Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nike Pro Combat Unis...a lonely nation turns its eyes to you

Finally. Today the national crisis is over. Everyone who keeps fretting over the uniform for the Boise State game can finally catch your much needed peek at the threads. We're like a bunch of kids anticipating the day when finally Santa leaves the surprise for a morning unveiling. We know it's coming. And we know when it's coming. We just don't know what it is.

And that's evidently too much for some to handle, even with practices, scrimmages and injury news to use as a distraction.

I know I've given Coach Richt his share of the blame for our obsessiveness over uniforms. But frankly, even given the black jerseys of both Glory, Glory and #epicfail...the attention paid towards uniforms that Nike has provided the program to use for the opening game is embarrassing.

As many head over to Picture Day and the rest wait for the cyber unveiling, I only ask that you remember two things when you decide whether you like the uniforms or not: it's one game and fans don't have to wear them.

Yes, the hand-wringing is finally over. Unless it's just beginning.

Get on and Finish the Bus Drill

Time might transform mantras, but the message is always the same: every play is important, from the kickoff to the last tick is drained from the clock.
Of course on the record, Richt is always going to say his team has the chance to be real good this season. But he sees a key to success.
“The difference between really good teams and average teams are how well you finish,” Richt said, keeping with the theme of this offseason. “Do you make plays at the end of the game? That’s going to define us really, I think.”
Along the same lines, off season talk is cheap. In two weeks, we're gonna need to put our money where our mouth is.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fan Pulse: the SEC

Phil Steele's been running a poll for his readers to see what we think the pecking order is in each conference. It's not exactly scientific, but what is scientific in college football? Especially this time of year. Here's where things stand so far:

So as of right now the SEC East is a pretty tight race. Carolina and Georgia both end with just one conference loss and the Gamecocks return to ATL based on a close vote in Athens September 10th. Meanwhile in the West, Bama's pretty much blowing through everybody. At the other end of the barrel, Vanderbilt narrowly edges out the Admiral Akbars for worst team in the SEC.

Here's the link to the actual polls if you'd like to participate. 15 days people and this all gets real!

Horse spies must be buzzing around

Cards are close to the vest in Athens...
Richt was asked if kick return was a single returner or double safeties.
“That’s classified information,” Richt said. “I don’t want to give away anything that could help the other team.”
Part of me says if it ain't broke Coach, leave the screwdriver in the toolbag. Boykin had 34 returns last season for 825 yards. Next in line was Chapas with 3 returns. But if Branden Smith or Malcolm Mitchell can possibly make kickers think about directing balls towards Mr. Boykin...

So be it.

Ethical differences

There have been some terrific reads coming out in the wake of the smart bomb that took down Coral Gables the other day. Here's two more I'd recommend:
  • First, Randy Shannon's point of view gives readers and observers a clear perspective of what it was like to be one of the few involved in athletic operations at Miami to still have his sanity. No, he doesn't comment directly...but Gary Ferman of has some sources that give a pretty clear picture of how often and how firmly Shannon warned his players about the Canes' smallest donor with the loudest mouth.
  • Next, Groo gives a historical narrative of how our own Orson Charles avoided all this mess. Of course that was after his own HS coach helped him step right in the middle of it. Orson's a top notch guy and a helluva athlete. I can't help but give thanks that Marve and Shannon had their own philosophical differences. For UGA and Charles' sake.
Two great reads. More than worth your time today when you're supposed to be finalizing that report.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Boise State Tweetgate

    The 2011 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic is almost here folks! Hopefully you've already made your plans or are fairly far along in the process. Just because we'll be in the concrete jungle of the ATL is no reason not to show these horse heads how to properly tailgate for college football.

    If you follow Krisi on Twitter you likely know that she's organizing a tweet up for the Boise State game. She's desperately trying to get a head count to make sure all the details are taken care of prior to September 3rd.

    So, first of all...if you'd like to come, make sure you follow her on Twitter and then DM (direct message for any new tweeps) her that you will be attending. After that you probably want to drop her tweets into a filter where you can be sure to catch any last minute instructions and announcements. Or just bookmark her twitter page and check it often.

    Next, Krisi says we'll be in the yellow lot. (Kudos for avoiding the orange and the blue lots.) So CLICK HERE and check out the parking lot where we'll be barking from. Now you can plan your day around a central location that will be full of Dawg fans gearing up for a great game.

