Saturday, September 14, 2013

Terry Bowden hand wank

From Bubbaprog...

Your Diddy said don't do that!!

Gurley and Marshall - dual threats

In this Q&A with Ching, Murray talks about yet another of the many weapons at his disposal.
Q: You talked during the offseason about getting him and Keith Marshall the ball through the air and both of them had touchdown catches against South Carolina. Obviously, that was a functional part of the offense on Saturday.

A: Oh yeah. We want to get those guys the ball any way we can. Both of them are tremendous out of the backfield. Everyone sees them as running, running, running, but I don't think either of them have dropped a pass ever. Great hands, knock on wood, but both of them have great hands and like I said, you get the ball in their hands anyway possible and let them be them. 
You add Hicks in there and the backfield has accounted for 8% of Murray's completions, and together they're averaging 19 yards per catch. If you're a defensive coordinator with Georgia on the schedule, these guys may not surprise you any longer when they catch the ball.

But that only adds to the problem and the sleepless nights.

Stopping the run begins with the Mean Green

North Texas offers an opportunity to "get well" against the run for Grantham's defense. And they really must make strides next Saturday. Because LSU will present the biggest test in terms of stopping the run since we played Alabama in December.

But when the rush defense is giving up over 200 yards on the season (and 269 a game the last six games) you don't have the luxury of overlooking any opponent, including North Texas. So here goes.

So far this season the Mean Green use multiple backs, all about the same size (5-9, 220) - Brandin Byrd, Antoinne Jimmerson and Reggie Pegram. Together they've averaged 3.79 yards a carry on a team that had 478 rushing attempts last season to 375 passes. I would expect Byrd to get the bulk of the carries; he's the senior and is averaging nearly five yards per attempt.

Perhaps the best measure of what to expect is last year's season opener when North Texas went to Baton Rouge. The Mean Green managed only 219 total yards, most of which came on an 80 yard pass play (note: remember the name Brelan Chancellor as he torched the entire Tiger secondary on that play). Later in the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach, North Texas constructed a 13 play drive covering 66 yards for their second touchdown (another pass to Chancellor).

Overall, UNT ran the ball 35 times that evening against LSU and managed only 76 yards, including two failed end arounds to receivers for -13 yards.

So what can we expect to see differently from our defense? Personnel-wise we know that the coaches are wanting to see what they have behind Ramik Wilson. That likely means freshmen Tim Kimbrough and Reggie Carter will see some playing time beside Amarlo Herrera. In fact, I'd expect both to get long looks. And two other freshmen - Ryne Rankin and Johnny O'Neal - could also come into play. But right now the pecking order appears to have Kimbrough just behind Carter on the two deep behind Wilson and Herrera.

I think we'll also see a deeper rotation along the defensive line in an effort to get some experience up front. Grantham and Wilson have really tinkered with the personnel here. It'll be interesting to see who steps forward. I also think we'll key on the run and let the secondary play a lot of man coverage against the smaller Mean Green playmakers. It will put pressure on our linebackers who will have to make reads quickly to cover the intermediate routes as well as help in run support when the ball is handed off.

It'll be time to worry if North Texas starts to average 7+ ypc. That will likely mean the starters play longer and the playbook is opened up more and more. But if we can hold the Mean Green to under 4 ypc, that'll translate into long third down conversion attempts and better time of possession. Then we can send the Mean Green home with a nice paycheck to go along with a good thumping.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Brendan Langley - NOT a freshman on the field

Lot of talk this week about Brendan Langley's performance thus far as the corner opposite Swann. He's played there in front of a slightly more experienced Sheldon Dawson and fellow freshman Shaq Wiggins. He was obviously targeted by Connor Shaw and gave up a couple touchdowns.

Or did he?

On the rewatch it is plain to see that on at least one of those touchdowns there is a lost Corey Moore no where near Langley or receiver Nick Jones despite Langley pressing coverage. Still, the "freshman" cornerback blames himself, and miscommunication.
“The first one was a miscommunication between me and the safety,” Langley said. “That’s my inexperience. … I can’t blame that on him. I’m not a freshman. There’s nothing freshman about me except my class schedule.”
Is that a great quote or what? In fact, Langley is full of them. Try this one, referencing a fourth quarter pass break up where he closed quickly on an out route:
“They call it a [pass break-up], I’m going to call it a dropped pick.”
Then Grantham added:
“If he makes that interception there, then you guys are talking about how the young guy’s making plays now. He had a chance to make a play.”
Langley has great size, maturity, speed and long arms, exactly what we need out of our defensive backs. Given that he's only been on campus a month, I expect we'll be talking about the plays he's making sooner rather than later.

