Friday, October 25, 2013

Early Dawgs get the spots!

Saw this on the Twitter last night. Not sure if this is the norm. I would imagine it is.

Regardless, it's proof that no matter what the records for the teams are, this game is something special.

Also, by the's GA-fla. Just sayin'.

Florida - early thoughts

Ahhh...this time next week - the warm ocean breeze, the beer, the golf, the seafood, the beer. I love WLOCP weekend. And y'all know I don't use the word "love" much outside of my wife, children, bourbon, BBQ, and Herschel Walker. So here's some early thought processes on the next game.
  • Who's angrier and who's just feeling sorry for themselves? Both teams have experienced devastating, and perhaps unprecedented, injuries. Whichever team is closer to no longer using that as an excuse will have an advantage mentally.
  • Which coach is hungrier? Because the teams have been able to point to excuses too easily, whichever head guy does the better job steering the team mentality away from that could provide his team a huge edge.
  • A lot of things to watch in the next week, but the biggest will be Gurley's ankle. His availability to the Georgia backfield would be a huge boost of confidence.
  • It's not the record we'd expected or hoped for heading down to Jacksonville, but you get the feeling that this is one of those crucial contests in the series between these two teams. Georgia's finally won two in a row down there. Florida's looking to end that streak before it can get any further and, in their minds, restore order. Dawgs are looking to really damage the Cocktail Party Psyche of the gators.
  • Interesting stat that I haven't mentioned in some time - Will Muschamp has never tasted victory in Jacksonville.
  • Wrinkles vs. Tweaks...vs. Adjustments. Both teams have a bye week in preparation. And both teams need it. How much time is spent on minor wrinkles and how much is spent on the basics from back in August?
  • Can the gators develop a downfield passing attack? Muschamp pulled his coaches off the recruiting trail earlier this week to "fix things". Plays that stretch the defense longitudinally is something that has been missing altogether. Florida has just eight passes that have gone for 25+ yards. I'm willing to bet some or most of those were short throws that evaded tacklers.
  • Because even a defense that is struggling, if it can clamp down on the square yardage it has to defend, is going to have some success if it is not threatened deep.
  • Another thing to watch will be how physical the practices get next week. Richt is certainly and understandably wary (and weary) of injuries. But tackling and getting off blocks has been something of a problem thus far.
  • Fan enthusiasm. Tickets will be cheaper than usual this go round. I would expect the stadium to still be 50/50. But if anyone has been wanting to experience this game without the hefty price tag, now's their chance.
Lastly, two things this game will hinge on - third down conversions and turnovers. I would expect Florida to be tighter with ball security given Muschamp's emphasis obsession with it this off season and the fact that Jarvis Jones is no longer around. So who wins third downs will become even more important if that's the case. And it's one of the Gators' defensive specialities (27% on the season) and one of Georgia's weaker offensive categories (35%). Actually, except for the South Carolina and North Texas games, the Dawgs have struggled mightily on third and distance.

Did I mention how important Gurley's ankle is?

Basically, every (new) body is a freshman

What started out as a means of getting some class separation by signing some JUCO players, has just added to the inexperience on both sides of the ball.
Mayes sat out last season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College so he could still have three years of eligibility when he got to Georgia.
“I had to get back in the pace of the game and, of course, the SEC is way faster,” said the 6-foot-4, 330-pound Mayes, who has 13 tackles and a sack. “There were a lot of things I had to learn. I had to change from a read stance to a more attacking stance. We went from having like six plays to installing like 30 plays a day. It was a big transition.”Mayes sat out last season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College so he could still have three years of eligibility when he got to Georgia.
“If we signed everybody as a freshmen, 33 guys as freshmen, that’s a lot of guys in that one class,” Richt said. “By bringing in some junior college players to create some depth and separation from the rest of the class that was part of the strategy this past year. It was a little bit different from other years. It’s not necessarily a disappointment or a shock (that some aren’t contributing).”
Mayes said junior college players adjusting to the SEC are still first-year players at this level.
“So everybody’s a freshman basically,” Mayes said 
What a long strange season it has (already) been.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grantham needs to use more players

So, we've talked about the coaches and special teams. Now ask yourself this - Is the roster really limiting Grantham as he would have us believe? Or is he limiting the roster despite poor results?

