Saturday, July 23, 2011

Team identity - stuck in the shadows?

Read this post by Quinton yesterday and it rang well as rung a bell for me. Back in January, I suggested that the Georgia Bulldogs are suffering from a 24/7 hangover. In short, we're a football team waiting for a Stafford or a Moreno to turn a loss into a win. 

That has to end.

Team identity can be a tricky thing, especially when you group a collection of dreamy teenagers together with a bunch of players facing their last couple seasons. Staff and Moreno have been gone nearly three years. Surely that hangover has worn off. Surely we're ready for another set of studs.
Richt says, "Now those guys are gone, these 'superstars' are gone. Now everybody is thinking, I have to pull my weight, my opportunity is coming. I've got to do my part. I think that's going to be real healthy for us." 
Hard not to wonder if Richt is rehashing old history. So the question this season we fall in line behind another set of stars, waiting for them to win the game? Has Richt tweaked the staff and personnel enough to break us out of this rut? It's hard not to hope we can emerge from the shadows as a team in spite of its star players.

SEC MD- wrapup

Friday, July 22, 2011

SEC Media Day Two

I'm sure most of you have read and seen as much from yesterday as I have. So this'll be pretty short, but here are some thoughts.

Seat's hot, but feels pretty comfy
Richt and his band of merry men sure didn't sound anxious, on edge or cantankerous about a 6-7 season. Richt even threw the Muschamp Wednesday jab at UGA right back by saying he thinks the former Georgia defensive back has red and black "in his veins". From start to finish, Richt and his players sounded fresh and eager to begin.

What's more is they didn't skirt any issue and there was a noticeable lack of clichéish, general off season quote garbage. In other words, the exact opposite of 2009 when we faced a big out of conference game to start the season and had to listen to Cox and Owens spout on about team unity, better fundamentals.

The message seems to be - Yes, we had work to do and we're doing it. We're ready to play. Our opponents better be as well. Let's hope that tune doesn't change anytime soon.

First center to quarterback exchange was a fumble
Love the story about then freshman Ben Jones telling Aaron Murray's dad that the future Dawg QB's girlfriend was hot. To which Mr. Murray said, "Son, that's my daughter." Oops. How'd that turf taste Jones?

Malcolm Mitchell stock has no ceiling
I mentioned earlier I'm a lot less worried about our tailback position. The same is true for our receivers. I almost finished a post earlier this week about the receiving corps and who in the world would pick up the slack for AJ and Kris being gone. Then I listen to Kris himself on yesterday's Dawgcast and Aaron Murray talk about throwing to Mitchell in skeletons and I begin to wonder why I ever had a question.

If Mitchell is creating this much buzz before the coaches even hit the field with the team...well, damn. It may be that the hype back in February didn't fit the bill.

Dancing with Chizik
Chizik was uncomfortable. I don't think there was enough Right Guard in Hoover to combat his pit stains yesterday. I recall one interview where the first reporter asked something about one of his players and he uncomfortably stressed repeatedly how much he appreciated her asking the question.

That all being said, he didn't act as if the walls are caving in. And whether this all turns out to be what we expect or a witch hunt as the barners are claiming, somehow that could all be a backdrop to the 2011 season. Georgia doesn't have to play Arkansas, Bama or LSU...but Auburn can't avoid them.

No tailback worries here Dawg

I'll be honest, I'm getting less and less worried about going into the season's first game with only three scholarship tailbacks. Crowell came to UGA to fill the missing man formation, feed that Dawg the ball and let's find out what he's worth right out of the gate.

And according to this DawgPost video of Murray and Richt addressing the backfield attrition, they ain't sweatin' it none.

If the kid outta Carver hasn't picked up the blitz schemes by 9/3, let Figgins do the blocking back there. No Pac-Ten wannabe ever seen a fullback his size.

Aaron Murray's tape measure, part II

Evidently (and not surprisingly) this is gonna become a series. Aaron Murray's value is already through the roof, but it continues to climb.

