Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bama - what to look for

It's finally here. Our bonus gameday. The culmination of a long season. The reward at the end of a long, hard SEC road. So here's what I'm looking for starting at 4:00pm eastern.
Like last year, only bigger
  • Poise. We were in the same spot (physically speaking) last year this time. Nothing is new to this team. The upperclassmen and their leadership has carried us down the stretch this season. We shouldn't need any miscues from the opponent to be in this game early. We should be ready to play football from the start.
  • Deep looks. Or maybe not so deep looks. But how much does Bobo use the intermediate and long routes to open up their defensive front will go a long way toward answering some questions we have on the offensive side of the ball. Namely...
  • Protection. If we can give Murray enough time to work through his checks, it will be a difficult day for Coach Smart. If we can even give Murray enough time to work the seams and the deep outs it will slow down their pass rush and help the offensive line immensely.
  • Freshmen. We're deep and experienced at most skill positions. Gurley and Marshall have faced two top tier opponents' defenses this season. Their performance in this game could go a long way towards deciding the eventual outcome. Against South Carolina and Florida things weren't as sexy as against other opponents. But we still came away admiring their toughness and character. Let's ramp that up a notch.
  • More poise. As mentioned earlier this week, we've just come around to having some confidence in our special teams. If we need them to cover a lot of kicks it will take discipline and poise to keep those plays from deciding the game. Nothing is going to come easy today. So it's not the time to give up anything easily either.
In the end, this game will be won or lost like most others - along the line of scrimmage. I like our chances because of that and not in spite of it. Which says a lot for how far we've come.

But win or lose this has been a fantastic season. As fans, let's not lose sight of that. Hope to see y'all at the Dome!

Go Dawgs!

Boss Bailey at AT&T Fan Zone

For immediate release:

AT&T Fan Zone Kicks off SEC Showdown with Former Players, Unique Activities and Offerings

AT&T* is joining Alabama and Georgia fans at the SEC FanFare this weekend to present the ultimate fan experience with the AT&T Fan Zone. Regardless of team loyalty, all college football fans will have the chance to explore some of AT&T’s most exciting services and football offerings.

Visitors can pose for digital caricature artists, capture commemorative photos, try their hand at interactive games, score giveaways and of course, meet a few former players.

WHEN:Friday, Nov. 30, 2012,  1 – 6 p.m. EST
Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012,  9 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST

Player appearances by former athletes scheduled for:
Dec. 1, 1 - 2 p.m. (EST) – Julio Jones
Dec. 1, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (EST) – Boss Bailey
Georgia World Congress Center
Hall C
285 International Blvd NW
Atlanta, GA

In addition to bringing fans face to face with some of AT&T’s greatest services and offerings, the AT&T Fan Zone will host former University of Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones and former University of Georgia linebacker Boss Bailey.

·          Athlete autograph sessions
·          Fans interacting with AT&T Fan Zone games and activities
·          Caricature artists using the Samsung Galaxy Note II
·          Commemorative photo station featuring the Samsung Galaxy Camera
·          A number of interactive products, services and games on display, football-themed games for the Web and wireless devices, prizes and much, much more.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Misery - where the devil won't stay

Breaking: Joe Waterloo was last seen southbound on I-75 acting all Dorsey Hill on us. He had pledged before the Tech game that he was heading straight for Miami. That might sound noble, prophetic or maybe like he had a little too much Mr. Boston's. The problem is that he only packed two things: a red thong and a bottle of of tanning oil.

If found, please refill his red solo cup.

Of blood and confidence

Ok. This rotgut moonshine is making me sick. So put on your big boy pants bitches. Shit. Getting. Real.

The only blood that's any cleaner is the blood that's blue or greener
Without either you just get meaner and the blood you gave gives you away

ESPN's hard on for Darling Nicky knows no bounds. They strap it on, spout off about stats and strength of schedule and how the streets of Tuscaloosa are paved in gold and suddenly any game that might take place on an actual football field is perfunctory (that's "meaningless"...for any of you Tide grads that just stumbled in wearing your Wal-Mart t-shirts and your good underwear). The game is just a matter of financial obligation to the host city and as a way to stir up more support for this year's Florida gator pity party.
Never won his conference, but plenty of "highlights".

