Saturday, August 24, 2013

A plea for a Sanford Stadium renovation

This seems the perfect time to hold ourselves accountable. The season is mere days away, no longer a need to count it in months. We're on the precipice of what could be another special season. How down is your hunker? How ready are you to own your spot in Sanford?

And to be quite honest, I'm goddamn sick of excuses. So this might get a little uncomfortable if you attend games. I make no apologies because it's my problem too. And if you own the problem you can be a part of the solution. Because truly, Sanford Stadium has become a mere shadow of its former self. It used to be this great forum, one all opponents feared each and every visit just for the noise and mayhem it somehow contained. We were always frenzied at just the right times and on our feet to help the defense force a punt or generate a turnover or rise to the occasion as the game hung in the balance. And it's not even listed among the top ten venues across the nation. And truthfully, we don't deserve such recognition. Plus, I'm not sure we ever will deserve it again. With lagging ticket sales nationwide and higher quality television options, I often wonder if the drop in energy and enthusiasm can ever be rectified.

But truly, we only have ourselves to blame. You. Me. Him. Her. Instead of taking personal ownership of the problem, we point fingers. The students look at the old guys and point out that we're sitting on our hands. The old guys look at the students and point out that their watch is broken. Then, when Richt mentions how great the crowd was during a particular series, everyone pats themselves on the back. But what the coach is really wondering is why it's so different in Columbia, or Tuscaloosa, or Clemson. Don't believe me? You'll see on Saturday what stadium noise can rise to. You'll be forced to remember what frenzied looks like up close and personal. They might dance up and down to that Zombie song like the engiNerds, but their atmosphere remains electric. Intense. Nearly deafening.

And while it makes me sick to see the UGA student section still filling up as the first quarter clock ticks away, I also look across the aisle and see someone updating their BookFace status as Aaron Murray checks through his progressions. Yeh, and over there we have some dude taking a selfie with his back turned to the field as Malcolm Mitchell prepares to field a punt. Like that couldn't have been done 30 minutes ago as the team warmed up. Or at the next commercial break in action. Hell, the university itself penalizes students who have not only matriculated, but also returned to further their education as a graduate. I was once a "Double Dawg". Were you? As a grad student I got student tickets before anyone else. And that made a lot of sense as I had paid more fees and spent more time nurturing my loyalty, my faith and my indoctrination into all things red and black.

But now we're more concerned with coddling the younger pups and getting them exposed to the atmosphere around Sanford. We don't want to waste that opportunity on some graduate student that has already earned the right to sit there. Check this out:
"Undergraduates' time at the University should be focused on falling in love with the University and cheering on their alma mater, that includes football ... Undergraduates are just inherently more involved," he said. "They are the lifeblood of any University." 
He said that graduate students who spent undergraduate years at UGA already enjoyed the perks of being an undergraduate student.
Mr. Sinyard, please and kindly shut the fuck up. Being a Georgia Bulldog fan isn't a goddamn perk. It's a privilege. Something that is earned by the grace of God and displayed proudly at any and every opportunity. When Steve Spurrier brings his cluckers to town in two weeks, we don't need any newbies! We don't need any wet behind the ears, missing their mommas, fly is still open, wine cooler drinking because that's all their older sister would buy them, freshmen. We need seasoned veterans. Ladies and gentlemen that would give up hundreds of credit hours if they could just to sit beside my ass and scream their ever-loving head off! There's a reason students who've graduated and come back for more are referred to as "Double Dawgs". They've already doubled down on Committing to the G, only to get some second rate, half-assed political saliva in their eye.

While I'm rolling here, let me stand up a little straighter on this soapbox. Because as I take my seat in Sanford I can also look at the next section over and see numerous seats sold to opposing fans. People that wear orange and yellow and blue and all manner of ill-suited colors sitting in sections designed and built and managed for the purpose of allowing fans an opportunity to yell "GO DAWGS!!" Let me ask you this: would you rent out a bedroom in your home to some random Vandy fan just to make some easy cash? Did you even try to sell your seats to an actual Georgia fan before you whored them out on eBay? Every time you substitute your red blood for some bastard's yellow and black pom-pom, there is no hunker coming from that seat. The collective "WE" dies a little bit and James Franklin kills another puppy with his intense staring.

