Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gameday Liveblog - HillBillys

First night game since Atlanta a few weeks ago. That makes me nervous. To settle those nerves I'll be posting some thoughts, videos and links here.

Let's get after it Dawgs!

Pregame speech, Walter White

The Breaking Bad season finale is tomorrow night. So I thought it fitting to use this clip from our favorite Chemistry teacher turned meth cooker as our pregame pump up.

"I came to realize it's that fear. That's the worst of it. That's the real enemy."

If you don't watch Breaking Bad, you should. Grab the previous seasons from Netflix or somewhere and catch up. It's truly one of the best shows on television.

Thanks Mr. White.

Rocky Flops - Philmer Phail

They squibbed the kick. And David Greene and Co. just took it from there. I rewatch this video from 2001 and (probably like you) I wonder what might have happened had Damien Gary not juked and jived enough for that first down clock stoppage early in the drive. I wonder if we would've still had time to strap on the hobnail boot had Randy McMichael not gone completely out of his mind catching the football.

But they did, which set up my favorite flop on old Rocky.

My God Almighty did you see what he did?!?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Join me tomorrow...

Friday's misery, chapter 4: HillBilly hate crimes

I've kept my peace for the most part this week. But truth be told I have some pretty intense feelings for these mountain mongrels we're playing tomorrow. And none of these feelings will remind you of butterflies and eskimo kisses, cute little puppies or baby's breath.

They can take their critter tailed hats and their scrawny ass coon dog and kiss my pearly white seat sitter for all I care. My compassion for Tennessee fans is so low I can't even muster the slightest bit of excitement for them when they score a touchdown against the vile turds from Jortland USA. And I cheer for anything that causes those bastards to dive back into the swamp.

So all that to say, this is an especially miserable misery. If you can't match my level of disgust, you may not want to proceed. It gets a little ugly.

Word choice
The two most overused words in the English language are love and hate. Followed fairly closely these days by "OMG LOL, your outift is like so totally ahMAHzing!" But love  and hate still have a comfortable margin. When my kids say something like "I loved that movie! Didn't you Daddy!!" I usually respond by saying "No, I love you sweetheart. I liked that movie". You might think that's extreme. But why do we need a population of people walking around loving everything from trees to tv shows? I might have been conceived around the time of Woodstock, but that doesn't mean I need a bowl full of mushrooms to achieve a moment of zen with Phil Dunphy or Raylan Givens.
We ate the forbidden fatback.

But hate...well, the word hate we have to give a pass in the Fall. I might say things like "I can't stand orange" or "That goat raping mattress burner in the orange camo overalls and the permanent half-grin is someone I despise". But when it boils down to the nitty gritty, it's just more direct to say "I hate HillBillys and their damn song too!"

You can dress a cro magnon up, but that doesn't mean he's going to be able to comprehend the complexities associated with the statistics being thrown on the scoreboard at Neyland Stadium. Similarly, you can take a junior varsity coach from Louisiana that happens to have a sexy last name plus a permanent supply of salon spray and put him in long orange diaper covers, but that doesn't mean he can fill KiffyBaby's shoes.

So yeh, I hate HillBilly Adam and Eve, their coach and their entire tackle football team. If I'm up to it Sunday morning I might just repent. But the other 364 days...hate is barely a big enough word.

Fourth and vagina
You probably wouldn't be reading this right now if you didn't already know what Saturdays in the Fall are for. So please pardon me if I insult your intelligence. But do you also know what Saturdays in the Fall are NOT for?

Tea parties and cotillions. 

equals opportunity..
If we needed 10 yards and 3 downs left us a yard short, it's just no damn time to schedule a french pedicure for your poodle Coach Richt. Hell, even our youngest most inexperienced players can recognize when the situation warrants some gonadical intervention. Strap it on if you have me out of the stands if you must...but let's just sprout a pair and take the yard from them.

I mean holy hell, did kicking a field goal work in Memphis? No, you're damn right it didn't. Just because we've all had to have that game redacted from the deep recesses of our football brain in the off season doesn't mean we can't learn from it and move forward. Stop using game strategy as a teachable moment...if y'all wanted the first down you should've gotten it in 3 downs by doing your job...

Horseshit! This is SEC football. Sometimes 3 just ain't enough. That goes for whether it's a down marker on the sideline or points added to the scoreboard.

Get a lil action in
All week I've found myself trying to focus on a mental image. I fast forward to about 10:30 Saturday night, a time when I know the game is over and the initial, raw reaction has blended into the late evening mood. And y'all...I just want to be happy at that moment. 4-2 is worlds apart from 3-3, especially when it means you've just lost to the intellectual equivalent of the melted ice cube at the bottom of your glass.

