Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dawgs dispatch Binghamton soundly

Coach Diaz's men's tennis team opened NCAA play yesterday with a 4-0 thumping if visiting Binghamton. Behind the freshman Ben Wagland, who was stepping in for a senior who left the team earlier this week, the Dawgs made quick work of the opening round and will face Northwestern today at 3pm.
Usually we struggle a little bit more first match of the NCAAs after a couple weeks of inactivity, but guys have practiced hard and the guys have got a great sense of focus, so we played a pretty good match,” (Diaz) said.

Friday, May 10, 2013

SECCG rewatch, in pictures

I'll collect more thoughts together (more than what I could put together last night) later after having watched (and deleted!!) the game against Bama. For now, I thought I would share a couple pictures that at least help to tell part of the story from that epic game.

First, here's Coach Richt voicing his displeasure after Tree was flagged for roughing the passer. I slowed it down and replayed it and it is clear he says, "That's bullcrap!"

It was 3rd and 6 and McCarron had thrown it high and through the endzone. They would've been forced to kick a field goal, but now had first and goal. Two plays later Tree stones Lacy at the one and Ramik Wilson forced a fumble. That made it third and goal again, this time from the five after McCarron recovered the fumble. The next play Commings jumped a hitch route and it was Saban's turn to say "That's bullcrap."

The call on Tree was probably the right one. It was close and I would've probably thrown the flag too. Unless of course Tree had changed his name to Quinton Dial. Regardless, I thought it was funny to see Richt say "bullcrap" in slow-mo and then get vindicated by Tree's goal line tackle and Commings' pick.

Okay, now it's time to get serious. This graphic popped up towards the end of the third quarter as Bama was beginning to exert their will on the ground.

In a word, ouch. More on this later, but we had an excellent defensive gameplan to start. We were soft and tired as the game wore on however.

Lastly, many asked why I was subjecting myself (and my followers) to this nightmare. I think Chi-Town Dawg put it best in his comment yesterday:
I still have mixed emotions about that game. It was the most amazing and emotionally exhausting UGA game I've ever seen. I was absolutely drained after the game and was sitting in the lower level at the 15 yard line, so it ended right in front of me. I was upset after the loss, but at the same time felt at peace because the team and coaches played their hearts out and left everything they had on the field. Unlike some past losses to USCjr or UF, I wasn't pissed because they gave it their all and as CMR said we just ran out if time. It was a game for the ages and it was a shame that either team had to lose. you could tell both teams realized they were playing for the MNC that night. Having said all of this, it won't make watching the game any easier!

Yes, exactly how I feel. How many games can you remember where you were genuinely pissed after a loss? Colorado was the penultimate for me. No, make that Columbia last season. Whatever. The point is, this game will always be a thorn in our side. It will haunt us forever. But it was a pleasure to watch this team play again. It was a point of pride to see the Georgia Bulldogs play a game against the best team/program in the country, put them on their heels time and time again, even after getting punched in the mouth. We never gave up. And our players left it all on the field. Right where their coaches had asked them to.

We're all different and we all deal with pain in different ways. But this was good for me. Sure, my heart broke all over again on that last play. How could it not? But win or lose it is always a pleasure to see your team play with that much skill, determination, preparation and heart.

Plus, at the end, after Coach Saban gave us his sincere compliment, and Richt explained how proud he was of his team, I got to press "Erase".

And move on. Go Dawgs!

Relay for Life, helping to kick cancer's ass for years

Some have asked, so I wanted to give an update on Connor. He's the kid I posted about a while back.

My family has some close ties with Connor's family. We're in awe of everything they've had to go through to support his fight against leukemia. Proud to say he's back home and seems to have beaten it once again. Just a remarkable story that combines bravery, tears, faith, joy and good doctors.

Which is why we'll be heading out to our local Relay for Life spot this evening. I hope you are doing the same in your neck of the woods. It'll be a good time to recognize and support those who have faced off against cancer and won, as well as remember those who weren't as lucky.

Hard to imagine Dr. Gordy Klatt knew what this event would become nearly 30 years ago when he started walking a track to raise money to fight cancer. Relay for Life pulls in millions of dollars to help fight this awful disease each and every year. Then again, he probably knew exactly what he was doing.

