Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beer of the Week: Southern Tier's Crème Brûlée

I figured it was about time for dessert...

If you're a fan of beer there is surely plenty in Southern Tier's arsenal that you like. Although I can't name one of theirs my favorite in a certain style, I also can't think of anything they've done that isn't really good. In terms of breweries they are similar to Dogfish in that they distribute well nationally and internationally and really enjoy the art of brew making. It's a creative process that they take seriously. And I dig that.

If you haven't had their Crème Brûlée...well, it's nothing like you've had before. If you don't like vanilla, stay away. But even if you do like the taste it may be a little much.

It pours as expected, dark, thick and very little head. The vanilla aroma is prominent and reminded me of my favorite porter, the Breckenridge Vanilla. But it's much stronger than that. The taste is prominent and doesn't ever relent. It's like drinking a dessert by the same name that has been doused in some liqueur.

I had this from a bomber and usually I can finish one in a sitting no problem. The Crème Brûlée however is like 9.6% and sweet as hell. So I had to take a break. I mean at times it was as thick as motor oil and the alcohol seemed to come through stronger with each sip. And unlike some other stouts, I don't think this one gets better the closer it gets to room temperature. I thought it was better cool. The warmer it got the easier it was to taste the alcohol and the more unbalanced it became.

Don't worry. I eventually finished it. And I'd truly like to have this one again. I just think it might be better shared with someone. They ain't lying when they label it an imperial. 

Until next week, stay thirsty dudes.

SEC Expansion: "ficts" vs "faction" UPDATED

UPDATE - I won't update every time the wind changes this weekend. But the strongest gale now has FSU, Mizzou and Clemson joining TAMU. That and VA Tech is happy where they are.

- - - - - - - - - 

The truths and the half-truths at this point are all so intertwined it's easy to get caught up in the wicked web that is being spun in the land of the Big 12 10 9...whatever. It seems by the time someone with knowledge tweets or clicks Publish!, the news is old or already being disputed.

But I found this piece by Travis to be a fair assessment of both what is known, what could be and what is very unlikely. Truthfully, I both find this stuff compelling and repulsive. I guess I'm intrigued because I think the SEC stands to win this "arms race" towards mega conferences. But I'm against the idea of expansion simply on its basis. I kind of like things the way they are, but it seems that the idea of super conferences is a matter of when and not if. are my thoughts:
  • It appears Mike Slive is nearing third base rounding third base sliding into home with the $exy TAMU. But for the record, they started the heavy petting in the first place. (FWIW...looks like the next BoR meeting in College Station is on Monday)
  • After A&M is where I think it gets interesting. VA Tech seems most logical to me. Florida (and Georgia for that matter) don't want FSU for basic, age-old territorial issues. Clemson would come next, but SCU has a similar argument against them. NATS...bwahahaha! (All that aside, there are some serious rumors of FSU following A&M. Guess anything is possible.)
  • Memphis...Louisville...please. 
  • Oklahoma I just don't see happening. A&M has all but divorced Texas' whoring ass, but OU and Okie State are still married at the hip. One set of alumni with 10 gallons permanently affixed to their craniums is enough. We don't need three.
  • Will Vandy be forced out? I just don't think so. Meaning, I haven't seen anything substantial that tells me it is even a possibility. Have I seen message bored posters that make viable points as to why it makes sense? I guess. But that's a long way from kicking a strong academic school to the curb in an age when the 'Dores continue to be a pretty smart looking feather in Slive's pimp'N cap.
  • North Carolina. Wait...we'll come back to spit our tobaccky.
  • The hoops. While we're raking in football dollars, can we raid some good basketball schools and officially make the SEC the best hoops conference as well? To do that would seem to take a miracle...and act of God...Mike Krzyzewski crapping his pants. Or maybe all three. All I know is my head just starts spinning when I try to fathom the variables.
  • Now, back to NC. Travis makes a case for why Slive might make a play at Duke. But I just can't believe they'd listen. I know, I know. It doesn't make sense that if the NCAA athletic world were to start crumbling around the ACC that there wouldn't be some schools with solid basketball programs that might consider jumping to a historically football conference. But I also know that in wine and cheese country reality takes a back seat to full court presses.
  • However, if the SEC were to look into the state of NC (and when you're evaluating geographical regions where Slive might want to establish a televise footprint NC just makes sense) I think I'd only want Duke. For these reasons: 1) I already hate them 2) it'd finally answer the question of how many rabid Dawg fans you can fit into a high school football stadium and 3) it would finally force the dookies to play us in basketball.
  • North Carolina would've been nice, but I think they're about to be castrated. Bad timing Heels. Sorry. And NC State...nah thanks. us when your football fans equal the number of lacrosse fans. Plus you stole JT3's brother from us. (All that aside, there are just as serious rumors as the FSU ones that UNC is lined up. So...whatevs. AwwBarn can show the Heels the ropes down heyuh!)
What'd I miss? More specifically, how do you feel about a bloated SEC?

