Saturday, January 21, 2012

Recruiting Roundup: 11 days til NSD

So late Thursday night Ricardo Louis decided not to visit Athens, clearly an attempt to derail BDBs Recruiting Roundup: 12 days til NSD. Yet....we move on...teetering on the whims of teenagers.

Louis is a tremendous athlete and word was he was close to committing to FSU anyway. Now that he's not visiting Athens I think we can expect a commitment to Jimbo sometime soon. Like as soon as I click Publish probably. Anyways...

Sheldon Dawson
Defensive back update: this continues to be the most intriguing storyline of the class of 2012 here down the stretch. Smart money says Richt and staff are sticking with the Tennessee duo in Sheldon Dawson and Will Redmond, but if either of those were to fall through it appears they are ready to offer Kenneth Crawley of DC. And Crawley may visit next weekend.

Speaking of visits, Dawson decided he would visit Memphis instead of Ole Miss. To me this appears to be a last chance for Memphis to turn him from signing with Georgia. The Dawgs have the advantage in that the Memphis coaches are new hires and Richt's staff has done an exceptional job recruiting Sheldon. Unless something drastic happens I think you can certainly expect his signature in 11 days.

Josh Dawson is about 50/50 for Georgia/Vanderbilt. He's been committed to the Commodores, but Grantham has really gotten in the Tucker LB's ear. Consider this Grantham vs. Franklin, round II.

There is a lot of buzz that the Georgia coaches expect a big surprise come NSD. Take that to mean someone who is committed elsewhere will sign with Richt and staff instead. If this happens, the donut table at Butts-Mehre will likely fold under the pressure and excitement.

I can't wait.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Recruiting Update: 12 days til NSD - UPDATED

Doesn't look like Dalvin Tomlinson will make an official visit to Athens. He's encouraging people not to read anything ($$) into that since he's still listing UGA in his top three and has been to Athens on many other occasions. It's just with his wrestling schedule (he's preparing to defend his state title and wants to win it for a third consecutive year) he can't fit in another visit.

Regardless, going against Bama and Tech here it's going to take some special attention from Richt and staff to land this big one. Hard to have much confidence we'll get his LOI.

Former UGA defensive back prospect Yuri Wright has been expelled from his high school for explicit tweets dating back to July. Evidently one had an anti-semitic remark and that left the school no choice. Him visiting Athens was always up in the air and the relationship between Wright and the Georgia staff has cooled considerably recently. Perhaps AD McGarity follows the 4 star's twitter feed.

(UPDATE - Louis will NOT be visiting. Sounding like a commitment to FSU could be coming soon) In town this weekend will be commits John Theus and Leonard Floyd, as well as two Auburn "commits" - Jaquay Williams and Ricardo Louis. The other day we looked at JUCO target Cordarrelle Patterson. Losing 2010 non-qualifier Lonnie Outlaw as well as former commit CJ Curry puts wide receiver as a position of need. I'm sure Richt would like to sign a couple good ones at least, in addition to current commit Blake Tibbs.

From watching that I like Williams' size and quickness. He has great hands that rarely fail him, even when the pass is closely contested. He could develop into a big target and good possession receiver for whoever he signs with.

Louis played a lot of quarterback in high school. But projects as a safety or wide receiver in college. Maybe both. By Sunday night or Monday morning we should have a feel for just how solid these Auburn commits are and whether we can turn them into Dawgs.

"I don't care about pretty"

I would laugh at this, but this is almost exactly how it played out for me following the 2008 Bama blackout. 

Nama told me to do the sparkles.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Georgia-Tenn highlights

Fox's Dawgs notch their first SEC win in dramatic overtime fashion.

