Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mizzou preview

Kevin over at College Football Zealots has worked his way around the nation doing previews of teams. Yesterday it was Missouri's turn. You might wanna take a look.
There is no doubt that Missouri is a good team that can step up and be a great team on any given weekend. I question whether they can do it on a week to week basis. Missouri won double-digit games in three out of four seasons from 2007 to 2010 but they haven't been consistent double-digit game winners. Can they build off of an 8-5 season last year? They have been 8-5 in two of the last three years. It's difficult to think they can come into the SEC and be much better than that. Three of their first four SEC games are against Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Welcome to the conference.

Hail to Georgia!

The Redcoats are asking for our help. As of today you have 14 days to practice and get the lyrics down. Not too much to ask.

And if I get called in from the bench...cheer your ass off.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Misery - of rust and Russ

Although the college football horizon is in full view now, that doesn't mean we're completely ready. The months of JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyandAugust create a LOT of rust. I can't just expect August 31st to roll up and be completely able to give you a Friday Misery at the drop of a calendar page. That takes a certain energy level that an 8 month hibernation just doesn't prepare you for in the way we all need it to.

I mean, are you just going to show up at the season's first tailgate without checking the tents, giving them a test run, counting the chairs in storage, or cleaning the cobwebs out of the cooler? Are you just going to assume your tailgate buddies will bring the buns and condiments to complement your grilled meats and cheeses?

It's called PREPARATION people! The first cousin of another key word, PLANNING. Throw a few handfuls of it on your face to WAKE. YOUR. ASS. UP. I know it's Buffalo and all, but it's still college football. It deserves your focused energy, your undivided attention and at least a few moments of time to knock the rust off the gameday mindset. Commit to the G y'all!
 Don't hate. Appreciate the brindle y'all!  (via)

C'mon people. Don't put off today what you can already have checked off the list tomorrow. Chan Gailey's coming to town Sept. 1st, without Reggie Ball. That's not so Chantastic.

Don't bite the paw that feeds you
There is no Uga IX, yet. I'm a little agitated with this mess. We keep moving forward and backward in the process of what really amounts to a family choosing their pet. Despite the ties to the University, Uga has always been the Seilers' pet first. Otherwise I'm sure the AJC would paste up pictures of the puppies and Carvell would do mock ups of recruiting pieces and Bradley and his cronies would blather on and on about how Coach Richt has lost control over the bloodline and then we'd all tumble over one another to vote in a poll.

Meanwhile, here's Russ. Does Russ give a damn if he's named the official mascot? Probably not. Just tell him when it's time to wear the sweater and he's ready. As chuckdawg mentions he gets taken off duty and pushed back on whenever UGA needs him. But he doesn't get the glory of being an "official" mascot.

Yet Russ is ANYthing but a stand in like Magillicuddy or Bugga Lou. No, the longest a temporary mascot had to fill in before Russ was the infamous Otto that came to the rescue when Uga IV injured his knee during the 1986 season. Otto's shift lasted four games and he went 3-1. Russ has a resumé that spans 21 games now, if I carried the one in the right spot.

He's earned more than our adoration and appreciation. He's deserves our respect too. Russ is a damn good Dawg!

Speaking of dogs, it's just me and my chocolate lab this weekend. Girls are off to a wedding, which means several things. Most importantly, I'll always know where the remote is for the next 48 hours and my ears won't be ringing from pre-teen pop music. I might just spend the weekend listening to Elvis and watching Fast Times over and over again. You know, "learning about Cuba" and stuff.

It probably also means less leafy greens and more grilled meat. Like I said, it's all about the PREPARATION. Stay miserable Dawgs. Only 15 more days.

Some spotlight for Branden Smith

I see and hear a lot of arguments as to whether certain college football ticket prices are worth the money involved to obtain them. I can see the argument for saving the cash, staying at home to avoid the ever increasing hassles of tailgating around campus and just enjoying the game through the technology of a high def receiver. There's no traffic, no weird contests to determine a designated driver and Prez Adams can't outlaw your smoking grill on the patio. Yes, I get that.
Like a freight train...gone!