What do they give us? What do they give Coach Richt, who by the way is 2-2 against that dwarf mother humper? What do they give Jarvis and Aaron and CRob and Gurley? Hope. That's right, they give us nuggets of hope that feel more like bassackwards compliments and warm piss dripping down our backs.

Look, we don't need your goddamn hope. We don't want your casual glances and flirtative gestures. We don't need your pity and if you so much as aim that bulge in your pants towards us Bristol...I'll go all Mitch Davis on Herbstreit's ass. You all slather on the crimson lipstick, sloppy kiss Bama's defense and put your hand down Saban's chinos as much and as often as you'd like. We'll pass on that shit. After all, our memory isn't so short. We've seen that trumped up midget at his lowest point.

Look. They buckle their chin straps just like we do. Just because they backed into last year's national title game doesn't mean they should be given this year's conference crown. Willie Joe never faced a safety blitz from Shawn Williams on his road to the '64 title and Bear Bryant ran out of swimming scholarships to hand out to offensive linemen decades ago. This is 2012 jack! The world's no longer gray, it's full of color and silver britches. Bama fans drink the same Kentucky bourbon I pour into my cup. McCarron's tears might be a little saltier, but he can wet his pants just like Aaron Murray did...back in 1991.

I'm sick of watching Mark May round third base with their first string. I'm tired of reading Aschoff whine about his team being left out, all while forgetting about getting bitch slapped in Jacksonville. I'm sick of Mandel packing our bags for Orlando whilst breathing hope out the side of his mouth. You want to talk about hope? I hope Saban gives all of you chlamydia. I hope Mark Richt has mercy on your worthless ass because I sure as hell wouldn't find the time. I hope you one day understand that while we might bleed the same, our blood is Georgia red son.

Sit your narrow ass down...I'm just getting started.

Dome bound and down

No, no one wants to give us a chance in hell. And I'm just fine with that. It's been 30 years since Georgia has played a game with this much importance. And while I was alive back then, my Dawg years had truly yet to begin. So I can wade through whatever load of shit anyone wants to pour in my way. I can stomach the stench of the national media's entitlements. I wouldn't miss this for the world. The opportunity to see these players prove themselves while the rest of the nation sits slack-jawed in a pool of their own drool. The chance to see the team reach their goal that has consumed every practice since August and every point put up on the scoreboard since the first of September. The absolute privilege to witness my Dawgs punch their own ticket and not have it punched for them!

It's been 30 years in the making and the feeling I have is unmistakable. There's no denying the confidence I feel that the crest of the mountain has yet to be conquered. In many ways, last year this time we'd reached the top. Everything was new and wonderful. We were playing LSU with nothing to lose, but also with not so much to gain.

Tomorrow we have EVERYTHING to gain. Tomorrow we take the next step, and it goes beyond what we built last season. In 24 hours we look destiny in the eye and refuse to blink. If your blood runs red and black, it's going to be a moment like none other. Nothing in our immediate or long term recollection can compare to the magnitude of this competition. Our experience as fans and as students and as alumni of the University of Georgia has yet to see the Glory that this team can produce. For tomorrow we reach the top, the place we've aimed for all along.

Yes, Dawgs on top! I'm Dome bound then down...for a trip to Miami. Join me. I've been hunkering for this for some time. I'll gladly rise beside you as our Dawgs take the field. I'll gladly cheer with you as we score on them at will. And we'll sing our anthem proudly as the confetti rains down upon our team.

Hell hath no fury like what you will witness tomorrow Alabama. It's our time, and the devil has no business here this year.

Go Dawgs!

SEC Kickoff with Coach Dooley

While you're waiting on the Friday Misery, Coach Dooley preps us for the weekend's SEC Championship Game.