Open mic night with Coach Mike Bobo

The keynote speaker at Augusta's UGA Day has a new twist on an old plan for Jadeveon Clowney this fall. Although offensive coordinator Mike Bobo never admitted to just not blocking the sack freak in last season's 35-7 loss in Columbia, he did show off his movie knowledge and cast Aaron Murray as Burt Reynolds' Paul Crewe. 
"Most important thing to do is to protect the quarterback - ME!"
“I think we’re going to do the old Burt Reynolds’ Longest Yard and not block and let (Aaron Murray) throw it as hard as he can at him,” Bobo said, laughing. “We’ve got to realize he’s going to make some plays. We’ll do some things to try to discourage him. Maybe he’ll change his mind, think he needs to sit out and turn pro.”
 But in the end, this is all we need to hear about this fall's SEC opener:
“I think our guys are eager to play that game,” Bobo said. “We were obviously embarrassed that game and got thoroughly whipped by that defense. We’ll be ready for that game. I promise you.”
Some other tidbits from Bobo last night:

  • Freshman wideout Tramel Terry is ahead of schedule on rehabbing after his surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered back in December.
  • Chris Burnette is said to be in great shape, despite missing the spring due to shoulder surgery.
  • Since he was in Augusta, Bobo spoke at length about Brendan Douglas, a star at nearby Aquinas High School. “It was huge for us to get (Douglas) late in the process. He’s a guy we always liked. He’s a big guy. He’s strong. I always felt he wanted to be at Georgia. Guys who tend to do really well want to be there. Guys like that have always been successful at Georgia.”
  • A little concerned over the depth behind Gurley and Marshall, Bobo expects both Douglas and fellow freshman AJ Turman to play this fall.

Watts Dantzler vs tornadoes, the sequel

via his twitter...awesome.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Two hours til kickoff in the #SECCGrewatch

I'm getting antsy. And I can't think of anything more to add than what I came up with the other day. What has been most interesting has been to hear the varying reactions. Corbindawg thinks I'm crazy, but who didn't know that already. Regardless, I have adult beverages ready; I bought extra in case that pass is tipped again. I have a sinking feeling that was a wise purchase.

And if you'd rather not relive the pain along with me, I certainly understand. You'll probably want to skip my SEC Championship Game Rewatch reaction post tomorrow. And you'll definitely want to mute or unfollow me on twitter beginning around 8:07pm.

Go Dawgs!

Gurley and Marshall: separate, equal and intertwined

This piece by Aschoff is not very well written (and fwiw, Gurley used twitter to help the ESPN writer correct a thing or two), but it tells us in more detail what a lot of us already suspected: our star tailbacks are splendidly dull.
We’re both smart enough to the point that we know what not to do so that we won’t get in trouble,” Marshall said. “I feel like we’re mature enough. Anything could happen being at the wrong place at the wrong time, but we try to stay out of certain situations.” 

Instead, they choose cinematic situations. The two usually spend off nights (when they don’t have football, studying or tutoring) going to the movies or rummaging through the $5 movie bin at Wal-Mart. 

Some gems include “Superbad” (Gurley’s favorite), all three “Rush Hour” movies, “Scarface” and “Blow.” The two even went to the theater and saw “The Call,” starring Halle Berry, and “Olympus Has Fallen” on back-to-back nights. 
That's a far cry from their predecessors, and their predecessors before them. Which is what makes it so refreshing to read about a couple guys that could get into any trouble they wanted, yet still prefer to walk the straight and narrow.

Jimmy Williamson must be furiously scratching his head.

Biggest challenges on the 2013 schedule

So yesterday we looked at the most important games for this fall. But that doesn't necessarily mean those were the most difficult games on the schedule. Of course, it's hard to foresee just how good some of these teams will be. For instance, Mettenberger could have a renaissance year under a new coordinator. Also, there could be key injuries, suspensions or even weather that impacts how a game develops.

But again, this is an alternate exercise to twiddling your thumbs. So here we go.