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Ben Jones barometer

Sounds like our center is not only the CEO of the offensive line, but also the measuring stick for whether or not our NTs are SEC ready.
“You’ve got to think about it, Kwame (Geathers) has been here for a while,” [Jenkins] said. “As he’s been on first team, I’m learning. This is a tough defense. It’s not like junior college. It’s a lot of things to be accountable for. They want to make sure I’m able to handle that pressure, and by Kwame being in front of me I’m learning. And it gives me an opportunity to go against Ben Jones and the first offensive line. Ben Jones is a heck of a player. Every time he gets me on a play or what not, I get angry and I want to fight back. But I also go to him and I ask him what I did wrong. He’s been in the SEC for a while. I’m learning from every experience. I’m learning from the guys.

Grantham's D, post transition

Being cautiously optimistic is hard as a fan when Coach Grantham speaks. The guy just makes me want to bury a helmet shoulder into Alshon Jeffery's ribcage. Year one wasn't a complete disaster, but had more than its share of lowlights. Now Grantham needs his prize recruits to mature quickly.
"We did a good job of targeting guys that could really help us and then focusing in on the top guys," Grantham said. "I think it will pay off for us down the road."
The freshmen already have shown their abilities.
In Georgia’s first preseason scrimmage Wednesday, Herrera racked up seven tackles and returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown while Moore broke up two passes and Bowman intercepted a two-point conversion.
Hitting the ground running also meant he knew he didn't already have the pieces to his 3-4 puzzle. Getting Jenkins was huge, but also getting larger players has been a noticeable change in recruiting since Martinez and Co. were let go. Damian Swann will play this Fall as a true freshman not only because he has the skills to make plays but also because he has the size to lock up with SEC receivers. If he would've made it to campus, Kent Turene would have also. Amarlo Herrera is another one. Their larger frames are suited for the style of play Grantham wants.
The 5-11, 177-pound Swann "continues to impress," coach Mark Richt said Thursday,
"If he keeps going, we’ll find a way to get him in the game," Richt said. "I don’t know if he’s ready to breakout and take anybody’s position right yet, a starting position, but he sure is working on grabbing some playing time in my mind. He’s made plays and seems to be making very few mental errors. I think he’ll help us this year."
Herrera, a 6-2, 231-pound product of North Clayton High, is backing up starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.
"Amarlo’s another guy that we’re wanting to get him in there," Richt said. "Strictly from a depth standpoint at that position, Amarlo’s probably going to have to play."
Richt said he’ll meet with his coaching staff as early as Sunday to discuss which freshmen appear ready to play this season.
Of course having the size and absorbing the playbook are two different hurdles. There's much work to be done says Ray Drew. And the coach that brought them to Athens is there to "help":
Said Drew, a five-star recruit from Thomas County Central: "I got all the basic stuff down, but the playbook got much larger when I got here. I had to take it as they threw it at me and do my best to learn it."
While the young talent is fighting for playing time, Richt senses that their older teammates have opened the door for the newcomers rather than closing it on them.
"I think they’re more excited than threatened by it," Richt said. "Everybody wants to fight for their job and playing time and all that, but they also like to win."
After trying to woo them to Georgia, Grantham is now attacking the freshmen he recruited on the practice field.
"He gets after it," said Moore, a safety from Griffin. "He sees you lagging around, he’ll call you out. That’s what everyone needs."
All the pieces are in place now. No excuses in 2011. I doubt no one knows that better than Coach Grantham.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ol Ball Coach with a case of the oldtimers

"Ahhh sh*t!" 

h/t Kegs 'n Eggs

Or maybe he'd just had too many Banquet Beers himself.