I just want to feel that excitement again of winning in Knoxville TN. We've had so many fond memories there. My God, a freshman ran over people...Verron knew exactly how to make that putrid endzone the most beautiful sight my Dawg eyes have seen...Thomas Flowers made them appear as if they were chasing livestock instead of covering a punt.

At 10:30pm Saturday I want to be enjoying the moment on my deck, explaining to my dog just why that game was so important and how beautiful a win in the land of the tooth is. I want to be reflecting on what it was like to bear witness to a Georgia team that played without fear and carried a busload of determination with it to Knoxville.

Saturday night's alright for fighting...

GATA Dawgs!!

Rocky Flops - those big thighs

Second favorite highlight from Knoxville is a play that jump started an impressive career and a magical season.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Countdown to Kickoff - Tennessee

SEC Today - 10/6/11

From good to better - Bobo's kitchen

Yesterday I suggested that play calling had something to do with Aaron Murray's struggles this year. I know, ground breaking development there right? But before this appears as if I'm encouraging everyone to kick a dead horse, I think it's prudent to evaluate things from a good distance. Let's take a step back shall we?

Coach Bobo has a lot of youth on his squad, most notably on the offensive line. There are days I have professed to be able to call plays for the University of Georgia tackle football team, but as far as managing an offense with only 5 returning starters and little depth...I would certainly be lost.

And that among other things has to affect playcalling. I truly believe that Bobo has yet to grow into his position as an SEC offensive coordinator. But...there's also evidence he hasn't been put in a position to succeed. 

Debate for another day perhaps. That being said, let's all get in...

Bobo's kitchen
When I cook I need two things from start to finish: space and organization. I need counter space to organize ingredients, cutting boards, knives, raw meat, utensils, sauces, a refreshing beverage, cooked meat, get the idea. If I have the space and organization to manage those things, the end product is usually delicious.

There's no semblance or order to what Bobo's cooking. Not all of that is his fault, but it still lies at his feet. He has a quarterback who's antsy about the pass rush, an offensive line with a steep learning curve, other personnel at various levels of progress and he can't stop from evaluating the scoreboard. 

I get the impression that he's over managing, trying to play chess when the board is full of red and black checker pieces. Since being named OC, Bobo has had momentary strokes of genius. However, they've just never translated into long term success. I know I'm not typing anything you don't already know, but this is something that bears repeating...

Mike Bobo needs to stop shuffling around...and just cook. Fire up all 64,000 BTUs and let the team blaze a bit. Don't let the scoreboard dictate playcalling until the 4th quarter at the earliest. And by all means, if Coach Richt gets in the headset convo and says send in the kicking unit on 4th and short, pipe up and remind him we have a fullback that can lay down that far.

You preheat the oven Monday - Thursday, get everything set out and ready on Friday so that by Saturday all there is to do is man the grill. Here's a stainless steel spatula Coach, get to work.

Rocky Flops - the J-Train fumble

Did the "J-Train" ever really pull out of the station?

I have a lot of favorite memories from up on ol' Rocky Flop. This I think comes in #3. Sean Jones' fumble return shifted the momentum in epic proportions as Tennessee went from almost taking the lead, to trailing 20-7 going into halftime.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SEC Video - the Hobnail Boot

(Sorry about the load times. It's evidently a Blogger issue. Trying to resolve...)

From it's classic moments collection SEC Digital provides us with this great Knoxville memory.

From good to better - pass protection

We're still waiting for Aaron Murray to have that breakout game. But I think a few things are proving to be insurmountable barriers. The play calling has improved since Boise State, but really it had nowhere to go but up. The no huddle is working but we have trouble establishing it as a consistent threat, taking it from early game difference maker to late game effectiveness.

But the biggest hindrance to Murray has been his own line of defense against the opposing behemoths. Many want Murray benched. They're small in numbers, but they're fairly loud about their frustrations. But it's hard to make the case that Hutson Mason would've thrown fewer picks this season after taking a similar beating in the opener.

Yesterday, special teams. Today...

Pass protection

The offensive line started the season pretty numbers. Since then they've only become thinner. However, either the run blocking has improved as we've gone along or our tailback has done enough to mask the inefficiencies. Probably a little of both.

But they're on pace to give up over 30 sacks this season. For some background, last year we gave up 25, which was good for 66th nationally. So far this season we're ranked 98th. And that is with a pretty mobile quarterback.

