Saturday, September 1, 2012

Marching orders - Buffalo

I could sit here and type to you about how you need to count the number of snaps Malcolm plays, or how many pancakes John Theus gets, or how even the carries are between Boo/Marshall/Gurley/et al. I could even ask you to observe the development of LeMay, the blocking of Artie Lynch and the kicking of the two freshmen.

But you know all that. We've spent eight months discussing, arguing and fussing over all of it. There's no need in me doing that, for today is about one thing - the absolute joy the college football season brings.

So your orders today are simple. Enjoy the day, a cold beverage, your family, any friends you haven't ostracized, the warm sun from your seat in Sanford...or from your patio just before you settle into the sofa with the remote.

Enjoy today. For like so many great days on the calendar, it only comes once a year.

Coach Henderson tribute

Most of my memories of Billy Henderson are not recalled too fondly. I was from the other side of the tracks. But even from the east side of town it was hard not to respect what Coach Henderson was doing at Clarke Central HS. And if I recall the man did once turn down an offer from Georgia Tech. So it is with my full blessing that I post this documentary here for your viewing pleasure. If you are from Athens as well, you'll enjoy some familiar old scenes and even older faces. Thanks to AthensHomerDawg for sending this one to Dawg19.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Well shit.
#UGA says CB Malcolm Mitchell sustained left ankle sprain in practice Thursday. He won't play Saturday. No word on availability for Mizzou 

Friday Misery - not so chantastic

It's College Football Eve. Forget about that fake pepsi shit from last night or whatever crap game's on tonight. Tomorrow is the Classic Coca-Cola of tackle football. It's the real thing baby!

We waited out eight months like a boss. Like a ten year old kid starting his Santa list in the early months of Spring, we suffered through the monotony that is baseball, resisted the urge to vomit on the NBA parquet and tuned in as Costas blathered incessantly during the Olympics. Now it's time to rip open the presents and shake that Tannenbaum.

College football is here!

Ford's still full of Bull
I wanna hate so bad. I wanna loathe the opponent on Saturdays. I don't just wanna dislike them. I don't just wanna find them irritating and distasteful. I want to hate them to their core.
They cheat this state. (via)

For months now I've been alluding to Buffalo as Chan Gailey's team. Hey, I can count the number of things I know about Buffalo NY on one hand, and still have enough fingers left over to adequately grip a drumstick of fried chicken. One, I know it's cold. And two, I know they have a football team that misses field goals in the Super Bowl.

There. That's it. So back in January, shortly after Michigan State blocked Blair Walsh's redemption boot in overtime, I looked ahead to the 2012 season schedule and saw "Buffalo". I jumped to the conclusion that we would have yet another afternoon's worth of entertainment watching Reggie Ball count to four and other chantasticisms. That's not only something to look forward to, it is also something that fuels the hate just a touch.

The Buffalo Bulls, as in the University of Buffalo and not the AFC East professional team with one vowel derivation, do nothing for me. I'm glad we get a cupcake to tune up on. I'm eager to see the backups play as much as possible. I hope our confidence level is much higher tomorrow night than it was a year ago leaving the Dome.

All I'm saying is that it wouldn't hurt if a "Bull" fan dropped by the tailgate tomorrow and said I talk too slow, or that grits are the food of a losing confederacy, or that Jasper's knee was not down.

Yes, I believe Al Ford went to the University of Buffalo. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Hate that sumbitch. To the core.

Some cheese with your entitlements?
Despite all the excitement of the season upon us, I still got angst y'all. It's been a couple years since we had our cupcake prior to the main course. LA Lafayette strolled into town in 2010 and didn't leave until we had icing smeared all over our faces and cake crumbs on our suspended #8 jerseys.

I hate it when side stories dominate the action on the field. And no matter how many ankles Keith Marshall breaks and how many baby bulls Jarvis sacrifices on Grantham's table, the headlines will be about the suspensions, or how inferior the opponent was. "Poor little buffwalo. Mean ol Richt hurt their wittle feewings."

Screw that. And some of you Dawg fans aren't in the clear either. You'll whine about the early kick. You'll lollygag your way into the tailgate...LATE! You won't even know the words to "Hail!"
Sit and spin, Mr. McShitty Fan
You. Make. Me. Sick. You've had eight months to use the Massengil and that's the best you can come up with for gameday? Getting all vocal like a 7th grade school girl walking into the stadium with your chardonnay breath and your turkey burger tailgate fingers, moaning on and on about ticket prices and and the good ole days when you know damn well back in the good ole days you were too busy pretending to be a grunge rocker to suffer with the rest of us when Robert Edwards' knee gave way. While Hines was playing every position known to man you were in your parents' garage writing crappy lyrics and trying to imitate Eddie Vedder.