So what are we doing? I mean, what in the hell are we doing to ourselves? Pointing fingers at each other and biting the hand that has fed us for years? Giving tickets to enemies? YGTBFKM. This is our stadium; a place where legends have played and champions have been crowned. In the south we like to refer to our college football as a religion. On autumn Saturdays NOTHING else takes precedence. A wedding is a hindrance and a family reunion is for the vernal equinox. And yet, Sanford can be as quiet as the library up the hill. I've been to funerals that are more lively and seen elderly golfers that were more rambunctious.

And this all happens while men and women serve our great nation AND our DawgNation by waking up in the wee hours of the morning all across the globe to watch/listen to the Dawgs play. I wonder what Jason would've given last season to be on his feet in Sanford Stadium on a Saturday night instead of huddled over his iPhone and watching through the ESPN app in Japan.

All that to say, we're spoiled. We're lazy. And we've become too comfortable with being both. I'm as guilty as the next guy. You're as guilty as me. The difference needs to be that this season we take it upon ourselves to institute change, assist Sanford Stadium in its regression back to the mean. The old way, when the cheerleaders had more than a few thousand fans' attention and the Redcoats weren't just white noise in the background. The Junkyard, where opponents' wills came to be broken and their eardrums pulverized until the clock drained to zeroes and insisted the noise cease...until next Saturday!

The athletic office's public relations asks if we are "RED-Y". I am. Together, let's Commit to the G. Not just give it lip service, but actually commit! Let's make that stadium worse than bonkers. Let's go to church on Sunday with no voice whatsoever. Let's treat it for what it is - our stadium, our home. Where we go to see the Dawg play. Where we greet our opponents kindly, but make damn sure they piss in the urinals and sit in their designated spot!

This has to change. And it starts with me. And it starts with you. September 7th is as good a time as any. Pass this along to anyone that'll read it. Post it anywhere that will allow it. Ask your preacher for forgiveness tomorrow for just having read it. But on Monday share it some more. Spread the word. Let it ring from the mountain tops of northwest Georgia down to the shores of St. Simon's Island. We're taking our stadium back because it's not just a place to visit; it's a place where every ounce of energy we have is to be spent. The only "perk" of attendance should be getting to sit next to someone who dresses and sounds just like you.

Let's get after it! Our time. Our place. Our Sanford. Go Dawgs!

Coach Richt, five yards ahead of us

Ever since he and I went on a break following the 2010 season, I try and reassess my relationship with Coach Richt each summer. I'm sure he appreciates the sentiment and the time I put into this. You're welcome Coach!

There's been a great debate this off season. I've found myself in the minority. Some fans have re-watched the SEC Championship game as either a means of catharsis or just because they are gluttons for punishment. Perhaps both.

during the NCAA college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators in Jacksonville, Fla., Sat., Oct. 27, 2012. (AJ Reynolds/Staff)
Regardless of which side of the fence your off season tent was pitched on, that game instantly became both a classic and a haunting remembrance of the 2012 season for Georgia fans. And although that one game has consumed us all in some way or another, being five yards short of the mountain's crest has been something to build on. For everyone.

Except the team.

It didn't take long to hear that the team as a whole was not looking back at what happened in the Georgia Dome for motivation going forward. In fact, Coach Richt was pretty concise about the second consecutive loss in the SEC Championship game.
“When something's over, you watch it, grade it,” Richt said. “It may not be easy all the time. But looking back on it, I was most proud of the effort. We belonged there.”
Instead of doing something very Dabo or very KiffyBaby and beating that one game into 2013 battlefield cannon relentlessly between January and August, Mark Richt has fallen back on the same thing that got his team to the threshold to begin with. He emphasizes working hard each day. He preaches to the fact that you can't obtain your goal in August and then he re-emphasizes working hard each rep, each play, each game.