But for me there's just something magical about being there that is more than enough to supercede all of that convenience. I remember in Tempe when Knowshon high dived into the endzone, there was a noticeable gasp throughout the stadium. Sun Devils and Dawgs alike were so taken aback by the sheer athleticism that you could hear thousands of people inhale at exactly the same time.

And no doubt there have been many times in Sanford throughout its history that the play on the field creates a buzz in the stands that is palpable, electric. For me the most memorable one was South Carolina 2009. Branden Smith's touchdown was the perfect call combined with absolute superhuman speed. For one, the play call utilized the talent that Smith possesses to perfection. However, the Gamecocks had defenders in position to, at the very least, prevent the score. But once the jets were ignited, they weren't cooling down anywhere inside of 62 yards. Most notably, 92,000 jaws dropped well before any visor touched ground.

I've mentioned before that I'm enjoying David Ching's countdown series Around the Hedges. Yesterday it was Branden's turn and Ching of course mentioned that play as #1's greatest highlight to date. And Groo points out that Smith has been chasing that kind of highlight ever since 2009, all while getting fewer touches and looks on offense.

Will his senior season bring better fortune for Smith? Things are looking up for sure. He was cleared to play the season opener (despite Chuckles playing lawyer in protest) and according to reports has had a solid camp this month. He's played special teams his entire career in Athens, which will only help his draft status next spring. Some offensive fireworks could increase it even more.

It took four years to see the kind of impact Brandon Boykin could have offensively. Could it Smith's skills add an offensive boost to the 2012 season, like they did in 2009? The spotlight's on, it's time to shine.

Theus - a "spunky" freshman

Freshman offensive lineman John Theus will be a starter; almost a certainty to start the season opener against Buffalo. And it sounds like C-Wash is impressed.
"He definitely has a lot of spunk about him, that's for sure," Washington said with a smile. "I can tell because at the end of a rep, I'm done at the end of the rep and he wants to keep going. The rep's over with, so let's move on along. But he's a pretty good guy. I think he's going to be big here."
Seriously, if you still feel like this offensive line is going to be a step back from last year, you're both not paying attention and obviously didn't see much of last season.

via DawgNation's Radi Nabulsi

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Erk remembers Happy Dicks

Special shout-out to Kerri and Barry and their new little Dawg (and Jayhawk during hoops season). Congrats! #getaBIGneck

Ok, I'm a bad blogger. We already knew that though right? I meant to post this yesterday and completely forgot to put it in the queue for your morning coffee and doughnut(s). I apologize, but the good news is now you get to enjoy it today.

Probably my favorite entry from his calendar. Leave it to Coach Russell to introduce the "Post-Happy Dicks era" with a joke.

Scrimmage 2: good news, bad news

The second scrimmage is in the books. It was chock full of good and bad, so let's break it down. Here's the stats, as provided ($) by Richt:
Gurley 7-87, 2 TD 
Marshall 5-62 
Samuel 6-40, TD 
Malcome 5-35, TD 
Harton 7-31 

Murray 8-14 158 TD, INT 
Mason 8-18 67 TD, INT 
LeMay 2-5 35 INT 

Conley 4-114 TD 
Tibbs 3-32 TD 
Rome 2-32 
Gurley 2-22 
King 2-9 
Wooten, Harton, Lynch, Samuel, McGowan, Hicks all had one catch 

Morgan made all XP and was 1-1 on field goals (42 yards) 
Barber averaged 49.5 yards on two punts 

Vasser 6 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 sacks 
Williams 4 tx, INT 
Rambo 4 tx 
Ogletree 4 tx, 2 TFL, 2 sacks 
JHC 4 tx, TFL, INT, sack 
Drew 4 tx 
Swann 3 tx 
Jarvis Jones sack 
Commings 3 tx, PBU 
B Smith, Gilliard, Norman, Moore, Herrera, Wilson, Bowman, Robinson all had two tackles 

B Smith had 2 PBU, Gilliard 1 PBU, Moore 1 PBU and a great interception according to Richt (Moore said he read a double move by Bennett and picked off a Murray pass in red zone) 

Abry Jones had TFL, J Dawson had one PBU and one TFL, Washington and S Dawson both had PBU

Rushing. All the running backs had a good scrimmage, and there were some big runs added in. Both Marshall and Gurley averaged 12.4 ypc, thanks to a 52 and a 66 yard run respectively. Richt said they were making guys miss and getting extra yards from their hustle. To quote: "But when you’re a good rushing team, you’re going to break a big run. That’s what you [want]"

INTs. Sounds like most were off of bad throws, but at least they were hauled in. Richt credited Corey Moore with making a good play on a ball. And Harvey-Clemons continues to impress. From the last week's buzz it sounds as if he's averaging 1.2 picks a practice.

