Saturday, October 13, 2012

1984 Citrus Bowl - Pulpwood's last stand

Many fans recognize the name Pulpwood as the foul-mouthed chimp that occasionally makes the rounds on the internet before games in the Fall. But for you younger readers that may not be aware, Pulpwood is a living breathing Bulldog legend, unofficially recognized as Georgia's greatest "one hit wonder"

Andre Smith burst onto the scene in Sanford just as quickly as he left it. In 1984 Dooley's Dawgs were facing lots of questions at running back, but had a slew of names trying to answer. The most popular of those was Lars Tate, the celebrated recruit from Indiana. But it was Andre "Pulpwood" Smith that would lead the team in rushing from his fullback position with 665 yards on the season.

Sadly, Smith fell into drugs and was an academic dismissal after just a little over a season's worth of work. He bounced in and out of jail and nearly lost his life before beginning his battle to become clean of his cocaine habit. As of this article early last year he was gaining ground on his addiction, just like he did against Bama so many years ago.

So with that as a premise, I present to you Pulpwood's last ride as a Dawg. It's a bowl game remarkable in many ways. For instance, it was the only meeting between two legendary coaches and it ended in a tie, but only after a 71 yard field goal attempt that barely missed the crossbar. Enjoy.

h/t Dawg19

Mid-season grades - the offense

No football game today. Right smack dab in the middle of the season. So this gives us a chance to look at the team position by position in terms of how things have progressed. First let's tackle the offense.
Gates opening up a big one for Marshall.
  • Quarterback - B+. Before crumbling against the Gamecocks, Murray was putting up some terrific numbers. He's seemed more poised in the pocket, checking off defenders more consistently, has good and confident footwork, spreading the ball around to different targets, and his deep ball has been more accurate which has allowed for more yards per catch. Even if it all came crashing down in Columbia I believe he's worthy of the grade given that he's been doing this behind a line that is still developing. Hopefully he can regain some confidence in his protection while in Lexington. 
  • Running Back - B+. Some early hiccups in pass protection followed by an all out onslaught as a "Gurshall" phenomenon, then a reminder that freshmen flaws tend to get exposed in big games. And boy did they. The bottom line here is that Marshall and Gurley have proven that they are homerun threats any time they touch the ball. This is what Georgia fans have been waiting on in the backfield. Hold on tight!
  • O-line - C. Continue to be a work in progress, but have shown improvement overall since the beginning of the season. Theus' trial by fire will eventually reward Coach Friend for the confidence. And Gates' move to LT has been a good answer there when Clowney isn't on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage. If Dantzler comes back healthy and we can start rotating Beard in, eventually I would expect this grade to keep creeping up. Oh, and while we're at it - #FreeKoltonHouston!
  • Tight end - A. Lynch and Rome have combined for 8 catches, 184 yards and a touchdown. Pretty modest numbers compared to what Orson Charles was putting up last season. However, the added dimension of having tight ends that can block is something that has opened things up offensively and I believe will continue to pay dividends. Rome is athletic and big. Lynch is an absolute beast with tremendous potential. These guys are just getting warmed up.
  • Receiver - A. Probably should be an A+ except for that last game. Not many other positions on the team could lose their most productive player and not produce sweaty palms and worried looks. These guys are not only getting open, they are also blocking downfield and helping to turn modest plays into big gainers. Brown and Wooten stand the most to gain from Bennett's absence, which was clearly felt last week. Murray has given plenty of opportunities to all of them. Time to step up and keep the ball rolling.
One lasting question in the wake of Bennett's injury, who will develop as Murray's go to guy in #82's absence? Bennett has been the guy on third down when you needed those yards. He's been clutch. At some point in the remainder of the season someone will have to fill that void.

Overall, the offense has been a pleasant surprise and fun to watch. There's at least one tall test remaining in Jacksonville. If we can avoid those tense 4th down situations that we powered through last year it would do my heart a world of good. Tomorrow or Monday we'll grade the defense, without a curve.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Richt has lost control over...

[edit]...East CarolinaCentral's practice. (h/t Mengus22)
Ada police reports state 22-year-old Armonty Bryant was taken into custody during football practice Monday.
Bryant allegedly sold $20 worth of marijuana to an undercover officer on two separate occasions.
Court records show he posted $25,000 and was released from the Pontotoc County Justice Center Tuesday around 1 a.m.
Somewhere, Jimmy Williamson is stirring his unsweetened tea and saying to himself, "Damn, why haven't I thought of that?"