Weekend predictions - Johnny Cam vs. Bear Saban's Dorito's

For Bear Bryant's 100th birthday, CBS posthumously gave Johnny Shitball a video camera taped to his helmet. As if the coach born before Nintendo and television altogether would even remotely appreciate it. (You see what I did there.)

Feeling mounting social pressure and a need to fit in, Yahoo! Sports gave the coach (and his most recent predecessor) salacious rumors of paid amateurs and potential sanctions.

This pissed Nick Saban off so entirely that he consumed Pat Forde's soul and then "gray-shirted an intern". Which we believe is a euphemism for beat the shit out of a kid whose name escaped him.

Mr. Rogers, while listening to Finebaum.
Anyway, all that to say, I've felt for quite some time  that Alabama was going to kick the ever loving cow patties out of the Aggies. Saban's Tide is 7-1 against teams that have previously beaten them. Ironically, they're 4-0 against average students with access to campus vending machines. But I've never been to College Station and I'm not sure what the local access to snacks is like. Still, I feel good and trending towards great that Bama will exact some measure of revenge on Sumlin's Aggies for ruining their perfect season in 2012. Not to mention the fact that Manziel eclipsed Saban this off season on Forbes' 200 most influential, affluent and short white men.

The Crimson Tide will effectively neutralize A&M's high powered and overrated offense with a ground attack to date unseen in the Lonestar state. Manziel grows more and more frustrated, throws a pick and then hops in Drake's jet to attend a frat party at Cal-Berkeley.

Bama is hungrier, snacks heartily, and wins by 17. Maybe more.

  • Ducks cruise past the bUTtchuggers. Late in the third quarter and trailing 70-2, bUTch Jones forfeits claiming his entire team has heat exhaustion.
  • Longhorn fans enter the stadium laughing at the result from College Station, but Ole Miss proves the tears in Texas are always bigger in Austin. By Tuesday Mack Brown has purged any and all Mormons from Mississippi from the roster. Not sure why it takes that long, but there you go.
  • South Carolina puts the Commodores in an 0-2 SEC hole without covering the spread. Ron Morris completes an article Tips for September Gardening before halftime.
  • Louisville continues the trend of ACC teams (past, present and future) beating SEC teams. But Kentucky gives them a scare when they pose little to no defense against the run in an attempt to derail Bridgwater's Heisman campaign. Muahahahaha!!
  • Arkansas wins, but the headlines on Sunday are centered on the continued suspension of the t-shirt cannon. 
  • Georgia Tech rolls up 503 yards rushing on Duke, wins by a field goal.
  • Southern Cal's head coach Lane Kiffin escapes...a barrage of insults and recycled water bottles after Boston College wins 3-2.
  • An Auburn grad opens for business at halftime as a hapless Dan Mullen "coached" squad leads by two touchdowns. Then turns it back over to GoDaddy when the WarTiglesmen win on a last second field goal.
  • The Bruins beat the Cornhuskers. (chirp...chirp...
  • And shortly before I pass out the Cal Bears, perhaps inspired by a late arriving Johnny Manziel, upend the Buckeyes season. Urban begins the process of feeling rundown again.
Er'body rub your fingers together and get crunk!

** Use predictions at your own risk. Any winnings can be hidden from the wife by paying it forward to Bernie. Any losses should be found at the bottom of your glass.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Todd Gurley - from "small town" to big time

The evolution from a very good running back prospect to a Heisman trophy candidate in just a little over a year has been quite entertaining to watch. Emerson finds we're not the only ones pleasantly surprised.
  • Rocky Mount NC sports editor Jessie Nunery: You could see physically looking at him that he filled that uniform a little better than anybody else...I thought I was watching a video game. He made one or two quick cuts, and he was gone.”
  • 247 recruiting analyst Rusty Mansell: Did I think he was the No. 1 running back in the country? No I didn’t. But I knew he was pretty damn good."
  • Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo: We thought he was a good player, a strong running back. But I don’t think you ever know until they get here. There’s a lot of factors that determine when a kid takes off, or how he takes off. ” Bobo paused a moment. “No,” he said. “I could never imagine.”
  • Even the man himself may be a little surprised. Maybe...“I was small-town, man,” Gurley said. “I wasn’t in a major city. Small town, 2A football, there wasn’t anybody who had really come out of there. There’s nothing out there, really.”
Now, quite obviously, the sky's the limit. Like I told someone the other day, let's just enjoy this embarrassment of riches while he's 'tween the hedges.

Spurrier's just branching out y'all

It peaked our curiosity this week when Richt mentioned that Steve Spurrier counseled him as to which job to avoid. Now he's managing a local Columbia newspaper's roster.
“The publisher of the paper has removed Ron from any coverage of the football program, which down there is akin to the Washington Post not letting Dan Balz write about government,” one of Morris’s former colleagues told me. “Effectively, he’s being forced out at the behest of the football coach, with the publisher not standing up for him.”
I get the angst over all this. A football coach shouldn't be editing newsprint. God knows I don't need the shadow of his visor over my keyboard.

