Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Christmas list

What I would like under my tree next week. Feel free to add your own.

  • Peace on Earth and good will toward men.

  • a solid defensive gameplan for a quarterback that can run, like say Taylor Martinez.

  • an awesome defensive line coach

  • a low post player...that can score 10+/game.

  • that those still hung up on the meaningless exercise of Spikegate would fall off a cliff become mute until logic and reason finds their feeble brains.

  • a flask tie, and no...not for church...unless it's a really long wedding that devolves into reception with a ca$h bar.

  • at least one more chance to see DickSamIV with a lone safety in his rearview mirror.

  • and lastly, the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.

But I'd definitely settle for a Red Ryder carbine action 200 shot range air rifle!

Friday, December 21, 2012

About Garner

First of all I'm happy for Coach Garner. Even if I don't understand making a lateral move to a program that at best is a smoldering dumpster fire, he had the opportunity to coach at one place for 15 years. That's practically unheard of these days. I'm thankful that he helped bridge the program between the Donnan era and Richt's. And now he gets to go home to his alma mater. I wish him and his family well.

Moving forward, this is a good thing for Georgia. Some will worry about the timing of it given the full time job that recruiting is these days. But we have some of the best college recruiters in the nation on staff plus we finally hired Daryl Jones to really organize that for us. If a recruit/"commitment" feels a need to leave Georgia behind because Rodney Garner is going to Auburn, then did we really need that kid anyway?

Soon Richt will name John Lilly to succeed Garner as the staff's recruiting coordinator and Grantham will be able to hire his own guy to coach the defensive line. Lilly is one of the best recruiters in the nation and headed up things in Tallahassee for years. With him, Bobo, McClendon and Grantham I like our chances with any recruit we aim to get.

Coaching wise, it will be interesting to see who Grantham goes after. He has contacts everywhere. I always wondered how good of a fit Garner was in Grantham's system, especially given that he's had some run ins with previous coaches on staff. And with my eye outside the arena I didn't see a ton of progress being made along the defensive line. Not saying that's all Garner's fault. I've just wondered how well all of our defensive coaches were reading off the same page.

Lastly, please understand that this is all Grantham's hire. So some of you that are daydreaming (and possibly smoking something funny) about Richt bringing in Hines Ward to recruit and David Pollack to coach defensive line...really? I mean have you listened to David Pollack lately? If he can't say something nice about Georgia football in Bristol do we really want him in recruits' living rooms?

Let Lilly coordinate and let Grantham bring in his guy. Like Michael Stipe, it's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

The Mayans were wrong!!!

No meteors. No scorched earth. All that happened was Garner changed zip codes! Not even a locust.

Plus, reports indicate Justin Beaver is still alive! Yah!

Best day ever...since yesterday!

The best SEC plays in 2012

Jarvis' forced fumble against Florida that Commings smothered in the endzone makes the cut. But should it be higher? What do you think?

First of all, I think those indeed are the top five for the season. Although I'm glad they chose Ace Sanders' punt return against Missouri rather than against Georgia.

If I'm rating just based on which is the most amazing, the Jarvis Landry catch is easily the best. Nothing against Manziel's touchdown pass, but that catch with the mid-air adjustment was spectacular. However, if I'm rating based on importance overall I think you have to go with Yeldon's touchdown with Jarvis' forced fumble a close second. Both helped solidify their teams' trip to Atlanta.

Support the Spike Squad

Remember these guys?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nebraska's ground game

To cast stones at our star linebacker is one thing.

But we need to look at how well Nebraska might be able to neutralize Georgia's pass rush. Alabama certainly did just that with the help of a record setting rushing performance. And a large part of the Crimson Tide's second half adjustments centered on the idea of running right at Jarvis Jones. 

And the fact is that it paid off handsomely. Jones is not known as a definitive run stopper and Bama was able to gain plenty of yards around his end and towards his number, sometimes with just a tight end designed to block him.

