for the fans. It's about catching a glimpse of a transition - the transition between a 6-7 season and what we want the 2011 season to become.

For any of you who are new to Spring football, I believe the proper perspective for a fan is to forget about play calls when you watch the scrimmage. For most, it's not about Xs and Os so much as it is about battles, growth and athletic development. With that said, here are the areas that I'll be focused on:

Not many 2011 projected starters remaining and safety is especially thin considering we moved Commings back there from CB to help with Spring depth and he isn't really expected to play. So it will be interesting to see who steps forward.

More specifically, I've long had the feeling that this is a big off season for Branden Smith. He's an exceptional talent that we greatly need to excel in coverage and play making in the secondary. As much as I loved seeing him in on gimmick offensive plays, he should be beyond that at this point. I'd much rather see him become the lock down, physical corner we believe he can be. A second Spring under Lakatos' watch should get that done. It better.

Defensive Pressure
If the patchwork secondary has a big day, it will definitely have something to do with the front seven. Unlike the DBs, the LBs and bigguns up front are mostly at full capacity. Can Kwame Geathers live up to the lofty expectations I've built up in my head for him? Is Jarvis Jones the playmaker on the edge that will help ease the pain of losing Houston? I'll definitely be watching Jones a lot as this will be his first real action on the east coast since high school.

In short, do we rush passes and play on our toes rather than our heels like much of last season?

Caleb King
I know fans are disgruntled over him missing games last season for dumb reasons. Even some of the most ardent of King supporters have grown tired and have started to prepare for the Crowell Coming. But King should be the man at this GDay. He's the most complete back we have with the most experience. I know he wants to be on the field this Fall. And I know he wants to take Crowell under his wing. If he didn't want those things he would be on the team any longer.

So as anxious as I am to see what Malcome can do, I expect this to be King's day in the backfield overall.

Sidenote on Malcome: good article here by Page earlier in the week about the RS Freshman. When the black team takes the field, I'm looking forward to seeing Malcome as a feature back.

Targets for Murray
We know what Tavarres King can do. Who else can catch footballs, make blocks on the edge and turn 8 yard routes into big-gainers? Holy crap! We need a lot of that.

Personally, I've about got both feet off the Marlon Brown train. I think Bennett grows into our  WR opposite #12, but truly that's just a gut feeling. Eager to see if Conley is ready to avoid a redshirt. As well as if the coaches let Rantavious Wooten off the leash.

Anyway, that's what I'm looking at from wherever my seat ends up being today. What are you looking at 'tween the hedges this Spring?

Also, here's a video preview from the Dawgs at Dawgpost.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Practice Notes, 4/15

Happy Tax Day America! Now hand over you wallet.

Some news and notables a day before (a close resemblance of) tackle football returns to Athens.
  • Yesterday was the final practice of course before the annual GDay game. And it was cut a little short due to the Letterman's dinner last night and the handing out of Spring awards.
  • It's quite clear that Kwame Geathers is a big winner in the Spring, especially in Grantham's eyes. I'll reserve judgment until I can see something tomorrow with my own eyes. But I will admit to being more than a little giddy at the thought of having John Jenkins and Kwame beside each other. "Here's our force...come try and reckon with it!"
  • In what is always a pretty vanilla game, Richt has said there will be no new plays to tip off the Broncos. I guess that actually makes this fat free vanilla. But at least we won't see any wishbone.
  • Grantham is insisting that the move of Alec Ogletree to MLB was the right call ($$) . And it looks like we'll get a chance to see him in action despite the fact that he's been hampered this Spring with a groin. Tree practiced full speed yesterday.
  • Speaking of injuries, who actually will play? Sounds like Ealey is the only certainty not to play, but several others are doubtful...including Brandon Boykin and Sanders Commings. Ultimately, it's all up to trainer Ron Courson of course: "If Ron says they can go, they're going...I just go by what he tells me. If he says they're able to go, then they'll go." 
  • Effort trumps uncertainty is a theme for the Spring that we all hope transitions into the Fall. Here's new LB coach Kirk Olivadotti: “Understanding the 3-4 defense is the No. 1 goal. If you don’t know where to be on a certain play, make sure you go 100 percent and we will figure out the problem later.” 
Lastly, one thing I've enjoyed reading about the last week or so has been the competition between the two teams drafted. This quote about the post draft bravado both encapsulates the team's excitement as well as mine:
    “Murray called (Mike) Bobo, and he’s like ‘We killed them,’” Richt said. “Ben called Coach (Will) Friend and said, ‘Coach, we’re stacked.’”

