Saturday, February 2, 2013

Is Zander done?

Georgia fullback Zander Ogletree has gotten himself into more hot water. Some say he's off the team. But there's been nothing official from UGA yet.

Zander came back in time for the Florida game last season and had a huge impact. It seemed like things might finally turn around for him. Now however, he may just ride his brother's success as far as that can take him. That's a shame. Could really be a good player.

Hoop Dawg highlights, beat SC 67-56

Nice road win for Coach Fox and the Dawgs in Columbia SC. They controlled pretty much the entire second half and made their foul shots. Most notably, they didn't rely completely on KCP the second half.

Good, solid win. Their third straight and fourth in five games.

Starring Coach Richt as Bill Murray

Ever get the feeling that our offensive line recruiting is on a never ending loop of fail?

Don't get me wrong. I only want guys that want us. And I'm thrilled with the class we have already. But goddamn already. Shit. Can we catch one goddamned break?

Happy Groundhog Day y'all. Hopefully Richt says a prayer and drinks to world peace. Everything always works out in the end.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Countdown to NSD - 5 days

Whoa. If you know me, I neither embrace nor loathe following college recruiting. It interests me. No, it intrigues me. But about 60% of it is just really damn annoying.

But what broke and what happened yesterday is part of the reason recruiting is fascinating. Dee Liner is one of the top overall players in the 2013 class. There had been little interest between him and Georgia coaches at all.

That has all changed, completely.

To summarize, Liner (a top defensive tackle, formerly committed to Auburn and until recently believed to be in Saban's back pocket) of Muscle Shoals AL has reached out to Georgia coaches. He had to hunt down a new phone number since Garner isn't around anymore, but once he found one the flirtations began. It reached a crescendo yesterday because Coach Richt, Grantham and new defensive line coach Chris Wilson flew out to see Liner in northwest Alabama. Now Liner is taking an official visit to Athens this weekend.

The end result is there is both much excitement and much confusion. Liner's interest draws into question all manner of once possible scenarios. But I think it's best if we focus on these points:
  • Liner is a big fish. Just getting him to Athens is a huge get. If the coaches can convince him to sign with Georgia it will be quite the late game coup. Here's his essentials if you need them.
  • The kid has had some legal problems. Don't kid yourself if that hasn't weighed on Richt's mind and been discussed at length in the halls of Butts-Mehre the last couple weeks. If he's visiting then the coaches are at least comfortable enough to spend some time getting to know him more.
  • Liner and Reuben Foster have long been rumored to be aiming to end up at the same school. It doesn't appear as if Reuben will be back in Athens this weekend. But "the ringleader" and chief 2013 recruiter Shaq Wiggins will be back in Athens. Wiggins has long been vocal about getting top notch talent in the 2013 class.
  • What this does with other recruits, namely those at Liner's position and those coming in this weekend is both easy and difficult. JUCO defensive tackle Toby Johnson isn't announcing until after signing day. He's had plenty of time to commit prior to what happened yesterday. And big time linebacker Matthew Thomas from Miami may still come to Athens, but he'll have to be content staying warm on a back burner.
In short, it appears our list of targets is this: Laremy Tunsil, Montravius Adams, Davin Bellamy, Alvin Kamara, Reuben Foster and Dee Liner, . The coaches are going for the deep ball. Don't get caught biting on the pump fake. It'll be a touchdown, or an incompletion.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Countdown to NSD - 6 days

Let's update things...and then wait for the info to become obsolete in an hour or so.

Matthew Thomas
Davin Bellamy - Lots of rumors about his interest as related to Grantham potentially staying/leaving. To complicate matters Tennessee coaches are feeding him squirrel jerky and other false truths. Yes, Bellamy's interest is directly related to Grantham being in Athens. And the good news - Grantham will most definitely be in Athens next season. As long as our defensive coordinator doesn't go on a weekend bender and get caught with a room full of hookers wearing red panties, Bellamy will sign with Georgia.

Alvin Kamara - I keep falling into the same trap most everyone else is, isn't there a better opportunity for Kamara to play in 2013 if he's in Athens and not Tuscaloosa? It's a trap because the kid truly is unafraid of competition. I'm sure he's compared the depth charts, but how much weight that has in his decision is something only he knows.