But look, y'all've got this all wrong. Spurrier has evidently always wanted to be a career counselor. Why do you think he really got upset when Kiffin offered career analytical data for the top recruits in South Carolina?

It's just that the Ol' Ball Coach is not good enough at it to quit his day job. Yet.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Predator, Thor, Tony Atlas and a Pterodactyl walk into a blog...

It's an off week and AthensHomerDawg suggested we have some fun. Why not, right?

There've been plenty of references to players comparing them to pop culture characters. The most popular being Quayvon Hicks to Bane or Predator:


Or Brendan Douglas - as his quarterback describes him - Thor...


It wasn't Mr. USA's signature headbutt, but after the flying belly thunder slam on an unsuspecting Gamecock Saturday, I thought a wrestling reference for Garrison Smith would do nicely. Take it away Georgia Heavyweight Champion TONY ATLAS!!


And Jordan Jenkins of course, as the MotherF*****g Pterodactyl!!


Your turn. Share any you have in the comments.


United we still stand. And we never forget.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The next Quayvon?

Decided this was too good not to share. All names have been redacted because I can't remember them. Plus, I'm always in search of opportunities to use the word redacted.

So, we're sitting there nervously watching the Dawgs run up and down the field on the yard birds and several times I've had an occasion to high five the guy next to me, as well as everyone else both adjacent and nearly adjacent to my seat. Everyone that is except for the one Sakerlina fan to my lower right and the especially the one directly behind me. And it was that guy that surely got tired of staring at my ass, because I rarely found an occasion to sit on it.

Anyway. Quayvon Hicks (he's our current starting fullback and also the eventual 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner and 2019 Nobel Peace Prize recipient...just an all around badass) had just run through the heart of the South Carolina defense. The deafening roar within Sanford multiplied exponentially and insanity overcame the multitudes. It was delicious delirium.

So much so that my neighbor screamed, "WE'RE NAMING OUR NEXT SON QUAYVON!!!!"

Now, often such dramatic proclamations strike me speechless; give me pause to gather the enormity of their weight. But without missing a beat I responded, "YOU'RE NAMING YOUR NEXT DAUGHTER QUAYVON!!!"

And so the legend of the female Quayvon, set to begin matriculation sometime around the autumn of 2032, is born. May she enjoy chicken as much as the legend that preceded her.

Go Dawgs!

"Do not under any circumstance take the Georgia job."

The Ol' Ball Coach to a youthful Mark Richt back in the day.
It was at the 1991 Heisman Trophy ceremony. Richt coached runner-up Casey Weldon as quarterbacks coach at Florida State and Spurrier coached finalist Shane Matthews as Florida’s head man.
 “He told me: ‘Do not under any circumstance take the Georgia job,’” Richt said when he met spoke to the Touchdown Club of Athens on Monday. “That was the one bit of coaching advice he gave me.”
Of course, if KiffyBaby had been old enough to speak back then he'd've said all Richt would ever amount to in Athens is a gas station attendant.

In all seriousness, Richt goes on to talk about why he respects the man so many Georgia fans find it so easy to hate. Good read by Kramer. Check it out.

"How bout them Dawgs y'all!"

Nicely done. Love the kids' expressions, especially the cutie at 2:12.

Go Dawgs! Raise em right!

h/t Mac

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sakerlina recap - Clowney watches Gurley run...and run...and RUN!

As I recovered yesterday, I rewatched the game and drank a lot of water. I'm not as young as I used to be. But we beat South Carolina just like the good ol' days. So over celebrating is warranted and encouraged.

I'll be honest, driving home from Clemson last weekend I did not feel good about avoiding an 0-2 start to the season. I was probably in the majority there. But by Wednesday I felt differently about it. If our offensive line could hold their on and learn from the struggles against the Tigers, then we would have too many playmakers for the Gamecocks to keep up with when we had the ball. And that's basically how it played out.

Of course, with the added touch of imposing our will on them with a soul crushing, bone bashing final drive to drain the clock.

Stat of the game

The theme is always about team goals, but there's no question that Murray lifted a huge weight off his shoulders and exorcised some serious demons. As Blutarsky said, this wasn't against a suspect defense either. Just imagine what that passer rating would look like if there hadn't been a handful of drops.

Just an incredible game for Murray. Very happy for him. For a quarterback who has achieved so much to be as beleaguered in spite of it, this game (and specifically that throw to Scott-Wesley to help seal the deal) had to be especially sweet. Damn Good Dawg.

