Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saban leaves. Who replaces?

**preview of a post for Tuesday**

So just hours after Alabama tarnished the golden domers in an unspeakable fashion (we told y'all to stay away from Coral Gables' miniature burger eateries), head coach Nicholai Saban leaves to coach the New England Patriots. Surprise y'all! Reminds me of that day in 2002 when Spurrier resigned. Bedlam in the streets! Dark clouds lifted! Life anew in the southeast!

"Frumpy chic" is in this winter. 
So...who's next in Tuscaloosa? Of course it didn't take long to dispel the rumor that Bill Belichick was heading to Alabama when he promptly said he would finish the season in New England and then open his own clothing line alongside Giselle BΓΌndchen. 

Pick up your jaw Brady. Everyone saw that coming.

That leaves a laundry list of coaching candidates; everyone has put their name in the hat, from the absurd in Derek Dooley to the mundane in Houston Nutt. Still there's some intriguing names popping up on the radar. Wonder who PAAAAWWWWLLL!!! will pick?

  • Kirby Smart - too easy
  • Vince Lombardi - too dead
  • Major Applewhite - too young
  • Bill Parcells - too old
  • Gene Chizik - too available
  • Mark Richt - too nice
  • Bill Cowher - too unproven
  • Chip Kelly - too wide open
  • Willie Joe - too drunj
Gonna be an interesting ride. If you hear of any other names, throw em in the comments.

(not) Newsworthy

Some things I didn't get bent out of shape over this week.
  1. Taylor Martinez's pouty lip. Look, it was an emotionally charged Capital One Bowl, and the Nebraska quarterback and Shawn Williams were at the center of it. So his directed comments after getting beat down (literally, figuratively) in the 4th quarter was not surprising. Sour grapes people. He knows we own his ass. Settle down.
  2. Ray Lewis' retirement. He's one of the best football players of the modern era. But he also helped some fellow thugs get away with murder. So you know, there's that. Still, I don't get upset over the idolization of Lewis. I mean, ESPN wants him behind the desk on Sundays, so it's not like they're gonna bring up anything as mundane as a double murder trial that Fulton County botched.
  3. SEC bowl record. Of course I'm on record as being "one of those" that roots against the cohorts. So this one is easy and standard practice. But some people get so bent out of shape when national discussion turned towards the LSU/MSU/FU losses. Pundits and casual CFB fans start spouting off about how the SEC is overrated. The bottomline is we know where the men play. Let them have their fun on the playground. It's cute really.
Plus, aTm won last night. Ole Miss has a good chance against Pitt today. Then Bama does their thing...suddenly the SEC could reasonably finish 6-3.

Official, unofficial new defensive line coach

It can't be official until Tuesday when the job posting officially closes, but we have upgraded MSU's new defensive coordinator as our new defensive line coach.
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham wasted little time in hiring a new defensive line coach once the Bulldogs' season ended with Tuesday's 45-31 victory over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. 

DawgNation has learned that on Friday night, Mississippi State defensive line coach Chris Wilson accepted the same position at Georgia, replacing long-time coach Rodney Garner, who took a position with Auburn on Dec. 20. 

Wilson, who served as co-defensive coordinator at Mississippi State in 2010 and defensive coordinator in 2011, was the Bulldogs' primary defensive play-caller the last two seasons, seasons in which MSU has ranked 16th and 28th in scoring defense. In 2011, the Bulldogs were 15th in the country in rushing defense and 17th in tackles for loss. 
Plus, he has special teams experience y'all!

Friday, January 4, 2013

One lonely gator

Aside from my deep rooted hate for all things gator, this little story and picture is what is great about college football. A seldom used junior joining his school's band one last time on the field after a game. (edit: closer inspection, appears Kitchens is a junior)
Junior linebacker Darrin Kitchens ran over to the band section, held his helmet high and proudly sang the fight song. It didn’t matter that he was the only one standing alone while his other teammates ignored his gesture.
According to the participation report, Kitchens never played in the game. Yet he seemed to savor this final moment and I'm sure the band appreciated his participation.
I'd probably want to bash Kitchens' teammates for not joining him, but I also understand wanting to get off the field quickly following what happened against Louisville. And somehow it just makes the story better that despite the way the game played out, this player decided to enjoy his last moment of the 2012 season doing something he loved most about it.