We should get Chris Burnette back this week. I'm sure Coach Friend would love some extra hours in the day to develop his young pups like Dantzler, Andrews and Lee...who I think has done a pretty good job filling in. Still (as AthensHomer pointed out yesterday), Friend has to go with who he's got and that's going to mean a lot of reps for 5-6 guys and a lot of hands on hips late in the game.

As the season wears on the more likely we are to have linemen playing outside of their comfort zone, maybe playing guard instead of tackle or vice versa. And we're also likely to see fatigue set in earlier rather than later. But then is the time the smaller things become even more important. Such as Gates selling out like a run block on a play action pass, or Anderson not setting those feet too hard as a defender comes around the edge.

The longer #11 can stay vertical the closer we get to seeing that breakout game.

Catching on: Brown vs Rogers

Noticed two similar stories leading up to the game Saturday between the Dawgs and Tennessee. Like a congressional tale from separate sides of the aisle, in Tennessee they're talking about Da'Rick Rogers facing the team he scorned. And in Georgia we're talking about Marlon Brown returning to his home state.

But while the recruiting stories are similar, the play on the field has been somewhat different. Georgia fans are still waiting on Brown to have his breakout game. The junior has 13 catches in 2+ seasons. Rogers on the other hand contributed last year in his freshman season, but only to the tune of 11 receptions for 167 yards. However, he added another 117 yards rushing and nearly 300 in kick returns.

Neither has been much of a factor in the rivalry border clash between Georgia and Tennessee. Rogers had one catch for a negative gain last season. Brown had 2 catches for 15 yards his freshman year and did not play in last year's game.

They also share different roles on their team. With Justin Hunter out for the season after the Florida game, Rogers burdens most of the receiving load for the Vols. He has 27 catches, next on the team is Hunter with 17. 

Marlon on the other hand will come off the bench and probably fewer Georgia fans will notice than Tennessee fans, the ones who still somehow harbor a grudge for leaving Memphis for Athens. Brown probably has less pressure on him going into this game in Neyland Stadium now than he did two years ago. So the question is the same as it has been...

Is this the game we've been waiting for?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bulldog Hotline redux, Missy's puppies

The transcript should be up later over at The Anti-Orange Page. The big issue last night centered around the second half offense naturally. And that's going to be the main topic when the offense only manages 6 points in the last 30 minutes of the last two games.

Richt's main scapegoat is execution, that and the fact that we were really just trying to run the clock out in the last frame. And any fan can see that there aren't a whole lot of options for Coach Friend to turn to if offensive linemen aren't executing. But from my view this is also an area that Coach Bobo continues to struggle with, adjusting his playcalling mindset in mid-game.

The Dawgs have a tremendous opportunity to turn this season from the ashes of early September to some glorified days in November. This defense can hang with anyone left on our schedule. We have a young running back eager to please. Somewhere, somehow the offense needs some confidence in itself as a whole. It can permeate from there, but has to start with the guy holding the playbook in the booth.

Brandon Boykin took a beating. 

Scott (Howard) asks about Boykin after getting hit hard at the end of the game. Richt - says he had his teeth rattled, they had to be wired to keep them tighter. He got hit a couple of times and his facemask actually got bent in and knocked in his teeth some when he was upended. His mouthguard on top just didn’t help all of them on the bottom.
That's some serious physics going on 'tween the hedges. Bent in facemask...damn. That's one tough Dawg right there.

The other thing that caught my eye was the response to the misuse of the fullback question. Or lack of use per se.

Gary in Buckhead says it was a great defensive effort. Wants to know why we haven’t seen more plays/passes to the fullback. Are we done using those plays, do we save them for Tenn? Richt - agrees, says we need to use more quick plays from the line of scrimmage like a FB can provide. Doesn’t disagree with that at all. Says it seems simple enough to do, but says we haven’t repped it enough and with a guy moving from TE it’s not as easy as it might seem. Gotta start revving it up for those short yardage situations where it‘s just not good to stretch it all the way back to the tailback. Agrees 100% and we’ll get it corrected.
Both Figgins and Ogletree did work out of the FB position in the spring game. Caught passes, blocked, ran...just thought I'd point that out. If we're not using Figgins enough it's because he's been overlooked. How can you overlook a guy that big?

That's all I'm gonna say.

Lastly, that picture of the d-bag pissing in the hedges went viral Sunday, into Monday. If we're going to have 50% of the same callers each week, can't any of these guys get a question to Coach Richt about the twigs in the opponents' protective cups? C'mon people! Stop brown-nosing the guy and give him something he can run with. Did he hand Coach Mullen some Charmin and point him to the nearest port-o-let? Did he remind him to tell his team that we have indoor plumbing in Athens GA?

