Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bout time to get after it.

"I just love em. Proud of em....No one does it better than Georgia."

Hutson Mason rewound - the Gator Bowl

The full replay is below if you would like to follow along, hunt for errors in my assessment, or just grind your teeth a bit. Also, here's the link to the post I put up on the Tech game that evaluates Mason's performance on the Flats.

As I mentioned earlier, I went about this one differently than the Tech rewatch. I was more interested in seeing how often we lined up in shotgun and Mason's overall comfortability as the game wore on. Mason went into the bowl game completing 64.8% of his passes on the season for 648 yards, 4 TD and 2 int. His official line against the Cornhuskers - 21/39, 53.8%, 320 yards, 1 TD, 1 int, and 9 carries for -18 yards.

53 shotgun snaps
- 19 were designed runs; 34 were designed passes
- accounted for 64% of the play calls
- 17 completions, 31 attempts for 55%
- 3 big pass plays of 20+ yards: one screen to Douglas, one swing pass to Gurley (TD) and one seam route to Conley

29 drop backs
- 19 were designed runs; 10 were designed passes
- accounted for 36% of play calls
- 4 completions, 9 attempts for 44%
- one big pass play of 20+ yards: play action pass to Bennett for about 40 yards

- drops by receivers - 5 (there was one or two more that weren't definitive drops by my judgment)
- by quarter, the pass formation ratios were: 1st - 5 shotgun/2 drop back, 2nd - 10/4, 3rd - 10/2, 4th - 9/2
- Mason clearly depended on Lynch (6 catches for 69 yards) and Gurley (7 for 97 and a touchdown), but seemed to gain more confidence in going downfield as the game wore on.
- Obviously a heavy lean towards shotgun snaps, maybe a little more than usual. But unclear whether that was to appease Mason's preference or to protect against an offensive line that was struggling. I guess both as putting Mason in the shotgun allowed for better vision of the pass rush.
- What didn't help Mason in this game was the lack of a running game. A combination of factors - weather, aggressive defense, an unhealthy Gurley - limited his options downfield.
- But, when Gurley popped a couple runs into the secondary in the second half, Mason responded by looking downfield more.
- Another slight adjustment that was apparent was when the defense keyed on the swing pass to Gurley, Mason opted for an Lynch a couple times.
- Mason made some creative passes under duress as well as bought some time with his feet.
- There were times when he was quickly flustered, but that was mostly due to a consistent pass rush. Overall, I thought Mason made good reads and played the game conservatively.

Hutson Mason is clearly more comfortable in shotgun, but made some great throws after dropping back from under center as well. After the loss I felt he'd had a bad day, some of which wasn't his fault - drops, poor blocking, receivers struggling to make cuts. But after rewatching it I think Mason did exactly what we needed him to. His approach was to manage the game, let those around him make the plays, not force any throws and consequently avoid costly mistakes. Sure, he had a couple bad throws, but is that really any more than we can expect from a quarterback in the SEC?

As to my original question, only time will tell if Bobo is more comfortable calling plays for Mason. But really, how could he not be? Since Murray's senior season was cut short, Hutson Mason and Bobo have had eight months to work together. Starting a week from today, I expect Mason to manage the game quite well. That's all we need ask of him. But I bet he's ready for a heavier load if needed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Misery - the one where Agador Spartacus works the window at Walgreens

*Disclaimer: I should've put this on last week's Misery, but in case I picked up any new readers during the off season (ok, I'll wait for you to stop laughing....), the Friday Misery is usually rated PG-13 if not R. The intention is never to offend. It is to rant. And as a venue for the occasional hissy fit.

Prelude to a quaalude
I'm demented. You're maniacal. He's despondent. And she's just downright morose. Now that we all know each other, let's pop some pills and chill the eff out.

And then there were only eight. Only.
I sprained an ankle the other day running through scrimmage notes. Tyler got a case of the depressives from Kyle. Merritt Hall is in street clothes! Shit. I even hear the Water Girl caught a cold after taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Dear God! We are no where near ready for college football y'all! The season hasn't even started and yet it's already over. Done! We've had roughly eleventy-hundred days to get ready. Ever since the last rain drop fell on our beleaguered secondary down in Jacksonville we've had nothing to do except get ready to play Clempson. Nothing! And here we are, a pathetic huddled mass of pathetic patheticness.