Murray is one of the leaders of the offseason program. Even if that means he needs to go work with a teammate away from the football facility.
He was part of a group of players that sought out top tailback recruit Isaiah Crowell, working on offensive drills outside his dorm room in an effort to help him better learn the playbook.
“We’ve sat him down,” Murray said. “One of the first weeks here, me Ben (Jones), Christian (Robinson) and a couple of other guys went to his dorm, talked to him, ran him through some plays and said `Hey, we’re here for you no matter what. We’re going to push you and at the end we’re going to make sure you’re ready to go.’ He’s definitely taken that well and has been working hard.”
That's the last of a few important quotes from Murray. His leadership can't be confined to a C stitched into a jersey.

Last Another word on Nike's uniforms

Late each day I usually check my little blog's stats. I specifically like to see what/if any hits came from Twitter and Facebook. Google+ too, but that's still developing. Yesterday I posted something on the Nike uniforms with the headline "Nike Unis". In hindsight that was a little misleading. I probably should've titled it so that it didn't give the slightest implication of having a picture of them. The Dawg Nation is jonesin' for a sneak peek. Want proof? Glad you asked.

My post on Aron White's achievement got about one-tenth the hits from Twitter as the uniform post. One-tenth! And it also about doubled my last post to hit an all-time Twitterfeed high.

Nope, not this time.
Anyway, my point is really two-fold. To be fair I'll lead with Richt. He's helped create this frenzy over any variance in the normal uniform. It worked one and a half times (Hawaii to be fair, is barely worth a half). The other times have been disastrous. So now if there's even the faintest rumor that a costume change is coming we all get worked up to the point of hypertension.

Slow down Dawgs. This is a lot less about Richt catering to seniors wanting strike a pose in all black than it is about catering to the program's cash cow, Nike. They write the checks and now it's time for the Dawgs to climb onto a national stage and pay the shoe man. And while I understand why we all get bent out of shape, we also need to realize that the players are pretty geek'd up about it. It's pretty special for them and that's what it's all about.

And it could always be worse Reader. We could be cheering for a team in cream sickle orange that's still in the shadow of a great phat pumpkin. Besides, if what I'm hearing is correct (and I think it is) we're going to be pretty happy with the way they look. We'll win the warmups based on looks alone. It's up to what happens on Woodruff Field in the next few weeks that'll determine whether we win the actual game.

And that won't have anything to do with what color the jersey is.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

SEC MD - Murray, Jones, Boykin & Coach Richt (UPDATED)

UPDATE - player is updated now with Boykin's interview as well.

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Each interview is available on the player. Just hit play and select which one you want first from the right side. I'd definitely recommend Murray's...reflections on the 2010 record, Coach Richt, pressure...and being a better 

Boykin gave Murray some grief on Twitter about the better wives comment. They represented us well, regardless.

Boykin's individual interview isn't up at the time of this posting, but I would think they'd have it ready soon. I'll post it individually if necessary.

Nike Unis

Word on the street twitter is they're all black. Fans are convinced they're already bad luck. Players can hardly contain their enthusiasm...but they're not spilling the beans.

However, Coach Richt did let the media know today how he introduced the Nike uniforms for the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic to the team. Bulldawg Illustrated  has the sound from the interview hereGood listen.

h/t Hedges to Hardwood

Aron White nominated for AFCA's Good Works Team

Georgia tight end Aron White has been nominated for the Allstate AFCA
Good Works Team®, which recognizes players for their outstanding
community service work. Two 11-player Good Works Teams® will be
selected and announced in late September – one for the Football Bowl
Subdivision (Div. I-A) and the other for the NCAA Football
Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and NAIA.

White's off-field service includes being a Pet Zone volunteer, an
organization that saves dogs from euthanasia and puts them up for
adoption, visiting local children’s hospitals and delivers posters and
well wishes to the patients, and assisting with the construction of a
local home built by Habitat for Humanity.

Great hands on and off the field. Congrats to Aron!

Herschel says "This is Georgia!"

For the couple of you that haven't seen it yet....

Storied is the new 30 for 30 style documentary that debuts on ESPNU this Fall. It starts with none other than Herschel Walker. (h/t SDS)

September 7th at 8pm. 

I see that preview and remember one of the main reasons I became a Dawg fan as a kid. Once it's over I begin to wish we could use Herschel's last year of eligibility this season.

