Friday, March 30, 2012

SEC Diamond Report

Weekend series against a red hot Kentucky squad starts tonight at Foley 7pm. The Wildcats are 25-1 and tied at the top of the East with Florida with a 5-1 conference record. They're also 5-1 on the road. Tough set for the Diamond Dawgs who are trying to break a three game losing streak.

Spring drills - what I'm hearing, the sequel

Ok. So tomorrow I'm heading to Suwanee Beer Fest and then Sunday I start a week at the beach before dropping by Augusta National on the way home. I offer that bit of information to you in an effort to communicate two things: 1) I'm a lucky dude and 2) posts will be here the next week, but I can't guarantee their usual timeliness or regularity.

However I can guarantee there will be no one named Mary Jane in my car as I traverse along the interstate. I only eat brownies made by Nancy Reagan and the only thing you'll get from drug testing me when I return is a cup of piss that's about 40 proof.

In the mean time things have been rolling along on the practice field. Let's compare notes on the last few days shall we?
  • A lot of good vibes coming from the defense. And from what I'm hearing this is mainly due to two guys, Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins. Word is Jenkins has been practically unblockable and Kwame is close on his heels. But...sounds like Jenkins has missed some practices.
  • Maybe that's not such good news on the offensive line, but I would also imagine that the praise the defense is getting could be a little inflated. The main thing to take from that is that the young OL is doing work against one of the nation's best front 7's. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
  • Cornelius Washington continues to have a great spring. Richt says he's dominating and really getting after it.
  • Crowell and Tree evidently had a scuffle last week as the result of IC getting the better of the LB. This is good news on several fronts. Scuffles are good in practice. IC showing some get after it while holding the ball is even better.
  • Be careful not to get too caught up in who is playing where, especially on defense. Remember that Grantham likes to cross train and there's no better time for that than the spring. This is certainly true of guys with both OLB and DE size/skills.
  • Samuel is repping more and more at fullback. This sounds like something he wants to do, but I'm not sold on whether it's a good idea or not. I think he'd do well in certain situations. But I don't see him long term as an every down fullback.
  • That being said I think he'd be quite the weapon at fullback if used properly.
  • There are two definites at QB: 1) Aaron Murray is the starter. 2) Mason comes in if needed. The rest is up in the air. ($$)
  • BONUS!! Da'Rick wasn't at our practice either.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just say no...$h*t

An already depleted secondary just got even thinner. And as a bonus we also lose an ILB.
Starting linebacker Alec Ogletree and starting safety Bacarri Rambo will miss at least two games, but up to as many as four games, at the start of the season for a violation of team rules.
That was my skull. I'm so wasted.
This is the second suspension of Rambo’s career and appears to be Ogletree’s first. Rambo sat out the Bulldogs’ season opener last year with Boise State for breaking team rules (undisclosed). Ogletree was injured in the game against the Broncos, breaking his foot, and didn’t return until the Bulldogs’ game with Florida in late October.
Remember all that talk last year about making a mistake that compromised the team goal

I can sit here and be mesmerized by the stupidity of coming back to school just to fail a drug test. I can wonder how it makes sense to have all the talent in the world and jeopardize NFL riches beyond measure that is merely a year away, just to achieve a Jeff Spicoli like state of awareness

I think instead I'll blame all the 7th grade Health teachers out there. Don't they scare the shit out of these kids anymore telling them drugs will make you sterile? Because to a 13 year old boy, hearing the word "sterile" translates to "your johnson'll fall off if you smoke that crap". guess is Tree gets two games and comes back for Florida Atlantic. Rambo we might not see until Tennessee. I'm sure instant analysis and much gnashing of the teeth awaits...elsewhere. 

Personally, I'm getting ready for vacation.

Selling Tony Parker on possibilities and dreams

Coach Fox has done an great job recruiting Tony Parker. He's handled it personally and is still in the daily conversation as Parker nears the finish line of his recruitment. The Miller Grove star is announcing his college decision on April 11th. He'll commit to a school that will be thrilled to get the 5 star Georgia prospect, a machine on the low block.