Competition. The 1s vs 2s structure seems to be creating some good depth. Normally I would rather see the 1s go against each other, but given the depth I think this is giving some backups a chance to show what they can do against some SEC starters.

Injuries. Malcolm Mitchell, Damian Swann, Branden Smith and Ray Drew were all back in the mix. Tight End Ty Flournoy-Smith did not play.

Kicks. Marshall Morgan made his kicks and Collin Barber averaged nearly 50 yards on two punts! If he can get that kind of distance with the hang time that Richt has been suggesting, Barber is heading for more than a starting spot.

Quarterbacks. Between the interceptions and fumbles it was clear that Coach Richt was least impressed with this group. If a defender just makes a great play it's one thing. But when he specifically tells the media that they weren't well thrown balls...coupled with the fact that the QBs can't be tackled and they're still fumbling...Not. Good.

Hustle. Overall it sounds like there was good energy, but nothing outstanding. As Richt said, an 8-4 type effort ain't gonna cut it. Were some guys just going through the motions? Do they believe certain roster spots are already sewn up? I expect the coaches to light them up a little bit going into the weekend.

Red and Black...dead and red

Lord knows I've been critical of some of their content, but this is just truly sad.
I, Polina Marinova, have resigned as the editor-in-chief from The Red & Black, the student newspaper covering the University of Georgia. The Red & Black’s top editors, design staff, photo staff and reporters walked out of the newspaper building this afternoon.
The Red & Black has covered the University of Georgia community since 1893 and has been independent of the University since 1980. The newspaper has always been a student-run operation, but recently, we began feeling serious pressure from people who were not students. In less than a month, The Red & Black has hired more than 10 permanent staff with veto power over students’ decisions. ......
.....The Red & Black has always been the best experience for student journalists. It’s no longer a place where lessons can be learned without “serious repercussions.” We don’t believe that is a learning environment.
As the former editor-in-chief, I stood by my editors and staff 100 percent and what I found out today was that we all stood together.
There's two sides to every story. This will be an interesting one to follow. But ultimately a good student newspaper, and their readers will lose.

UGA Game Ball Relay

I've been meaning to throw some pub this way for a couple weeks. This is a great chance for fans to participate in something unique and truly special. The UGA Game Ball Relay is set up for UGA lettermen to take part in a relay that will stretch from Atlanta's Shepherd Center at 10am Friday August 31st across 90 miles on its way to Athens at Sanford Stadium in time for kickoff against Buffalo. The cities including on the walk are Atlanta, Stone Mountain, Loganville, Snellville and Athens.

In addition to lending one's support by participating in the "Red Zone March", you can also donate and become a Red Zone Warrior.

CLICK HERE for additional details. And for updates you can follow @UGAGBR on Twitter.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Flashback - the 2002 season

There's a lot to remember and cherish about the 2002 season, and this video reminds us of all the highlights, big plays and subplots along the way. One of my favorite side stories will always be Tony Milton,. You'll remember that Milton was the kid Richt basically found living out of his car, gave him a chance and he became a legendary backfield blocker. In fact, he might be the reason a lot of young kids haven't started at running back until they can at least attempt to model a Tony Milton block.

And of course my favorite Munson quip from this video references a Milton run - "We put the WHOLE SCHOOL out in front of him!". Enjoy.

h/t Dawg19

Every time I see that blocked field goal against the Vols I think Boss gets higher than the last time I saw it. Absolutely superhuman.

Back to Milton, he once said "I'm more than willing to do anything to help the team...The coaches came to me and asked me if I would make the move. It's pretty much the same thing as tailback, the same blocking assignments.'' Kind of reminds you of another guy we have on the roster now, doesn't it?