The ball wasn't heavy, and I doubt it is now.

SEC Media Day One

What started as a calm morning had exploded into a whirlwind of news and speculation by days end. We went from Slive is retiring to Danny Sheridan is sleeping with Emmert within a few hours. Wow. Let's break some stuff down a bit.

Hey Emmert...clean your own damn house!
Slive's Communique
Looking back I guess this is something he had to do. When it was announced that he had something big to say to lead things off in Hoover speculation was rampant: realignment, retirement, a rap where he refers to Delaney as his bitch while continuously holding up five fingers. 

But in the end I don't have a problem with most of his suggestions proposed legislation. I thought it was kind of funny later when someone asked Spurrier about the multi-year schollies and he vehemently disagreed, and actually made some good points. Including the fact that most coaches work off of multi-year contracts. LOLZ!! His smirk as he realized the corner he'd backed into was priceless.

The real news will likely come in the weeks ahead. Such as when Jim Delaney steps on his B1G throne to address their media. Should be interesting to see if he stoops so low to agree with the SEC commish. Overall though it reminded me of what it must have been like to hear Thomas Jefferson et al speak about the Declaration of Independence. Nice of Slive to even don the appropriate wig.

Vacation's over boys. It's Shirts vs Moobs.
bEASTsly enemies
Muschamp was late to the podium but rattled on and on once he got there. I mostly read Twitter while listening to him speak and it looks like the FU fandom is quite smitten with his southern coaching charm and especially his energy. As for what we learned, not a whole lot except that Jeff Demps is in Italy right now running track and Will's never been to Italy. Oh! And that he's a "Florida guy"...his response when someone asked what it feels like for a Georgia boy to be Florida's coach. I just hope somehow, some way MusChomp sees Robert's response.

Spurrier also didn't reveal much except that he's trying to remind his guys that they not nearly as good as the rest of Chickumbia is making them out to be. I found it fitting when he explained the handcuffing incident where he had a cop handcuff him for questioning, a la Clowney style. Then he said something to the effect See it's alright to get cuffed cuz you're helping the police do their job. Okie dokie. All that was missing was a not so subtle reference to a HillBilly Brawl in Knutsville.

sCam's Bag Man
I think Year2 about covers every angle of the Sheridan bombing done on Finebaum's show yesterday. My first thought was the same as most peoples..Danny Sheridan...??...really? But sometimes that's just how these things go. Whoever the USAToday oddsmaker guy knows at the NCAA is hoping this very public nugget of info helps reel in a big fish.

Now we just wait. But surely Wartiglesmen are at least a little less brash and ignorant today. Well, nevermind that.

SEC Chiropracticing
And what would a conference in Hoover be without discussing....the Texas A&M Aggies. There continues to be dissent out west. And as long as there is rumblings there, it follows suit that the rumblings will be here as well. The lastest have the Aggies and the Sooners moving to the SEC should everyone not be all hunky dory with the Longhorn Network specifics. It's like déjà vu all over again.

There has actually been talk over the last couple weeks at least with this. And if realignment should eventually happen, I just hope we don't get a chiropractor from the yellow pages. One team from Kentucky is aplenty and I sure as hell don't want to travel to Kansas every other year.

That's about all I can fit into this post. Offer any additional comments below. Chizzy takes the stand podium later this morning. Wonder if he'll field a question from Julie Roe Lach.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chester Brown commits to UGA - UPDATED

Safe to say the news is out: if you're big and can block, you can play next year in the SEC if you come to Athens. Chester Brown has also committed to Coach Richt according to Gentry Estes at Dawgs247. Brown has mostly been under the radar after moving to Georgia from California. He attends Bradwell Institute in southeast GA.

The puzzle of rebuilding Georgia's depth-depleted offensive line got another piece Wednesday with a commitment from Chester Brown, a 2012 prospect from Bradwell Institute in Hinesville.
Brown confirmed his decision to Dawgs247, saying he called UGA coach Mark Richt with the news.
"He was surprised," Brown said. "He was like 'I thought you would never call' ... It was just the people at Georgia, the coaches and the atmosphere I felt when I was there."
The 6-foot-6, 335-pound Brown emerged recently as a sleeper prospect. He visited campus leading up to DawgNight and picked up an offer in the process.
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Here's Legge's complete story on Brown and how much his family played a role in his decision. Great read, terrific kid.