SECCG - ground attack

This Barrett Sallee preview of the rushing game for both Georgia and Alabama follows the expected script.
Two things give Alabama the edge on the ground in this one—its solid offensive line and Lacy's experience.
The Crimson Tide offensive line is widely regarded as one of the top units in the country. Center Barrett Jones, guards Chance Warmack and Anthony Steenand tackles D.J. Fluker and Cyrus Kouandjio haven't lived up to expectations in the pass-blocking department, but they've been stellar in the run game all year.
Georgia's offensive line has been better lately, but the inconsistency may pop up again—especially against a defensive front seven like Alabama boasts.
But there's one thing Gurley and Marshall have that Yeldon and Lacy don't - Aaron Murray's passing game. Georgia ranks 4th in the league in passing and Bama ranks 9th. I think Bobo has the luxury of being able to use the pass to open up some run lanes. If that happens I like our chances on the ground as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

SECCG - Countdown to Kickoff

Hannah Chalker sets the stage for a big weekend in Atlanta.

SECCG - 48hr preview featuring Malcolm Mitchell taking a knee

On Monday we talked about the two entrances: the one to start the game and the one coming out of halftime. Ever since publishing that post I've been ready to head to the Dome. Alas, here we still sit. So might as well take another temperature check.

Here's a collection of questions, thoughts and ramblings:
  • How many turnovers can we force? We're +15 in that category since Jacksonville. Can a disciplined team like Bama give us some freebies too?
  • I'm both uncomfortable and intrigued by all the talk of A&M's quarterback* this week. On one hand, Murray is a much better signal caller, better passer and is a veteran. On the other, the Aggies don't win that game without their little quarterback.
  • But the bottomline is that we're a much different and much better offense than A&M. So despite Murray's mobility I don't see us altering our offensive game plan around Bama's one loss this season.
  • That being said, if our offensive line starts to struggle we need to be ready to buy some time for Murray and his targets. So allow me one more time to point out that the QB Waggle is a play that has worked more times than not when we've run it.
  • But lets face it, Bobo doesn't need our help. He's got two great running backs, a quarterback that is having a great month to add to a great season and a stellar career, and depth at wide receiver despite a couple key injuries. We can stretch the field, if the o-line can hold their own...
  • And it's a credit to Coach Friend that I'm not overly worried about the offensive line. They've played well coming into what should be their second or third biggest test of the season.
  • I've failed to mention it earlier I believe, but Jamie Lindley has been a beast of late. Surely he can continue to nail those kickoffs deep from the GA Dome floor.
  • Speaking of special teams, they've been solid of late (knocks on head a little too vigorously). Richt's confidence in Morgan never wavered and mine is starting to follow suit. He's made a couple big field goals this season. The next one he lines up for will be the biggest of his young life, not to mention the team's season.
  • Another special thought: although punt coverage has been better, we're not exactly used to doing a whole lot of that each game. If this turns into a field position battle and low scoring, conservative affair...we better be ready.
Lastly, touchbacks are a good terrific thing. And Malcolm Mitchell, just like Christmas, that goes for giving and receiving.

*I'm sure a lot of Heisman voters read this blog, so I'm purposefully not mentioning the kid's name because it would be a friggin' travesty for ANY freshman to win that sucker after Herschel was hosed. Prissy ballot mongers...

2012 season highlights

Head coach musical chairs

First off, don't worry about Coach Grantham and any rumors at this point in the game. I can confirm that Mrs. G is very happy in Athens. If you think he's uprooting his posse for a gig in Raleigh you're crazy. Now, if he gets a crack at Notre Dame's offensive juggernaut... then that's a different story.

Meanwhile, Kentucky's head gig has been sealed up. But we're just getting started. Landscape has changed dramatically since the last time we did this. Probably will again before I even click publish. Here are some thoughts.

Auburn. A lot is in play here. Jimbo Fisher has been mentioned, along with many others. But it seems to me this will end up being the right fit between a man who's desperate enough and a program that needs anything north of John L. Smith a warm body. Even though Trooper and Luper have taken their show Brink's truck and magic transcription pens back on the road, there is still plenty of heavy clouds over Opelika. (sidenote: if you're an Auburn recruit and are interested in players rewards cards, just click here and ask for the Trooper Towel discount.)