  1. Clemson - Going to be a lot of added pressure on this opener, away from home and at night. Their offense will present a clear challenge for a young defense looking to make a name for itself. Can Murray settle in quickly? Can we control the tempo?
  2. Carolina - They've won the last three games and the black eye inflicted last season in Columbia is still pretty unsightly. Come September, on paper, I think we'll still be the better team. But that ain't worth squat. Lattimore's moved on and Clowney can't play every snap, can he? Regardless, Richt's squad has their work cut out for them in these first two weeks of the season.
  3. Florida - You can rest assured that Muschamp will put a hearty emphasis on ball protection before this season's annual renewal of the WLOCP. Richt will counter with a new found relaxed entrance to this game that eluded him until recently. But it only takes one bad break for the tide of the St. Johns to turn. And we know the ball can bounce awfully funny down there.
  4. LSU - I think we're all anxious to see if Cam Cameron can get more out of Zach Mettenberger in his last season. And by the time the Tigers come to town their quarterback will have a few more games under his belt. LSU is always tough defensively, but offensively under Miles they've been erratic to say the least. Especially when Daryl Gamble isn't having the game of his life. Am I right? *fistbump*
  5. Vanderbilt - We never play well in Nashville and the 'Dores took a thumping last year in Athens. If the new Vandy is truly improved, they'll be ready to give us all they've got.
  6. Tech - Last season Grantham got a week of "free prep" against Coach Johnson's vaunted triple option and responded by putting the engiNerds firmly in their place 42-10. In 2011 we had Kentucky the week before and things were a little closer on the Flats. Can he prepare the new guys as well as he prepared the draft picks he just sent up to the NFL?
  7. Tennessee - I don't know that Tennessee is going to be any more competitive this year, but my guess is that Butch Jones will have the dumpster fire put out well before the season. It still smells like a 2-3 year rebuild up there.
  8. Auburn - I would probably have Malzahn's first team as a higher ranked challenge except that we get them late in the season. These Tigers strike me as a 5-7 team that fades down the stretch. 
  9. Missouri - Mizzou is still just happy to be here and will wait to use the restroom until they're told to do so.
  10. App State - The Mountaineers will be eager to show how ready they are for D1 football after being approved to move up to the Sun Belt in 2014. 
  11. Kentucky - (Mark) Stoops is energetic. Stoops is excited to be in Lexington. Stoops will help the Wildcats win some games (plural!). The one in Athens won't be one of them.
  12. North Texas - They won maybe four games last season and I think their nickname is the Rattlers. Or something.
I doubt it's the Rattlers. I took a flyer on that one. Is it August yet?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Abuurn's Bagman is Team Jesus?

Obviously a clever disguise to throw us off. But he's infiltrating metro Atlanta y'all with some stacks so fat he needs a UHaul.

Most important games in 2013

Athens is quiet and there will be little to talk about, at last until the meetings in Destin later this month. So this is just designed to be entertaining discourse. Kind of like whenever Jeff Driskel dropped back to pass in Jacksonville last season.

2013 Schedule
Aug. 31 at Clemson
Sept. 7 South Carolina
Sept. 21 North Texas
Sept. 28 LSU
Oct. 5 at Tennessee
Oct. 12 Missouri
Oct. 19 at Vanderbilt
Nov. 2 Florida (at Jacksonville)
Nov. 9 Appalachian State
Nov. 16 at Auburn
Nov. 23 Kentucky
Nov. 30 at Georgia Tech

We'll talk separately about the most challenging games of the upcoming season and compare where they rank. For now, the most important.
  1. Florida (always and forever. Or at least until Paul Johnson takes the triple option to the swamp.)
  2. Carolina (very close second given the shift in momentum of the series)
  3. Clemson (this high because of the momentum it could provide with a win, on the road, at night, on national tv)
  4. LSU (a little revenge factor here after letting them slip through our hands the last time they visited. Oh yeh, and that little championship game a couple years ago.)
  5. Tennessee (new coach, new attitude, same result??)
  6. Vanderbilt (maybe the 'Dores should be ahead of UT, but they're definitely higher than they used to be)
  7. Mizzou (they're a bigger challenge than 8 and 9 right?)
  8. Kentucky (new coach, new attitude, same result??)
  9. Auburn (new coach, new attitude, same result??) 
  10. Tech (same coach, same attitude, same result??)
  11. App State (we are NOT Michigan!)
  12. North Texas (we'll be wondering if we're getting Les Miles and Uncle Verne together the next week by halftime)
All kidding aside, with Tenn, Vandy, Auburn, Kentucky and Tech it'll be about keeping a streak heading in the right direction. New coaches can be dangerous equalizers. Remember KiffyBaby?

Anyway, that's the way I see it. Later I'll post my thoughts on which games present the biggest challenges. Have a hunch Clemson might move up.

Humpday Hilarity - "Dead Giveaway!"

Before even McDonald's had a chance to "be in touch" with Cleveland missing women savior Charles Ramsay, his message to reporters and the world has been put to song. (h/t Krisi)

Singh leaves team

KU Singh, Georgia's top singles player has left the team just days before its NCAA tourney run begins. While the university's press release gives little insight, there are others who aren't too surprised by this development.
Insiders in Athens are not exactly shocked by this, with signs of discord surfacing earlier this year. The 22-year-old from India, who had transferred from Illinois after a brief stint there in the spring of 2011, did not travel with the team to this year's ITA Team Indoor for undisclosed reasons. The timing is obviously unfortunate however, especially given the loss of Nick Wood to an ankle injury shortly after the Team Indoor.