2013/14 Schedules

SicEmDawgs has an early peek at the 2013 and 2014 schedules*. The most notable change is that South Carolina is not the SEC opener either year.  We got to Nashville to play Vandy on 9/7/13 and to Arkansas on 9/6/14. Both seasons open against Clemson in a home and home series.
The Georgia Bulldogs have set their tentative 2013 and 2014 football schedules, has learned exclusively via a document obtained from UGA.
Just like the 2012 schedule we posted last week, the 2013 and 2014 schedules depart from the format the Dawgs’ have seen over the past few years.
Georgia opens the 2013 season on the road against the Clemson Tigers on August 31. Then, for the first time since 1991, the Dawgs open SEC play against a team other than South Carolina. On September 7, Georgia will travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt in their earliest meeting ever.
Just like with then 2012 schedule, UGA has set up the finale with Tech really well. In 2012 you'll remember we play GA Southern the week before. In '13 we have an open date and in '14 we bring in Charleston Southern. 

*All schedules are tentative until announced by the SEC.

NCAA...welcome to the 21st century

I'll admit that it's awfully convenient, but I'm not a big texter (that's now a word right?). However, anyone can see that this is the way teenagers communicate nowadays. Thumbs operate minute keypads with as much precision as legs peddled bicycles back in my day....Hi Mrs. Smith, is Johnny home?

Today it's all about quick information. From what Sally is wearing at the Cineplex on Friday night to what coach is in Chaz Elder's living room. So it makes sense that the NCAA begin to recognize texting as a viable form of communication.
The NCAA is considering a proposal that would again permit coaches to send text messages to recruits or their parents at permitted time periods.
“I think they’ve got to go in and re-look at some of the legislation,” Georgia football recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said. “Now everybody has these unlimited data packages and that’s the way kids communicate. I think the NCAA has to recognize it. You’ve got to be able to change with whatever is going on in society.”
Georgia has reported at least 10 text message secondary violations in the last three years across all of its sports.
Football coach Mark Richt and assistant men’s basketball coach Kwanza Johnson were involved in violations this year for inadvertently sending electronic transmissions.
A proposal from the Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet would allow all forms of electronic correspondence, including email and texts, to be sent to recruits or their parents beginning when phone contact is allowed in that sport, according to the NCAA News. It must be sent directly to the prospect and be private between the sender and recipient.
The cabinet heard concerns that the current ban was “outdated and lagging behind prospects’ use of technology.”
No progress however on lifting the ban on butt-dialing.

SEC Media Days Preview

Wahoo! Media Daze is here! Who will piss St. Nicky off? Who breaks the news to Richt that he's on the hot seat after he just kicked ass all over the southeast on the recruiting trail? And who dares tempt Coach Chizzy into a loaded question about NCAA investigations regarding the super smart and uber innocent sCam Newton?

You can follow it all right here at BDB, straight from Hoover. Hide ya kids and hide ya wife! It's SEC Media Days! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Couple more thoughts on Dawg Night

It continues to sink in just how impressive Friday night was. Again, as well as Richt has done recruiting over the years we are seeing a different and much better result for the effort being put in these last several months.

I clicked on this overview of new UGA commitment Brice Ramsey by Carvell and all I could think is: is this another Dawg Night NCAA violation? Luckily I quickly read the picture's byline and realized it was just an innocent photo that won't soon find trouble. (The difference is this one was taken by someone in the Ramsey family. Coaches can pose for those mobile phones.)

Once the crisis was averted (in my mind), I enjoyed learning a little bit more about Ramsey. But to see him in action with the other Dawg Night attendees I went back and watched this Dawg Post video of Fletcher and Legge's coverage/analysis. From Henry's Williams' speed...Brice's arm...and Theus' recruiting, they have it covered.

Boo! Sky is FALLING!!

