Saturday, April 23, 2011

Safety Dance

The question is simple: who plays safety opposite Rambo?

However, the details are complicated. Call me pessimistic, but I just don't see Hamilton turning the page that quickly. We can read about him understanding the playbook more this Spring, but does that translate to more highlights...discipline on the field? I'll reserve judgment.

Shawn Williams. He reminds me of channel 2...dedicated, dependable, determined. Maybe a different order, but you catch my drift. My money right now would be on him starting against Boise State. But is he our best option?

It may just be Sanders Commings. And that upsets me just a little. I want Sanders to start at corner this September, not safety. If he starts at safety it doesn't tell me Grantham made the wrong decision moving Tree to MLB...but it tells me we're still trying to find the right replacement.

Who do you think starts? Or...who do you want to start?

Friday, April 22, 2011

More Friendly signs of non-entitlement

Weiszer brings us the next installment of why players feeling entitled to their starting positions is a thing of the past. This time it's new OL coach Will Friend who provides the breath of fresh air:

Will Friend, the former Georgia graduate assistant, was hired from UAB after signing day and completed his first spring as offensive line coach.
“He’s got a good way about him,” Richt said. “I liked how he handled everybody as far as grading all the practices and kind of re-racking it every day. If one guy was first team one day, the next day he might be second team if he didn’t get the job done. I think everybody understood they were truly competing and it will be that way in the fall, too, until we get the right top five.”
"Re-racking"...yes! You practice and train hard, you stand a better chance of playing. So simple.

At least until we look at offensive tackle depth where the water's a little murky still after Sturdivant's injury. Here's former tackle Clint Boling on the depth at tackle:
“A.J. definitely has the talent if he’s able to pick things up and get out there on the field and play consistently. He could be a good player,” Boling said. “I only looked at one (spring) practice, but Bean (Anderson) definitely has the potential to do it. Having Trinton hurt definitely does hurt the offensive line in terms of depth, but some of these young guys that haven’t played before are going to have to step up and contribute.” 
 Throw in Austin Long and the fact that Richt mentions Kenarious Gates has the size and athleticism to play tackle...and suddenly, tackle will be a big position to watch this August.

QB Chaos in the SEC

Good read here by Paschall. Just more evidence that we can be thankful for Aaron Murray.

Florida’s John Brantley and LSU’s Jordan Jefferson failed to complete 30 percent of their pass attempts during recent spring football games, yet they were on target compared to Tyler Bray of Tennessee.
Bray connected on 5 of 30 attempts last Saturday in Knoxville, but at least he was competing. Stephen Garcia couldn’t say that at South Carolina’s spring game.
The Southeastern Conference has a plethora of quarterback questions in 2011, and this spring may have added to them. 
Paschall lists Murray as one of three Absolute Locks to start this Fall, along with the Vols' Tyler Bray and Kentucky's Morgan Newton.  And no, I'm not stopping myself from chuckling that Bray's a lock despite connecting on 16% of his spring game passes.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Richt's Off-season Update, aka "The Return of Jules"

I slacked off on updating this off season to-do list for Coach Richt. To be honest, it completely slipped my mind until I was cleaning out the ol' draft folder last night. Probably the best thing to do at this point is to see where we stand as of today and then pick up where we left off starting tomorrow.

Regardless, I think we can knock this thing out well before SEC Media Days.

As a reminder I've used my italics typeset keyboard to repost the items from last December. Then I'll switch to my bold keyboard and summon my inner Jules Winnfield to address where we are.

The following is a list of things I think Coach Richt must address this bowl and subsequent off-season. I'll address each separately in subsequent posts. 
You, flock of seagulls, you know why we're here? That's lift some mother effin' weights.

1. Recruit both AJ Green and Justin Houston as if Uga's bark depended on it. Both are certain longshots impossibilities to stay another season. But they are true difference makers that don't come around often. So make a pitch and make it hard. I agree with helping them through the process, seeing both sides. But make sure the last point you make is barked loud enough. 