Scrimmage scramble, part uno

First let's be honest with each other...the stats we get from these scrimmages are basically whatever the coaches want us to read. No that doesn't mean Crowell only had 12 yards on 30 carries. But it does mean that the real news out of scrimmages is in what's said afterwards.
  • injuries.
  • Blair Walsh - for the love of God! He kicked the whatchamacallit out of it!
  • John Jenkins working with the 2nd team defense legitimizes Kwame's spring. They're competing and pushing each other. That's a damn good thing.
  • Crowell's the real deal. Is there a backfield in the nation with four more diverse styles/body types/skills than in Athens?
  • The more Branden Smith impresses the more we'll see Sanders Commings at safety. That's a big deal right there as safety is the only spot on the defensive side worth a worry at this point.
  • We'll talk more about this later, but putting Tree closer to the snap of the ball is both the biggest no brainer and the greatest move since calling that end around for Smith against Carolina in '09.
  • Tree and Jarvis Jones are really getting me excited about seeing Grantham2.0. And speaking of closer to the ball...Well hello there Amarlo Herrera!
Other readings:
- Big Muddy has some reaction and links to video interviews.

Giving the Horns the finger

Looks like it might be time to start scoping out which airports are closest to College Station and what kind of night life there is in town.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry says his alma mater, Texas A&M, and the SEC are discussing the Aggies possible future membership in the league, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News.
Perry was asked by reporters from the paper on Wednesday about recent swirling speculation surrounding the move.
"I'll be real honest with you. I just read about it the same time as y'all did. ... As far as I know, conversations are being had. That's frankly all I know. I just refer you to the university and the decision makers over there."
Perry once served as a yell leader for the university, whose president, R. Bowen Loftin, recently acknowledged that there was "uncertainty" regarding the university's future membership in the Big 12.
Also, is gas any cheaper in Texas? Maybe Coach Sherman could bring a barrel or two to sweeten the pot.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"I solve problems."

Reading about UGAs attorney in the Jarvis Jones case can only lead to this clip from one of my all time favorite movies... (warning - NSFW)

UGA paid Winston Wolf Mike Glazier's firm over twenty-five grand to work on the Jarvis Jones case. On September 3rd we should find out that was money well spent.

The Jarvis Jones ruling's impact

I haven't seen Jarvis practice. But from people who have...this ruling is bigger than the day they started slicing bread. Actually they've been saying two things for months: 1) Jones is going to be the defense's all around MVP and 2) that this NCAA thing is not going to amount to anything.

They were right on the latter. And I'm anxious to see the truth on the former.

Just from a depth chart perspective this is big ($$). Chase Vasser stood ready to stand in while Jones served any type of suspension (for basically being innocent of anything). Chase is a baller, but by all indications is not nearly the playmaker that Jones is turning out to be. To have both to open the season at OLB is huge, especially given that Cornelius Washington continues to miss practice with a pulled hamstring.

But it's also big for all the reasons we've been hearing about. Jones can be a difference maker. When you open up the season against a directional school on pay per view, #29 on the sidelines in street clothes may go unnoticed. But when you open up on national television against a top 10 opponent you really want need have to have guys like Jarvis out there.

Lastly, to have this settled before the seasons starts is just as monumental. For the NCAA to rule on this after about a week's time says a lot about how the NCAA is attempting to handle things these days. I mean, it was nothing compared to the record time it took them to free Cam for the SECCG. But it has to be a tremendous relief to Jones and his coaches, welcome and needed news.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - 

One more "lastly"...

Kudos to our compliance department for once again handling situations like this professionally and without any appearance of impropriety. Eric Baumgartner has to be thrilled to have competence meet his staff on the other side of the internal investigation. Too often these fine folks are overlooked (and in the case of the AJ mess are surely pulling their collective hair out). Job well done.

Humpday Hilarity

You think you're hot, try being a full grown bulldog without an indoor pool.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jarvis Jones in the clear

Terrific news. Score one for the NCAA Committee on Truth and Fairness.
Jarvis Jones has been cleared by the NCAA and SEC and will be eligible to play for Georgia this season, persons familiar with the case confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning.
Jones, a sophomore linebacker from Columbus, was having his eligibility reviewed after a police investigation into alleged corruption within the Columbus parks and recreation department revealed an administrator had provided benefits to him and basketball signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the summer of 2009.
Jones was a first-year enrollee at Southern Cal at the time. He transferred to Georgia last summer and sat out per NCAA transfer rules. The former AJC Super 11 candidate is expected to start at Sam, or strongside outside linebacker, this season.
UGA spokesmen declined comment this morning. Howeverm it confirmed that a statement regarding this case will be released later today.