Rotate the talent dude. The defense is coming off their best game of the season. That's great. What's not so great is that this isn't saying a whole lot. But there's signs there that could grow into something much better. Possibly. Probably. Maybe definitely. And acknowledging that the defensive line is leading the charge would be a good first step for Grantham in helping his squad rise to the occasion of what's left of this season.

There's a lot of rotation along the front line. Garrison Smith, Sterling Bailey, and Ray Drew are leading the way. But their counterparts in Mike Thornton, Josh Dawson, Toby Johnson, Chris Mayes, and John Taylor are seeing the field as well. It's time to utilize that philosophy with the linebackers and the secondary, specifically the inside linebackers and cornerbacks. For instance, Swann played some good football once Harvey-Clemons went down Saturday. Now, perhaps Grantham's hand was forced. But Swann shifted into the "star" position and Sheldon Dawson made an appearance finally. The results were good bordering on great.

Rotate some more players into the game. I'm not sure who's bowl of Cheerios Dawson pissed in to get left off the field so much this season, but on Saturday he was covering guys and making solid tackles...just doing the things we've been wanting to see. And you can tell Swann's confidence is rising, just based on the couple of quarters he had at the "star".
“I’m getting my feet back,” said Swann, who had two pass breakups and 10 tackles against Vanderbilt. “I played back in the nickel spot where I haven’t been all year and I think it’s going to be great from here on.”
Not sure what Grantham will do when Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews both return from the injury list. Actually, my best educated guess would be that he'd go right back to a lineup that wasn't working well in most all phases of the game.

But the fact is that one of the reasons Georgia is third in the conference in sacks is because Coach Wilson (and to be fair, Grantham as well, either directly or by proxy) is rotating guys into the game. There's a sense of active competition at real game speed. Legs are fresh and ready for the full 60 minutes. The defensive line is not only occupying space but they're getting separation and making plays on their own.

I have no doubt that everyone of those players at Grantham's disposal wants to do their job and win the game. We need better results. We have to have better results. So it's time to acknowledge that we need more players in the game.

Bama students turn tail on opponents

Or maybe it was just the "quality" of the opponent. (h/t AHD)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The special teams trauma ward

Yesterday we looked at the coaches gone wild. Today...

A kick in the tourniquet. Would having a special teams coach turn things around? I don't know. Does not having a special teams coach (when so many other programs are using one) hurt us in terms of consistency in that phase of the game? You could definitely make that argument. But if there's one thing I know, it's that Joe DeCamillis ain't walking through that door. Neither is Coach Seely. And certainly not Zach Smith.

Who's he? Check him out.

There's more of Smith's amazing work here if you really want to dream. But to beat Florida we don't need a re-vamped special teams organizational chart. Or some kid from the left coast that can snap a football into a trash bin from half a football field.

Look, we don't use the tight ends enough as it is. Hand Jay Rome and Artie Lynch to Will Friend and Tony Ball. Let Coach Lilly get a firm grip of the ball that Trent Frix is snapping. What's more, take a vested interest in how the teams relate to the specialty players, ie. the kickers. You know, those are the guys that just hang out way over there until you tell them to come on over and do their thing. Let's shore this shit up. Block some people. Kick it! Use special teams to our advantage again instead of as a means for shooting ourselves in the foot.

Coach Richt is right, the problem is execution. Barber is a good punter. Morgan is a good place kicker. But we lack the confidence and or the ability to execute around that. So it's time to change things up in terms of how we prepare. Take some ownership of the problem and put some capable hands into fixing it.

And to be quite frank, if Coach Lilly's duties in practice are so important to the tight ends, then Richt himself needs to roll up his sleeves. I don't necessarily think that's the long term answer here, but if things continue the way they're going, special teams may end up costing him a lot more than a road game in Nashville.