Just like that (corrected link), Boo Malcome ascends the depth chart at running back for the Georgia Bulldogs. This is the same guy who had a good GDay game then ended up at the bottom on the post-Spring depth chart. But Ealey and King are gone, Crowell is learning and Thomas is in the Dawg House.

The rising junior from Frostproof, Fla., violated team rules back in the spring, three persons familiar with the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As per Georgia Athletic Association student-athlete policy, Thomas has to sit out 10 percent of scheduled games this season.
The Bulldogs play 12 games this season, including the season opener against Top-10-ranked Boise State in the Georgia Dome. Most recently that has resulted in one-game suspensions, though Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity declined to specify.
“If we have any announcements regarding suspensions, they’ll be made at the appropriate time,” said McGarity, declining further comment.
I've lost count, but I think that should put us at around 75 scholarship players in the whichever walkons earn the honor in the next month. The good news is we didn't need half that many players to kick the crap out of the Broncos six years ago. The bad news is that today's bronco is a different breed.

I mean just last week Thomas told Weiszer...
“(My) mindset hasn’t changed,” said Thomas, a redshirt junior. “Since day one it’s been to win and to do what I can do for the team. Because a couple of my teammates have left, it’s just a bigger role for me stepping into a leadership position and pushing the position, so when it’s time to play Boise State everyone’s going to be on board and get the job done and get that win.”
Ok. Well I guess that excludes whatever day it was back in April where he stuck his head up his ass. The bigger picture: now many are gonna say "See, CMR knows what he's doing with Samuel. We definitely need him at RB now. So quit your bitching Bernie and let him do his job." You're right, we do need Samuel at RB. But you can't really argue the fact that we've mismanaged a few players over the years.

Kiante Tripp may have never established himself as a DE and Samuel may eventually work out at running back. But at this point it feels a lot more like a street side vendor's shell game than actual player development.

I like the three RBs we have for the first game, don't get me wrong. Malcome evidently didn't have a very crisp Spring, but looked good in the actual game. Crowell is going to be fine as far as developing into a complete SEC back. It's just a matter of how long that takes. Samuel ironically is the one that we are the most familiar with. We know what we're getting, he's just much bigger now and we hope that his hands are more "confident" and his feet are more "RB like".

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday's Meatloaf - Hindsight may be perfect...

...but foresight is invaluable.

As I watched the final round of the British Open yesterday I was reminded of course that so much can hinge on one shot. A bad putt on Thursday can hurt just as much as an errant drive on Sunday. Winners are the ones who continually set themselves up for success. (Congrats to Northern Ireland, again!)

Nice par putt Phil.
Case in point comes from Frank. You remember him right? Well, what I may have failed to mention in that earlier post is that Frank knows his way around a golf course. And after a few decades the game paid him back recently with not one, but two holes in one within about a week of each other. Quite a feat that proved he wasn't just getting lucky.

Speaking of which, as luck would have it Frank also was in a pool at his club where each member pays him $10 for each ace. Suddenly he was looking at a nice little windfall. But it came up about $20 short because one member insisted that he should not be listed among the active pool names. He was tired of paying people for their aces.

So, he was taken off the list. His penance...he promptly made not one, not two...but three holes in one within a month. He got a lot more high fives than he did handshakes with Alexander Hamilton. So the moral of the story: golf's a hard enough game without pressing you luck.

That Dawg'll bite yooouuu!
Today's Ingredients
  • The afterglow of Dawg Night has been intense. Socrates thinks Chester Brown of Bradwell Institute might be the next commit. Also, Legge has the details of his visit to Athens.
  • Reuben Foster doesn't seem as close to a decision, but has UGA high on his list.
  • Mr. Sanchez summarizes Friday night's events and includes a pic of Stanley Williams' shoes.
  • Kyle has found a reason to feel optimistic about the S&C program and our secondary.
  • We've known Steele likes UGA to have a big turnaround this season. Now he explains why.
  • Jack ranks the position groups and Dawgola looks back at the 1948 football team.
  • ecdawg points to some distress down in gayturdsville.
  • I wonder if Robert Baker cringed just a little when he read this post by the Senator.
  • cocknfire wonders if MSUs Relf has even better days ahead.
  • Da Mighty Fred penalized me the other day for referencing Jennifer Aniston but failing to include a link. Sorry Fred. Here ya go.
  • Got an anniversary with Mrs. Bernie tomorrow. So if anyone has any Dairy Queen coupons just lying around, hook a blogger up!
  • Heard of many that caught his concert this weekend. Whether you did or you didn't you can catch a free download of Corey Smith's single "Drug" here.
  • Lastly, Jennifer reminds me that I'm really old with this post about MTVs birthday. And I'm proud to say I got one of her trivia questions right. I guess I still have a little thing for Martha Quinn.
How can you feel good about Dawg Night Bernie and still not make amends with Coach Richt? I'm glad (some of) you asked (in so many words). It comes down to sifting through for factual evidence and determining the value of said evidence.