Stay gold College Football. Stay gold.

**stole this from JaxDawg's timeline. He's a good one to follow if you're on the twitter.

Murray and Geathers

Couple weeks ago I said Kwame would be leaving Athens early. No real basis in fact, other than it's been a family tradition. Today, I see no reason to go in any other direction. In fact the only reason I can find for him to stay is that there are a good number of defensive tackles entering the draft this year. In the end, that won't be enough.

But Aaron Murray...he's a real question mark. As we discussed earlier, he can't control his height. Since the NFL came back to him with a 2nd-3rd round grade, it's not like that is going to improve considerably. I mean, I guess I could see him getting into the 1st round if every single piece of the 2013 season fell into place, he won a Heisman and beat Carolina by throwing a touchdown pass through Clowney's ear canal. But what is really left for him to improve upon that he has not already? His rushing stats are the only thing that have dropped since his freshman season instead of risen.

Sure, the reasons for Murray to stay are very real: finishing an advanced degree, chance at more individual and team accolades, another shot at the SEC title. He'd actually play next year instead of carrying a clipboard somewhere.

But, he'd be getting paid to carry that clipboard. Not that he needs the money, but he's always been a guy that likes a challenge. Is there much in Athens that is challenging him anymore? More directly, in the NFL he'd be pursuing a dream and would probably crack a lineup somewhere. So, I'm changing my tune on this one and saying he also leaves Athens early. In effect, making it a clean sweep of lost underclassmen.

Regardless, we'll know something soon. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is not until January 15th. But classes begin at UGA on Monday. If we haven't heard anything definitive by then it will be interesting to see if Geathers and Murray (and Jones if you're clinging to hope) are registered for Spring Semester.

Jarvis and Tree

About time to update NFL departures. Here's my first thoughts on the topic, and here's an additional thought or two on Murray and Geathers, who are the two big question marks. I've almost finished an update on the quarterback and defensive tackle that should be out later today or tomorrow morning. For now, let's look at the easy ones.

As expected, Alec Ogletree is leaving. He wasted no time in announcing that after the game Tuesday. He was the easiest to read because he really can't do any more at this level and he's already lost plenty of time on the field, both to injury and stupidity. And still he's one of the best playmakers on the team and in the nation.

In fact, in terms of production there arguably wasn't a better linebacker this season, anywhere. Even though he was suspended for four games he still out tackled everyone else on the team and averaged 11 per game. That's good enough for 8th in the nation. He is still a raw talent having moved from safety to linebacker while in Athens, but he won't last long in this draft as teams will jump at the chance to add his speed to their roster.

And while we're looking forward, it will be interesting to see what Tree does at the Pro Day and the NFL combine. Despite his ability and production, he has off the field questions as well as some that concern his durability. If he decides to showcase his skills in a lot of drills I think there could be several teams looking to draft him very early, including a handful that are willing to move up to do so.

Jarvis has also proved everything he can at the college level. He passed on first round money this time last year and did nothing but improve his stock in 2012. He's been at the top of mock draft boards and scout's lists for months. Like Tree, Jones really has no choice but to jump early either. Depending on how things shake out on the actual day of the draft, he could go as high as #1 or slide down around #10. In short, his financial future is set.

But what about his playing future? Can Jarvis evolve into an every down linebacker at the NFL level? We saw teams like Bama run right at him with great success. That's something he'll have to work on if he wants to see the field early in his career on downs other than 3rd and long. And there's no question he has the size and the strength to address that area of his game.

And still there is always the question of a team being the right fit. For Tree that might be an easier question as there are a number of defenses that could utilize his skills in different ways, similar to the way Thomas Davis developed as an NFL player. However, Jarvis would undoubtedly work best in a 3-4 base defense and there are currently only 12 teams that use that defense. Of those twelve, six of them have yet to finish playing. Meaning, they will be drafting from a low first round spot, presumably after Jarvis will be selected. So unless the Chiefs decide they want Jarvis in the top spot, he might best fit in with the Jets at number nine.

