Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another frame for Grantham's defense

On second thought...

Maybe everyone should just keep talking about how bad Georgia is going to be defensively in 2013. Talk endlessly about how much they'll miss those first round draft picks and how you can't lose that much talent without rebuilding from the ground up. Discuss at length how Georgia is just going to be too young next season and will miss that veteran leadership on the field and off. And then even more lengthy diatribes about how Clemson will carve them up in the opener and South Carolina will stomp them flat the next week in Athens.

I'm sure by September these guys will be sick and damn tired of hearing about it and ready to GATA!

Meteor game moved to Eastern Russia

After waking up yesterday and learning that a meteor had scorched the skies over eastern Russia, I did what any responsible Dawg blogger should do: I put a call into Mike $live's office and asked about the possibility of moving the Tennessee-Florida game to Chelyabinsk each year.
Why would we do that Bernie?
Well, why wouldn't we do that Mike?
 So....who's up for helping me build a football field in Siberia this summer?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hunger Games, and Grantham's (new) defense

We're actually less than 200 days away from college football again. That both sucks and provides hope. At the same time. Much in the way a brownie provides excess fat calories and gooey deliciousness. Simultaneously. The two are married together; a union of dichotomous ambivalence.

If that makes any damn bit of sense to you in any way whatsoever, you are too good to read this blog. Carry on sir.

But for the rest of you, I'm already growing tired of one "woe is me" meme developing this off season. I know for Georgia fans there is always a sense of needing to panic and fret over something related to the football program. But this just sticks too far in my craw:

"Next season the defense is going to suck."

I get it y'all. There are numerous holes to fill and Jarvis ain't walking through that door. Ever again. They're all gone and they turned out the lights before they left town. Two nose tackles, 1.5 defensive ends (Jenkins played a lot here), 3 inside linebackers, 1 outside linebacker, 2 cornerbacks and 2 safeties. Assuming I haven't missed someone and have counted correctly, that's 11 (and a half) players. Jeez Louise that's a lot of talent and destruction.

But turn the lights back on and stop crying in the dark. That's also the defense that seemingly played more for draft stock than championship rings last season. There were some serious lapses and inexplicable flaws in some games and during important stretches which can be addressed by this size of roster turnover. Even without Shawn Williams around to dress them down in order to build them back up. (But I hope Richt keeps his contact info just in case.)

Those lapses and flaws can be blamed on Grantham! That's what many would have you believe, that the defensive coordinator is the problem for Columbia SC and Lexington KY and the near Tennessee fiasco at home. But if he's to blame for those, then he deserves credit for Columbia MO and Jacksonville, and the Vanderbilt beat down in A-Town. (For the record, this is a point that Tyler hits on with all four tires smoking in these two posts here and here.)

Besides, hard to argue with Grantham's logic heading into spring practice: 
“You’ve got to learn how to win a position before you can help us win a game.” 
The guys last year had won their positions. Subsequently, I would argue that they lost their hunger at specific moments when a voracious appetite was needed. Whether that is the coordinator's fault is a matter of debate on a level I'm not cleared for as one who types outside the arena. But we can all agree that the guys that will be competing for starting roles in 2013 will be eager to please and plenty hungry.

And I like the idea of that. A lot.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The (very, very) late Valentines Day shopping guide

For you bastards sitting at home because you totally crapped your pants as far as planning out this totally fake BS holiday...

I usually compile a much more compete list of gift ideas for that sexy awesome Dawgette in your life. But I didn't this year. Grab a lawyer and sue me.

Nevertheless, here's the best gift you can give. Who wants diamonds when you can give her a personalized jersey like the one I gave Mrs. Bernie.

