Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah!"

Willie McClendon was the workhorse and Rex Robinson kicked the whatchamacallit out of it.



via Dawg19

When Dawgs don't bite..

...this is what happens.




Kentucky - what to look for

Finally. It's finally the day we can take a step away from that travesty in Columbia. It's been stuck squarely in our craw for two weeks. It won't likely remove itself completely for some time. But tonight we actually get to focus on something else.

And this matchup against Kentucky should provide plenty to cheer for on the field. I'm sure there's some people who will just sit there casually and say things like "Of course we're winning, it's the worst team in the conference." And they're right, but for the rest of us who aren't completely full of piss and vinegar, we should have a good time.
Even Ashley knows what's up. (h/t BassinDawg)
  • The Wildcats are not only dealing with the fact that they are undersized and not as talented as their conference compatriots. They are also dealing with an injury riddled season that has freshmen playing prominent roles on the team. Many of them. Their secondary resembles a pre-K playground. Their quarterback has gone from his high school lunchroom to the SEC feeding table in a few short months. That's like learning to drive a go-cart and then suddenly being behind the wheel of a semi on I-285 during rush hour in Atlanta. If I didn't want to beat them into oblivion so much I'd actually feel sorry for this team. They're pathetic.
  • Jarvis will be on the sideline. All night.
  • There's been word out of practice this week that Mark Beard has been working more at left tackle. I think we see some of that tonight, but I would expect Gates to still start there. Next week could be a different story however.
  • It's been a few weeks since Marshall Morgan has attempted a field goal. Would be nice to see a late first half drive across mid field to set one up.
  • But other than that I expect to see a lot of touchdowns. Like at least eight. If Bobo wanted "momentum" during the SC game, he should have it neat or over ice or both, anyway way he wants it.
  • And while he's at it, I think he should throw some wrinkles in there. Show Gurshall in the slot just for kicks and giggles. Hell, put Malcolm Mitchell in the "Wild Dawg" just to get Muschamp's head to spin a little.
  • Defensively is where the lights should go completely out. Jordan Jenkins should go off and our secondary should have a feast. One thing to watch for, Damian Swann is now ahead of Branden Smith on the depth chart. Would love to see him get a pick six after their QB Whitlow throws a gimme with Kwame's hand in his face.
  • Against the run I want to see our defensive ends force backfield adjustments by the ball carrier. This Kentucky team shouldn't even threaten to score. If they get more than one first down Grantham should make wholesale subs.
  • Kentucky's punter should be their MVP heading into the 4th quarter when suddenly Deas gets another block.
  • Overall, I just want to see us put this game away early and then see a lot of the backups. If Murray sits most of the second half I'll be happy. 
Ok, I know some of you are saying to yourself "But this is the same Kentucky team that had South Carolina down 17-7." Well, no. They're not the same team. The Gamecocks avoided a trap game because Kentucky is so bad. And the team we're going to see tonight is a shell of the one that put a scare in the chickens.

Seriously, injuries, youth and lack of talent have long sealed the Wildcats' fate in 2012. Joker ain't laughed in months.

Countdown to Kickoff - Kentucky

Hannah Chalker sets the stage for tonight's matchup in Lexington.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Misery - defining KenSucky

Scene: Tuesday evening, after dinner conversation as the family jockeys for a position of not doing dishes.

8 year old: Dad, who does Georgia play this week?

Me: It's Kentucky week honey. And we're away.

8 year old: You mean KenSucky.

*fist bumps*
Bennett bloodline:
Dickie > Hal > Doyle > Coover

Don't take it personal wildcats. It's not that we think of you on the same level that we do gators, or wardamntiglesmen. You're a nice people. You cheat like hell at basketball while the rest of us concentrate on a sport that actually matters, but no one's perfect.

And unlike the state of Florida, we don't wish you'd secede from the union and all die an unmerciful death. No, we like your state. You have ponies that race and you give us all great bourbon. US Marshall Raylan Givens would just be a redneck Magnum PI without you all. I mean look at you, with your apple pie moonshine and your "hollers" and your pretty mouthed cousins. Fascinating!

No, we love Kentucky and everything y'all have to offer. It's just that your football sucks. And not like Tennessee in a downward trending hillbilly kind of way. You suck like, real bad...in an Adolph Rupp sold your soul to the devil for a Depression Era point guard kind of way. So just give us our win and we'll be moseying along the bourbon trail.