That is what helped his team nearly slay the giant last season. To continue to relive that one game would've only built a sense of entitlement, a feeling that another trip to Atlanta in December and the Pasadena is low hanging fruit easily picked. Instead the players got an earful of a message centered on focus and controlling their own destiny.
"Our focus right now [isn't] so much the big picture dream than what have we got to do every single day, every single practice, every single play, to get where we want to go." - Mark Richt (via)
And so once again we are not on the same page as our head coach. Yet, unlike a few years ago, this is a much more comfortable feeling. While we've been overly engaged in one game, one drive that fell short but came so very close to helping us realize our dreams, Richt has pressed on and refused to rest on that one laurel.

Nothing says those extra five yards will come at all, much less this season. But I'm glad Coach Richt is directing the charge.

(PS - I'm just getting started. For this next post,  you better have your big boy britches zipped up tight.)

One game, one kick...ONE WEEK!!

In just seven days we'll wake up in Clempson SC with no good intentions and just a very long tailgate to display them.

While you're basking in that thought, here's a flashback to the 1984 game where Kevin Butler amputated his leg, welded a cannon to it and celebrated in a seas of Tiger tears.

via Dawg19

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bernie ran off with the Truckers

Pardon the third person reference and the liberties taken with the lyrics, but I got the need to blow it out on a Friday night.

So for a period of time this weekend the blog is in cruise control, as I ain't got no good intentions.

If you don't either, I'll see you at the Theater for some Dexateens and then the Rock Show!

Nation's best running back, and SEC's third best player

ESPN's Aschoff has taken on the unenviable task of ranking the SEC's best players. That link includes the full countdown to date, up to Todd Gurley at number three. Manziel and Clowney will "battle" it out for the top spot, presumably, given who is left yet to be named.

Setting aside the debate over what constitutes "best", and presuming and wishing a healthy season for all the players listed, I'm going to predict that no one has a better season than Gurley. That is, unless Richt continues to have "seen enough" of him to sit him down.

Also, it's nice to have TWO Georgia running backs listed among the best. Even though they're only sophomores. These are once again high times for the historic Georgia Bulldog backfield for sure.

Bulldog themed smart phone keyboard GIVEAWAY!!

If you're an Android user, check this out. There's a new downloadable keyboard developed by KeyPoint Technologies that not only sports the colors and logo of the Georgia Bulldogs, but also has hundreds of unique words in its specialized dictionary that Dawg fans love to use. I have an apple in my pocket, but I continuously hear how great the Android keyboard is.

Regardless, it just got better. Take a look:


What's more is I've got five of these as FREE DOWNLOADS just for you...IF you can tell me the overall series record between Georgia and Clemson. So get to googling and come back here and lay your answer down in the comments. First five correct comments get this customized keyboard for FREE!

(PS - don't just trust the first comment and copy the answer. You know some people who read blogs are nearly as dumb as the people who write them...)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The starting secondary in nine days

Blutarsky put it best when he said it's awfully ironic that our healthiest starter in the secondary is the one guy who won't be allowed to play against Clemson. Hope that painful irony has a shelf life of just nine more days.

But it isn't as bleak as what it seems. At least from what I'm hearing. So here's my predicted starters back there. Let's hope for a healthy week of preparation.

Strong safety - Tray Matthews. I expect we'll see him in green by Monday at the latest. That's barring any significant set back between now and then. Which is why he hasn't seen the practice field in some time. But despite that, coaches have seen enough of him in the spring and before he was injured to know what they have. He'll be ready, and that's a good thing. Because...

Free safety - Connor Norman. With Josh Harvey-Clemons suspended and Corey Moore still nursing a bum knee, Grantham and Lakatos can move Norman where they need him. He's the defensive equivalent of Aaron murray in that he knows the playbook and where everybody should be. We can gripe about him being a walk-on, not as big or not as fast, but we've been lucky to have him dating all the way back to Boise State as safety has been a thin line of availability at the start of the last three seasons.