What went well
Todd Damn Gurley. He ran through people. He ran by people. He ran and he ran, yet never tapped his helmet. Unlike another Heisman contender that once saved the entire world by tackling a Michigan player. Gene Wojciechowski asked on Gameday how to stop Clowney. Evidently the answer is to have him put his helmet on and try and tackle Gurley. Simple.

Other than that and the the gaudy passing statistics, this game was won on the ground. Closing out the game with that merciless final drive was very tasty icing on what was a delicious cake. And I just love that we can bring in Brendan Douglas to help close things out while giving Gurley a rest. That was an extra fantastic "In your face Cocky! We're not done and you're not done taking it on the chin!" moment.

Spectacular crowd Saturday. The fans brought it and I really think the guys running the gameday sounds and sights are making improvements. The atmosphere was electric. After Scott-Wesley's touchdown my oldest screamed into my ear "DAD!!! WE'RE SOOOO BEATING THEM!!!" Without the intensity in the stands, moments like that never happen for parents because the kids don't have the wealth of experience to go on. And Saturday was one we'll all remember for some time.

The onside kick was brilliant and perfect in every way. It made me really happy. Like getting an Official Red Ryder carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle for Christmas happy.

Bobo's play calling clearly had South Carolina off balance for much of the night. So much so that their defensive coaches took out their frustrations on each other. It's one thing to have a fifth year senior under center and surrounded by heaps of talent at your disposal. But there were several times when it was just clear that Bobo was a couple strides ahead of his counterparts. The greatest example is the fullback flare on the last drive to get us off the goalline. We'd gone conservative the first two downs out of necessity, then Bobo gives them something they hadn't seen.

Quayvon doing Quayvon things. Richt has raved about his versatility. And he showed it all in this game. Blocked like grown man. Ran like a grown man. And made a huge catch and run mentioned previously.

The goal line stand was too big for words. Great play by Herrera to force the run back inside and wrap him up. Without that there stands a good chance we're singing a different tune this week.
(Jason Getz, AJC)

Penalties were not only reduced in number, but also didn't come at all those inopportune times. Five flags for 16 yards is nothing. Of course, the unsportsmanlike on the goal line stand was masked some because it only gave up mere inches, but for the most part this was a very disciplined effort. Very focused and businessman like effort.

We neutralized the best pass rusher in the nation. Clowney was a non-factor. Don't let ESPN or anyone else convince you otherwise. I don't care if his foot got stepped on, or if he had to force some chicken and pasta down pre-game. And although I thought Nessler and Blackledge (two of my favorites in a sea of inept broadcast teams) did a good job, they failed to mention how well the game plan and the offensive line did in making #7 turn in a sub-par performance. They sure pointed out at the beginning how Clowney had made Gates look bad for two years. They could've at least pointed out that Bobo and Friend and the entire protection team gave Murray time and the running backs plenty of holes.

Areas to improve
The defense is still growing up. I'll admit to moments of pretty intense frustration at missed assignments and the lack of adjustments. But after watching the tape it's clear that progress is being made. Brendan Langley was obviously picked on most of the evening. He (along with Matthews and Harvey-Clemons) had some poor angles and was late reacting to the receiver. But he had a pass breakup in the second half, and even the completions that were thrown on him later in the game were often just great plays made inspite of him being in position, like the one catch where the receiver leaped 30 feet in the air.

Again, I think Langley is going to be a star. And he grew up in this game. But he's still adjusting to the speed at this level as he's only been on campus a little more than a month. So although at times we made Connor Shaw look even better than he is, I really believe the cohesiveness and the level of play is going to quickly catch up to the talent and depth that this defense has. This is a big couple of weeks ahead of us.

We need a punt returner to step up in the next couple of weeks. If we can have a guy house it a time or two in practice, maybe it'll convince Richt to loosen up the reins some on punt returns and try and get some field position from this unit. We have guys that can help us here. Just a matter of having the right attitude and just going for it.

Some rest will lead into what I expect to be some intense practices. I'd be surprised if Richt doesn't have the team go full pads two more days this week. We'll be healthy for North Texas and really have three weeks to prepare for another intense SEC matchup with LSU.

Specifically, I'd like to see the defense start to gain an identity. When we reconvene at Sanford a week from Saturday I'd like to see the same intensity with a better grasp of assignments. I'm not normally a fan of bye weeks this early, but after watching these two brutal, physical games to start the season, it'll be good to have some time to get healthy and get even better.

And now it's late and I'm rehydrated. Plus Breaking Bad is about to start. Hit me with anything I missed in the comments.

Ray Drew directs the Redcoats

While Spurrier was digging up his defensive unit after they were ground deep into the turf of Sanford Stadium to end the game, Coach Richt and players moseyed over to the band to thank them and the fans for their part in the win over the Gamecocks.

It was a concerted effort. We did our part. And it didn't go unnoticed.