A sugar coated altercation
During the off week I had a chance to sit down with Coach Grantham at a local pastry shop he frequents and chat a little bit. What follows is a brief transcript of the conversation; everything that was said before the scuffle. Evidently he doesn't take too kindly when you gave him the choke sign in reference to his defense. Luckily we didn't ride scooters or Jimmy Williamson woulda surely thrown our asses in the pokey.

Grantham: Hey Bernie. Love the blog. How's it goin'?
Bernie: Pretty shitty. Especially since Columbia. Your defense is a pile of crap man. I'm embarrassed to have helped lobby for that raise.
Grantham: Whoa now son...
Bernie: Whoa nothing! That's how they're playing. Truth hurts, so don't get your panties twisted dude. Strap on an actual jock and start coaching like a man. Do that and maybe, just maybe you won't choke against the gators in Jac-----

All of the fisticuffs. Now I'm not only banned from Butts-Mehre but also all Dunkin Donuts within a 60 mile radius of Athens. But it was worth it though. Had to be said. And if nothing else, Todd's coconut cream filled pastry was smashed on the bottom of my shoe. That should help with the pass rush I think.

But y'all come on back here next week when we really waller around in some misery. WLOCP style!

Looking ahead to the 2013's Fall Saturdays

I know what you're thinking. I've been preaching about not looking ahead, and now I'm about to take you through next season's schedule. I don't know what to tell you. Except maybe save this post for sometime in January if you must.

Here we go.


2013 Georgia Football Schedule
August 31at ClemsonClemson
September 7SOUTH CAROLINAATHENS

Open
September 21NORTH TEXASATHENS
September 28LSUATHENS
October 5at TennesseeKnoxville
October 12MISSOURIATHENS
October 19at VanderbiltNashville
Open
November 2FloridaJacksonville
November 9APPALACHIAN ST.ATHENS
November 16at AuburnAuburn
November 23KENTUCKYATHENS
November 30at Georgia TechAtlanta

- I like the big game to start. Following Clemson up with Carolina though makes this schedule jump out at you. A young defense will be tested early.
- LSU comes to town. Hopefully without any late excessive celebration calls.
- Nice not to have back to back trips into Tennessee. Looking forward to welcoming Mizzou to Athens.
- Always like having the open date before Jacksonville. But when's the last time both Georgia and Florida had an open date the week prior?
- If the front end of the schedule brings sexy back, the back end fizzles with a second consecutive trip to the plains, wildcats even deeper into basketball season and a trip to N. Avenue.
- A quick look at away trips: I'll definitely be going to defend Lake Hartwell, then either or both of the Tennessee trips and likely help the Dawgs out in the loveliest little village.
- the 14 week window is also intriguing to me as we get the two open dates. That should help cut into the wear and tear of tailgating week after week. Am I right?

Auburn...loveliest village of idiots

As a blogger it's difficult impossible to resist the temptation to show Auburn football players practicing their hearts out in blue and orange striped hot pants. Like Coach Chizzy says, you have to respond to a challenge!...fashionably.




Thursday, October 18, 2012

LSU in 2013?

Next season's SEC schedule should be coming out this afternoon. If this is a credible leak, then look who's coming to town.


Of fear, hammers and storm clouds

Fear haunts my dreams; losing wrecks them. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said so many years ago - "...the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself..."

Right now the Georgia fanbase is in a state of turmoil. The number of people who've lost faith in the program's leadership (read: not just the coaches, the leadership) is at an all time high. The South Carolina debacle is like the Lewinsky blue dress of the Clinton administration: a permanent stain that even the most ardent supporters can't fully ignore. It's the "read my lips, no new taxes" failed promise and dip in the approval ratings for Daddy Bush voters whose faith begins to waver and then slip. 

Fans are grumbling, frustrated and dissatisfied. Message boreds are hot, Twitter is aflutter and even the Mike in Columbus Show Bulldog Hotline has some uneasy callersAll this while the team stands at 5-1 on the season and still within reach of a 2nd consecutive trip to Atlanta in early December.

By now I'm sure most of you have seen the message board post from a former player a couple weeks back about how there's no fear in the football program. It harkens back to Richt's glory days when there were certain coaches that no one wanted to be around. They made everyone uneasy and kept the players on edge. Not by design mind you, but because that's who they were - hardcore assholes. Grade A sumbitches. They made elevator rides just as uncomfortable as gassers in the cold, early morning rain.

I certainly don't know everything it takes to be a competitive program at this level of tackle football. In fact I can only assure you of one thing - I personally fear losing. The idea of it haunts me, as I'm sure it does you as well. We hate it! I don't want to fall short of any goal, personally or professionally. And I transfer that feeling on to my alma mater.