Yes you, wannabe Georgia fan with your unenthusiastic bark and your uninspired polo with the awkwardly large pit stains, Kurt Cobain called and wants his depression back. While you've been whining the Dawgs have been grindin'. You think Kolton Houston wants to hear your crap? You think Shawn Williams gives a good shit about your time of the month? Just stay home, or leave your tickets on the wall like the rest of your cronies. Plenty of decent fans ready to make a little Sanford Stadium noise. Hunker down with 92,000. 

Yeh, we got this one covered Mr. Smells like Teen Spirit. For the rest of you, see ya tomorrow. It'll be September then. And football will finally be here.

Go Dawgs!

Around the Tailgate: 2012 predictions

It's so close now. Kickoff to the new season is almost upon us. Let's find out how the deck is stacked in our tailgaters' eyes.

Prediction time: how do you see the season rolling along for the Dawgs in 2012? Do we live up to the top ten ranking, or fall short?

Joe Waterloo - If you haven't figured it out based on my previous responses I don't think we live up to our preseason ranking.  We have way to many question marks and depth issues on the OL for anyone to really think we are a top 6 team.  Coming from the SEC I guess is giving us more street cred than we deserve, but apparently those people haven't been watching us the last few seasons.  If our OL can be better than mediocre and get incredibly lucky with injuries we can probably go 11-1 before Bama or LSU kicks our teeth in.  But with the typical amount of attrition for injuries I'll be optimistic and say 10-2 (but 9-3 is a real possibility.)  With the schedule we have anything less than 11-1 in the regular season is not living up to expectations.

The Wrangler - We will finish the year as a top ten team and will win the East.  I don’t know if we can supplant Alabama or LSU in the SEC Championship game, but I do like our chances if we stay healthy.  South Carolina will be a real test, but after dropping 2 in a row to them, I see us handling our business this year.  Getting Carolina later in the year will benefit UGA.  The SEC East is still down, so if we are going to make a run at an MNC, this year shapes up nicely.  Our defense should be as exciting to watch as any to wear the red and black in a long time.  Defense wins championships, and Grantham has built a helluva team.     Go Dawgs!

SmokeWagon - I don’t mind making predictions about particular players or strengths and weaknesses of a team, but I hate making predictions on the season.  You feel like predicting success will only lead to lack of success.  I have always tried to temper my expectations so that when the games are played I am less disappointed when things don’t go our way. (Although I am not sure that works out for me).  However, this is the BDB, and I can’t just blow off the question.   After all, if fear of losing kept one from participating, I could never talk Bernie and Nama into a friendly bout of Cornhole with me and the Wagon and the Wrangler.

The Dawgs 2012 schedule is weaker than normal, which should lead to a better W-L record.  However, with a weaker schedule, one slip-up hurts the resume much more, so I am not sure the schedule increases our chances of ending in top 10.  I think a tougher schedule gives you more opportunities to earn high rankings.  The good news in this regard is we are starting the year at #6, so if we win we don’t have as far to climb.  The bad news is that even if we win, we want have the quality wins to climb much higher.  Back to good news …… we are fortunate to be in the best conference in football, so if we do win, we will have the opportunity to strengthen our schedule and EARN a higher ranking in the GA Dome.   My gut feeling now is that UGA and SC are on fairly equal footing these days (and that is bad news for UGA, good news for SC, and terrible news for UF and UT – which then kind of cancels out the bad news for UGA).  Our schedule should make it easier to reach the dome when compared to SC.  A win as SC will hopefully  minimize the whining from Stevie about the schedule. I don’t remember hearing him complain about it in the past when the tables were turned. BTW, as a fan, I would much rather have the tougher schedule.  When I look back on a season 5 or 10 years ago, I don’t remember the exact W-L record for the seasons, but I do remember the big wins (I really enjoyed 96 Auburn and 01 UT games on SEC Classics this week.)

I think our defense is going to be very good and possibly great.  I think our offense is going to be average and possibly very good.  If the O-line can gel and stay healthy, I like our chances for playing in the dome.  Of course, we know that once the season begins, 2012 SEC season will create its own story.  The actual outcome is very rarely exactly what anyone predicted.  For example, I am not comfortable with the overall assumption that AU, FL, and UT are not going to compete for the dome.  I am just as guilty as everyone else by focusing in on Mizzou and SC, but something tells me at least one of those other SEC schools is going to be much better than expected. 