Pathetic. Really.

Forty-buhzillion days to figure out a secondary and we're still confused. There's been nothing on the calendar since January 1st at 4pm and I have no goddamn clue who will make up the offensive line. Holy hell, I don't even know who next year's quarterback will be! Did you hear that?!? We've got [TBD] to start the 2015 season and no one knows who'll be under center. That's right. [TBD] to start against [TBD]. Jesus. YGTBFKM!

This is the worst. No, this is the burnt crust around the entire edge of the worst. I haven't felt this bad since....KNOCK THE GODDDDAMMNN BALLL DOWNNN!!

[knocks back two Pirin tablets with a double shot of Old Crow Reserve...]

However...Richt didn't refill his usual off season prescription in January. I guess he got sidetracked writing so many private Bookface thank you messages to Bobbie Petrino. Maybe the day he was supposed to swing that Ford F150 by the Walgreens was the same day he lifted a simple solitary finger and replaced a bag of shitbricks with Jeremy Ain't got time for no mother f---ing jokes Pruitt. Or maybe Richt just spent that entire day re-reading every post I've ever published. Probably. I don't know.

And I don't care. Because ever since that fourth and 99.9 third and 14 miracle heave ordinary completion in Jacksonville put an exclamation point on what was the 2013 Jekyll and Hyde season, it's been raining Scott Woerner tear away jerseys in Athens. It's been sunny with a chance of Shaq STFU pink slips in that secondary. It's been blue skies as far and wide as Gurley thighs. Marlo has a scowl. Because that's what Marlo Herreras do in August camps.

Practices have been completed with the purpose of getting better at tackle football, not stroking middle school-sized egos. The secondary is reacting more swiftly with their feet and hands instead of trying to figure out whether their defensive coordinator is speaking Farsi or Kurdish and then Oh shit! A wheel route! We almost have more running backs than Auburn has recidivist players. Almost.

I hear ya. The two-deep ain't set. There are kids just months removed from the senior prom roaming the secondary. The offensive line presents more questions than bona fide answers. I get it.

I do. But huddle up here y'all. (No, not you Erin Andrews.) Huddle up and hear me. Kublanow is gonna jackhammer DeShawn Williams until he begs for a Demon Deacon. Coach Ekeler will hurdle the Hedges when Vavlas drills a Tiger return man. Keith Marshall will still be gaining yards as Dabo eats his Fruity Pebbles the next morning before church. Morgan will have as many touchbacks as extra points. And after his "no name defense" completes its first public statement with an exclamation point, Jeremy Pruitt will finally smile as he cup of cheeses Chad Morris midfield.

I'm bringing my finger guns with a license to carry. I'm stepping forward in the same direction my team did in January, and then again in February, and then March, and then April, and then again in May, and then June, and then July. I'm calling the Dawg here in August, giddy and Grantham-free! We're here. It's eight days of opening prep work and then a race to our Sanford seats.

(shakes a pill bottle with no distinguishing label) Don't meet me there. Beat me there Dawg. A new season is upon us. And we didn't lose all that dead weight for nothing.

Gained in translation

It sure helps when the player(s) know what language the coach is speaking.
Those communication issues from 2013 are no longer plaguing Georgia's defense in 2014. That's according to the main communicator himself.
Linebacker Amarlo Herrera was responsible for relaying signals last season, because as players said at one point, a lot of them didn't know the signals and had to rely on Herrera to know what has being called by Todd Grantham.
And this year under Jeremy Pruitt?
“Nah, it’s different," Herrera said Thursday. "Everybody knows the call. We ended up learning it at the same time. (Other players) see it too, and he’s going to have everybody looking at him while he calls the play. ... He teaches everybody. So you have to learn it or you won’t be playing.”
If this is true, the secondary shouldn't get winded from all the waving of the hands pre-snap.

"Something just clicked."

Jordan Jenkins talks about how filling Jarvis Jones' shoes takes, effort, technique, and work.

Charles Johnson Foundation update

Charles Johnson donated 750 pairs of Nike shoes to the Pulaski County Schools Superintendent’s Office, the Charles Johnson Foundation announced.