Ray Drew waiting on his chance

With his hand in the dirt, Drew waits to make his own impact.
Drew is playing a different position this season, albeit the transitions he’s made are from very comparable spots. As a senior at Thomasville, Drew played defensive end before coming to Athens last fall with the knowledge that he’d begin as an outside linebacker. Now in his second year at Georgia, the sophomore is back on the defensive line, where he feels most comfortable.
“Now I’m back playing defensive end, which is pretty much what I’m used to,” Drew said. “It’s what I played in high school so it wasn’t a big transition. They both kind of complement one another here (in Georgia’s 3-4) — defensive end play with the outside linebacker and vise versa.”
As the 2012 campaign turns the page and looks ahead to the second half, Drew said he hopes to continue to earn playing time. He notes, however, that his involvement will stem from many circumstance — personnel, injuries, and opposition.
“Each week it depends on the team we’re playing, the players they have and how much depth we have in our arsenal,” Drew said. “There are a bunch of variables that go in to deciding that. It’s hard to say how it goes each week, but it’s pretty much based on what we have and what we’re looking forward to playing.”

Jake Scott recovering from stroke

Glad to hear he's expected to make a full recovery. Jake Scott, damn good Dawg.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Malcolm (mostly) out of the middle

Good piece here by Paschall on Malcolm Mitchell's return as mostly an offensive player. If you didn't read it yet, he talks about his development as a receiver and how being used on defense (both in games and in practices) impacted that development.
"It's not good that it's like this halfway through, so we need to figure it out," Mitchell said. "I feel like I'm better at receiver than I was a year ago from a mental standpoint. I know how to make decisions based on what I saw last year. It's not like the knowledge left. It just got slowed down.
"We'll keep pushing forward and see what happens."
Georgia cornerback Malcolm Mitchell (26)

Sunny Richt's mid-season assessment

This will beat Kentucky...
“Overall, I think we’ve coached pretty well,” he said. “A lot of really good things have been happening, but when you lose a game the way we did, you start to evaluate everything.”
...but will it beat Florida? In a word, NO. Period. Evaluation of "pretty good" coaching gets you past a road game in Lexington most years. But the next week there's going to be a LOT on the line. When you get your ass handed to you, it's past time to stop "having fun" at practice. It's past time to pretend you had as much fight as Auburn did in the 2007 Blackout game. It's past time to stop pretending we were ever in that game Saturday night.

It's time to be more like Georgia and less like Vandy by looking for silver linings after a "perfect storm". More piss and vinegar, less candy canes and rainbows.

Behind closed doors the "evaluation" needs to sound more like we got beat by a superior team that coached and played their asses off. And something like this is going to be more like a boot camp and less like the Mark Richt Country Club from here on out.

AwwBarn during Mardi Gras

h/t Buddy

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Perhaps Richt's worldview is flat

This is one of those weeks where I delete more posts than I actually publish. Nothing seems right and my stomach is still churning from getting my ass kicked six ways from Sunday. Last night there were signs that I was readying to emerge from my dark place. This morning, maybe not.

In truth I hope that one day I look back on this and wish I had deleted it. Again, prove the numbers wrong. But nevertheless, here is where I am.

It's one game, you're right.
One game a season does not make. What happened Saturday night could still end up being just a blip. Perhaps. That certainly wasn't the same team we saw the first five games. So 60 minutes shouldn't warrant throwing everything away and going back to square one. 

But the Georgia Bulldogs don't get their teeth kicked in like that by South Carolina. Steve Spurrier only needed 10 (TEN!) passes to beat us by four touchdowns. Let that sink in for a moment. For those like me that have been following this thing called Georgia football for quite sometime realize the bitter humor in that fact.

Can the Bulldogs still win the East? Yes, there's a chance. Should I be this distraught over one game? It's debatable, but I would answer yes. Someone told me yesterday that whether you lose by one point or 30 it just feels bad. I guess part of that is true. However, sometimes it's not just the loss but how you look when you're losing.

I made the comment the other day that this was the worst loss since Tennessee 2009. My reasoning for that is that we never were in it and we never really looked like we wanted to be. At least against Bama in '08 we showed some spunk. We tried.