I can’t wait for Mizzou.  I am looking forward to the opener, but if I am honest, Buffalo is not “exciting”.  I will of course enjoy the tailgating and the Sanford Stadium experience with my 4 year old boy.  However, if we were getting ready for a truly stout opponent, I would be imagining that one day 10 years from now, I could be sitting with my 14 year old watching SEC classic football fondly remembering a 4th quarter comeback.  I have obviously blurred the lines with my answer between the “how I see the season rolling along for the Dawgs” in win-loss vs how I see the season rolling along for me as a fan.  I am optimistic that we will finish up in top ten.  However, as a fan, I base the quality of the season on the level of excitement and I wish we could plug in some real opponents for at least 2 of the 3 patsy’s.  With all that said, I am obviously pretty excited about the season because I have been sanding down my cornhole boards this week and putting a fresh coat of slick paint to go with my brand new sacks!!!  From now on, I will try to keep my whining about non-conference schedule to an off season exercise.  

Namaman - I am ever a believer and think that this truly is the year.  I look for us to go 11-1 for the regular schedule and then find a way to outlast LSWho in the SEC Championship.  I don't know who we will lose to, but we always seem to have that "one" game that leaves you scratching your head.  Then we can dismantle Kiffy-baby and his Trojans for the championship!  GOOOOOOOO DAWGS!!!

AthensHomerDawg - Double digit win season. These Dawgs will set the bar for the rest of CMR term. We stay in the top ten and get a double D winning season. It's all good!!!

Final thought...more tomorrow, but we should all know by now that Coach Richt nearly lost his team completely. Let poor coaching get out of hand, and too many players followed suit. There are a LOT of indications that he has things back in order. If so, this could be a special season. But just like any other year, off season talk is cheap. Now it's time to bark.

- - - - - - - - - - - 

Monday - tailbacks
Tuesday - offensive line
Wednesday - Mizzou preview
Thursday - Malcolm's duality

AHD preps the CFA warmup game

from AthensHomerDawg:

The Hillbillies and the Wolfpack are opening at the so  not politically correct Chik-fil-a bowl ( on Friday (Barners and Barners with a lake open there this Sat). Coach O'Brien of  NCS   has dubbed the Hounds of Knoxvegas a "SEC Powerhouse". I see here that Coach O'Brien is helping refill the Kool Aid and has graciously brought "brownies" as well. How thoughtful! The Vols will lean heavily on their cherry JUCO and an excellent WR who will be testing his new wheel for the first time live on Friday. 

I'm not feeling it sports fans: 1. SOD will be relying on some newbies in his 7 new assistants. 2. BIG SAL.. in his first year. We know from experience the change to a 3-4 takes at least a season. 3. UT has no run game. NADA. 116 in 2011. So they are gonna put this on Slash's shoulders and sling it. 4. This could be a sound strategy except that NCS has some success with ball snatching from needy QBs. Read here school record 27 ints in '11.  

The Knoxvegas Hounds might start off with Rocky Top ... but they end with this:

via rwells47

Thursday, August 30, 2012

#teamRuss renamed #teamUgaIX

It's about time. GATA Russ!
"Russ is officially UGA IX. Go #dawgs. Hope he leads us to a title."

Vandy/Carolina - what to look for tonight

If you're into JV football under Thursday night lights, or if you've just been jonesin' long enough this off season to try just about any flavor of the tackle football variety, then like me you'll be tuning into tonight's game between the fighting Jimmy Franklins and the Thursday Night Kings.

Of course it also helps that the Dawgs play both teams later in the season. Scouting, previewing, watching visors fly and all that. So here's the top two things I'm looking for, one for each sideline.

  1. How much confidence does Lattimore have in that knee? People can sing the sober praises of Connor Shaw all they want, but Marcus Lattimore is the key to this offense. He's the Ying to Clowney's Yang. If he doesn't look up to his usual beast mode self, or if he gets popped low early and has a flashback, the Gamecock season could hang in the balance. He's just that important.
  2. Just how many Nutty Buddy's can James Franklin sell? He wants to change the culture in NashVegas. He wants respect and he'll tantrum til he gets it. Are the hoards of Commodore fans buying in? (Evidently not literally, btw) Can the head coach's unbridled energy enthuse his team to an upset win on national television? Or is the head coach's mouth bigger than his playbook?
Is this nutty buddy just another creamsickle? Discuss.

Around the Tailgate: Malcolm Mitchell, pros and cons

It's been the hot button issue all off season. People are either excited about Malcolm Mitchell playing defense, or upset that Bobo's lost his top weapon of downfield destruction. Always ready to chime in, my guys weigh in on Georgia's newest dual threat.