I think Petrino is the best match. Both can give desperation a nice hug.

Tennessee. John Gruden is the power play, complete with coon skin and part ownership of some semi-pro team up in South Canadia. So let's weigh this one out shall we? Nice gig behind a microphone while waiting on Miami to open up, or spend the Winter talking to a bunch of dipshits and the Fall driving their kids on the short bus to games? Hmmm...still a pipedream. Even with the homemade possum pork rinds.

Also some rumors about a possible "hot coordinator" taking this one. But that's a road the hillbillys have been down already. So give names like Kirby Smart and Chad Morris the most casual of glances here. They smell to me like the perfect fit for someone such as Butch Jones or maybe Malzahn. They'll interview Charlie Strong I bet, but they lack the IQ score to offer him.

Arkansas. Lesticles? In Fayetteville? Even Gary Patterson makes more sense. But no, I think either Malzahn or Charlie Strong is the fit here.

Tech. Coach Turkey Neck gets a six year extension for winning the ACC championship this Saturday in front of 6,000 FSU fans and a Georgia Tech couple that recently relocated to Charlotte.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SECCG - Georgia vs. Bama (video)

This season's Daryl Gamble?

There have been a lot of comparisons recently between this 2012 run and the 2007 season when Georgia closed strong and was truly the hottest team in America. Given the way the defense is playing right now is especially reminiscent of that 11-2 team that ended up whipping upstart Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.

The season hadn't started that way though. A close loss to South Carolina and an inexplicable showing in Knoxville had left the 2007 team on the brink of imploding. And to further the drama, they then found themselves in Nashville, tied late in the game with the Commodores driving for the win. Luckily, Daryl Gamble caused a fumble and Dannell Ellerbe pounced on it. Georgia drove 73 yards and put Brandon Coutu well within range to win it.

Without that play by the defense, the season likely would've be sent into a tailspin.

So I began to wonder, what play (on the field) turned this season around. The game in Lexington is the most congruous to the '07 Vandy game. So I would give the nod to Connor Norman's recovery. With about four minutes left the Wildcats had just scored and surprised us with a pretty well executed onside kick, one that dribbled straight down the middle of the field and the kicker followed along waiting for it to go ten yards. With most of the front line Dawgs getting de-cleated by oncoming Wildcats, Norman was the only player with a chance to derail the Kentucky plan, and he lunged in to recover the free kick just in time. Here's what Richt said post-game:
“Connor was heads up to go in there and snatch it and be strong enough to convince the officials that it was his. So it was a huge play,” a relieved Georgia coach Mark Richt said after the game. “It was a lot of huge plays in the game, but Connor did a great job.” 
Norman's recovery saved the game. And without that play, whatever Shawn Williams said the following Monday would've carried a lot less weight. The differences between that 2007 team and this one is that the 2012 Bulldogs have a trip to Atlanta and control their own destiny in terms of both a conference title and a national one.

In short, Herbstreit can't lobby against us this week like he did five years ago. Thanks in no small part to that play in Lexington KY, this season is right where it should the Dawgs' crosshairs.

Antonym of "insanity"

Mark Richt came to Athens and "knocked the lid" off the football program. He gave us epic, era defining wins and lifted the DawgNation up into the national picture. But during his 12 year tenure, most of us have gone on record more than once that Mark Richt is stubborn, set in his ways. "He held onto Coach Van too long before reorganizing." "He held Coach Martinez's hand too long as well."