I wanna hear Scott Howard writhing in pain from laughing so hard. Cut...commercial break...

From good to better - special teams

Thinking back to preseason, had I been told that heading into Knoxville we would be 3-2, 2-1...I probably would not have been too surprised. Disappointed still? Sure. But given the questions as we entered the Georgia Dome that would've definitely been within my realm of belief system.

But now we are given the luxury of five games to reflect upon. One horrible display of football, one dreadfully painful loss to a bitter foe, two wins against inferior teams and a pretty impressive win against a team that beat us last season. I think it's a good time look back and discuss a couple things I'd like to see going forward. So I'll tackle one each of the next three days. 

Today's edition is devoted to...

Special Teams
This is an area of highs and lows so far. But overall Coach Lilly has some work to do. Kickoffs are great and punting is even better than last year (yeh seriously, like 3 yards a punt better). But punt return and FG kicking are well below par. Boykin's nearly 11 yards per return is good but really could be more. On a positive note the punt return saw it's best game against MSU.

Five games in I'd like to see Boykin back there every time, and it appears we will. If the other team rugby styles the punt like Ole Miss did then leave Smith on the sideline and devote another guy to blocking. Some of Boykin's returns have been just a half block away from going the distance.

And the missed field goals...

Blair Walsh will get this figured out. That I'm sure of. If Bogotay were the answer to this question we would've seen him kicking field goals long ago. So we all just need to face it that we're going to have to live through this rough patch with Walsh. I've watched him at halftime the last two games and there was a dramatic improvement this Saturday compared to what I saw in Oxford.

That being said, something has the man off kilter. It's always easier to get thrown off than to get back on. So whether it's a different regimen, breathing through his right eyelid, meeting the worm at the bottom of a bottle the night before or Blutarsky's Tin Cup'd be nice to get this fixed before one of these misses hangs heavier in the balance.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Aron White - Good Works

Thanks to Kaitlin for the heads up, here's a video they put together of White getting surprised with the award of being named to the 2011 All-State AFCA Good Works Team.

Great stuff there and congrats to Aron!

Here's a link to vote for Aron to be the captain of the Good Works team. Make sure you support this Damn Good Dawg!

Monday's Meatloaf - Magnolia State Champions bring temptations

It always seems a safe proposition, but it always leads to treacherous waters. You win three games in a row and suddenly the temptation is to take a peak, prognosticate and develop scenarios that will give us a season to remember.

Stop my friends. Resist the urge. There is nothing to gain for thinking about any games except the one that is next. We started the season with two losses. We need to act in the same manner we want our players to act, with focus and determination. Focused on the present only and determined to take this thing one step at a time.

From 0-2 to 3-2, that's enough to provide a moment to take a deep breath. And given that South Carolina lost we might be tempted to take two. But from there we need to be very cautious. For there are many already who are looking ahead, way down the road.

But as we transition this week, adjust out minds from the win over MSU to the preparation for the trip to Knoxville I'll be looking first to our players to see how they're handling this recent string of success. Then to our fans. In many ways both groups feed off of each other. I'm simply asking that we all measure this success for what it's worth.

There's a reason bowl invitations and season awards aren't given out this time of year. Let's all stay focused on the week at hand.

Today's Ingredients
Is that a twig in your protective cup?
  • UPDATE - the Mumme Poll is back. Sign up now!
  • Too bad Nickoe Whitley won't be returning to Sanford anytime soon. I know some Dawgs who'd like a crack at him...with or without a full bladder. h/t Kimberley
  • This post by the Senator sums up the standings in the SEC East right now. It also makes me more than a little eager to see if Coach Grantham can get a few of lil Dooley's hairs out of place.
  • ecdawg explores the dangers of being a homer. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the reptile underneath a pachyderm's big toe.
  • vineyarddawg is thinking Coach Bobo might need to be on perma-notice. I approve of that message. If nothing else, maybe the distinction will wake the guy up in the second half.
  • In case you missed it, Garbin has signed on for his latest book. In related news, gators suck just as much as they always have.
  • Big Muddy goes to the video tape to determine where Crowell's footprints actually were.
  • Over the years the method to success against the Vols has always been - run the damn ball. Legge has a historical look that leans towards the Dawgs having an upper hand heading into this one.
  • Dawgola Tesla recalls the last night game in Knoxville.
  • Safe to say the honeymoon is officially over in the land of the reptiles. I just have two things to say: Charlie - always dress for success, and Will...damn son, act like you been there
But we all know those turds will have their (crap) together by the time we meet them in Jax. And I still maintain that this is when we can truly evaluate things. Once we're 50 days in we'll be prepping for the season's true barometer. We might be coming off some down seasons, but we're still Georgia. We don't beat a couple teams from the Mississippi delta and suddenly think we can half-plan for the Georgia Dome.
Touch that rock, but don't
lift it Dad.
Let's get it together and steady ourselves for an autumnal stretch. Let's find a comfortable pace as we turn our sights on the state of Tennessee and stroll through each day, one at a time.