Regardless, any team that feels like questioning Jarvis Jones' drive and determination, need only go back to his time at USC in their research. He'll be a star at the next level. Just a question of how soon.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gator fail, crocheted

My favorite part of the 2013 Sugar Bowl will always be the three quarters of fail on the field. But this shot from the stands seals it up nicely with a bow.

I didn't know Norsemen wore jorts or invented the practice of crochet.

Good to know.

12 wins baby!!

via SanderlinAJC
Fitting picture. Although I'm not sure how the color of the drink inside the cooler wasn't caught during pre-game warm ups. Not to mention the gatorade towels on the sidelines. I thought Richt had pretty much made our point on that mess.

Also, while we're talking pictures, BassinDawg found this one of Evil Richt.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Murray to Marshall

This was my favorite touchdown from yesterday. Nothing against the other scores mind you. This one just tickled my fancy a bit more. Terrific throw and catch.

It was evident that Coach Bobo used his time in December leading up to the bowl game very wisely. Lot of different formations and looks to confront Nebraska with on the way to over 500 yards and six touchdowns. And this play was one of them. Both Gurley and Marshall in the game, which to their credit Nebraska handled pretty well initially. But Murray scrambled and bought some extra time, threw a beautiful pass that Marshall plucked out of the air expertly.

Clemson. You got next?

Wednesday thoughts on shucking the Huskers

That was a great game. I admit it was much closer than I thought it would be. Nebraska may not be their old man football selves, but they are a gritty team that fought hard after a humiliating loss in their championship game. Here's some other thoughts on the 45-31 win.
  • And that's where we should begin with this Georgia team. I didn't think we fought very hard except for the last quarter. The hangover from the SECCG that I feared would linger in fact, did just that. But the 2012 Georgia Bulldogs are a very talented team. That was enough to keep things close until the defense closed the door.
  • And that talent is best exemplified by the receiving corps. They came into the game without two of their best play makers in Bennett and Brown. Early on they also lost Malcolm Mitchell to a concussion. That left senior Tavarres King, Chris Conley and Rantavious Wooten as the only scholarship players with any real experience. And yet they made clutch catches and gave Murray targets to throw to the whole game.
  • Scott-Wesley ran good routes and showed off his dependable hands. That was good to see. He and McGowan stepped up. And of course Arthur Lynch was his usual wicked self.
  • Marshall didn't figure into the final stats as much as we hoped, but he played a more prominent role for sure. The "wild-Dawg" formation was not just a fancy wrinkle. It was well designed and kept Nebraska off kilter before yielding Gurley's big touchdown run where he ran 24 yards without really being touched.
  • Still, I kept thinking they were using that formation to set something up in the passing game. However, as curious as I am to see what Marshall or Gurley can do throwing the ball, I'm glad we didn't need it to beat Nebraska.
  • Special teams were not a train wreck...and that's about all I have to say about that right now.
  • Defensively we just seemed to be going through the motions for much of the game. Part of that I think is a credit to what Nebraska brings to the table offensively. Martinez has to be contained (which took a considerable edge off our pass rush), and as much as we were able to keep Abdullah under wraps that big fullback Burkhead continually gashed us to the tune of 140 yards rushing.
  • But our defense also showed what it can do when they absolutely have to. And that's really been the story all season long hasn't it? When they want to play like potential draft picks they get exposed (read: South Carolina, Kentucky and three quarters yesterday). But when they come together as a unit it is quite enjoyable to watch, like yesterday's fourth quarter.
  • Much is made about the 2012 season's halftime adjustments, especially Grantham. Against Nebraska we gave up a relatively easy drive to open the second half. But from there on out it was all Georgia really. As I watched the second half I couldn't help but wonder how much of it was adjustments and how much was just the defense deciding to play as a team.
I might look more closely at that one day when I settle in and watch the replay. Unfortunately, I've got nearly nine months to do that. Sigh. Overall, you have to look at the Capital One Bowl as a nice end to a great season - 12 wins is something not many teams can claim. The focus for the off season will be on which (if any) underclassmen decide to stick around, how the 2013 signing class shapes up and the buildup towards what should be a difficult early test in Clemson and South Carolina to start next season.

But as you turn your attention in those directions, be sure and take a few moments to appreciate what this team accomplished. I know that I will.

