Saturday, September 15, 2012

FAU - what to look for

Tonight we get the worst team on the schedule, without question. Here's what I'm looking for from my perch in Sanford's south side.
  • reserve players. I want to see them early and often. Because that would mean we came out with a high level of urgency and some reckless abandon. Maybe even some bad intentions. Let's get Murray's arm, Jarvis' motor, Gurley's legs and Motel 6's bulk working early.
  • some kicking confidence. Heard Morgan mention that the timing hasn't been consistent between the snap, hold and kick. With the bulk of our SEC East play staring us in the face we need to get this down tight.
  • OL blocking confidence. This group is going to gel and get on solid ground. I'm sure of it. The question is when. This FAU defensive front is undersized for the most part. Would love to see some pancakes out there to boost the morale for Coach Friend's unit.
  • clean up the laundry. Against Buffalo we saw a very disciplined football team. Last week in a hostile environment, not so much. There's no reason to get jumpy here. Settle in and don't move the line of scrimmage backwards for free.
  • an energetic crowd. Despite all of the issues and arguments, I've come to expect empty seats unfortunately. But I hope the atmosphere has some electricity in it. If that sense of urgency is there for the players then it should overflow into the stands. Some sacks, turnovers and big gains should set the tone nicely. It's up to the rest of us to follow suit.
  • Keith Marshall. Open that engine up kid and let's see what you got.
Have a great day!

SEC Kickoff with Coach Dooley

Coach looks back at last week's action, highlights Jarvis Jones in his Coaching 101 spotlight and then previews the big games this weekend.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Misery - FAUx gators

To quote Mark Richt - "Back then I was scared to death of [Coach Schnellenberger]. … He was a scary guy."

Owls are just gators with feathers
I hate Florida. When you hear someone say "Beat the rush, hate Florida early", they aren't referring to me. Cuz my ass is always first in line. If you're behind me I'm really glad you're there. But if you're at the back of the line I might call into question your devotion to the cause.

"But Bernie, it's just Florida Atlantic. They're new to D1 football. Boca is no where near Gainesville. They're good people that just want their L and a fat check."
Shown here, the Head of the FAUx Ornithological
Society gives the secret sign for "I'm my cousin's husband."

I don't give a shit where Boca is. It's not in Georgia and their dirt ain't red. It's sand! Besides, you sound like what I imagine an Arkansas fan sounded like this time last week talking about a directional Weesiana school. You know how to spell Florida gators? Right. Now, you know what the first seven letters are in FAU's name? Right. Do you also read Michael Crichton? Or for you gator fans that stumble upon this, did you see that movie picture with them there giant lizards? Well, what do birds come from? Eggs. Of course. And an owl is a bird. And you know what else comes from eggs? 

Right, a gator! You can dress a florida football fan up in feathers and make it woot! woot! all you want. It doesn't change the fact that what we're getting tomorrow is something that descended from the Mesozoic era that likely drives a hand painted 1973 Dodge Dart and definitely believes college football was invented sometime after the Reagan administration.

So by all means, welcome them all you want. Hug em. Pat em on their scaly back. Give em a big ol' fat bankroll just for showing up and being able to breath through their mouths on dry land. But don't count on me to feel sorry for their ass when they get KTFO by Shawn Williams.

Carl? As in Spackler?
There have been two (2...dos!) coaches in the history of Florida Atlantic tackle football. That fact is recent news to me. I saw FAU on the schedule and immediately thought epic moustache, pipe in mouth and fiber bran for breakfast. Dry. No milk, because milk is for women. And babies who don't know how to get in a three point stance yet. I thought we'd get to see the guy that makes that Dos Equis dude look like hispanic ice dancer.

But no...Coach Schnellenberger has retired to some long term facility with silver moustache combs and nurses who double as coconut oil bikini models. He's probably lounging poolside on Saturdays now while one nurse shampoos and conditions his chest hair and another adjusts the rabbit ears on the 1983 television set he bought after he beat Nebraska's punk ass in the Orange Bowl. Then rumor has it he shouted in their coach's ear at midfield - "Take that Osborne. Keep shipping that corn to Kentucky. I'll be up there eventually to drink it all."