Humpday Hilarity - fun with statues

h/t Mac  Creative:                                                            This man has                                                            transformed a                                                            relatively                                                            staid image                                                            into a                                                            hilarious                                                            comic tableau  Getting                                                            in the way:                                                            This woman has                                                            taken the male                                                            statue all for                                                            herself,                                                            pushing the                                                            approaching                                                            girl away

High                                                            five! This man                                                            knows how to                                                            turn an                                                            immovable                                                            artwork into                                                            an interactive                                                            exhibit  Surreptitious:                                                            This chap                                                            appears to be                                                            picking up a                                                            bribe from                                                            behind the                                                            back of a                                                            venerable                                                            figure  Do you                                                            want to know a                                                            secret? The                                                            good-natured                                                            saxophonist                                                            looks as if he                                                            is bending                                                            down to the                                                            woman

Updated:                                                            Benjamin                                                            Franklin is                                                            using an                                                            iPhone to take                                                            a 'selfie'                                                            photograph in                                                            this surreal                                                            picture  Villain:                                                            Spider-Man                                                            finds himself                                                            in a spot of                                                            bother when he                                                            runs into this                                                            commanding                                                            statue  Ow! One                                                            baseball fan                                                            is left in                                                            pain thanks to                                                            an aggressive                                                            artwork at the                                                            Cincinnati                                                            Reds' stadium

Tagging                                                            along: This                                                            web user has a                                                            look of terror                                                            as he holds on                                                            to a little                                                            girl's leg  Cheeky:                                                            He may look                                                            unassuming,                                                            but this                                                            statue has                                                            distinctly                                                            old-fashioned                                                            views on                                                            sexual                                                            harassment  Giant:                                                            This huge                                                            statue's firm                                                            grasp is                                                            enough to lift                                                            the poor man                                                            completely off                                                            the grou nd

Watch                                                            out: It looks                                                            as it the huge                                                            marble statue                                                            has managed to                                                            sneak up on a                                                            terrified                                                            woman  Saucy:                                                            This woman                                                            looks shocked                                                            but pleased to                                                            be caught in a                                                            compromising                                                            position with                                                            an artwork  Obscene:                                                            This man has                                                            posed with a                                                            statue of a                                                            giant moose                                                            and                                                            manoeuvered                                                            himself into                                                            an X-rated                                                            pose

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And there was much rejoicing!

Targeting back: SEC officials could be punished

One of the first things I noticed on the Ramik Wilson flag for targeting was where the flag actually came from. After Ray Drew was thrown out by an official that had the flag in his hand before the pass was even thrown, I guess I became acutely aware of the periphery to the play on the field. Much of you probably saw the same thing.

For it was not the umpire standing directly in front of the play that flagged Wilson's textbook hit on Vanderbilt receiver Jonathan Krause. It was the field judge from across the field in front of the Commodore sideline that threw it.

I wonder if that is something going through SEC coordinator of circuses Steve Shaw's head this week as he has gotten an earful from Coach Richt and AD McGarity. It looks like some form of discipline for the crew could be on the table. Including but not limited to the replay official in the booth that upheld Drew's prompt dismissal.
The call on Georgia defensive end Ray Drew was made by referee Matt Moore. As Richt said on Sunday, that hit “by the letter of the law” probably met the criteria of a “targeting” foul. However, everybody – including the NFL’s head of officials, who tweeted as much – believes Drew should not have been ejected from the game. If anybody faces discipline as a result of that ruling, it would likely be the replay official, Mike McGinnis, who upheld the disqualification despite video evidence to the contrary.
But what discipline, if any, transpired as a result of all these reviews is and will remain unknown. The only way to know if anybody was suspended or dismissed as a result of this past weekend’s actions will be to determine whether any of the officials on a crew this coming weekend.
The final result -- a 31-27 Vanderbilt victory -- will of course remain forever unchanged.

Richt, Grantham...opposite corners, but same ring

Look, this team is going to fight hard to win out. That's great and is exactly what we'd expect them to do. Meanwhile, those of us outside the arena, on blogs and message boreds and the twitters, are going to spend great time and effort offering up solutions as extreme as hiring Nick Saban at eleventy billion dollars a year to as simple as building an indoor practice facility so that we can lose to Vandy in style.

But for me, I'm a more immediate gratification/attention deficit disordered guy. I can't think about bowl options, firing coaches, what next year will be like, who's on first, what recruits are thinking. (I mean, seriously?), or what I'm going to have for lunch. Because right now, in all my despair and all my frustration, there's only one thing I can concentrate on - beating the shit out of florida. And in order for me to be able to give that my full attention, I'm just going to purge some thoughts here over the next couple days. Play along if you like.