Clowney's gonna kill somebody

The NCAA needs to give Jadeveon Clowney special permission to pursue his professional football interests a year sooner than the rules allow. I mean, the guy is going to kill somebody. It's a miracle he hasn't already. Especially yesterday with this play.

That's just sick. I'm not sure how far along Clowney is towards his degree...ahem, anyway. Go ahead and put this guy in the NFL where he belongs. He's clearly done at this level.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Feliz YdosKtrece Muchachos!

Hope your life didn't flush before your eyes this morning.


And be careful leaving the hotel...

Wakey wakey! Eggs and rapies!

Happy New Year to you and yours! Let's
get ready to shuck em!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Misery - looking for something more

Decided in the interest of time to throw the what to look for post in with the misery. This is a trick I learned in a Blogging 204 class my second year at Georgia. It provides compact quality content while also saving the reader time.

Yes, you're welcome. Now, let's get on with it.

A five yard hangover
Still hungover from the Georgia Dome. I admit that. You do too, right? It's been nearly a full month and I've gone about my day to day obligations and functions almost seamlessly. However, I'm still sitting there having watched that last tick drain. My elbows are on my knees and my chin is resting in the palms of my hands. The confetti rains down and the Georgia players are dejectedly aimed towards the locker room.

Say hullo to my LIL friend Nicky!
While the rest of the world makes their resolutions, we are resigned to this fate. We'll be stuck in this hell for eternity. Always wondering, hoping and wishing for an alternate ending.

What's worse is that if we feel like this then imagine how the team feels? Imagine the task the coaches have in motivating the players for a game in Orlando. While the Dawgs are dining with Minnie Mouse and Goofy, Saban and his minions are living it up in Tony Montana's crib. We get spinning teacups and seven dwarfs, they get Crockett, Tubbs and all the coked out whores they can handle.

Somehow we have to put aside our grief, our abject misery for 60 minutes and play tackle football against Nebraska. Put a pot of coffee on. On second thought, just set aside a second handle of bourbon. Perhaps we'll just drink our way through it. Hair of the dawg as they say.

So, you want to know what to look for? Well here ya go:
  • Nebraska sucks. They're like maybe the fourth or fifth best team in their conference. I'm not sure what that conference is, but it's not the SEC where 4th or 5th best team is someone to be reckoned with. 
  • Understand that the first bullet is there to warn you of two things: we could blow these kids out of the water, or you could be especially frustrated if we play down to their level and lose this damn game. Either way, you've been warned.
  • They have a semi-hispanic mobile quarterback. He must be contained like a rogue frijole wrapped inside a burrito.
  • Our defensive line may or may not be ready to play this game. Jenkins found an "I" in "TEAM" and Abry is looking at spot duty. Nebraska averages 73 plays a game. If they come close to that total we could be in trouble. Our defense has to get them off the field. Quick. 
  • Again...frijole...burrito...contained...and smothered in Jarvis sauce.
  • Bobo wants to get Keith Marshall the ball more. Which means he doesn't mind scoring quickly. I don't either. However, some nice methodical 12 minute drives would be nice as well.
  • Our offense will score at will. In short, Pelini's "Blackshirts" have holes in them that give Coach Osborne nightmares.
Other than that, give DickSamIV the ball running downhill a few more times and then we'll just wait on Aaron Murray's press conference. Not to mention August 31st, when we finally get to make out with this sexy lady we call College Football again.

Happy New Year Reader! Go Dawgs! Shuck em good now y'all!

Bowls and SEC "allegiance"

The SEC bowls start today. So I thought I'd throw in my yearly tongue lashing for those of you that like to wallow around with our enemies. Stand back, and please....PLEASE!! try to reason with me in the comments.
Here...look in the mirror Fake Dawg fans.
It comes down to one question in my mind: how does Florida...or Vandy....or Mississippi State winning a bowl game help me? Argue all you want about SEC Pride and allegiance and some fake award ESPN created for you lap dogs. The gators winning a football game does nothing but make me miserable. Ever. Always has and always will.

Oh sure. You just sit there silently and hope for the scripted helmets to score more points, and tackle really well and throw the ball to the correct jersey. It's not like you're outwardly cheering for them and doing the gator chomp in your living room...mere feet from that spot on your wall with the picture of Lindsey Scott leaving them in his wake. You just sit on your hands and root for them mentally. Blah blah blah.