Within the donation, Johnson supplied the Hawkinsville High School football team with cleats and the girls and boys basketball teams with basketball shoes. The additional shoes will be distributed by the Superintendent’s Office.

“I want to continue to take advantage of any opportunity I have to give back to Hawkinsville and Pulaski County,” Johnson said. “I never forget where I came from and I’m proud to be able to continue to give back.”

The donation comes shortly after Johnson hosted the third annual free-of-charge Charles Johnson Foundation Sports Academy and Community Weekend in Hawkinsville, GA, on June 20-21. The event brought more than 1,000 participants to football, basketball, tennis, dance and cheer clinics, which were led by Johnson and some of his NFL and NBA friends. The foundation also hosted a college fair and a community night. Additionally, Johnson presented two $20,000 scholarships to one male and one female senior student-athlete at Hawkinsville High School.

For additional information on the shoe donation or for media requests, contact Meredith Geisler at (703) 740-5015 or For information on the distribution of the remaining shoes, contact the Pulaski County School System at (478) 783-7200.

Charles Johnson is a native of Hawkinsville, GA, and a proud alumnus of Hawkinsville High School. After attending the University of Georgia where he starred at defensive end, Charles was drafted by the Carolina Panthers of the NFL in 2007.

Through seven professional seasons, Charles has received All-Pro recognition on the strength of 54 career sacks, placing him among the premier pass-rushers in the league.

In 2012, Charles’ passion for philanthropy and loyalty to Middle Georgia led him to launch the Charles Johnson Foundation. A non-profit organization, the Charles Johnson Foundation is dedicated to fulfilling a two-fold mission:

  • Providing opportunities for under-served youth to reach their full potential through athletic, recreational, and educational programs and initiatives; and
  • Providing support for single African American mothers through proven programs and initiatives.

The Charles Johnson Foundation Sports Academy and Community Weekend is the flagship annual event for the Charles Johnson Foundation, combining his efforts to advance education with free sports clinics in football, basketball, tennis, dance and cheer.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This August > Last August

I'm really going to jump the shark with this tomorrow, but for now let's reminisce:
Probably the best summary to yesterday's finale is we went in hoping for some closure and only got more questions. Now we'll spend the next eight months bickering at each other and feeding on our own self-loathing and discontent. Was it coaching? Was it injuries? Was it rotten luck? Was it the lack of an indoor practice facility??!!?? Should the was be an is?

Or is it just an unhealthy life choice that we continually force ourselves into year in and year out? Welcome to another off season of discontent. Your reserved seat is waiting.
That's what I wrote to close out the 2013 season after the Gator Bowl loss. You remember that day, back when we were staring at countless days of gnashing the teeth without the comfort of anonymity behind our defensive coordinator's towel. We were at the precipice of endless blog posts and message threads that could be summed up in these few words - Will Grantham finally turn things around? Doubtful.

Given that, I can take some concern over unresolved personnel issues. The fact that so many starters have yet to emerge speaks to the vast difference in where the bar is now set for players to clear the hurdle of getting on the field. Let me sum up:

Last August - "I showed your momma my picture of me, Jerry Jones and Tony Romo right? Ok then, you're starting against Clemson."
This August - "You just missed a tackle and a kid wearing an orange jersey scored! Get in the back of the line!"

Change has come and we have been reminded that it isn't easy. Our off season of discontent happily morphed into an off season of questions without answers. Unfortunately, it's likely those answers won't come until the coaches can see some of these guys in live action. Under the lights. When the game is on the line.

Yes, that's frightening. But I'm thrilled the discontent is in the rear view mirror. I'm excited for the future of Georgia football. Mostly because back on January 2nd I never wanted to see August again.