Recruiting Roundup: 13 days til NSD

We're inside of two weeks now, so let's regroup.
  • Kenderious Whitehead (OLB). Word spread yesterday that UGA was out and he was down to Clemson and NC State. That may or may not be the case. But it does seem that he is having serious thoughts as to whether he would be better in Grantham's system or somewhere else with his hand in the dirt. So it looks like we're on the outside looking in here. Looks like whatever Whitehead decides the commitment will come later this week, so we'll know one way or the other soon. And then he committed to NC State last night. Done.
  • Georgia's not out of the running for Dalvin Tomlinson (DT) just yet. It looks like his official visit wasn't canceled earlier this week, it was simply postponed due to family reasons. This is a quiet kid that recently lost his mother pretty suddenly. Sounds like he is a little overwhelmed by all the pressure here down the stretch. I've made my position clear, this kid is going to be a real playmaker on the defensive line. Unfortunately it feels like we're playing catch up to Tech. Hopefully he gets on campus and falls in love with Athens...where we have actual girls.
  • Dalton Santos (ILB) also appears to be a longshot. BUT, there is a chance. The Santos family have not set up Dalton's final visit yet for the last weekend before signing day. If we can get him on campus perhaps we can make up for getting in too late and steal him.
  • Jaquay Williams and Ricardo Louis are both Auburn commits that aren't feeling so all in anymore. Looks like they'll both be in town this weekend to compare things. Williams is a large receiver from Sandy Creek HS and Louis is an athlete (likely a safety or wide receiver in college) from Miami Beach.
  • At defensive back we're still pressing hard for the boys from Tennessee, Will Redmond and Sheldon Dawson. But it appears the back up plan is Kenneth Crawley out of DC. Here's his junior highlight reel.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Recruiting Roundup - 14 days til NSD

    If my math is correct, that gives us two weeks until the faxes start rolling. And speaking of math, try adding up the yards Cordarrelle Patterson gains in this video.

    You can see why he's considered the top JUCO wide receiver prospect in the nation. Patterson is super fast as well as a big physical target for quarterbacks. He'd be a great compliment to Ball's receiving corps.

    Georgia leads in Patterson's recruitment. He's originally from Rock Hill SC and after a lengthy road to qualification he's anxious to play close to home. The Vols probably had him until things really started to fall apart up there. And he liked his Ole Miss visit but they haven't had the time to establish the relationship that Georgia's coaches have. But...LSU needs some receivers and they get his last visit. He won't announce until signing day, so there will be some nervous coaches around Butts-Mehre the next couple weeks and some fans on pins and needles until he announces.

    Final thought - maybe you aren't too concerned about the idea of losing a guy like Cordarrelle Patterson to another school. Maybe you think we've got enough targets for Murray to throw to. And you're right, we're pretty deep at WR. But take a look at his mid-season highlight film and tell me he wouldn't look special back there returning kicks. Like I said a few weeks ago, he might be the answer back there. Because even when they kick away from him or squib it he has the patience, the moves and the speed to take it the distance.

    The bottom line is that we can ALWAYS use someone with Cordarrelle Patterson's level of talent.

    Looking back - Strength and Conditioning

    **As I finished this post yesterday, it was announced that John Kasay would re-retire from his position in the S&C program. This saves an August decision on staffing when the NCAA limit of five S&C staff goes into effect.**

    I'm taking a cue from Big Muddy. Its a good time to reflect back on where we were 12 months ago as we evaluate exactly where we are today. My hope is this leads us into a discussion on where things need to head this off season to make 2012 even better than the season we just kissed goodbye.

    There were some key decisions made by coach Richt last Winter that set the table for 2011. One year ago the Georgia program was as low as it has been in some time. We'd completed a 6-7 season capped off by a dismal bowl performance in the lower tier. But even before that low point Richt had begun to address the team's needs. 

    Let's look at some key decisions and the impact on the 2011 season. Today's focus:

    Strength and Conditioning. The Strength and Conditioning coach can be the most important person on staff. As this The Post Game feature points out, this person wears many different hats and each one is vital to success. By the time a player leaves campus the amount of time he spends with the strength coach will be considerably more than any other person on staff. So the importance of the role is one that should no longer be glossed over.