    Tomorrow won't just be about steak and lobster vs beanie weenies folks. I'm looking forward to it.

    Go Dawgs!

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    “I still have more to show.”

    Richard Samuel everyone...former star of the win over the 2009 Razorbacks.
    Samuel didn’t plan on redshirting, but he had a nagging knee injury most of last year and was overwhelmed by all he had to digest in the 3-4 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. He admits that the frustration of getting shuffled down the tailback depth chart in 2009 was nothing compared to his first few weeks on defense.
    “Last spring was the toughest because everything was so new,” Samuel said. “There were times I didn’t understand the plays and times I didn’t get the job done, but I just had to keep telling myself that this was a learning process and that things would get better.”
    Samuel has worked the past few weeks backing up former safety Alec Ogletree at the “Mo” position but has received most of the first-team snaps in recent days while Ogletree nurses a groin injury. He said working with the starters has been beneficial and believes he is much more comfortable compared to this time last year.
    And he promises that his 80-yard run at Arkansas will not be his last highlight.
    “I still have more inside of me,” Samuel said. “I still have more to show.”
    Gonna be great to see the Cass HS star back on the gridiron again Saturday. I bet he's hungry after taking the last 15 games off.

    Gators Gone Ham

    Ever wondered what it sounds like when campus "celebrities" get arrested? Ever wanted to hear proof of a gayturd's sense of entitlement?

    Here you go. (Although it's edited for language, still not really safe for all work environments...especially swamp marsh)

    (h/t Dawgontap)

    The full audio is over 30 minutes. You can click here to listen to all of it on the First Coast News website, but due warning...the others aren't edited for language.

    Times are interesting down in Gainesville here lately. Will Hill's tweets were one thing. But the St. Augustine police have exposed some unsettling (albeit alleged) dirty dealings with the pressing of one RECORD button.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Another Sturdivant Hangover

    At least this time we're looking for a remedy in the Spring instead of at the beginning of the season. But for the third season in the last four, we'll be filling a big hole with Trinton Sturdivant going down to yet another knee injury. He underwent surgery yesterday and will most likely miss all of the 2011 season.

    As emotionally difficult as that is for his teammates and coaches to deal with, the show must go on. Here's the starters as of right now:

    LT - Cordy Glenn
    LG - Kenarious Gates
    C - Ben Jones
    RG - Chris Burnette
    RT - AJ Harmon/Justin Anderson

    Glenn had been cross training at LT already with Sturdivant and is entrenched there now. Anderson seems to have a slight edge over Harmon at RT, but that battle will likely last well into the summer.

    So...RS Sophomore Austin Long is the only remaining backup at tackle after Glenn, Anderson and Harmon. Long has had a back injury he's recovered from, but is expected to miss all of Spring with a shoulder injury. Should we face any more casualties at tackle we'll be faced with throwing a true freshman in there or converting another guard.

    To end this on a positive note, two great reads on the subject: here by Weiszer and here by Page. Lots of great information and quotes from the coaches. The immediate good news is that Glenn is doing well at tackle. Sounds like Friend would like him to drop a little more weight heading into Fall camp "to help him move the way he needs to for four quarters".

    And how big is Gates' playing time last season now? That kid was a last minute addition to what many consider a very lackluster class in 2010. What a valuable pickup for Coach Richt. Now he'll be working on his second season next to Ben Jones and adds some much needed experience to a line that is dealing with an all too familiar loss.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    GDay Rosters

    Courtesy of Gentry Estes at Dawgs 24/7.

    G-Day Rosters ...

    Red team's my early favorite, for what that's worth.

    Butts-Mehre Locker Room Heist: the truth uncovered

    No one else is reporting the truth so I'll throw it out there for public consumption. In case you haven't heard, thieves made off with some football players' valuables last Thursday afternoon. 