Sizing up the competition (anonymously)

I saw Blutarsky and Tyler post on it earlier this week, so I decided to read up on what the SEC coaches were saying about each other's teams. If you haven't already you can as well, just click here. There's something deliciously intriguing about providing someone with anonymity. Kind of like giving a blogger... message boreder... twitterer...a person a keyboard and internet connectivity.

Anyway, thought it would be cool to look specifically at our biggest games this season through the lenses of SEC coaches. Here's what I took away from it.

The QB Franklin will be the real deal and the offense will make the Tigers a threat. However, the general feeling is that the defense won't be up to snuff. The question of toughness will be answered as the games wear on, and it will not tilt the scoreboard in Mizzou's favor.

However, will this affect the SEC opener at all? It's pointed out that Mizzou has to face Georgia, S. Carolina, Bama, Texas A&M and Florida. That's a tall task for an SEC fledgling. Eventually the collision course that is SEC Saturdays will affect the Tigers. I'm just not sure how much it will play into the game September 8th. 

Don't misunderstand. It will be a determining factor; how well Mizzou can handle Georgia's talent, depth and physical nature (especially when they have the ball) will play into the final score. But how much it does depends on Georgia in their first test on the season.

It's clear to the SEC coaches that Tennessee is a broken program. Words and phrases like "get himself straight mentally", "did not play hard", "soft" and "just okay" don't scare many opposing coaches. And it's clear to opposing fans that no one really knows how good this team will be. The Vols have the talent to do some real damage, even make a run for the SECCG. But you can just as easily see them only winning a game or two before folding up like they did last year.

Receiver is clearly the position that scares opponents the most. Justin Hunter was easily on pace to equal a sterling freshman season last year when he went down with an ACL tear. Cordarelle Patterson was a huge JUCO pickup for Dooley in the off season. And Rogers is back with the team again, right? I've lost track. If this talented corps can catch enough bottles balls from Bray it should really open things up for them offensively.
New USCe DC, Coach Ward (via)

South Carolina
The quotes on the Gamecocks are understandably glowing. Despite not winning the East last season, Spurrier did a masterful job at adjusting his tried and true playbook to the personnel he had on the field. It's clear that to beat the Gamecocks you have to win in the trenches, and last year's game at Sanford is a clear example of that. You might outplay them on the edges and downfield, but if you don't out tough them along the lines of scrimmage you are in for a long day.

However, one thing that is noticeably missing is the non mention of the new defensive coordinator, Lorenzo Ward. He was elevated to the position when Ellis Johnson left to become the head coach at Southern Miss. Ward will likely do a lot of things Johnson was successful doing. If it ain't broke right? He promises to have an attacking style and still has the personnel to make that happen.

But it's his first year running things. That's something to at least keep an eye on. As a basis to go from, Carolina was 10th nationally in scoring defense last season and 3rd in total defense. They were especially difficult for opposing offenses at home where they only gave up 12 points per game. On the road, that number more than doubled. Will the transition to Ward running things be smooth enough to rise to those numbers again?

First off, this is just gold for all my fellow gator-haters:
Scheme was also a problem because they were trying to play a pro-style offensive with spread-style players. (Former offensive coordinator) Charlie Weis never seemed to have a handle on what he could do to get the offense going.
They were maybe the fastest team that we played against, but I did not think they were tough, and I think there were some issues between some players and coaches on the offensive side of the ball.
There's little question that last season's Florida team was a shell of its former self. They lacked their usual intensity, size, toughness and were noticeably awkward in trying to adapt track stars into formations and systems ill equipped to showcase their wares. Going forward Muschamp's team will have to become a tougher team that can handle 60 minutes of football. Dropping the dead weight of Weis' "decided schematic advantage" could go a long way towards helping that. And at times the defense just seemed a step or two away from getting things together. Year two in the system should help.

Overall, this team will be improved. In the Athlon piece a coach noted that Florida's offense was composed of very dangerous TE's and RB's, but teams weren't afraid of their wideouts. For the Gators to turn things around that will have to change. Additionally, it's hard to get a handle on just how much further Muschamp can take the team in another off season. He inherited a mess. A super fast track team of a mess, but a team in disarray nonetheless. 