    Moving Coach Van away from the weight room was probably one of the most difficult decisions Richt has had to make while at the helm of the Georgia football program. It was also one of the most necessary in terms of getting the "energy vampires" away from their food source: the culture of the program. He moved Coach T into Van Halanger's place prior to bowl practices last December and immediately took a big step forward towards regaining control of the team. 

    And its for that reason that I think this change needs to be evaluated from two perspectives: team unity and overall strength/conditioning of the players. The weight room and off season program is a big catalyst towards establishing a cohesive unit amongst the team's players. 

    We're likely about 10 or more months away from truly knowing if Tereshinski is the man for the job when it comes to evaluating the second aspect of this move. A revamped S&C program will take more than one off season to reap true rewards. 

    However, just from the small sample of 4th quarter statistics pictured you can already see some positive trends. In 2011 Georgia converted 3rd down nearly 7% more often than their opponents (up from -7.7%) and held the ball over a minute longer. This tells me that individually, each player was better prepared physically for the task of competing in the SEC, rather than losing to a directional school from Florida. 

    That being said, the final analysis in football is always points on the board. And 2011's Georgia team gave up just as many 4th quarter points as 2010's. So there's great room for improvement overall. In looking at the four losses specifically, we were beat in the 4th quarter in time of possession in all but the SEC Championship game (which by all manner of speaking was over before the end of the 3rd quarter anyway). In the last two games of the season especially, we came out moving the chains and keeping the Tiger and Spartan offense on the bench. But so often it's the final stanza that determines who wins and who loses, and too often our offense spent more time on the sidelines in the 4th quarter than on the field.

    In the end I think the team was better prepared mentally for the challenges of the 4th quarter this past season, but perhaps not as much physically when the opponent was top tier. And you can also argue that the team was better prepared mentally for the challenges of the 2011 season. This shouldn't be solely attributed to Coach T as the team had a group of existing leadership eager to grab the wheel as well. But when you couple the off season dietary and workout complaints with the actual results on the field, I think it's fair to say that the move from Coach Van to Coach T has been a successful one. 

     What do we need to look for in the upcoming months to continue the evaluation? Continued focus on TEAM me mentality and even stronger more flexible players. 

    Humpday Hilarity - Harry & Charlie

    Ok, so I've given you two of our family's top three videos that we just enjoy playing over and over. All in all I guess Clark Griswold the dog and An Apologetic Declaration are just as funny as #1 here. But this one gets requested by the kids most frequently. So without any further adieu... your finger in Charlie's mouth one more time.

    Here's HDCYT's YouTube channel where you can keep tabs on how Harry, Charlie and their younger brother Jasper are doing. They also have a Twitter, a blog and a Facebook of course.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Recruiting Update: 15 days til NSD

    The big news yesterday was that Dalvin Tomlinson did not make it to Athens for his official visit. This all but assures he will sign with Tech. He was once considered a Bama lock, but then they cooled off. So it was believed to be down to the two in-state schools. This is a big, smart, athletic kid. Not looking forward to seeing him on the other side of the line.

    Dalton Santos of Van TX
    In better news, Georgia really put the hard press to Josh Harvey-Clemons this weekend. As we talked about before, JHC is a very athletic young man and is the state's top uncommitted prospect. Richt and staff spent the weekend entertaining the family and talking to Josh about how he would fit Grantham's defense, as well as some possible time on the other side of the ball ($$). The last two visits go to Louisville and FSU, but it still appears that this is a two horse SEC East race between us and Florida.

    One of the more intriguing storylines developing is which defensive backs Georgia is able to close with down the stretch. Currently Richt has no DB commits but is hot on the trail for a couple of big ones. Sounds like Will Redmond will stick with Miss State, but there's still a chance we land Sheldon Dawson out of Memphis and we're still talking to more. Some fans are frustrated not seeing certain names get offers or being mentioned more frequently. But keep in mind that since Lakatos came to town we've become much more "picky" in who we try to "snag" as future defensive backs. Not just anyone can play his style of pass defense. You have to have certain skills and traits to make it. It doesn't appear the coaches are just willing to settle for a hot name. So stay tuned.