Now the FAUx gators have some guy named Carl on the sideline. I don't know about Carl. A message bored post I read last night purports that he too has a 'stache, and once was seen next to a woman in a swimsuit. But that may have just been Bo. As in his brother, not Bo Derek who once asked Coach Schnellenberger to tango at a Key West bar but was satisfied just staring into his eyes through leafy tobacco smoke.

My internet research team spent nearly two hours finding a photo of Carl. It wouldn't have taken so long except I had told them his last name was likely Spackler. That was the only Carl I could think of that would come even remotely close to Schnellenberger on a scale of 1 to Awesome. "A Cinderella story. An unknown comes out of the pack...crowd is on its feet. He's the Cinderella boy!" 

But what they found was that Carl Spackler was last seen at the base of Mount Everest with a sherpa, a half empty case homebrewed Gopher Lager and a five iron. Instead, on Sanford's north sideline will stroll some little Italian twerp that has missed his calling as a Rogaine before spokesperson.

That's right, the guy on the right is the one who replaced the guy on the left.

I'm no forensic pedophile investigator...but damn son. Wasn't Houston Nutt available back in December? At least Uncle Giggity pretends he's awesome in the mirror once a day. This guy...he hangs out at parks, or advertises on Craigs List for a Wednesday afternoon rest stop rendezvous. This is like Tom Selleck leaving Magnum PI and CBS deciding to replace him with Paul Reubens. I don't care if Carl Pelini is Mussolini's great-great grandnephew, or if he craps five-star outside linebackers before his morning coffee.

We had a deal! We're anointing Russ as Uga IX. Coach Awesome Sauce could've blessed the collar with fertility and maximum swagger. When we scheduled your FAUx gatuh ass we wanted a Hall of Famer, Richt's former coach, the one guy on the face of the Earth that could tell us what the hell our angel of a head coach did way back when to get suspended after his one start. What team rule did he break? Was a scooter involved? Was his dorm anywhere in the vicinity of an alley? My guess is that he shaved a goatee without Schnellenberger's permission.

Now we'll never know. The secret will die well south of Athens GA. Like Newman in a jeepI loved Seinfeld. I hate gators. And again, owls are just feathered ones.

Now, let us bow our heads...Dear Lord, please give our inferior neighbors to the south of us the foresight to hire qualified candidates with Magnum like facial hair. And let Russ show Pitbull that a real good time actually starts at Sanford's center G. In Russ we trust! Amen.

Leinart meets Herschel

I hear this was originally cast for Reggie Bush. (ZING!)

More on Mizzou's class

If you're wondering why I'm still posting about Missouri...well, Bulldog Bry asked me to

Here's an ad Missouri fans/alumni/school took out in the Athens Banner-Herald. (h/t Mac)

Y'all alright. Come on down here and set a spell now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

THE Mizzou Tailgate Video

You saw the preview. Some of you were even there in person. Anyone who spent the weekend around Nama learned what a "dongle" (sp?) is, although its function in life still eludes me.

Well now you get the full picture. From airplane tailgate a yellow drenched Faurot Field. They showed, we filmed. Take it away Namaman!

Kudos to JMac and Chase for their confidence with their predictions. And really Mac was only six points off with a FG added for each team. And another shout-out as well to "Little Joe" for not blowing up our tailgate, literally. 

We'll be back with some more Geritol and bourbon in two years Columbia! You've been warned.

Tailback who?

Ok, so Todd Gurley is the starter at tailback against FAU. Through the first two games the freshman leads the team in rushing yards, yards per carry* and touchdowns. He added one bonus in each game as well: a 100 yard kickoff return for touchdown against Buffalo and then 40+ yard scamper to flip the field position late against Missouri. So you can definitely say he's earned the start.

But what exactly has he earned? Gurley takes over the top of the rotation from Ken Malcome, a guy that carried the football six times against Buffalo and seven times against the Tigers. Meanwhile fellow freshman Keith Marshall leads the team in rushing attempts, presumably from near the bottom of the depth chart. 