The hottest off season topic has been Malcolm Mitchell's duality. Bobo and Grantham are fussing over him like the last piece of pie in grandma's kitchen. How do you think his season will play out? What do you find exciting about him playing both sides? What are your worries?

Joe Waterloo - I don't know enough to have an intelligent opinion on Malcolm Mitchell, but in the name of journalism (or whatever this blog classifies as) I'll respond anyway. My biggest concern with Mitchell is how will UGA use him and does the coaching staff even really know yet.  Is he primarily a DB this year or are they hoping to move him back to offense when our secondary is full strength?  Will he being doing a 50/50 split on both sides or just the occassional play on  offense.  He was our best offensive weapon last year, so you hate to lose that.  But if he really is a better defender than receiver then make the move and stick with it.  The one thing I'm think I know is that he isn't Champ Bailey, but that's the parallel everyone is making and it could be way too much pressure on him.  Bailey was so good that when he got on offense for a handful of plays it didn't matter that the defense knew it was going to him.  As good as he is, I don't think Mitchell is that explosive and no UGA fan can say with a straight face that they feel confident Bobo can get creative touches for him.  My fear is our coaching staff is going to see how the season unfolds and move Mitchell accordingly.  That may give him the chance to be good on both sides of the ball but it greatly diminishes his chances to be great on one side of it. 

The Wrangler - As long as the rest of the receiving corps stays healthy, I would like to see Mitchell focus on the defensive side of the ball.  We have more quality depth at receiver than at corner, so we definitely need him in coverage.  I have mixed emotions about guys playing both ways.  I feel that if we recruit and develop talent the way we should, we shouldn’t need to play a guy both ways.  On the other hand, sometimes a special talent comes to Athens (Champ Bailey), and you have to find a way to get the ball in his hands.  Time will tell if Mitchell is that type of talent.  He definitely started his career off hot.

Namaman - I think we are solid at WR, so if he is going to help us as much on the defensive side as we keep hearing, I am all for him being in a Champ Bailey-esque type of role.  I think he can come in and make a big play on offense every now and then, or at least provide enough of a distraction to get King, Brown and Company the ball in some open space.

SmokeWagon - I am in full support of the dual responsibilities and I do not understand why we only do it in unique circumstances. We obviously need MM on D with the early suspensions, but where he spends most of his time later in the season will depend on the both his performance on D as well as the performance of other DB’s and WR’s.  When suspensions are over, my gut feeling is that our normal starting DB’s are slightly better than our normal starting WR’s, so I think he will find his way back to predominantly offense.  However, having MM cross trained for both sides is a huge benefit and insurance policy for an injury (or suspension) on either side of the ball.  We probably have more depth at receiver, but MM can still provide depth at DB while providing production at WR.  I was watching the 96 Auburn game the other night on SEC classics and I remembered that Donnan had benched Robert Edwards for recent fumble problems. While that turned out to be a blessing when his legs were fresh in the four overtimes, I was thinking “he is arguably the best athlete on the team by most accounts, so if he is fumbling too much to carry the ball, couldn’t he be contributing by playing DB or LB on defense?”.  He had already proven his freshman year that he was All SEC caliber DB.  I understand that playbooks are not as simple as they once were, but in reality learning the responsibilities of at least two positions is not too much to ask of a kid that has been in the program for at least a year.  The two positions don’t have to be on different sides of the ball.  I am also very happy that Grantham is cross training several players for multiple positions.  It not only provides more instant depth, but quality depth with typically superior athletes (that were good enough to start at another position).  I know there is a difference between cross training at two positions and actually playing two positions when it comes to endurance – particularly if the two positions are on opposite sides of the ball.  However, it is clearly possible for a player to excel on both sides and still be able to perform at a high level on both sides if he is training for it.

I am excited about seeing MM’s dual threat.  I am not expecting him to be Champ Bailey on defense, but I look back at Champ as one of my favorite all time dawgs and wonder why we aren’t doing that more often.  Even Hines Ward’s UGA career is held in much higher regard due to his ability to play multiple positions even though they were all on offense.  Fans always seem to look back fondly on dual threat players.  I would like to see some JHC on O and D as well. 

I have no worries about this scenario (MM playing dual threat).  Some would argue that when players have fatigue, they are more prone to injury, but that really doesn’t have to relate to which side of the ball they were playing on to get that fatigue.  For example, if MM’s body will allow him to play 65 plays in a healthy fashion, I think those 65 plays should be at the position he is needed most for those 65 plays -  some may be on offense and some may be on defense. 