No, I can't pass along great insight into what specifically Richt is not doing now that he might have been doing back then. I can't even tell how much of it is his burden to carry and how much is McGarity's or Bobo's or Grantham's or the equipment manager's. But I can tell you what I see. And that is a team that doesn't have an edge to it. Too often the fake juice is exposed for what it is and too often the swagger only lasts through warm ups.

Ultimately that lies at Mark Richt's feet. And many of you are probably reading this as a shot at him. I guess that's fine. But I'm also a realistic man. And I know that he's not only our coach this Saturday, but he's our coach the rest of the season and surely again next year and probably beyond that. I'm not looking ahead to next season anymore than I'm looking ahead to the WLOCP. Any argument otherwise is futile.

Richt has been at Georgia for 11.5 seasons now. And still there are fans expecting him to grab a player's face mask or bite Penn Wagers head off and kick it through the goalpost. They want him to storm onto the field after every missed extra point and rip Marshall Morgan's jersey off. My answer to that (including myself on occasion) is that's not who he is. We should know by now that there's no Mr. Hyde to his Dr. Jeckyll. He's closer to Saturday night Lawrence Welk than he is Saturday Night WWE. Let's get real. How many of us can change our personality as easily as Dr. David Banner?

However, I also believe people can evolve. They can recognize certain patterns and institute changes and adjustments to rise the a new occasion, a new era. And that is Richt's challenge. The frustrating part is that it's been his challenge the last few years. The team needs an edge. They need to fear more than losing. They need to fear for their role on the team and their very presence in the huddle. They need a fear that is - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. If Richt needs help in instituting that level of fear then the administration needs to get out of the way. Get out the checkbook instead of sitting on it. Take the leash off Grantham if that's what's holding us back. 

But if it's Richt's stubbornness that is an additional obstacle, then he needs to look longer in the mirror. A 5-1 season ain't broke, but that doesn't mean it doesn't need some fixing. A few years ago we needed more than spackle and paint to fix what was wrong. It took an extra season or two for it to dawn on Richt to cut bait and get out the hammer and nails. That was being stubborn. And despite the fact that those changes were eventually made doesn't mean he can keep shifting into cruise control. Continued losses to actual ranked teams might not call for a bulldozer, but it certainly suggests you might want to strap on that tool belt. 

And that might be true as well for the fans.
In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.
For those of us who are truly outside the arena, just support the program. In my mind, supporting the program means supporting the coach. Don't misinterpret that to mean doing so blindly. Y'all know I'm big on accountability. But if I'm cheering for my team on Saturdays, that includes the guy who leads them out of the tunnel.

The road ahead ain't gonna be easy. It never is. But wear your G proudly and let's not put the cart before the horse. There could be more storms ahead. If so, we'll weather them together. Just like we do the sunny days when there's nothing to fear, but the word itself.

Richt on keepin' it easy

Wife and I were having a discussion on this just last night. Can anyone keep things at an even keel better than Mark Richt?



Dinner with Dooley

Some info for anyone who just happens to be in and around the Golden Isles next week.

DINNER WITH DOOLEY TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
Special Rate for Bulldawg Club Members

Enjoy a memorable evening with legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. Tickets include dinner and drinks. Coach Dooley will speak on his new book, History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia, illustrated by artist Steve Penley. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. Special tickets rates for Bulldawg Club members in the link below.

Dinner with Dooley

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bobo accounts for his second dimension

Perhaps these guys do listen to folks outside the arena. Perhaps they heard that we just wanted some accountability. At least...Bobo did.
Mike Bobo is not ducking blame for what happened at South Carolina. In fact, the Georgia offensive coordinator chided himself, at one point on Tuesday saying "I did a poor job, that's it."
Now as the Bulldogs approach the second half of their season, beginning Saturday at Kentucky, Bobo wants his offense to get back to what made his offense electric the first five games of this season.
"We've gotta stay more committed to the run," Bobo said. "Even though we were down 21-0 (at South Carolina), there was still a lot of time left in the ballgame. That's what's made us successful, the balance. Like I said after the game, you become one-dimensional in a game, you're asking for trouble."
When Georgia fell behind by three touchdowns late in the first quarter in Columbia, the Bulldogs didn't actually get away from the run immediately: Todd Gurley carried the ball on the first play, but lost two yards. Murray then completed two passes for 26 yards. But the next two plays, rushes by Keith Marshall, failed to gain any yards.
From there, the Bulldogs became pass-heavy. Georgia's defense forced a punt on the next drive, and then the offense came out passing on the first play of the final three drives of the first half, netting zero points....
"We've got to establish the run, no doubt," Bobo said. "And if we do throw the ball we've gotta be able to complete the ball on first downs. But if we throw high-percentage passes we've gotta complete them, whether it's a quick screen or a bubble screen, we've gotta complete those. And those have gotta be an extension of the running game. When you don't complete those, and you catch them for minus-five you put those in the hole."
Since Coach Bobo mentioned the running game...