Nowadays there's no guarantee that any starter is going to get even 60% of the carries. Mark Ingram got 45% of the rushing attempts for Alabama during his Heisman season. Back in Knowshon's heyday he averaged around 53% of the workload. During our 2002 run towards Atlanta Musa Smith shared the rushing attempts with Tony Milton, DJ Shockley and to a lesser extent Tyson Browning. As a result Smith ended with 48% of the carries.

All of that to say, I'm a little torn. I tend to shun the idea of a tailback by committee. I've always wanted that one tailback heads and shoulders above a couple more competing to get the scraps. This three-headed-threat of Gurley-Malcome-Marshall is different though. No one has a ton of experience and they all appear to have their own set of skills to bring to Bobo's playchart. Boo really moved moves a pile when it counts. Gurley ain't going down with just a shoulder bump. And Marshall's shiftiness is just waiting to breakaway. I get the sense that the coaching staff is getting a feel for who to use when and where. During arguably our best drive the other night, our top rusher waited on the sideline. 

And you know the best part of that last sentence...he didn't tap his helmet to get there.

*taking away LeMay's 12 ypc in garbage time against Buffalo

SEC Audibles - Mark Richt

Coach Richt looks back on Mizzou and previews week three.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When DICKSAMIV sniffs a fake... ain't gettin' past his waiting hands!

Last post on the Mizzou game, promise. But after watching the game last night I just had to add this announcement. I am officially recognizing the following picture as my 2nd favorite of DICK SAM IV.

via KC Star
Or maybe this one...

via Rob Saye
But forever and always, a gator killer son!

Owning up to the growing pains

via Reynolds, ABH
I'm caught between having seen enough of John Theus to know he'll be something special one day, and having seen enough to be more than ready for that day to get here. 

He's a physical behemoth and will one day certainly be a dominating force that swallows pass rushers. But for now he's still learning.
Three false start penalties. A couple of sacks surrendered.
“Obviously I had some stuff that I messed up on,” Georgia freshman right tackle John Theus said, assessing his second college game last Saturday in Georgia’s 41-20 win at Missouri.
Theus insisted the hostile road environment didn’t affect him too much. He didn’t blame his showing on missing much of the week in practice while getting treatment on his sprained left ankle because he felt confident he would be able to play.......As for his showing against Missouri — which also included pressure allowed on quarterback Aaron Murray on his second-quarter interception — he said that’s between him and offensive line coach Will Friend.
“After every game I have stuff to work on,” he said. “There’s no doubt. This week I may have a little bit more stuff to work on then I had last week.”
I like that Theus is taking ownership. And that might be the first sign that he's going to be everything that we hoped he would be. Well, that and his 6-6, 305lb frame. And although the kid won't admit it, the bad wheel last week hurt his preparation for Missouri at the very least. But with Kolton Houston remaining in NCAA purgatory, we're going to have be ready to take the good with the bad. Just like Theus.
“He’s still a baby,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “He’s had camp, four weeks of practice and was hurt all last week. We don’t expect him to go out there and be a dominant guy on the edge like we think he can be in the future right now, but as long as he continues to get better, I think he can be an elite player in this league.”
Theus won’t say it, but Bobo did. The ankle injury, Bobo said, “obviously set him back.”.
Bobo sees Theus as a player who is “mentally and physically tough.”
And “he can handle a little bit of adversity and doesn’t get shook. He went through some adversity in the game the other night. A couple of missed blocks and missed assignments. The guy continued to play hard and play physical.”......Theus called his second game “a learning experience, first away game. Winning made it a lot better.”
He’s back on the practice field this week, working to become that dominant player that Bobo thinks he will be one day.
“I know I’m far from there now,” he said. “There’s definitely big adjustments that have to be made and still have to be made and I’m learning. Saturday was one of those times I had to learn and had to grow up. It’s a long ways off from me being a good player so I’m working every day with coach Friend and the guys to try to get there.”

UGA students' investment at Sanford

Last week I mentioned that it takes a large investment of time and money to be a fan in the SEC. I questioned whether Mizzou had what it takes within them, and they kindly answered positively.

Well, many fans, alumni, bloggers, tweeters, bookfacers, tailgaters and other generally concerned casual observers have questioned the UGA students' investment. In the interest of full disclosure, I count myself among those a time or two. Because it's clear something needs to be done (although I'm not sure freshman priority is the way to go). We see their opportunity at a seat in the game at such a reasonable price and then all those empty seats in their section, we can't help but get frustrated.