AthensHomerDawg - He did well last season and things are looking up for another record year. It is rare a player can make a BIG impact on both side of the ball. He is special. He may indeed have enough game. Champ only comes by so often so I don't want to expect too much. 

No final thought provoking summary on this. I've said enough here...and here. I will add however that many people see this as a reactive issue by Coach Richt. But within hours of the Outback Bowl loss it was Mitchell who approached Richt about the opportunity, well before any downtown domestic citations and Alabama traffic stops.

- - - - - - - - - - - 
Monday - tailbacks
Tuesday - offensive line
Wednesday - Mizzou game

SEC Kickoff, with Vince Dooley (video)

In case you missed it yesterday, Coach Dooley is hosting a new segment on the SEC Digital Network. "SEC Kickoff" will air on Fridays at 10am and will feature the Hall of Fame coach discussing what's new around the league, highlights, previews of matchups and interviews with coaches.

Here's episode one.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SEC Kickoff with Vince Dooley

This new segment debuts this morning on the SEC Digital Network. You can view it on the livestream this morning at 10am by clicking below. It's normal weekly time slot will be Fridays however. And I will post a copy of the video later in the day or the following morning.

The weekly segment will include: league updates, head coach interviews, flashback rivalries, and "Dooley's take".

Around the Tailgate - Mizzou, that's who

The trip out west is shaping up as one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, game of the season. And it is chock full of intriguing story lines. James Franklin's shoulder...Georgia's potential suspensions...first SEC game at Faurot...a top SEC defense against a (former) Big 12 offense...

So today we look at the September 8th matchup.

Last time I asked about the biggest game on the schedule. Opinions were fairly divided. But with Missouri just a couple weeks out now, let's focus on them. How do you feel about the SEC opener? Do you think the Tigers are ready for SEC ball?
One thing to watch: how much
will they let Franklin run.

Joe Waterloo - If UGA had it's full assortment of DB's I wouldn't give Mizzu much of a chance in the SEC opener.  But when you factor in all those guys (most likely being out) the game is a concern.  With our offensive lines issues and growing pains that will follow I'm not sure we are in a position to get into a high scoring game.  As supposedly great as our defense was we still lost 4 games last year and all had more than 30 points scored on us. I don't feel good if we have to go into Mizzu and score that much.  In reality we should be a signifcantly better team than Mizzu, but we don't have the benefit of them being worn down by an SEC slate and we have a tendency to start slow.  I just hope we aren't trying to kick a field goal at the end to win.

The Wrangler - I think that UGA will get Missouri’s best effort on September 8.  It is their first SEC game and their first chance to show that they belong and can win in the best conference in college football.  If UGA can survive the initial excitement and adrenaline that will be present in Columbia, they should be able to pull away in the 2nd half.  Missouri has a talented team, but I don’t think they are ready for the big time yet.  This UGA team has a goal of a National Championship, and I don’t think they will look past Missouri.  I am trying not to get too cocky – this game reminds me a lot of the OK State game, and we all know how that turned out.

Namaman I still think Missouri is the biggest game right now.  We have to be ready for their offense with a depleted secondary.  I just am keeping the faith that our front 7 will be able to get to the QB before he can do much damage. We finish that drill and ColaEast looms large...

Smoke Wagon - Like with so many other games, I think it will come down to some early big plays that might spur some confidence in either team.  Across the board, the dawgs should have a higher talent level, but we are not good enough to completely out-class them.  If the Tigers are able to stick around a little while and make a couple of big plays like a long yardage touchdown, kick return, or a turnover taken to the house, the crowd environment could be enough to put them over the top.  I think they can match up with any SEC school for a game or two.  However, I think by the end the SEC slate, they will understand and appreciate the wear and tear from playing against SEC defenses week in and week out.  I am hoping that the Tigers are overwhelmed by the dawgs front seven on defense.  If not, we may be in for a long day.

I think the crowd will be excited and put on a good show.   They will feel they have something to prove to show they belong in the SEC.  I am looking forward to experiencing the environment.  I wish we were taking the whole Redcoat Band.  I hope their fans are not as nice as the folks at Oklahoma State.  OSU fans were a little too nice to us as they dusted off our hats and sent us on our way.  In the end, I am anticipating an awesome atmosphere with Georgia winning by 10…… However, I thought we were going to beat OSU and Boise St. in recent big early season non-conference games.