The analysis starts here with the coordinator changes. Just like with Florida (offense), Tennessee (defense) and South Carolina (defense) the adjustments to new systems and styles will go a long way in determining the season's win-loss record. And the Plainsmen have it on both sides of the ball.

On offense, Scott Loeffler takes over for guru Malzahn. Fortunately for Auburn Loeffler has had a tour through the SEC before in 2009 with Florida. Unfortunately - 
I don’t know about the quarterback situation. I guess they don’t either. That’s never a good thing.
Of course, Brian Vangorder takes over for Ted Roof as defensive coordinator. That's a certain upgrade. But along with it, Willie Martinez takes over as secondary coach for [insert ANYone's name here] and that's a surefire downgrade. 

Ultimately, I think Auburn's defense keeps them in a lot of games. How many of those turn out to be wins depends on how well the quarterback position pans out. There's a lot of young talent at running back (even without the freshman Robinson who is surely not going to play anywhere this season) and they have senior McCalebb to lead the way. The Auburn Tigers could be a fortified unit come November, or a team desperate for a win.

Is it September yet?

"This clean, of energy vampires."

Let this be a warning to Zombie 5 Star: Energy Vampires are near extinction in Athens.

Coach Richt made mention ($) that he has plenty of stakes left to destroy them, but there are no Energy Vampires in his locker room currently. He even went so far as to say that "'The Energy Bus' was last year", hinting that the team is moving on.

Hope this is also a warning to any five star, top ranked, super recruit zombies out there that are brain dead and really want to bring their "So Cray Crunk Game" to Woodruff Practice Fields. Of course, the coaching staff can't know completely if the recruit is a potential zombie. But hopefully these undead ballers are now inclined to stay the hell away from Athens. 

Because if not, shovels that will lop your head clean off are even more plentiful than wooden stakes.

"I'm a Zombie 5 star. Every program in the country wants 
my flesh eating skillz." (via)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paris Bostick, a true grinder

via Corey Long, ESPN
Yesterday Plant HS safety Paris Bostick made a commitment to Coach Richt to be a part of the 2013 class. He's a safety with very good size, especially considering he's just entering his last year of high school. At this stage in his development, Bostick can close on the ball extremely well and isn't at all shy of the sport's physicality. Once he works on some fundamentals he projects well at safety (especially Grantham's "star" role) or a hybrid linebacker.

Yes, for those who have been clamoring for the 3 star kid that loves to work, practice and get better, you have your man in Paris Bostick. Although he's one of three safeties committed to UGA for 2013, he brings a different skillset as well as a unique mindset.

Not to mention a difficult history. If you're unfamiliar with Bostick's story, you probably won't be for long. He's a great kid, one the DawgNation will enjoy cheering for in the coming years. Unlike many his road to Division I wasn't paved so smoothly. He's lost his father, grown apart from his mother and recently became emancipated. He picked us over an impressive but comparatively modest selection that included Arkansas, West VA and Louisville. 

You know it takes something special for me to post on recruiting in August. Paris Bostic has worked harder than most to get this far. And I can't wait to see him develop 'tween the hedges.

The anti-Orson

One of the two most intriguing sub-plots to this season's offense for me is the tight end position. That's why I was thrilled BullDawg Illustrated let us listen in as Lynch talked about his role this season and why he's excited too.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday's Meatloaf - "We all need someone we can lean on"