    Lastly, the other position that is currently lacking for commits and where it would be nice to get a signature is inside linebacker. Grantham's visit with Dalton Santos went well. Given Tennessee's shaken up coaching staff this is a kid that might be ripe for the picking. And given the loss of Kent Turene we could use some future talent here.

    You can feel the tension starting to build as Georgia has several slots to fill with this class. Hang on tight!

    Addendum - Socrates says the coaches are confident they can pull a "shocker" at DB on NSD. Check his list of who it isn't and start trying to read those tea leaves. Plus, he has actual film of Santos tackling the (crap) outta people.

    You'll never leave Harlan alive

    Just because I'll miss Mags Bennett this season...

    ...doesn't mean I won't enjoy sitting a spell with Boyd and Raylan again this evening.

    Season three, tonight 10pm.

    On the air with Coach Fox

    Coach talks about the losses and the progress of the team leading up to the game tomorrow with Tennessee.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Monday's Meatloaf - Sympathy for the lil Dawgs

    My youngest loves her some Georgia Bulldogs football. She may very well be the first girl to lay the wood 'tween the hedges. At the age of 2 she made a perfect form tackle on her older sister. Since then she's graduated to blindsiding me a few times a day. If she's our little Mitch Davis, I guess that makes me Herbie in the '93 Citrus. Sigh.

    The other day though she blindsided me with a question. I was watching something on recruiting and it seems she was paying close attention as usual. "How do we make room on the team for these players Daddy?" I responded with the simplest explanation of eligibility that I could possibly construct. Which eventually brought this follow up" "So which players are leaving?" I provided a quick list that included Ben Jones and Brandon Boykin, among others.

    At this point I thought I had satisfied her and done a pretty good job of explaining some points that are difficult for most message boreders to comprehend, much less a 2nd grader. But then I looked at her. The look of sheer and utter disappointment was clearly evident. Her face was the pictured definition of dejection and her lips seemed to tremble.

    Eventually she managed to say what I suddenly feared she would: "Brandon Boykin isn't on the team anymore?" heart broke. Barely a week earlier she had watched #2 nearly single-handedly beat the Spartans in the Outback. She has jumped for joy each time Boykin has intercepted an opposing quarterback (or in her cute lil vernacular "quarterbacker") on her iTouch's NCAA Football game. She laughed hysterically at each picture I showed her of Jones' eating nerd turf or pre-gaming barefoot. And now I had just absentmindedly burst her little Dawg bubble.

    Seven year olds couldn't care less about recruiting rankings and whether this new 17 year old that just committed is a 4 or 5 star. She just wants the Damn Good Dawgs she's come to know and love. 

    And I can't say I blame her.

    Today's Ingredients
    • "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr
    • Speaking of Boykin, Kimberley gives us his heir apparent.
    • Great new Dawg site, sUGAr fallingCheck it out.
    • ecdawg reminds us that the new Tigers are not necessarily a paper Tiger.
    • Avery Young was on campus. Still looking like Signing Day for his announcement, but he sounds like he's nearer a decision ($$).
    • Also, Josh Dawson had his questions answered ($$) this weekend.
    • the Senator looks at our plays for lost yardage while exploring some possible reasons.
    • Wasn't a good Saturday for the Hoop Dawgs. In related news, Vandy sucks and their arena bites ass.
    • Tyler is falling short of calling the loss a moral victory, but points out that Fox's Dawgs are making some real progress.
    • Travis reminds us of a UGA prof that said to "Unplug and read." RIP Conrad Fink.
    • I find it hard to truly hate Tebow. I do despise the media's coverage of him, which is actually worse now that he's in the pros than when he was on Uncle Verne's lap. So yes, I am glad he was eliminated from the playoffs. That said, this is a good read. (h/t TC)
    • The chickens grab the first points of 2012's Fulmer Cup. 
    • "This Little Dawg" is a recently released children's book based on Hairy Dawg.  In it, the authors adapt the story of "This Little Piggy" to show how Hairy Dawg competitvely takes on his rivals in the world of the SEC.  The book is intended for younger children, approxiamately from newborns to eight year olds.  However, Georgia fans of all ages, young and seasoned, have been caught enjoying it.