AthensHomerDawg - In the last five years the Tigers have managed 3 ten win seasons sandwiched around some 8 win seasons. They can compete in their conference. They have a load this year with Georgia, Alabama, uSC. That is a lot of good defense right there. They suffer through the same early season dog day lethargy as our own Bulldogs. Last year their second game was with a 6-7 Arizona State and they lost. They will be playing at home at night and I think they will bring their  Big 12 style A game. But they are not in Kansas anymore. They are in big boy college football conference. They will be trying to score on a Coach Todd Damn Grantham's defense. 

Final thought. I think Joe's right about the DB's. If we were to have Rambo back there it would help an already depleted unit that will be missing a starter. I'd feel a lot better if Commings were making the trip. But if our secondary can keep their targets covered downfield long enough and be ready for their offensive assault, then there's no way James Franklin will have enough time against our front seven. More on this game next week. I can't wait.

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Tuesday - offensive line

Erk and the Hereafter

Watched the Georgia preview hosted by Dowdle last night, Our Team, Our Time, No Regrets. I won't go into detail in case it is still locked inside your DVR. But suffice it to say that I will probably not sleep at all between now and Saturday's kickoff. If you didn't get a chance to see it or record it, click here.

Anyway, I thought today's entry from Erk's calendar fell in line nicely.

Today's lecture will concern the hereafter. "If you're
not here after what I'm after I'll be here after you're gone."
Pretty much sums it all up doesn't it? No more energy vampires getting on or off the energy bus. Just a group of upper classmen leading the way for everyone else, in a season that will ultimately be defined as their own, putting maximum effort into each rep, each down and each game. Leaving nothing behind.

Go Dawgs!

Humpday Hilarity - late night eggscellence

If....IF...I actually tune into late night television these days I rarely know who the guests are and quickly grow tired of the lame jokes and not so subtle political commentary. But this is just classic tv right here, from the King of late night himself. (h/t Mac)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SEC Top 5 - Preseason

Rambo's all in y'all! Hannah Chalker gives us a preseason look at the Top 5. Just to wet the appetite for Saturday. 

Around the Tailgate: the offensive line

Today our fearless tailgaters tackle one of Richt's most eternally troublesome topics - the offensive line.

As most seem pretty worried, I feel like I'm in a fairly small minority on the offensive line. On the one hand, this is the position that year in and year out is always a question mark for Richt's teams. On the other hand, there's no where to go but up compared to last season. How are you feeling about the group that's shaping up to be the starters? What are your expectations for the unit in front of Murray?
Free Kolton Houston

Joe Waterloo - "No where to go but up" seems logical when you think about last years performance, until you realize we lost the best center in the league and will most likely have a true freshman starting at tackle.  How we can be so thin year in and year out on the O-line is one of the great mysterys of Richt's time in Athens.  We tend to find a way to patch it together enough to be mediocre, but this seasons has the potential to really get ugly.  God willing the Kolton Houston issue will get resolved in our favor, but even if it does we are on very thin ice.  It's without a doubt my biggest concern of the season and it may come down to Bobo getting creative with ways to get Murray out of the pocket.  On second thought  - counting on Bobo to get creative is my biggest concern of the season.

The Wrangler - I am excited to see what the new O-line brings to the table.  We will definitely miss the leadership of Ben Jones, but he showed a lot of the youngsters what it means to put in 100% every day.  I think they will improve week to week, and by the time we face South Carolina, we should be a force.  With talent at all the skill positions, Bobo should be able to mix up the play calling to take a little pressure off of these young guys until they gel.  I really hope that Courson will continue to pressure the NCAA to get Houston reinstated.  He could provide some serious talent and depth.  I am trying to temper my expectations since the O-line play has been questionable the last few years, but I am optimistic that they will perform well enough.  Murray seems to have gotten even better this offseason, and his knowledge of defenses and ability to check into the right play can only benefit the big guys that are protecting him.  Word is that he is very close with this group of linemen, so I hope they go to war for him and the rest of the team on every snap.
Andrews has solidified the starting center position.

Namaman - The O-line is, like you said, seemingly a concern for us every year.  Replacing 3 NFL caliber starters is definitely a difficult thing to do.  But only time will tell.  I like the way the Murray is able to move in the pocket to be able to get away from any pressure that might be coming, but I am also looking for our backs to be able to step up in pass protection to give us that extra second or two to make the plays.  We just have to hold out hope that everyone we have stays healthy and can build on each game.  We have enough talent behind them to cover from the lack of experience to a certain extent.