Saturday was a poor effort. I'm not one to blame players because they are doing something I could never do. And I certainly don't like blaming coaches because you get your hand slapped for having never walked in their shoes. But hey, this is me...standing outside the arena...saying I never saw any adjustments to what Carolina was bringing to the table. You've heard of teams thinking they can just lay their jersey on the field and that's enough to beat an opponent? Well, we were a deer caught in the headlights. And instead of leading the team in a different direction, the coaches laid the G down and the Gamecocks stomped that sucker flat.
via ABH

Speaking of flat...

Coach Richt, the world is not flat.
Stubbornness can be admirable in certain situations. But there are times when a man needs to accept the facts before him and admit failure. Coach Richt...son, your team was flat. The bus that brought them had flat tires. The air in the pre-game practice balls were flat. Your headset, flat! The carbonation in my Coke Zero, flat!

A team that isn't flat doesn't trail 21-0 by the time the band finishes getting seated. They make the plays necessary to get the game into its natural, non-opening kickoff rhythm. The Gamecocks sustained their opening energy level for the entire first quarter.

Don't mind me. I'm just here again, yelling outside the arena. But it was apparent from listening to the coordinators that it's not just Richt that won't admit fault, it's his staff. And no, that's not surprising. But, that doesn't make it any less frustrating. South Carolina is not 28 points better than Georgia. And while it's the players that make the plays or don't, it's the coaches that need to own up to the current trends...we're not shining when we need to the most.

Coach Grantham, if it was "explosive plays" that hurt us, then these are the games when something needs to be drawn up that detonates in the other direction. Coach Bobo, if it was momentum that never shifted our way, then it is up to you to have the plays necessary to turn on the fans.

And Coach Richt, you can't tell me you see the same guy in the mirror that once ate road wins like potato chips; the guy that once convinced his team they were man enough, gave Haynes the hobnail for his boot, or let Michael Johnson loose on the Plains. We keep waiting for that guy to come back. All the while you keep showing us that history won't repeat itself.

Speaking of mirrors, I'm now putting this one in the rearview. Thanks for bearing with me. Let's get after the rest of the season.

Info on "Basketbash"

From UGA Athletics:

The Georgia basketball programs will host "Basketbash...It's Midnight Somewhere!" at Stegeman Coliseum on Friday, Oct. 12 from 7-10 p.m. to celebrate the opening of their pre-season practices.

The event will provide fans with a sneak peak at the 2012-13 basketball teams and also include interactive games, giveaways for UGA students and a performance by comedian Dan Ahdoot. Basketbash will be hosted by Ryan Cameron, V103 radio personality and Atlanta Hawks announcer.

The first 1,500 UGA students in the lower section of Stegeman will receive Basketbash t-shirts, Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and Papa John's pizza. In addition, students in the lower section will be eligible to win prizes, including a Kindle Fire, iPad and gift cards.

From 7-8 p.m., both the Georgia men's and women's basketball team will sign autographs on the Stegeman Coliseum concourse. Inflatable games, face painting and balloon artists also will be available on the concourse at that time.

From 8-9:30, the basketball teams will conduct workouts and the popular halftime act Simon Sez will entertain the crowd. Ahdoot, a former finalist on the NBC show Last Comic Standing, will wrap up the evening with a comedy set from 9:30-10. A frequent guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Ahdoot is one of the most popular acts on college campuses across the country, having performed at more than 300 colleges to date.

The event is being co-hosted by the UGA Athletic Association, University Union and Dawgs After Dark. Admission is free.

Fans can follow all of events and obtain the latest information by visiting .

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eff it Dude, let's go bowling.

I just want to understand this. Every time a rug is micturated upon in this fair city, I have to compensate the owner?

Was on the way to Columbia SC on Friday and we stopped to use a facility's restroom. I happened to be wearing my The Dude Abides t-shirt and a guy smiled and acknowledged how well it tied my outfit together. Turns out he didn't know that The Big Lebowski 2 is in the works. We talked about it for a moment, as I was thankful he wasn't forcing my head into a toilet. And then I rolled on outta there like a tumbleweed...or a bowling ball. 

A few days later and I don't want to talk about what condition my condition is in. Strong men also cry. So it's good timing that the Movie Tavern has The Big Lebowski showing as part of its retro series. I've never seen Bunny paint her toe nails on the big screen, much less Donny's farewell scene.

Check your local listings. It's playing tonight and Thursday. Maybe we can abide the parlance of our times.