    There can be such comfort in the minds of our little ones. The world is a much simpler place, one without taxes, high fiber diets or joint pain. As a bonus Aron White gets to play as a Dawg until he is ready to run for President of the United States. As a double bonus Herschel gets to return and play until he turns 85 and can no longer run a sub 4.5 forty.

    But no, the real world has rules. And as the world's most awesomest dad it is my job to explain them as best I can. And I'll try and go about it with some courtesy, some empathy and some taste. You know, unlike the way Darth Saban goes about trimming the excess fat.

    Of course, as I type that I realize I haven't told the kids that Orson Charles is leaving early yet. That'll go over like a ton of bricks.

    And thus begins out winter of discontent Reader. Goodbyes are hard. Somehow even the lil Dawgs will carry on. Here's your fork. Have a great Monday.


    Recruiting Roundup: 16 days til NSD

    Today's notes.
    • Cordarrelle Patterson took his official visit to Ole Miss and liked what he saw from Hugh Freeze's new staff. The JUCO wide receiver's last visit is to LSU. Georgia likely leads. Can LSU steal him at the last minute?
    • For those wondering if Jordan Moore or Ronald Darby might gets offers for the 2012 class, we may know more today. Richt is in Tennessee visiting the top defensive backs on their board, Sheldon Dawson and Will Redmond. We have a great shot at both. However, if we suddenly hear rumblings that Moore or Darby got an offer then I think we'll know where things stand in Tenn.
    • Both LSU and Georgia continue to talk to another defensive back, Geno Smith. The Bama commit is at least listening so stay tuned.
    • One need we haven't addressed yet with this class is inside linebacker. Dalton Santos of Van HS in Texas is expecting a visit from UGA coaches this week. He's currently committed to Tennessee.
    • Although his visit sounds like it went really well this weekend, I'm not sure it was enough to steal OLB Josh Dawson from Vanderbilt. The prospect from Tucker now goes to Nashville and will then compare things.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    LSU and BCStrife

    h/t Nama

    An LSU blogger has a keyboard and a source as to why the Tigers looked so out-classed in the title game. 
    Apparently about 3 hours before the game T-Bob Hebert and Russell Shepard and 2 other receivers and a hand full of linemen got into a heated argument with Les Miles and the Offensive Coordinator about Lee getting more playing time and possibly starting the BCS Championship game. It got so heated that Miles benched T-Bob and RS and 3 other players. He called Lee into his office and told Lee that he would not be playing in the game. The Offensive CO told Miles that he thought that Lee gave the team the best chance to win the game. Miles told the OC to start looking for a new job after the game and Miles will be calling the plays for the championship game. Apparently the O Line sided with T-Bob and Lee and did not give their all in the game to prove to Miles that the players are more important than the coach. Now I know that this is hard to believe but when you look at some things it kind of explains a few things.
    The post goes on from there to outline a few observations and also says Jordan Jefferson had a good time at Harrah's in the days leading up to the game. Interesting read regardless of its merit. However, I doubt LSU could've done anything differently Monday night to beat Bama from what I saw. 

    Going forward, Mett has said that getting to be the quarterback at LSU is like getting the keys to a Maserati. If this whiff of smoke turns out to be the result of a fire in Baton Rouge he may want to check under the hood thoroughly.

    One play, two Dawgs

    Ernie reminded me of a terrific play a few years ago in the playoffs that involved the same two teams that played last night. And two Damn Good Dawgs.

    I'm sure you remember.