"Coach Richt, thanks for coming over."
"Well sure. Why are all the cars in your  driv...Wait 
"Don't freak out coach."
"Freak out? You said we were going to watch the closing 
"I know. This is actually an intervention. We're ...well, 
"An intervention? Coach T,  you're behind this 
aren't you?"
"Coach, we just ALL think the goatee was a 
good idea."
"You're bringing me here, under the pretense of an 
Olympic hors d'oeuvres party to try and convince 
me to shave less?"
"It stood for something new Coach, something 
different..gave many fans a reason to believe."
"Well it gave Kathryn a rash."
"We understand. It's something that's yours,
not really our business...but we embraced it,
nurtured it, cared deeply about. And you.."
"Wait a min..."
"NO! YOU wait a left it dismantled,
broken and alone in your sink. Like it or not, it
was a part of DawgNation. We NEED it back."
"You can HAVE it Bernie. It's actually still
in the trashcan I think."
"'re not hearing me coach. With ALL
due respect, we NEED it back on your face."
"I don't believe this (crap)."
"There! That's it! It would just drive the point
home if you had that epic goatee to go along
with the general badassery."
"Son, I can give ya all ya can take. It's not
like I forgot how to be a badass."
"Yeh, it's just that with it, certain things are
implied. No need to state them..
Your goatee would not have punted to the 
Honey Blazer. Or if it did, the kid woulda fumbled
just trying to run past it. It also would not have 
kicked the FG in Memphis, and if it told me I had
never been in the arena my only response 
would be 'Yessir.'
"I see. You all got it bad for Evil Richt."

Fistbumps for the room. Gets to Mrs. Bernie who simply holds out an empty hand. Richt reaches deep into his chinos and retrieves the guilty Gillette. It's a bit rusty, splattered with blood and has bits of gray beard in between the blades. He hands it to her, looks her in the eye...
"Don't worry darlin'. I won't paint it black anymore either."
As the Ford F-150 motors away, we all swear we can hear The Stones blaring through the streets of Dawgville USA. "Get it on rider. You can bleed all over me."
via Dawgden, via ABH
Today's Ingredients
Your 2013 national champions, the Georgia Bulldogs. Has a nice ring to it.
- Over at DawgSportsRedcrake takes us on a musical journey through the heart of the 2012 schedule and Dawg2011 lays out a bracket of hate for us to vote on.
- ecdawg found a Mizzou blog that broke down the SEC opener for us. Rather favorably I might add.
- Yesterday I introduced some Erk Russell oldschool math by subtraction. Meanwhile Richt was adding to his scholarship numbers.
- Stands to reason doesn't it, that if Bobo wants this kind of number from Murray that he also has confidence in the line protecting him and the playmakers behind and around him. Does it not?
- Can't help but notice that Gurley's stock has soared in the poll over there since that scrimmage last week. Ching has a nice feature on the kid.
"I don't know if it would be me or not...Kiante Tripp used to switch positions on both sides of the line a lot." Samuel on being a Tripp
- Nice post by Blutarsky on what is looking like will be JHC's first role in Grantham's defense.
- I don't know if it is as big as #34 like CCRider advertises, but he does give us a history lesson on Sports and Grits while introducing GATANews.
- UGA's freshman class passed their first test yesterday.
- I don't know who the Higgs Boson fella is Tyler references, nor do I care anything about his particles. But I agree that the Bragg piece on the SEC in ESPN: the Mag is an excellent read. 

Those yankees...bless their hearts. Yes, we all need something we can lean on. We prefer whiskey, front porches and college football. They have cheeseheads, snow tires and weathermen in parkas.

Which reminds me, best of luck to friend of the blog Fletcher Page who is relocating. He has taken an assignment in a place called Illinois. Darren the Intern tells me this is within the contiguous US but outside of the sweetened tea boundary. We wish him well and look forward to reports of how the Fightin' Zooks Illini's chances are looking for Pasadena, or the Little Caesars Bowl in beautiful Detroit.

In fact I gave Fletcher a barometer for his birthday a couple weeks ago. He's always been the first to provide "Richt's Eye on the Sky" report of the weather. Not sure if that thing predicts snowfall or not. Perhaps he too should wear a goatee to protect against the elements.

Rest of y'all, here's your fork and a napkin. Keep the lunch out of the beards #TeamGoatee and have a great Monday!


AwwBarn's "Chiz Rag"

I just don't have any words. At least any that I'd feel good about being in print.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Oldschool Math, Erk's way

Again from his calendar comes this "friendly reminder": an equation of sorts. Have you ever wondered what Coach Russell's mind was like as a conundrum, wrapped inside an enigma, and expressed through a mathematical word problem?

Well, get out your calculators.

Georgia Bulldogs, 2012