    Here's the campus paper's write up:

    Seven members of the Georgia football team had items stolen from their lockers in the Butts-Mehre Building on Thursday afternoon, according to University Police reports.
    “There was a pretty big open house event going on that night,” said Lt. Eric Dellinger of the University Police Department. “There were a number of non-athletic affiliated people being shown around. We just have no way of accounting for who was in the building or where they were.”
    A pair of Nike shoes, four iPods, two iPhones and two iPhone cases were taken between 2:20 p.m. and 6:20 p.m. The locker room is secured by a fingerprint system, but several of the lockers broken into had no locks. Two didn’t have doors.
    One player’s iPhone was “in an open area within the locker room at the time of the theft,” according to the report.
    The total loss value of everything taken was $1,990.
    What's not being said you ask? Well, the fact that it was the UGA police force that gave the Red and Black sports staff access to the lockers, ergo the valuables. If they can account for Mudcat's car at all times they can certainly account for some "non-athletic people", UGA beat writers (wink, wink...nudge, nudge).

    The only thing that is not clear at this point is exactly which alley they emerged from after breaking their ankles.

    Stay tuned.

    Gray intends to land in Boulder

    Former Georgia quarterback, receiver and punt return deceiver has decided on the Colorado Buffaloes as his next stop. He'll join his younger brother in Boulder; sounds like that played a big factor in the decision.

    Gray confirmed to the Boulder Daily Camera earlier Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Buffaloes for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  As the wide receiver will pursue a postgraduate degree in a program not offered at his former school, Gray will be eligible to play immediately instead of sitting out the one season normally required to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
    Gray’s younger brother currently attends CU, and he said that played a big role in his decision.
    Well, that and the opportunity to come in and contribute immediately.  For a team with very little experienced depth at the position, Gray’s talents will be a welcome addition.
    “They told me that they have a couple pretty strong wide receivers like Paul Richardson and a couple other guys, but they could definitely use some help,” Gray said. “And then obviously returning punts. They’re looking for another guy to help make an impact on offense and special teams.”
    Wish Logan the best and an extremely productive season.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Monday's Meatloaf - Collards, ACLs and Bed Bugs

    Vacation is over. Done. No green jacket for me. Just an alarm clock with a noisy reminder that I can no longer set my own hours.

    But it was a good getaway; the family and I had a nice sandy time. You know, in between all the sisterly bickering and me catching my better half with her hand in the beer cooler. And we were able to make it educational as well. Like our Savannah tour (see below), my 9 year old's marine biology lessons (the sea was angry that day my friend) and interacting with our defrosted comrades from the north.

    By the time the Tahoe was packed beyond it's capacity for the return trip, my little ones had nearly perfected the northern accent. Between my imitations of their fascinations with soda pop and other various phrases...the girls had taken to making some fun of it themselves.

    Especially after a lunch encounter with Marge from Toledo where we found her screaming into her phone just outside of Roastfish and Cornbread. WHAT'S THAT EDITH? YOW STILL AT THE SHELTER COVE?!?! HOLD THE PHONE UP TO YA FACE I CAN HARDLY HEAR YUH.

    You could see the light bulbs flicker in my little girls' heads. They suddenly understood exactly what Dad had been blathering on and on about. These people with the Michigan, Ohio and Quebecian license plates are hilarious. 1200 miles to sit at a pool with jeans and socks on...sure it's sad. But they're living out their own dream and shoveling cash into local Piggly Wigglys instead of snow into their neighbor's yard.

    I hope Edith and Marge eventually connected for lunch. If so, I'm sure they weren't nearly as upset as I was that Chef David was out of collard greens. But there's no time to worry anymore. It's back to the daily grind. The inbox is full...and the trashcan is hungry.