Well this post is a reminder that non-students aren't the only ones frustrated. With a now sold-out night game looming, I hope all Georgia fans...regardless of seat assignment....put their fanny in the right spot.

- - - - - - - - - -

    Saturday in Athens. Is there a more beautiful phrase? It truly seems as if all the other months of the year are just filler until football season arrives once again. As a junior at the great University of Georgia,
I have cherished my past two seasons as a student, and it saddens me every time I am reminded that I
have only two more seasons until I have to graduate and watch the games as an alumnus. I can tell you
that I bleed red and black. I eat, sleep, and drink Georgia football. I have been yelling “Go Dawgs!” since
before I even understood what it meant. And I have been blessed to grow up in the town of Athens. I
have fond memories of this entire town turning red and black in the fall. My dad even took me out of
school in the 1st grade just so I could go get Jim Donnan’s autograph.

Now I have read numerous posts from some of you Bulldog alumni bashing the UGA students of
today. Talking about our student section being empty and what not. But have any of you taken into
consideration the recent changes that have been made regarding the student tickets and the student
section? These days students cannot sell any of the home tickets that we have received, and you have to
show your student ID to even get into the student section. Personally I have not missed any of the home
games as a student. Can all of you say the same? I don’t think it is such a horrible thing if a student sells
his ticket is they need the cash, and I welcome the craziest fans who would sit in the student section.
In fact, some of my earliest games were spent in the student section with my dad after we scalped
some tickets from students. I even sat under the scoreboard as a kid as the students tore down the
uprights after we finally beat Tennessee. I know that I will never get to enjoy that same view with my
own son one day. To be honest I don’t like the changes that they’ve made. It does nothing but reduce
the number of fans that can be in one of the best sections of the stadium. Instead you guys bash the
students, and say we don’t care.

If any of you doubt the student’s dedication to our team, I need only refer you to the Missouri game this
past Saturday. I made the 13 hour trip to their high school stadium, and I wasn’t the only student who
did. Even though they split up the Georgia faithful into 3 sections, we still made our presence felt. We
spent the entire game chanting “SEC! SEC! SEC!” and my personal favorite “Old Man Football! Old Man
Football!” At one point we even managed to get a good “GEOR-GIA!……BULL-DOGS!” cheer going with our brothers across the field. We students didn’t sit down during the game, and we didn’t let the fact
that most of us have multiple exams this week deter us from supporting our beloved dawgs. If that isn’t
passion in your eyes, what is?

With all due respect I don’t know if all of you appreciate some of the great Georgia football that you
have gotten to experience. I haven’t gotten to see the Dawgs win a National Championship. I never got
to watch Hershel Walker run over people, and my time listening to Larry Munson call the games was
woefully cut short. Did all of you go to his memorial service at Sanford Stadium? Because I did, and I
teared up like a little girl even though I believe that real men don’t cry.

Frankly I get offended when the student body is kicked to the curb by some of the old dogs. I know that
not every student is as passionate about Georgia football as I am, but there are plenty that are. We
respect the alumni, and it would be nice to get a little respect in return. I beg of you to not lump all the
students into one category based on what you see on TV. We are not all the same, but all of us love Red
and Black.

-Son of Athens Homer Dawg

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mizzou Tailgate Preview

Nama is still is production on the tailgate video. But he wanted to give you a taste of what's to come.

You're going to want to stay tuned. Cuz they had that cannon "Little Joe" aimed right at us. Did a peace ambassador step in? Did an Evans Scholar intercede? Or did Jarvis Jones just sack it and force another turnover?

Bulldog Hotline Redux - Mizzou

Last night Richt was unavailable, so Scott Howard had both Coach Bobo and Coach Grantham on the Bulldog Hotline. And although it made things more difficult in transcribing it as both coordinators are more "wordy" than Richt, it was good listening. You can hear the excitement in Bobo's voice when asked about the young kids he has out on the field. He doesn't shy away from the mistakes they have made, but seems eager to see them develop the way everyone is expecting them to.