Shame on you. You make me sick. I'd root for General Sherman over the gators. I'd rather the Russians win an Olympic swimming event. I'd pull for painful itchy hemorrhoids over floriduh.

"But Bernie! Coach Dooley rooted for another SEC when his little boy was coaching up yonder. This isn't even that bad. It's a bowl game. It makes Georgia look better when their conference looks good."

Whatever jackhole. That's him, this is me I'm talking about. I'm proud my team is in the SEC, but part of being in this conference is the understanding that I'd rather see each of the other teams rot a slow death in Hell than win a football game. My allegiance is to Glory, Glory, not a conference that has Penn Wagers on payroll. Our coach has our best interests at heart, not the commissioner. So I support Coach Richt, not Mike Slive.

Therefore, I'd much rather see Louisville win by four touchdowns than mentally do the gator chomp. And the same extends to every other bowl eligible SEC team. I hope they all lose, handsomely.

Well...the BCS game...I don't know. I REALLY hate Notre Dame. And evidently they also harbor sexual assault criminals in addition to the (gasp!) closet protestants. Plus, maybe it helps my Dawgs finish higher in the rankings if Bama, a team we almost beat, win the MNC...??

Then again, what does that really do for me? Is the reward worth the embarrassment I feel having cheered for an enemy? I can't sing rammer jammer any better than I can root for Muschamp. So instead I guess I'll tune in on the off chance I get to see Brian Kelly sodomize Saban.

I do have one question though that maybe you can answer for me: where is Abuurn playing this year? I couldn't find them on the bowl schedule.

Alley emergence in Orlando

According to Jimmy Williamson, Coach Richt already has a biker gang. So if these officers were to try this stunt in Athens they'd be shackled and thrown in front of a judge.

Beard can't crack starting lineup

But he'll still get plenty of reps.
The biggest challenger, guard Austin Long, broke a bone in his right hand, setting him back. But he could play Tuesday against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, offensive line coach Will Friend said.
“We’re pretty much kind of stayed where it was at,” Friend said. “We’ve had good practices and had some good competition. There has been some up and down with it, but no, we’ll probably go with what we did toward the end of the year.”
Friend said that backup offensive tackle Mark Beard “will play a bunch.” Friend said that Long practiced well before his injury and “I was looking forward to playing him a good bit in this game.”

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blackshirts' black eye

I'll have my pre-game what to look for post up tomorrow. But in terms of attitude and overall engagement in the 2013 Capital One Bowl's outcome, this one really comes down to how mad each team is.

As mad as Georgia seemed to be in the wake of the SEC Championship game loss to Alabama, that could easily slip into an extended holiday hangover. And as mad at themselves as the Huskers were after getting curb-stomped in their conference title game, can it fuel them for a full month?

The Nebraska coaches are hoping so.
“It took a few days for everybody involved to get past it on any level,” defensive coordinator John Papuchis said. “It was very disappointing. I’d use the word embarrassing in the way especially we played on defense. Everybody on our team and on our staff is competitors. To go out there and be that close to achieving your goal, which we had set out last January to win the Big Ten and go on a six-game winning streak, to get there and play so poorly in the championship game was obviously disappointing.”
“You go back and look at the last game that we played, for whatever reason we did look a little leg weary,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “It looked like the second half of the season took a little bit of toll on us.” 

Keith Marshall's windmill vs the Huskers

Sounds like Bobo has designs of getting Keith Marshall in space for the upcoming Capital One Bowl against Nebraska Tuesday. The Huskers gave up just short of 4500 yards rushing to Wisconsin in the B1G Championship game. Here's what the Georgia offensive coordinator had to say about #4 going up against that defense:
“We’ve got a big plan for Keith in this game and expect him to make plays and play well in this game,” Bobo said. “He’s running good. I think the little bit of time off has helped him. He’s had some knee soreness the whole season and I think the rest has helped him. He’ll be fresh and ready to go on Tuesday.”
So, given all of this, I just have two questions: will we see more of Marshall's windmill, and can this come true?

Stat to the Future??: Keith Marshall - 12 carries, 278 yards 
and 3 touchdowns against Huskers. Dawgs finish with two 1000 yd rushers.