Johnathan Ford - Very simple really: this still hinges on where he visits this weekend. If he comes to Athens we have a shot. If not, we move on.

Matthew Thomas - His visit this weekend has always intrigued me. Most people see it as a joy ride type visit. But in truth his dad has wanted this one and word is Thomas doesn't really visit just for the frequent flyer miles. With Grantham's knack for talking up his linebacker positions, watch this one carefully this weekend. Plus I think Richt might be visiting Thomas in home as well.

Montravius Adams - Just as intriguing to me as Thomas, but for much different reasons. Lot of debate as to who leads here. Clemson has been on him a long time, but the family evidently prefers Georgia. There are many variables at work here: proximity, in-state vs out of state, 3-4 vs 4-3 defense (a pretty big consideration for a DT prospect) plus all the relationships he's made throughout this process. Everyone has an opinion. I really like our chances.

Reuben Foster - As he returns home from Tijuana San Diego State, we simply wait for his announcement on Monday. Still feels like Auburn. But Georgia's done all they can here. If he can bridge the distance gap somehow in Athens with his family I think he knows he's better off at Georgia. He's seen the instability on the plains first hand. But don't blame the guy for wanting to be close to his daughter and other family.

Roof returns

Ted Roof has always had a stiffy for the engiNerds.
“I’ve always tried to think about where I am and just doing the best job I can where I am,” said Roof, when asked if he had hoped to return to his alma mater. “But I love the school and this institution, and some of my best friends in the world graduated from this place, so I’m very excited about the opportunity and very thankful.”
Can't say any of that makes a bit of sense to me, but I am very glad he feels that way. Welcome back Teddy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More Gruden and Tennessee Tampa connections

Was listening to the Dan Patrick Show yesterday and he has lead the charge on the rumors that double murder accomplice and soon to be retired Raven linebacker Ray Lewis will be a suit of some capacity on ESPN next year. Patrick started with this months ago and so far things have pretty much followed that script.

The only question is how Lewis fits in. He evidently wants to be free on weekends to watch his son play football for the Hurricanes. That's more than a small hurdle in negotiations. Unless Monday night was open in some way.

And that's where Tennessee comes in. We all remember the rumors emerging from Vol boards and interwebs that current Monday night color guy John Gruden was going to be the new Tennessee coach. Turns out there was some fire there after all. No, he wasn't going to be the next coach in Knoxville. But he is done in the Monday Night booth evidently.

Maybe. Probably. And from there we head to Dallas where the final connections to Tennessee Tampa Bay are being sewn up. Jerry Jones hasn't fired kid wonder Jason Garrett, yet. But he's assembling a staff of curiosity.
It started three weeks ago with the hiring of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli came next, followed by special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.
A string of three coaching hires in as many weeks, each with ties to the ’02 Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad that won Super Bowl XXXVII, has left plenty pondering if Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could be posturing himself for a run at Jon Gruden – the head coach of those ’02 Bucs – to be the next man to call the shots for the Cowboys.
It might sound crazy, but it’s not unthinkable to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if Jon Gruden was the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys,” King said during an interview on KTCK-AM 1310 the Ticket this week.
So Vol fans were right. Gruden will coach football again. Maybe as soon as next season. Perhaps they can take that to the bank...?

Countdown to NSD - 7 days

As I read over yesterday's posts that were so running back heavy I couldn't help but feel as if I had slighted the one guy that deserves to be mentioned - AJ Turman. He's the back that's been committed to Georgia since November and hasn't wavered once. Meanwhile here I am spouting off about Kamara and new kid on the block Ford. Luckily, right on cue, the ABH's Marc Weiszer picked up the slack.
“It will give me more of a chance to get on the field early,” said the 6-foot, 200-pound Turman from Boone High School in Orlando, Fla. “I already committed before [Malcome] ever transferred. It does make a difference. There are only two other backs instead of having four, or like Alabama, having six backs or something like that.”  
While rushing for 1,245 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior, the bruising Turman said he looked first for the chance to hit somebody en route to getting the ball downfield.
“I’m a power back but I’m also fast — I can make moves and everything,” Turman said. “Really, my power and my speed are my two keys in the game. … I ran over a lot of people, but that’s not how I got most of my yards. I had a lot of breakaway runs, normally on tosses. I had to make a couple of moves from people.”
Turman watched on television this year as Gurley and Marshall emerged as playmaking backs during their freshmen seasons. 
“The running style Georgia has and the backs they are looking for, it’s just a great fit for me,” he said. “Watching Todd and Keith and hearing about how they were when they first came and how they are now, the development they did in only a year that excited me to know they can develop me that much and make me ready to be on the field as a freshman.” 
Let's see him in action.