Then Grantham went "live":
Robert in Sandy Springs is thrilled Grantham is in Athens. Says he is much appreciated, thankful for everything he does. Asks about the difference between coaching on the sideline as opposed to the box. Also wants to knows about Corey Moore and Josh Harvey-Clemons and how they are being worked in the secondary. Grantham says he was in the box when he first started, mostly checking personnel. Once he became a coach he moved down to the sideline to work with the defensive line. Then when he became a coordinator he and Saban (at Michigan State) discussed this and decided it was more important to be down on the field. Better feel for the players and the game. Plus he likes to make the signals. He’s the “live” guy. Being down on the sidelines also allows him more time to make the call, make decisions. Lakatos and Olivadotti are his eyes up in the box and they tell him the personnel and where certain breakdowns are on both sides. Thinks you just get a better feel for the team and how the line of scrimmage is doing if you’re on the field. The second part of the question about the secondary, thought Devin Bowman got better from game one to game two. Did a better job jamming receivers, re-routing them. Again, Sanders is expected to play both safety and corner. As far as Corey Moore, he’s a lot like Shawn Williams. They need to continue to work Corey and be patient. He’s just playing behind a talented guy, a senior. So when his time comes he’s got to be ready for it. Josh Harvey-Clemons is playing both the safety and the nickel position. Says he would’ve been in the game Saturday if there had been just one injury. Will continue to work him and develop him because he’s going to be a good player going forward.
Anyone who has seen Grantham coach knows he would be a lost soul in the box during a game. And I especially enjoyed his explanation for why it's more important to have Malcolm Mitchell on defense than it is offense.
Trevor Samples asks if Malcolm Mitchell will play more at WR with Sanders Commings returning this week. Grantham says that Sanders is a guy that can play corner or safety and this week he will probably be doing both. Says he thinks Mitchell can be a dynamic corner. Has the length and the size to be a press type corner and make it hard to make accurate throws. Thinks he’ll have to continue to help us on defense because of the need we have at defensive back. Thinks can play both sides. Can get in on some special plays. Makes the point that on offense you can control the plays he’s in on. On defense he can’t control what the offense runs. Can’t tell you whether it’s going to be a run or a pass, just that they have these people in the game and they need to matchup in a certain way. Defense is about matchups, both to prevent big gains and to get guys like Jarvis one on one on people to make big plays. So he’ll continue to play Malcolm in the secondary.
And to think I thought he was going to give the standard "Mitchell was recruited as a DB" answer. It's clear that our defensive coordinator thinks Mitchell can be even more of an impact player on his side of the ball than on the side where Mitchell earned his bones last season. Can't say that I disagree, especially after seeing what #26 could do at about 80% healthy the other night.

More where this came from. Go check out the full transcript.

SEC Top 5 - week 2

Jarvis Jones everyone...

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Sights and sounds of Faurot Field

Even though I only had my phone at the time I realize that the link I attempted to put up to this video yesterday was a poor effort. So here is Boo Malcome's final nail in the coffin for Mizzou as well as some Old Man Football chanting. It gives you a fairly good idea of what the stadium is like and how energized the Dawg contingent was at the game's apex. Nama will have the blog's official video later in the week complete with tailgating highlights and interviews. Until then, here are some of the sights and sounds from my vantage point.

What Mizzou showed me

First off, it has come to my attention that my Friday rant was not well received by some "other" SEC fans. So I put a lot of thought into this over the flight back yesterday and have come to this conclusion...oh well. Some people can't spell hyperbole, much less grasp its delicacies.

Second, the Mizzou fans couldn't have been any nicer. My wife never had to use a port-o-let because the fraternity across the street from where we were recognized the lack of them evidently and continuously offered to open their doors to us. That's just one example of how out-going and good-natured the campus, community and city were towards their guests from way down south.

In fact, they were almost too nice. It was as if they thought at any moment a Dawg fan could just open their handheld device and contact Commish Slive to rescind the offer. Of course, not that said handheld device would have a shot in hell of working in and around the Missouri campus...but hey, not everything there is up to SEC speed just yet. As the 4th quarter confirmed.