    Any problems, questions or comments, just leave them in the comments and I'll find the answers.

    Practice as you play, play as you practice

    More proof that there is no more hand outs when it comes to playing time.
    “Every practice is a big deal because coaches go back and analyze it,” [Wooten] said. “If you have a bad practice, they see that… Every practice I think of as gameday and just go out and try to make plays because that’s what I came to do.”
    Although it will be awhile before we know for sure if the "Get on the bus" mantra will translate to the field of play, it's getting downright impossible to argue that it's not having enormously positive effects off of it. Gone are the days of just taking a practice or two off because of a nagging muscle. And players are eager to prove their worth during the week so that they might get between the boundary lines on Saturdays.

    If this season saves Richt from the hot seat he's on, it won't be because of Good Richt or Evil Richt. It'll be all due to Accountability Richt.

    Scrimmage scramble, part dos

    Well, the second scrimmage is in the books. Page has the CMR's official numbers if you'd like to peruse them. Here's my thoughts on what we heard yesterday.
    • First of all, Jakar Hamilton is out for the season with a fracture in his foot. Richt said he's likely to redshirt. So this all but solidifies Commings as a full time safety. And that's exactly where he spent the entire scrimmage...with the first team...alongside Shawn Williams.
    • Rambo? Not sure what it means that he wasn't on the first team. Maybe the coaches wanted to see Commings work with Boykin's DB crew. Maybe he's already been surpassed. Maybe it's something Richt hasn't disclosed yet. I just don't know. But it's something to keep an eye on. He did have 6 tackles and an INT. So he doesn't seem to be hampered by any kind of ailment.
    • The safety depth also all but assures Corey Moore he will not be redshirting.
    • Tree leads the way again on defense evidently. I like that he led in tackles, has evidence of being a playmaker behind the line of scrimmage (with a sack and a TFL) AND made a play breaking up a pass. Speed + versatility = destruction.
    • Wooten was the receiver of note, as far as stats go. But other than him yesterday and Marlon last week...not a whole lot there. Many might point to this and say it is reason to worry. I would simply point out that we're not getting all of the stats.
    • Crowell and Samuel did not scrimmage, as expected. Malcome was vastly overshadowed by Harton. Ok.
    • Murray's not lighting up the defense. But the focus seems to be more on getting 6 points instead of 3. “We started off the day with a touchdown drive right off the bat,” Murray said. “The next series, the next eight plays, we started off well. But when the eight plays are over you just got to stop. That always stinks. But we had a great day driving the ball. I feel real good about that.” 
    • Not a lot of news from the trenches, but I did notice that both DeAngelo Tyson and Abry Jones had a sack. Jones also recorded a TFL and forced a fumble. No mention of the NTs but Tree and Jarvis also had sacks.
    Take a whiff....two weeks from Saturday y'all.

      Wednesday, August 17, 2011

      SEC Playmaker Video - Aaron Murray

      Scrimmage Numero Dos

      The Dawgs are set to scrimmage for the second time this afternoon. Like we discussed last week, the stats that come out of scrimmages are less important than what is said. With that here is what I want to hear:

      • the words "no injuries"
      • something about Marlon Brown getting YAC and making plays in open space
      • if there are turnovers I'd like to hear about how it turned into a big play, ie. returned for a TD again
      • that Malcome took advantage of the extra snaps
      • stops in the backfield
      • OL really created some holes for the backs
      • Boykin looks as good as expected
      • Figgins had a TD catch
      • Walsh kicked one that still hasn't landed yet
      There. I don't think that's too much to ask for in one scrimmage. What do you want to hear about?

      Miami's vices - UPDATED

      I'm just old enough to remember the old SWC* and SMUs "shenanigans". And I definitely remember the older days of "the U" when things were out of control down in Miami. But as I read the exposé over at Yahoo! Rivals by Charles Robinson I couldn't help but be amazed that this was one guy that was taking down the athletic program.

      In many ways it starts as it would for all of us if we suddenly were able to stand next to key figures of the team we cheer for. Nevin Shapiro loved everything to do with the Miami Hurricanes. He just had no self-check mechanism to stop the hookers, cash, parties, fishing trips, strip clubs...and even an abortion, that the player didn't even know about!! Holy crap is this thing deep. A long dark nightmare that every college fan should read. Just don't go into it on an empty stomach.