Kentucky gives up 184 yards a game on the ground. That's good for 89th in the country. Their 18 rushing touchdowns allowed is good for 115th in the nation. Of course, their secondary is depleted, as is much of their team. Which just begs for a pass heavy attack. But they could be getting some of those players back.

Regardless, a good rushing attack I think would be a good way of re-installing some confidence for the offensive line. Linemen love to run block. Let them go and let's watch the fireworks.

Food for thought.
Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2012/10/16/2215419/bobo-i-did-a-poor-job-thats-it.html#storylink=cpy
Red more here: http://www.macon.com/2012/10/16/2215419/bobo-i-did-a-poor-job-thats-it.html#storylink=cpy

Humpday Hilarity - Fishing from the shallow end of the gene pool

Instant chum dude. Whoa.

FISHING   BOAT BLOWN UP                        BY IDIOT MEN
h/t Mac

Coach Richt Teleconference

An update on practices, injuries and the upcoming game against Kentucky.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hotline Redux - Bye Week

Last night was Richt's first opportunity to address the South Carolina game on the call in show. This week the fans were much more critical than they were last week with the coordinators. Politely critical, but critical nonetheless.

Play callingConner in Lexington (young caller) says LSU had success running the power I against South Carolina’s defensive front. Should we have run more from that formation? Richt says they wished they had done that more once they went back and reflected on it after the game. It’s a downhill, between the tackles run. Can run it from the I or the one back set and the coaches feel like they didn’t give it enough of a chance. And then there were times we did run it and just didn’t block it well. But overall they think they should’ve stuck with it more.


The "Big Game Fail" memeSteven in Dalton mentions an ESPN graphic shown that points out that Georgia is 0 for their last 10 against teams that finished gthe season ranked. Would like to see the trend turn around and believes it can happen. Would just like to us execute better in the big games. Richt says we all would like that trend to turn around. Gives credit to South Carolina. Says it was an electric atmosphere and it’s our job to bring the crowd back down, but that didn’t happen. Just couldn’t make a play to stop the bleeding. Tried to get the points before the half but couldn’t get on the board and “tighten it down a little bit”. Now we’ve got to make every correction that needs to be made. Some were bad decisions by players, some were bad decisions by coaches. All the goals are intact. Practice has gone well and it starts again this weekend with Kentucky. Team has not lost heart, were disappointed. But will be ready for the rest of the season.

More play callingMitchell in Calhoun asks about the offensive play calling in the South Carolina and specifically if they could’ve rolled Murray out more so he wasn’t getting so much pressure. Or used a waggle to move the pocket and be able to get rid of the ball. Richt says they probably should have. They rolled Murray out one time and had a nice completion, the next time they did Murray had to throw ball a little quicker than he wanted to. They did use a lot of quick screens and “quick game”, but Clowney really impacted what they were trying to do. Used some cut blocks to try and get his hands down since he’s so tall. But yes, believes they should’ve used moved the pocket more. Agrees.

Line of scrimmage difficultiesJohn says it seemed like we lost some things on the line of scrimmage and wonders if the coaches saw anything on the game tape along those lines. Richt starts with the offensive line and says we did not protect the edges very well. Didn’t lose every battle, but couldn’t contain their pass rush when we needed to. Should’ve tested between their tackles more. Says this is with the benefit of hindsight, not criticizing Bobo. As for the defensive front there was the added responsibility of controlling the quarterback’s containment. Says it had to be a “controlled rush”. And we didn’t do that well enough. Moving forward we believe in our guys up front. Have to stick with the running game a little more and not give up the big plays on defense.

And more play callingDavid in Cumming asks if there’s any possibility Richt would take over the play calling again and Bobo would just concentrate on the quarterbacks. Richt says whoever is calling plays is going to be criticized, just as he was at FSU and at Georgia. He believes in Coach Bobo. Says he does a great job. Before the South Carolina game no one was even thinking about that as the offense was on a record breaking pace. That doesn’t happen by accident. The last game there wasn’t much offensive production, it was frustrating. But it was one game. He’s doing a very good job and we’re all lucky to have him.