Bulldog Hotline Redux - Carolina

AKA, the episode where at least John in Anderson shows some balls.
John in Anderson has a general comment. Says he's been a long time follower of Georgia football and is a graduate of UGA. In all these years he's never been so embarrassed by a performance. We were beat in all phases of the game. We were out coached and out played. Didn't see the enthusiasm we've seen before from the team. Wonders why that happened. Bobo agrees that it was embarrassing. Did not perform to our best and SC whipped us. Thought we had enthusiasm and practiced hard and were ready to play. But things did not go well early and we just couldn't get momentum back. Says we have to be able to do that as an offense. It was highly disappointing. He's been a Bulldog for a longtime too and says no one is as disappointed as the guys in the locker room that put in the hard work. Knows the fans put a lot of passion into it too. Says the guys are going to go to work and they'll be ready to play. He promises us that much.
There were some critical comments and questions during Grantham's half hour (Richt was unable to come on the show this week*), but all Bobo got were softballs until that exchange between John and our offensive coordinator. And I'm sure everyone who ever tried to match Munson's voice to their satellite signal really commiserates with Garnet. But does it have to be a part of the call in show?

And my gut instinct says Robert in Conyers' question about the record versus ranked opponents was cut off. But hopefully Kevin's post from yesterday can help shed some light on the record Robert was referring to. 

I'll leave the rest of the show's transcript up to your interpretation.

*That might sound convenient, but I think this was planned all along. It was promoted on the website that way as early as Sunday. So that's how I'm reading it. You can read between the lines at your own risk.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday's miserable truth

This was me yesterday...

h/t Mac

If you ask me, the stat that encapsulates the horrendous tragedy that was Saturday night the best is the average yards per pass attempt. Sure the rushing game never got started and wasn't able to have the impact we were expecting/hoping. But we only averaged 3.5 yards per attempt, one week after lighting up Tennessee's defense to the tune of 11.0 ypa. It explains how we were never able to slow down the Gamecock pass rush and were never able to stretch the field through the air. And most importantly, our coaches never really attempted to adjust to anything that was transpiring on the field. 

In short, our dynamic and high powered offense was reduced to a blundering mess. Our defense continued its descent into a regression towards 2009. Our special teams yet again affected the game in a not so special way. 

Now the truly hard part. There's no easy way to say this. At the end of the massacre I tried to say it Saturday night, but perhaps the point was lost. There's truth to the argument that Sanford Stadium can get loud, rowdy and boisterous. Auburn last season is a recent example of an electrified Bulldog crowd fully engaged and doing everything they can from their seat.

But folks, Sanford ain't got what Williams-Brice has going on. Sure, their stadium is a mess of metal closer to a fairground than the campus. Their new video board is crap. But their fans are fully engaged and participate at a level Sanford can only dream about. The Gamecock team played with a hunger that their fans fully embraced and put on display for over three hours.

To call for a coach's head takes less than one breath. To egg a house takes only an elementary education and some drunken aim. To boo your own team takes even less. Whether you watch the game on television or from a seat in Sanford...whether you love the coach or wish he was gone...are you doing everything you can to support the team? Are you leading by example, or just following the miserable masses?

Maybe that sounds as if I'm calling out my own people. But I won't you to understand that I'm starting with me when I ask all of us to answer one question: How committed to the G are we? 

"One day, one game"...? Ok, prove it.

Uttering the phrase "one day, one game" implies that it's a blip on the radar, a blemish against a body of work that points towards a different conclusion. It implies that what we witnessed Saturday night is not a trend and certainly not the norm.

Argue over the statistical semantics all you want. Point to last year's SEC East banner while we muddle through the aftermath of Georgia's most embarrassing performance since Tennessee 2009. The fact remains that the brighter the lights, the duller the results.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Murray's dad

Aaron Murray's father has surgery tomorrow. I'm assuming that Mr. Murray waited until after the game to tell his kids about his illness. They seemed pretty surprised today. Regardless, good time to send some thoughts and prayers their way.

Sunday's ugly truth

Too tired to collect my thoughts after last night's nightmare. Ready to get home and hug my kids. But before I hit the road, I will leave you with this...

When you find the very bottom of your disappointment, it can get pretty ugly. And I know the coming days aren't going to be pretty. But hearing that Christian Robinson came home to this mess really rubs me the wrong way.

Give credit to the team that beat you, without turning on your own. It's a skill that some fans will never understand. But I hope my readers do.

Once a Dawg, always a Dawg.