You're welcome.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Ryne Rankin, against the grain

New Bulldog signee at inside linebacker Ryne Rankin is already a bit of a cult hero on campus. He's been there essentially since December, not long after the loss to Bama, learning the ropes of college life, managing college level classes and oh yeh, how to fill a void left by the likes of Christian Robinson, Alec Ogletree and Mike Gilliard. He hunts wild boar with his hands...his HANDS! His dorm room and twitter feed is filled with more carcasses and trophies from various hunts. He even has a fake twitter account that someone is running, which is something I thought only happened to movie stars and rap personalities.
A boar seen here next
to a wild Ryne. (via)

Regardless, he joins fellow freshman Reggie Carter as another early enrollee and together they will be joined by two more inside linebacker prospects in Johnny O'Neal and Tim Kimbrough. Amarlo Herrera is the only returning "mike" with any experience.

The extra time will not only help Carter and Rankin get to know the scheme better, it will also allow the team (and the fans) to get to know them better as well. Georgia needs a real player to step in and fill the void left in the heart of its defense. Rankin for one, appears ready for the task at hand.
“You’ve got to fly around to the ball. If you ain’t in the camera angle, my dad gets a little mad.”
That's East River High School's (Orlando, Fla) head coach Marc Rankin. No wonder this kid racked up 365 tackles his junior and senior seasons of high school. That's two seasons...and 365 tackles! If Rankin's gun doesn't jam when he gets cornered by a bear then he should have a long outstanding career in Athens.

Then again, he'd probably win that fight as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February fretfulness precedes any madness

If next month is madness, this month has to be something else. Before you even get to a March Madness bracket you have to trudge through February with its groundhogs, bipolar weather patterns and chocolate covered, rose petaled holiday. It's hard to look forward to any March Madness 2013 betting when a rodent is trying to outdo the weatherman and your Valentine has the flu.

In short, February sucks.

Speaking of bipolar, there's also Georgia basketball. Hoop Dawgs dropped a hard one at home to Alabama last night to end an impressive winning streak. It was painful to watch (other than the first five minutes or so) and frustratingly recognizable. After 30 minutes of toils and troubles, continuously failing to find any answer to the Crimson Tide's luke warm attack, Fox's Dawgs finally ran out of time.

It was a disheartening loss for the team and fans alike. Fox was clearly agitated after the game and only gave an abbreviated post game press conference before leaving. It's just not a good sign for a team that is teetering on the brink of being all but eliminated from post season invites.

Still, there's promising signs as well. A team that was playing at its peak the last couple of weeks had chances to steal the win away at the end; they didn't just give up hope and falter completely. There was the run at the start that saw Georgia sprint to a early double digit lead, as well as the fact that the Dawgs out-rebounded the Tide 41-33. It's just that the hard work on the boards and the burst of points at key moments wasn't enough to produce a sixth consecutive win.

Personally, I have some heavy questions regarding the program on my mind. I keep shewing them out because they're not appropriate at this time. But they're similar to questions I've had for over 20 years. Yet the focus must remain on today. So now we must fret through some difficult road tests in Oxford, Fayetteville and Nashville plus a home tilt against the Gamecocks before we get to March's home stretch.

Will we still be in any post season discussion? I don't know. The door closed a little bit last night. It's harder to see now.

Harlem Shake, feat. Dawgs on Top

Like many of you I'm sure, I only learned about this latest viral phenomenon yesterday. And I'm already sick of it. But as a blogger I just can't pass up an opportunity to get Coach T dancing posted here...for posterity y'all.

Q&A - Nabulsi wraps up Signing Day

DawgNation's Radi Nabulsi was kind enough to sit down and help us wrap up National Signing Day. The Q&A is a mix of looking back at the 2013 recruiting process and a look forward for things to come. You can find more of Radi's stuff here (not to mention Ching and Kipp's) as well as on Twitter.

1. First all, thanks for taking the time Radi. Nowadays we know recruiting coverage is a year round business. One thing I'm always curious about with you all is how you keep all the names and information straight. It's not just all the names, but also where they're from, their position(s), the schools they're interested in, where they've visited. How do you keep all that straight? 
I rarely do. Kipp Adams is the one with the encyclopedic knowledge of the prospects for a given year. As for me the only ones I can remember without having to look them up in our Recruiting Nation database are the guys with whom I have spoken. Once you drive to a recruits high school or interview him at a camp, well, there are just so many more points of reference from which to recall their particulars. I remember going to East Hall High School only to find out that Sterling Bailey had gone home early. That sort of thing makes it easier to remember what high school he attended.