Star - Damian Swann. Was really good to hear he was back in a green jersey yesterday. He'll be a good fill in here for JHC as well. I can see a scenario where perhaps a younger guy might get a look here given their progress this month, but I'd bet on Swann filling this role for the opener.

Boundary corner - Sheldon Dawson. In Grantham's system the boundary corner has more checks to make pre-snap and this was to be Swann's spot while Dawson held down the field corner side he was used to from last season. But I expect Dawson to move over to boundary for this game because of his familiarity and experience.

Field corner - Brendan Langley. And Shaq Wiggins. Both of these guys have hit the ground running and given our quarterbacks headaches all month. There's no way we don't see both of these playmakers on the field a lot, both a week from Saturday and especially as the season progresses.

Practice notes - 9 days

Simulated game last night under the lights. Here's some observations and thoughts. You can get the full stats that UGA provided here.
  • Looks like JJ Green has emerged as the third string tailback. Brendan Douglas suffered a knee sprain a few days ago and Green really made the most of the workload last night (12 rushes for 62 yards) as the coaches sat Gurley out and only gave one carry to Marshall. He'll likely be the lone tailback behind the sophomore tandem as AJ Turman and Douglas nurse their injuries.
  • Another freshman that will evidently be hard to keep out of a redshirt (despite so much depth at his position) is receiver Reggie Davis who had a couple catches for 29 yards.
  • Malcolm Mitchell was back in action after the swelling went down in his knee, which kept him sidelined Tuesday. And even bigger was the fact that Damian Swann returned to action after giving everyone a scare Tuesday as well.
  • Once again Brendan Langley and Shaq Wiggins had interceptions. Wiggins returned his for a score.
  • Richt praised Christian LeMay for his representation of Tajh Boyd. He evidently had some good runs to keep the defense guessing. That's a positive sign for the next week's preparation.
  • The captains for the Clemson game were announced: Aaron Murray, Arthur Lynch, Garrison Smith and Connor Norman.
  • While the offense has been considered such a strong point for this season's team with so many starters having returned, one position appears to be reappearing more and more in the playbook - fullback. Quayvon Hicks had two touchdowns last night, presumably on his two carries for seven yards. This is welcome news for guys like me that long for the days of consistent and varied production from that position.
Practice resumes this afternoon with a special teams scrimmage.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2014 schedule released

Here ya go:

The first thing I looked for is the who. Conclusion: Mike Slive likes whoever is next year's quarterback for Georgia. No Bama as expected. No LSU, and no trip to College Station. We get to shake greasy hands with Bret Bielema for the first time.

Next, say a good long goodbye to Sanford as you exit after the Vandy game. Good grief.

But an open week before South Carolina I can really dig. And one before the WLOCP I always dig.

So overall, quite a nice development. Sure would've loved to visit College Station next fall though.

Humpday Hilarity - FREE BARTENDERS!!???!! TOPLESS BEER!!??!!

Sorry this was lost in the queue and didn't make your early morning coffee. But perhaps it will be just as funny with your evening cocktail.

Visible display of appreciation

Downtown, on the Athens Plumbing and Welding Supply building...

h/t AHD

Friend-ly options

"Up is down; down is up. He says 'Hello' when he leaves, 'Goodbye' when he arrives."
- from "The Bizarro Jerry"

It's a strange new world over in Athens this August. Just check out the adjectives being used to describe the Bulldogs' offensive line: "deep"..."versatile"..."confident"......."deep".

And other than Chris Burnette coming off of shoulder surgery, everyone is at or near 100% (Burnette said yesterday he was at about 80%, but has been gaining more and more reps as the opener draws near). The injury bug that continuously haunts the offensive line this time of year has apparently moved over to the defensive secondary. Leaving Coach Friend with a bunch of cross-trained and eager bodies that can go more than eight deep.
Georgia’s starters could get more of a chance for a breather, which could keep legs fresh.
“I’m happy for that,” Gates said. “We’ve got a better rotation. We get guys in and out, guys that we trust. We can turn around eight, nine, maybe 10 guys we trust can go in the game and do what they’ve got to do.”
Andrews said Georgia has more players that can rotate. And Gates said the line overall is ahead of where it was a year ago.
“We’re better than last year,” Gates said. “We’ve got more guys stepping up and we trust each other. We love playing with each other. We have fun and we push each other.”
Considering there've been some August practice reports that were scrambling to find just five healthy bodies, this is welcome news.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Message bored submitall: Aaron Murray should redshirt

A predicted thread to emerge sometime after Wednesday's scrimmage.