      As for Orson Charles (who's name is mentioned by Shapiro in reference to a recruiting trip), I wouldn't be too worried. If you listen to the audio here (h/t Sicemdawgs) it doesn't point to any wrongdoing. But anytime the NCAA gets involved with a Georgia player it's enough to make the Dawg Nation more than a little queasy. UPDATE  - as issues.

      *earlier I had put this as the SWAC, which is the current Southwestern Athletic Conference. My error, which Alan helped to correct.

      Humpday Hilarity

      Hope neither of these hit too close to or in the future.

      Tuesday, August 16, 2011

      Pro Combat Uniform: obsessive edition

      Look I don't blame you Mr. Igottaknow Rightnow Whatitlookslike. Like I said earlier, Coach Richt has subsequently put us in this position after his continued Houdini locker room acts and other clothing malfunctions. Hell, I haven't helped things by posting on it a couple weeks ago. That post was a high for July I think. You people really have a problem don't you?

      But c'mon guys, and maybe to a lesser degree, gals. Don't fret over what these things are going to look like. When it was first announced I was kind of excited. Now I'm just downright sick of hearing about them. 

      Repeat after me: There will be NO points awarded for best dressed at the CFA Kickoff. That was good, but I didn't hear you there in the back. You were on your mobile device no doubt texting your old roommate down in Albany that you heard a guy at Java Joe's say his cousin's sister rooms with a girl who's dating that walkon that said the uniforms are purple with facemasks made of feathers.! Yeh, please holster that smartphone and let's try this again...

      There will be NO points awarded for best dressed at the CFA Kickoff!!


      It's not the threads it's the men inside them that matter. All that time you're spending on message boreds and Twitter trying to speculate whether the helmet has a G or not is time you could be reading up on injuries...watching videos of drills...digesting soundbytes from coaches. If you're more worried about how the team will look on September 3rd than you are about Isaiah's groin, then you just need to head on down to Gayturdsville. They could use your fashion sense.

      No! I'm not done dude. I said keep that iPhone in your pocket! Look...if it helps...gather in closer, all of you. I'm gonna do you a solid. Shhh! Listen...

      I've seen them. Yes, the whole thing. Hell...I've worn it. The red and glory of it all really showed off my abs. The britches weren't silver but the helmet and the cleats were prefect accents to my two best features. No! Now wait a minute. I can't show you the picture or Claude Felton will kill me. Just rest assured that everything is going to be fine, there's no orange and you can see everything for yourself on Saturday at Picture Day.

      Now, let's get real up in here. There's a scrimmage tomorrow. While I'm poring over CMRs stats and reading about who participated and who didn't, I don't want to hear any mention of uniforms. You're embarrassing yourself and worst of all you're embarrassing me. Any talking, discussing or fretting over this from here on out will get you in jail with Coach T

      After're exiled to sitting with the horsies on Sept 3rd. Dismissed.

      Practice Talk: Muscles and Scooters

      Classes have started. Camp is closed. But preps continue on.

      • Sore muscles continue to grab headlines in Athens. Samuel and Crowell are of special concern as their nagging injuries leave the backfield nearly desolate. The coaches say not to worry, and that may indeed be the case in the end. But it only strengthens the opinion that an underlying issue ($$) still haunts the strength and conditioning of the Georgia football program.
      • Looks like Samuel is out the rest of the week while Crowell attempted to participate yesterday but wasn't well enough. Depending on how they feel tomorrow (today the team has the day off) they might both be out of the Dawgs second scrimmage, which is slated for tomorrow. Luckily Malcome returned from his illness yesterday and practiced with the team.
      • Ray Drew won't require surgery following his scooter accident on Sunday. The bigger news may be the traction the ongoing saga of athletic scooters gets around UGA. Some fans are calling for a ban. Others recognize the parking nightmare that exists for our athletes. A ban on scooters only exacerbates the problem. Prez Adams...AD McGarity...what say you sir?
      • Back to actual football sore muscles...Cornelius Washington has returned from his hamstring tweak. While he was gone Chase Vasser grabbed a firm hold on backup OLB. As I said earlier, Vasser is a gritty player and will do well. To add to his versatility he's also working at ILB since Herrera has been out with a shoulder bruise. But we need Jones, Herrera, Washington and Drew on the field as much as possible. So stay safe and stay limber.
      • OL Depth improves with some really young players. Chris Burnette had a stomach illness and couldn't go yesterday so Dallas Lee and Kolton Houston took snaps in his spot. Richt also said Austin Long is nearly done with his bout of mono.
      As we march on through the heat of August towards September 3rd, let's stay hydrated and stretched out. Go Dawgs!