But before we turn the page completely, I do want to give one big shout-out. And this might make most of you cringe...but Dabo Swinney has proven to me to be a pretty swell guy. The verdict may still be out on how good of a coach he is, but as my dad recovers from heart bypass surgery Coach Swinney was kind enough to drop the old man a line or two of encouragement. I think the kind lady I emailed in the AA office must've run that Blacksburg-bound bus down to get him to do it, but I was thrilled when my request was honored. It might be awhile before Dad runs down that hill, but it helps to know he has his coach on his side. I appreciate that.

Just don't expect me to do any kind of tiger ragging come 2013. Etiquette might be big in the South, but college football is bigger. Now...y'all take a slice of this meatloaf, some provolone and put that on some thick sandwich bread. Then just find a place for that afternoon nap. 

Your welcome!


Tree getting closer

I often peruse the sidelines during those long tv timeouts just to see who's standing with who and who's on the stationary bikes. That sort of thing. One thing I noticed that was different Saturday was an Alec Ogletree in street clothes but without the assistance of crutches or a boot. This update from Ching doesn't point to a return against Tennessee, but does give some hope that Tree might get at least some live action before the bye week later this month.
Richt said sophomore inside linebacker Alec Ogletree is making progress in his return from a broken foot suffered in the first quarter of the opener against Boise State.
Ogletree was on the sidelines without crutches or a walking boot during the Mississippi State game and was scheduled to have an X-ray on the foot Saturday night, although as of Sunday afternoon Richt did not yet know the results.
"He's really pain-free now when he walks and is not having any more swelling or throbbing or anything like that," Richt said, "so it's just a matter of whether they think that bone's healed enough to decide how far to progress, as far as jogging and things of that nature."
The injuries and suspensions continue to hit the LB position the worst this year. It'd be nice to have a full stable in Knoxville. But at this point any good news is welcome.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

CWash, from hero to bonehead

UPDATE: he's suspended two games it looks like.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Yesterday Cornelius Washington was a beast. He set the tone early with a sack on Chris Relf that helped force a 3 and out on MSUs first series. He finished with 2 sacks and 4 tackles in the win.

Last night Washington was a bust, getting booked in Jackson County for DUI and speeding. So today Tyler Bray is breathing a little easier up on Rocky Flop. Perhaps the good Reverend Drew can minister to him.

Some scenes from the chicken gate

Now that South Cracky has slipped a little bit, let's pile on with a little fried chicken.

Nice work on the editing Nama. Dawg fans always seem to win that tailgate.

SEC Video - MSU highlights

Sunday Thoughts on Missy

First and "butt" most...did Charles "Lipo" Weis miss a belt loop? Or did he just turn the Earth on its ear?

Ok, now...they're somewhat scattered but here they are:

- S/O to Matt from Roswell who recognizes a hot shot blogger when he sees one. *high five*
-  Aaron Murray...tragic hero or epic bullet in foot? Discuss...
- Judging from the voices I've heard, I'm not the only one who's sick of seeing Crowell on the sideline. Especially when the game is in the balance.
- Plan to rewatch today, but seemed like the line played better against a quality defensive front. Still have some protection issues all around, but hard to complain.
- Also from what I've heard, Crowell never stepped out. Ouch.
- Defensive backs who can also catch for $200 please Alex.
- Ok, who has kidnapped Blair Walsh? I mean seriously. Bring him back. Please.
- Can Orson and Malcolm go out on pass patterns on the same play?
- Disappointed that we let them off the mat. But this is a team that can now let its defense carry it. And that feels pretty good.
- Hello! SEC East race...and AwwBarn makes quite the awkward bed fellow.

You want to know how Coach Grantham celebrates keeping "Bullys" out of the end zone? He referees a two hand touch parking lot game with the coaches' kids...while balancing a Bud Light...and a blackberry.


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