Blinded by the light

I had forgotten how much hype surrounded Stephen Garcia's arrival in Columbia. Reading through cocknfire's very honest summarization of the qb's time on campus makes you hope Coach McLendon is a better role model for Crowell than Magnus has been.

What's somewhat amazing, despite all the attention to his off-the-field distractions and his sometimes poor decisions on-the-field, is that Garcia still has an opportunity to go down as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in South Carolina history. A slightly better season than last year would give him the career records for passing yardage at South Carolina. The same number of touchdown throws as Garcia had in 2010 would also give him the No. 1 spot on that list. And of course, Garcia is the only quarterback in school history to lead the team to an SEC East championship -- an accomplishment they're often favored to repeat this year -- and only the second to lead them to a championship of any kind. That would be an impressive resume for someone who hadn't been through everything Garcia has.
And you have to wonder: What could Garcia have accomplished if he had applied himself earlier in his career, and if he hadn't missed literally dozens of practices over the course of his career?
But Garcia could have applied himself, and he could have had all that practice time he missed. No one or nothing forced him to make the poor decisions he made. That's what is most tragic about stories like Garcia -- the only enemy he had that seemed to be capable of holding him back all these years was Stephen Garcia.
All kidding aside, it's never too surprising how teenagers who've spent their formative years getting any and all attention from their classmates, family, friends and coaches can slip up. 

Again and again.

Leave your hobnail boots at home

As Sicemdawgs reported...and with many thanks to T-Town Mens Wear...the only things you can have signed at Picture Day will be schedule posters.
Due to recent public issues surrounding student-athlete autographs across the country, no outside items may be brought to Picture Day. The Georgia Athletic Association will provide each fan with two free schedule posters to be signed by the players and Coach Richt. No other items will be permitted.
Babies' heads are still okay. You just can't put em up on eBay until the student athlete has finished matriculating.

New Texas A&M t-shirt

They might even be advertising these on the Longhorn Network.

h/t Sandy

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday's Meatloaf - Vampiric Kool-aid

Something has to give. We're still weeks away from football and yesterday I actually stopped clicking the remote once it hit a channel with major league baseball on. I kept yelling at the players for being offsides.

Like many Dawg fans, this weekend I read this article about the "energy vampires". If you haven't read it the synopsis is that if any football players are viewed as hurting the team with a bad attitude, poor choice of words or detrimental behavior they are called out by their teammates. For 24 hours they are subjected to embarrassing pictures of themselves plastered around the locker room after being doctored up with fangs and red eyes.

The message is clear: get on the bus or get off of it. Simple, easy and to the point.

ONE win...TWO wins...
For the Dawg Nation however the water is a little muddier. While it's always great to be a Georgia Bulldog, that doesn't mean one should go blindly into each season. Especially with a 6-7 stinker in the rear view mirror. On the other hand, just because the play has been well below SEC standards recently, that doesn't mean one should chunk rocks at the driver while refusing to acknowledge one's own alma mater.

I've tried the kool-aid at this time of year before. I found it comforting and pleasant until the calendar turned to September. This season I hope we all take a show me first attitude. Again, it's not the win totals at the end of November that truly matter. It's the fight in the dawg once the junkyard's fence is rattled. 

In short, don't assign a number to this season Dawgs. It goes deeper. A bus is useless without a destination. We need our junkyard back. No other stop will suffice.

Today's Ingredients
Uh...what's the point?
I don't know Reader, I'm just not worried much anymore. There were a few weeks there that I thought the roof was caving in a bit, like when we were suddenly down to two scholarship backs and realized the offensive line depth is reliant on some freshmen. But I think those things are working themselves out.

I don't mean that to read that I think we're already world beaters. No I'm simply referring to my state of mind. The offense is going to be fine. There's plenty of talent there, just as there is on the defensive side of the ball. What will make or break this season is our attitude. And I'm not just talking about the team. The Dawg Nation is in waters that have been charted before, but it's been awhile since the boat has been this unsteady.