Speaking of which, here are some thoughts on the game.
  • Although we heard people leading up to the game make Hawaii Sugar Bowl type predictions, I think the growing consensus as kickoff approached was that it would be closely fought and would come down to a kick, late game execution, turnovers or some semblance of all three.
  • My lowest point was after the three and out to start the second half. Had this sinking feeling of never being able to rise above the "playing down to their level" attitude. It was Colorado 2.0.
  • And I think the fans (for both sides) sensed this as well. It was clear, especially once the game started, that Georgia had better overall talent, size and experience. As momentum constantly shifted back and forth the fans rose to the occasion time after time. I give Mizzou a lot of credit. They love football deeply and appreciated what they had in front of them.
  • But back on the Georgia side of things, the team wouldn't let up and the fans wouldn't either. In short, it was electricity defined and contained for 60 minutes of football.
  • DickSAMIV...just doing what he does. "Oh, you need me to stop a fake punt. On it coach!" That was clearly the moment that Georgia finally both took the momentum as well as refused to surrender it.
  • Couple things that especially impressed me. First, like I mentioned above there was this feeling that we would eventually relent late. The method of operation the last few years has been to wilt in the late going. Not Saturday. We got stronger and didn't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If this becomes a trend it would make a lot of Dawg fans happy in 2012.
  • Second, of course I was wrong about Richt "unsuspending" some players. Not a huge surprise. But the defense really didn't suffer because of it. Talk about Mizzou having a B1G offense all you want, they are legit. That quarterback is one of the most composed quarterbacks I've witnessed stand in the pocket. Pinkel has a well oiled machine and Grantham's boys didn't let a few missed starters get in the way of the business of slowing said machine down. If someone had told me we would only give up 20 points going into the game I would've been a lot less nervous about the outcome. I had visions of Franklin not only chopping up the secondary (which this team has the ability to do each and every week), but also running free. The second phase of Franklin's game never came to fruition thanks to Robinson, Herrera and Jarvis.
  • Rainbows and daisies aside, there were plenty of problems. Namely our freshman tackle and tailbacks jumping as soon as their defensive line shifted. This was a glitch that turned into a theme over the course of the game.
  • The secondary blew a coverage. Initially I assumed it was Bowman's assignment, but I noticed Grantham making a bee line towards the safeties as they came off the field.
  • There's been a lot of gnashing of teeth over the offense. Some of those points were handed to them on a platter, but overall I was pleased with the playcalling. Without some receiver drops and untimely penalties I think Bobo could've enjoyed one of his most productive games. To spread the field and go with an empty set on King's touchdown was a brilliant call. It was something Mizzou had yet to see and they clearly weren't sure how to attack it.
  • Overall, while it will be curious to see how things shake out for Missouri in the SEC I would be surprised if they manage better than 4th in the East. So while that would seem to dampen the outcome Saturday night just a bit I'm still much more optimistic having seen this Georgia team get back to doing something they are ALWAYS supposed to do - impose their will on the road in the 4th quarter.
Last note, shout out to Sheldon Robinson. Not only did he give the team and the fans a battle cry for the game, he also sought out Richt post-game to make sure there was no ill will. Upstanding young man. And after meeting so many nice Mizzou fans over the weekend I am not surprised in the least.
A moment both Georgia and Missouri fans can embrace. (via)

Old Man Football Dance

One of the special highlights of any away game for me are the Redcoats. After the Dawgs finished off Mizzou the other night we decided to go down and watch the band play out. What we found were some guys dressed like old men, celebrating their own style of football. Luckily, Bulldawg Illustrated got the video evidence.

Yesterday morning we got on the Enterprise Rent-a-car shuttle at the St. Louis airport and I saw these guys get on with their canes. Remarkably they looked much younger Sunday morning, despite what sounded like some excessive celebration before, during and after the game. Kudos to these guys for embracing the game's mantra and taking it the extra yardage to paydirt!

Damn Good Dawgs!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Thought - Mizzou

Gonna have to wait until tomorrow to really talk much about the game. Early flight on no sleep, but couldn't be happier.
Suffice it to say Mizzou was a great trip. Great fans. Even some that drink from paint cans.

But there ain't a greater group than the Georgia fans. Showed up and just like the team, took care of business.
And here's a video of the last touchdown. Couldn't embed it, hope the link works.