Garrison Smith - always pursuing, on the field and off

I'd root for this guy in any stadium, wearing any jersey. I hope every kid that saw this feature took the words to heart. (h/t OconeeRiverRat)

Damn. Good. Dawg!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Richt invites Dabo and Steve-O into practice

Wait, what? With scant days left before a brutal opening to the 2014 campaign the head coach draws the curtain back for all to see?
Students and reporters received an unusual treat as the Georgia Bulldogs returned to practice after a couple days off. Mark Richt, who most days only allows the media to watch 10-15 minutes of practice, decided to let students and the beat media observe the second half of Tuesday's practice that was held in Sanford Stadium. Close to two thousand students sat in the baking sun to take in a lively mid-week practice. At its conclusion, Richt thanked the students and called for them to create an opening game atmosphere similar in intensity to what the Bulldogs experienced when they traveled to Clemson last year.
Photos and video were prohibited as part of the conditions to watch practice. We do have quite a number of observations though.
I have an observation too Radi - my invite was lost in the mail, so can I get a raincheck? Richt never does this kind of stuff. Not to make too big of a deal of it. After all, it was just an hour. But first you have pick axes taking the place of stationary bikes on the side, then you have open access to media and students and other spies. Next thing you know the team will have iPads instead of actual playbooks. Oh, wait.

Anyway, lots to glean from the media's extra 45 minutes of observation. They got plenty of looks from Quayvon at different positions, including tight end. Right now it wouldn't surprise me to see any name as the starting tight end a week from Saturday. Any name. Just pick one.

The defense sounds much more aggressive. They're reacting on their feet quicker and with confidence.
All of the cross training defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has done is paying off as Green and Dawson also played the star. In other words, the secondary players were lining up in multiple different positions and it was tough to keep track of who was where in what coverage. Good luck to opposing quarterbacks in figuring that out. Oh, and the corners blitzed a lot so some guys lining up in the star may have just been there for that blitz. 
A lot of inside linebackers getting reps. Sounds to me like Pruitt plans to rotate them in and out, probably as part of specific packages. As important a position as inside linebacker is in the SEC, I like the sound of Kimborough and Carter getting plenty of action.
via Nabulsi

Most of all, I liked this nugget from Emerson:
It’s only practice, but Hutson Mason’s footwork looks improved. He had a bit of happy feet during his two starts last year, but during Tuesday’s practice he did a good job of being firm in the pocket, keeping his feet to the ground as the pocket came at him, then firing off a good pass.
I've slacked off on viewing the Gator Bowl as part of my Hutson Mason evaluation as I had promised. We looked at his performance in the Tech game here. Since then I've changed my thought pattern in terms of what I'd like to glean from Mason's two starts, especially given the fact that there was more than a month between them. When I rewatch the bowl game (hopefully in the next couple of days) I think I'm going to look as much for things like shotgun vs under center and tempo/pace of play more than actual stats.

The bowl game stats we can really throw out of the window considering the weather and Conley's injury. And I've consistently heard a lot of people say that Mason will be fine, but he won't be Murray. I guess I get that line of thinking. But the fact is that much of Murray's success was because he was truly an extension of Bobo on the field. They were in sync after five years of practice, preparation and live games. Right now, in 2014, of particular interest to me is how much Bobo adjusts to Mason. Even more so than how much Mason adjusts to live action.

"...otherwise it's a big play."

To me, it doesn't sound like Dabo and his defensive tackle are on the same page.
In the Tigers' latest intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, D.J. Howard had a 40-yard touchdown run, and not because he had a wide-open running lane. 
"We try to knock a guy down with our shoulders instead of wrapping him up with our arms. A good back will run through that," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "You've got to make tackles in space, otherwise it's a big play."
Anthony and Williams each hinted Venables has made some subtle changes to the Tigers' rush-defense scheme up front, to try to corral home-run threats like Gurley.
"It's developing good, because we know the scheme now," Williams said. "Everybody's playing where they need to play and being disciplined. We're not playing over each other, everybody has an assignment and they're sticking to it."
For those of you unfamiliar with DJ Howard, he's the redshirt senior tailback for Clemson. Here's a picture of Howard next to Todd Gurley.


(Hint, Gurley is the one on the left brushing some dandruff off his back.)

Humpday Hilarity - lettuce, whores and hockey

A man in a Washington supermarket tried to buy half a head of lettuce.  The very young produce assistant told him that they sell only whole heads of lettuce.

The man persisted and asked to see the manager.   The boy said he'd ask his manager about it.  Walking into the back room, the boy said to his manager, 'Some asshole wants to buy half a head of lettuce.'