2. And recruiting isn't the only thing you cover for DawgNation. You get to know the current players pretty well, especially during the season. Do you like that balance? What are some of the advantages/disadvantages if any?  
I do like the balance. It was something that I implemented at my previous stop. By covering the players as recruits I already have a good relationship with them when they arrive at Georgia. I am there for their first start and their final game. Knowing their background allows me to ask better questions and hopefully get better answers since they are more prone to trust me after having known me for years. The disadvantage is that I don’t spend as much time covering the team beat like David Ching does or the recruiting beat like Kipp Adams does. So I am not the expert on either side like they are. But I prefer to straddle the fence as it were.

3. Okay, so this year's class. I saw you asking on Twitter last week for everyone's grade for Georgia. What was the majority ruling and do you agree? 
A- and I agree with that.

Johnny O'Neal of West Laurens HS 
4. Georgia is coming off a season when they had less than 70 scholarship players. I can see one side that is happy the coaches went aggressively after some big targets, but also the other side that is unhappy we didn't fill every spot. Do you think we needed to sign a few more than we did? 
Georgia addressed almost every area of need. The Bulldogs only signed one player for the secondary in 2012 and did not sign an inside linebacker. This year they signed five inside linebackers, five safeties and three cornerbacks. They added three defensive linemen, three offensive linemen and a top flight quarterback. Blake Tibbs was the only receiver in the Class of 2012; Georgia signed six in 2013. They did miss on some top talents, but 32 players, 13 of which enrolled early and 14 of which are in the ESPN 300, is nothing to sneeze at.

5. The downside I've pointed to is that we get so involved in the hype of the NSD guys, we forget about the ones that have been fully committed to Georgia, some for quite some time. For instance, I heard Coach Bobo say that Brice Ramsey was committed to him and Coach Richt before he was even committed to UGA. Of the signees, give us one name that you think will surprise us early on and another that will be a pleasant surprise for years to come, even if it is the same name. 
Johnny O’Neal is called the silent assassin by his coach and once he learns the scheme at Georgia he should be fun to watch. Also I think offensive guard Brandon Kublanow might just be the nastiest lineman the state has produced since I started following recruiting.

6. There was a lot of buzz late in the day on signing day about a late signee. Any updates along that front? 
Toby Johnson had contacted the coaches about dropping his final official visits and signing with Georgia.  But he changed his mind apparently. Georgia had moved on from him earlier in January after it became apparent he was going to have trouble qualifying but after missing on some top targets, Georgia had room to take a chance. I do not think Georgia is actively recruiting him now.

7. In your view, how much did Garner leaving hurt us with this class in the end? 
It cost Georgia the services of Montravius Adams but allowed the Bulldogs to flip Davin Bellamy away from FSU. Time will tell how that plays out for the Bulldogs.

8. Similarly, in your estimation how much did the Grantham rumors work against the coaches? 
I think that hurt but it is tough to point to a recruit and say, ‘Wow, Grantham caused Georgia to miss on that guy.’  There are rumors about Kirby Smart and Dan Quinn every year. So I say get used to it because if you have a top coordinator (which the best programs do) then there will always be rumors circulating about their future. Heck those are sometimes started by other coordinators but that is a different topic.

Gainesville GA 2014 QB prospect Deshaun Watson
9. One of the things that we took away from the SECCG was that Alabama's depth and talent along the offensive and defensive line was much better. Given that and missing out on guys like Laremy Tunsil and Montavius Adams on signing day, do you think the coaches are kicking themselves over missing out earlier in the process on guys like JP Vonashek and Kelsey Griffin? 
Not really. Tunsil had apparently silently committed months prior to his dramatic flip and before Garner left the I think Georgia liked their chances with Adams. Taking those guys would have made Adams and Tunsil the fifth linemen taken on their side of the ball. That could have killed Georgia’s chances to land either. Once they had their three guys on each side, why not hold out for the top target?