He may not have the top gear that Gurley does, but Turman reminds me a lot of #3 just from that video. Doesn't shy away from contact, good vision and hits the holes with authority. Easy to see how the Georgia coaches sold the kid on committing to an out of state school so early.

And regardless of what Kamara and Ford decide next week, I'm glad Turman is Athens bound.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Countdown to NSD - 8 days, part two's time to talk about this Johnathan Ford fella. He de-committed to Vanderbilt yesterday, not long after getting an offer from Georgia, among others.

What else do we know? Well, he's rated a three star running back out of New Hope AL and really stood out in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game. Although he's been committed to Coach Franklin and the 'Dores for nearly nine months he's picked up offers from several other programs of late. Sensing his stock was quickly rising, he decided to weigh his options anew. As a result he'll host many suitors this week and may take another official this weekend. As of right now the only visits other than Nashville I'm aware that he's been on are to Auburn and Tennessee.

Ford is listed as 5'11" and 190lbs. I'll let the video below speak for itself, but it appears the kid knows how to tote the rock.


Johnathan Ford
Of course, high school videos...well, when's the last time you saw a bad one? 

Reading between the lines as much as we can, we know Richt and staff want Alvin Kamara. They've pressed hard for him and appear to be in a tight two way battle with Alabama for his signature. Before Kamara left town Sunday, Richt's staff surely took a bit of time to get a temperature check from the Norcross standout. It doesn't appear as though they got the answer they wanted. And naturally many are jumping to the conclusion that Kamara's answer was along the lines of a "No thanks".

But the truth is the staff feels the need to add another running back to the fold, in addition to AJ Turman. Offering Ford puts them in better position to do that. And their recruitment of Ford extends well beyond Sunday evening. He's not just an instinctive offer.

The bottom line is that you can't count Georgia out of it with Kamara. He's an in-state prospect that they've recruited really well. It'll be an uphill battle to get his letter of intent, but it's a battle Richt and staff have been fighting in for quite some time. They're not going to quit now.

As for Ford, if the coaches can get him on campus this week for an official visit then we'll know there's a shot with him. If not, Auburn would appear to be his next destination of choice.

Countdown to NSD - 8 days, part one

Somewhat early predictions.

Alvin Kamara - if I started last week at 50/50, I'm definitely south of that now. He feels more than a lean towards Bama now. Georgia not out of it, but facing more of an uphill battle it appears.

Laremy Tunsil - new challenger in Ole Miss. Appears to be the Rebels and the Dawgs down the stretch for this one. Glad he didn't visit Oxford the weekend right before signing day. He still seems too strong on Georgia.

Toby Johnson - he's Georgia.

Dooly County's Montravius Adams
Reuben Foster - it's Auburn, or Georgia, or Washington, maybe Bama, or even San Diego State.  My gut days Auburn, but only because of family. He really likes Georgia. But the hometown and family pull might end up being too much.

Montravius Adams - I think in the end he picks Georgia. We'll see if I still feel that way this time next week, but that's where I am here. Just a hunch though.

Davin Bellamy - similar to Tunsil in that he just had an impressive visit almost out of nowhere. I think Grantham really sold this kid on what he could do as soon as next season. Call it the continued Demarcus Ware effect. He comes to Athens.

Matthew Thomas visits this weekend. But it'd take something pretty special to even get our hat on the table for signing day. Don't hold your breath. And things have cooled too much with Tyrone Crowder I think. So right now it's the list above, to see who comes in late for an official visit this weekend after the coaches sit in some living rooms and drop in on some high school gyms. That might gives us an indication as to how some of these guys are leaning for sure, as well as what late breaking targets emerge on the radar.

Aaron Murray and his team(s)

The University of Georgia hasn't been known to produce all-world quarterbacks. And that's despite the rise in the position we've seen while Richt has been the head coach and the legacy that an NFL quarterback like Fran Tarkenton produced. Still, you don't get into the esteemed air that UGA is in nationally and historically by starting warm bodies under center. Yesterday's post by Garbin really brings that point home. If you haven't read it, please take the time.