For now let's start with the most interesting one. Richt and Grantham need to just fight it out. Even before all of the rumors began to swirl yesterday, I've thought for some time now that there's been a lot of tension between the two. In my mind it goes back to January and the Philadelphia Eagles. But I could definitely be wrong about that time table. But I don't think I'm wrong about them having words. I know what I saw in Knoxville. Richt was clearly fed up with using timeouts so that Grantham could get his defense set and ready some time before the next millenium. They had words. And Richt has taken a couple occasions with the media to point out some suggestions - playing more inside linebackers, dumbing down to playbook, getting calls in quicker. I can't say for certain if those suggestions have also been provided to Grantham in a more direct manner.

But it's Tuesday of a bye week before the annual trip to Jacksonville. Good time to hash some things out, air some grievances, have a skirmish in the coaches meeting. Coaches are competitive by nature. And regardless of what you think of the staff as a whole or a particular coach individually, they all want to win the next game. Tension can be a motivator.

Let's use it to get on the same page guys; the one that continues this streak against our bitter rivals.

Mumme Poll, week 8

Some dramatic changes made this week's ballot feel almost like starting all over again.

  • Alabama
  • FSU
  • Oregon
  • Missouri
  • Ohio State
  • Stanford
  • Baylor
  • Miami
  • Clemson
  • Auburn
Just outside - LSU, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M.

Some other notes:
  • It says something about this week's turnover when last week I had Missouri just outside the top ten slots and this week they were firmly within my top five.
  • Feel pretty good about Bama, FSU, Oregon, Mizzou, and Ohio State. The last five presented a challenge though. Miami I believe is over ranked. Auburn may be as well. Clemson could've fallen out altogether.
  • In the end I felt more comfortable with a one loss Auburn and one loss Clemson ahead of an undefeated Texas Tech based almost purely on the schedule each team has played. But the Red Raiders have Oklahoma and Oklahoma State next. So they could prove something real quick.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday's Meatloaf - over estimating my mathematical prowess

I feel the need for something light this morning. Let's start with a word problem. No, scratch that. Let's start with the elephant in the blog space and then we'll get to the word problem.

I know I've been short on dishing out the meatloaf lately. To be perfectly honest there's just not enough time. Fall is busy enough and this autumn we have Georgia football on Saturdays and then the 9yo has flag football on Sundays. And their coach is a lot like Goff...pre-Hines Ward.

Scoreboards use math. Our alumni remind me of this all the time.
Anyway, trust me that this regular feature will continue to be a staple here on the blog. And when time permits it'll be back to its weekly self. And I have to add, yesterday when my group of little 7-9 year olds were down five with time for just one play to go the length of the field. We needed a miracle. And that happens to be the name of my little girl's right arm.

She zipped the ball 20 yards and somehow the little guy caught it. Because she had put an extra dose of mustard on it the defense didn't react in time catch him. After all, he'd already outrun their whole team on a beautiful reverse call, if I do say so myself. The Lightning Ninjas win in dramatic fashion!! was supposed to be the AJC headline this morning. Let me know when they finally post it. Now, let's get mathematical.
Ray Goff runs at his school's track every weekday. If Ray runs 5.9 miles each time, estimate how much he runs in a month.
Write down your answer and we'll discuss it at the other end. Or if you really wanna show off your brass ones, put it in the comments now.

Today's Ingredients
- "The crappiest thing about losing that game was wasting Shaq Wiggins' pick six." Blutarsky with the truth bomb.
- Emerson has an in-depth look at Georgia's problems.
- Tyler concludes that the Ramik Wilson targeting penalty may very well have cost us the game. Hard to argue that, even though it was overturned. Which of course means the penalty stands/ Because that makes so much sense.
- Oh, and about those targeting calls. On the Ray Drew flag, here's Richt: "I don't think the rule's designed for that type of play quite frankly."
- It's important to note, as Marshall does here, that the defense has shown some improvement.
- Greg helps us reset for the bye week.
- As for the special teams miscues, Travis nails it with this: "You don't think we need [a special teams coach]? Fine. But don't act like it doesn't make sense to ask."
- DavetheDawg has 15 thoughts on the loss and the outlook overall.
- If you've been anxious for the new post season format, Year2 has a mock playoff post up.
- Lastly, I don't know about you, but watching a chocolate lab puppy body surf a staircase is one thing that always gets me to smile.