    Today's Ingredients
    • If there is anyone who reads this little blog, and knows Trinton Sturdivant personally...please tell him our thoughts and prayers are with him. That news yesterday just made me want to slap the snot out of Lady Luck.
    • Moving forward, Kimberley looks at what's next for Trinton and for Coach Friend's unit. Streit does the same.
    • In the midst of all the injuries Jack shares some thoughts on Saturday's scrimmage.
    • Speaking of injuries, Dean Legge sees it as a chicken or the egg argument: How do you become physical if you don’t have physical practices (or workouts)?
    • Aaron Murray's backups are playing well, including sophomore Hutson Mason.
    • Vineyarddawg puts some people on notice...GDay edition.
    • The Southern Pigskin fans have spoken...Herschel's the best.
    • Coach Diaz's Dawg netters claimed yet another SEC title yesterday. They take a perfect home record into the NCAAs.
    • The Diamond Dawgs have been on a tear, but couldn't quite sweep the Rebels this weekend.
    • Was picking through some scraps left behind on the Senator's buffet line yesterday and was glad to discover that Stephen Garcia's family believes there is a larger issue than his football eligibility. 
    • Suck it gaytors! Hey, if it makes me lmao...I wouldn't say it was a HUGE waste of money. 
    • Markeith Ambles and KiffyBaby continue their torrid love affair.
    • Why the Carolina Panthers would want sCam ahead of AJ Green is beyond me.
    • In all my years, I can't ever recall seeing a Masters like that. For a few holes there I thought they'd be sorting that thing out through tomorrow.
    • And Rory...poor Rory. That was ridiculously harder to watch than Butler trying to make layups last Monday. As David Feherty would say, You don't want to hit it there.
    So we were on a trolley tour of Savannah last week, just as Conner had asked to do while on vacation. I wasn't especially pumped up about it going in, but we had a great driver who was like a Savannah Wikipedia with a turn signal. Around every corner he had an anecdote and a historical reference. Yessir, Stan knew his stuff and was making the afternoon educational and enjoyable.

    For example - Savannah's Kehoe House, a 119 year old structure on Columbia square in the Historic District of course. Having already described the amount of pull a certain group of ladies had around the town of Savannah, Stan explained that back in the 1970s Joe Namath and Terry Bradshaw purchased the former boarding home with intentions to make it into either a discothèque or a "gentlemen's club". The powerful ladies of Savannah (their organizational name escapes me) would have none of that and a few years later the Kehoe House became the bed and breakfast that it is today.

    You see, you can't always just step into something and make grand changes. Just because you like shaking your booty and nekkid ladies dancing around doesn't mean you're gonna be able to do those kinds of things in lovely, tree filled downtown Savannah. 

    Kinda like when Union soldiers filled their bedding with Spanish moss to make them softer. Sure, go ahead we said, then sat back and watched them all learn that those things are full of chiggers. Don't let the bed bugs bite yur ass yankees.

    Sometimes people just have to figure things out the hard way. Now if I could just get my phone to stop blinking NEW MESSAGE WAITING at me. But don't wait on me Reader. Here's your fork. Go have a Monday.


    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Spring Practice Scrimmage Notes - 4/10

    Injury bug is full blown in Athens. There were nearly as many players watching the scrimmage yesterday as were actively participating in it on the field. But many are still expected to be able to go for GDay.

    The secondary continues to get hit the hardest; now Boykin is added to the list of players with concussions. And at one point Shawn Williams was joined at safety on the #1 defense with Connor Newman of Duluth. Yep, we're that deep folks.

    Couple of notes on the concussions - remember that Ron Courson is one of the nation's leading experts on concussions and has testified in DC on the subject before. So that's one area that we can expect our training staff to be both thorough and diligent. That's a good thing. The other point I would bring up is that it says to me we've got some players gettin' after that ass. We've got players competing hard, hitting hard. And that's a good thing too.

    From Weiszer:
    The injuries could be a byproduct of an added emphasis in each practice on declaring winners and losers in drills.
    "When you compete the way we’ve been competing and hit the way we’ve been hitting, there’s going to be some of that," Richt said. "My goal this spring was to make sure that we’re a physical football team and we’re a team that’s going to get after it every time we put the pads on and snap up our chin-strap. I’ve seen that."
    Richt said there’s more competitive drills than in the past. He created a point system for every drill.
    "The goal is to win the day," Richt said. "If you win the day, you have half the conditioning after practice."
    No surprise that the change is well-received by players.
    "Guys love that," King said. "We like competing and that’s what we’re here for."

    As for stats from the scrimmage, Page has a full rundown of stats and quotes from Coach Richt as well as some players. He links to a set of pictures as well.

    My two initial thoughts are that the depleted secondary got torched while the front seven stuffed the running game pretty darn well. King had a long of 10 yards and Thomas had one for 9. Other than those two everything was kept at or behind the line of scrimmage. Here's what Richt had to say on the subject:
    "Not much in the way of running the ball…As we all know, a lot of it has to do with a couple of things; the blocking number one. The vision of the back, and the ability to make people miss and break tackles, number two. Sometimes how the defense decides how to play you that day might dictate how much space you have to run the ball."
    There should be a lot more to come as we near the end of spring drills.

    Go Dawgs!