What Garbin does is break down the records for the Bulldogs' starters since 1973 with a fine tooth comb, as only he can really do, all the way down to a discrepancy with a Buck Belue start against Auburn in 1979. Wow. I began reading it to see where Aaron Murray stacks up against other signal callers that have worn the red and black. But the piece certainly takes you on a much deeper journey than that. (Personally, I began to remember all the debates we would have in Russell Hall in 1989/1990 about whether Preston Jones should start over Greg Talley. Good times.)

Great stuff indeed. But back to Murray, I decided to take what Garbin had dug up and put his current totals against next season's schedule. What follows is Garbin's table listing UGA's all time quarterbacks by winning percentage, preceded by a table I produced on a sticky note as I calculated/projected where Murray could end up. Feel free to correct any basic mathematical mistakes for me.

2013 projected record
Overall W/L record
W/L percentage

So even if Murray and the Dawgs went undefeated next season he would only surpass two other quarterbacks in team history in terms of winning percentage, good for 8th place all time. If the 2013 Dawgs "bottom out" at 8-5 then he'll only fall from 10th to a tie for 11th. So regardless, (at least in terms of winning percentage) he'll go down as one of Georgia's more average quarterbacks that also had a successful winning record.

I don't throw all this up on the wall to belittle our guy in any way. In fact, I think this goes against one of the biggest criticisms Murray gets. To win the big games you have to have the big teams. There's no question in my mind that Murray is a much better (NFL ready) quarterback than Belue and Lastinger. But the teams those guys played on were on a different level than the ones we've had since 2010. They were world beaters that continuously rose to the occasion.

The team Murray came back for his last year of eligibility to be a part of certainly aspires to be world beaters. Personally I'm not taking the woe is me approach to our 2013 defense that many are, and if our offense can stay healthy they could be one of Georgia's best ever.

So, can Murray lead them to the top? That remains to be seen. But looking at Garbin's list, I can tell you there is only one or maybe two I would even consider taking over Aaron Murray.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Countdown to NSD - 9 days

If you're a Dawg fan you have to be as pleased as you could possibly be after this weekend's visits from the top remaining targets: Alvin Kamara (RB, Norcross), Reuben Foster (ILB, Auburn), Davin Bellamy (OLB, Chamblee) and Montravius Adams (DT, Dooly Co.). Just getting all four to come the same weekend is a huge win. But from all the feedback it's clear they all had a good time and enjoyed each other as much as they did Athens.

Here's a quick update on each of them.

Reuben Foster
Davin Bellamy - Grantham clearly put the full court press on the talented edge rusher out of Atlanta. Bellamy mentioned that he described him as the best outside linebacker in the country and it appears as if Georgia could be a clear leader. After the coaching changes in Tallahassee, this is a kid that is looking to feel comfortable somewhere. Sounds like Georgia has provided itself as a clear option.

Alvin Kamara - Still strikes me as someone that is balancing the art of playing things close to the vest while also making the most of his visits. My guess is still Bama here, but he's clearly comfortable ($) with the coaches, the players (including Gurley and Marshall who hosted him) and the program as a whole.*

Montravius Adams - Georgia has given him everything they could to sway this big prospect ($). But it still is an uphill climb. Clemson offered him first, so you have to feel they hold the edge.

Reuben Foster - Grantham showed ($)Foster ways in which they could move the nation's top inside linebacker around to utilize his talents in rushing the passer and making plays. Georgia has a lot in their favor, especially since Foster and Tray Matthews are so close. But nothing is going to be certain until the ink is dry with this one.

*Word is that Georgia coaches offered Vanderbilt commitment Johnathan Ford last night. He's a three star running back prospect out of New Hope, Alabama. Read into that what you will.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Countdown to NSD - 10 days

How many letters of intent is this picture worth?

That's Reuben Foster, Kamara, Davin Bellamy and Montravius Adams shortly after dinner last night. Nice looking bunch.

Other item of note, Bellamy tweeted that Grantham was quite fond of his skillset.

Dawgs gig em in College Station

Haven't put much effort into writing about basketball. To say it's been a frustrating season is selling it short. It's been that way for much longer.

But last night every thing came together quite nicely.