10. And lastly, give us a name or two Dawg fans should know about for the 2014 class? 
Deshaun Watson, the record-setting quarterback out of Gainesville High School who is committed to Clemson and Sony Michel, the talented running back out of Miami. Keep an eye on both.

Thanks again to Radi for stopping by. If you're on Twitter you're missing out if you're not following him. Because there's a lot more where this came from.

Humpday Hilarity - statue of a bastard

Honestly, have you ever met a statue that was this big of an asshole? I mean, how long does it take to throw a damn stick?

h/t Mac

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A recruiting puzzle

Pictures of this puzzle popped up on twitter several times yesterday. He wouldn't have to ask me twice.

Moments in Gator fail: fourth and dumb

A time killer for you today. One of the greatest moments in WLOCP history presented to you by Dawg19 in its mostly full and most magnificent form.

Really not sure what Coach Dickey was thinking, but glad it settled into his mind as a good decision to go for it on 4th down there in the third quarter so close to his own goal posts. And for the record, afterwards he agreed on the level of stupidity it took to make such a call.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday's Meatloaf - Et tu, Herschel?

Is Herschel Walker actually from New Bern, North Carolina?

Bernie, you know all I drink is
water. And awesome sauce.
Get the picture now. You walk into the brand new restaurant and are immediately greeted by a near life-size picture of one of the greatest idols of your lifetime. You get the girl with the Dawg tattoo to snap a picture of you standing next to "him". Your heart beats even faster as the waitress seats the party. The walls are filled with memories that they seemingly plucked right from your cerebral cortex: Herschel in the ballcap sitting on the bench next to Kevin Butler, the Heisman, Bill Bates flat on his back...they're all there. Plus there's a casual, easy feel to the place. You knew even as you crossed the threshold that this is a place where everyone is happy and content.

You sit down and quickly grasp the menu. You've already texted the wife for the sole purpose of bragging that you're here and she's not. That's an anger bridge you can cross later because you've long wondered what great flavors and great food will grace this menu that you now clutch in your own two hands!!! Just like the football he carried, it ain't heavy, and it's filled with savory and unique pub food. It's like a walk through his life: from his mama's chicken to "The Bobsled" to a grilled cheese that pays tribute to the one and only Larry Munson.

My joy is slowly being overtaken by anxiety however as I'm not sure what to order. And there's not enough money in my wallet to get everything. What am I going to do?!? And then the waitress asks, "Can I get you something to drink while you look over the menu?"

Oh that is a fantastic idea. Ordering something to drink is simple and buys Brad and I some more time to weigh our options against what little room is in our stomachs. Someone at the table asks for a coke as I'm deciding between a simple iced tea or something from the beer menu. But wait...what was that the waitress said? Did she say the words..."Is Pepsi okay?" silence....frowny faces....dropped jaws....dreams killed...

Today's Ingredients
- Of all my enemies, Gator tears are the best tears. (h/t Senator)
- Tyler goes deep into the numbers of Grantham's defense. Part one, and part two.
- Earlier this morning I look at the QB depth going forward. Here ecdawg looks more closely at Faton Bauta.
- Meanwhile at the running back position, Lady Sportswriter looks at what AJ Turman could bring to the backfield.
- Coach Fox's team won their fifth in a row with a hard faught win over TAMU Saturday.
- One of the amazing things about the win over the Aggies was that KCP only had ten points. But last week Daugman looked at just how productive the Georgia star has been.
- Lugnut Dawg is happy for the hoops streak, but wonders how much of it is a reflection of the competition.
- Kyle King also has some thoughts on the hoops team and what could lie ahead.
- Lastly, hope to have a guest on the blog later this week to answer some post-NSD questions for us. And I'm also rounding up the old tailgate crew to do the same before spring practice starts.

I mean, pepsi don't mix into any hard liquor right and it's been linked to such illnesses as diabetes, hang nails, sore throats, gout and all manner of venereal diseases. It's a syrupy mess that's only function is to attract flies, ants and other annoying pests that pass it off as something called "pop". It was born in New Bern, North Carolina but it now hails from some city in New York covered under so much snow that I forget what the actual name is. Maybe it's Karo, NY. Because that's what pepsi tastes like - Karo syrup poured over ice....or not, if you really wanna fly your freak flag.