We need to proceed with caution. We all need to be excited with a win, but not so much so that we help create another atmosphere of entitlement. Beating top ten Boise would be spectacular. But it would still just be one plugged hole on a ship that has many structural flaws. It won't be until November that we can take a full scale assessment of the program as a whole.

So slow down a bit. Don't suck the energy from other fans. But also be mindful that you don't just blow it around haphazardly. Tempered enthusiasm not only gets you on the bus but also assures you are ready for a season's worth of 60 minute football games, just as we hope the football team is. For better or worse...and whether it's sooner or later...once the ship is done pitching and rolling, it's a lot easier to drink the kool-aid again.

That's your meatloaf Reader. Take it one bite at a time please.


Close but no cigar

Barrett Sallee predicts the SEC. He sees us with a cigar in our mouth, but we don't get to light it.

2. Georgia Bulldogs (8-4, 5-3)
Not only does Mark Richt enter 2011 on the hottest seat in the SEC, but the Bulldogs are also set up to contend for the SEC East. Quarterback Aaron Murray is coming off of a sizzling redshirt freshman campaign that saw him pass for 3,049 yards, 24 touchdowns and only eight interceptions - a better season than David Greene had as a freshman. Having the SEC's best quarterback combined with the most forgiving schedule in the SEC will make the Bulldog look good on paper, even though the Bulldogs have well-documented problems at wide receiver, running back and offensive line. The defense should be much better in Year 2 of Todd Grantham’s 3-4, thanks in large part to defensive tackles Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins - both of whom can be that force at nose tackle that a 3-4 defense needs. Georgia doesn’t have Alabama, LSU and Arkansas - the top three teams from the SEC West - on its schedule; and gets Auburn and Mississippi State between the hedges. If Georgia can get past South Carolina in Week 2, the Bulldogs may just win the division. 
Regular season losses: Boise State, South Carolina, Florida, Auburn.
Of course, with 4 smells like a cigar from a grocery store.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The keys to the junkyard

I watched the replay of last year's Georgia Tech game on ESPNU yesterday. I don't know how, but I had forgotten how much they ran all over us. It was embarrassing. I've been meaning to post more on the defensive side of things, but not sure it would be any more cogent than what some have already said.

It's been a long time since our defense has had much junkyard fight. Instead we've pranced around like an over fed, entitled pup waiting for the plays to come to us. We asked for Martinez to be let go after he continually failed to give opposing offenses much bite. Eventually he was sent packing and I think his replacement is an improvement. But I'm not sure if Grantham has the key or not. There were some signs of tenacity last season...but there was also a lot of failure on third downs, chronic poor tackling and inability to adjust to the action on the field.

Perhaps the two headed monster of Kwame & Big John was the missing part of the equation, at least as far as a technical analysis will allow. We lacked a big man in the middle to make the 3-4 successful. If we can get more push up the middle and can continue to take the ball away like we did last year, it stands to reason that year two of Coach Grantham will be much improved.

But the 3-4 is just our base defense. We won't see much of the 3-4 against Boise I wouldn't expect, just like we didn't see much of it down in Jacksonville last year. So my point is that the transition to a new base is just part the problem we saw against Tech last year, and just about every other team we played. 

To get a key to the junkyard you have to have the right genetic makeup. You have to be bred to believe you have to fight for everything you're going to be given on the gridiron. Nothing is gonna come easy, so buckle your chin strap and get after it. 

The quotes and regurgitated jargon out of camp in August is one thing. Smacking Lattimore in the mouth late in the 4th quarter is another. And it might just be a key that opens the gate.

Orson's hunger

In 1993 Shannon Brown Mitchell set the receiving mark for TEs with 49 catches on the season. Orson Charles has 49 in his first two seasons.  Aaron Murray wants him to double that this season. Sounds like Charles is up for the task.
  • "I typically call myself a receiver and a tight end," Charles said. "A lot of the boys are clowning me about that because I played receiver in high school, but I feel like I still have that skill set in my toolbox that I can pull out and play receiver."
  • "I feel like I can do both," Charles said. "I like to show people that I can do both — catch the ball and block, make catches downfield and contribute in the passing game and running game and do whatever it takes."
  • "I want to win...I want a ring," Charles said. "I’m hungry for it."