I've read this glimpse into the closing days of Tony Parker the Recruit twice now. I read it first hoping to glean some kind of UGA lean. The second time I read it for the beauty it contains: a rare, deep look into a critical period for a high profile national recruit. As it takes you from the hallways of Miller Grove High School, through his coach's office where he takes a phone call from Fox and into the den of his parents' home it's obvious that Parker is a grounded young man that is utilizing the support around him to manage what is an incredible weight on his shoulders. Tony Parker the Recruit is soon to become Tony Parker, committed to ________. The only thing outsiders like myself can be certain of is that Parker will be making the best possible decision for himself after carefully considering all of the factors involved.

The ESPN article by Jason Jordan in its entirety makes it clear what the pros and cons are for each school that is a finalist. The line for Georgia is easy, and frustratingly familiar - proximity is a plus but the fanbase and its support is a big drawback. Year in and year out that is what the head coach at UGA is up against. Lack of support at a football school. Empty seats that outnumber those otherwise occupied.

As a basis, compare these two quotes:

  • "Still, Parker has concerns about the lack of fanfare at home games and the fact that it may be too close to home." 
  • "They're insane," Parker said. "Being at the game there was indescribable."    "I've got to agree with him on that," Virgil said. "I'm not even that kind of fan, but that place draws you in. I was up slapping hands with dudes I didn't know. I was into that place."
The first place being described is obviously relating to UGA and Athens. The second is Kansas. Parker's father Virgil obviously felt excited being a part of the Jayhawk faithful. Easy to do amongst a strong basketball following and sold out crowd. Even easier when the game they happen to visit was an 87-86 win over Missouri.

The Georgia basketball program can't compare to Kansas. When it comes down to programs like the Dukes, the UNCs, the Kansas'...Fox is at a severe disadvantage. He's selling possibilities and dreams while Bill Self and Coach K can sell tradition and legacies. Being close enough to Athens to have your mom do your laundry is awfully comfortable for an 18 year old kid. There were days when my Def Leppard t-shirt was over a week past ripe and was still in the rotation for that 7:50 class across campus. But you can't tell me there isn't a "Crazie" that can be found camping out in K-ville that wouldn't volunteer for the job. 

Easy fix for Krzyzewski. For Fox it's much more complicated. Fixing the issue of tradition and atmosphere isn't as simple as snapping your fingers. If it was we'd be wondering which season Coach Durham's retirement tour as head of the Bulldogs was going to be. It's been a problem and ongoing concern for decades now, and probably always will it seems. It was an uphill climb well before Mark Fox loaded up a moving van in Nevada, and surely the coach after him will have to be sold on the climb once Fox's tenure closes.

But you have to give our coach credit, he's in the hunt. He's kept his program in Parker's ear long enough to make it to the finish line. In Parker's own words: "[Coach Fox] goes hard. Gotta respect that." However, in the end Parker won't sign with Georgia. On April 11th, I'll still be one of the guys anxiously awaiting his announcement. But I won't be happy when I finally hear him do what everyone is expecting him to do, commit to one of the "big boys".

It's a tribute to Coach Fox that we're even in this thing at this point. It's a feather in the cap that we're even mentioned alongside programs like Duke, Ohio State, UCLA and Kansas. But that's likely the extent of it. On a day when we're desperately craving the big recruiting victory, a steal from the likes of Coach K, Bill Self, Thad Matta...we'll have to settle for a moral victory. That seems to be our lot in life when it comes to the hardwood. 

And if I'm somehow wrong...if somehow Tony Parker is sold on possibilities and dreams, the only person that will be smiling bigger than myself is the guy that will have closed the deal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coach Hines Ward...nice ring to it isn't there?

If this isn't just a beautiful sight, I don't know what is. 

I wonder if Hines had visions of an injured Bobo and Robert Edwards, then asked Coach Richt where he wanted him on the field. In all seriousness, it appears Ward is definitely considering a move into coaching and wants to get a feel this week for what it's like. His old teammate gladly obliged, and he and Bobo even spent some time reliving old times when they were the ones getting coached.

I think it goes without saying, let this Damn Good Dawg observe all he wants. Maybe this coaching thing'll stick.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stripling out from under Jarvis' wing

Fletcher Page teased his story a little with this byline - With the help of one high profile teammate and friend T.J. Stripling recovered from the devastating knee injury he suffered.