As he finished his sentence, he turned to find the man standing right behind him, so he added, 'And this gentleman has kindly offered to buy the other half.'  The manager approved the deal, and the man went on his way.

Later the manager said to the boy, 'I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of that situation earlier.  We like people who think on their feet here.  Where are you from, son?'  'Canada, sir,' the boy replied.

'Well, why did you leave Canada?' the manager asked.   The boy said, 'Sir, there's nothing but whores and hockey players up there.'

'Really?' said the manager.  'My wife is from Canada.'

'No shit?' replied the boy.  'Who'd she play for?'

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Helmet AND jorted SEC schedule

For your reference and viewing pleasure, Kerri is back with her annual tradition of taking the SEC Helmet Schedule and maximizing it to its full potential. If you approve, make sure and embiggen, click, save, and most of all, give @ugakerri a follow!

Volition, The Georgia Way

Pretty cool video. I couldn't help but be somewhat amused by the looks on the freshmen faces as they had only been on campus a matter of days when the Navy SEAL veterans took over summer camp. But aside from that mild amusement I'm glad this team got this experience.

Coach Venables' kryptonite?

Relating (albeit loosely) the Clemson defensive coordinator to a superhero may be a stretch. But the guy knows a thing or two about stopping offenses in their tracks, especially on the ground.

Enter Todd Damn Gurley.

In Death Valley last August Gurley amassed 154 yards, and did it in only 12 carries. That was good for seven yards more per carry than what he averaged the rest of the season. The rest of the Georgia running backs carried it 29 times for 68 yards.

So perhaps I should relate Gurley to the Man of Steel and hope that Venables hasn't tapped into ore deposits from the planet Krypton the last few months. Because I wonder how many times this replay has been rewound and restarted in the Clemson defensive coordinator's head?

Bubba Gurley

He may not qualify for the 2015 Masters Tournament, but it doesn't take long for the nation's best running back to learn the old golfing motto - You drive for show and you putt for dough.
Gurley took up the sport in May at the recommendation of Bulldogs kicker Marshall Morgan and punter Collin Barber, both avid golfers. He’s just as blunt in his critique of his early trips to the driving range. “I sucked pretty bad,” Gurley said.
But Gurley is much improved now after visiting the range two to three times a week this summer. So far, his greatest golf accomplishment is making a birdie. He’s also figured out one of his strengths: putting. “That’s where the money’s at,” Gurley said with a laugh.
And a former UGA golfer can show you how to spend some of it too.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grantham's Towel vs. BMFP

Toddie. Dude. Petrino's always gonna score more baby.

My favorite part (well, my second favorite part) of this whole story about the feud between Louisville's head coach and it's defensive coordinator is this quote:
“He’s a mean guy,” said Jamaine Brooks, a former Louisville defensive tackle who left this past spring. “He cusses you out. You’re never doing enough. He’s still Bobby Mother------- Petrino.”
Other than that, (insert sarcasm font) I'm real torn up about Todd not getting a honeymoon on the back of Petrino's hog. At least he can rest his laurels on his big raise until the NFL comes calling (end sarcasm font).

Monday's Meatloaf - a tale of two gameday Saturdays

Mike is a Georgia fan. And like the rest of us he has been looking forward to spending Saturdays this fall in Athens. It's been a long off season and the time has come to make plans for tickets, tailgates, away trips, and ringing that Chapel Bell!

But Mike gets busy. Between work, mowing the yard, feeding the dog, watching 13+ hours of the SEC Network a day, and reading Bernie's Dawg Blawg he loses track of time and the suddenly the Clemson game is here!

The excitement is at a fever pitch. Mike hurries home from work the Friday before and begins to pack the car for the next day's journey to Athens. "Did I remember the tailgate chairs?" he asks himself. "Check! Did I remember the tickets? Check!...Have I checked the latest football odds? Check! Did I get enough beer? What about the gas for the generator? I'll get that on the way in the morning."

Todd drifts off to sleep and awakens the next morning eager to hit the road, and with no idea how greatly complicated things are about to get.