Well, we struck out on both. However, I don't think we can or will end up blaming either for their decision. AJ is gonna go really early as expected and Justin could definitely be a first rounder.

2. Address the Georgia Bulldogs' lagging strength and conditioning program. No one's going to get fired this off-season. It remains to be seen if anyone steps away. But Coach Van's program has proven insufficient in August as much as November, in the first half as much as the fourth quarter. We were manhandled Saturday night in the trenches. The new director of S&C needs to own Jules Winnfield's wallet. Not a replica. The actual one that says...well,you know what it says. (Maybe Samuel L. visiting Saturday was a sign...a prophecy of some sort.) UPDATElooks like CVH is indeed leaving.

That was of course written just as news was about to break on the Van Halanger adjustment in duties. To be honest, I was more than underwhelmed by Richt's decision to stay in house with this appointment. And I'm still withholding judgment (as we all should) until we can see the results this Fall, especially in the 4th quarter.

But you'd be blind if you didn't already see that there are signs of progress. In other words, things are no longer chummy in the weightroom. There's definite accountability within the off season program and the players are responding. From what I hear, we can expect this to continue and that's a good thing. I think it just comes down to how quickly we can see a lasting impact on the field.

3. Sign Isaiah Crowell. He's a difference maker and he cannot cross the border.

Done. And done very well. It's old news of course, but it doesn't hurt to recall what a spectacular job recruiting the staff did in Columbus getting this kid to stay in state. I don't get into placing too much on incoming freshmen's shoulders, but I do believe this kid is a potential homerun with every handoff. We'll know more by late August.

4. Find the dude that eats space on the defensive front as if they were biscuits on the breakfast table. He's out there somewhere. I don't care if he's in a high school cafeteria or a second rate diner outside of some junior college in Podunk USA. Get both of em and ask them what number they want to wear 'tween the hedges. It's worth saying again...we were manhandled Saturday night in the trenches.

Again, done. And done very, very well. Kwame's emergence this Spring has taken some of the luster off of signing Big John Jenkins, but after last season I think we'd all take 5 or 6 of these guys if we could. Someone to fill up the middle and give Crob and Tree some space to roam will be like flipping a coin on last season's defense.

Things get much tougher going forward with 5-10. I'll try to be back soon to look at the offensive line.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Harvey Updyke strikes again

I was wrong about the Butts-Mehre culprits (something that doesn't happen often), but I'm pretty sure I know who set up a fake Isaiah Crowell Twitter account yesterday...Harvey Updyke. He's the only logical suspect. Somehow from his van down by the river, he was able to snag a few pics off the interwebs and fancy a nearly believable social media account.

So nearly believable it even fooled some media members.
"Tuesday, the incoming freshman at Georgia confirmed to UGASports that an unauthorized person had created a Twitter account using his name with posts being attributed to him. 
"No," Crowell said, when asked if the account was his. "I've never been on Twitter." 
Among the tweets was one attributed to Crowell stating "Dream Team" with dollar signs surrounding both words. 
Apparently the fake account was good enough to fool several members of the Georgia beat media to advertise the account, giving their readers the opportunity to follow Crowell. 
The account picked up over 300 followers in just eight tweets. 
"That's crazy," said Carver High coach Del McGee when informed of the Crowell impersonator."
As of my bedtime last night, the account is already back down to nearly 100 followers. So Kipp Adams' tweet and article helped end the frenzy for the most part. As for our favorite Bammer prankster...

Mr. Updyke...step away from laptop and stop skimming the WiFi. Coupla 
trees are one thing, the Twittah is personal and affects the whole 
world. Lay off.

"This is not Nam, this is bowling. There are rules."

I'm no stoner, but I love this movie. ( all)

I bring that up because this is April 20th, or "420" as it were. In stoner lexicon this is like, a National Holiday man. Right! But most pot smokers probably have no idea of the origin of the term 420. So if you meet one of these dudes...especially after say 4:30ish in the this and you can drop some knowledge on their half-baked brains.