To make matters more unsettling, Nebraska will bring the nation's 8th best rushing offense to Orlando, boasting 254 yards per game. It's one thing to humanize All-American Jarvis Jones in a press conference and call him ordinary, will the Huskers be able to do it in the game as well? Sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah (jersey #8) leads the team with over 1,000 yards and quarterback Martinez added 973 on the season. That's more than enough to cause the Bulldogs problems considering our difficulty containing multiple threats in the same backfield.

However, despite what happened in the Georgia Dome a couple weeks ago, matching their season averages against Georgia will be a tall task for Nebraska. For one, Georgia could be deeper along the defensive line in this game than they were for the SECCG, possibly getting Abry Jones back to at least spell Garrison Smith and Ray Drew (along with Big John when we move him out to DE). By the 4th quarter in the last game the defensive front was gassed and gashed at will. And second, Nebraska's offensive line isn't as impressive as the last one we faced. However, they are full of juniors and seniors that average 16 starts between them.

I think Georgia's offense will put up some points on January 1st. A large part of whether or not Nebraska can do the same depends on how well we can control the line of scrimmage when they have the ball so we can contain the Husker ground attack.

Humanizing Jarvis Jones

On one hand I understand dismissing Jarvis Jones' dominance if you are about to face him on the field. I wouldn't want to dwell on that topic either if I were Nebraska's Taylor Martinez.

However, it might just piss 29 off. And that ain't good either.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flushing the Tide...with pride

Wanted to share some thoughts from finally manning up and rewatching the SEC Championship game. I can't say that I feel better in terms of the outcome. But it was validating (again) to see that our team gave everything on the field, against the best team in the country, in the greatest game of the season.

No amount of heartbreak can take away my pride in that.

The first thing I'd point out is that even those who contributed to big plays by Bama (for example: Swann on a couple passes, Gurley late in responding to a blitz on the last play and Conley who beat himself up a little for doing something that comes naturally to him) had big games.
  • Without Gurley's legs we're no where close at the end. The kid is just a grown ass man running the damn football. Period.
  • The Swann-Cooper battle was interesting to watch the whole game. Cooper might have gotten the better of him, but I hope to see that match up again next season. They are both two very talented football players.
  • Even Verne and Gary pointed out how much we were missing Marlon and Bennett on the perimeter and down field blocking. Conley missed a block or two early, but laid some good ones as the game progressed. And he was a good two strides ahead on the interception. I didn't realize he has gained that much separation until last night.
  • A lesser quarterback would've thrown in the towel, especially after that hit by Dial. If you aren't hoping in your heart of hearts that Aaron Murray comes back next either didn't see the same game I did or I just don't want to know you.
Next, the coaching was the only thing that came close to matching the play on the field. In fact, early on the players were a little tight and took a while to settle in. Yet the coaches hit the ground running. The feeling out and eventual chess match between Bobo and Smart was especially interesting to watch. Bobo called a great screen pass that was negated by a block in the back that kind of epitomized the first quarter - great play calling on both sides, yet neither team could break through completely.

Georgia eventually struck first of course, bolstered by a perfectly executed and well designed fake punt. That was much more than a shot in the arm for the game. How many great trick plays have we seen in recent memory that were negated because of poor execution and/or a flag on the field? Once Commings cradled Lynch's pass for the first down it felt like a monkey sliding off the back of Coach Richt and his staff.

In terms of clock management, there's nothing more to be said about how the game ended for Georgia. Richt and others have answered those questions more than sufficiently. However, it's interesting that not more has been made of Saban's mismanagement of the clock at the end of the first half. They got a field goal out of it, but lost at least a couple shots at the endzone and took two timeouts into the locker room. I'm sure it helps when you win the game, but that really could've come back to bite them.

Last point - if you were in the stadium, there was no way to escape knowing that this was as hard-hitting an affair as you will ever see. But until you see it on television (with the added luxury of replay), you just can't truly appreciate it. So although it was painfully agonizing to watch my team fall short of a goal again that they had so valiantly earned, it was worth it for me to see this epic game once more.