      And I hear he wears boxers too

      As I read Legge's assessment of AD McGarity's first year I was lapping it up in generous bites...until I hit this wall...
      One has to wonder had McGarity been around if A.J. Green's situation would have been handled different a year ago. It almost certainly would have.
      Ugh. But looking forward the message is clear: UGA Athletics is in good hands.  
      I’ve never gotten the impression that McGraity didn’t know what he was doing. I never got the impression that Evans was doing anything.
      Maybe I'm being too harsh - not according to the staff and coaches at Georgia.
      "I've never seen our coaching staffs as a whole more excited," one insider said of the momentum McGarity has provided.
      The upgrade at the AD spot will take some time to trickle through sports as it relates to results, but the upgrade at Georgia is coming so long as McGarity’s office is on the fourth floor of the Butts-Mehre. 
      All that and he hasn't felt the urge to recruit in Buckhead.


      Monday, August 15, 2011

      Monday addendums: Turene & Drew

      Two additional newsworthy items that came across post-meatloaf. Unfortunately nothing that brings much sunshine to the Dawghouse.

      • As expected, Kent Turene will not be in Athens this Fall. He'll be enrolling at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. You can read the details from Weiszer here. If he's not at UGA in January I'll be surprised.
      • And Ray Drew sprained a shoulder in a scooter accident Sunday. His return to practice is day to day. To put the "campus scooter situation" into perspective: when Cuff was cited for alley emergence it was humorous in a preposterous kind of way...when Chance Veazey's playing career ended before it began it was tragic...Drew's (and other scooter accidents like it) is both a blessing that it wasn't more serious and a curse.
      Stay safe out there Dawgs.

      Monday's Meatloaf - An Agricultural Affair

      Pardon the beer cans and empty bourbon bottles Aggy. It's just how we roll down heyuh on the weekends.

      I have nominated myself as the official spokesblogger of the welcoming committee. Well...welcome! I guess...let me show you around. First we have this thing about Saturdays in the Fall...

      What's that Lassie? Herbstreit's stuck
      in the salon?!?
      Oh wait, you did bring the money right? I mean cuz if not you might as well take your bugle and Lassie there on back to Texas you know. Ok! Good. As I was saying, we treat gamedays over here as if the world stops rolling around for a spell. The grills heat up about 8am and by kickoff fans are at a frenzy.

      I'm sorry, what's that? Oh no, I'm afraid you couldn't understand. You see, down here there are no weddings, no funerals, no family get-togethers, no lawn mowers, no anniversaries, no cattle herding, no chest colds and no oil drilling. It's only football.

      Can you still play Texas? Ol' Mack Brown's still got ya bent over the knee huh? Kid...look. We don't care who ya play when you're not on the SEC interstates. Just wrap up your old business by the last weekend in November because we have this little shindig in the GA Dome each year called a Championship Game. Oh, no sir. I realize there's something set up out west called a Big 12 Championship game, but this is the actual Championship game. You see, you're in the SEC now...

      Wait! You hear that? Sounded like Kirk Herbstreit trying to break news again. Did you tell anyone you were coming? You did what?!? 

      Look, maybe later. We're outta here. Text ya next week.

      Today's Ingredients
      • So, evidently today's headlines can be reprinted in three weeks when Texas A&M will be formally introduced. In other words, stay tuned...
      • Travis explains how ESPN complicates the matter of A&M moving to the SEC. Afterall, they're the common denominator of any college football equation.
      • So...when/if A&M gets invited, who's the 14th team? Marc runs down a pretty comprehensive list of possibilities.
      • An interesting read given the weekend's headlines, S.M. Oliva recalls the history of the SECs 12 teams.
      • In assigning songs to each SEC team, Kevin thinks the Dawgs are back!
      • It's the time of year when lots of fans renew or consider joining a pay site for premium info. So Socrates is kind enough to break down the options for Dawg fans.
      • Also at LHB, ecdawg considers the possibility of a playoff plus-one scenario for college bowl season.
      • Tray Matthews committed to Richt over the weekend. He's a 2013 safety that's been high on the Dawgs for a while ($$).
      • Genxdawg offers some predictions for the upcoming season.
      • Ego can be a grand thing. Although Year2 points out it may have blinded the longhorns a bit.
      • Teresa Edwards is now a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame. Of course we all knew that was a slam dunk.
      • Quick programming note: Wednesday afternoon I'll have the SEC Digital Network's season preview up as well as a playmaker video. I'm guessing it'll be Aaron Murray.
      I had a momentary lapse of reason this weekend. Made a mistake that could've had serious and dire consequences. What's worse is I usually catch this kind of thing pretty quickly, but it wasn't until my wife got back in the car and handed me my wallet back that I realized what I had done.