Smoke Wagon - If I were ignoring the reports coming from camp, I would think O-line would be the biggest concern by far…… I am not sure if the coaches are trying to build them up to give them confidence or if they are really doing that well at practice.  For such a small (in quantity) group with so little experience, there seems to be a lot of positive vibe coming out of camp.  I fear that even if the top 6 or 7 are as good as they have sounded in the newspaper, we are only an knee injury away from disaster.  I expect them to be a gritty bunch that will play with attitude.  I just hope they can stay healthy and fresh because I get the feeling there is a steep drop-off behind the starters.

AthensHomerDawg - I had a chemistry professor, Dr. Whitten who wrote our book and rolled those half dozen  chalk boards around like a orchestra leader. He use to like to tease us with answers. His favorite line after taking a problem so far to solving it.... 'the answer is.... ? well what ever it is." and he would stop and slide those boards some more. He would have been awesome with PowerPoint.  We will know by the uSC game  what the answer is per the OL. 

We will be fine. 

To wrap up, the proof's always in the puddin'. But one thing this season has over last is that we have actual tackles on the edges. 

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Monday - Tailbacks, post-Crow

"Jewish Elvis" latest victim of Sandusky Scandal

Taking down Paterno's statue was just a mere harbinger of things to come in (not so) Happy Valley. Now Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline will not be played at Penn State home games.
The Jerry Sandusky sex scandal continues to reverberate at Penn State.
The latest shock from the scandal that resulted in the ouster of coach Joe Paterno and crushing NCAA penalties involves the in-game music selection.
The athletic association has banned the playing of the Neil Diamond classic “Sweet Caroline,” which has become a staple at many sporting events. University officials were concerned because of a line in the song that goes “touching you, touching me,” according to the Allatoona Mirror newspaper. (h/t JMMDawg)
Somehow the good times never seemed so good.

Monday, August 27, 2012

One of these days

**What follows is a rabbit hole I recently fell into. Unless you are both a Drive By Truckers fan and enjoy useless research, you need not read any further.**

The Truckers show the other night was terrific. It was my first time returning to the Georgia Theater since the fire. I think it's safe to say it is a perfect venue for shows such as this. The sound system is top notch and the new layout is amazing. It's still a little small, but that only adds to its uniqueness.

Despite some very recent changes in staff, the Truckers played an amazing set with their usual high energy and solid symbiosis that you expect from a group who's core has remained together so many years. As Tyler mentioned the next day, the only thing that would've been better would be a Southern Rock Opera show. For old times sake.

Oh well, maybe one day. All that being said, the show had one small drawback. My top three songs are (in order): Whiskey Without Women, Where the Devil Don't Stay and 3 Dimes Down. Cooley didn't do Whiskey Friday night. So I decided to look at how often this happens since the shows I've seen, heard and read about almost all had the song included. Luckily Truckers fans are serious about their Rock Shows and the website One of These Days has a ton of info on the 1400 shows DbT has played.

Here's what I found of the top songs played:
Gran Gran's Box of Spiders
  • Let There Be Rock, 641 times
  • Zip City, 567
  • Sink Hole, 559
  • Marry Me, 531
  • Lookout Mountain, 515
  • Where the Devil Don't Stay, 390
  • The Living Bubba, 333
  • 3 Dimes Down, 329
  • Buttholeville, 321
As for Women Without Whiskey, it's been played 448 times. Considering there have only been 1,139 shows since the song was released on  Southern Rock Opera, that means walking down Clayton Friday night I only stood a 39% chance of hearing it. Maybe less considering it was on Thursday's setlist.

What I stood a 100% chance of was getting my face melted off by the time the EZB walked off the stage...angels ringing bells in my ears and fuselage scattered everywhere.


In case you're interested:

Around the Tailgate: tailback, post-Crow

Once again the tailgaters are ready to chime in. If you remember, I give these guys a question and they give you their honest thoughts and feelings. A lot has changed since we last spoke to them. Today's question dives right into the biggest change, the tailback position. And comes on the cusp of freshman Todd Gurley over-taking fellow freshman Keith Marshall in the poll over there. Let's see what these guys think.

So...Crowell removed himself from the roster since we last talked. However the young kids are clearly making strides during preseason practices. On paper at least it looks like an improvement over last season. What are your thoughts on the running back position?  