In the end the score was the same, the result was just as painful. But take heart in this Dawg fans: in a game that featured bone crushing hits for 60 minutes, there were two goal line battles that Georgia clearly won. When we absolutely HAD to have a stop after a penalty put our defense's back to the wall, Ogletree met Lacy in a jarring collision and held him up. The next play Commings intercepted McCarron to leave Bama empty handed. And in the fourth quarter Gurley shed tacklers like they were children and ran straight downhill at a Bama defender, the only person who could keep him out of the endzone. He scored.

That may seem like a small consolation. Believe me, I know it does. But it shows how far this program has come. Ready, willing and not afraid to compete with the anyone, on any stage. And with that I'm ready to move forward. I'll never forget this game, and I'll never get over it. But I'm proud to have been a part of it. Again.

The Jarvis special

Pardon me if you already saw this. Meant to post it the other day.

From Buddy in Columbus, via Ching's twitter feed.

If someone has enjoyed this WaHo special I'd love to hear about it. I've never had quarterback's souls hot off the griddle.

Humpday Hilarity - Tortoise beats the Hare again

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two weeks to the minute until kickoff

It is exactly 1:00pm on December 18th. There are just 14 days until the Georgia Bulldogs play again. It has dawned on me finally that we are that close to the Capital One Bowl. And yet I have done little to nothing to prepare.

There are a number of real life reasons as to why that is the case. Kids are time destroyers and during the month of December there is something almost every night. But the main reason goes all the way back to the first day of the month. I have as yet been unwilling to let go. I'm a mess, a coward, a miserable fan just wanting to wallow in a pile of pity.

But that changes today. This evening I will do two things: 1) I will move the SECCG tickets that have been lying on the table in my house where I put them that night, and place them someplace where they are not a daily torment and reminder, and 2) I will finally watch the game from my DVR library and remove it from my tortured soul.

Tomorrow took two and half weeks to get here. The game in Orlando is just a bowl against a Big 12 B1G team, but it is one that deserves some attention. So tomorrow I will wear my big boy pants again, stop crying and be free to give the Cornhuskers the consideration they deserve.

Wish me luck. Go Dawgs!

Part corn, but all Dawg

This was a fun article about Coach Richt's midwestern family. You might learn a little something about our coach, like where he got his appreciation for wiffle ball.
“I've honestly been tossing and turning a little bit, but I have to go with Georgia simply because it's just blood,” said Bill Richt, the former Bellevue East basketball coach and retired teacher who even publishes a CornDawg newsletter that he distributes to almost 150 family and friends. “I've been a Nebraska fan for 30 years longer than I've been a Georgia fan, but I just have to go with that.”

Early enrolling, a personal choice

Georgia could have as many as 18 early enrollees for the 2013 class that currently stands at 30 commitments. To help wrap your head around that, Gentry Estes gives this thorough account of the growing practice of getting on campus early, both to help your team manage its roster and to help yourself get a head start.

Here's some nuggets:
Tray Matthews moving to Athens very soon.

  • "Enrolling early helps at any position, but the general consensus is that quarterbacks benefit the most from it. Of Georgia’s four scholarship quarterbacks currently on campus, three of them enrolled early, including three-year starter Aaron Murray."
  • “I have a real, real good opportunity to come in and start as a true freshman, because Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams will be leaving,” Matthews said. “If I come on in, I’ll get a good head start on some of the other players coming in then. Coaches said I have a good shot at coming in and starting. … It’s just a good opportunity, and you can finish school early too. In three or three-and-a-half years, we could be done with school and have our degree too.”
  • Lynch, a Massachusetts native, was in a similar place. He could have enrolled early opted against it because he was class president and played on his high school's basketball team. “I just think I would have been cheating my class,” Lynch said. “I think my career would have taken off a little bit faster had I done it. That being said, everything’s worked out now, and I’m glad I didn’t. The way sports are for teenagers right now, they’re put in such a bind. When I was growing up, I played soccer, baseball, football, basketball, hockey. Where now it’s like you’ve got to focus on one, and that’s all you can do.

Monday, December 17, 2012

No meatloaf, just perspective

Just didn't feel right posting anything light-hearted. Maybe that sounds hypocritical given that I've been posting stuff about bowl prep and such. I don't know.