An artist's early rendering of
a bottle of Pepsi.
I once survived a trip to New Bern NC. The family and I stopped there for the night thinking it was named after me or something, maybe an ancestor or just a really deranged fan. Turns out it had nothing to do with your favorite blogger, but it was the birthplace of PepsiCo. We spent 16.5 hours trying to find an adequate drink that was both refreshing and digestible. You see, New Bern is just close enough to the coast to make the tap water a little marshy. So unless you smuggled in your own cooler of beer, Coca-Cola and bottled water you weren't quenching any thirst in New Bern.

But I digress. I submitted my angst riddled complaint thorough review and suggestion for improvement through the Herschel Walker's Famous 34 Pub and Grill website the next day. If you're as confused and bewildered as I am by this development I would urge you to do the same. It only takes a moment and may save someone's bourbon from being ruined at the bar. Or more importantly, it may save some young child from the despair of a world where a southern restaurant thinks it's okay to save a little coin on the soft drink menu choices.

Yes, I know Herschel has likely never put something as unhealthy as a soft drink into that chiseled body of his. But where in the Sam Hill does someone from Wrightsville GA get the notion to allow a "beverage" like pepsi into his restaurant? That's like choosing a bagel over a biscuit, wasting a decent piece of cheese on a turkey burger, trying to pass off a glass of iced tea with a sugar packet on the side as sweet tea, or saying something like "Bacon is so unhealthy for you".

I just have no more words...I just can''s unthinkable...


Ramsey under Murray's wing

Nice piece on new Georgia quarterback Brice Ramsey by Emerson. 
"You obviously want to come in and compete. But I don't really want to hit the field until I'm 100 percent in my craft," Ramsey said. "That's gonna be tough coming in: You gotta learn the playbook, get bigger, and do everything you need to in your preparation."
Ramsey is a pocket passer out of the mold of Murray, but at 6-foot-3 he's a bit taller. At Camden County High School, Ramsey showed an ability to be careful and effective as a passer: 1,396 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Ramsey hits on one big question - when is he ready? Of course the other one could be much more difficult - does he surpass those in front of him?

Hutson Mason will play this fall and will continue to be the emergency option should Murray get injured. LeMay was surpassed by walk-on Parker Welch. But Bauta could bring a unique look for the offensive playbook if it goes more spread option. 

So 2014 could be especially interesting with a lot of talent and little experience fighting for one position. We'll have a redshirt senior again, as well as a junior, sophomore and a freshman on scholarship, all who will have burned their redshirt.

Take a moment to recognize this level of comfort ladies and gentlemen. Next year this time will bring a lot of questions.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

NSD Review - the remaining questions

Lastly, I submit these without commentary, as well as with the reminder that I'm pleased with the 2013 class. I just have a mixture of these recurring questions about Georgia recruiting overall and some philosophical wonderings.

  • Coach Bobo said he is very pleased with the offensive line signees. I see his point, but respectfully disagree. Don't we need a wider scope when it comes to signing a bigger, larger class of o-linemen?
  • Is it fair to get upset about landing a top 10 class, even against the backdrop of missing out on the "day of" guys?
  • Also, as a fan, is it okay to come to the realization that we're just not going to win many head to head battles with Alabama right now?
  • In terms of closing on the highly contested signatures, is it just easier for kids to say no to Coach Richt?
  • Do I really care anymore about following these premature prima donnas?
  • Is it worth the exposure to the ugly underbelly of the game I love to follow? Just give me the list of guys we got and let's move on to spring practice!
  • And lastly, speaking of ugly underbellies, how deep was Laremy Tunsil's cookie jar?
Oh, one more. Can the NCAA open #LaremyTunsilscookiejar without shooting itself in the foot?

Dawgs take down TAMU

Wasn't able to watch due to another engagement, but from what it sounds like it was a low scoring affair that Georgia controlled for the most part. Congrats on five in a row Hoop Dawgs!