All in all a good show. Hope you were able to catch it. If not, here's the transcript. The general theme was that they got whipped as a team but aren't hanging their heads. Onto beating Kentucky!

We are NOT florida "fans"

Not this week, not any. The word fan is derived from "fanatic". Lemme ask you, are you fanatical about the FU florida gators? If so, please excuse yourself and your vintage Muschamp jersey. Yes, the one with the char marks from getting burnt in Jacksonville all those years ago.

Do I understand what Georgia fans are saying when they say that they hope Florida beats South Carolina? Yes, of course I do. Am I being hyper-critical? No, not in the least. Because last night our coach said as much on the call-in show. Your shirt has some orange in it? Okay...I guess. My wife buys me clothes from the discount rack from time to time too. But you are a florida fan this week? 

Uh...no.

Look, we can hope that they win without openly getting all hot and heavy for cold-blooded reptiles. There's no reason to go crazy and say things we don't really mean. Lot of football to be played and I can assure you that the vile gators don't need me subjecting my children to something called the "chomp" in order to beat Carolina. If any Georgia fans even thinks about openly rooting for our arch nemesis...then please, take a look in the mirror.


Are you happy now?

Mid-season grades - the defense

The other day I graded out the offense. Now it's time for the defense.
  • Line - C-. Probably either the hardest or the easiest to grade. These are the guys that are supposed to eat up space and create room for the linebackers to do their job. Hard to grade in terms of you can't really look for stats to explain things for you. Easy in terms of just being able to see when they're getting beat and when they are dictating the play. Overall our line play has been a mixed bag: dominating at times of certain games and flat out getting beat in others. In short, the Vandy game saved this from being a D or lower.
  • Linebacker - C+. Could be much higher mostly thanks to Amarlo Herrera and Jarvis. Gilliard has gotten plenty of opponents' jerseys dirty as well. However, the mid term grade for this unit from Columbia was an abject failure. Sucked in on the read option and out of position often. Quite frankly it was reminiscent of the Jancek era. Ouch.
  • Corner - D. Probably the greatest disappointment. I admit I was encouraged by what we saw against Missouri, but it's really been downhill from there. Receivers wandering free without anyone within striking distance to play the ball much less tackle the guy before extra yards are gained. The gut instinct is to say that Rambo's suspension has hurt the corners' consistency with Commings having to move back and forth. I don't know. The only thing I do know is that I've been pretty impressed with Swann's development. Wouldn't mind seeing him start and get more reps.
  • Safety - D. No consistency in the first six games as coaches have had to juggle guys around Commings and Rambo's suspension. Williams continues to lead by example when it comes to fundamental tackling, but he's at his best when he can freelance and count on the underneath coverage while spying and laying waste. Norman filled in admirably for Rambo, and so did Commings. But it still just felt like a makeshift secondary at times. This unit needs to gel, quickly.
These grades have been severely hampered by the last two games in particular. Part of me wants to join in the chorus of people that are willing to throw this all at the feet of the suspensions and some rustiness once those players returned. I don't know about that. However, once the team arrives in Lexington fresh off a bye week I do know that there's no more room for that excuse.
Parting shot - Kentucky averages 18.6 points a game. If they even sniff that much Saturday night it should be a wake up call that wholesale changes are needed in the starting lineup for Jacksonville.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Tennessee Rock speaks

And Mama Dooley can't be too happy about it. (h/t AHD)


Georgia 11th in BCS rankings

If you're into such things, the full rankings are below. The first thing that stands out to me is that three of the seven computers have South Carolina ahead of LSU...okay.



Dawg talkin' with ECDawg

ecdawg and I had a nice discussion last night on where the program is a week after the loss in Columbia as well as how things might play out, specifically in Jacksonville.



It was probably tougher than either of us expected to pinpoint exactly what our feelings are. EC and I are pretty similar in that we like Richt, but because we put the program first we're uneasy with how things looked against South Carolina as well as what this means going forward. I'm anxious to see how the Dawgs look in Lexington, but I am trending optimistic about the WLOCP.

Well, as optimistic as a Georgia fan in 2012 can be about Jacksonville. Hang on tight. More to come.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

State of the Program podcast

I'll be joining ecdawg and CCRider tonight at 7pm on a podcast for Leather Helmet. We'll be discussing Georgia football and where things stand. If you want to listen in, the info is below. Otherwise I'll have it posted tomorrow. Go Dawgs!

To listen by telephone call (724) 444 – 7444 (call ID: 88674) or to listen via computer navigate to http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/88674.