Once at the tailgate things slowly unravel. It's unnoticeable at first. But between the drinking, the eating, catching up with old friends Mike hasn't seen in a year, not to mention the big win 'tween the Hedges, by late evening he finds himself wishing he didn't have to make that drive back home. All of his buddies are asking him for a ride downtown on his way out so they can continue the party. The hotels are booked and his friends only have floor space left. He's left with listening to the late games on satellite radio while he makes the trip back home.
From reader Trey, Lorenzo Carter strikes a selfie
pose a very happy Dawg fan.

"Do I really want to sleep on a floor, or should I just call it a day and head home?" Frustrated, Todd ponders his limited options wishing he'd planned a little further ahead.

Today's Ingredients
- With only days to go before the opener, Blutarsky looks at where things stand in terms of position battles.
- The wide receiver position has had some bumps and bruises so far, but Kimberley focuses on one that is ready to make a name for himself.
- MaconDawg wonders who wants to be a "star" and how that position may be different under Pruitt than it was behind the towel in recent years.
- Tyler looks at a "blogger-sized" player that we hope will be the next Damien Gary.
- Groo peeks at the schedules of the Dawgs' opponents.
- Krisi found Trip Frix's in this week's Dawg Tweets.
- Picture day was Saturday and Greg has some photos from Rob Saye of the players behind the scenes.
- Garbin uses the Georgia-Clemson rivalry as a backdrop in recalling one of his favorite players from the 1980s - John Little.
- From the Blogging doesn't pay the rent file, do you have all the tickets you need this season? That link gives you access to parking passes, season tickets, individual game tickets, both home and away! 100% Guaranteed and No Fees!
- Saturday's post got AHD all reminiscent and he fell into a google hole that helped him find Robert Edwards as the head coach of the Greene County Tigers. How 'bout that Dawg!
- Lastly, hey Chiefs're welcome.

Bernie is a Georgia fan. And like the rest of us he has been looking forward to spending Saturdays this fall in Athens. It's been a long off season and the time has come to make plans for tickets, tailgates, away trips, and ringing that Chapel Bell!

Athens Football Rentals
But Bernie gets busy. Between work, mowing the yard, feeding the dog, watching 13+ hours of the SEC Network a day, and writing for Bernie's Dawg Blawg he loses track of time and the suddenly the Clemson game is here!

The excitement is at a fever pitch. He hurries home from work the Friday before and begins to pack the car for the next day's journey to Athens. "Did I remember the tailgate chairs?" he asks himself. "Check! Did I remember the tickets? Check!...What about the gas for the generator?...I'll get that on the way in the morning." And then his lovely wife reminds him, "You big dummy, remember how you planned ahead and booked a house through Athens Football Rentals just last week and now we get to spend the whole weekend in Athens, not just most of the day...ya big Dummy??!??"

The family gets loaded into the car. They head towards Athens where they have a nice dinner, a comfortable night's sleep, a short walk to their friends' tailgate, thoroughly enjoy a big win at Sanford that night, celebrate with some friends, a short walk back to their rental home, and then another good night's sleep.

Twelve days folks. We got this!


Pruitt's tough love

More than halfway through camp and the defensive backfield situation is as clear as mud. Swann seems an easy bet to start. So does JJ Green. At times.
via Vorhees

It's been the hot question ever since Pruitt took over in January. Is there reason for discouragement just 12 days out that the starters haven't emerged? I don't think so. And the players don't seem concerned about it either.
As proof, Pruitt needs to be able to trust his secondary. He’s trying to find who knows the calls, who recognizes the formations and who knows what to do with both once a scenario arises. In practice, Pruitt, always vocal, has been particularly loud when talking to Green.
Green doesn’t take it personally because he knows the pressure and challenges will only get tougher as the season progresses.
“We’re the ones that if you can take him in practice, you can take him anywhere,” Green said. “You can take the criticism of 90,000 fans. It’s a great thing that he’s caring like he does.”
The answers will come. Until then, the questions (and the criticism) will have to suffice.

The Junkyard Dawg Podcast Episode 15 - Joe Waterloo takes a mulligan

In the second part of our discussion we talk about Pruitt's defense and what we might can expect, how the schedule might be a good thing, and how Joe and I used to cheat at golf.

Now available on iTunes!!
Also on Stitcher!
Email questions and suggestions!