With everything we've seen on the field from Jarvis Jones, and everything we're hearing about the kind of guy he is off of it...I wasn't surprised it was him of course. I mean who better to help Stripling get through the ordeal of sitting out with a patella tendon injury.
Here and Now
“He basically told me just to grind it out,” Stripling said. “There’s going to be those days where you might say, ‘is this really what I should be doing? Can I really play football?’ I’ve had those days where I just wanted to give it up because I felt like I wasn’t going to be 100 percent, but he sat me down and told me not to think about it, to work hard and I’d be back. That’s what I did.”
Jones paid attention to Stripling at practice. He didn’t allow him to feel like he’d been forgotten or passed over. He took him into the film room. Stripling’s injury may have stunted him physically, but Jones made sure his friend was still growing mentally.
“He’s the biggest guy to just keep you motivated,” Stripling said. “The way he works, his whole attitude and persona and everything is just crazy. That’s the kind of guy you just love to be around.”
Stripling is up to around 230 pounds. When he was injured in Boulder it happened right in front of where I was sitting. I remember seeing him run downfield on the kickoff. He was clearly athletic and fluid, but he was so skinny.

Anxious to see TJ live again in a couple weeks.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday's Meatloaf - Cover Two and the Fart Girl

Saturday evening the wife and I felt like two lost defensive backs in a Willie Martinez secondary. You that Arkansas game in 2009, where there seemed to be two sets of silver britches and about 11 hogs?

The youngest turned eight Saturday and four of her classmates came over for what we thought was going to be a slumber party. Turned out they were just there to wreck the house and scream. A lot. 
Who has two thumbs and a can of Lysol?

Just like a dangerous squad of receivers these kids came with their own proficiencies and skill sets. For instance we had The Farter, an obvious deep threat that could run all day...and night. And she always seemed to leave a cloud in her trail. Then there was The Calm One, she's fairly easy to control but can burn you with the subtle crossing route when you're not looking.

As dangerous as both of those are there's a flat out baller on the sideline waiting in the wings for a chance. Some of you parents know the threat I'm about to mention. It's the Malcolm Mitchell of slumber partyers. Able to defend and offend...that's right, it's The Double Threat. Your own kid. Your flesh and blood. You think you know them and then suddenly you're getting a glimpse of what they're like around these other hooligans. At first there's just a hint of chaos in their laughter that is both unrecognizable and eerily familiar. Weird. You quickly realize that there's trouble brewing in her beautiful little brown eyes  The Double Threat may or may not show her hand early on, but when the evening is in the balance and you least expect out.

And if you spend too much time trailing The Farter with a can of Febreze, The Double Threat shakes loose and then it's game over.

Today's Ingredients

Like Vance Cuff: great speed, but not
enough coverage skills
In the end Mrs. Bernie and I fell back on experience and were able to contain with a prevent defense that was surprisingly and appropriately aggressive. After all this wasn't our first rodeo. Of course, there's always some differences in sleeping comforts...teddy bears...who still sucks their thumb...who only wears pajama bottoms. Maybe we couldn't control the flatulence from The Farter, but the wife could sure as hell tell her she would most certainly be taken home if she jumped on furniture. And nothing was thoroughly damaged by misuse or overuse. Everyone stayed moderately civil despite a complete and utter lack of table manners and there was next to no drama, aka intrapersonal conflict/strife. And we even kept The Double Threat in check as evidenced by this breakfast table exchange:
(Bernie furiously passing out pancakes so we can shove the slumberers out the door) 
The Farter's twin sister: These pancakes are burnt!
Bernie: They're not burnt, they're golden brown and the chocolate chips are deliciously melted.
The Double Threat: (pointedly at her classmate) Don't argue with him. Trust me.

So all in all it could've been much worse. Our over stretched WilMart zone defense managed to control the little hellions and get five hours sleep before the cutting of the cheese and more screaming commenced afresh in the pre-dawn hours. Like beautiful little birds, stretching their cute little wings as the sun crests the subdivision's rooftops and elm trees...then SCREECHING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS FOR FOUR MORE HOURS UNTIL THEIR MOMS RELUCTANTLY KNOCK ON THE DOOR.

Yes, the slumber party is a cheap and economical way to have a birthday. No room rental or liability waivers. You just shove some pizza down their gullets and rent a couple movies that they never watch. But I'll pay three times the charge at Monkey Joe's next time, observe them for a couple hours and then send them home. The house will smell better and the dog won't look at me as if to say "WTF were you thinking?"

Here's your fork Reader. Have a great Monday!

Repo Man, from Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs

Meatloaf will be done shortly. Consider what follows as your appetizer. Had this tune drifting through my ear canals all weekend. 

Your welcome.