Nice 5 stars ya got there Rachel
I'll admit that Richt has stepped up his game tremendously when it comes to recruiting, there's factual evidence to support that. Not that he's never been good at getting teenagers to like him. We've enjoyed great success on the recruiting trails during his tenure in Athens. But what happened back in February and especially what happened Friday night were A+'s on a report card of mostly B's. Sure, the kids that shook his hand Friday could easily change their minds. Getting a couple of future 5 stars to say yes now is a long way from the prom, so to speak. But it definitely gives us more evidence there's vitality in this coaching staff. They're not just gonna watch the other studs in school snatch up the hot chicks and wait for whoever is left.

That being said, what happens in September is a lot different than what happens in July. Closing the 4th quarters in November are a lot more important than closing a recruiting event. And we did little on the field last season to bark at. Developing the talent and putting them in position to excel isn't just a passing grade, it's a diploma. And that's factual evidence with a lot more value.

50 days in folks, we'll have a lot of answers to these questions and we'll be focused on one big one: can we finally turn the GA/fla series around? In the mean time, 400 degrees for about 45 minutes and your lunch will be ready. Here's your fork, go have a Monday!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Remembering Sports Journalism's greatest headline

Yesterday there was some discussion about Happy Dicks, LB at UGA during the 1960s. Well, that naturally reminded me of this little Lewis Grizzard story. Best headline to hit driveways and newstands in the history of printed word. The story goes something like this (h/t Catfish and Cornbread):

On the eve of the UGA/South Carolina game 41 years ago, I was hanging out with three of my fraternity brothers (the Hound, Tex, and Bake), drinking a few cold PBRs at the old Callaway Gardens Apartment on the Atlanta Highway. We were discussing the upcoming game against the Gamecocks and lamenting the fact that we were going in with several key players out with injuries, including our starting DE, Billy Payne and his roommate, MLB, Happy Dicks.

About 10:00, another fraternity brother, Lewis, came in after he got off work. Our buddy was inactive at the time because he had gotten married over the summer to his high school sweetheart, Nancy. In addition to taking a full load at the university, he was working two jobs to help pay for (as he called it) "this expensive habit". A talented young man, he was writing two columns daily - one in the morning for the Athens Banner Herald and one in the afternoon for the Athens Daily News.

Lewis walked in, went straight to the refrigerator, got a beer, plopped down in a chair, pushed his glasses back up his nose and announced, "Gentlemen, with any luck at all, tomorrow morning you'll witness journalistic history. I have submitted my column and if it gets by my editor - and there's a good chance of that happening, since he "took drunk" earlier this evening - you'll enjoy the greatest headline in the history of sports journalism."

He refused to tell us what it was, and to be honest with you, we all forgot about it. As Lewis went home to his lovely, young bride, the four of us went back over to the fraternity house to get a head start on the weekend.

The next morning, as usual, I went straight for the Sports Section. As I pulled it out, I could do nothing but smile, because our buddy had pulled it off. To this day, Vince Dooley calls it his most memorable column ever - all because of the headline, which read:


Video: Chizik and Roe Lach

Uncovered some hidden camera footage of Coach Chizik and NCAA VP for enforcement Julie Roe Lach behind the scenes arguing after last month's SEC meetings. (Warning: wartiglesmen may find this difficult to watch)

Julie don't drink no CammyCamJuice.