Cheer up Dawgs. At least you didn't wear jean shorts to work today.

That word problem was part of the 11yo's review for a test last week. Typically, Mrs. Bernie handles the math side of the homework equation. This theory has been tested since both girls moved on from 1st grade and thereby exceeded my math skills...exponentially. (BOOM! Least I can still spell!!)

But during this review the lovely wife was getting herself all did up and even lovelier at the salon. If I go to the barber and spend more than a half hour I feel cheated. Evidently these salons do hair as if they're giving a car a tune-up. It takes even longer than the Beatles took to sing an encore of Hey Jude and Let it Be. It'd take more time to give a HillBilly a full set of root canals, or teach a WarDamnTiglesman how to spell their school's name. Or get Congress to open up the state parks again.

You get it. Mrs. Bernie was gone for a spell. So I jumped in and was convinced I'd caught the teacher handing out wrong answers. The 11yo had brought home the correct answers for the study guide with 120 miles circled. When clearly it was closer to 180 - about 30 days, times about 6 miles each day = 180. I can estimate! I can multiply! I can scoff at someone better equipped to teach how to estimate and multiply! And read a word problem correctly. So I insisted my little darling take that up with "Dr. Mathematical" the next morning prior to the test. Surely a good teacher would see her own error and make any necessary adjustments prior to handing out some poorly planned test. I mean, really.

"But Daddy, she has the problems worked out on her website. Let's check that to see how she got 120 miles."

What kind of sorcery and witchcraft is this?!? Parents and students can check their work online...and figure out right then and there that weekdays equal five days a week and therefore about 20 a month...and that 20 times 6 is indeed equal to 120. Ol' Ray Goff shorted me 60 miles! What in the name of Terrell Davis is going on here?!?

The lesson I learned is to compliment the wife's hair as soon as she walks in three hours later. And also to give Dr. Mathematical a fistbump for being able to load pictures of her study guide's answer key on the internets. Something tells me she didn't go to college in Starkville. Have a great Monday Reader! And don't be a slackass that only runs five days a week. My math skills need your complete effort!


The danger of the "punt safe"

Richt explained why Damian Swann was in to return that punt instead of Reggie Davis. The punt was not fielded cleanly, bounced off of Swann's chest and lead to a Vandy recovery and later a touchdown.
“We were in punt safe,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “If you remember two years ago, they faked the punt on us somewhere around that territory about the same distance. At the time of the game…they were down 13 and the clock’s ticking. We made a great stop and called for the punt safe and when we go punt safe, he’s already on the field and we keep him in there because we’ve got experience catching those balls. That’s designed to be a fair catch anyway. We know when we’re in punt safe, we’re not going to get much of a return. It’s just a matter of fielding the ball. He’s been doing that his whole life. It just hit off his chest.”
Oh, and about that special teams coordinator thing...
“Whether you have a special teams coordinator or not, you’ve got to field the punt, you’ve got to snap the ball, you’ve got to catch the snap,” Richt said. “What does that have to do with whether you’ve got a special teams coordinator or not? It’s just things we’ve got to be able to execute, the basic fundamentals of it. Those guys are very capable and I do have faith that we can get the job done. We’ve got the ability, we’ve just got to be consistent in that way.” 
Consistency. Yup, that's all we're looking for.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Injury update

The good news is that Conley nor Josh Harvey-Clemons will need surgery. Richt said tonight that JHC is more likely of the two to play against Florida.

But he feels good that Bennett may be ready. And he's hopeful that Gurley will be as well.

Sunday's thought on being more WalMart and less Target

There's a lot of reasons we lost yesterday. The least of which is how the game was officiated. But the targeting calls were complete bullshit. Take a look at this no call from the FSU-Maryland game.

Was Ray Drew's hit on Carta-Samuels worse than that? Give me a break.