DawgNBoredumb (99,286 posts, member since June 2013)
I don't know why the coaches don't just redshirt Aron Murry again and let Hudson Madsen play. And yes, I know murry's already been redshirted. But damn this team will be loaded next year and it'd be nice to have Masson with a year unner his belt.
25 minutes ago 
Basement level quarterback coach in action
SlawDawg1996 (28,344 posts, member since February 1999)
I would complain about your spelling but my head hurts just from the attempts at circumnavigating your logic.
24 minutes ago 
 DawgNBoredumb (99,287 posts, member since June 2013)
PLUS!! When you think abuot it our schedule lines up better next year Clemson coming to Sandford they won't have tajujh boyd either.
24 minutes ago 
DieHardDallasDawg (12,099 posts, member since April 2012)
Where's Sandford?
22 minutes ago 
BuLLDawgBRed (32,567 posts, member since December 2000)
The 2014 schedule hasn't been completed yet. But you bring up an interesting point. Since Richt took over for Donnan, blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah blah blah blah blah STATS!! blah blah....blah.
 20 minutes ago
DawgNBoredumb (99,288 posts, member since June 2013)
Sandford stadium dumba$$.
18 minutes ago
DawgNBoredumb (99,289 posts, member since June 2013)
 Whose Donnan?
 18 minutes ago
UGA_gradygrad (2 posts) Member since noon
 Anyone got any extra tix for Clemson?
Just now 

**The persons depicted in this post are fictional. Any likeness to actual existing brain matter is completely intentional.**

Practice notes - 11 days

As Richt has noted, there's no more Georgia against Georgia. It's all Georgia against Clemson now. We're getting very, very close.
  • Injuries still rule the day. We have no safeties. Malcolm Mitchell has swelling in the knee, that may or may not be normal. Cornerback is looking healthier, but not at full strength yet. I hear there's a tickle in Grantham's throat too. Jeebus.
  • But seriously, safety is not just a nagging issue any longer. It's a RED ALERT! We're down to Connor Norman, Quincy Mauger and Marc Deas. If Will Muschamp had any eligibility left he'd even be threatening the two-deep.
  • The good injury news is that Chris Burnette appears to be full strength now. They were really curbing the number of reps he's been taking thus far. But now he's being spelled less and less. Also, Chris Mayes (NT) missed most of camp with a concussion but was back on the field at least yesterday, albeit in a green jersey. That's a good first step back for him and really good to hear. Jay Rome is full speed after nursing a bum ankle. And Tim Kimbrough (ILB) was also seen in a green jersey after sitting out to recover from a knee sprain.
  • Some good quotes from Keith Marshall as he was reminiscent of how close he was to becoming a Clemson Tiger yesterday. "The places are very similar. Both have good head coaches and do the right thing. It was a tough decision, but I’m very glad I came to Georgia. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
  • Kolton Houston has become August's jack of all trades along the offensive line ever since being reinstated by the NCAA. He's still getting the longest looks at right tackle though, where he's battling against incumbent starter John Theus.
  • And with much of the attention along the line going towards Houston (understandably), Watts Dantzler is quietly having a good summer. He says that things are finally clicking for him in terms of the playbook and his size, strength.
  • Lastly, Adam Erickson was practicing kickoffs without the aid of a jet ski.
Today, the scout team enters the picture with Ryne Rankin playing the role of Tajh Boyd. (just kidding, not really)