Gurley at practice. (via)

Joe Waterloo - "The young kids are clearly making strides????" I'd apologize for my cynicism, but most of you know me too well to think I was being sincere.  The next time I hear anything said in preseason camp that isn't something along those lines will be the first time I've ever heard it.  And I'm not just picking on UGA.  All you hear from every school and NFL team is about how much improvement player X and Y are making.  And it typically comes from the QB (who's trying to be a good leader), the position coach (who's trying to make it look like he's doing something constructive) or the players he's going against (who's trying to pump the guy up after beating him like a drum in practice.)  Marshall and/or Gurley will hopefully end up being studs, but I take no comfort in the fact that they haven't seperated themselves from Samuel and Malcome.  Let's not kid ourselves in to thinking either Samuel or Malcome would get so much as a sniff at any SEC school other than Vandy, Kentucky, or Ole Miss. My hope is Richt is being coy and/or trying to keep everyone motivated by keeping the competition going, but if we go more than 3 games into the season with a 4 runnning back rotation I'm going to say the position is a serious concern.  It's not fair to expect a freshamn to come into the SEC and take over that position, but that's exactly what the Dawgs need.  And it sure in the hell better be before we go to South Carolina.

The Wrangler -  I think that regardless of who the “starter” is against Buffalo, Malcome, Gurley, Marshall, and Samuel will get plenty of opportunities to showcase their talents.  There is no question about the quality depth at the position, and unlike last year, these players have good attitudes and work ethic.  We are about to see some running backs that appreciate the “G” and understand the passion that is Georgia Football.  Crowell was a real talent, but as we have seen time and time again, it takes more than talent to succeed in the SEC.  I wish him well on his future endeavors, but I definitely feel that we have improved our football team.  It is time for us to utilize these big time prospects for more than just recruiting rankings.  I want to see the talent and potential developed into production on the field.

Marshall at practice. (via)
Namaman - I do like what we are hearing about all of our backs progressing, but I still think our issue will be finding that true number one back. Almost every "great" runner really improves the more touches they get. They wear down opposing defenses and can often do more damage later in the game. The running back by committee method does keep them all "fresher," but I still am looking for a more marquee #1 back.

Smoke Wagon -  I should probably refrain from response on this topic………. A couple of months ago, I explained how I thought Isaiah Crowell was going to learn from his mistakes and get things turned around to be the STUD he could be.  Then a couple of days later, he is off the team.  I certainly have respect for what Samuel did in Florida, but that has definitely not been the norm for him in his career. I appreciate all of his team attitude with the position switches, but if he were that good at any of them, I don’t think he would be switching positions so much. I like him, but I am just being honest. I think Ken Malcome will start and I don’t have a problem with that. Malcome can be a solid starting TB in the SEC, but I don’t think he can be a game changer,  All SEC type back.  With that said, I am holding out hopes that Marshall and Gurley are both going to be the type of backs that make you stand-up (or if you are already standing like I usually am, get up on your tip-toes) because you think every carry can turn into a touchdown   -  type of back.  I have always been partial to larger backs, so I am hoping to see a Gurley-Marshall 1-2 punch.  They both seem to have their heads on straight and apparently both have super speed.  If they can stay healthy, we might have an exciting season this year.  I hope we hear a lot of TG for TD this year. 

AthensHomerDawg - We have some running backs that should be older, experienced and less prone to mistakes. Boo and DickSamIV should provide a very honest workman like blue collar performance at running back. Hope Samuel gets used in some two back sets where he can get some speed up. And please throw him the ball. Is it just me or can that guy catch a football? Gurley has wowed his teammates and Marshall is proving he can play in the SEC. A lot. The fullback spot should be sound and strong. Fourth quarters are gonna be fun to watch as we just hammer away at the LB's and run the db's to exhaustion. 

Parting shot - although we're definitely better off with someone like Crowell not on the team, it doesn't leave me any more comfortable about the prospects. What I mean by that is that we still have a lot of question marks. Sounds like Boo will start. Samuel is splitting time. Harton weighs slightly more than my 5th grader and the freshman won;t be fully trusted until they can block a blitzing linebacker. Like Nama said, I'd prefer one back to step up and take the carries. Richt's history doesn't lean that way. So we'll see a lot of Boo-Marshall-Gurley early is my feeling.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Flashback - 1988 Tennessee

First Munson discusses the pros and cons of him as an announcer. Then Rodney Hampton, Wayne Johnson and Tim Worley slice through some creamsickles. (Note - If you look closely on the fumble return fumble by the Vols you can see the hill where I sometimes sat before they closed in the west endzone.)

h/t Dawg19

Also fun to see Troy Sadowski pumping up the crowd a bit. Great video. Good memories. Nothing sucks like a big orange.

Athens to London, a medal count

Interesting look at which US cities grabbed the most gold, silver and bronze this month in London. The biggest gainer was Los Angeles obviously, with 45 medals. By comparison Athens only had 7 total.

However, when you look at the medal count per capita, college cities like Athens really begin to stand out.