      Page...rocking in the grain
      After dinner Saturday I was told to "swing by" a store. Since the dog had already been fed I had no reason for objection beyond my own feelings of inconvenience, so I pulled up to the door and allowed everyone to get out while I finished listening to Led Zeppelin's D'yer Mak'er. Before the doors shut however I was asked if I had any cash. I normally follow that up with my own question of "How much do you need?" I guess to save any further interruption of Jimmy Page's chordic awesomeness I simply handed over the entire wallet.

      My ladies now had access to my cash, my health benefit identification. Looking back I was as vulnerable as a man can be. Alone. Oblivious. Susceptible to denial of an insurance claim. least temporarily. Although it's never worked on Mrs. Bernie, I used to be able to manipulate my kids' minds. The older I get the more I come to accept the fact that it is I who is the manipulatee.

      Crafty creatures women are. And they learn at such a young age. Here's your fork Reader. Eat up quick before there are 13+ teams at the same table.


      Dantzler on Jarvis and PT

      Nice little Q&A by Paschall with freshman lineman Watts Dantzler and how he's handled the first days of being a Bulldog. Normally this would just come across as a nice look at a local kid who's now of in the big college city. But since he's now on the two-deep after some injuries and attrition, it takes a little deeper meaning. 

      He was asked who's been the hardest to block:
       “Jarvis Jones is really, really good. He’s fast, but he’s really strong. I think the outside linebacker is harder than the defensive end because the outside linebackers get real wide, and they’re coming off the edge super fast.”
      Good thing Dantzler has Cordy Glenn to tutor him. And then there's this on whether he's been told he'll definitely play or not:
      “They haven’t said anything really. The coaches are just trying to get the players to learn as much as they can as fast as they can. They definitely want me to be ready, and if they need me to play, I’ll do my best. If not, I’ll do whatever is best for our team.”
      Well Watts...lemme go ahead and take the mystery out of the August heat. You're playing son. Be ready.

      Sunday, August 14, 2011

      Star rising to new heights

      So far, this has been the biggest news of Fall camp for me. Branden Smith has gone from a offensive weapon of mass destruction to a defensive force on the edge.
      “Right now, he’s a different guy to me,” coach Mark Richt said.
      Smith has created buzz as a Bulldog during his career for what he’s done on offense. He scored a pair of touchdowns as a freshman, including a 61-yard touchdown on a reverse against South Carolina.
      “I’m an athlete,” Smith said. “I want to be known for both. I’m trying to do whatever just to get the ball in my hands.”
      Smith is focused this month on “trying to get a starting spot” on defense, but he actually started in all nine games he appeared in last year. Smith missed the other four games because of two concussions.
      This is big for Smith, but also big in terms of the flexibility it gives Lakatos with Sanders Commings. I'll say it again, the more Commings is able to play safety the better.

      The sounds of progress

      Some great soundbytes coming out of yesterday's practice, the last of the Fall camp, courtesy of Bulldawg Illustrated. The overall impression I got was that the team has progressed enough to be ready for basic game prep.
      • First, Coach Grantham discusses personnel and development. What's more than noticeable is that the inability to get off the field after third and longs has stuck in his craw all off season long.
      • Coach Bobo raves some on Marlon Brown among other things.
      • Coach Olivadotti says Tree is ready for the NFL already. Well, kind of.
      The more I think about it the more I believe the third and long woes last year under Grantham's defense was a goofy and annoying caricature of the defense's adjustment. A strong resemblance to the actual subject, but grossly exaggerated...we hope. I just keep thinking that surely...surely this season we'll be reacting quicker to the ball and spending less time waving red flags at bulls.