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Green" secondaries

Both in Athens...
“It looks banged up,” Richt said. “You can’t hardly get better if you don’t practice. You can learn some things watching walkthroughs, film study. You can learn, but until you’re out there doing it, it’s just so hard to get good at anything. Also, to know what they’re getting, what they’re comprehending, what they’re able to execute.”
...and in Clemson...
"We’re pretty beat-up. We held Robert ( Smith) today. We held Travis (Blanks) today…We still have several guys that have been out. We probably would have limited them today even if they had been cleared to go. It was good to get all those guys working…(Freshman DB Adrian Baker) has been out too. He’s a guy that was having as good a camp as anybody. He looks better, but he hasn’t practiced (lately)."
...the secondaries have been green, related to both inexperience and the non-contact jerseys they've been susceptible to. With less than two weeks to prepare for the nation's biggest opening game, you can start to hear some frustration coming from both camps. Richt in particular needs a safety to replace Harvey-Clemons and a couple cornerbacks to line up in the nickel.

The good news for Georgia is that a couple freshmen went big in the last scrimmage. Shaq Wiggins and Brendan Langley had interceptions and according to Damian both have about a pick a practice. It would be a tremendous step in the right direction if Grantham and Lakatos felt comfortable with either against Clemson's attack led by Heisman candidate Tajh Boyd.

This is not a problem either program wants to have, but the staff that best prepares in spite of it may be the one to come out on top when this rivalry renews.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Driskel's new cleats

Jandals?...jortjops?...denim aerated fumble flops?...

I do like his painted toenails though. (h/t Brant)

Crystal Football...(part two)

With the national prognostications out of the way, let's look at the SEC predictions.

Coach most likely to get canned
Last season showed to be quite bloody for SEC coaches, and we covered Pinkel yesterday. Beyond an epically catastrophic collapse by LSU, Georgia or Florida (or Les Miles recreating Petrino's Opus), the only other coach with pink slip potential would be Dan Mullen. He's followed up a very respectable 9-4 season in year two of his tenure with 7-6 and 8-5. He's 13-19 overall in the SEC. All that adds up to being best remembered as the guy that didn't counter-offer on Cam Newton.

This season opens up with a neutral site game in Houston against Oklahoma State. The Bulldogs get South Carolina and Kentucky from the East. Split that in half and then muddle through the SEC West slate and it still looks like a 6-6 season to me. So long Mullen.

Heisman contenders
Even though Johnny Shitball has removed himself from the running, there are plenty of legitimate names in the conference that could not only get the invite but also take home the hardware.

First off, let's also remove Jadeveon Clowney from the discussion. That's just not happening unless the OBC puts his star in at quarterback and let's him return punts. So, that leaves us with four names from last year's SECCG: AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, TJ Yeldon and Todd Gurley. Were it not for the loss to A&M last season McCarron would already have one. Murray will have to have great performances in the first two weeks and then hold serve the rest of the way. In all honesty, Gurley might be the SEC frontrunner except that the two quarterbacks are seniors. We'll know a lot more after South Carolina leaves town.

Biggest fall from grace
Florida. They're over-ranked. There's no way they can live up to the billing. Driskel will wilt like a little daisy and their defense isn't nearly enough to carry them. Tennessee will threate them. Missouri will beat them. And Georgia Southern will lead in the fourth quarter.

Bad season for the weird clappers of Ben Hill Griffin.

Up and comer
Auburn...not! Kentucky...not!

There'll be plenty of eyes on Ole Miss to see if they can surprise some people. There's no doubt they'll play the young kids along side the experienced players that went 7-6. The true test will be if they can beat Texas and then Texas A&M. If they can do that then maybe there's a chance they can compete with the LSUs and Alabamas next season.

And in the East there's always Vanderbilt....

Biggest game
If I were to answer this personally and honestly I would say the UGA-Sakerlina game in the second week. But these things tend to escalate into something big late in the season. The WLOCP could be it except that the gators will suck. So I'm going with the Saban double down - LSU at Alabama on November 9th. Both teams are good enouhg to be either undefeated or just have one loss between them. This game will likely be a play in game for the SECCG.

What'd I miss?