Otherwise, let's just hope that our student-athletes aren't involved in any smoke-outs. It's not lost on me that a couple years ago we lost a couple players for a few games shortly after April 20th turned over on the calendar. 

And for the love of pete...if you're a campus dealer, go out to Boulder. You'd be as rich as Mr. Lebowski

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A word on the recruit arrests

By now you've all not only heard, but also have likely observed the ugly fallout from the Carver HS arrests in relation to the items taken from Butts-Mehre a couple weeks ago. I'm not going to get into all the media and fan hand wrangling tying these arrests to <quote>UGA's ongoing problem with student athletes and the law<unquote>. 

Well then, maybe a little...

If people want to blame this on Richt, they're only justifying the fact that they rode the short bus to school. We all deal with this everyday, in the workplace and with friends/acquaintances with other deficiencies allegiances. Regardless of the circumstances, Coach Richt will always be perceived to be at fault when it comes to a confluence of these three words: UGA, athletes and arrests. In truth, Richt is no more at fault with one of his players' arrest than he is these three dipshits. But that's why he gets paid with the extra zeroe$$$.

Other points to ponder:
  • The first to come to mind is the relationship between Carver's Coach McGee and Coach Richt. Just as things were getting smoothed over between the two schools, this sets things least on the surface. Just don't discount how savvy CMR can be in situations like this. In other words, I think this could potentially bring the two coaches closer together if the cards and emotions fall just right.
  • I can't believe there are Dawg fans fretting over the fact that we just lost Deion Bonner. Folks, we didn't lose him, he lost us. In the end, his involvement will be a blessing in disguise and either some other program's problem or their overcoming the obstacles story.
  • And no, he's not coming to Athens...really! He's not. Are you kidding? Except as an opposing War Eagle...or Bammer. Or should he really fall from grace, a DB for the ol' Ball Coach. If you disagree with me, slow down and gather your thoughts. You can't steal from possible future teammates and expect to be a part of their locker room again. Ever. If you don't believe me you won't have to go very far to find tweets and other timeline posts saying as much from current players. Get real.
  • Lastly, potential teammates' feelings are one thing. But what about former teammates and current classmates? I wonder how this has impacted Crowell and Harrow's relationships inside and outside of Carver HS. They have to feel just a little bit embarrassed to say the least. Bonner should've watched them handle recruitment a little more closely. Sure would've saved Coach McGee a big headache the last couple weeks. 
Everybody take a deep breath. It's all gonna work out for the better. Especially for the two big parties involved, Deion Bonner and UGA.

137 Days of Tranquility

Another Spring is in the books. The team gets some rest. The fans get to stare straight down into the heart of an abyss as deep and unfathomable as the one we stared at this time last year.


There are many things I hope for, not the least of which is some tranquility. Just a long stretch with little news to digest, think or blog about around Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall that is remotely football related.

After that, my only other plan is to fill the glass. Not with baseless optimism or flat, skunky brew. Good, hoppy libations that swallow the days away with each thirsty gulp.

Grab a glass. Join me. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday's Meatloaf - Big Men on Campus

That sound you heard over the weekend were bricks falling from the butts of Boise State offensive linemen.
I'm not the only one excited.
I know, I know. Slow down's just April and that was only a intra-scrimmage with more players in street clothes than the entire brass section of the band. But I just can't help but be a little excited about the improvement our defensive line could see next season.

Kwame Geathers is not just the Spring's defensive MVP, but he's the poster child to off season dedication. His body is different than what we saw in Memphis just a few months ago. the Senator perhaps put it best when he said for once a player actually lived up to the off season hype.

I feel both refreshed and encouraged. Someone get me a DeLorean filled with plutonium. I gotta get past these next five months...STAT!

However, we should probably be proactive about this. If Grantham plans on toying with the possibility of playing both Jenkins and Geathers on the same line, we need to make sure there's no obscure NCAA rule that says you can't play two players on the same line if the campus doesn't also have a classroom that can fit both student athletes. I wouldn't put it past them.