But I do know that we continue to learn more about ourselves each day. And I mean that as individuals and the collective "we". I continue to love all people that I share this Earth with, whether they vote the way I do, wear orange, call Coca-Cola "pop", are mentally ill, left-handed, dark skinned, bald, want to ban the guns we own, don't know what grits are, treat yield signs as stop signs, or feed into sensationalist media. I love you all.

via My Sandy Hook Family Fund
But Friday broke me down. It shook my faith as well as my ability as a parent. As you read this my kids are going about their school day as if it was just another ordinary day, yet they are doing so after their mother and I had to expose them to something as evil and vile as we had ever seen.

Yes, I love you all but sometimes you piss me the hell off. Just driving to work this morning I saw news vans ready to roll film outside of elementary schools; so focused on getting some story for their producer rather than thinking for one moment how that is affecting the little lives they are putting in front of the camera, or their parents' frame of mind as they drop their children off.

I'm shaken but not shattered. Which makes me a lot like you I'm sure. Even though I wish it had never needed to be told, I take heart in stories like Vicki Soto's. She went to Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning to teach her first graders about reading and writing. Instead they learned what courage looks like as she hid them in cabinets and closets before being gunned down herself. That's something that's not taught in any undergraduate course or internship, yet Ms. Soto found it within herself to do what was needed to save lives. Amazing.

Together let's agree to a couple things. Let's agree not to give credence to people and organizations using the dead bodies inside that schoolhouse to further their political agenda. Regardless of our own feelings and leanings, that simply is not right. And most importantly, let's agree to do something special for a child every day that we can, but today of all days. Kids need to know that life can be scary, but that people are good and will do whatever they can to protect them from it when necessary. Even if it means looking evil in the face like Ms. Soto did.

The greatest measure of courage comes when it is faced despite the fear of doing so. And it is with that thought that we should take the next step forward.

I've made a donation on our behalf to help the healing in Newtown. I encourage you to do the same Reader.

Jarvis pitches to Garrison

Some team bonding over wiffle ball on a day off.

(via @WeRunThisState) @MarkRicht gave the #Dawgs a break from practice today and the team played a Wiffle Ball Tournament!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Morgan kicking through it

This is a nice reflective piece by Paschall on kicker Marshall Morgan. It covers the highs and lows and you learn a little but about his competitive spirit. Take this for example:
He missed a 37-yard attempt against Florida and missed badly on a 47-yarder against Ole Miss, but his least favorite try was a 51-yard miss against Georgia Southern. Darreion Robinson was waiting in the back of the end zone and caught Morgan's short kick, and he ran the ball out for a 59-yard return to Georgia's 41-yard line before Morgan made the tackle.
"It was a perfect snap and a perfect hold, and I should have gotten it," Morgan said. "It was a windy day, and I was already mad as it was. Just to have a guy return my kick really got under my skin."
Good stuff. About the only thing not covered is Morgan and Lindley's job on kickoffs. Together they averaged 40% touchbacks on 85 kickoffs. That's only good enough for middle of the road nationally. But Lindley was really booming them towards the end of the season. He had five touchbacks alone against Tech and was the primary guy on kickoffs.

Next season the job will be Morgan's alone. His best game was his first; against Buffalo he had five touchbacks on seven tries. So he has the power, and certainly had the control as he has yet to kick one out of bounds in 33 tries.

Geathers gone?

If you want to know why I listed Kwame as an underclassmen likely about to play his last game as a Georgia Bulldog, here's why:
Geathers’ family has a history of turning pro with eligibility remaining, but he said he will make his own decision.
His brother, Robert, left after his junior season at Georgia and was a fourth-round draft pick in 2004. Another brother, Clifton, went in the sixth round in 2010 out of South Carolina.
Asked if he could buck the trend of Geathers leaving as underclassmen, he said: “I feel like already broke the trend. I’ve been here for four years. They were there for three years.”
I think Kwame would dominate next season and possibly vault himself into the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. But the fact is that he's 22 years old and has been in Athens since he was a kid. I hope I'm wrong. And I really hope Grantham can convince him to leave when he's I did.

And look at how I turned out.