But his coaching and his personality is on the brink of knocking a whole other lid off the program. He has helped put his team in position to win one big game for a chance at all the CFB marbles. And if that happens, it might come down to two decisions involving the media this season.
  1. Shawn Williams' defensive dress down. Something was rotten in Denmark, and #36 sniffed it out and put it on notice. Since that cleverly designed moment in front of the media, Williams' counterparts have played lights out. The defense kept Florida out of the endzone, beat Ole Miss and Georgia Southern with dominating efforts, and absolutely crushed in-state rival Tech. Also since the Kentucky game Georgia has been +9 in turnover margin with 10 fumble recoveries (including four against Florida alone) and five interceptions.
  2. Aaron Murray's silence speaking volumes. The Georgia quarterback is one of the most successful in SEC history, amassing yards and touchdowns as if they grow on trees. But he still lacks that signature moment. And he knows this better than anyone. Instead of going through the same motions in front of all the cameras and tape recorders this week (easily triple that of any ordinary week before the WLOCP) he is leading by example. He's showing his teammates that he's focused on one thing only...beating Alabama.
Two small examples of just doing something different, or two large steps away from continually doing something that wasn't working in the first place? Saturday will provide the real answer. For right now, simply applaud two damn good Dawgs for leading off the field and on it. And their coach for providing the opportunity to do so.

SECCG - Jarvis speaks

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

SECCG - CRob speaks

Picture of the week - CRob45

Pretty much sums up Saturday in Athens doesn't it? I would caption it - Downward pointing, Dawg.

From Christian's timeline

Hotline Redux - Tech...but mostly Bama

Let's face it, most of the DawgNation is looking anxiously towards Saturday at 4:00. So it was expected that last night's call in show would follow suit.

But a couple things I found interesting. First, this on Hutson Mason's role:
Conner in Bluffton (young caller) asks if Hutson Mason would be used, with so much on the line, if Aaron Murray were injured. Richt reiterates that Mason is trying to redshirt but he’s still getting reps as the #2 quarterback. Says Mason is in a state of readiness and would be ready and willing he believes if that situation arose. 
Makes you squirm a little thinking about it. But (assuming Richt, staff and Mason have discussed and hashed these potential scenarios out, which I'm sure they have) it's refreshing to know that the guy is ready to step in this late in the season and burn the redshirt. I'm sure the national stage helps, but the back up quarterback role this season helps as well.

And then this:
Eddie Vess asks why we don’t run the toss more. Richt says they call it “the Horn”, can be run out of the I formation or the pistol formation. The blocking is about the same. They’ve gotten really good at running the lead and a lot of teams want to line up their ends out wide. When they do the tendency is to try and run up the middle.
That to me is the Gurshall effect. Not that Gurley can't bust one out wide, but he can churn it up the middle and Marshall can be gone in a split second on a toss if the blocking is there. It puts a lot of pressure on the opposing defense to line up correctly.

Monday, November 26, 2012

SECCG - at first glance

One of the quotes that stuck out to me from Richt's teleconference was in reference to game planning, saying that "we're not going to reinvent the wheel" and emphasizing patience offensively. If Murray and the offense can manage the field position and protect the football, Richt knows that the results could fall in his favor.

The reason is that his staff is making the adjustments at halftime to put opponents away and control the game. On the other hand Bama has been more adept at coming out of the gate at full tilt (granted their 3rd quarter column may reflect the fact that many of their games have been over by halftime). Take a look:

1st quarter
2nd quarter
3rd quarter
4th quarter
Offensive scoring
Opponent scoring

1st quarter
2nd quarter
3rd quarter
4th quarter
Offensive scoring
Opponent scoring

In the end I feel that this game like so many others will come down to the line of scrimmage, especially how well our offensive line handles their scheme and process. But from a coaching standpoint, two things to watch for will be how well Richt has his team ready to play from the start (read: slow start = long, miserable afternoon) and how well Alabama handles Georgia's halftime adjustments.

SECCG - 2008 blackout effect?

I keep hearing about the 2008 game between Georgia and Alabama being referenced in discussions in and around the upcoming game between the two teams. Part of this is because it is the last time they met prior to Saturday's championship game. But most of it is continued, tired and regurgitated belly-aching over the costume change and the epic fail that the 2008 game turned into.