If so, we need to start renovating some classrooms...knock down some walls. Or perhaps a few outdoor classrooms that have no ceiling. 

Today's Ingredients
  • I've given fans the business in the recent past, but coming off of a 6-7 season and having the largest crowd in GDay history is impressive. Well done folks.
  • As Weiszer points out, we are currently evaluating the talent already on scooters and awaiting the talent that scoots in this August.
  • Speaking of the incoming dreamers, Isaiah Crowell had a warm reception Saturday.
  • And Page has a look at what John Jenkins had to say to Kwame after he shined at the scrimmage Saturday.
  • If my research hasn't failed me, it was Carlton Thomas who lead the squads in carries...thereby proving my poll pretty inaccurate.
  • Bulldawg Illustrated's Murray Poole lists RB as his top concern heading out of Spring drills.
  • The Grit Tree's Lugnut Dawg offers his observations on the game. Big Muddy does the same.
  • Year2 runs down some rule changes for next season.
  • Warrants have been issued in the Butts-Mehre thefts. Connect the dots folks. This won't end well for a high profile recruit.
  • Chizik balks, Stephenson High School's Carlos Hood Chickumbia to commit.
  • In hoops news, former Vol commit Kevin Ware visited Central Florida over the weekend...and then entertained Coach Pitino last night.
  • On the diamond, Perno's Dawgs were only able to take one of the weekend games against the Gators.
  • Lastly, Coach Cocky is now getting paid with the big boys. Way to go OBC!

And now for something too funny not to share. I exchanged texts with Aaron Murray Thursday morning. Just as I was about to give up Facebook for a deadly disease that is only spreading contagion among our nation's youthful populace, it has put me in some type of contact with another Damn Good Dawg.

Are YOU gonna be at Rankin?
I'm often confused with another person with my exact name (who happens to play offensive line for Georgia) through social media. I've warned more than a few HS recruits that not only have they reached the wrong dude but that they should be careful who they send messages to (for the record, from my FB's pretty obvious I'm not a 300lb football player).

Yet I digress....I got a text that morning that asked me if I was going to be at Rankin soon.

About once a month I get one of those weird texts that is obviously a "misdial". But this one I suspected was from a UGA student-athlete since the Rankin Smith Center is a place we hope all of our student-athletes become familiar with so that they can maintain their athletic eligibility. So instead of deleting without responding, I simply replied "What? Who is this?" Soon my suspicions were confirmed that I had once again been a victim of mistaken identity, but I was genuinely thrilled when it came back as Aaron Murray (loosely confirmed by a quick Google check of the area code).

For the record, I quickly explained that he had the wrong guy. And then added some good luck for Saturday and a Go Dawgs! Unfortunately he had a slip of the thumbs again a few minutes later and apologized. Luckily texting ability isn't directly related to the ability to read defenses. I don't think.

To be honest I forget it's even there, but maybe I should take my phone number off of facebook. Maybe not. Perhaps next time Murray will call like Trinton Sturdivant did a few years ago. I'll gladly talk to long as he isn't asking me to protect him against blitzing LBs. I can be a big man on campus, but not that big.

Here's a big fork Reader. Use it wisely, send the picture to Coach T and have a great Monday!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thoughts from a sunny GDay

Turned out to be a beautiful day in Athens. And although I haven't had time to completely digest everything about the game, I'm thrilled that I was right to get a little giddy over early praise for Kwame. That kid may just be the force we needed last season.

What's more is I saw several pictures on Twitter of John Jenkins in the crowd watching the game. The more Kwame and Big John can push each other the better. I'm officially excited about the prospects of our defense with the right personnel in place. That and Tree looked special.

However, I was wrong on at least two things. First, Branden Smith. He may be more than needed on the offensive side of the ball. It was a little sad to see him as the only playmaker we had for awhile. Our receivers need to make some strides.

And secondly I was wrong about what GDay is all about. As soon as my daughter and I sat down and I had a chance to look around at the crowd I remembered the event itself is really about the fans. Nice to see some Dawg pups cutting their teeth a little on the annual Spring game.