Diaz is doing his part to keep the team focused on what matters:

This is a very close group and today they’re closer than ever,” Diaz said. “Our program will continue to stress teamwork, togetherness, and playing with our hearts for each other, as it always has. We are united and are moving forward in a positive manner.

Reading a bit between the lines, Singh wore out his welcome and Diaz chose to move forward without the star player rather than risk putting one player ahead of the team. Regardless of what happens this weekend, it seems it was the best for all involved.

Georgia begins play Friday afternoon against Binghamton.


Post edit: Singh left of his own accord. Coach Diaz sheds some light on what looks like an individual player that never quite accepted the team concept fully.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SECCG rewatch: the talking points

So, I've decided to rewatch the heartbreak. This Thursday, at roughly 8:00pm, I will pour Drano through the cracks and crevices of my DVR and rid it of this obstruction. I will also rent a trained magician's assistant to bind my arms in rope, making me immobile and unable to reach the remote to turn it off and spare my eyes the pain and my ears the anguish. It's going to be like a band-aid that takes two hours to rip off of a deep and festering wound. To say I'm looking forward to this would be like saying the Earth is indeed flat and Ryan Lochte has cleverly and expertly mastered the English language.

But before I submit myself to this exercise it is only right that I enter into it prepared and ready to gain something from the experience. I'm six months removed from my seat in the Georgia Dome where Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon continually ran roughshod over our defense, play after play after play. If the team is being asked to learn from their mistakes before moving forward, it is only fair that I do the same. Or some semblance of it with a keyboard. So here are my raw and unfiltered thoughts of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs.
Highpoint of the hysteria. Then, wtf? (Dale Zanine USA Today)

  • My lasting memory of this game will always be of the players reacting after the ball was tipped and time expired. How could it not be? But Lacy and Yeldon getting into the secondary on what seemed to be each and every snap was what lost the game for Georgia. My guess is that when I rewatch it I'll see a mixture of tired bodies, coaches getting out-schemed and a defensive line getting flat out trucked. Repeatedly. Especially as the game wore on into the fourth quarter.
  • We led 21-10 midway through the 3rd quarter and really seemed to have our legs under us. But Alabama scored on three of its next five possessions, all touchdowns. Meanwhile, we only managed 82 yards after Gurley's 3rd quarter touchdown gave us the lead and before the last drive that ended the game. The second half gave us the ball six times and half of those were three and outs.
  • Offensive and defensive ineffectiveness aside, how good were the special teams? There were a good number of punts, especially early on. Lot of opportunities to impact field position and consequently the scoreboard. My memory doesn't serve me well enough here to give a grade overall, but I wonder what it'll be after watching again.
  • The last drive. Murray and Co. flew down the field with precision, albeit after a lengthy review of an overturned interception. Eight plays and 81 yards. I'm curious to see the playcalling that led to this explosion as compared to the two series that preceded it (six plays, 1 yard and two punts). The clock certainly dictated we had to go pass heavy on the final drive. Perhaps we should've done more of that earlier on.
  • The last play. I've accepted and sided with Richt's explanation. I've held to the notion that spiking the ball wouldn't have made a difference in numerous blog posts and countless conversations since December 1st, 2012. I've even suggested that had the pass not been tipped or if it had fallen innocently to the turf, we would've won the game. Granted, I've seen the play on highlight reels and replays many times since then. But once I re-immerse myself, will I still feel the same?
  • Overall, even now as I sit here having read the drive charts and a write up or two from early December, I surmise that the Georgia Bulldogs lost this game as a team. The defense can't be blamed for the sputtering stagnant offense when first downs and yardage became the clear objective to winning the game. And the offense can't be blamed for treating Bama's backs like bulls in a Barcelona arena.
I can already feel the misery welling up. I'm both anxious to get this over with and dreading it at the same time. If you've already re-watched the game, please provide any insight and survival tips for me in the comments. Otherwise, wish me luck.

Kolton Houston speaks

His interview and a segment devoted to his unique case will air on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" this Sunday. For a preview, click the link below.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday's Meatloaf - gettin' salty, again

Ok, so maybe I was overly insensitive towards Mr. Oliver Saturday. Perhaps it only proved that I'm still not over that loss to Alabama. Don't get me wrong. The self imposed "king" of college football is still a first rate idiot, but I need to move on. That all happened months ago.