I guess I understand that, but to say that game over four years ago will have any measured effect on Saturday's is a stretch to say the least. To back that up I decided to look into exactly which players were on the roster in late September 2008. Here's what I found:

Taylor Bradberry
Sanders Commings
Ty Frix
Tavarress King
Jamie Lindley
Ricky Lowe
Bacarri Rambo
Christian Robinson
Richard Samuel
Cornelius Washington

The only two players I could find that had any bearing in the 2008 Blackout game were Richard Samuel who was seeing spot duty at running back and Jamie Lindley who had two kickoffs in the game, one of which was a successful onside kick. Everyone else was redshirting or facing the probability of redshirting.

Coaches? Ok. Richt obviously, then you had Tony Ball coaching RBs, John Lilly in his first year, Bobo,  McClendon as a grad assistant, and Rodney Garner. So roughly 8% of the current roster was on the sideline for the 2008 game and roughly half the coaches.

Nothing heightens the Georgia fans' fervor like a mention of a blackout. Even though Coach Richt has drained the fake juice from the tank and has said since August that there won't be a costume change at all this season, we either get excited at memories of 2007 Auburn or agitated that we're even going down that road again, depending on which camp said Georgia fan's tent is hitched to. Most of that is Richt's fault for continuing to allow these wardrobe headlines into the discussion.

But the team has moved on. Have the fans? In large part I would say no. But the bigger issue is that I don't see that last meeting between these two teams having any effect whatsoever on this year's SEC Championship game. Do you?

SECCG - the teleconferences

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bowl projections

The picture is clearing up. Win and the reward is obvious, a date with Notre Dame in Miami. Lose and the fall could put us right back into the Georgia Dome.

LSU or Florida appear to be a lock for the Sugar. The Gators will probably be ahead of Georgia this evening when the latest BCS rankings are released, but not by enough to stay ahead of an SEC Champion Bulldog team. The only other certainty is that the winner Saturday will face the Fighting Irish. Edwards and Schlabach aside, other projections have us in the Capital One Bowl if we lose to Bama.

Regardless, the message is clear: handle business and enjoy the sun.

Sunday Thoughts on Wrecksgiving Day

Georgia Tech is not a very good team. But that doesn't take anything away from the Nerd Fry we saw yesterday.
Flag boy no match for Tree.

  • Bacarri Rambo had the play of the game getting the ball out as Tech was marching early in the first quarter. That kind of set the tone right there: nothing was going to come easy for the Yellow Jackets. Rambo finished with two forced fumbles and a pick, which gave him his 16th career interception and tied him with Jake Scott's all time mark.
  • Another terrific game for Bobo, Murray, Gurshall and the offense as a whole. Come to think of it, scoring 63 seconds into the game off a four play drive pretty much set the tone for the day.
  • Gurley and Marshall each went for two scores and 163 yards combined. Gurley needs just two more rushing touchdowns to break Herschel's freshman mark set back in 1980.
  • DickSamIV....all Dawg. And your money is never needed in Athens. (fistbump)
All in all Georgia Tech was clearly out-matched. When Tree came off the snap clean he was practically a one man wrecking crew, ending the game with 15 total tackles. The physicality was good to see heading into our biggest challenge of the season.

Now, the rest of this isn't going to be easy to stomach if you're a student.

The Paint Line called for a blackout. I supported that because 1) it didn't involve a costume change for the players and a gulp of fake juice going against a 6-5 team, and 2) anything that helps get the students/fans in the seats on time is alright by me.

Unfortunately, a large number of students didn't bother coming at all. They were neither on time to cheer on their senior players in their last game at Sanford, nor in the stands at all as Aaron Murray became the only SEC quarterback to pass for 3000 yards in consecutive seasons.

Show me all the calendars with Thanksgiving so close to the game all you want. Cry me a river about family obligations and holidays and dorm rooms and a crappy opponent and noon kickoffs. I don't give a shit. You failed. Those of you that were there should be ashamed of your classmates and I'm very sorry that you're getting lumped into this. You deserve better.

But more importantly, so did the seniors. And so did this team.

Says it all...