Pass the salt. I'm reopening the wound.
Water under the bridge. Get over it Bernie!

Ok. I hear ya. In an effort to move myself forward, I'm self-imposing a deadline of sorts. I'm sick of scrolling through my DVR list and seeing that SEC Championship game sitting there, both beckoning me and taunting me at the same time. "C'mon it up and relive the heartbreak all over. Don't you want to see Tree run back that blocked kick again? Let's do this."

Sometime before next week's meatloaf I will rewatch this game. And then I will delete this game from my digital television recording device. I will wash my hands of it and refuse to carry the burden of it into the summer. I would like to go to the pool without Quinton Dial mercilessly blindsiding me into the deep end. I want to go to the beach without Coach Saban cramming six extra scholarship vacationers into my car when the rules clearly set the limits with the number of functional seatbelts available.

I'm going to aim for this Thursday. If you would also like to crap this thing out and flush it, feel free to join me. I'll certainly live tweet it and attempt to monitor my alcohol intake sufficiently.

Or not. And if anyone is chummy with Oliver please invite him for me. Perhaps he can sit beside me and relate the story of meeting David Greene as a 9th grader and trying to move him to defensive end. I love that one.

Today's Ingredients
- If you're not ready to close the door on spring yet, Ching has the wrap up ready for your fine toothed comb.
- And DavetheDawg has fifteen talking points for your perusal.
- Tyler faces off against the nine game SEC schedule that has picked up momentum recently.
- Paschall has a lot of nice quotes (link corrected) from Grantham and Richt on the 2013 prospects.
- This time next year we'll be defining Aaron Murray's legacy. Blutarsky helps frame our reference point entering his final season.
- Similarly, Kimberley wonders if Murray can shut up the haters.
- Kelin wants to welcome you back to his blog.
- A late rally helped lift the softball team over visiting LSU 10-5.
- Run Home Jack finds the Lou Holtz Kithing Boothh in the trash heap outside of Notre Dame's athletics facility and Nick Saban photo bombing a grad's picture. (Nope, not an actual football player.)
- Lastly, for you St. Simons readers that I love so much, Buddy relays this message: the island now has a growler shop! Welcome Webers Growler Factory!

At this end of the loaf we have a pompous high school track star blatantly taunting competitors as he blazes towards the finish line. So glad they caught this kid in the act of such unsportsmanlike behavior so that his self-aggrandizing act could cost his whole team the glory they had earned. Well done you governing body of fat Texas bureaucrats. Way to stick it to em good!

As you let that simmer Reader, here's a napkin. Go have yourself a Monday!


Rambo moving forward

Evan Vucci/AP
Rambo eyes the ball as a Redskin. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Whatever demons were hindering him during his career at Georgia (concussion, suspensions, the loss of his son) are behind All-SEC safety Bacarri Rambo now. He was drafted by the Redskins in the sixth round and participated in their rookie camp over the weekend.
“All that’s behind me,” Rambo said Sunday when the Redskins concluded their three-day rookie minicamp. “I’ve moved on from that. It helped me grow (into) the person I am today. I’m just a regular, cool guy. I feel like I built my trust up. I know I still got things I need to improve on. Just to show them, ‘Hey he’s not that guy. He grew from that.’”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Rambo aced a test to measure prospects’ dedication and work ethic. That and background checks and talks with the coaches at Georgia, including former Redskins linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti, convinced them that Rambo was worth a flyer in the sixth. That’s the same round Shanahan drafted 1998 MVP Terrell Davis for Denver out of Georgia in 1995 and record-setting running back Alfred Morris for Washington a year ago.
“I know Coach Olivadotti had something to do with it, told ’em what kind of player I was and about my true character,” Rambo said.
There's a starting spot available in the Washington secondary with Tanard Jackson out indefinitely for failed drug tests. Rambo will compete with fellow rookie Phillip Thomas out of Fresno State, who the Redskins took in the fourth round.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Jarvis has big shoes to fill

As the former Dawg settles into his new jersey in Pittsburgh, he recognizes his role.
Yet Jones understands he is the heir apparent. The Steelers tend not to take risks with first-round draft picks. The comparisons are inevitable after they chose the speedy Georgia kid, who led the NCAA in sacks last fall, with the 17th selection. The draft came just six weeks after releasing the productive but aging Harrison.
“I don’t compare myself in no way to James Harrison,” Jones said. “He’s a great player. Respect him. Never met him. But I love his game. I wouldn’t mind being an impact player like James Harrison.”
Neither would the Steelers.
Keith Srakocic/AP
Keith Srakocic/AP